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Author Topic: High-Level Understanding of Audio Setup  (Read 944 times)

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Offline Ming-Tzu

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High-Level Understanding of Audio Setup
« on: September 07, 2016, 06:44:15 AM »
Posted in the Recording Gear forum with regards to my current amateur setup (e.g. Zoom H2N) and acquiring G.A.S.  Was originally thinking of replacing my Zoom with the Sony d100, but opted for the m10 instead.  It should give me a good intro.

I've been reading a bunch the last few days and been trying to wrap my head around the purpose of having a SD 722 and Sony M10 attached in one rig.

- I know the 722 has far superior preamps compared to the m10, and the 722 acts as sort of a processor/filter, which means I can add mics to the device for better sound quality (due to the preamps)

- Do people ever attach the m10 to the 722?  Can the m10 simply act as a recorder when attached, meaning the m10 preamps can be turned off in favor of using the superior 722 pres?

- If the attached m10 is relegated to just being a recorder when attached to the 722, theoretically, I would be attach any recorder to the SD and get the same audio quality?

If no one really attaches the m10 to the 722, then my questions are moot and can be ignored haha.  The only reason I would imagine that someone would have this setup is to have triple redundancy? (e.g. hard drive, CF card, and onboard m10 storage?)

Offline Todd R

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Re: High-Level Understanding of Audio Setup
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2016, 01:09:06 PM »
For concert taping, you'd probably either have a set up that uses stealth-type micro mics or full size condenser mics.

The micro mics will run on something known as plug-in power to provide the necessary power (say anywhere from 1.5v - 9v).  Many handheld recorders provide plug-in power, but almost none provide it at high enough voltage that they can be used for concert recording (the M10 might be the exception, I don't know).  To get the needed PIP voltage, most people use battery boxes or mini-preamps with PIP, like the ones from Chris Church Audio or Sound Professionals.

Otherwise, people are using full size condenser microphones (which can be small diaphragm or large diaphragm, and the small diaphragm can still be very small footprint mics like the DPA 4022).  Condensor mics run on something called phantom power, which originally was 48v, but some mics accept phantom power between 12v and 48v.

The phantom power is provided by a mic preamp, that can be separate or integrated into the recorder, such as the 722.  So the 722 in your example provides the P48 phantom power as well as mic preamp and recorder provisions.  As such, it is a bit odd or unnecessary to have an M10 attached to the 722, as the 722 can do everything, but as you note an M10 might be used as a back up to the recording capabilities of the 722.  In this case, as a back up, the 722 would need to continue to function and provide the P48 and mic preamp capabilities for the M10 to have anything to record (and as such the M10 isn't providing much of a back up, since if the 722 dies or runs out of battery power, all bets are off).

All analog-input recorders will be providing some amount of gain, or at least be routing the signal through a gain stage (or more than one gain stage), even if no actual gain is being applied.  And any analog-input digital recorders will be providing an A-to-D conversion (analog to digital) function to get to the digital recording.  As such, in your example, the recordings on the hard drive of the 722 and CF card of the 722 will be identical, but the back up recording on the M10 will be different, as it will have whatever analog output stages of the 722 (which may/will/do differ from the input stage of the 722 to the internal A-to-D), plus the different analog gain stage of the M10, plus the A-to-D stage of the M10.

The M10 has a very nice analog input section and A-to-D section, but it will be different than the 722, so not an exact back up.

So the M10 attached to a 722 provides some level of back up, but it would be odd other than for back up to attach an M10 to a 722 and use the 722 only for the mic preamp functions.  In that case, it might be better to buy a Sound Devices USBPre 2 to use as a front end for P48 condensor mics with output to the M10.  The USBPre 2 supposedly uses the same mic preamps as the 722/744 and the same A/D as the 788, so if you wanted the quality of the 722 front end but wanted to record to the M10, the USBPre 2 would make more sense.  At that point, if you wanted recording back up you could use the Zoom or get a second M10, etc.
Mics: Microtech Gefell m20/m21 (nbob/pfa actives), Line Audio CM3, Church CA-11 cards
Preamp:  Sound Devices USBPre 2
Recorders:  Sony PCM-D50, Sony PCM-M10, Zoom H4nPro

Offline Jhurlbs81

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Re: High-Level Understanding of Audio Setup
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2016, 03:27:11 PM »
Good advice above, good luck getting your rig set up.  The M-10 is a very well regarded recorder, even for folks that use ultra high end microphones.  You'll be pleased. 

