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My sound keeps dropping out

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Ryan Neuman
My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 13, 2017 at 3:58:22 pm

I operate on a Canon XA10 with Audio-Technica transmitters (lavalier mics) and receivers (Model: ATW-T1001) and lately the sound keeps dropping off. Like I'll be in the middle of a shoot and the sound just cuts off and I noticed the pairing shuts off with the camera. I connect the mics through the 2 XLR inputs on the camera. I constantly change batteries but I don't think that's the problem. They are about 6 years old though, maybe it's time for new mics? Any suggestions would be great!


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Ty Ford
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 14, 2017 at 6:03:41 am

Hello Ryan and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Are you using rechargeable batteries?

Sorry, I don't know what you mean by, " the pairing shuts off with the camera." Can you please explain more?

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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Ryan Neuman
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 14, 2017 at 12:17:27 pm

We are not using rechargeable batteries, and what I mean by "the pairing shuts off with the camera" is that the lavalier mic loses connection with receivers mounted on the camera.


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Ty Ford
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 14, 2017 at 1:38:32 pm

Gotcha.

How far apart are the transmitter and receiver?

Ty

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Ryan Neuman
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 14, 2017 at 2:09:55 pm

Not far at all, typically just a few feet from each other.

These are the types of videos I do:







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Ty Ford
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 14, 2017 at 5:37:42 pm

Hmmmm,

Yeah, that shouldn't happen unless you're parking the receivers on top of a wireless router.

May need a trip to the mothership.

Are you in the US? If so, give service a call at (330) 686-2600 Monday-Friday 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM (EST) i

Pleas let us know how it goes. AT is usually a very responsive company.

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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Roger Van Duyn
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 15, 2017 at 12:46:55 am

Hey Ryan,

I notice a lot of metal present in the area where you are shooting that video. There is a phenomena called reflectance with wireless that can cause dropouts if the receiver is NOT a true diversity receiver. I experienced this once filming at a power plant in Orlando. Metal everywhere. Had to do a lot of online searching to figure out what happened on that shoot. Since then, I always use a receiver that is true diversity. They will lessen reflectance problems. Read up on the receiver you're using and see if it is diversity or not.

Here's one brief article: http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/site/b952cb131b9c2d54/

Hope this helps.

Roger


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Roger Van Duyn
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 15, 2017 at 12:51:47 am

Yes, watching the video clip in it's entirety I see many large, flat, metal surfaces. Just as sound waves can bounce, so can radio waves.

Roger


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Roger Van Duyn
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 15, 2017 at 12:56:04 am

While not exactly the same as phase problems that can make audio go silent, the physics is similar. The reflected radio wave bouncing off the metal surface is picked up simultaneously by the receiver with the signal coming from the transmitter. This, as best I understand the phenomena, the reflected signal cancels out the transmitted signal. The diversity antenna receivers compensate for this.

Roger


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Ty Ford
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 15, 2017 at 2:03:45 am

Hey Roger,

As far as I know that digital AT system is triple diversity.

I setup in the lower level of a concrete parking area full of cars (reflective metallic surfaces) and got 125-140 feet last year with the same system.

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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Roger Van Duyn
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 15, 2017 at 1:53:30 pm

Wasn't sure of his particular model. Noticed all the flat metal surfaces and remembered that power plant gig. Because I could hear the audio dropping out through my headphones, I tried to get the client to switch to a cabled microphone, but wasn't able to convince him. Plus, was wondering about magnetic fields too. When I worked in health care, cell phones would drop out near the NMR scanners.

Still, I wonder if enough metal could overpower even diversity receivers. Some environments just cry out for cabled microphones.

Roger


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Ty Ford
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 15, 2017 at 2:05:47 pm

Yes, perhaps, LOTS of reflective metal, but being surrounded by cars in a parking lot and still getting more than 125 feet sort of makes that seem unlikely.

Or, is there a massive wireless Wi-Fi router near by. That would be more likely.

Have you had drop outs at other locations or is this the first?

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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Roger Van Duyn
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 16, 2017 at 3:58:57 am

The power plant shoot was unique. I never, ever, had anything like that happen before or since. Entire buildings at the plant were metal. Huge equipment, all metal, all over the place. Move a few feet and signal would come back. Distance didn't matter. The talent would sometimes be moving toward me and I'd suddenly lose the signal. It would stay gone until he or I moved. That seemed strange, so I became very curious to find out what could cause a strong signal to drop out when talent got closer. So I started reading online. Then upgraded to diversity systems.

Good to know about the wifi routers. Once had a shoot out of town and there was an FM radio station around the corner, unknown to me. Was having interference, so switched to cabled microphone. Heading back home, saw the radio station not fifty yards from the gig.

Roger


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Ty Ford
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 16, 2017 at 2:21:47 pm

Thanks Roger,

Yes, the plant sounds like a reflective nightmare.

The FM station. Were you at the transmitter site or studio site? (or were they both together?)

You can actually be under the tower and not get hits because the largest part of the signal is flying out over your head.

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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Roger Van Duyn
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 16, 2017 at 4:24:09 pm

It was a rather small building with a transmitter tower beside it.

I believe this is the link for the station: https://radio-locator.com/info/W274BR-FX

The location link that opens up in Google maps looks right, judging by the other businesses that it shows on the map.

Interesting, the link says the transmitter is only 80 watts, but I'm pretty sure the sign outside said 100,000 watts. There are references to a parent station in Altamonte Springs and at least one other satellite station in Clermont. I have a friend at church who is a service engineer for radio transmission companies. If I remember (the old grey matter ain't what it used to be...) I'll try to pick his brain.

Wireless systems are so very convenient for the client, so I always start with them. But there are a number of potential points of failure, so I always have backup available. Sometimes switch to cabled microphones. Other times, have standalone audio recorder strategically placed, depending on the situation. Most of my work is in conference rooms now. Occasionally an auditorium. Not many gigs at construction sites. No more assembling scaffolding to shoot sports either. Too old for that...

Roger


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Ty Ford
Re: My sound keeps dropping out
on Sep 16, 2017 at 4:49:34 pm

Yes, 80 watts ERP (effective radiated power). This is a low power repeater for the main transmitter which may well put out 100,000 watts ERP.

ERP is arrived at by an equation that also includes number of antenna bays and HAAT (Height Above average Terrain). You'd need more power at a lower height to achieve the same ERP that a taller tower with less actual wattage would give you. The number of bays (racks of radiators) also figures in there.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader (and once chief engineer at several terrestrial radio stations - but under protest) ☺ My protest. :)

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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