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Audio Posts

Topics Audio, NAB 2017

Brian Walker of Sennheiser was kind enough to join us for two videos. First, he shows us the MKE 440, followed by the EK 6042.

The MKE 440 is a shotgun microphone with a bit of an interesting twist. It is one mic featuring a pair of MKE 400 capsules to create a stereo perspective. The MKE 440 was designed to be mounted directly on top of a camcorder or DSLR, so it features a cold shoe mount as well as a 3.5mm audio jack. Sennheiser will also offer a stereo 3.5mm to XLR adapter for cameras with more professional audio inputs. The mic is powered using two AAA batteries, which will provide about thirty hours of power.

…continue reading NAB 2017: Sennheiser Updates

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Topics Audio, NAB 2017

I caught up with Scott Boland to discuss the new Stickies Advanced (which are now hypoallergenic) and Overcover Advanced products for hiding lavaliere microphones as well as controlling wind and rustling noise when using lavs outdoors. Check out the video above for all of the details.

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I’ve stepped over to the Sennheiser booth to speak with Brian Glasscock about their solution for virtual reality audio, the AMBEO VR. The AMBEO VR microphone was designed for use with 360-degree video content. The AMBEO actually works, functionally, very similarly to the way multi-lens spherical video cameras operate, except instead of multiple lenses facing various directions, you’re given four matched KE14 cardioid microphone capsules.

Using ambisonic playback technology, the viewer’s head movements will be tracked to change the perspective of the audio source. Much like how the camera’s placement in VR determines the viewer’s perspective, ambisonic microphones, like the AMBEO VR, define the perspective of the listener. What that means is the camera and microphone should be mounted in as close of proximity to one another as possible. To simplify post-production and prevent guess work, the AMBEO VR features a witness indicator as to which way should be facing forward during recording.

The AMBEO VR outputs the four microphones signals through a DIN-12 pin connector to four individual balanced XLR terminals, which can then be recorded using any four-channel audio recorder. Brian recommends using recorders with digitally controllable gain settings to ensure each mic is properly placed in post.

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I met with Klaus Grosser of Ambient about their new NanoLockit wireless timecode generator. Even smaller than the Tiny Lockit, the NanoLockit isn’t much bigger than a nine-volt battery or matchbox. The NanoLockit aims to simplify dealing with timecode, while at the same time encapsulating Ambient’s 25+ years of experience producing location timecode equipment.

The NanoLockit can generate its own timecode, using a built-in Real Time Clock (based on time of day) and easily synchronize with, or “jam,” other NanoLockits that might be plugged into multiple cameras, audio recorder/mixers, and other equipment. Connections are made via a standard 5-pin Lemo connector. The NanoLockit’s “jamming” is a one-time event. For continuous jamming (“c-jam”) from a master clock, look to Ambient’s broader product line. However, the NanoLockit should only need to re-jam once per day. Also, the NanoLockit is a fully-enfranchised ACN client device (Ambient Communication Network, a wireless protocol for timecode created by Ambient) so it will receive timecode broadcast from Master Lockits, the Lockit Slate, and other Ambient hardware supporting ACN.

…continue reading NAB 2017: Ambient NanoLockit

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Topics Audio, NAB 2017

In this video, I’m joined by Jon Tatooles of Sound Devices to discuss their newly announced audio recorders, the MixPre-3 and MixPre-6. These recorders were designed with camera operators in mind, with a perfect combination of quality inputs and a simple to use interface. The main differences between the units involve the number of inputs and resulting channel record capabilities.

The MixPre-3 features three XLR combo jacks and one 3.5mm AUX/Mic-in, for a total of 3 possible tracks of audio plus a stereo mix, all sampled at up to 96kHz at 24-bits. The MixPre-6 has an additional XLR input, bringing the total to four, as well as a 3.2mm AUX/Mic-in, for a total of 6 possible tracks of audio plus a stereo mix, all sampled at up to 192kHz at 24-bits. Both units record polyphonic WAV files to affordable SD media, anything at least Class 10 should be sufficient. The chassis is constructed of die cast aluminum, with Gorilla Glass protecting the touchscreen for the same truly rugged, production-ready feel we’re used to from Sound Devices’ higher-end models.

Both models feature newly designed pre-amps and a 32-bit analog-to-digital converter, resulting in around 120dBs of dynamic range. The recorders come with a four slot AA battery tray, but Sound Devices also offers an eight AA tray option, as well as a Sony L-Series solution. The four slot AA tray will provide power to the MixPre-3 and MixPre-6 for about two and a half hours using NiMH batteries. The units can also be powered from USB. The AUX/Mic inputs on both MixPre-3 and MixPre-6 serve several useful purposes. The 3.5mm port can be configured to function as either a Camera Return, Plug-in-Power mic input, a two-channel Line In, or, perhaps most usefully, a timecode input. Watch the video above to learn more.

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In my latest video, I talk about the new Beachtek DXA-ALEXA for the ALEXA Mini. As you may know, audio input to the ALEXA Mini is via a Mini 5-pin connector on the front housing, while audio into the camera is line level only. This presents operators with a challenge getting their mic level signals into the camera. The Beachtek DXA-ALEXA converts mic level signals to line level for recording audio direct to the C-Fast cards used by the ALEXA Mini.

The Beachtek DXA-ALEXA is a preamp that supports powered mics, as well as those requiring phantom 48 power. The unit supports channels of audio input via XLR 3 connectors with independent gain switches. Tracks can be recorded separately or as a mix. Each channel input adjustment knob has a detent, so range of adjustment can be made by feel if or when line of sight is not possible. Each channel has a diode for record level that is color coded, and levels can be quickly and easily evaluated for record level.

The kit for the ALEXA Mini comes with the preamp and mounting bracket; cables are ordered separately as the preamp will work with other cameras, such as RED. In my video above, I go through what is included in the kit, set up, and usage, as well as a microphone test.

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Topics Audio, Featured

Quality audio is a must on any shoot, and Sennheiser offers professional audio solutions at an affordable price. In this blog, I take a look at two solutions using the Canon C300 MK II as a point of reference for shooting with a compact camcorder.

The MKE 600 mic is an all-around workhorse that can migrate from camcorder to DSLR. It can be powered by an AA battery or with Phantom power supplied from the camera, which makes it a great option for high-quality audio on a budget.

The ME 64 series microphone has optional power solutions and the convenience of exchangeable mics know as capsules. These capsules are attached to the power supply to complete the unit. The higher the capsule number, the more directional the pickup will be. You also have a choice of Phantom or battery power supplies. In my video above, I show more about these audio options and then catch some live sound to hear the quality of the mics.

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