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Zaxcom TX recording directly micro SDHC vs transmitting over wireless sound quality

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Sam Lee
Zaxcom TX recording directly micro SDHC vs transmitting over wireless sound quality
on Jun 18, 2015 at 7:12:52 pm
Last Edited By Sam Lee on Jun 19, 2015 at 1:44:18 am

I'm looking into getting Zaxcom wireless products because they offer direct ISO recording w/ TC. [ Coming from the Sennheiser G3 evolution prosumer grade, this is a huge leap. The G3 is OK for close range. But when it's far away from the RX and higher quality sound desired, it's just not able to deliver, especially urban outdoor locations.] Somehow I feel recording directly to the micro SDHC media offers the best quality over wireless signal when using the Sanken CS-11D? Is there any discernible quality increase if I add another layer in post by syncing up via SMPTE TC vs receiving the signal to the camera (2/3" 24-bit and SD 688 multi track recorder)?


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Michael Martin
Re: Zaxcom TX recording directly micro SDHC vs transmitting over wireless sound quality
on Jun 19, 2015 at 12:45:32 am

If you want absolutely perfect signal digital is the best way to go. I run an all Zaxcom kit from the TX to the RX and AES into my Nomad recorder, in a single analog gain stage. A time code stamped recording from a Zaxcom recording transmitter is the next best thing with 24/48 quality recording in one gain stage.

-Michael Martin
Martin Media Company LLC
Location Sound/Audio Post Production/Sound Design


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Ty Ford
Re: Zaxcom TX recording directly micro SDHC vs transmitting over wireless sound quality
on Jun 19, 2015 at 1:54:49 am

Hey Michael & Sam, Welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

I think Glen uses a compression algorithm on the audio - about a 2:1 ratio, right?

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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Michael Martin
Re: Zaxcom TX recording directly micro SDHC vs transmitting over wireless sound quality
on Jun 19, 2015 at 3:18:13 am

My understanding is that any compression or happens before the A/D conversion. Glen still claims "Neverclip" in the TX but It's not exactly the same as on the full blown machines like the Nomad and Maxx, it will always compress the very last -3dBFS to work it's magic. It is however more seemless than any other type of TX when dealing with overload or clipping. To quote Richard Miller "Neverclip in the transmitter gives you headroom for the compressor to work with to keep your audio below 0dBfs for transmission, rather than transmitting audio that has digital clipping."

-Michael Martin
Martin Media Company LLC
Location Sound/Audio Post Production/Sound Design


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Sam Lee
Re: Zaxcom TX recording directly micro SDHC vs transmitting over wireless sound quality
on Jun 19, 2015 at 2:45:19 am
Last Edited By Sam Lee on Jun 19, 2015 at 3:33:02 am

I'm in the planning stage of upgrading my current 2-track Sound Devices 702T to at least 8-12 tracks. It's an affordable TC recorder but limited to only 2 tracks. SD's new 688 is pretty attractive but so is the Nomad 12. They're roughly similar in prices. The biggest selling point for Zaxcom TX is their ability to record to SDHC. I frequently do many EFP shoots in remote area where extended range and 100% error free RF signal are needed. Originally planned to use the cheap Zoom but no TC and too big to mount as a lab mic. Zaxcom TX looks like an attractive solution to add more ISO tracks with the SDHC recording. But in the long term, the AES digital recording is more efficient to save time in post syncing.

Originally I bought the SD 702T because of their famed pre-amp to handle the Schoeps CMIT5U & CMC641. Are Zaxcom Nomad recorders' pre-amps up to or better than SD 7xxx series?


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Ty Ford
Re: Zaxcom TX recording directly micro SDHC vs transmitting over wireless sound quality
on Jun 19, 2015 at 3:39:32 am

Sam,

If your decision to go SD or Zax hinges on preamps, I don't think it makes any difference. If you like the idea of Zaxnet, then go that way. SD doesn't have that.

If you don't plan to build out your kit that far, then it doesn't matter.

You seem to be interested in big differences that would tax your g2/G3. How far do you need to go?
For distance, the older Audio Ltd. 2040 I have used had incredible range and I've never heard better audio and they are analog. Digital can be better, but good analog is better than not so good digital.

I'm not saying either SD or Zax are not good, just making a theoretical point.

At the end of the day, I think you'll probably get the zaxcom. I know pros who are very happy with theirs.

