Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

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robedge

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Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSat Apr 04, 2020 11:36 pm

Let’s see photos of sound recording setups that people find effective. Lately, I’ve been trying out the one in the photos below and thought that I’d share it. I’ve added a lot of detail, but don't mean to suggest that others who contribute go beyond basic info. I'll also add this post to the thread that I started on putting together a Pocket 4K rig.

The photos were taken tonight while recording the sound of my neighbourhood’s daily 7:00 p.m. appreciation for health care workers, especially those at nearby Elmhurst Hospital, which is now New York’s centre for treating Covid-19 patients.

That was a “wild sound” recording, but this setup will also work when using my Pocket 4K and Sound Devices MixPre together to record both video image and sound. In addition to a slate, I have a 4’/1.2m cable to send time of day timecode from the MixPre to the camera. I purchased the cable to use for recording sound from a bag. It works with this setup as well, but I think that a longer cable would provide more flexibility. I’m aware of the jam sync boxes on the market, but I don’t feel a need for one. A cable is easier, faster and a lot less expensive.

It’s very easy to manoeuvre this rig and to adjust the height of my microphones, and the rig is particularly useful when recording stereo with two microphones spaced apart (called A-B Spaced). To me, that’s the ideal way to record stereo sound if the added bulk isn’t an issue. In the photos, the mike separation is 40cm/16”, but it can be as much as 64cm/25”. Indeed, I’ll do this recording again tomorrow with wider spacing.

The tripod/monopod part of this setup will also be excellent for recording with a full windjammer/zeppelin. In that instance, I’d sling the recorder over my shoulder, or park it in a bag. That would avoid stress from the windjammer, which I use in stronger wind, on the recorder’s top and bottom 1/4”-20 connections.

The rig consists of:

Short tripod (Really Right Stuff TVC-32G)
Monopod (Gitzo GM4542)
Audio recorder (Sound Devices MixPre-3 v.2, Anton Bauer NP-F976 battery)
Stereo bar (Grace Design Spacebar, 66cm/26”)
Two microphone clamps (Schoeps SG 20)
Two omnidirectional microphones (Schoeps CMC6 preamps, MK2 capsules)
Two wind protectors (Cinela Léonard)
Headphones (Sennheiser HD 25, right angle connector into the MixPre)

The monopod’s top stud is reversible - 3/8” or 1/4” - and the 1/4”-20 end is used here because that’s what the MixPre accepts. Foot removed, the bottom of the monopod is screwed to the tripod’s 3/8”-16 stud. The XLR microphone cables are 3’/1m long and have a right angle connector at the recorder. The red bongo ties secure the cables to the monopod to prevent cable noise. As the photos show, I had the tripod legs at a fairly steep angle; that’s inattention, and tomorrow I’ll set them wider.

In the photos, the mikes are angled a bit upward because most people cheer from apartment windows. I can change the angle of the mike clamps with a flat head screwdriver, but it’s much faster and more precise, with no need for a screwdriver, to change the angle of the stereo bar.

To make cable management cleaner, I record to channels 1 and 3, which are on opposite sides of the recorder. I just want two audio files, one for track 1 and one for track 3, so I tell the recorder in settings not to make a third file that combines tracks 1 and 3. I use the MixPre encoder, rather than the less precise mixer knobs, to set gain for each mike.

Next recording? My local subway station is now so deserted that I’m considering going to its outdoor, elevated platform to record the trains in A-B stereo. Pre-pandemic, this was a busy station above a busy street, resulting in a lot of background noise. Background noise is particularly problematic when using omnidirectional mikes, which is what I want to use and A-B stereo calls for. Making a good stereo recording will be far easier now, particularly with a rig like this.

Trains generate so much low frequency energy that it’s necessary, unless one uses a low cut filter or a compressor/limiter, to test levels with a few trains before recording. I don’t want to linger, so this is a situation where I’ll test with one train, set levels roughly, and use the MixPre’s 32-bit feature. This means that I won’t need to use the recorder’s low cut filter to reduce low frequency energy, or its compressor/limiter to prevent clipping. The result should be a full stereo image that preserves the sense of presence that low frequency sounds will bring to the recordings.

A word about planning... To get forecast and current weather conditions, wind speed in particular, I use the U.S. National Weather Service’s data for Central Park and LaGuardia Airport. I get this information from an app for pilots called ForeFlight, but the same info is available for free on the National Weather Service web site. Right now, Monday is looking good.


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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSun Apr 05, 2020 8:39 am

Thanks for sharing those details and pictures from your rig. Very interesting. :)
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSun Apr 05, 2020 9:23 am

I've posted this before, but this is my small mid-side recording rig, which I place on its own tripod; it can also be mounted on a boom of course but I'm usually a single operator shooting video and recording sound, and the sound is either interviews, music, or ambient sound. I'm showing it without the small Rycote blimp so you can see the mics, which are a Sennheiser MKH 8050 supercardioid as the "mid" mic with an Ambient Emesser figure-8 clipped on top as the "side" mic. It mounts on a tripod, with a Sound Devices MixPre 6 mounted on a magic arm so it's a self-contained rig.

