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Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice

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Aidan Clayton
Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 5, 2010 at 2:27:59 pm

Hi, I have just joined the forum so hello to all and please be patient if I ask dopey questions.Thanks.
I have a Sony HXR NX5E camera and have been up until now recording sound directly into the camera from my Rode NTG3 Mic either camera mounted or on a pole. My question is this- should I be looking to use something like a Sound Devices Mix Pre in between or continue with my current set up? I am embarking on a Documentary which will be predominantly a one man band operation. I'm a Photographer by trade so tend to concentrate on composition of image as oppose to sound but realise the importance of sound quality over image quality and want to get it right without complicating things to the point that the product becomes worse due to spreading myself too thin over several jobs.If anyone could advise the best route that would be great. If I use the Mix Pre is all my sound quality now down to the mixer instead of the camera sound card which now just acts as a recorder. If this is the case why would you use a Sound Devices 702 for example with a Mix Pre instead of just a cheap zoom recorder with the Mix Pre?
Sorry for the protracted questions but i'm just trying to get the best quality gear right before I get half way through filming and realise my mistake. I always try to get a real handle on what i'm doing before I do it so I can concentrate on the creative side as much as possible.

Thanks,

Aidan



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Ty Ford
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 5, 2010 at 3:28:36 pm

HEllo Aldan and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

In your situation as a one-person band, I would stick with mic to camera if it's working for you. Your camera would also need line level inputs because the MicPre only has line level outputs.

Having said that, there are good reasons to use a mixer.

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.

As regards the Zoom recorders, I have not heard good things about their drift. So while you may record to them, the files may not sync properly with the scratch track on your camera.

The SD 702 is another matter. It's a very solid machine.

Regards,

Ty Ford



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Aidan Clayton
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 5, 2010 at 3:46:13 pm

Hi, thanks for your reply it was really helpful. If I used a 702 for example would I still have a need for the Mix Pre? I'm thinking of a happy medium and wondering if the Mix Pre going into my camera might well be enough for me. My camera has line level in also.

Regards

Aidan


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Ty Ford
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 5, 2010 at 4:16:41 pm

Aldan,

If you like the audio quality of your camera, and it takes line level, a Mix-Pre will do the trick.

The 702 will probably sound better, but if you've been doing OK, adding a good mixer with a limiter will allow you record hotter levels if you use the mixer's limiter.

Regards,

Ty

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Aidan Clayton
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 5, 2010 at 4:40:39 pm

Thanks, that seems to be the way to go. If i later get hold of a 702 or 702T would the Mix Pre still be of use to me with these recorders?
Regards.


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Ty Ford
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 5, 2010 at 5:07:30 pm

yes.

Ty

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Aidan Clayton
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 5, 2010 at 5:11:37 pm

Thanks for your help Ty, I'll give it a go with the Mix Pre and see how I go from there.

Regards

Aidan


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Richard Crowley
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 6, 2010 at 1:27:35 am

Are you trying to fix a particular problem or improve some specific aspect of your recorded tracks? Or is this just "free-floating anxiety"? (nothing personal :-)

An external mixer is not necessarily some sort of "magic bullet". Furthermore, it is one more piece of gear to haul around, power, and OPERATE. Something to consider if you are doing run-n-gun news or documentary style production. No question that a mixer will make some improvements in performance and/or operations, but whatever benefits come with some offsetting cost (well beyond the $$$).

I don't know if it is the case with you (since we don't know you), but many people come along looking for whizzy expensive gear thinking that it will improve their video or audio, etc. But some of the most impressive video (and audio) we have experienced (especially historic footage) was made with very modest equipment by today's standards.


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Aidan Clayton
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 6, 2010 at 7:16:40 am

Hi, thanks for your input. I'm sure some of it is a desire for new kit as it's all so lovely & as a photographer I know the decisions that must be made between a real need for kit and should we say kit lust! but really its about me wanting the highest quality simple set up from the get go so I can concentrate on the job not the improvements I might get if I buy this or that. I'll already have the right stuff. I don't have any particular problem other than having to run a headphone extension from the camera so I can monitor audio from where I'm stood with my subject and of course not being able to tweak levels whilst there, saving me from moving to adjust on camera and spoiling continuity. That might even mean a 302 for instance or might very well mean no extra gear in the chain and an adaption to a different way of working. I'm trying to find out what the common way is I suppose.

Regards

Aidan


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Ty Ford
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 6, 2010 at 1:44:44 pm

[Aidan Clayton] "That might even mean a 302 for instance or might very well mean no extra gear in the chain and an adaption to a different way of working. I'm trying to find out what the common way is I suppose.
"


When you answer your question so well, it's no fun for the rest of us. :) Get a good mixer to camera hose when you get the 302. They have 2 XLR runs for the audio and a headphone return. I have found the extension piece that one can usually order has come in very handy. It allows the audio gear to be at a greater distance from the camera. I only use it 15% of the time, but it's a real helper.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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Aidan Clayton
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 6, 2010 at 3:34:45 pm

Hi, would these two items be what was required to set up the 302?

http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/public/view_item_cat.php?catalogue_number=ca...

http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/public/view_item_cat.php?catalogue_number=ca...


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Ty Ford
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 6, 2010 at 4:18:11 pm

Ah, so you're in the UK?

The 302 doesn't have a Hirose multipin connection, so, no.

In addition, the headphone cable looks like it's on the outside of the audio cable. Weird.

I don't know who your vendors are over there, but this is what I have and it works very nicely.
http://www.turneraudio.com/peterenghm3-18standardquickreleasecamerasnake.as...

Ty Ford

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






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Aidan Clayton
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 6, 2010 at 4:29:04 pm

Just checked that out on the link. It looks good and I guess I could order from the US as they don't sell here. There were 3 versions of it on the site and not too sure what the differences are but looks good.


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Ty Ford
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 6, 2010 at 8:07:59 pm

Weird,

I only see one.

Your Price: $275.00

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Aidan Clayton
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 6, 2010 at 9:22:54 pm

Hi, sorry this is the main page with all 3.

http://www.turneraudio.com/cablesandconnectors.aspx


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Ty Ford
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 7, 2010 at 1:04:51 am

and not the page I sent you to.

Again, that page is

http://www.turneraudio.com/peterenghm3-18standardquickreleasecamerasnake.as...

is there more than one cable on this page?

Ty Ford

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






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Aidan Clayton
Re: Effective but simple'ish sound set-up advice
on Apr 7, 2010 at 7:21:56 am

Hi, just wondered what the difference was in the 3 cables labeled as M318 but it's ok. Thanks.


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