30th October 2004
I am looking for some opinions on a few items. I am in the process of purchasing some new audio equipment for my production office and one of my execs had wondered about some of the mics, wireless systems, and mixers I
was hoping to buy.
This is a three parter :
1/. Anyone have any success with directional(cardioid) Lavalier mics with wireless systems? I've found them hard to work with(loud cable, lousy clips). Is the Sanken COS-11s almost as good as a cardioid, even though it's omni-directional?
2/. I know about most of the obvious differences between the analog and digital hybrid Lectro systems (no companding), but could anyone add to this? It's a toss up between 200 or 400 systems. Why shouldn't we go with the digital?
3/. A lot of what we are shooting these days ends up having 4-5 people on screen, and the boom somehow or another seems to have become a thing of the past (what's up with that anyway) because everything we shoot is usually at a wide angle. We have been using a PSC MKII M4 with an XLR splitter to bus two receivers on to one input to have a total of five receivers working at once. Thinking about the Wendt X5 to remedy this situation.
Any reasons why I should be talked out of it?
I know it's a kind of a lot to ask in one e-mail, but I felt asking in one fell swoop as opposed to three separate posts would be cleaner. Thanks for any and all help from the brain trust that is the CML crowd.
I gotta admit it has been one of the best resources I've found in the past few years since I joined.
Director of Tech. Ops.
Pie Town Prods.
Jeffrey Bloom wrote :
>Is the Sanken COS-11s almost as good as a cardioid, even though it's >omni-directional?
The COS-11 is a good mic. As are Countryman EMW & B6, Sonotrim, certain Sonyâ€™s (ECM-88), and a bunch of others. How do you mean "almost as good as a cardioid"? What aspect of a cardioid do you want to find in an omni?
>It's a toss up between 200 or 400 systems. Why shouldn't we go with >the digital?
Oh man, that's a big issue. Want to add Zaxcom to the discussion?
Their digital wireless is pretty nifty. One nice thing about the Lectro 400 RX is that it can work with 200 and 400 (and certain Sennheiserâ€™s, I think) tx. So If you already have some Lectro systems, you can upgrade to the 411a (or whatever) slowly.
There's a slight delay in the 400 series and it isn't much of a problem unless you have one mic on an analog link, another on a digital link, and the mics are really close together (like w/in a foot). But that's not a big deal mostly.
The analog systems sound warmer, more musical. I'm kidding.
>Thinking about the Wendt X5 to remedy this situation. Any reasons why I >should be talked out of it?
Lots of guys mixing reality shows work with the X5. One edition of Road Rules had two X5s in a bag (uhg). Nice mixer designed by a nice guy. I've used one, but don't own one. The Sound Devices 442 has a few features not in the X5, but it is 4 in (basically). But you probably already know that.
>Pie Town Prods.
You have some smart people there and do cool stuff.
Jeffrey, these questions can be best answered by your fav mixer and a good dealer. Location and Coffey in your neighbourhood might be very helpful.
And you can always check out RAMPS, the user net group
rec.arts.movies.production.sound. It's the audio equivalent of CML. It's a great resource. Perhaps the only user net group that you can say that about. Don't abuse this knowledge...Like CML, it's for professionals. Unlike CML, it isn't moderated. No problem with CML folks coming by, but we'd hate for the discussion to devolve into standard user net tripe.
Well this is pretty basic stuff, but hope it helps.
Here's some starters......
>1. Anyone have any success with directional(cardioid) lavalier mics.
Cardioid Lavs are used for special situations and generally are not the typical lav mic. Reason: constant head movements of talent. There are a number of high quality Lavs on the marks, in the end being a subjective choice :
Sennheiser MK line, Countryman B6, B3, EMW, Sanken COS11; all of them are good. Lav cable noise can be greatly reduced by good mounting technique.
> 2/. Lectro systems 200 or 400 systems.
There's no reason not to go with the 400 system. 'No companding' is nice. Just make sure the lav mics and the transmitters work together nicely with each other - some Lavs need special wiring. Lectrosonics (for me) is the way to go - their support is just excellent.
> 3/. A lot of what we are shooting these days ends up having 4-5 people
The Wendt x5 is used on a lot of reality shows and it seems to do the job. But whatever we (sound mixers) do there seems always to be just one other input channel that's missing.
One could also check into a Sounddevices 442 in combination with their miniature-sized 302 mixer. That would give you 7 inputs. Another option would be to bundle two Sounddevices 302s together for 6 inputs.
Besides added channels this would add input limiters which is a good thing to have especially for run and gun shooting as well as furnish more input and output options. Many switches of the Wendt are on its bottom which makes it a bit cumbersome to work with. One has to study carefully your shooting scenario though to come up with the best solution for your needs.
Good luck and keep us updated with what choices you've come up with.
Jim Feeley wrote :
>What aspect of a cardioid do you want to find in an omni?
The diaphragm of the COS-11s is pointed upwards, as opposed to pointing outwards as is on the Sonotrims we own(unless there is some new fangled clip I don't know of). The Sanken seems to emulate the cardioid style of diaphragm placement. It just seems like cardioids don't make any sense in EFP scenarios.
>So If you already have some Lectro systems, you can upgrade to the >411a (or whatever) slowly.
Probably what I'll do.
>Jeffrey, these questions can be best answered by your fav mixer and a >good dealer. Location and Coffey in your neighbourhood might be very >helpful.
Believe me I have asked and talked. I just like to get as much input as I can before jumping in to things. My company employs so many freelancers that the overall consensus changes every time I talk to three more people. Most want the 442 and would keep bussing two into one, but some love the X5. Vince at Location and Fabi at Coffey are amazing salespeople and really easy to talk to. Also been thinking about quotes from TAI and Trew.
>You have some smart people there and do cool stuff.
You must know Scott T.
>Well this is pretty basic stuff, but hope it helps.
I know, and it did help. Just looking to pick some more brains, such as yours. Thanks for the links and the opinions.
Director of Tech. Ops.
Pie Town Prods.
Jeffrey Bloom wrote :
>The diaphragm of the COS-11s is pointed upwards, as opposed to >pointing outwards as is on the Sonotrims ....
It's just a different form factor of the housing. An omni microphone can be pointed in any direction and still being omni.
>It's just a different form factor of the housing. An omni microphone can >be pointed in any direction and still being omni.
Yes, have a look at BBC News for a good example of this kind of COS-11s placement...As a rule, theirs are "aimed" straight down, away from the newsreader's face. (No pops!)
I tried a directional lav once in my news days... The theory being that it was a noisy environment and this would help cut down the background noise. The results were exactly as Karl said - every head movement resulted in drastic changes in the level and character of the sound.
Jeffrey Bloom writes :
>1/. Anyone have any success with directional(cardioid) lavalier mics with >wireless systems?
A cardioid lav can be a very useful addition to a wireless kit but it should be used only under relatively controlled conditions. Cardioids are fussy -- highly susceptible to wind noise and mechanical (handling) noise, and if they're not aimed precisely at the desired source of sound they're worse than omnis. They also tend to be larger than omnis, and must always be well windscreened, which tends to make them even larger.
Best approach would be to use omnis for most work and save the cardioids for when you absolutely need the maximum amount of ambient-noise rejection.
Marin County, CA
Check this out :
12 channels, firewire I/O... I'd like to get one as soon as possible mice elf...I use Digital Performer 4.0(though I always prefer analog if it's a musical setting)
Check the archives for lav preferences, there were quite a few posts not long ago
In regards to the Sanken lav mic - While there doesn't seem to be the variety of clips available (as with a Tram or Countryman) they have the best sound I've ever heard in a lav.