I am able to fit the entire rig (sans tripod of course) into a carry-on ThinkTank Airport Commuter bag along with a Micro Cinema Camera, three lenses, filters, monitor, cables, laptop, etc., although all of that brings me right to the weight limit for carry-on luggage on an overseas flight to France (which is where I do most of my filming). The blimp takes up the most space and I'd consider getting the baby balls instead although the coast of Brittany is very windy and a blimp with furry windscreen probably does a better job.

If I need to cut weight or bulk, I also have the amazing Sonosax M2D2 preamp/interface, which can record directly into an Android or Apple smartphone. I mainly got that for recording classical and traditional music on location using a stereo pair of mics but I could see using it with this M/S rig when shooting video as well. Its user interface is much more cumbersome to navigate than that of the MixPre but the sound quality is at another level (which is saying something because the MixPre is excellent in that department to begin with).

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Kim Janson

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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSun Apr 05, 2020 9:34 am

Rob, do you feel confident with that tri-pod. It makes me scared just to see it :)

I am still working to build my recording rig. Should still decide what microphones to use for stere/ambient sound recording.


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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSun Apr 05, 2020 12:34 pm

Kim Janson wrote:Rob, do you feel confident with that tri-pod. It makes me scared just to see it :)


Hi Kim,

That tripod is just a short version of Really Right Stuff’s standard tripods, which are among the most solidly built on the market. As I noted in my post, I should have had the legs at a wider angle, and probably extended, which would reduce the amount of monopod extension by several centimeters/inches. I wouldn’t use this rig unattended in strong wind, but otherwise I have a lot of confidence in it. It certainly isn’t top heavy. The load above the monopod is under 2kg/4.4lbs. If I want to weigh the tripod down, there’s a hook for that purpose under its top plate.

I should note that one can also use this rig with just the monopod (or a boom pole) or just the tripod.

The usefulness of a rig like this really showed itself last night. I posted some comments on the recording in the Pocket 4K thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=105319&start=250#p610349
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSun Apr 05, 2020 3:32 pm

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Here is my spaced omni setup consisting of a pair of DPA 4060 lav mics in a DIY rig. I used a plastic 'project box' to house the cable and mount the XLR plugs so the whole thing can be plugged straight into the MP6 as one. The DPA's are mounted on a couple of radio aerials so I can adjust the spacing and collapse them down to fit in my bag. I've use various wind protection systems on the DPA's from the small lav furries to housing them on a bar inside a blimp but this was pretty unwieldy so I now use some foam mic covers and if the breeze gets up I slip on some rode fur covers. Omni's are the least susceptible to wind but it doesn't take much to ruin a recording esp if you are after quiet natural sounds. Fur also kills the HF and reduces the 'airiness' of the sound. One downside of the DPA's is that they have quite a high noisefloor so I also have a M+S setup of an MKH30+MKH50 in a Rycote Cyclone with fur cover but although this is quite compact for a M+S setup it's not something you can just put in your bag with your camera gear like the DP setup.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSun Apr 05, 2020 4:26 pm

Brad Hurley wrote:If I need to cut weight or bulk, I also have the amazing Sonosax M2D2 preamp/interface, which can record directly into an Android or Apple smartphone. I mainly got that for recording classical and traditional music on location using a stereo pair of mics but I could see using it with this M/S rig when shooting video as well. Its user interface is much more cumbersome to navigate than that of the MixPre but the sound quality is at another level (which is saying something because the MixPre is excellent in that department to begin with).


Given that you’re able to compare the Sonosax and the MixPre directly, it’s interesting that you think that the Sonosax preamps are noticeably better. I think that I can arrange to try one for a couple of days, but the price, at US$1350 for what Sonosax itself describes as a high-end sound card, is a significant deterrent. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the market for the Sonosax would appear to be people like yourself who are using it for music recording. In interviews, Sonosax talks about journalists as a market, but DPA’s d:vice miniature preamp, and Lectrosonics’s miniature recorders, both of which I own, do a good job for that kind of recording for a lot less money. For that matter, so does the MixPre-3, which itself is not exactly bulky.

Recent posts on Jeff Wexler’s forum suggest that Sonosax may be/should be working on a version 2 that would include recording, storage and timecode capability, but that probably also means more money. I suspect that a version 2 would also need 32-bit float to be competitive. Of course, this is location sound guys listing location sound requirements. It isn’t quite clear to me that that is Sonosax’s real market for this product.

Tell me why I should check out the Sonosax. I’m looking for a plausible excuse :)
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSun Apr 05, 2020 4:43 pm

John Griffin wrote:Here is my spaced omni setup consisting of a pair of DPA 4060 lav mics in a DIY rig. I used a plastic 'project box' to house the cable and mount the XLR plugs so the whole thing can be plugged straight into the MP6 as one. The DPA's are mounted on a couple of radio aerials so I can adjust the spacing and collapse them down to fit in my bag. I've use various wind protection systems on the DPA's from the small lav furries to housing them on a bar inside a blimp but this was pretty unwieldy so I now use some foam mic covers and if the breeze gets up I slip on some rode fur covers. Omni's are the least susceptible to wind but it doesn't take much to ruin a recording esp if you are after quiet natural sounds. Fur also kills the HF and reduces the 'airiness' of the sound. One downside of the DPA's is that they have quite a high noisefloor so I also have a M+S setup of an MKH30+MKH50 in a Rycote Cyclone with fur cover but although this is quite compact for a M+S setup it's not something you can just put in your bag with your camera gear like the DP setup.


