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Nikos Papadopoulos
Sound recorder
on May 18, 2013 at 7:16:51 pm

Hello everyone,

I made a feature documentary last year mostly with a rode video mic on a canon 5d and the sennheiser 416 on a dvx100a for sound.

Of course the sound on the 5d was horrible. The sound on the dvx100a +416 was very very good.
Which was very surprising to me so much as to think that I could actually use the dvx100 for recorder. If it did't use tapes and was digital I would probably do that.

So, nowadays I don't use the dvx100a anymore. Hell, who shoots dv anymore? So i am stuck with the 5d for now until I replace it with another affordable HD, perhaps mark iii, if the magic lantern + Raw wll work or even Blackmagic production camera. We'll see.

To the above setup I am looking to add a sound recorder that will be decent enough for years to come. At first I was looking at the Tascam dr-60d. I almost bought it since I am shooting on DSLR. Then i figured out that all this DSLR-targeted promotion makes no sense (to me). I would *never* attach the dr-60d to the bottom of the dslr and go on shooting. I'd need a rig. But I can put ANY small sized portable recorder on a rig. Or i'd hang it on my neck (for one man stuff) or give it to the recordist/booman for bigger projects.

With that in mind plus the fact that I don't like the digital knobs instead of potentiometers, plus the fact that from the reviews so far I haven't read anyone been overly enthusiastic, I thought I would get something tried, proved and with a different form factor. This design realy makes no other sense than sticking the camera on legs without moving it.

So for my budget I am torn between one of these:

a) Marantz pmd661 mkii (i need to put my hand very very deep for that one but I am willing to do it if it is really worth the extra money)
b)Roland R26 (read great things about it)
c)Tascam dr-60d (only if i get convinced that it's worth getting it)
d) any other NOT more expensive than Marantz.

For the moment I am using Rode video mic which i find decent but thinking of the purchasing later the ntg2 or 3 or 416. So for now, perhaps it doesn't make a difference to have the videomic on marantz but I am shooting a documentary and a feature film in the fall so I need to get something that can perhaps expand.
I've read great reviews that one could put a mix pre from sound devices and get great results.

I am trying to build up gear for independent short and feature films, fiction and documentary as I put the numbers now it makes no sense to hire equipment where I live, in Norway.

Many thanks for your time and help.


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Eric Toline
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 12:43:28 am

I don't know much about the Rode video mic but I'm sure it will do the job it was designed for. I've gotten vey nice acceptable sound from a 5d. It's all a matter of setting the levels on the 5d. The 5d preamps are not the best so if you keep the 5d peaks at about -12 on the meters you should be fine.


Eric

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


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Ty Ford
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 3:44:43 am

Hello Nikos and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

I'm told the 5D Mk iii audio is noticeably better than the Mk ii, but I have not made a test yet.

The NTG-3 is worth the extra money for a shotgun. You'll also benefit from a non-interference tube boom mic like a Audio Technica AT4053b or Audix SCX-1HC.

Your audio will not improve much until you start using a boom mic and getting closer to your talent. A camera mounted mic, no matter how good, just won't do it.

Unlike cameras, audio gear lasts a long time. If you're doing professional work you can't afford to buy cheap.

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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Nikos Papadopoulos
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 8:26:48 am

Thank you both.

I am planning to use boom for the fiction work but mounted mic on camera for static interviews.
Actually the main reason i am considering a better recorder than, say, a preamp to go straight to camera is for the fiction work. Boom is a necessity for sure. Also because I want to have room to expand.

The reason I am a bit confused with all these recorder options is that as filmmakers we do not have the expertise that you audio guys have. And trying to find a decent budget solution makes things even harder. It is a bit embarrassing that in the last 5(?) years many independent people bought into the H4n hype. And I mean some professional sound guys too. From what I understand the pre amp quality on H4n leaves a lot to be desired.

So, in any case an external recorder is a must even if a will get a mark3 or a BM production camera or whatever in the future. I also believe that audio equipment are not so easy disposable as all these image capture devices we get. And that is why I am looking for the best possible quality for my budget.

I'll have to look into the non-interference tube boom mics , I don't know much about these but I am definetely thinking about ntg3 as I 've read great things.


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Ty Ford
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 1:14:34 pm

Hello Nikos,

This may help you with understanding about mics:





You can use a locked down boom or lav for a static interview. It will greatly improve the quality of your sound.

Here's how to rig the boom. https://www.dropbox.com/s/2gl46vmss7gpx9x/Ty%27s%20Boom.mov

You have to download this video to see it. DropBox will play the audio, but not the video.