Offline Ming-Tzu

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Re: High-Level Understanding of Audio Setup
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2016, 04:58:20 PM »
Todd, thanks for the great info!!  I'm really surprised I followed most of that haha

I think using the SD 722 as a standalone device for the preamps and recording makes the most sense.  Keeps everything in one compact solution.  The m10 can be used as a separate device while running and gunning.

Now, the ultimate question is 722 vs 744T vs 788T!!! lol

Offline bombdiggity

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Re: High-Level Understanding of Audio Setup
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2016, 05:55:16 PM »
A few caveats... 

Not sure of your budget but an SD anything will cost you a few grand even used.  It's also very large so not sure what your desired footprint/comfort level is. 

The M-10 is being discontinued.  Buy one now if you want one.  The M-10 is perfectly fine for most use.  It will be less than 10% of the cost of an SD but does not provide phantom power.  80% to 90% of the time I run my Schoeps into my M-10 (with a Tinybox to supply phantom), just because it is so much smaller than my R-44, which itself is a lot smaller than any Sound Devices option. 
Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline Ming-Tzu

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Re: High-Level Understanding of Audio Setup
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2016, 03:28:24 AM »
I actually purchased the m10 yesterday.  Looked around online and the only option, outside of buying used, was a brand new red-colored m10 from Adorama.  So snatched that up quick, along with the Rycote dead cat and micro SD card.  It should be sufficient for now, until I figure out next steps.  With the m10 being discontinued, maybe I should get a second copy for multiple use! lol

Offline SacredMetal

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Re: High-Level Understanding of Audio Setup
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2016, 06:56:01 AM »
For concert taping, you'd probably either have a set up that uses stealth-type micro mics or full size condenser mics.

The micro mics will run on something known as plug-in power to provide the necessary power (say anywhere from 1.5v - 9v).  Many handheld recorders provide plug-in power, but almost none provide it at high enough voltage that they can be used for concert recording (the M10 might be the exception, I don't know).  To get the needed PIP voltage, most people use battery boxes or mini-preamps with PIP, like the ones from Chris Church Audio or Sound Professionals.

Otherwise, people are using full size condenser microphones (which can be small diaphragm or large diaphragm, and the small diaphragm can still be very small footprint mics like the DPA 4022).  Condensor mics run on something called phantom power, which originally was 48v, but some mics accept phantom power between 12v and 48v.

The phantom power is provided by a mic preamp, that can be separate or integrated into the recorder, such as the 722.  So the 722 in your example provides the P48 phantom power as well as mic preamp and recorder provisions.  As such, it is a bit odd or unnecessary to have an M10 attached to the 722, as the 722 can do everything, but as you note an M10 might be used as a back up to the recording capabilities of the 722.  In this case, as a back up, the 722 would need to continue to function and provide the P48 and mic preamp capabilities for the M10 to have anything to record (and as such the M10 isn't providing much of a back up, since if the 722 dies or runs out of battery power, all bets are off).

All analog-input recorders will be providing some amount of gain, or at least be routing the signal through a gain stage (or more than one gain stage), even if no actual gain is being applied.  And any analog-input digital recorders will be providing an A-to-D conversion (analog to digital) function to get to the digital recording.  As such, in your example, the recordings on the hard drive of the 722 and CF card of the 722 will be identical, but the back up recording on the M10 will be different, as it will have whatever analog output stages of the 722 (which may/will/do differ from the input stage of the 722 to the internal A-to-D), plus the different analog gain stage of the M10, plus the A-to-D stage of the M10.

The M10 has a very nice analog input section and A-to-D section, but it will be different than the 722, so not an exact back up.