I have DPA 4060 mikes myself and I’m curious to know what you’re using them in A-B Spaced configuration to record. Like you, I’ve tried mounting them in a zeppelin, but the exercise is rather fussy. As an experiment, I’ve also attached them to Apple AirPods, using the AirPods just as a mount, to record binaurally. I think that your DIY cable management box and antenna solution for spacing is quite clever. I’d just like to know what you’re using this setup to record :)
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSun Apr 05, 2020 6:50 pm

I use it for ambient background wild track recordings. The DPA's are great sounding but are very fiddly to setup hence why I made this DIY rig so I can just plug it in and start recording. This rig + the MP6 is not much bigger than some portable standalone recorders.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSun Apr 05, 2020 7:50 pm

John Griffin wrote:I use it for ambient background wild track recordings.


That’s interesting. A few months ago, I was figuring out how to record someone talking while walking on a New York street. I wanted the voice to come through clearly, but also wanted good, but not overbearing, ambience. I was not happy when I tried both a standard omnidirectional mike (too much ambience) and a standard supercardiod (too little). So I tried a DPA 4060, and it gave me the balance that I was looking for. The voice came through clearly, and I quite liked how the 4060 handled the street sounds in the background.

Also, I know that DPA miniature mikes are often used for sound effect recording, and have done it myself, but I didn’t know, until I saw a video recently about sound effect recording for an action feature film, that they are being used A-B Spaced to make stereo recordings of things like car engines. Not sure I’m ready to put my DPAs inches from a car engine, though :)

The latter shouldn’t have surprised me. I suspect that Chris Watson has used spaced DPA miniature mikes in his nature recordings pretty often.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSun Apr 05, 2020 9:08 pm

robedge wrote:Tell me why I should check out the Sonosax. I’m looking for a plausible excuse :)


In terms of doing sound for film and video, I think the MixPre series is perfectly fine and that's what I intend to keep using. I got the Sonosax for music projects I'm planning where I want the best-possible-quality audio. I've never been disappointed in the sound from the MixPre, but the few pieces I've recorded so far with the Sonosax (I've only had it a week) blew me away. However, I think a significant part of that is the Sonosax headphone amp, because if I take recordings I made with the Sonosax and play them back through my regular Sound Devices interface, they lose quite a bit of the extra transparency and depth I was hearing.

It would be a cinch to do a controlled experiment to confirm this: I have a DPA mic that clips onto my 12-string guitar (which has a complex sound full of harmonics), meaning that I can maintain complete consistency in the source audio and simply switch recording between my MixPre 6 and the Sonosax. I may have time to run that experiment next weekend.

Sonosax already has a field recorder, the R4+, which has four XLR inputs and by all accounts has stellar sound although I've seen many reports of reliability problems. It's beyond my price range, and the M2D2 was barely affordable as is...I was debating between it and the Merging Anubis, which in retrospect would have been more practical for my purposes although it's a very different beast (needs to be attached to a computer via ethernet).

The Sonosax does have great preamps, but also great A/D and D/A converters, and a great headphone amp. All of those combine to give it a special sound; I think of Sonosax as the Leica of audio (probably not what you wanted to hear, at least not what your wallet wanted to hear). But I really need to figure out how much of what I'm hearing is simply due to the better headphone amp. If you need a super-duper headphone amp or super-duper speakers to hear any difference, then the differences will only be apparent to audiophiles.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSun Apr 05, 2020 11:31 pm

Kim Janson raised a question about the stability of the rig shown in the photos in the first post in this thread.

For tonight’s recording, I paid more attention to how the tripod was set up. The photos below should allay any doubts about stability.

I also increased the distance between the mikes from 40cm/16” to 64cm/25" and angled the mikes upward a bit more.

There was very little wind, so I used Schoeps’s W5D hollow foam balls rather than the Cinelas.

Now I’ll go listen to the recording :)

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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostMon Apr 06, 2020 8:19 am

robedge wrote:
John Griffin wrote:I use it for ambient background wild track recordings.


That’s interesting. A few months ago, I was figuring out how to record someone talking while walking on a New York street. I wanted the voice to come through clearly, but also wanted good, but not overbearing, ambience. I was not happy when I tried both a standard omnidirectional mike (too much ambience) and a standard supercardiod (too little). So I tried a DPA 4060, and it gave me the balance that I was looking for. The voice came through clearly, and I quite liked how the 4060 handled the street sounds in the background.

