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Old February 18th, 2005, 09:16 AM   #1
Still Motion
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 1,186
Combining various mic levels?

I posted this earlier in the audio section on this board, but as most of you do weddings, I thought somebody here might have more specific insight with this.

I have had a hard time for a while trying to figure out the best way to combine the various mic levels. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I'm using a wireless sennhieser lav mic for weddings. Before that, I used the entry level azden system which had a total of two frequencies to select and an on switch. Going to the new mic setup is proving to be quite the complicated transition. With the Sennhieser, the transmitter has a senesitivity function- from 0 down to about -40 I believe. Then receiver then has a AF out level which cango from +12 down to -30 I believe. In addition, on my PD170 there is the gain control. (There is also the headphones volume but I'm trying to learn how to just use the levels to check for volume of the recording.)

What I am trying to figure out is the optimum way to go about this to get less noise. There are just so many permutations. Any ideas on where to start would be of great help.

What audio levels should I aim for the end result- I was under the impression that the average should be -20 with highs around -6??

Lastly, a question about manual vs auto controls. I understand it is always best to record manually if possible. With an event like weddings where people speak in turns and the volumes vary so much, do you try to set the system for the highest volume in manual control and leave it there? Or possible continually adjust the manual control, although that seems impossible considering the other things that need ot be done.

Thanks so much to anybody who can help me out here.

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Old February 18th, 2005, 02:40 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Bloomington, IL
Posts: 636
I use the Ew100 system (model before the G2) and the senitivity is set to -20. On the receiver the squelch is set to 10db. The main output volume is usually a bit below the mid point and has plenty of room to work with either way. For me those settings have proven to work well. You really need to take a couple hours and spend some time just tweaking the system and see what works. Have someone help you and walk around with the system in a church sanctuary and find out what settings are working and which one's aren't.

For camera record levels, I set the camera to the mid point. That gives you room to work either way from the camera if you have to. I also run everything through some type of pre-mixer or mixer before going to the camera and that is where I actually adjust overall levels and balance. Using the mixer I keep the levels in a safe zone that has some head room to avoid clipping.

With manual controls I set them to the point that the loudest noise will not clip. Other sounds may be a bit lower but you don't want clipping because once it's gone you can't get it back. And that's why your in manual mode right? If the audio is low at points you can slowly ride it up as you see fit. Then when they begin a louder section you can ride it down.

Ben Lynn
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