So the M10 attached to a 722 provides some level of back up, but it would be odd other than for back up to attach an M10 to a 722 and use the 722 only for the mic preamp functions.  In that case, it might be better to buy a Sound Devices USBPre 2 to use as a front end for P48 condensor mics with output to the M10.  The USBPre 2 supposedly uses the same mic preamps as the 722/744 and the same A/D as the 788, so if you wanted the quality of the 722 front end but wanted to record to the M10, the USBPre 2 would make more sense.  At that point, if you wanted recording back up you could use the Zoom or get a second M10, etc.

So your saying that most recorders can't supply enough phantom power for the mikes even though the specs say it does. How do you test for that? Is it clipping or reduced gain at higher volumes of incoming sound? The more mics added, the worse things sounded overall?

Somebody did a bench test & setup a gig to test that?

Own a Zoom H6, one of the main reasons I bought it was phantom power to all 4 tracks & being able to supply backup battery.

I like what I have so far, but always looking to improve bit by bit. what would be next solution in chain besides switching recorders. Adding a batbox to mic lines? or preamp, but then I would still be going through the stock pres on the H6.

Down the rabbit hole I go again...
Zoom X/Y, Zoom M/S, Rode NT-1's, Rode NTK, Cascade Fathead
Zoom H6
Mogami Silver cables
5V USB 10,400mAh Backup battery
(it may not be the greatest but its a good start...)

Offline bombdiggity

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Re: High-Level Understanding of Audio Setup
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2016, 11:52:55 AM »

So your saying that most recorders can't supply enough phantom power for the mikes even though the specs say it does. How do you test for that? Is it clipping or reduced gain at higher volumes of incoming sound? The more mics added, the worse things sounded overall?

Somebody did a bench test & setup a gig to test that?

Own a Zoom H6, one of the main reasons I bought it was phantom power to all 4 tracks & being able to supply backup battery.

I like what I have so far, but always looking to improve bit by bit. what would be next solution in chain besides switching recorders. Adding a batbox to mic lines? or preamp, but then I would still be going through the stock pres on the H6.

Down the rabbit hole I go again...

Unless a recorder specifically says it supplies phantom power it doesn't.  If it does it should do what it says. 

Most compact handheld recorders don't supply phantom (and don't have XLR jacks). 

Many compact handheld recorders do say they supply plug-in-power but the definition/specifications of that vary wildly.  That was mostly what the post you noted was getting at.  A batt box may make up the difference to plug-in-power where lacking.  A preamp that sends 9V would too. 

If the recorder doesn't supply phantom a 48V phantom preamp is required to power that type of mics.  "Batt boxes" don't supply anything near 48V. 
Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline SacredMetal

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Re: High-Level Understanding of Audio Setup
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2016, 01:14:30 PM »

So your saying that most recorders can't supply enough phantom power for the mikes even though the specs say it does. How do you test for that? Is it clipping or reduced gain at higher volumes of incoming sound? The more mics added, the worse things sounded overall?

Somebody did a bench test & setup a gig to test that?

Own a Zoom H6, one of the main reasons I bought it was phantom power to all 4 tracks & being able to supply backup battery.

I like what I have so far, but always looking to improve bit by bit. what would be next solution in chain besides switching recorders. Adding a batbox to mic lines? or preamp, but then I would still be going through the stock pres on the H6.

Down the rabbit hole I go again...

Unless a recorder specifically says it supplies phantom power it doesn't.  If it does it should do what it says. 

Most compact handheld recorders don't supply phantom (and don't have XLR jacks). 

Many compact handheld recorders do say they supply plug-in-power but the definition/specifications of that vary wildly.  That was mostly what the post you noted was getting at.  A batt box may make up the difference to plug-in-power where lacking.  A preamp that sends 9V would too. 

If the recorder doesn't supply phantom a 48V phantom preamp is required to power that type of mics.  "Batt boxes" don't supply anything near 48V.

Ok I was getting nervous when I read about HH's not. I get what you mean now.

Planing on outboard pre's for the EXH module at some point but I'm aways from that right now.
Zoom X/Y, Zoom M/S, Rode NT-1's, Rode NTK, Cascade Fathead
Zoom H6
Mogami Silver cables
5V USB 10,400mAh Backup battery
(it may not be the greatest but its a good start...)

 

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