David Waelder

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About David Waelder

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  • Birthday January 1

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  1. In 2010, over several issues of the 695 Quarterly (now Production Sound and Video), I conducted some tests of antenna performance. I attempted to make comparisons that would reveal the advantages of various designs and identify exactly how much one type might outperform another. The results were generally instructive but trying to plot exact antenna performance is rather like trying to measure smoke. While patterns were discernible, a "weak" design would sometimes "hit above its weight" and confound expectations. I made the first tests and set the groundwork for subsequent investigations in the Spring 2010 issue: http://www.local695.com/Quarterly/695QuarterlyPDFs/695-Quarterly-2010-Spring.pdf (The early issues were archived only as full issues and not broken down by article.) As part of those tests, I mounted a cut-down whip on a transmitter to investigate how much range might be lost using the "wrong" antenna. The cut-down whip was about 1/2 the length specified for that radio. Always remembering the caveat that individual test runs are not necessarily indicative of future performance (sounds like the disclaimer of a stock broker), these were some results using proper length and cut-down antennas: Range using an SMQV at 50mW output with standard whips on the receiver: standard whip - 562 feet (receiver 8 feet above ground) cut-down whip - 358 feet standard whip - 518 feet (receiver 4 feet above ground) cut-down whip - 300 feet Range using an SMQV at 50mW output with SNA 600 antennas on the receiver: standard whip - 570 - 752 feet (distance to first isolated "hit" - end of range) cut-down whip - 390 feet standard whip - 670 - 743 feet (distance to first isolated "hit" - end of range) cut-down whip - 381 feet Half the proper length is a considerable deviation from ideal. As Larry Fisher of Lectrosonics has often said, in the best circumstances a bent and rusty coat hanger will function just fine as an antenna. But, under challenging circumstances careful attention to detail is likely to pay dividends. David
  2. I understand that a web host cannot refuse a request made on his birthday. Perhaps if site members were to ask him nicely, Jeff would extend a 30-day warranty for any item purchased from a JWSound member. But midnight approaches on winged feet and soon it will no longer be Jeff's birthday. David
  3. Thank you, Chris, for the clarification. I think I have the sense of the matter. (Or, at least as complete as I need.) David
  4. Happy birthday, Jeff (Is there an echo in here? I seem to have posted the same message of good will to two different threads. Well, I hope it's a doubly nice day.)
  5. Happy birthday, Jeff.
  6. A Nagra IV-L recorder with a Sennheiser 805 shotgun and Beyer DT48 headset. For documentary and industrial situations, that rig was sufficient 90% of the time and I learned about microphone placement by hand-holding the shotgun and listening to how the sound changed as I moved it about. (Of course, filming was single camera) David
  7. I've been following this discussion with some degree of confusion. I expect this is a matter of my lack of familiarity with the specifics of Tentacle gear and hope that one of you might clarify the matter for me. I'm generally familiar with the Denecke sync boxes. The operation light on those units will blink furiously when the device is first turned on and then settle down after about a minute of run time. However, if the device is jammed, the light immediately goes from rapid-fire to one blink every second. Seeing the stable flash confirms that the jam has taken and that the two clocks (source and slave) are either set to the same frame rate or to compatible cross-jam rates. The difference between rapid-fire blinking and once-per-second is conspicuous and no special 60-frames-per-second vision is needed to differentiate the two. Do the Tentacle units operate differently? Does one really try to match timing on two rapidly flashing lights to confirm operational lock? Thanks, in advance, for the clarification. David
  8. I think John Glenn had the wittiest take on the space program: I guess the question I'm asked the most often is: "When you were sitting in that capsule listening to the count-down, how did you feel?" Well, the answer to that one is easy. I felt exactly how you would feel if you were getting ready to launch and knew you were sitting on top of two million parts -- all built by the lowest bidder on a government contract." Of course, all those rocket components had to comply with an extensive set of military specifications - at least, I assume that's the case. Building equipment to price point yields some obvious advantages. The products are not usually innovative; rather they take advantage of innovations pioneered by others. But they are often able to offer a feature-rich device that capitalizes on tested designs and components mass produced for slightly different purposes. I think the Zoom recorders clearly fit this pattern. They use components made (probably) for portable radios, cell phones and the like and available inexpensively because they are produced in staggering quantity. This sort of re-purposing can yield a recorder that functions well and works reliably. The purpose-built device is always at a disadvantage when compared with mass produced competitors. Products from