Also, I know that DPA miniature mikes are often used for sound effect recording, and have done it myself, but I didn’t know, until I saw a video recently about sound effect recording for an action feature film, that they are being used A-B Spaced to make stereo recordings of things like car engines. Not sure I’m ready to put my DPAs inches from a car engine, though :)

The latter shouldn’t have surprised me. I suspect that Chris Watson has used spaced DPA miniature mikes in his nature recordings pretty often.

The DPA’s are very good for voice recording as they have a very flat frequency response and just sound so ‘transparent’. I just wish the noise floor was lower but I guess that’s the physics of a small mic. I was on a sound recording workshop with Chris Watson a few years ago and he demo’d the versatility of the DAPA’s. He also had a Sonosax recorder which I was advised to not listen to otherwise I would have to buy one........
BTW I use my MP6 as an audio interface with my Genelec 8030’s and HD650 headphones and I reckon it’s very good at and a lot better than my previous i2i Scarlet.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostMon Apr 06, 2020 11:58 am

Brad Hurley wrote:It would be a cinch to do a controlled experiment to confirm this: I have a DPA mic that clips onto my 12-string guitar (which has a complex sound full of harmonics), meaning that I can maintain complete consistency in the source audio and simply switch recording between my MixPre 6 and the Sonosax. I may have time to run that experiment next weekend.


Since this was gnawing at me, I made time to run the experiment this morning. The results were a surprise: the Sound Devices MixPre 6 (first generation) actually sounds more transparent and neutral to my ears than the Sonosax M2D2, at least for the particular instrument and mic with which I did the test.

Here are the details of the test: I clipped a DPA 4099 mic to my 12-string guitar, positioned roughly above the 14th fret. I ordinarily use this mic for live performances, not recording, but the advantage here is that I could maintain a constant distance between the sound source and the mic during the test, eliminating that variable from the equation. I recorded a slowly strummed chord and then some fingerpicking, first into the Sonosax M2D2 running into a DAW on a laptop, and then into my MixPre 6. I imported the MixPre ISO file and loaded it into my DAW as a second track so I could easily compare the two by soloing either track. I listened to both recordings with Sony MDR-7506 studio monitoring headphones through the Sonosax headphone amp.

To my ears, the Sonosax recording sounded darker, warmer, and more colored, whereas the Sound Devices recording sound more neutral, perhaps more "clinical," and with more high-end presence. This is in line with one report I saw on gearslutz that the M2D2 has a more "hi-fi" sound than that of the Sonosax R4+ recorder.

In the end I think it's a matter of taste; it's similar to the debates you see here over camera sensors and a camera's intrinsic "look" (which as we've discovered is less about the sensor and more about how the information from the sensor is translated into something we can see). If you want a tabula rasa that captures all the information neutrally so you can adjust to taste in post, the MixPre seems like the winner. If you want recordings where the preamp stamps its own distinctive character on the sound and gives you something beautiful out of the box with little need to adjust in post, the Sonosax might be the better choice. I do think the Sonosax sounds great on voice and probably sounds great on violin, which are two things I record a lot, so I don't regret the purchase, but I'll probably stick to my MixPre most of the time.

There are a couple of things I really like about the Sonosax: 1) it has stepped pots and the gain is displayed numerically for both channels on the home screen so you can very quickly and precisely match the gain of both inputs when doing stereo recordings (you can do this with the MixPre as well, but it involves extra steps), and 2) it has a reference line at -18 dbfs (you can change that if you prefer a different target level), which makes it easier to eyeball the level and hit your average target. Apart from that, the MixPre has a much more usable interface and of course has an integrated recorder. And it takes standard XLR instead of TA5 so you don't have to bring adapters with you (the M2D2 only has TA5 inputs). Other advantages for me of the MixPre are the Wingman app and the ability to connect a control surface for setting gain, mixing, etc. when recording music.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostMon Apr 06, 2020 3:05 pm

Thanks to Brad for a post that explains the pros and cons of the Sonosax M2D2 in relation to the MixPre series.

As noted above, I’m making A-B Spaced recordings of my neighbourhood’s nightly cheering of front line health care workers. It’s a perfect use case for a 360° camera and an ambisonic microphone setup. I purchased a MixPre-3 rather than a MixPre-6 specifically because I think that ambisonic recording is still too niche to get onboard with the technology. However, I’ve now asked my local vendor, which is operating because it specialises in location sound and is regarded as an essential service, for a quote to rent a MixPre-6 and a Sennheiser Ambeo for a couple of days. Sound Devices’s Ambisonics plugin would be another US$50.

For conventional stereo recording, I think that A-B Spaced was the right way to go, but I also want to try an ORTF configuration for comparative purposes. I’d need an additional Schoeps preamp to run both configurations at the same time, so I’ve asked for one to be included in the quote.

If I rent this gear, I’ll post photos.

Re last night’s recording (see three posts up), my ears and iZotope Insight’s sound field meters tell me that increasing the separation of the mikes from 40cm/16” to 64cm/25” did not result in a weak centre in the stereo image.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostMon Apr 06, 2020 5:30 pm

A few years back, an opportunity to arrange for a local symphony orchestra, the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra to perform a concept piece for a feature film project arose. The conductor, concertmaster and composer David Pye, wrote the piece "Romanza", which was a variation of a piece in the Auber opera "Fra Diavolo.

