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Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!

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Raf Erosa
Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 3:57:25 am

Ok.. I am sick of the Azden 330 ult Dual channel.. We have been using it for 4 mos, and it ruined 1 month of footage we shot over seas! SOund kept dropping out.

What is a GOOD PRICED or used wireless mic set? Anything other than AZDEN! THEY SUCK! DO NOT BUY!


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Eric Toline
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 2:28:49 pm

Not dual channel but won't empty your wallet either is the Sennheiser G3 wireless. About $600 a set, frequency agile and a proven performer.

Eric

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


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Al Bergstein
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 3:13:57 pm

I've been happy with the Audio Technica dual channel. (link at bottom) I know most people prefer the Sennheiser, but I needed a dual channel and it has worked very well for me. There is a 3rd party mounting bracket you can buy for it that attaches it to your camera's hot shoe, and it is fine. You sure your problem wasn't due to battery life issues? I find that I'm more susceptable to drops when I get near the end of a long interview and haven't stopped to monitor my battery life. That's the reason to have a good sound person along on the crew. Someone to pay attention to that detail.

Also, I try to immediately listen to the head and tail of my interviews, if not during the shoot, then that night before sleeping, for just this kind of issue. It is a hard lesson to learn that you can't just shoot for a month without monitoring issues like this. Audio issues are far more likely to happen than video ones, IMHO.

And frankly, it's been my experience that, while perhaps Azden makes some high end products, they are perfectly happy building low end stuff that breaks easily. I for one, would never buy another product of theirs. My first mic was a small low end product from them, and the case broke almost at once. Field gear needs to be rugged. That's why the dynamic mics from Electrovoice have been in use for what seems like my whole life (and I'm no spring chicken!). They work, and they are almost indestructable. I carry one with me in my sound bag, and I can't tell you how well it works when you have to do a quick off the cuff interview, and you just don't have the time to set up the lavs. I often just grab a 20' xlr cable, plug it in and hand it to the 'talent'. I say to them, "just keep it four fingers away from the lips of whoever is talking" usually anyone can do that. If I had the option of going on the road for a month of shoots, I'd pack one for backup.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/460224-REG/Audio_Technica_ATW_1821D_A...

Al


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Raf Erosa
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 3:59:33 pm

The Audio Tech mics, what issues have you had with them? Be honest.
Frequency interference? Sound cutting out? Can they be placed under clothing and still function? Tell me the real deal. What are the CONS?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 4:07:09 pm

Lower-cost equipment tends to be mechanically less rugged. So you could expect cables to break, connectors to fail, etc. more quickly/often. But these can be repaired if you have the resources.

The receivers in cheaper equipment also tend to be less sensitive and less selective. So they would be more prone to interference. Unless you are out in the jungle or desert in the 3rd world, you can't just assume that you can turn on your wireless kit and use it without checking for interference from others.

The audio quality in lower-end equipment is also frequently lower, with signal-to-noise, frequency-response, and dynamic-response audible problems.

Note that ALL equipment, whether the cheapest junk or the most expensive stuff on the planet won't work if the antennas are not properly deployed, or if you select a frequency that already has interference, etc. Or if the lav microphone (or cable or connector, etc.) is broken or intermittent. You cannot violate the laws of physics by throwing money at the problem.


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John Fishback
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Nov 7, 2012 at 4:26:45 pm

In line with what Richard said, the G3 has an Easy Setup that will scan the local frequencies for interference and give you choices of the best freqs to use.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz, 8 GB RAM, OS 10.7.4, QT10.1, Kona 3, Dual Cinema 23, ATI Radeon HD 5870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 3 (FCP 7.0.3, Motion 4.0.3, Comp 3.5.3, DVDSP 4.2.2, Color 1.5.3)
FCP-X 10.0.6

Pro Tools HD 10 w SYNC IO & 192 Digital I/O, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec DSP Monitors, Prima CDQ120 ISDN


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Al Bergstein
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 4:15:13 pm

