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Setting up a field mixer, camera + recorder

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Sean Nolan
Setting up a field mixer, camera + recorder
on Jul 11, 2011 at 5:56:27 pm

Hey everyone,
I've been reading this forum for a while, and love the expert knowledge on here. I'm currently building an audio kit, and I'm looking for some help on how to ensure everything is set correctly. Let me start out with my gear list:
  • Canon XH-A1S camera
  • Sound Devices 302 mixer
  • Fostex FR-2LE recorder
  • Breakaway cable with monitor output
  • TA3 -> XLR cable
  • Sennheiser ew100 G3 wireless with Tram TR-50 lavs
  • Sanken CS-3E shotgun

Now, in terms of setup, here's what I've done so far:
  • Connected 302 to XH-A1S with breakaway cable
  • Connected headphones to 302 to monitor 302 and camera return
  • Connected 302 to Fostex FR-2LE via TA3 -> XLR cable
  • Connected mics to 302
  • Sent a line level tone to the camera + recorder, and set their levels at -20dB

So far so good, I think. Here's where I'm looking for some advice. First off, I'm not sure where I should be setting the sensitivity and AF out on my G3 wireless. I've read -20dB is a good starting point, with -30 for louder voices, -10 for softer, but I'd like to hear your take on this. As for AF out, I've got this set at 0dB, but am unsure if this is ideal.

Once those are set, I'm wondering where I should be setting the gain for each mic on the 302. Is there a certain range I should try and keep the levels within?

And finally, do you have any recommendations for how I can monitor the Fostex recorder as well as the camera (ideally, switching back and forth). The breakaway cable only has 1 cable for a monitor return, which I'll use on the camera, but I want to monitor Fostex as well, without needing extra headphones.

Thanks everyone, I'm looking forward to your responses. If there's any other info I can provide, just let me know.


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Eric Toline
Re: Setting up a field mixer, camera + recorder
on Jul 11, 2011 at 6:56:47 pm

You're going into the 302 at mic level so set the receiver output to -20 not "0". "0" level into a mic input will cause major distortion issues. If you keep the levels on your 302 between "0" and +10 the camera & the Fostex will show -20 to -10.

From what you've described above, you're feeding the Fostex at mic level. I would suggest you feed the Fostex at line level rather than mic level as the mic pre's on the Fostex are ok they dont match the 302's mic pre's. You'll need to have the feed cable from the 302 terminate in a 1/4" unbalanced configureation for line level input to the Fostex. If you're not sure how to make an unbalanced connection let me know and I'll walk you through it.


To monitor both sources, unless there's a "B" camera return on the 302 you're going to have to unplug from the 302 and plug into the Fr2LE. Note that the HP amp on the Fostex is ok but not great.


Eric

audioetc@bellsouth.net


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Ty Ford
Re: Setting up a field mixer, camera + recorder
on Jul 12, 2011 at 1:14:02 pm

Hello Sean and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Pointing up Eric's spot on advice...

"You're going into the 302 at mic level so set the receiver output to -20 not "0". "0" level into a mic input will cause major distortion issues. If you keep the levels on your 302 between "0" and +10 the camera & the Fostex will show -20 to -10. "

This works if you have done the usual calibration between mixer and camera. Send tone from the 302. It's metering will show 0dB. Set the camera audio meters to -20dB. Make sure both 302 and camera are set to either line or to mic (preferably line).

You'll have to MacGyver some sort of switch box to hear the two returns or make it someone else's job to listen to one while you listen to the other.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Forum Leader

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


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Sean Nolan
Re: Setting up a field mixer, camera + recorder
on Jul 13, 2011 at 1:38:46 am

Eric and Ty, thank you very much for your advice. I'll setup as you mentioned, and let you know how it works out.

In terms of sensitivity on the G3 bodypack, do you have any recommendations where to set it?

Cheers!


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Eric Toline
Re: Setting up a field mixer, camera + recorder
on Jul 13, 2011 at 3:33:20 am

I set my tx/rx at -20 and do any gain adjusting on the mixer. 20/20 is a good place to start.


Eric


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Ramzy Haddad
Re: Setting up a field mixer, camera + recorder
on Aug 25, 2013 at 2:05:40 pm

A really great thread, super helpful. I know I'm about a couple of years too late but I have a question.

I'm planning to have a similar set up to Sean but instead of a Fostex, I'd like to record a copy of the audio on a Roland R26. It seems there aren't many TA3 to 1/4 cables out there to connect the mixer into the R26 at line level. Am I looking in the wrong places?

What would you suggest is the best option from the below, or do you have another suggestions?

- Connect SD 302 to R26 using a TA3 to 1/8 into Mic Mini jack?
- Connect SD 302 to R26 using a TA3 to 1/8 into 1/4 Line input (via 1/8 to 1/4 adaptor)?
- Connect SD 302 to R26 using a TA3 to XLR cable?

Would I need to attenuate the output of the mixer in order for it to record properly on the R26? And would attenuating it also affect the level of the signal going into the camera? Or are the XLR and TA3 output levels controlled separately?

Thanks!!!


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