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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Michael Martin
Re: Zaxcom TX recording directly micro SDHC vs transmitting over wireless sound quality
on Jun 19, 2015 at 4:28:57 am

"But in the long term, the AES digital recording is more efficient to save time in post syncing. "
Aside from being a digital signal I wouldn't say AES is more efficient for post sync, AES doesn't transmit timecode in any production equipment that I know of. Zaxcom devices use Zaxnet to transmit Timecode to TRX transmitters and ERX receivers making life easy for post and I think maybe this is what you are referring to.

"I don't know of any 2/3" cams that have AES input."
Sony F5 and F55 off the top of my head use AES.

"Is it possible to simultaneously send the AES with a separate RX to the Nomad 12 and a QRX-200 mounted on the cam?"
It's sort of incorrect to refer to the signal as AES, a Zaxcom transmitter sends a digital signal to it's receiver but AES is only the interface and protocol when interconnecting devices. Yes, one can send a signal to multiple devices at once, it's as simple as dialing in frequencies.

"Would you say the Nomad 12 and the SD 688 both have similar core features ?"
They are very different machines designed to do similar work. I own Zaxcom so I'm biased but the flexibility of routing, 8 digital inputs and 4 outputs, Neverclip on the analog mic pres and Zaxnet make the Nomad a no-brainer. I work on reality productions where we have to run over 12 recording transmitters working at once and use ERX IFB receivers for camera timecode and scratch audio. The ERX can store multiple frequencies so I can walk to the camera op, dial in my transmit freq and the transmitters around me now I'm rocking a mono mix to camera. Both machines have auto-mix and I know compared to the 788 the Nomad has better control, I'm not sure about the 668.

"Are Zaxcom Nomad recorders' pre-amps up to or better than SD 7xxx series?"
The 788 preamps are really good but the Nomad's pres to my ears are equally as good sounding but have the benefit of Neverclip which can handle much higher SPL. Even the Zaxcom transmitters can handle extremely high SPL's, I've recorded race cars with a TX and an SM58 in the trunk getting no distortion.

Ultimately it's up to you to try each machine and see what works for you.

-Michael Martin
Martin Media Company LLC
Location Sound/Audio Post Production/Sound Design


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Sam Lee
Re: Zaxcom TX recording directly micro SDHC vs transmitting over wireless sound quality
on Jun 19, 2015 at 3:57:20 pm
Last Edited By Sam Lee on Jun 19, 2015 at 3:58:15 pm

Got your responses. With limited funding, I can only start out with 2 Zaxcom products: TRXLA2 and IFB200 and/or the ERX2TCD

I definitely need a huge upgrade from the prosumer Sennheiser G3 evolution. It has been great but the audio quality to my ear is just flat. No depth or nuances. Straight to 2/3" camera with analog XLR is OK but not exceptional. With about $3K in additional spending, I hope audio will improve.

I have three 2/3" cams. The A cam will always be the master TC clock. It'll take the TC out (via BNC) of the 2/3" A cam and feed it to the IFB200's BNC TC in. There it will take that TC and send it to the TRXLA2. There are times where audio recording will not be needed from the TRXLA2 and/or it will be shut off due to the talent going out of range or not utilized. That's why I can't use the TRXLA2 as a master clock to the camera. With the B & C cams, I can use the much cheaper ERX2TCD and with its somewhat fragile 1/8" TRS output to ch1: scratch audio, ch2: TC in. In many ways I'm using the as a substitute for Time Code Buddy where I'm getting TC from other cams. But the added benefit is getting scratch audio for confident monitoring. But will not use it as the final mix.

When budget is available, I'll buy the Nomad 12 along with the QRX235 to be used in a sound bag setup. But when not in a sound bag setup, will use the TRXLA2 as a transmitter and recorder. What I'm confused is there's a cheaper product, which is the ZFR300. It appears that this is designed more like a ISO recorder to micro SD media vs the TRXLA2 where I can use both as a ISO recorder to micro SD media and transmit full fidelity audio at the same time for recording on the Nomad. Can the IFB200 or ERD2TCD gets full fidelity wireless audio, TC & IFB from the ZFR300 for scratch audio/confident monitoring purpose?

The long-term intention of my workflow is able to be flexible and easily integrate into a stand-alone cam mounted setup (no sound person) or a sound bag setup with a dedicated sound person. I'm getting the feeling that the ZFR300 will not be able to do that but not certain yet.


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Ty Ford
Re: Zaxcom TX recording directly micro SDHC vs transmitting over wireless sound quality
on Jun 19, 2015 at 4:19:16 pm

The long-term intention of my workflow is able to be flexible and easily integrate into a stand-alone cam mounted setup (no sound person) or a sound bag setup with a dedicated sound person. I'm getting the feeling that the ZFR300 will not be able to do that but not certain yet.'

Why not call Zaxcom in NJ?

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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