My first one failed after a few weeks. AT was very good at replacing (not fixing) the unit at no charge. The new one works great. However, it does require care in managing battery life in the field. I always take the time to measure my battery charges on all batteries prior to paid shoots. I have found that a battery that falls below certain voltages can fail much quicker that one would think. It seems to almost be exponential. Fresh batteries are a cheap insurance policy. And I always carry a large pack of spares. I have often spent a full day in the field, and sometimes end up replacing the batteries midday, during lunch, if I feel I am going to record for more hours. To be clear, I bring along, in my bag, a professional grade voltage meter, that reads out battery voltage. I use it at almost *every* shoot that runs over a morning setup, or more than an hour of audio recording. I check my lav transmitters, my shotgun battery (usually that's not a problem, so only once a shoot), my reciever,my Marantz PMD661, and if in use, my mixer. that takes about 20 minutes out of my lunch. If I have a grip or PA with me, that's their lunch assignment.

All these issues above are not unique to AT. It could happen with any unit. AT is targeted at a professional audience, like Shure, Sony and Sennheiser. The little mono Sennheiserer transmitters and recievers are in wide use, they work great it's just that they are mono. I wanted one unit to control both my lavs as I usually work with two.

Lastly, to be clear, the reason the pros have chosen the high end gear for field use is that it's built for field use, and proven as such. Low end gear, is consumer and prosumer, and is engineered to target that crowd (as someone who has spent time in manufacturing). Companies like AT and Sennheiser have worldwide repair capability, as they are used in global sports environments etc. in a pinch, a video professional store in Australia, singapore, maybe China, definitely Japan, can service with rapid return, problems. But having some kind of backup along will minimize stress which, if you are touring for a month, you'll have plenty of anyway.

Sorry for your loss of audio. Welcome to the club. We've all been there at some point.

Al


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Al Bergstein
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 4:25:31 pm

Sorry, just to be clear, I'm somewhat confusing your question on mics vs. receivers. The Receiver failed,not the lavs. The lavs have never been a problem. But since you likely will buy lavs that are from the same mfg, not always true, I assumed I was describing all of a piece.

My shotgun mic, an AT, runs on one AA battery. It's never failed me.

I always monitor off the camera, unless I'm using a field mixer. I have the ability with the AT reciever to monitor off that, which is useful for setup prior to attaching to the camera or mixer. Then I usually do a test monitor off the camera, after setting the mixer, then ride the mixer during the shoot, if I can. Or I hand the job to a audio grip or recording pro. Sound is much harder than video, and trying to do both at once is really a learned and practiced skill. You have to know and trust your gear as much as anyone can. It's why Sennheiser and AT, etc. have followings. Cheap gear won't save you when you are 1000 miles or more from a store. And Richard is correct in his thoughts as well.

Al


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Richard Crowley
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 3:56:12 pm

If you hang around any of these online forums which discuss production audio, you will find no love for Azden. Of course, since you provided no sample of your problem audio, or details of how you were using the equipment, we don't know whether it is even Azden's fault or not.

Not intending to beat you up, but I can't think of ANY excuse for NOT monitoring the audio AT ALL TIMES WHILE SHOOTING. Recording audio without metering and monitoring is exactly like framing and focusing without looking at the viewfinder. Why on earth do people think that audio will "take care of itself"? I've never understood that concept.


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Raf Erosa
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 4:08:07 pm

Rich... Take it easy on me bro. Azden does not provide a good system for monitoring audio. You can barely hear anything, and there is no volume control. We shot a month in the jungle. and then we shot some stuff at a small conference. Frequency interruption or poor use was not the issue. The issue was 100% crappy AZDEN.

I am looking a the Sen, and the Audio Tech... I like the dual channel, but I fear that I will be eating the same worm again.


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Richard Crowley
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 4:10:02 pm

Sorry, no excuse. Monitoring has nothing to do with the microphone, wireless or not. You monitor out of the CAMERA. If you have such a cheap camera that it doesn't even have a headphone/audio output, then don't plan on getting decent audio out of it in any case.

Indeed, if your problem is improper use, then even wireless kits that cost more than you car won't help you. Without any useful details, there is no supporting evidence for your claim.