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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Nikos Papadopoulos
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 2:12:42 pm

Thanks Ty !!

Quite a difference between the 416 and the hypercardioid .. And I believed I could get away with just an NTG3 !! I think i will seriously look into the possibility of getting a system mic with 2-3 different polar patterns. Perhaps sennheiser ME/K6.

What about the recorders. Which one from the ones I mentioned would you choose?

Many thanks again.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 2:31:14 pm

I like the look of the Tascam DR-100mkII.

Chris


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Ty Ford
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 2:33:51 pm

You will be disappointed by the mE/K6. That's for student films. The NTG3 is much better than that.

The AKG BLue Line may be an option, if they are still around.

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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Nikos Papadopoulos
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 2:41:14 pm

I had the impression that it's not a good idea to use a shotgun and that it's better to have a less directional mic for indoors.


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Ty Ford
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 2:55:10 pm

Nikos,

It is not a good idea to use a shotgun indoors or out of doors in any highly reflective environment.

Did my video not make that clear?

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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Nikos Papadopoulos
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 3:01:05 pm

Ty, yes it was perfectly clear.
That is why i started thinking to go modular... up to now I thought that a shotgun could be used all around.

On the other hand if no modular system can give a decent broadcasting quality, I guess I'll have to get the ntg3 after all plus the Audix SCX1/HC for indoors.


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Ty Ford
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 3:10:19 pm

Nikos,

I think you'd do well with those.

Here's my review of the NTG-3.

http://tyfordaudiovideo.blogspot.com/2012/04/rode-ntg-3-shotgun-mic-ready-f...

I have heard the SCX-1HC, but have not reviewed it. I'd say it's fair to say that it's 70% of a Schoeps CMC641.

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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Al Bergstein
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 5:17:17 pm

Nikos. A couple of things. You didn't specify if you are using the 5D mkii or mkiii. The Mkiii has much better sound in capability, and in some cases, I don't use an external recorder with it at all!

I also own a Marantz PMD 661 (not the 660 which doesn't have a good line in option that I'm aware of). I love the 661 and highly recommend it. I have used a variety of recorders in the last few years, including the Zoom H4N and a couple of Tascam models, which are very nice. But the Marantz packs a lot of features into a simple to use package. Ergonomics are excellent and it has a real line in.

I was not that impressed with the new Tascam D60, though my battery life tests were not replicated by others so it may have been a defective unit. But I agree that you won't be putting the D60 under a camcorder. A recent post said and some techs agreed that the pots on the D60 will not turn the sound off entirely to a channel. That is not a useful situation.

I also own a Rode Videomic, and only use it when desparate. I also make sure I have a fully charged battery in it. The noise levels I get with it are really terrible, compared to most other shotguns I use. There is apparently a new shorter shotgun being made by Sennheiser, and I would check that out.

Good luck!

Al


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Nikos Papadopoulos
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 8:06:41 pm

Hi Al, I think I mentioned that mark 3 would be an upgrade for me. In any case there are many reasons why I'd need a double system.

I did shoot a feature doc with the Rode video mic and it sounded horrible. Unfortunately the rode video mic was hyped and virally advertised by the same guy who advertised H4n as must have tools for independent filmmakers...

This is why I am being extra careful where I am going to put my money in. I was really heading towards the Tascam dr-60d but after a lot of thought, the form factor looks very problematic for me. It really does not look like I can rig it comfortably for my one man stuff. I do like many of its features though.

So, I am torn between the Roland R26 and the Marantz PMD61. After a long search it seems to me that the only edge that Marantz has over the Roland is the slightly better preamps. Other than that it is:

heavier
more cumbersome menu /operating system (from what I read)
less tracks to record to (i only need 2 for now but you never know)
more expensive than R26

On top of that, it is very difficult to find reviews for the 661 whereas the R26 users are happily all over the place.

It seems that I have to understand how much better the 661 preamps are over the R26 and if this slight (or not so slight) benefit is worth the extra money...

Actually for some reason I am trying to convince myself to spend the extra money and buy the 661 !! solely because of the somehow better preamps. But I fail to convince me :))


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Al Bergstein
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 8:13:46 pm

I've not used the Roland nor know anyone that has. I still keep trying to find the elusive job where I need more than two mics in. I have added a field mixer that will at least allow me to mix down from 4 to 2 in a pinch.

Al


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Ty Ford
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 8:44:59 pm

Al,

Which mixer?