The rig for the final recording was :-

3 x Rode NT2a mics in Decca Tree arrangement for stereo recording.
1 x Sound Devices SD302 three channel mixer.
Zoom H4n Digital Audio recorder.

The recording environment was a very live large room. We hung some furnitre blankets to stop some of the reverb and opened all the windows along one side to let the sound escape.

The Rode mics were set up :-

Left mic in figure 8 to left channnel.
Centre mic in omni to both left and right channel.
Right mic in figure 8 to right channel.

The arms to support the mics were telescopic squeegee handles, supported to a tee frame by tubular foam cushions ( black pipe lagging in tubes strapped to the arms ).

The mics were supported to the arms in thick black foam insulators to prevent unwanted vibrations being mechanically transferred to the mics.

The cables to the mics were routed via a foam insulated ring to dampen any mechanical noise which the cables might carry to the mics.

The support stand was a yellow garage light stand.

The tee frame was welded up from chair tube.

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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostMon Apr 06, 2020 5:42 pm

Further to the post two above, I now own a MixPre-6 v.2 rather than a MixPre-3 v.2, and I'll have a Sennheiser AMBEO ambisonic microphone for a week starting tomorrow.

I e-mailed the second photo in the post five above to my vendor to explain what I'm doing and what I want to try. Got a reply from the head of the company, which is one of the most important location sound operations in the U.S., asking for permission to publish the photo on their social media platforms, so I guess they approve :)

I'll post photos of the Sennheiser ambisonics setup later this week.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostMon Apr 06, 2020 7:12 pm

robert Hart wrote:A few years back, an opportunity to arrange for a local symphony orchestra, the Fremantle Symphony Orchestra to perform a concept piece for a feature film project arose.

...



Love this post, and the recording. Worth reading the notes at the end of the video about the film project.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostMon Apr 06, 2020 7:26 pm

Sound Devices video on how to set up its MixPre recorders with the Sennheiser AMBEO mike...

Looks like I have some things to learn before I pick up the mike tomorrow. At the moment, the only thing that I know for sure is that I'll be using the mike in the "Up" position. Most of the rest of this might as well be in Greek.





Luckily, Sennheiser has instructional text and videos on its web site: https://en-us.sennheiser.com/microphone ... beo-vr-mic

The videos are also on YouTube, this being the first of six:



Berklee School of Music also has a good series, part 1 of 7 here:

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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostTue Apr 07, 2020 12:12 pm

Slightly offtopic, here is a link to the pre-prod teaser for "I Belong To The Shadows" for those who may be interested. The project unfortunately like very many others, has not been able to gain backers.





Techspec:


Camera.
P+S Technik/SI2K.

Lenses.
CP Ultra T* by Kowa, 9.5mm, 12mm, 16mm, 25mm.

Audio.
Sony C-74 mic to-camera via Sound Devices MixPre mixer and to separate recorder for the loft scene.
Rode NTG-1 mic to digital audio recorder for all else.
Sony ECM-55B lavalier mic for voice-over recorded to Sony TCD10 PRO3 recorder.

The 78rpm record recoveries were tidied up in Syntrillium Cool Edit Pro v1.2. CEP became the foundation of Adobe Audition after it was aquired by Adobe.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostTue Apr 07, 2020 1:25 pm

The Sound of Spring



I was just testing today, It was somewhat windy. That actually sounds quite nice but via shotgun mic only as a bit fluctuating noise. I tied to remove it a bit with Final Cut Pro pink noise removal.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 12:39 am

Here are photos of the Sennheiser AMBEO rig that I used to record tonight's cheering for New York health care workers.

As you can see in this screen capture of my storage card, I told the MixPre-6 to record a binaural file (Bin), a left/right stereo file (LR) and an ambisonic file (Ambix):

file.jpg
file.jpg (96.75 KiB) Viewed 9030 times


As the next photo shows, I followed recommendations to mount the mike so that it is facing straight up at about the height of the head of an average person. Because there are always people cheering on both sides of the street, I also set up the mike as close to the middle of the road as I could without interfering with passing cars. At the moment, the latter are rare, but I did have one tonight that honked in sympathy (a possibility to consider when setting gain).

As you can see, the upright orientation of the mike means that it is not possible to also mount the MixPre without creating an offset for the mike. This helps explain why Sound Devices's promotional photo for its Ambisonics plugin shows the mike and the recorder mounted on two different supports. There are in fact ways to create an offset, but tonight I just put the MixPre in the bag that you see at the foot of the rig. If I create an offset, I'll have to keep in mind that this is a fairly heavy microphone at 400g/14oz.

ambeo-07-07-rig.jpg
ambeo-07-07-rig.jpg (754.03 KiB) Viewed 9030 times


This last photo shows the recorder, and more particularly the four AMBEO XLR connections. These are coloured and numbered because they must be plugged into the corresponding XLR ports. Gain for all four mikes is controlled by the Channel 1 mixer knob because gain for the four mikes must be exactly the same.