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Raf Erosa
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 5:41:16 pm

Thanks Eric and Al. Your responses have helped me quite a bit.
I purchased the XA10 to travel with me, because I would avoid paying $900 per day shooting fees for certain archaeological sites.(Many countries now charge fees for professional cams.. and the XA10 kinda slides pass them without a problem)

Since the XA10 was so new at the time, no one knew how it performed. SO, I did all the research I could. But everyone were still newbs.

During our test runs my AG/PA kept telling me that it was virtually impossible to monitor sound via the XA10. We could barely hear anything. So then we tried the Azden port.. 100% useless! ( We had to role with what we got. We had no time to swap gear)

As we were shooting, we did playback after each shot...We notice the sound kept cutting out. It was hard to notice it during monitoring. Mon Vol was maxed. and still couldnt hear every well.

Yes, no excuse for monitoring. Done deal. Understood. NO-GO. I get it. But I think Eric and Al answered my questions about a better system to use. If there any blogs from others who use the AT, I would like to hear more cons. I am leaning towards buying 2 Sen's. But that AT Dual Chan is very attractive to me. What is a man to do.. :0


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Ty Ford
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 5:49:20 pm

Hi Raf,

Welcome to the Cow Audio Forum. Richard is correct. Monitor the wireless receiver at the camera headphone output. That's really the only way you know the audio is getting there. If it sounds bad there, you need to do something before it gets there.

I once had a shooter tell me "all the audio guys say my camera sounds like cr*p, don't worry.

Later, he told me he thought my mixer was causing problems. I actually went through the process and assured him it wasn't. Then he did a bit of looking around and was honest enough to tell me his camera was broken.

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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Raf Erosa
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 6:19:03 pm

Hi Ty.

The XA10 does NOT have good headphone monitoring capabilities. Maybe it does inside a studio, but outside with ambient noises, wind, etc.. Nope. The mic mon is not good at all. I didnt know this till after purchase. As a matter of fact. The XA10 was NOT that great of a camera. But that's another forum. ;)


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Ty Ford
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 7:22:22 pm

Raf,

Could you be suffering from Crapitus Headphonitis?

The Sony MDR 7506 headphones are about the most sensitive headphones out there. They are great for other reasons as well. A pair may help you hear what's going on better.

$99 most everywhere.

Regards,

Ty Ford


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


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Bill Davis
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 30, 2012 at 11:16:18 pm

Back when I traveled all around the country teaching Production in seminars - I had a fun little exercise I used to do in class.

I'd pick a volunteer from the crowd hand them a basic camcorder.

Saying... "I need some footage of me teaching for my reel? How about I pay you $500 for some decent general shots of me teaching over the next half hour. Would you do that?"

They'd always agree happily.

Then I'd tell them "Oh, one problem. I've put gaffers tape over both the viewfinder AND the LCD screen on this camera - so you have to shoot the footage totally blind. And the second part of the deal is that if the class doesn't vote that the results are professional enough - you have to pay ME $500. Is that OK?"

Then I'd just turn to the class before the volunteer got too uncomfortable and note: "I bet every one of you would have a problem on a paid gig recording video if you couldn't actually SEE anything about what you're recording - is that fair to say?"

(hold for the nods)

Then,

"By the way, be honest - how many of you shoot without using headphones every single time you're recording audio?"

Some sheepish hands would inevitably go up.

"Those of you honest enough to admit it, think about this... if it would make you extremely uncomfortable to try to shoot video without being able to even SEE the results, how exactly is it you're OK recording audio without being able to HEAR the results. Aren't these basically the same thing?"

It was always fun to see the light go on in so many faces.

It's just a brain disconnect. It's a "video" camera - so the "video" is always the thing to monitor.

The folks who last in our business tend to be the ones who learn the deception of this thinking as early as they can.

FWIW.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Al Yoshi
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 7:00:04 pm

Raf,
I've used that AT system before as well as the Senns, and I've gotta say Sennheiser all the way. The quality of the Sennheisers are just much better, be it build quality or audio. Just my 2ยข


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Al Bergstein
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 7:48:45 pm

Understood on your feelings Yoshi about the two systems. Other than the initial failure, I've not had a problem with my AT. But Senn has a great rep also.

