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Author Topic: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules  (Read 3184 times)

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Offline Fried Chicken Boy

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Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« on: August 15, 2016, 02:06:22 PM »
There's been interest here in the community and I've chatted with a few folks about this, so we wanted to share some pictures and info.  First off, a HUGE thank you to hi and lo and Mattias from Milab for this.  Their expertise and dedication is what made this project possible.  Over a year of R&D went into this and my hat is off to them. 

This is the Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules, built from the ground up by hi and lo.  It is a replacement for the standard Milab preamplifiers for the VM-44 capsules and the box itself couldn't be simpler to use: input for the power source, input for the microphones, output to the recorder, and a locking on/off power switch. 

It's meant to run off 9-volt power but can utilize 12v in a pinch.  I tried using a Tekkeon MP3300 at 9v to run the PZP-2 and there was a slight but noticeable hum coming through on the recordings into my Edirol R-44.  Bumping the voltage up to 12v, the hum disappeared at the cost of the preamp running hotter due to the wasted volts.  Using hi and lo's better and "cleaner" Tekkeon battery (the model number escapes me at the moment) at 9v, the signal was crystal clear and had no hum. 

The system uses the standard Milab Link cables (1804A Belden) with the capsule colettes.  hi and lo removed the Binder 719 connectors at the preamp ends and replaced them with 4-pin mini-XLR locking connectors, which then plug into a dual 4-pin left/right to 6-pin adapter.  The 6-pin locking connector plugs directly into the PZP-2.  Audio output from the PZP-2 is via a 5-pin locking connector into a left/right pair of male XLRs that plug right into the recorder.  Guessing this output could be terminated into an 1/8-inch stereo plug, etc, for pocket recorders. 

In addition, hi and lo fashioned a few other cables for this system:
- 9-foot stereo-pair extension cable terminated in 4-pin locking connectors for use with PZP-2 which, when combined with the 9.5-foot length of the original Milab cables, will give you an effective cable length of over 18 feet - great for those tall stands or long runs.
- 10-foot stereo-pair extension cable terminated in Binder 719 connectors so that these modified cables can be used with the standard VM-44 Link preamplifiers, and will give you an effective cable length of over 19 feet.

Needless to say, the craftsmanship is beautiful and the pictures below don't do it justice (I'm not a photographer so please excuse the quality, lighting, etc).  It is definitely built tough and made for field use.  The technical specs for this aren't my forte either, so I'm hoping that hi and lo and Mattias will chime in on this thread for any of the complicated questions.  And yes, I will be getting out samples/whole shows recorded with this setup.  I can't wait to get it out in the field again! 

Edit to add: In hindsight, this thread probably should have gone in the 'Battery Boxes, Preamps, Mixers...' section.  If the moderator would prefer to move it there, that's fine with me.  TIA. 
« Last Edit: August 15, 2016, 04:57:07 PM by Fried Chicken Boy »

Offline jbell

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2016, 04:18:54 PM »
Very nice!! 
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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2016, 03:53:01 AM »
Schweet :)
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Offline dactylus

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2016, 07:34:16 AM »


Looks nice!  Definitely interested in one of these!!

 :cheers:
hot licks > microphones > recorder



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Online MattH

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2016, 11:07:37 PM »
I'm assuming this must be a power supply for recorders without proper phantom or XLR connections. Just confused a little by the R44 in the pics that has phantom and XLR's.
mics: Soundfield ST450, JW mod Milab VIP-50's, Milab VM-44 Links (Matched Cards, Matched S-Cards), BR mod Nak 700's
pre's: Audio Developments AD 066(11), V2, Littlebox, Tinybox, Reutelhuber
pre/ad: Lavry AD11, Sony DMX-P01
recorders: Sonosax SX-R4, Tascam DR-680, Korg MR-1, Tascam DR-2, Mackie DL32R
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Offline seethreepo

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2016, 11:46:38 PM »
I'm assuming this must be a power supply for recorders without proper phantom or XLR connections. Just confused a little by the R44 in the pics that has phantom and XLR's.

I think its a scale (size) reference.

Offline perks

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2016, 12:44:46 AM »
does it add gain?

looks sweet
Mics: Schoeps MK5, Schoeps MK41, AT853u (C,SC,H)
Preamps/converters: Schoeps VMS52UB (x2), Nbox (x2), E.A.A. PSP-2 (x2) Grace Lunatec V2 (for sale), Sound Devices MP-2 (for sale), DPA MMA6000, Naiant Tinybox v1.5, Apogee Mini-Me, Benchmark AD2k+
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Offline Hypnocracy

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2016, 09:28:48 AM »
Comparing to the normal body preamp...What is the sonic property of the box?

It is a replacement for the standard Milab preamplifiers for the VM-44 capsules and the box itself couldn't be simpler to use: input for the power source, input for the microphones, output to the recorder, and a locking on/off power switch.

Appears Sans Gain from the description...No Phantom Required as it is powering the caps from power source...Gain would have been sweet for the handhelds...in common taper situations I regularly run 20 db gain or more on my V2 with the Milabs.

STILL...props for providing a way of ditching the Stock Binder...now if someone would make a Active Round Bar for the weird Milab collette mount!
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Offline Fried Chicken Boy

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2016, 11:13:31 AM »
I'm assuming this must be a power supply for recorders without proper phantom or XLR connections. Just confused a little by the R44 in the pics that has phantom and XLR's.

I think its a scale (size) reference.

Yes, that is exactly the purpose of the picture.  The PZP-2 provides all the power that the microphones require.  Turning the recorder's phantom on to the PZP-2 would be a bad idea.


