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hooking up an edit system

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nick boxer
hooking up an edit system
on Oct 8, 2009 at 11:26:07 am

I read Bob Z's article on components of an edit system. Good article... but I am looking for (and having trouble finding, a good diagram/schematic of how to hook all these pieces up / configure a system. I have used "professionals" in the past, and still run into problems with audio feedback loops, etc.

I plan on tracing cables on a few systems to see how they are integrated, but was hoping someone had a diagram.

I currently have an older system with an Avid breakout box, but want to avoid an expensive new hardware system for the time being.

Current "components" I am starting with in my new system include:

MacBook Pro w/expresscard 34
Sata drive array
HDV deck w/ firewire and analog/sdi connections
Beta deck
external LCD monitor
analog switcher for vhs/svhs and other offline input and output
analog MOJO
Horita Blackburst/sync generator
NTSC reference monitor

and I have other odds and ends including an old 3/4 deck, audio monitors, etc. that i use periodically for viewing old archived materials. While my old meridian system has been rock solid, I feel it is finally time to move on and Express pro on my laptop with a SATA drive just isn't cutting it.

In the current climate, however, I want to control costs and configure this myself. Or find a good freelance tech in Atlanta who will work with me. Would love to add a patch bay to the system, too. And would consider going to a MacPro (though this would put a bit of strain on the budget).

Will mostly be using Avid MC software only (but want to be able to run Final Cut as well)

I know it's a lot to ask, but figure someone might point me in the right direction.



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Bob Zelin
Re: hooking up an edit system
on Oct 8, 2009 at 9:56:33 pm

your feedback issues may be unavoidable with your limited budget. If you take a VTR output, and send it into a mixer's input, it works !. If you take the output of the mixer, and send it back into the VTR, you can feed different sources from the mixer into the VTR. This works too. However, if the faders are up, and you eject the tape from the VTR, you get FEEDBACK. This is fact of life. So, how do you avoid this - you use DIFFERENT BUSSES on your mixer - one to feed your speakers, and one to feed your VTRs (and AVID, or FCP system). For example - if you take Mixer Out 1, and Mixer Out 2, and use this to feed all your VTR's, (you split this with custom Y splitters or an audio DA which you can't afford) - evertyhing is fed properly. However, if you now take the Main L-R output of your mixer, and feed your speakers (and DO NOT use the CR Mon Out of your mixer to feed the speakers), you have an independent way of feeding your spekaers, and feeding your record machines.

SO, you playback your beta VTR (for example) and hit the 1-2 button on your Mackie, or Behringer mixer. It goes into your AVID. Want to hear your AVID ? Raise the faders, and only hit the Main L-R button on these faders - NO FEEDBACK.

People say "I don't want to hit those buttons on the mixers, isn't there another way, and still avoid feedback" - there sure is, but it costs MORE MONEY (and you don't want to spend more money). You split the output of every VTR, and send it into a stand alone 10x1 router (even a cheap passive one), and take the output of this router, and send it into the 2 Track return of your mixer (or Tape in of your mixer), and now you have an ISOLATED output of each device, so you NEVER get feedback during monitoring.

Cables cost a lot of money. And if you want to avoid the costs of analog audio DA's to feed the inputs of all your VTR's, you will need to split the output of your mixer to feed all your VTR's and edit system. And if you cant' solder, you have to hire someone to make this up for you. And if you say "can't I just use the AUX outputs to feed different VTR's" - sure you can - and you will create another overly complex wiring and operation scheme, that will ultimately frustrate you.

For audio patch bays, I strongly recommend Behringer PX3000 - they are $50 bucks each, and are super reliable. Just make sure you
use cable ties in your rack to make sure your cables don't yank out of the back of the back of the patch bay.

bob Zelin

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maurice jansen
Re: hooking up an edit system
on Oct 18, 2009 at 10:08:36 am


i normally agree with bob. but in this issue i realy don't understand why you should not use your controlroom monitor section. (it's made to drive your monitors)
our setup. all VTR out's via patchbay normalized to to input's of the desk (daah) mixer out via patchbay normalised to NLE-input's.
NLEoutput's normalised to Tapereturn 1 and hard split to tapereturn2.

when you are capturing no patchleads are used when laying back to tape.
NLEoutput's are patched to vtr in , vtr out patched to Tapereturn 1.
(automaticly breaking the VTR to mixer so no feed back)
you can listen to the tape via tapereturn 1 and to the NLE via Tapereturn2. all levels can be monitored on the bridge. just switch between Tapereturn 1 and 2.

if al settings are good in your NLE your output does not need any level adjustments. but in this setup you still can put the desk in your output path.

only things needed a patchbay and a mixer with 2tape return's


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nick boxer
Re: hooking up an edit system
on Oct 19, 2009 at 4:36:38 pm

Thanks for the input from you and Bob.

Anyone know a good freelance video technician in the Atlanta area? I am a small operation and it is hard to get the support and communication (re meeting configuration needs and exploring cost effective options) from the larger tech providers.

Thanks again,


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Eric Harnden
Re: hooking up an edit system
on Nov 7, 2009 at 8:01:35 pm

Where's this article of Bob's?

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