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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Nikos Papadopoulos
Re: Sound recorder
on May 21, 2013 at 11:00:00 am

Al, I noticed that the 661 also has the dual mono mode which is important for me. Could you help me with this:

If i use this dual mono mode, recording let's say on the left channel, the 661 will automatically record a -20db copy on the right channel, yes?

What happens if I turn the potentiometer(s) to lower the volume? I understand that unless one holds separately the right and left channels, the potentiometers for L & R are locked together, so moving the outer potentiometer knob changes the input for the both channels at once.

So do changes on the Right potentiometer (in this example) bypass the -20db level ? Or the potentiometer is irrelevant to the -20db padded channel?

I can't figure out how this works.

thanks


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Al Bergstein
Re: Sound recorder
on May 21, 2013 at 3:24:23 pm

[Nikos Papadopoulos] "If i use this dual mono mode, recording let's say on the left channel, the 661 will automatically record a -20db copy on the right channel, yes?

What happens if I turn the potentiometer(s) to lower the volume? I understand that unless one holds separately the right and left channels, the potentiometers for L & R are locked together, so moving the outer potentiometer knob changes the input for the both channels at once.

So do changes on the Right potentiometer (in this example) bypass the -20db level ? Or the potentiometer is irrelevant to the -20db padded channel?

I can't figure out how this works."


Nikos, their are two pots, one for each channel. If I am in dual mono mode, and turn the pot. for the right channel to zero, the channel is muted entirely. So I *could* ride the channel if needed, but frankly -20dB is pretty low on the waveform as it is. But yes, normally the right channel will be set -20db lower than whatever you are doing with the left if you set the controls to match.

Al


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Craig Alan
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 5:19:11 pm

Hi Ty,

Audio Technica AT4053b vs NTG-3?

I like our ATs a lot. Dialog always seems up close and personal. Does pick up b.g. noise because they are very sensitive but voice being recorded does dominate.

We use the ATs with a 302 mixer.

I also like the small form factor of the mic. Inexperienced boom operators seem to have an easier time with it.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Nikos Papadopoulos
Re: Sound recorder
on May 19, 2013 at 9:35:11 pm

I know there is a dual mono setting in the 661 and trying to find out if it can be done in the R26. Does anyone know?
Or at least a way to split the mono signal to left and right in order to do that manually?


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Malcolm Matusky
Re: Sound recorder
on May 20, 2013 at 11:31:11 pm

I shoot with a 7D & 60D, same issue as to what recorder? I Have a Zoom H1 & H4, they work, but I hate using them in production, wrong form factor and difficult to quickly adjust volume. I used to mount the H1 on a shotgun mic with rubber bands and mount both on camera. The H4 I made a mount out of a flip style flash bracket for the recorder and shotgun. A bit top heavy, but worked, still too tough to adjust while working.

Now I have a Tascam DR-680, large, but I am able to keep it off the camera or rig and sling it over my shoulder or have it in front of me so I can look down and adjust levels as needed. I can run a shotgun on camera and a couple of radio mics all at once, nice unit. I primarily shoot alone and this does work, If I did not already own the DR-680 the DR 60D looks great. You do not have to mount it on the camera or rig, keep it slung over your shoulder and look down to adjust the levels. Only 2 tracks, but it has 2 knobs to adjust volume, the DR-680 only has one, but is reasonably quick to switch between tracks. One huge feature of the DR 60D is that you can "split tracks" and record one lower than the other in case of a transient loud sound, nice feature.

I also have a Rode VM Pro, and a small pre-amp to feed sound to my 60D (camera) when I need a very small rig, quite light weight, and with the Magic lantern, I have audio meters in the viewfinder and am able to adjust volume using the camera's rocker switch. A bit crude but it works, also there is a way of monitoring with headphones if you rig the Canon 60D AV cable with an audio jack.

Working alone is tough, but if you use multiple mic's and recorders, it's possible to do a good job, most of the time. There is no real substitute for a competent soundman.

Malcolm
http://www.malcolmproductions.com


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Al Bergstein
Re: Sound recorder
on May 21, 2013 at 3:27:45 pm

The other option for the Marantz Malcom, is that it has a tripod mount on the bottom. I can actually mount it on an arm off the tripod, and have it at my fingertips. Or I can mount it on mount from the top of the camera if needed. It's light enough to work that way.

Al


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Brent Dunn
Re: Sound recorder
on May 21, 2013 at 7:59:53 pm

Roland R-44 is great too.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro
with Final Cut Studio Adobe CS6 Production






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