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Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?

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ryan elder
Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 20, 2019 at 5:30:47 am

I've used this recorder for years now, but I always found myself having to turn it almost all the way up to get the levels high enough for recording average dialogue, with a boom mic.

I wondered if this was normal, since I used the Zoom F8 and didn't have to turn it up as high, while in film school. I asked someone else about the FR2-LE and he took a look at mine and said that it says right on it that it only has the power of 12 volts, where as I need 48 for phantom power. Is that true though, that a company like Fostex would put out a field recorder, with not enough volts to power phantom power though? Or am I wrong?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 20, 2019 at 8:14:30 pm

Few (if any?) modern microphones require the full 48V of phantom power.
Many (most?) will operate to their full capabilities on 24V or even 12V.
It uses a considerable amount of battery power to create 48V from the much lower internal voltage that modern gear operates with. And considering the dwindling number of microphones that need the full 48V, we are entering an era where 48V will be a relic of the past.

To be sure, there are some older and/or boutique microphones that still want the full 48V. You should certainly experiment with your gear "offline" to see how phantom voltage affects your different microphones.

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 12:36:06 am

Oh okay thanks. When you say 48V will be a thing of the past do you mean most newer microphones will not need it then?

Also, what do you mean by 'offline' in this context?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 7:18:05 pm

I have not done an exhaustive survey, but I don't think I have seen any modern microphones that really require a full 48V of phantom power. Many people say "48V" when they really mean "phantom power". It doesn't necessarily mean that you actually need a full 48 volts.

There are SOME microphones that work fine with 24V, etc. at "normal" levels. But if you are using them on very loud sources, the full 48V gives you extra headroom before clipping. But that is why you should experiment with all your gear offline.

By "offline" I mean playing with all the different combinations of microphones, preamps, recorders, cameras that you own or use regularly. In-between actual production gigs so that you become familiar with how they all work, their little quirks, etc. And especially the combinations of different microphones with different recorders, cameras, etc. To see whether any of your microphones behave differently with different phantom voltage.

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 7:44:29 pm

Oh okay, I see. Well when it comes to offline practice, as well as when I do gigs, it seems that in order to record a normal volume speaking voice in normal conversations, recorded on the AT4053b, I have to turn gain up to about 90% and the volume up to about 85-90%, so it that normal, or is that unusually high?


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Ty Ford
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 7:50:39 pm

Ryan,

By chance, do you have the 10 dB pad engaged on the 4053b?

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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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 11:55:55 am
Last Edited By Richard Crowley on Mar 22, 2019 at 12:46:29 pm

"I have to turn gain up to about 90% and the volume up to about 85-90%, so it that normal, or is that unusually high?"

Yes, that is unusually high IMHO.
Are you absolutely 100% certain the -10db pad is NOT engaged on your AT4053b, microphone?

Note that the lower priced "pro-sumer" recorders like the Fostex FR2-LE are not noted to have particularly good mic preamps. They don't have as much gain as more professional gear. And they don't have the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of higher-end gear.

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


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Ty Ford
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 20, 2019 at 10:08:51 pm

Hello Ryan and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

What instructor at what school told you that?

This link indicates that the unit will run on a 12 volt supply.
https://www.wildlife-sound.org/resources/equipment/2-uncategorised/48-foste...

For some years now, units that are powered by 12-16 VDC have the ability to supply 48 V DC for Phantom Power. Internal circuits use more current to boost the voltage.

Phantom Power, or any power, for that matter, is expressed in some number of watts or milliwatts.

The simple formula P = I x E, where P = power. I = current and E = voltage explains it nicely.

An externally polarized mic requires Phantom Power. That power is a combination of voltage and current. If you have less voltage, you need more current. If you have less current, you need more voltage. Otherwise you starve the mic and that usually results in lower sensitivity, higher noise and more distortion.

The spec of the unit says it supplies 48 V DC. The real question is, how much current? Enough to power the condenser mic you want to use!

Some condenser mics require a little current, some more. Phantom power can be set at 12, 16, 24 or 48 V DC. But, again, how hungry is your mic and how much current does the Phantom Power supply?

You instructor was ill-informed.

Any questions?

