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Werner Althaus

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About Werner Althaus

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    Hero Member

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  • Location
    Lincoln, NE
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
  • About
    Audio supervisor for statewide Public TV network
  1. Soundfield/Ambisonics delivery workflow

    The Zoom F8 firmware upgrade to 4.x is indeed a great simplifier in the field. IIRC it is basically the Sennheiser Ambeo plugin integrated. The reason this might matter is that my experiments with Surroundzone2 and the Ambeo plugin using the Ambeo mic as well as a Calrec Soundfield MK4 reveal possible compatibility issues, and I'm not talking channel order (WXYZ vs WYZX) or normalization. The Calrec steers beautifully with the Souroundzone2, the Ambeo mic recording decoded to Ambix and steered within the Ambeo plugin will also sound good but decoded to FuMa and then steered in surroundzone2 will sound somewhat phasey, maybe due to different correction filtering compensating for a different 4 capsule array dimensions (Ambeo-mic capsules are way smaller than Calrec). So the F8 decoding to B-Format will probably work best for the Ambeo mic. others not so much. I'd stick with recording and delivering both the proper B-format (ask) and the raw A format if possible. I would like to hear more about how you guys get the videographers to commit to 0 degrees.
  2. Buy a new wireless

    I was responding to wbrock001, trying to address his post directed at me regarding quality. But the more I read the more I'm convinced I should just refrain from posting in any thread regarding Zaxcom on this forum because the discussion seems to always turn negative. The fact that you interpret my posts as "being pleased" with my decision speaks volumes to my inability to make my point effectively. I am far from pleased with my decision, it wasn't what I wanted to do personally. But it doesn't matter anyway since I'm cast as the guy who dismisses Zaxcom, oh well. I think I'll live.
  3. Buy a new wireless

    FWIW, I have been using dpa lavs for over 15 years but when buying more lavs for our unit I still buy MKE-2 gold because I feel they work better for what we do. I'm not saying I'm correct about this or that my opinion should be the last word for others, I'm saying that the MKE-2s have proven themselves and there's no upside to trying something else at this point. They (like a lot of our other gear we stick with, SD mixers, Sennheiser shotguns, etc.) have been to places like Antarctica, South America, Africa, etc. and have always come through under difficult conditions. BTW, got a set of Sankens on order now so we'll see how that goes. I love dpa's but that doesn't make them the better mics for us. Anyway, I posted my viewpoint with the intention to reinforce the notion that needs vary a great deal among different users and that the OP should look at what it is he really needs when comparing brands. For myself I believe that I have spent enough time researching this topic to know and understand exactly what I would be missing in a Zaxcom system. I honestly have a hard time understanding why it seems anything but plausible that the features offered by Zaxcom do not matter all that much to some when compared to the tried and true performance of what is a known entity. Nowhere have I dissed or dismissed Zaxcom, quite the contrary but I know what we need and what we don't need to do our job at this time. In the past I have successfully argued to purchase top-of-the-line wireless (Sennheiser 5000 series) because at that time there was nothing out there to match it in terms of reliability and sound quality. I succeeded because I could prove a need. Same goes for many other purchases where the better product warranted retraining and additional expense. But the truth about these wireless is (as some have pointed out) that they are all good enough to get excellent results and if our results suffer it won't be because of the wireless we used. I doubt that the "leap" (remember, I wanted to make that leap....for other reasons) would result in an improved product. Improved workflow for dual system shoots, added control and future-proofing, yes but I didn't see that alone being a good enough reason .....at this point. And one more thing regarding priorities...Yes, retaining institutional quality standards throughout the years has always been a much bigger priority for me than being an early adopter of state-of-the-art technology. When the two go hand in hand I'm all for it but in this case I feel they are on a collision course. Note that I said "I feel", not "I know"
  4. Buy a new wireless

    I believe the answer is "yes", you don't need a Zaxcom Mixer/ recorder. The QRX 235 receiver has Zaxnet capabilities.
  5. Buy a new wireless