As you can see, there is a cable "fan" that connects to the single cable on the left, which in turn goes to the mike. The cables that make up the fan are fairly thin. In my view, they need support, which affects how the recorder and cables are carried or mounted. For example, I don't think that it would be wise to just sling the recorder over one's shoulder, something that I would normally have no hesitation about doing.

ambeo-07-07-recorder.jpg
ambeo-07-07-recorder.jpg (471.5 KiB) Viewed 9030 times



For me, the next step is to compare the binaural and L/R stereo tracks to the AB Spaced recordings that I've been making.

On the binaural side, I'm considering renting a Neumann KU100 microphone (aka "the Neumann head"). However, that can't happen until the beginning of May because the one that my sound dealer has is out on rental until then. Alternatively, I may try a Jecklin Disk.

I recorded the ambisonic file because I want to have a look at it and the related software, but as far as I know the file is functionally worthless unless it is married to footage from a 360 camera. I'm considering renting an Insta360 Pro VR Camera for a day, which is available locally via a popular gear rental site. However, that is an expensive rental and I haven't decided how far down the VR road I want to go.

I have the AMBEO for another six days. Happy to try to answer any questions about it. It sells for US$1300, down from $1620 when it was released in 2017.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 3:34 am

I’d like to add to the above post that my sound gear dealer, probably not alone, is making a real effort in this difficult time to come through for clients. My dealer is an important player in the world of location sound, and I’m a very small client. Yesterday, it made a very fair offer on my MixPre trade-in, and gave me an extremely attractive quote on my Sennheiser AMBEO and Schoeps preamp rental, all arranged in a few minutes via e-mail.

If you work with an independent brick and mortar dealer, sound or camera, you might find that this is a good time to try out new ideas/gear, or even to get a project done that a couple of months ago might have been financially challenging.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 8:47 am

In the future I plan to go ambisonic. The benefit for pure sound recording is that you can later process it into 5.1, stereo, binaural or mono and in any direction so it’s future proofed and versatile. You can do a bit of post production with M+S (esp double M+S) but with stereo or binaural it’s pretty fixed at the point of recording. You could see a situation where a film is released and you have the option of loading a stereo, 5.1 or binaural soundtrack depending on how you are watching it. I’d be interested in how the ambeo mic’s sound in a pure sound fidelity test compared to conventional mics. I know Chris Watson who uses a soundfield rig says the mic quality is not as good as say the MKH mic’s for M+S or stereo. One other benefit of an ambisonic rig though is that the wind protection can be more compact.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 8:56 am

I have been thinking too getting a ambisonic mic or DIY.


How does it work mixing shotgun with ambisonic, what software to use on Mac.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 10:11 am

John Griffin wrote:I know Chris Watson who uses a soundfield rig says the mic quality is not as good as say the MKH mic’s for M+S or stereo.


On the other hand if you have nearly $10,000 to spare, the sound quality of the Josephson C700S is pretty much unmatched: http://www.josephson.com/srs7.html

You can see/hear it in action here:
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 11:30 am

Kim Janson wrote:I have been thinking too getting a ambisonic mic or DIY.


How does it work mixing shotgun with ambisonic, what software to use on Mac.


See the Sennheiser training videos, link eight posts above. In those videos, Sennheiser used the AMBEO to record ambience and lavaliere mikes to record individual speech. The videos cover processing software.
Last edited by robedge on Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 12:09 pm

John Griffin wrote:In the future I plan to go ambisonic. The benefit for pure sound recording is that you can later process it into 5.1, stereo, binaural or mono and in any direction so it’s future proofed and versatile. You can do a bit of post production with M+S (esp double M+S) but with stereo or binaural it’s pretty fixed at the point of recording. You could see a situation where a film is released and you have the option of loading a stereo, 5.1 or binaural soundtrack depending on how you are watching it. I’d be interested in how the ambeo mic’s sound in a pure sound fidelity test compared to conventional mics. I know Chris Watson who uses a soundfield rig says the mic quality is not as good as say the MKH mic’s for M+S or stereo. One other benefit of an ambisonic rig though is that the wind protection can be more compact.


Yes, my suggestion that the ambisonic file is useless without 360 footage is wrong; it reflects some skepticism about relative sound quality. After all, the ambisonic file is what produces the stereo and binaural files, and can be used for other mixes. As mentioned, the next step for me is to compare the stereo and binaural mixes to my AB mixes, which is indeed about making a judgment about mike/sound quality. I plan to do a single recording in AB Spaced, ORTF and AMBEO ambisonic later this week, which will facilitate comparison.

Re wind protection, last night I was able to get away with the foam sock that comes with the mike. In less calm conditions, some people are using Rycote Ball Gags. My sound dealer suggested a zeppelin, which is what I'll be using since my Cinelas won't work with the AMBEO.

Robert Dudzic used Rode's ambisonic mike to make this video, which shows him recording on New York streets out of a bag. Fairly easy to manage. He also plays around with the ambisonic file independently of any 360 footage, including running some of it through Kontakt. He talks about the mike setup at 11:20. Dudzic is very bullish on the mike, but note that he has a financial relationship with Rode:

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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 1:33 pm

Interesting ( but inconclusive) comparison between Rode and Ambeo

The ambeo seems to have more HF but also more hiss/noise. Wish they had recorded more distinct sounds rather than just 'ambience'
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 4:32 pm

John Griffin wrote:Interesting ( but inconclusive) comparison between Rode and Ambeo

...