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 elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 12:38:08 am

Oh well I took a course at the Recording Arts Institute of Saskatoon, and they said it's gotta be 48 volts and that if I am having low quality, than that's likely my problem if the pre-amplification is not going high enough.


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Ty Ford
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 1:13:15 am

Oh well I took a course at the Recording Arts Institute of Saskatoon, and they said it's gotta be 48 volts and that if I am having low quality, than that's likely my problem if the pre-amplification is not going high enough.

Not quite correct. The standard, for years, has been 48 V DC, but not all condenser mics require 48 V DC. Some work with 24, 16 and even 12 V DC.

Per my previous comment. Even if it is 48 V DC, if the supply doesn't have enough current, the mic is starved and won't sound good.

You may just have a mic with a lot of noise. What's the make and model of you mic?

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 elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 5:11:37 am

Oh okay thanks. I have the Rode NTG-3 and the Audio-Technica 4053b. It seems to me that the 4053b, needs more, if that's right?


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Eric Toline
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 12:38:08 pm

It's entirely possible that the NTG 3 has a hotter output than the 4053. That has nothing to do with phantom voltage. Compare the specs of both mics and you'll see the output level differences. If a mic is designed to only run on 48vp then it will be +/= 4 volts or 44-52vp.

"I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


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Ty Ford
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 2:12:48 pm

Hello Ryan,

The sensitivity figure of microphone tells you what you need to know. Below notice the AT is -34 whole the NTG-3 is -30 or -31. The 34 is s larger number, but it's a minus 34, so it's not as great as a -30. The -30 mic will be a little more sensitive and require less preamp gain.

AT4053B: OPEN CIRCUIT SENSITIVITY -34 dB (19.9 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa

NTG-3: -30.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (31.60mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kH

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 elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 6:28:41 pm

Okay thanks, my ears were telling me that the 4053b needs more gain so I guess I was right, then it looks like. However, does this mean that the Zoom F8 is a better field recorder cause you don't have to turn the pre-amps up as high to power the mics, and therefore less gain and less noise floor cause of more power?


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Ty Ford
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 6:32:33 pm
Last Edited By Ty Ford on Mar 21, 2019 at 6:38:06 pm

Hello Ryan, you don't need ears to discover mic sensitivity. Just plug in both mics and set the input levels equally and watch the meters when you hold the mics together and speak into them. Or, as shown earlier, read the specs.

Preamps and mixers are all different. If preamp A is quieter than preamp B, you can turn it up more. At some point the noise of the mic comes into play. They call that selfnoise. Different mics have different selfnoise figures. The best options are sensitive mics with low selfnoise going into preamps with low noise.

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 elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 7:53:09 pm

Oh okay. Would the NTG-3 and the 4053b have low selfnoise, and would be considered sensitive?


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Ty Ford
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 7:59:25 pm

Ryan, I have already provide the sensitivity of both mics for you. It's time for you to do some of your pwn footwork about relative selfnoise.

and make sure you don't have the pad turned on on the mics.

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 elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 21, 2019 at 11:15:56 pm

Oh, sorry, what I meant was is that level of sensitivity good quality wise? Do they make for cinematic quality microphones based on those levels I mean.

Is having to turn up the gain and volume to about 90% each is normal then and not unusually high?


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Ty Ford
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 1:32:21 am

Ryan,

once more. please confirm that the 10 db pad is not on.

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 elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 1:46:05 am

Oh sorry, I don't have a 10 db pad, why?


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 1:48:47 am

Unless the FR2-LE comes with a 10 db pad that I am not aware of?


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Ty Ford
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 2:24:48 am

The pad is on the microphone. In this case the 4035b.

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leder

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 3:07:01 am

Oh okay, well there doesn't appear to be a 10 db pad on the 4053b.


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 11:41:50 am

[ryan elder] "Oh okay, well there doesn't appear to be a 10 db pad on the 4053b."
You are mistaken. The official data sheet says:

"The microphone is also equipped with a switchable 10 dB pad that lowers the microphone’s sensitivity, thus providing higher SPL capability for flexible use with a wide range of users and system configurations. To engage the 10 dB pad, slide the switch toward the -10 position."

Ref: https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/resource_library/literature/3ac2d3afa3f9...