    I knew that my post had a good chance to be interpreted as a "rather lengthy dismissal of Zaxcom" when I gave it a final read-through before submitting it but I felt it might still provide insight that could be useful for anyone going either the Zax route or decide otherwise. That was my only intention because I personally find it very useful to know why someone decides for or against any piece of gear. Anyway, IMO I didn't dismiss Zaxcom, quite the contrary, I spend a lot of time with sales reps as well as manuals and "how to" videos by Thomas Popp and others and really feel that it is the most advanced system on the market. But when I went through my laundry list of "must haves" vs "nice to haves" it just became hard to justify what I (and others in my unit) deemed a steep parallel learning curve. Others on this forum have hinted at this as well. This type of things happen sometimes, I always have to justify a purchase for how it fits into the bigger picture, no matter whether it's an EFP rig or a $250.000 audio console. I might find a piece of gear I really would like to pursue for various reasons but during a group discussion it becomes obvious that the majority of improvements offered aren't really all that helpful in our work and workflow. I wanted our next shotgun purchase to be a Schoeps, maybe even a SuperCMIT but after much discussion another MKH 60 ended up being a better addition to our arsenal for reasons that have nothing to do with whether the Schoeps is a great mic or not. I wanted to expand our dual system capabilities but in the end the decision was made to invest in more single system capabilities. Just like I wanted to create content in 5.1 years ago but was reminded that we'd never be able to afford the infrastructure to put it on the air. I should mention that we shoot single camera documentary style. 95% of what we do is single system, one videographer, one audio engineer and one producer. Our audio engineers also do their own post whenever possible so they are "confronted" with their own field work. So when I get their feedback I keep that in mind. So to answer your question, the reason I struggled with this decision is simple. I wanted for us to adopt state-of-the -art equipment and modify some of our workflows.. I would have loved to be in the field with a Zaxcom rig like that but it would have served my personal preferences and desires more than what's good for the company at this point. And I would have considered it "the next level" because with the challenges the industry faces regarding spectrum I feel that Zaxcom is currently way out front addressing these issues BUT it turns out that we do not currently need to confront that issue at the expense of having gear we know and trust. Just like we do not need gear that prevents ADC clipping by virtue of clever math or gear that is fully controllable via Zaxnet...it would be awesome to have but the downside, whether real or perceived outweighs the benefits for us...at this point. That is based in what we do and where and how we do it.I really hope this makes sense to you. The last thing I want to do is be antagonistic about this stuff, I was just trying to offer a different perspective for the benefit of the discussion.
  6. Buy a new wireless

    Since I was in maybe a somewhat similar situation as the OP I want to explain my reasons for shying away from a very intriguing integrated concept called Zaxcom. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything but instead explain why there are more than one possible answers to the Zax vs Lectro debate. I was looking for a complete ENG package (1 mixer/recorder and 2 wireless) for out of the bag EFP work, to be issued to one operator in our unit. After lots of research and discussions with knowledgeable people regarding Zaxcom I felt certain that it would be the perfect solution for us, the integration and feature set is amazing and the sound quality is rated as topnotch but then I went back and actually made a list of things that we need our mixers and wireless to do, not the 'that would be cool" features that for someone working in a different environment might be game changers. Then I watched videos showing how to actually do these cool things on a Zaxcom setup and that's when I came back to earth, so to speak. I don't doubt that it's intuitive to many users but to me it felt like a risk to go into battle with such a changed "user interface". Call me stupid and ignorant but I am not seeing the upside to go there at this time, YMMV. What I found was that much of what Zaxcom offers is very cool, revolutionary in fact, but not essential to what we do at my place of employment. I watched Glenns and Thomas'videos and while very informative I found myself thinking "that's not a problem for us" or "we don't have any use for that" I don't really need a built in recorder inside my transmitter since I have never been in a situation where range was an issue with our Lectros. They've been bulletproof. I don't need Neverclip because I have never had a single instance of running out of headroom with my 442/552/664 mixers and Lectros digital Hybrid wireless and neither have any of the operators in our unit. I don't need 5 different modulations, in fact I don't want them, I want 1 mode of transmission that works every time. I don't need wideband, I don't need narrow channel spacing, I don't need remote mic gain, never had a problem getting clean, high quality audio without it, I don't need 137 dB of dynamic range, I don't need Zaxnet synching and controlling my gear, in short, I don't need anything other than a mixer and wireless combination where the mics act as close to wired mics as possible w/o the cable. It's got to be fast and sound good and free of distortion, including the unexpected level changes, screams, laughter, metal gates closing nearby during an interview and whatnot, never had a problem with distortion, clipping, limiter artifacts, etc. With our current gear, in the type of scenarios we find ourselves in, it's nearly impossible to get unwanted distortion if your gain staging is appropriate. You can doubt that and maybe your experience is different but "never clip" seems like a solution in search of a problem to me and by that I mean just me, it may be great for everybody else on the planet but I never felt it necessary. I need a system where the operator (or a producer borrowing the gear) calls me from the field and I can troubleshoot his problem in minutes w/o walking him/ her through a set of menus. Our experience with our current gear tells me that we don't need to expand our capabilities that way, we just need more of what we already have and know. I hope my comments are seen for what they are, opinions based in internet research vs decades of experience with certain gear, I struggled with the decision and really wanted to go to the next level but could justify it in the end. Next time around I might go the other way but for now it felt like the right choice to stick with simple and bulletproof based in personal experience. I'm sure there's plenty to disagree with and outright dismiss as ramblings of obscure origins but maybe it gives a useful perspective regarding the most important question when purchasing gear "What does it actually need to do?" Merry Christmas.
  7. Buy a new wireless