Raf, thx for clarifying on the XA. That did make 'sense' to buy, given the possible pro level restrictions, if you didn't have the initial budget.

It sounds like a field mixer would help, and the Mixpre-D is a great option. It can plug in under the camera, with it's newer mount, the headphone volume control is great, and can output loud to the cans. I use it on my 7D. Then all you have to do is monitor your camera volume meters, to see that you have the mixer right. That can get you in the ballpark,without overdriving. And it's unlikely the people you worry about charging you extra would even see the thing.

The AT receiver has a very strong signal for output to the cans as well, so sometimes I do all level checks there, if I don't bring the field mixer. Again, you can monitor the incamera level controls if the scene is noisy. Last but not least, the signal should be running to a field recorder and the PMD661 along with the Mixpre-d allows me to output to the recorder and use my camera as the backup. Far less hiss on the 661 than any camera I've ever used. Cameras all have terrible pre's it seems

Would I buy it again? Not sure. But it's been ok, and the AT service, for here in the US did not disappoint.

Al


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Raf Erosa
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Nov 1, 2012 at 4:08:01 pm

I have seen numerous types of AT models.. Audio Technica ATW-1813C ... I am a bit squimish to buy new. I really want a dual channel. Can you give me a list of moodel numbers you guys would personally recommend. (Yes I know SENs g3 is an AUTOMATIC 1st place. But is there a dual channel option?) or just get 2 Sens? What should I look out for in the specs when getting a wireless mic system?)

I must say, this has been quite the adventure. None of my ind friends could advise me on this. SO you guys have been a great help. (well, except one)


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Raf Erosa
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 29, 2012 at 8:02:52 pm

Ok.. I am convinced about the Sen's... So what were the cons with the AT brand? Did yours lose signal or anything like that?


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Al Bergstein
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 31, 2012 at 1:57:39 am

Only lost signal when the batteries were low.

Al


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Raf Erosa
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 31, 2012 at 12:57:21 pm

My bars were full. New Batts. Less than 5 minutes into shoot.


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Richard Crowley
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 31, 2012 at 6:07:35 pm

Where did you GET the batteries? I have had bad luck trying to buy batteries on the road, especially in the 3rd world. Even in Johannesburg, South Africa we found it difficult to find "brand-new" AA cells that weren't half-dead already.

Always take a battery tester. I don't have 100% confidence in the battery indicator on the equipment. And I bring batteries from home now. Bulk pack from some fast-turnover place like my big-box membership discount store (Costco).


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Raf Erosa
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 31, 2012 at 9:03:32 pm

Look. I dont know if you work for or are connected with Azden, but you seem to defend them quite a bit. I am not dumb. I figure I fought in 2 wars (Dessert Shield and Dessert storm), and I was an audio engineer for a well-known Nashville artist. So I am getting REALLY PISSED by your cursory attitude. Batteries where Duracells, purchased in America, fully charged. All this crap about where batteries were purchased is a bit asinine. The batteries were fine. Azden was simply CRAP!


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Richard Crowley
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Oct 31, 2012 at 10:30:00 pm

Huh? I've never owned or used any Azden gear, nor would I ever use any. But even the best equipment won't perform properly if not used properly.

I would have though that "an audio engineer for a well-known Nashville artist" would know better than to CONTINUE shooting if they couldn't monitor the audio and/or if the signal were KNOWN to be cutting out during shooting. I still cannot imagine ANY legitimate excuse for that. Sorry if you find that offensive. I believe it says more about you than it says about me.


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Ty Ford
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Nov 1, 2012 at 3:58:44 pm

Richard,

Actually, they made a pretty good stab at a shotgun recently. It's not a 416, but it's one of the first mics I've seen out of Azden that could lay claim to the term "pro."

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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Chris Tompkins
Re: Azden 330 ULT SUCKS! Sound cuts out while recording!
on Nov 2, 2012 at 9:37:45 pm

My Lectrosonic wireless is my first go to.
Then I have a Sennheiser G3.

Look to ebay for affordable Lectrosonic wireless. You won't be disappointed.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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