In your case you do NOT want the -10dB pad engaged. Again, take a few minutes to become more familiar with your gear and experiment with all the options, switches, settings, etc. Download all the data sheets and user manuals and study them.

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 4:48:56 pm

Okay thanks, but there is no 10 db switch on the mic. Back when I ordered it, they asked me if I wanted the 10 db pad and they said it was a separate component that screws on in between the mic, and the mic capsule, they said.

But there is no 10 db switch already on the mic, at least not that I can see.


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 4:52:46 pm

Here is a photo of the mic. It's the same mic as mine and it shows a sign on it that says -10. But there is no switch that you can actually push on though.


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 4:55:50 pm

Sorry, here is the photo:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=audio-technica+4053b&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa...


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 4:55:02 pm

Perhaps that is a switch to activate the -10 db, but I was never able to push the switch before. If it's a switch, how do you move it, since it doesn't seem to be able to be moved?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 6:29:25 pm

[ryan elder] "Perhaps that is a switch to activate the -10 db, but I was never able to push the switch before. If it's a switch, how do you move it, since it doesn't seem to be able to be moved?"

It is not a "push" switch. It is a slide-switch. When you slide it "up" towards the head of the mic, it engages the 10 dB pad. And when you slide it "down" towards the XLR connector, it takes the pad out of the circuit.

This is the kind of thing you need to discover when you play around with all your gear "offline". It may seem trivial, but in the heat of battle it could be a matter of win or lose.

In the photo you cited, there is ALSO a low-cut switch right next to it. WHen the switch is "up", then it rolls off the low frequencies (like wind noise, etc.) And when it is "down" then it provides a flat frequency response down to its lower limit. Very handy if you are recording pipe organs with 32 foot pipes, or steam engines, or flamenco dancing on hardwood floors. Otherwise, probably better to leave the low-frequency rolloff switch "engaged" for normal dialog recording. Nobody's voice goes that low. And taking low-frequency noise out of the recording after the fact could be near impossible if there is any intermodulation. THAT is why microphones have low-cut switches. So that the (usless) low frequencies don't overwhelm the mic preamp and ruin what you are trying to record.

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 23, 2019 at 12:32:37 am

Okay thanks, that is good to know. However, the switch does not slide at all. There doesn't seem to be a movable switch on it. The labels are there in words such as -10 db, but there is no slide-able switch on the mic to activate it. Could the switch have perhaps not come with it, when it was suppose to, during shipping or something?


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 23, 2019 at 12:38:21 am

There is actually two slots, but no switches. Is there suppose to be a switches in the slots?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 23, 2019 at 6:03:29 am

The switches are recessed inside the mic body. You must use something small and sharp (like a toothpick or the sharp end of a safety-pin) to move the slides toward the head or toward the foot (the XLR end) of the mic body.

This is one example of why you really need to spend some quality time with your gear., Do you have anyone in your neighborhood who is familiar with microphones? The switches are somewhat stiff (so they don't move around during use), but don't use excessive force that would damage the small delicate switches.

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 23, 2019 at 7:08:26 am

Okay thanks, thank you very much, I didn't know they were switches! So I would use the -10 db pad to give me extra pre-amplication, and use the other switch to cut down on low frequences such as background noise, like a furnace, etc. If I am understanding that right?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 23, 2019 at 9:17:20 am

[ryan elder] "So I would use the -10 db pad to give me extra pre-amplication,
No. exactly the opposite. if you need more gain (which you seem to be asking about), then you do NOT want the -10dB pad engaged. You only need the -10dB pad when you are recording very loud sounds that would cause the microphone to clip otherwise.

and use the other switch to cut down on low frequences such as background noise, like a furnace, etc. If I am understanding that right"

Correct.

Again, take time to experiment with your gear. Try the microphone with each of the switches in each position so that you can hear how they work.

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 23, 2019 at 5:51:45 pm

Oh okay thanks! When I asked about a -10 db pad at the store, the person told me it was a separate component that I would have to order, but I guess not. Thanks!

So the Rode NTG-3, doesn't come with those options, does it make it the lesser mic to use in a lot of situations then?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 23, 2019 at 9:46:52 pm

[ryan elder] "Oh okay thanks! When I asked about a -10 db pad at the store, the person told me it was a separate component that I would have to order, but I guess not. Thanks!"