    This is exactly my impression after spending considerable time researching our next purchase of wireless and a mixer/ recorder to be used by a staff used to Lectro/ SD gear. I believe it comes down to the operator.
  8. Super CMIT and wireless phase issues

    I hope this my question is viewed in context, not having had the chance to demo a Supercmit, I'm not trying to doubt the mic or the company (consider me a fan of Schoeps mics, having used them for over 20 years, they are irreplacable in much of the work I do) but I don't understand the fundamental approach that Schoeps is apparently using here. I'm far from an expert on these issues but to me it doesn't seem like a good idea to have a mic with processing that isn't phase-coherent across its entire spectrum. Isn't that the problem with using excessive amounts of EQ, phase shift? How hard would it be to have a phase coherent output across the entire spectrum? I'd rather use a mic with a greater latency but phase coherent than a mic that messes with phase vs frequency. I know, if it sounds good that's all that matters, use your ears and so forth but I'd like to understand.
  9. Berlin terror attack

    +2. I used to live less than 2 miles from there and spent many a days hanging out at Breitscheitplatz listening to the street musicians. This was during the 80s and it seems like a long gone era during which the world seemed a lot simpler.....from our sheltered viewpoints.
  10. Super CMIT and wireless phase issues

    Interesting discussion, with regards to latency being a problem in mixing I'm curious about a situation where the digital latency of the lav exceeds the natural delay of a boom vs lav. If I understand Jeff correctly, in an environment free of "digital latency" the boom signal being delayed against the lav is never a problem in mixing, it can even be beneficial but what if the boom rides the frameline being almost equidistant to the source and the lav has 8ms of latency for example? Can "hearing the boom first" be a problem? Regarding microphones that have different phase at various frequencies , any of the old 2 capsule systems by AKG (D 224E for example) employed "electro-acoustical" phase correction at the cross-over point, why would the Schoeps not digitally correct phase across the entire spectrum?
  11. Waves Broadcast and Production

    Yeah, I used RX 3 as plug in and use RX5 advanced as standalone (due to the improved workflow) and those automatic, learning and self-configuring options are definitely great but I noticed that in RX 3 spectral repair was not happening for me the way I expected. However, in RX 5 spectral repair works great and I can get there fast. Hence my suspicion that it could make a difference if I run standalone vs plug in but I haven't tested spectral repair as a plug in yet, had no reason to until this question popped into my head.
  12. Waves Broadcast and Production

    Not to derail the thread too much but I do have a question for other RX users. I had RX 3 and really found it not very useful at all. Tasks that apparently worked like magic on the Youtube demos eluded me. When we bought RX 5 advanced I was skeptical but quickly learned that it was doing pretty much what I wanted it to do. I used RX 3 as plug-ins in audio suite and RX 5 as stand-alone. Am I imagining things or is the processing quality of the RX 5 advancedstand alone mode vastly superior to the plug in version?
  13. Waves Broadcast and Production

    Used an earlier version of RX in the past and didn't care for it but RX 5 is fantastic. We fired waves also:). Once Izotope figured out the workflow to make RX available in Protools as a standalone application (RX connect and monitor) it became a wonderful tool to use.
  14. donate for recount

    I suggest first and foremost to oppose anyone who's trying to "normalize" the situation in print, TV radio and the internet, it's not normal, it's unprecedented in a bad way. Then there are many things one might suggest or do, all constitutional, btw. Jill Stein is pursuing a recount and people are supporting the effort, all perfectly legal. Members of the electoral college could be persuaded to become "faithless electors", others suggest entire laundry lists on how to resist legally, Michael Moore and Robert Reich come to mind. I almost lost it a few days ago when Mark Shields on the PBS Newshour suggested that Dems should not adopt the Republican strategy of total obstructionism from back in 2009, it didn't work.......say what??? It worked perfectly for their twisted agenda, and it's exactly what Dems need to do, grow a set and start fighting. And since you mentioned the constitution, I'd suggest that anyone who took an oath to defend the constitution of the United States in any way take a hard look at what that means here and now. Does that answer your question?
  15. donate for recount

    I wasn't going to comment any further but the "lets wait and see" rationale really bothers me. BTW, my favorite quote regarding what's going on comes from no other than a reflective, near death "Il Duce" himself "Lust for the irrational is the common thread between all our movements "