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Need recommendations for a portable mixer for weddings.

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Ralph Hajik
Need recommendations for a portable mixer for weddings.
on Mar 6, 2006 at 6:34:15 pm

Hello Wedding Videographers,

I'm using a Sennheiser G2 series 100 with 2 transmitters. I'm looking for a portable mixer so I can carry it with me while I shoot with another camcorder. I'll have the one cordless mic on the groom and the other at the podium for the readings. Do you have any suggestion?

Ralph Hajik
Westmont, IL



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Doug Graham
Re: Need recommendations for a portable mixer for weddings.
on Mar 6, 2006 at 10:24:59 pm

My suggstion is, "don't".

Instead of trying to mix audio at the shoot, record ALL the audio sources, and mix them in post.

With two cameras, you have four audio tracks. You could run one wireless to one cam, the other to the second cam. That leave two unused tracks that you can use for an onboard shotgun mic and another wireless.

If you have still more audio sources, use a minidisc recorder or an MP3 recorder to capture their audio.

By not mixing live, you avoid one more stressful thing on the Day.



Regards,
Doug Graham


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Ralph Hajik
Re: Need recommendations for a portable mixer for weddings.
on Mar 7, 2006 at 6:43:51 pm

Hi Doug Graham,

Do you recommend a mini disc recorder which I have or a iRiver 899 that I have to buy for better sound ?

Ralph Hajik
Westmont, IL



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Peter Ralph
Re: Need recommendations for a portable mixer for weddings.
on Mar 9, 2006 at 5:12:36 pm

in my experience irivers lose sync. MDs work ok but the consumer ones are really fiddly and awkward to set up and use. I use a Shure FP32a mixer which works great - but as Doug says keeping channels separate is normally a better route for events. I do like meters - my favorite setup is an Maudio mobile Pre into a laptop. Both the Shure and the M-audio provide phantom power.


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Doug Graham
Re: Need recommendations for a portable mixer for weddings.
on Mar 13, 2006 at 5:31:58 pm

The MD actually has better audio quality. As long as your unit has a microphone input, you're good to go.

The iRivers are nice because they are cheap, small, and have no moving parts. The audio is acceptable, but not as good as a minidisc. The only drawback to the MD is that you'll have to feed the audio into the computer as an analog signal and re-digitize to a .WAV file.

Regards,
Doug Graham


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Erik Mitchell
Re: Need recommendations for a portable mixer for weddings.
on Mar 9, 2006 at 7:08:16 pm

I am looking for the same solution, and i think i have found one. The Fostex MR-8HD - 8-Track Desktop Digital Workstation Recorder with 40GB Internal Hard Drive is what i think i will be getting. It records 4 tracks simultaneously, so you can get the audio you need.
here it is on b and h.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&...

if anyone has any input on this mixer, recorder, i too would love to hear it; since i am pretty sure i will be buying it in a few weeks.




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JGilchrist
Re: Need recommendations for a portable mixer for weddings.
on Mar 12, 2006 at 7:37:40 pm

I bought one of these mixers last week and have played with it a bit. My first impressions are that it is way overkill for what I want to do (record secondary audio at events). However, it is about the cheapest way to record when you take media costs and such into account. It can record 4 mics at once, it can mix, it can monitor, it does an amazing variety of things. It has a 40G drive that looks like will record around 128 track-hours of uncompressed 16/44.1 cd-quality audio (that means if you are recording 4 tracks, you get around 32 hours). Overall, it is a nifty device that will replace my old Behringer mixer.

However, it does have some drawbacks.

1. While the hard drive will hold 128 track-hours of audio, it seems to be limited to recording 99 minutes 59 seconds in any given session ("song" in the lingo of the device). After that, it croaks and the recording stops. It has two time base systems, time and beats. I haven't played with the "beats" method to see if it records longer or not. This time limit is a problem for me because I would like to be able to record for 2 hours unattended, and this only gives me 100 minutes.

2. I've heard reports of hard drive noise. Mine doesn't seem to have significant noise (I've heard of a high-pitched whine). That said, the device is not silent. The sound it makes would not likely be noticeable in a normal shoot, but it does make some noise. You probably wouldn't notice it during a wedding, but you wouldn't want your mic right next to it.

3. I wouldn't call it portable. It's not huge, but it's bigger than my laptop and requires AC power.

4. It has a learning curve that might intimidate some.

Note that these shouldn't be deal-breakers for many people. My time usage is not what the device was designed for. I want to record 2 hours of an event, the device was designed for the budding musician who wants to record a song. I couldn't care less about bouncing tracks and guitar distortion and many of the other features. The noise issue would likely not affect event video as it would be masked by room noise in all but the quietest situations. For example, it's quieter than my laptop fan. If you have a sound board location and central wiring point with AC power, the portability issue is no longer an issue.

Some of the positive features: Records 4 tracks simultaneously, supplies 48v phantom power, monitor and adjust levels while recording, dump to your PC (though I haven't done this yet), effect send/return, tons of recording space, seems to have a user-upgradeable hard drive, 4 balanced xlr's or 1/4 unbalanced inputs. Overall, if this fits your needs it's a great deal for the money.

-Jon


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