The ambeo seems to have more HF but also more hiss/noise. Wish they had recorded more distinct sounds rather than just 'ambience'


Having made YouTube videos, I wouldn't upload a mike test unless I provided solid info on the conditions, settings and processing, and offered a link to the original tracks. There are just too many variables to rely on “bare” YouTube mike tests, including YouTube's own processing of sound. Videos like this one are well-intended, but I don't trust them as accurate representations.

I agree with you about their recording decisions, which are problematic even when there's a distinctive sound. At 03:15, the video plays church bells via the AMBEO. Do you get hear the bells via the Rode? Nope :)
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 6:42 pm

If anyone can identify the manufacturer/vendor of plastic spherical shield and spherical deadcat in the video presentation, this would be much appreciated.

A few years back, I asked Rode via email if they would be making such a windshield as I would like such for the NT2a mics I have been using for the Decca tree.

Outdoors for events, the arrangement works quite well but wind buffet would be a problem. So far I have not tried it in a windy environment.

The product in the ambience recording video appears to be in the Rode "style". Maybe they are blimp endcaps with a threaded bridgepiece in between.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 6:48 pm

A little offtopic, here is a cobbled up parabolic rig for recording distant sources. The Foxtel dish is a parabolic segment and does have a concentrated point of focus.

I also tried a 1.5M spun aluminium satellite dish. It works very well in lower audio frequencies versus the Foxtel dish which confers a shrill sound. Due to size the big dish is not in any way useful.

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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 6:49 pm

robert Hart wrote:If anyone can identify the manufacturer/vendor of plastic spherical shield and spherical deadcat in the video presentation, this would be much appreciated.

A few years back, I asked Rode via email if they would be making such a windshield as I would like such for the NT2a mics I have been using for the Decca tree.

Outdoors for events, the arrangement works quite well but wind buffet would be a problem. So far I have not tried it in a windy environment.

The product in the ambience recording video appears to be in the Rode "style". Maybe they are blimp endcaps with a threaded bridgepiece in between.


Rode has been working with Rycote, which I suspect makes the shock mount, round protector and fur. They come with the Rode mike.

I think that what you are looking for may be Rycote’s Baby Ball Gag.
Last edited by robedge on Wed Apr 08, 2020 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 6:51 pm

robert Hart wrote:If anyone can identify the manufacturer/vendor of plastic spherical shield and spherical deadcat in the video presentation, this would be much appreciated.


It's included in the NT-SF1 kit.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 8:00 pm

John Griffin wrote:
robert Hart wrote:If anyone can identify the manufacturer/vendor of plastic spherical shield and spherical deadcat in the video presentation, this would be much appreciated.


It's included in the NT-SF1 kit.


Rode are manufacturing their own version of blimps, windscreens, baby balls under license from Rycote. IMO, they are slightly inferior but good value considering price difference.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 8:51 pm

Here is more info on the Rycote Baby Ball Gag that may be the kind of thing that Robert Hart is looking for. This is what B&H recommends for the Sennheiser AMBEO and it is basically what’s on the Rode. My understanding is that it comes in more than one size. This happens to be the one that B&H is selling for the AMBEO:

Baby Ball Gag 25mm Windshield: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... hield.html

Fur Windjammer: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... _Ball.html
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 9:08 pm

I’d put the whole mic in a blimp to be sure of adequate wind protection in anything but the slightest breeze as you will get a bigger air gap and wind noise is often picked up from the mic body as well.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostWed Apr 08, 2020 9:16 pm

John Griffin wrote:I’d put the whole mic in a blimp to be sure of adequate wind protection in anything but the slightest breeze as you will get a bigger air gap and wind noise is often picked up from the mic body as well.


As I mentioned earlier, I got away with using the AMBEO’s included foam sock last night, but my sound dealer advises using a zeppelin, covering the entire mike, in wind. It sent along a Rycote 1 windshield with the mike, but it just fits. I’ll use a Rycote 2 that I have because it’s larger and, as you note, will create more dead air.

However, I think that fitting the mike into a zeppelin is going to be a bit tricky, including running the mike cable, which is for four mikes and is thicker than normal.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostThu Apr 09, 2020 7:49 am

This is my Schoeps MS set up with now defunct DPA windshield which is incredibly light an effective. Recording to a Sound Design 744t. I have used this set up on many field trips.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostThu Apr 09, 2020 7:50 am

With the special DPA blimp.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostThu Apr 09, 2020 7:53 am

A more detailed shot of the microphone cradle.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostThu Apr 09, 2020 8:35 am

The MixPre 10 does not support powering from USB. It would be possible to make a USB-C to Hirose adapter, but then the voltage is generated by DC/DC converters that can cause noise. (this is the case with any USB power solution)

So I decided t modify Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD

IMG_5920.jpg
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It has now power out directory connected to battery via 8A fuse. I hope they would make a battery like this available. It makes me nervous making this kind of modification, though I was very careful, added fuse and everything. Highly not recommended.

