UMP 3/4 Audio Channels

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LimeCordil

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UMP 3/4 Audio Channels

PostSun Oct 20, 2019 5:31 pm

Was just looking at the buttons of the ursa mini pro (g1) when I realised I have never used the "monitor channel select". It got me wondering since there are only 2 audio channels on the UMP.

In the manual it says "Your URSA Mini Pro currently supports two channels of audio. In a future software upgrade, up to four channels will be available, divided into pairs."

Is this something BMD is still working on or was it scrapped?

I've noticed that the monitor channel select switch (CH1/2 CH3/4) is also on the G2, which I think is also limited to 2 channels, so I'm really not sure.
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Denny Smith

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Re: UMP 3/4 Audio Channels

PostMon Oct 21, 2019 4:50 pm

No one knows, the Ursa Broadcast also has this future update. I asked BMD about this last year, and they indicated this was a possible future feature... The only way to get two stereo (2-cannel) external inputs is to set the XLR inputs to AES (digital) which would require stereo mics that have a AES output or a mixer with AES outputs.
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Denny Smith
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LimeCordil

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Re: UMP 3/4 Audio Channels

PostTue Oct 22, 2019 6:15 am

Denny Smith wrote:No one knows, the Ursa Broadcast also has this future update. I asked BMD about this last year, and they indicated this was a possible future feature...

I guess it's just a waiting game then.
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BennoZ

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Re: UMP 3/4 Audio Channels

PostWed Jun 10, 2020 8:02 pm

And still waiting for this feature.......
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OlliVan

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Re: UMP 3/4 Audio Channels

PostSun Sep 25, 2022 10:27 am

Also the manual of URSA Broadcast G2 has the same wording about channels 3/4. The switch doesn't do anything and the audio settings only allow two channels. When using AES in both XLR inputs you can select any two channels to be recorder out of the four channels.

Interestingly, the Blackmagic Camera Fiber Converter has two additional XLR inputs (like many competitors do too) and those can be used as separate inputs. However, you can't record those channels but only embed into the SDI stream.

I wonder if there is a patent issue here. The only companies I have seen advertising the possibility of recording 4 audio channels on an ENG-style camera bodies are Sony and Arri.
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Frank Engel

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Re: UMP 3/4 Audio Channels

PostMon Sep 26, 2022 10:37 am

I would be surprised if this were a patent issue, though I suppose I can't rule it out.

The DV tape standards (miniDV, DVCAM, HDV) supported either 2 channels of 16-bit 48 kHz audio or 4 channels of 12-bit 32 kHz audio. The 12-bit mode was apparently used so rarely (due to the lower quality) that while most of the cameras let you switch between 12-bit and 16-bit audio modes, very few cameras actually supported recording to channels 3 and 4, in spite of the rather curious choice that most of them made to use 12-bit mode by default.

What some of the cameras offered was the ability to overdub audio onto the other two tracks after having finished recording them (narration/voiceover/comments, etc.). They could do that because the recorded audio was uncompressed and could relatively easily be overwritten on the tape. It was seldom if ever used back then and is of practically no value now.

Note that it wasn't just Sony offering this overdub feature with 12-bit recordings - Canon and JVC both had it too for example.
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Steve Fishwick

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Re: UMP 3/4 Audio Channels

PostMon Sep 26, 2022 6:41 pm

I don't think it's a patent thing either - all the major ENG camcorder makers, Sony, Panasonic and JVC have had the ability to record and monitor 4 channels since at least the advent of solid state media recording. The bigger cameras have a third XLR, normally at the front, exclusively for the the shotgun onboard mic, and they also have a D-Connector, in a proprietary caddy system, in line with the AB or V mount batteries that can directly input 2 radio mic receivers.

The only way the Ursa Broadcast (or indeed any of the Ursas) could record 4 inputs is via AES and currently the firmware doesn't seem to have any way of independently gaining or monitoring them.
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OlliVan

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Re: UMP 3/4 Audio Channels

PostThu Oct 06, 2022 6:45 pm

...or the internal mics and two analog inputs :D

Unfortunately it looks like AES/EBU, SPDIF, and TOSLINK are all slowly going away and prosumer audio is going back to analog. It seems to be quite rare to find any prosumer devices with digital audio these days, other than audio interfaces. Even Apple has dropped SPDIF on their devices.

I have been looking for a recorder (with timecode) because of this missing feature on the camera, but IMO the only remotely feasible option is to buy a used SD 744T. The last time pro/consumer devices had digital inputs was somewhere around 2012 or so.
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dondidnod

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Re: UMP 3/4 Audio Channels

PostThu Oct 06, 2022 11:54 pm

If you use a laptop with a thunderbolt interface, these still have an optical ADAT/SPDIF input:

https://www.uaudio.com/audio-interfaces ... win-x.html
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Steve Fishwick

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Re: UMP 3/4 Audio Channels

PostFri Oct 07, 2022 4:48 am

OlliVan wrote:...or the internal mics and two analog inputs

I have been looking for a recorder (with timecode) because of this missing feature on the camera, but IMO the only remotely feasible option is to buy a used SD 744T. The last time pro/consumer devices had digital inputs was somewhere around 2012 or so.


Yes I forgot about those, could be useful but they are only for scratch recording and if you are using on board XLRs somewhat pointless, in addition. The input switching would have to double too, currently it only allows for Line/Phantom/Mic(internal).

Why do you need digital inputs and a very old SD recorder? The Sound Devices MixPre IIs have TC, 32bit float, with stacked 142db DR adcs pre-amps. Whatever the digital input, you ultimately have to use an analogue pre-amp for the mic inputs, even so called 'digital' mics merely move the adc to the microphone itself. I have a Mix-Pre II 6 and together with a 302 SD mixer, both can fit nicely in a petrol bag, giving more inputs than I would ever need. AES is only relevant, in this instance because it would be the only way to interface more than two external inputs into the Ursa, e.g. 2 radio mics and a boom. But as you say, an external recorder is a far better solution, though you do need a sound recordist, then. But fair play to BMD for even including AES, on the Ursas, as this is rather a high spec thing :)

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