There ARE "inline" pads that you plug in between the microphone and the mic preamp. They will work with any microphone (or any XLR source). That is probably what the vendor was thinking of. If they didn't know that there is a built-in pad on the microphone it rather indicates that they don't know enough about pro audio gear to be a reliable source of advice. You have never revealed where you bought the microphone, but it is probably not an official Audio Technica dealer.

[ryan elder] "So the Rode NTG-3, doesn't come with those options, does it make it the lesser mic to use in a lot of situations then?"

No, it does not make it a lesser microphone. The NTG3 is a "long shotgun" which is used almost exclusively for longer-distance applications like capturing dialog outdoors on the end of a boom pole. It is almost never the case where that kind of application requires any kind of padding. Typically you will need MORE gain, not LESS gain. OTOH, the AT hyper-cardioid mic is designed to be used in many applications where it may be subject to rather loud sound-pressure levels (SPL). So it is much more likely that if you have it stuck at the bell of a trumpet or something, you will likely need some padding to keep the mic from clipping even before it gets to the mic preamp.

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 24, 2019 at 12:36:05 am

Oh okay. I ordered the mics from Long & McQuade. I was told by other filmmakers that I should use a hypercardiod mic when booming indoors, and they said that the 4053b was a good hypercardioid for indoor shooting. Is that true though, or is the distance on it, not far enough? I've been using for a few years now and it seems to be working fine, unless I'm wrong?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 24, 2019 at 3:56:57 am

[ryan elder] "Oh okay. I ordered the mics from Long & McQuade."

It's hard to get good help. Chances are that whomever you spoke to is unfamiliar with the microphone. Alas, those sales-droids talk a good game, as if they know what they are talking about But never trust them without independent confirmation

[ryan elder] "I was told by other filmmakers that I should use a hypercardiod mic when booming indoors, and they said that the 4053b was a good hypercardioid for indoor shooting. Is that true though, or is the distance on it, not far enough? I've been using for a few years now and it seems to be working fine, unless I'm wrong?"

That was good advice The AT 4053b hyper-cardioid is well respected and widely used for booming dialog indoors. If you are getting poor recording levels, there could be several problems:

1) The -10dB pad is engaged. We still don't know if this is a problem with your mic or not
2) You are trying to boom from a distance that is too far for the mic to pick up properly. I would be very uncomfortable booming at more than 50-60 cm (18-24 in) Microphones are not magic and amateurs frequently assume that they have better "reach" than they really do. Booming is not a casual "set and forget" activity. You need a talented boom operator who knows the script and is actively listening with good full-coverage headphones. And NOT "noise-cancelling" headphones or earbuds!
3) You are using a mixer/recorder/camcorder with low-average mic preamp performance. To really get superior gain and low noise, you can't depend on a plastic pro-sumer gadget.
4) You are trying to record dialog from amateur actors who mumble and don't know how to project properly.
5) One or more pieces of gear is damaged and not operating at its full potential. ANOTHER reason why you should play around with all your gear to get a feel for how it is supposed to work, so you can compare it to a situation that seems like something is wrong. You REALLY need to get better acquainted with your gear.

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 24, 2019 at 4:55:45 am

Oh okay. Well it's just that at 2 feet above the actors I have to have the level gain dial turned to 90% about, and the volume dial at 90%, which I thought maybe was quite high, but is that normal?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 25, 2019 at 5:53:16 pm
Last Edited By Richard Crowley on Mar 25, 2019 at 5:55:08 pm

[ryan elder] "Oh okay. Well it's just that at 2 feet above the actors "

That is at the far end of the limits for most hyper-cardioids in dialog use (at least IMHO).
As I mentioned before, you can't just put up a boom mic like you would put up a light, in a fixed, general position. A microphone is not a "general coverage" gadget. You must keep it as close to the actors as possible without dipping into the frame. And you must keep it aimed at whomever is speaking. And the boom operator should be familiar with the script and using good headphone monitoring to ensure "quality control".

[ryan elder] "I have to have the level gain dial turned to 90% about, and the volume dial at 90%, which I thought maybe was quite high, but is that normal?"