Anyway, I now need adapter to attach it to the battery input, it provides the 2S LiPo voltage, 7.4V nominal so it should be ok and the MixPre Battery monitoring should protect the battery from over discharging.

If this works, I think it is pretty awesome power solution.

- It can power also iPad or MacBook Pro, and two normal USB devices.
- it is almost 100Wh, the maximum you can have to fly with, in very compact form factor
- No additional charger is needed, iPad or MacBook Pro charger can charge it.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostThu Apr 09, 2020 8:37 am

robedge wrote:
John Griffin wrote:I’d put the whole mic in a blimp to be sure of adequate wind protection in anything but the slightest breeze as you will get a bigger air gap and wind noise is often picked up from the mic body as well.


As I mentioned earlier, I got away with using the AMBEO’s included foam sock last night, but my sound dealer advises using a zeppelin, covering the entire mike, in wind. It sent along a Rycote 1 windshield with the mike, but it just fits. I’ll use a Rycote 2 that I have because it’s larger and, as you note, will create more dead air.

However, I think that fitting the mike into a zeppelin is going to be a bit tricky, including running the mike cable, which is for four mikes and is thicker than normal.

I guess Rycote will make ‘connbox’ adapter at some point as they have for the M+S setups
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostThu Apr 09, 2020 9:43 am

Wind protection test
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostThu Apr 09, 2020 8:00 pm

John Griffin wrote:Wind protection test


Thanks John. Interesting video. It’s likely to be very windy here tomorrow (we have a wind advisory), so I’m going to try to use the AMBEO in a Rycote Windshield WS2: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... Kit_2.html

It will provide a good deal of dead air around the mike, but fitting the shock mount may be tricky, and I’m concerned about running the cable without expanding the through-hole, which I’m not prepared to do.

If it works, I’ll post a photo.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostThu Apr 09, 2020 8:48 pm

Robert Castiglione wrote:This is my Schoeps MS set up with now defunct DPA windshield which is incredibly light an effective. Recording to a Sound Design 744t. I have used this set up on many field trips.


A classic mike setup with one of the two recorders, the other being the 702, that built Sound Devices as a company.
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostFri Apr 10, 2020 12:31 am

Hi Rob,

Yes it is and it has served me very well. The stereo imaging and sense of "being there" can be extraordinary and very satisfying.

R
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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostFri Apr 10, 2020 1:53 am

This is fun. Today, the company that I use for sound gear has uploaded one of the photos in this thread to its Facebook and Twitter pages. I sent them the photo while arranging the AMBEO rental and MixPre exchange, and they asked if they could use it. Of course, I said yes. The Facebook page has resulted in a few questions about the rig and whether I can share some of the audio.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gothamsound/ph ... =3&theater

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gothamsound/status/ ... 18819?s=21

I might add that the company has a quite good YouTube channel, and if you’re looking for sound gear in New York or Atlanta I highly recommend it. It’s a pro operation, but it’s far from stuffy. If it was, they wouldn’t put up with me as a client :)

It will be interesting to see if Sound Devices or Schoeps retweet this.
Image: Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica M primes, Pocket 4K

Sound: DPA & Schoeps mikes, Sound Devices recorder

Post Monitors: Eizo 27" UHD, Focal Solo6 Be
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Adam Silver

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Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostFri Apr 10, 2020 2:25 am

Gotham Sound is great. That's where I got my MixPre 3 II. Great team there.
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robedge

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  • Real Name: Rob Edge

Re: Let's See Effective Sound Recording Rigs!

PostSat Apr 11, 2020 9:40 pm

iZotope has published two videos on the dialogue edit for a Sundance feature film called The Killing of Two Lovers.

After shooting, the producers decided to take an unconventional approach to dialogue. Instead of panning it centre, they decided to pan the dialogue to track the location of the character. There was no money for ADR, and the location recordist understandably did not anticipate this. There was lots of overlapping dialogue. The iZotope videos are about using RX 7 to address this problem.

I think that the videos also amount to a useful tutorial on the issues involved when rigging for location dialogue recording, which is why I’m posting them. They’re certainly going to be of interest to anyone who wants to rig for the result sought by the producers of this film, thereby avoiding or minimizing the need to use RX. It is not necessary to understand RX to follow along, but the videos are also an interesting demonstration of what the application can do.

The videos are scripted, not off the cuff, and whoever wrote the script did a really good job.

Here is the intro article and videos on iZotope’s site:

Using iZotope RX 7 for Powerful Dialogue Editing: https://www.izotope.com/en/learn/rx-a-s ... -tool.html

Here are direct links to the two videos on YouTube, although I’d suggest reading the intro article linked above:




Image: Fujinon MK 18-55mm, Leica M primes, Pocket 4K

Sound: DPA & Schoeps mikes, Sound Devices recorder

Post Monitors: Eizo 27" UHD, Focal Solo6 Be
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