Sound Equipment for Video Recording

mbenonis

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At my high school, we are now doing daily video announcements. After the first show with no sound equipment at all, I have been using our portable sound rack and a couple SM58's from Drama to run the show. The problem is that, with the musical approaching fast, and special events abound, the console will be in high demand and I'll have to shuttle it back and forth literally every day (this between floors to boot). So, after consulting our Drama director, he has given me the go-ahead to give a proposal to our principal for some new equipment to run the announcements.

What I need is a relatively small sound board (to sit on a desk, not a rack btw.), perhaps 4-6 channels at most, and some mics for the announcers. The primary concern here, unfortunately, is price: we need this to be something that he can approve relatively quickly.

Are there any companies in particular that I should really look at for the sound board? Our main sound board is a Soundcraft Spirit Live 42, and the portable rack might be a Peavey, but this I am not sure of (I can look tomorrow).

For the microphones, while the SM58's work well, I guess I would prefer lavaliere mics for astetics and sound quality (our announcers have no idea that you must be close to a mic to make it sound good) These mics will be wired, as wireless will likely increase the price exponentially. Is Shure a good company to look at in this respect?

Finally, does anyone have points of contact that I could talk to about pricing, preferably companies that are willing to negotiate with us to bring the sticker shock down a bit. :)

Thanks in advance!

-Mike
 

Nephilim

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Jan 10, 2004
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Mixer, without a doubt, the Mackie 1202 VLZ PRO. Or if you're anti-Mackie, get the Spirit Folio or whatever their really small mixer is. Don't buy Behringer, you'll regret it.

Lavalier-wise, if you can afford it, get some hardwire Countryman lavaliers (like the E6 earset used on CBS for half-time and post-game talent); otherwise just go with a brand you like and get hardwire versions.
 

BenFranske

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Jan 18, 2004
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Edina, MN
I second using a Mackie, when I was in charge of starting a school video announcements program way back when I went with the 1402 though to get faders instead of pots. As for the lavs, we used a Sony wireless system, these days I would use a top of the line Shure or the new AT system; however you're on a budget. I haven't used wired lavs in ages so I can't recommend any specifically, sorry.
 

wolf825

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Eastcoast USA
mbenonis1 said:
At my high school, we are now doing daily video announcements. After the first show with no sound equipment at all, I have been using our portable sound rack and a couple SM58's from Drama to run the show. The problem is that, with the musical approaching fast, and special events abound, the console will be in high demand and I'll have to shuttle it back and forth literally every day (this between floors to boot). So, after consulting our Drama director, he has given me the go-ahead to give a proposal to our principal for some new equipment to run the announcements.

What I need is a relatively small sound board (to sit on a desk, not a rack btw.), perhaps 4-6 channels at most, and some mics for the announcers. The primary concern here, unfortunately, is price: we need this to be something that he can approve relatively quickly.

Are there any companies in particular that I should really look at for the sound board? Our main sound board is a Soundcraft Spirit Live 42, and the portable rack might be a Peavey, but this I am not sure of (I can look tomorrow).

For the microphones, while the SM58's work well, I guess I would prefer lavaliere mics for astetics and sound quality (our announcers have no idea that you must be close to a mic to make it sound good) These mics will be wired, as wireless will likely increase the price exponentially. Is Shure a good company to look at in this respect?

Finally, does anyone have points of contact that I could talk to about pricing, preferably companies that are willing to negotiate with us to bring the sticker shock down a bit. :)

Thanks in advance!

-Mike
Hi Mike,
Give a look to the folks at Bradley Broadcast & Worship Sound--they are north of you in Md. They have an online website and catalog and their prices are not bad. Give a call and ask for a catalog that has their full line, or check out their online catalog for ideas--but its about 1/4 the gear & brands the stock. Their print catalog is better. They do not have a store-front--but they do offer contract sales and service to end users and establishments like schools, and are generally nice and helpful folks to deal with. Same for my favorite place--Full Compass. Great selection and friendly folks to work with.

For gear--Shure, Audio Technica or Crown lavs will do the job for your application.. In mini-mixers--the Mackie will work, but Shure also makes Utility mixers. I would suggest you list out what you need in a mixer for your mics and application--i.e EQ, phantom power, routing abilities etc--so when you check out your mixer choices you get the features you need.

FWIW, Broadcast wireless mic's are usually Lectrosonics or Sennheiser in brand--again these are expensive and IMO not needed in your school application. The E6 headsets you now see on TV by Countryman are wonderful mics, however note they are expensive--over $500 dollars per mic alone. If Countrman is the way you want to go and budget is concern, I would look at the Countryman B3 series which is less than half the price and also excellent quality. As I said tho, Shure, Crown and Audio Technica lav's are affordable and durable as well and will IMO better suit your needs, budget and application..

hope this helps--post back with any questions or concerns and I or others will gladly help ya out with ideas.

wolf
 

The_Terg

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Dec 3, 2003
Location
Yonkers, NY, USA
Haha, thirded on the mackie.