It is probably "normal" for amateur actors, long distances, and average mic preamps. It would certainly NOT be "normal" for big-budget feature film or prime-time television production.

Have you tried using the NTG-3 microphone in those conditions? If the reflective surfaces (ceiling, walls, table-top, floor, etc.) are far enough, you might be able to get away with using a full interference-tube "long shotgun" mic for an interior scene.

Have you resolved the open question about the -10dB pad on your microphone?

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 25, 2019 at 6:31:17 pm

Oh okay thanks. Yes the 10 db pad seems to be working on the mic.

Unfortunately most locations where I live to do not have high enough ceilings for a shotgun to sound as good as the hypercardioid. I don't boom from a fixed position though, I move the boom mic from actor to actor as they speak.

If you say that 90% on the gain and volume is not normal for a professional quality movie, what percentage should it be at for professional quality?


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 25, 2019 at 6:35:40 pm

Also, when I boom, I keep reading how you should hit -12 decibels. If I can get it in close I can, but when it comes to mastershots, with a few actors in the shot, it becomes more challenging. Like this scene here, for example, is what I have to do a lot when it comes to mastershots:







How do you get a good recording at -12 db, when you have to boom from further away in a master, if that makes sense?

Also would a different field recorder than the FR2-LE allow for higher pre-amplication, and therefore can record from further distances, at even less than 90% gain and volume, or no?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 27, 2019 at 3:36:58 am

[ryan elder] "Also, when I boom, I keep reading how you should hit -12 decibels. "

There is no single target peak value. It depends VERY VERY MUCH on what you are recording and how. The general concept is that you should record at as high a level as possible SAFELY without clipping. The reason being that you can get the maximum Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) before clipping. This is the case with ANY source and ANY recording method. It has nothing to with booming or any other technique of sound pickup.

[ryan elder] "If I can get it in close I can, but when it comes to mastershots, with a few actors in the shot, it becomes more challenging. Like this scene here, for example, is what I have to do a lot when it comes to mastershots:"

That is not a very good example. In the long shot, the dialog is VERY reverberant. Perhaps as "wet" as I have ever heard in any feature film. That room is big enough that they probably used a long shotgun (because of the framing). But they were operating at such an unusually long distance, the dialog pickup is among the worst I have ever heard in any feature film. Note carefully that when they finally did a medium-close-up of Kirk Douglas, the sound became MUCH more distinct because they were using the microphone at a much closer distance. Perhaps they meant for the poor-quality dialog track to convey the feeling of our presence in the very large, reverberant room.

[ryan elder] "Also would a different field recorder than the FR2-LE allow for higher pre-amplication, and therefore can record from further distances, at even less than 90% gain and volume, or no?"

Most certainly. The mic preamps in the FR2-LE are by far the weakest link in your audio chain. You can be sure that feature-film and prime-time TV productions are not using such little plastic consumer gadgets. They are using mixers and recorders from Sound Devices, and more recently the Zoom F8 and F4 are making their way as a couple of steps up from the FR2-LE

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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 27, 2019 at 3:52:34 am

Okay thanks. I usually don't like going over -12, cause if I do, an actor can clip too easily if they get loud. But maybe I should learn to watch for that and record at higher decibles, than -12 :).

As for the sound being wet in the mastershot, I noticed it is less wet in the close up. This happens in other movies as well, but here it is more obvious cause the mastershot is pretty wet. However, is that bad? Doesn't the mastershot being more wet than usual, give the feeling if distance, like you are actually in a big courtroom?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 27, 2019 at 3:58:12 am

That particular film, and that particular scene are the most "wet" I remember every hearing in any film I have ever seen. At least in any scene where it seems clear that the dialog is actually important to the plot and the audience is meant to understand it.

If that film/scene were shot today, you an be sure that the sound would be MUCH more distinct. And whatever "ambient reverberation" would be mostly artificially generated and added in the post-production mixdown. IMHO it is VERY RISKY to record that kind of extreme reverberation directly on to the dialog track. I would never do such a thing.

