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Typical portable audio mixer usage?

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Greg Parrish
Typical portable audio mixer usage?
on May 31, 2009 at 3:40:10 am

Hi All,

I have been reading the threads and am interested in learning more about how folks use field mixers. I have been going back to school, taking film and tv production, but have not dealt with any sort of field or ENG type work. How do you typically use a field mixer? What 2,3,4 sources do you record? It looks like mixers go down to two channels. What do you select to mix together?

Cheers,
-Greg


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Ty Ford
Re: Typical portable audio mixer usage?
on May 31, 2009 at 11:20:58 am

Hello Greg and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

How do you use a field mixer?

Most simply, you plug mics or other sound sources into it, you plug it into the camera.

Why? See the below.

Regards,

Ty Ford


Mixers are more than knobs that let you vary the volume.

1. They let you vary volumes without shaking the camera or getting in the way of the camera op.
2. You may need to do that a lot with some people. I ride gain even if one person is talking if their voice fades on the end of each line. You can only do this in a relatively quiet environment, otherwise you bring up the ambient noise.
3. Mixer preamps (good ones) sound better than camera preamps.
4. Good mixers have input transformers that scrape off RF before it get into your audio.
5. Good mixers have limiters that allow you to record hotter, keeping your audio further above the noise floor without distorting.
6. Good limtiers have EQ that lets you roll of LF HVAC noise before it gets into your audio.
7. Good mixers have mulitple outputs so you can feed more than one camera, or separate recorder simultaneously.
8. Good mixers make your sound better. If they didn't pros wouldn't use them.



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






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Greg Parrish
Re: Typical portable audio mixer usage?
on May 31, 2009 at 8:29:09 pm

Thanks Ty for the nice welcome and the excellent answer. It all makes sense.

The cameras we have to work with at the college (sony pd150) appears to have two audio record channels. Is that typical for cameras? Do you usually mix all your various audio sources down to two channels (for field work)?

Thanks again for everyone's help :)

Cheers,
-Greg


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Ty Ford
Re: Typical portable audio mixer usage?
on May 31, 2009 at 9:48:25 pm

Hi Greg,

You're welcome. If you want to have a finished audio track then that's what you mix. If you intend to do any post work, which is frequently the case, then you try to isolate tracks as much as possible to different tracks.

This becomes problematic if you have more than two sources.

Regards,

Ty Ford






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






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Peter Groom
Re: Typical portable audio mixer usage?
on Jun 2, 2009 at 7:08:19 am

Hi
Speaking as a TV / Feature film dubbing mixer of 23 years, you need to know the answer to your q how much do you mix together?
Ideally - nothing ever.
Its like a cup of tea, once youve put the sugar in you cant get it out, only make a fresh cup.
Dont commit the mix to anything as you have no idea when you record, what, when or how the audio may need to be used and in what context, or be mixed with anything else.

Its more than enough for a field "recordist" to do just that, and get it right, good clean, crisp well recorded audio. Dont mix.

If however you physically have to mix then you have to try to work out which 2 elements can live with being unseperable. This is a poisoned chalice and one you have little hope of getting right.

Peter



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Greg Parrish
Re: Typical portable audio mixer usage?
on Jun 6, 2009 at 6:45:49 pm

So it sounds like what you really want is some audio peak type meter and a multi channel (more than 2) recorder. Leave the mixing in post.


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