My school has 2. They are invaluable.

Our microphone assortment for a school education show is 4 Crown PCC-160 floor mics (its all we have) and one Shure VHS wireless LAV system.

My only suggestions for the mics would be to look for Shure mics on other cheaper recievers. For example, our student news show is buying a Sampson UHF wireless handheld system for $500 that has sampson reciever and transmitter on a shure SM-58. Its battery powered, and very nice. Scope it out, see what you can get.

Oh also, if you are going to be recording with the mackie board, I HIGHLY suggest you find some kind of ground lift system for connecting the board to the camera. If you connect with 1/4" cable, or RCA you may not have problems. but any XLR connections will definately need a ground lift to get rid of the buzz. If you run your power cables WAAAY away from audio cables, you can also avoid buzz problems. It was a problem for me using the mackie board, but probably not for everyone.
 

mbenonis

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Thanks for the replies! After doing some looking around, I like both the Mackie 1402 and the Spirit Folio F1. They are about the same price ($400-$500 range) and seem to fit the bill nicely. I'll just have to convince our principal that anything cheaper is not worth it.

As far as mics, I definitely want something inexpensive. I'll take a look at the ones wolf mentioned after I'm done with my homework. :)

Btw, for the board, here are my requirements (please note that this list may miss something important; if so, please let me know):

*Faders. Very important. Very very important. ;-)
*6 channels, give or take. I can't imagine needing more than 6 mono channels and a stereo channel.
*Phantom power would be nice, but it really depends on the mics that we purchase.
*Line audio out, or audio that can be sent to a line level input. Can standard XLR outs do this, or is that too low a level?
 

Nephilim

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Australia
mbenonis1 said:
*Faders. Very important. Very very important. ;-
I assume you mean linear faders vs rotary faders such as on the 1202. Why? You can still do smooth fades, and in some opinions rotaries are safer in a broadcast environment because it's harder to accidentally knock someone's level up or down.

(Not my opinion, though ;) Just wondering why you're so keen on linears)

I'm assuming you're running the audio direct into a Blonder Tongue modulator or some other similar device; in this case you'll want to create a mono sum output somehow and use that instead of trying to run into the camera and back out.
 

mbenonis

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Nephilim said:
I assume you mean linear faders vs rotary faders such as on the 1202. Why? You can still do smooth fades, and in some opinions rotaries are safer in a broadcast environment because it's harder to accidentally knock someone's level up or down.

(Not my opinion, though ;) Just wondering why you're so keen on linears)
Perhaps I overdid the fader speech a tad. :) I guess they have a point there, but personally I think linear faders are easier to use and set (especially when you must bring them down real fast - try that with 4 rotaries).

Nephilim said:
I'm assuming you're running the audio direct into a Blonder Tongue modulator or some other similar device; in this case you'll want to create a mono sum output somehow and use that instead of trying to run into the camera and back out.
Sort of. The sound will go into a Videonics video mixer, where it meets the video signals. This goes through a title maker and then a JVC recorder (for the record, this setup is not set in stone and can be changed). From there goes the signal to Blonder Tongue modulator and is distributed from there (is Blonder Tongue the standard for pro video distribution?). I guess I'd prefer to keep stereo the whole way until the modulator, if possible, unless there is a drawback to this.

[edit - spelling]
 

soundman

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Nashville TN
I would go with some nice bounder mics. I helped make the desk for our tv studio and all we did was hide them behind a 1*1 so the camera cant see them. I like them better than lav becasue they work no matter what and you cant see them. Plus is there a need for lavs?
 

mbenonis

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soundman said:
I would go with some nice bounder mics. I helped make the desk for our tv studio and all we did was hide them behind a 1*1 so the camera cant see them. I like them better than lav becasue they work no matter what and you cant see them. Plus is there a need for lavs?
It never crossed my mind to use bounder mics. That's definitely an option; do you know of any brands to look into?
 

Nephilim

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mbenonis1 said:
Sort of. The sound will go into a Videonics video mixer, where it meets the video signals. This goes through a title maker and then a JVC recorder (for the record, this setup is not set in stone and can be changed). From there goes the signal to Blonder Tongue modulator and is distributed from there (is Blonder Tongue the standard for pro video distribution?). I guess I'd prefer to keep stereo the whole way until the modulator, if possible, unless there is a drawback to this.
Take it out of the MXPro (I assume that's what you're using ;)) and out of the title maker but leave it in the VTR for now. Once you get a mixer give the VTR its own stereo send and send a mono sum direct to the modulator (unless you have a fancy NICAM stereo card in there).