It is a replacement for the standard Milab preamplifiers for the VM-44 capsules and the box itself couldn't be simpler to use: input for the power source, input for the microphones, output to the recorder, and a locking on/off power switch.

Appears Sans Gain from the description...No Phantom Required as it is powering the caps from power source...Gain would have been sweet for the handhelds...in common taper situations I regularly run 20 db gain or more on my V2 with the Milabs.

STILL...props for providing a way of ditching the Stock Binder...now if someone would make a Active Round Bar for the weird Milab collette mount!

Compared to the stock preamps, the PZP-2 appears to add a little bit of gain but there isn't a switch or knob on the box to set this (similar in simplicity to the nbox).  I haven't run this pre with a handheld recorder yet, but there is plenty of gain for the R-44.  hi and lo would be able to weigh in here with more specifics. 

And yes, an active bar for the Milab colettes would be awesome!  Conversely, it would be great if there was a way to replace those "boots" with Lemo connectors.

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2016, 01:24:07 PM »
(Homer Simpson voice) yummmmmmmm MiLab microphones! doh!      :coolguy:
music IS love

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Online MattH

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2016, 02:14:53 PM »
If the picture of the R44 is for size reference, then I'm still wondering why the XLR out cables for the PZP-2? Seems more bulky than just the straight Milab bodies which are XLR.
mics: Soundfield ST450, JW mod Milab VIP-50's, Milab VM-44 Links (Matched Cards, Matched S-Cards), BR mod Nak 700's
pre's: Audio Developments AD 066(11), V2, Littlebox, Tinybox, Reutelhuber
pre/ad: Lavry AD11, Sony DMX-P01
recorders: Sonosax SX-R4, Tascam DR-680, Korg MR-1, Tascam DR-2, Mackie DL32R
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Offline Hypnocracy

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2016, 11:37:26 AM »
Personal experience with the Milab Links...the plastic binder connection between the body - cable - capsule is not as robust compared to other active type microphones...not that I'd purchase the Zbox just for that reason...for handheld recorders this makes more sense...to get balanced connections with the Naiant IPA requires you purchase two IPA's...this is as close to the Milab TinyBox that is no longer made
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Offline Fried Chicken Boy

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2016, 11:09:16 AM »
Personal experience with the Milab Links...the plastic binder connection between the body - cable - capsule is not as robust compared to other active type microphones.

Yes, this is definitely true. 

If the picture of the R44 is for size reference, then I'm still wondering why the XLR out cables for the PZP-2? Seems more bulky than just the straight Milab bodies which are XLR.

Knowing that I was going to be first running the PZP-2 into my R-44 so I could do comps, hi and lo specifically used XLRs on the out cables from the preamp.  As I stated in the first post, other types of output cables can probably be made depending on the user's needs.  Keep in mind that this ZBox is the "first one off the line", so to speak, and is as much proof of concept as working preamp.  From my discussions with him, hi and lo also has in the works (or he's already finished) an internally powered ZBox for more compact or stealth applications.  In that sense it will be in the same ballpark as the Tinybox or nbox.  Having different options is a wonderful thing. :)

Offline jbell

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2016, 07:07:33 AM »
So he is planning on building pres for other mics? 

Personal experience with the Milab Links...the plastic binder connection between the body - cable - capsule is not as robust compared to other active type microphones.

Yes, this is definitely true. 

If the picture of the R44 is for size reference, then I'm still wondering why the XLR out cables for the PZP-2? Seems more bulky than just the straight Milab bodies which are XLR.

Knowing that I was going to be first running the PZP-2 into my R-44 so I could do comps, hi and lo specifically used XLRs on the out cables from the preamp.  As I stated in the first post, other types of output cables can probably be made depending on the user's needs.  Keep in mind that this ZBox is the "first one off the line", so to speak, and is as much proof of concept as working preamp.  From my discussions with him, hi and lo also has in the works (or he's already finished) an internally powered ZBox for more compact or stealth applications.  In that sense it will be in the same ballpark as the Tinybox or nbox.  Having different options is a wonderful thing. :)
Schoeps MK4's, MK41's> KCY 250/5 Ig> Naiant PFA(60V)> Sound Devices Mixpre-6

Offline johnmuge

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2016, 10:31:45 AM »
Very Interesting !!  Can't wait for further info on this !!!   :headphones:
> AKG c480b(ck61,ck63) Naiant Couplings-PFA / Beyer MC930 / Milab VM-44 link / Nevaton MCE400
 > Littlebox w/output xformers / Tinybox w/ dual output                                                                                                                                                              > Tascam DR-680, DR70d / Sony M-10 / Oade ACM Marantz PMD660

Offline dactylus

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Re: Dynamic Audio PZP-2 "ZBox" for Milab VM-44 capsules
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2016, 12:12:36 PM »
Personal experience with the Milab Links...the plastic binder connection between the body - cable - capsule is not as robust compared to other active type microphones.
Knowing that I was going to be first running the PZP-2 into my R-44 so I could do comps, hi and lo specifically used XLRs on the out cables from the preamp.  As I stated in the first post, other types of output cables can probably be made depending on the user's needs.  Keep in mind that this ZBox is the "first one off the line", so to speak, and is as much proof of concept as working preamp.  From my discussions with him, hi and lo also has in the works (or he's already finished) an internally powered ZBox for more compact or stealth applications.  In that sense it will be in the same ballpark as the Tinybox or nbox.  Having different options is a wonderful thing. :)

Looking forward to the option to run VM-44 Link caps without the Link bodies!  I'd also love to see the option to run the caps with a Z-PFA.

hot licks > microphones > recorder



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