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Re: Setting up a wireless microphone system into a sound mixer

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Richard Crowley
Re: Setting up a wireless microphone system into a sound mixer
on Nov 7, 2017 at 1:16:55 am

Can I connect my XLR wireless receiver output to a venue sound system?
Assuming that the venue has a standard XLR microphone input, then yes, you can connect the output from your receiver into the venue system just as you would plug it into your camera.

How do I connect the output from the venue sound system to my camera?
That is not quite so straightforward as your first question. Because most modern sound systems use standard XLR microphone inputs exactly like your camera. However, there is no standard across ALL venue systems for extra outputs for visiting videographers.

Many venue systems have no extra outputs at all. Many older, more traditional places like older hotel banquet rooms or meeting rooms or ballrooms have only built-in systems with no extra outputs. Although higher-end systems may have something like a "Press Feed" which would be a mic-level or line-level output available to visitors (like you).

If the event is using a portable system, it likely has some sort of mixer which will very possibly have outputs that could be tapped into for sending to your camera. But depending on the gear they are using, and the configuration (how many outputs they have already occupied, etc.) you never really know what audio level or what kind of connector you must interface with.

Many event videographers have an audio interconnect kit. Mine is based on a very modestly priced isolation transformer, the Rolls DB25 "Matchbox" direct-box. That little box is an excellent multi-purpose tool for not only adapting various connectors, but also adapting various levels (from mic-level to line-level to speaker-level) and converting it into balanced mic-level to send to your camera mic input (just as you do with your wireless receiver).

Not only that, but an iso-transformer like that also performs the very critical function of isolating your camera from the venue system to prevent ground loops and hum. An isolation transformer protects both you AND the venue system from ground-loop-caused hum and other kinds of interference and noise. The output from the Rolls DB25 is a male XLR connector with a microphone-level signal that should plug right into your camera (through an ordinary XLR mic cable).

The Rolls DB25 "Matchbox" also features a built-in "volume control" that allows you to adjust for a wide variety of audio signal levels coming from the venue system. So that you can optimize the signal going to your camera.

Along with the "Matchbox" you will need a few interconnect cables for various sources like XLR (typically male XLR for an output, so you need a cable with a female XLR), or 1/4 inch TS or TRS "phone plug", and maybe also RCA and 3.5mm (like for headphones or earbuds) also.

However, that scenario requires a "hard wire" between the venue sound mixer and your camera. In some cases, you are close enough to the venue mixer, or can safely run mic cable between the venue system and your camera.

It sounds like they are recommending that you use a SECOND wireless "hop" between the output of the venue sound system and your camera. You can get cables for the transmitter that allow it to be plugged into one of the outputs from the venue sound system (much as described above).

Do you have two wireless systems? If not, you will need to either use an XLR mic cable, or rent (or buy?) another wireless system.

In any case, it is very advantageous to contact the operator of the venue sound system (whether in-house or outside contractor) to arrange for a house-mix feed for your camera. You can work out details like what kind of feed they have, what kind of connector, what signal level (mic-level or line-level).

Sorry for writing such a long epistle, but always good to be well-prepared and equipped.

Recording audio without metering and monitoring is exactly like framing and focusing without looking at the viewfinder.

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