The less analog devices an audio signal passes through, especially unbalanced analog, the less noise you're going to add to the signal. I appreciate that at the moment running through the VTR is necessary, but try to change that if/when you get a mixer.

Yes, Blonder Tongue is pretty much the standard for video distro, especially CATV/MATV situations.

soundman said:
Plus is there a need for lavs?
In a TV studio situation lavaliers give you two advantages over boundary or even standard dynamic/condenser hand-helds.

1) Less room noise since the element is a lot closer to the mouth.
2) Much easier to control individual talent audio levels.

Drawbacks:

1) Expensive
2) Fragile
3) You can see them (although they are really quite tiny and people are used to seeing them on TV)
 

mbenonis

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Nephilim said:
Take it out of the MXPro (I assume that's what you're using ;)) and out of the title maker but leave it in the VTR for now. Once you get a mixer give the VTR its own stereo send and send a mono sum direct to the modulator (unless you have a fancy NICAM stereo card in there).

The only concern here is that we will still need the ability to play tapes to the modulator. I think that can be worked around though; I'll think about how we can work it.

Btw, we have an MX-1 video mixer, not an MX-Pro.

Nephilim said:
The less analog devices an audio signal passes through, especially unbalanced analog, the less noise you're going to add to the signal. I appreciate that at the moment running through the VTR is necessary, but try to change that if/when you get a mixer.
I'll think about possible rewirings. I love to rewire. :)

Nephilim said:
Yes, Blonder Tongue is pretty much the standard for video distro, especially CATV/MATV situations.

soundman said:
Plus is there a need for lavs?
In a TV studio situation lavaliers give you two advantages over boundary or even standard dynamic/condenser hand-helds.

1) Less room noise since the element is a lot closer to the mouth.
2) Much easier to control individual talent audio levels.

Drawbacks:

1) Expensive
2) Fragile
3) You can see them (although they are really quite tiny and people are used to seeing them on TV)
Good to know. I'll probably end up going with whatever is cheaper, unfortunately.
 

mbenonis

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OK, I've narrowed it down to four sound boards (prices are a result of a google search):

Mackie DFX-6, for $189
Mackie DFX-12, for $239
Mackie 1402 VLZ Pro, for $470
Spirit Folio F1-6, for $379

I really like the Mackie DFX-12, not only for price but for features as well.

Are there any other sound boards that I should consider that are similar in features and price to the DFX-12?
 

BenFranske

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The only concern here is that we will still need the ability to play tapes to the modulator. I think that can be worked around though; I'll think about how we can work it.
I agree, don't run it through the Videonics, do all your audio mixing on the Mackie and then go straight to the VTR and the modulator from the Mackie. Just use one of the line inputs on the Mackie for the VTP. It's best to aviod running the audio through anything you don't have to. This is the way I designed our school studio, all audio into the Mackie, then directly to a JVC VTR and the BT modulator. Video signal went through a Panasonic MX20 (when I started way back it was a Videonics MX4 and a crappy 2 source Panasonic before that) then through a Videonics TM3000 to the VTR and Modulator.
 

mbenonis

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BenFranske said:
I agree, don't run it through the Videonics, do all your audio mixing on the Mackie and then go straight to the VTR and the modulator from the Mackie. Just use one of the line inputs on the Mackie for the VTP. It's best to aviod running the audio through anything you don't have to. This is the way I designed our school studio, all audio into the Mackie, then directly to a JVC VTR and the BT modulator. Video signal went through a Panasonic MX20 (when I started way back it was a Videonics MX4 and a crappy 2 source Panasonic before that) then through a Videonics TM3000 to the VTR and Modulator.
Alright, after looking at how the system is laid out I can definitely separate Audio and Video. I see the video laid out like this: cameras, computer, and VTP (player) to mixer, then to titlemaker, then to JVC VTR, then out. For sound, all mics, the computer, and the VTP go to the mackie, and from the Mackie, the XLR mix outs go to the VTR and the 1/4 mix outs go to the modulator. Does this sound OK?

Btw, the equipment I'm planning to put in for are as follows:
*1 x Mackie DFX-12 Mixer ($237)
*4 x PG58 Mics ($40/mic)
*6 x 25' XLR ($11/cable)
*$30 for random adaptors, etc.

Total: ~$530, which is not unreasonable.
 

DMXtools

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Oct 14, 2003
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Elgin, IL, USA
mbenonis1 said:
Btw, the equipment I'm planning to put in for are as follows:
*1 x Mackie DFX-12 Mixer ($237)
*4 x PG58 Mics ($40/mic)
*6 x 25' XLR ($11/cable)
*$30 for random adaptors, etc.
Don't forget desk stands for the mics.

John
 

mbenonis

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Sorry, I forgot to mention them; they are in the order for about $10.