the top-tier builders use the best components available, chips that have stable operation over a wide temperature range or offer very long "cycles to failure" expectations. This is a hidden advantage that may not be apparent when comparing products on a showroom counter. And, the world being an uncertain place, there is no absolute guarantee that the advantage will work to your benefit in the field. Sometimes the premium IC will fail prematurely and the cheapo will run forever. But the odds are with the better stuff. Also, top-quality gear will often preform better at the ragged edges of performance specs. The best A-D converters may distort a bit less when overloaded than the low-cost alternatives. It's a distinction that is apparent only in extremes; 95% of the time the cheaper components seem to be a performance match. These distinctions are the reason professionals are leary of using products like Zoom recorders in critical applications although they may be entirely suitable when used as back-up gear. Now, for your peripatetic project, I would make a completely out of left field suggestion- I suggest you consider using a Nagra Mezzo. The little Mezzo, made in China but to Nagra specs, is really a product for reporters. http://www.nagraaudio.com/nagra-mezzo/ It will give you 24-bit recording in a device you can hold in your hand and slip into a breast pocket. The recordings are outstanding (assuming, as always, that you can get close enough to the sound source). It runs on 2 AA batteries. The built-in microphones are quite good - not Schoeps but certainly fine for anthropological applications. I've heard a recording of the organ at the Los Angeles Cathedral that is really outstanding. It costs $400, a lot if you compare it with the $100 Zoom competitor but a minor expense when you look at it as an all-in solution. It does offer manual recording as well as automatic level control and it has a built-in speaker so you can check your recordings. Or, if you were to decide to go with a larger package, say, a SD 744 + mixer, the little Mezzo could still be a useful addition for the circumstances where a lower profile was desirable and it could be the "bit-bucket" back-up recorder. David
  9. I don't know if this is directly applicable to Zaxcom compressors but I recall having a conversation with Bruce Bisenz about limiter settings for production audio. We were setting up the limiters in a Cooper mixer and he recommended (if I recall correctly) a medium-slow attack with release "as fast as possible." David
  10. I'm insufficiently familiar with the specifics of Sennheiser G3 packs to know if opening the case is possible but that's a good first start to any water intrusion issue. An actress once inadvertently dropped a Lectrosonics pack into a toilet and I was able to avoid serious damage by pulling the circuit board from the case so it could rapidly dry out. That's relatively easy with the Lectro - just two screws on that model pack. If removing the circuit board or completely opening the case is not possible, opening the battery compartment would probably be worth doing. David
  11. The comm module is an aftermarket product, not made by Sonosax. If memory serves, Ron Meyer designed and built the module while working at Audio Services before he split off to start PSC. I understand that servicing the comm module is not simple. If there is an issue with that component, you might want to contact Ron and bring him into the discussion. Replacing faders and pots sounds pretty straightforward (if one has the parts) and probably wouldn't require getting entangled in the comm module. I just bring it up because you mentioned that it was fitted. David
  12. Have you contacted David White in Santa Clarita? http://dwsoundservice.com He lists experience with Cooper, Sony, Lectrosonics, Sennheiser, Audio Limited, etc. and has a background working in the service department at Location Sound, a Sonosax dealer. Of course, Sonosax is a unique product so you would be wise to inquire before sending off any gear. But it might be worth a consultation. David
  13. Scott Smith wrote a series of articles about the history of sound recording for motion pictures that we published in the 695 Quarterly (now Production Sound and Video) starting with the first issue in Spring 2009. It was a nine part series titled "When Sound Was Reel" and was featured in nearly every issue until the Spring Issue in 2012. These articles are a good overview but may be a bit thin on detail as a source for scholarly research. But, I recall that Scott cited some of his sources so they would be a good start. Older issues of the Quarterly are archived and available for download from the IATSE Local 695 site: http://www.local695.com/Quarterly/previous-issues/ David
  14. Jeff Wexler: ...thankfully the batteries lasted quite a long time because it wasn't too much fun loading all those button batteries, getting the polarity correct, etc. Thanks for the confirmation, Jeff. My recollection was that the batteries didn't have a long service life but I only used the device once or twice more than forty years ago. My memory might easily have been distorted by the nuisance aspect of buying and aligning all those cells. David
  15. As I thought, a Sennheiser power supply. With the Tuchel connection, one would usually mount the power supply directly to the microphone, making a single, rigid cylinder, albeit about 3 inches longer. I believe the device could also be used anywhere in line between the microphone and regular preamp. David