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Novice question: Mic or Line level for Wireless Mic?

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Frank Manno
Novice question: Mic or Line level for Wireless Mic?
on Dec 16, 2008 at 3:14:03 am

Hi everyone -

I'm a real dummy when it comes to audio.

I just bought a wireless mic for my camera. I bought the Sennheiser Evolution G2.


I have a few questions:

1. Do I set my camera's input to MIC or LINE for the receiver?

2. On the receiver, do I have to match the output level to the camera in some way or 'if it sounds ok it's right'?

i.e., My camera is recording at -12db to tape from the camera mic. Does this mean I have to make the wireless mic receiver -12db as well?

How do I know what 'db' I'm suppose to set my receiver at?

I did a test and put my camera's audio levels to manual and put both left and right channels dials in the center so that all is equal. Then I put the radio mic next to the camera mic.

I discovered that having the wireless receiver at -30db will make my meter's levels bounce around the same levels for both camera mic and wireless mic. Now is this a good guide to where my receiver's output levels (in db) should be set to? In my case, -30db?

Doesn't -30db seem real low?


-Frank



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seth peterson
Re: Novice question: Mic or Line level for Wireless Mic?
on Dec 16, 2008 at 5:48:34 am

Dialing in your sound IS a personal preference, but proper gain staging does have some technical right and wrongs.

The accepted rule is to set your gain as HIGH as possible, as EARLY in the signal chain as possible - and adjust each consecutive gain stage until you reach the last component. This will give you maximum headroom and the best signal-to-noise ratio. Every signal carries some noise with it, and if you set your gains too low at the front (preamp/mixer/processor), and then try to compensate for it at the end, you will be magnifying the "noise" as well as the signal. The "cheaper" the equipment is that you're using in front, the more obvious this will be.

The easiest way to do this is to just VISUALIZE how your signal runs. Whatever your signal from the guitar or mic hits first - be it internal or external preamp, processor, mixer, whatever - maximize THAT trim control first. Having LED's to visually see the clipping makes this job much easier - just sing or play as loud as you plan to (turn the master down - you don't need to actually make noise to set your trims if you have LED's) and crank the trim/gain until it flashes red into clipping - then back it off a bit to give yourself some room. Then continue down the path of the signal chain - this includes any "inserts" into the chain - adjusting each component until you finally hit the camera, which is the end of your chain.

I got this from
Its helped me a lot
http://toonz.ca/bose/wiki/index.php?title=Gain_Staging



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Ty Ford
Re: Novice question: Mic or Line level for Wireless Mic?
on Dec 16, 2008 at 2:53:03 pm

Hello Frank and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

As Seth mentions, gain staging is very important and he's spot on with his explanation.

While line level is normally preferred to mic level when going to a camera from a mixer or receiver because it's louder than mic and may survive some interferences, mic level can be fine. -30dB is sort of a high mic level, but if you camera is set to mic input, you're not hearing a lot of noise (hiss) when you play back and your camera meters are showing -6 dB to -12 dB peaks, you should be fine.

You did a good practical test with the side by side. The only thing I'd add, would be to play a bit with the sensitivity on the transmitter. Its default setting is probably fine. If you have a low talker, you'd want to increase the sensitivity of the transmitter and not depend so much on boosting the receiver gain to get good level on the camera. If you have a screamer, you'll have to back the transmitter sensitivity off to keep from clipping the transmitted audio before it even gets to your receiver.

That's what Seth was referring to by gain staging.

Regards,

Ty Ford




Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Pat Spahr
Re: Novice question: Mic or Line level for Wireless Mic?
on Feb 19, 2014 at 5:01:06 pm

Frank, I know your post is old but I see the guys never answered your 1st question:

1. Do I set my camera's input to MIC or LINE for the receiver?

Did you ever figure this out? Because that is my question now. If I run the receiver from my wireless mic into a field recorder (Sound Devices 744t) or into a mixer (Sound Devices 302), does one set the input sensitivity to LINE or MIC?


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Ty Ford
Re: Novice question: Mic or Line level for Wireless Mic?
on Feb 19, 2014 at 5:50:25 pm

Hello Pat and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

The answer is there, just not as obvious as it might be.

Here's another shot at it.

Does your wireless receiver put out mic or line level?

Many only do mic, but some do line. The higher level will be a better defense against noise if gain staged properly, but if the receiver only does mic level out, then trying to push it to line level will probably result in noise. In that case choose a mic level input on the recorder or mixer.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader.

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Pat Spahr
Re: Novice question: Mic or Line level for Wireless Mic?
on Feb 19, 2014 at 6:36:51 pm

Okay, Thank you Ty. I'll have to figure out if the receivers output mic or line level. (it's my school's equipment. we have some lectrasonics and some sennheisers…)


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