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 27, 2019 at 4:45:45 am

Okay thanks. I just find myself with the same dilemma is that in real locations, the mastershot is going to be wet compared to the shots where you can get the mic closer. What if the director wants to use a lot of the mastershot, cause it shows a lot of the actors blocking, compared to closer shots, what then? Is it possible to get rid of really wet dialogue on a real location as oppose to a specifically built sound stage?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 27, 2019 at 5:29:06 am

That is when it is time to break out the wireless body mics.

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 27, 2019 at 5:39:39 am

Okay thanks, but for our budgets, we only have two boom mics, especially with multiple actors. Should we just live with the wetness like Paths of Glory did? Or what did they do before the lav mic age?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 27, 2019 at 6:16:31 am
Last Edited By Richard Crowley on Mar 27, 2019 at 6:17:22 am

[ryan elder] "Should we just live with the wetness like Paths of Glory did?"
Only you can answer that question. If it were me, there is no way I would try to record a dialog track like that.

[ryan elder] " Or what did they do before the lav mic age?"
Dialog Replacement.

Ref: #ADR/post-sync'>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubbing_(filmmaking)#ADR/post-sync

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


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ryan elder
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 27, 2019 at 5:41:28 am

I guess I figure since I don't have the budget to get mics for every actor, and they have to share booms, that I might as well do it old school, before lavs came along, but is it possible to do it old school and still be good?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 27, 2019 at 6:14:39 am

[ryan elder] "before lavs came along, but is it possible to do it old school and still be good?"

Sure, in SOME cases. But that is a question with 10000 variations. It would be insane to try to offer a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

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


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 27, 2019 at 3:43:35 am

That was a very old film from back when they had very poor equipment and techniques compared to what we have today.

Remember that in the recent era, wireless body mics are frequently used for good dialog pickup when shooting long/master shots. And dialog replacement is much more common now that there is modestly-priced software available to conform the match of the ADR to the original recorded tracks.

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


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Ty Ford
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 1:43:34 pm

Then maybe it's a counterfeit. That might explain the poor performance.

Where did you buy it and how much did you pay for it?

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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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 12:23:05 pm

[ryan elder] "Oh, sorry, what I meant was is that level of sensitivity good quality wise? Do they make for cinematic quality microphones based on those levels I mean."

Yes, the AT4053b is well respected as a very good hyper-cardioid microphone for dialog pickup on a boom for interior use. It is not the very best (read: "most expensive"), but it is widely respected and used.

Rode is an up-and-coming maker of good microphones and is giving the "old school" companies a run for their money. The NTG3 is often favorably compared to the old-school brands and models.

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


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 12:15:02 pm

"does this mean that the Zoom F8 is a better field recorder cause you don't have to turn the pre-amps up as high to power the mics, and therefore less gain and less noise floor cause of more power?"

Yes, but it has nothing to do with "power". The Zoom F8 is a significantly better category of product compared to your Foxtex FR2-LE

The Zoom products have long been favored by budget-constrained (read: "cheap" or "poor") users because of their low price. But the quality of their mic preamps (notably the available gain and the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) have always been an issue of disappointment. So Zoom developed the F8 and F4 recorders with notably better mic preamps (along with other improvements). But better quality mic preamps come at a higher price.

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


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Richard Crowley
Re: Why is the FR2-LE field recorder only 12 volts, when phantom power requires 48 volts?
on Mar 22, 2019 at 12:04:00 pm
Last Edited By Richard Crowley on Mar 22, 2019 at 12:06:08 pm

"Oh well I took a course at the Recording Arts Institute of Saskatoon, and they said it's gotta be 48 volts and that if I am having low quality, than that's likely my problem if the pre-amplification is not going high enough."

That is simply not accurate. Either the instructor didn't know what he was talking about or perhaps you didn't remember it properly?

The only significant factor the phantom voltage can affect is the "headroom", or how loud the audio can be before the microphone itself "clips". Many microphones will handle high-amplitude ("louder") signals when operating from 48V. But you are talking about the OPPOSITE end of the spectrum. Your issue is the performance of the microphone at LOW amplitude ("quieter") . It is very unlikely that phantom voltage will affect the low-end performance of any microphone.

Now, it may be that some microphones may have poorer signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) or sensitivity when operating at reduced phantom voltage, but neither of your microphone models are known for that issue. Unless they are broken or defective which seems unlikely.

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


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