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About soundmanjohn

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    Hero Member
  • Birthday 10/02/1951

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  • Location
    London, United Kingdom
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
  • About
    Theatre sound designer and sound effects recordist. Old now, but still working! based in London, UK, but peripatetic, so could be anywhere. Surround sound recording a speciality.

    SD788T, 744T, 702, MixPre-6
    Soundfield ST450
    Assorted Schoeps, Sennhesier, Neumann & DPA microphones and Rycote windshields.

    Member of the AES, The Institute of Professional Sound, the Association of Sound Designers (UK) and The Theatrical Sound Designers & Composers Association (USA). Occasional writer of columns for Live Design on-line magazine, author of a couple of books on theatre sound design. Married to a wonderful 'cellist.

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  1. soundmanjohn

    Abisonic Microphones

    I'm not a huge fan of the Ambeo, for various reasons, but there's no doubt that the combination of ease of use, price and hyperbole has made it the go-to mic of choice for a lot of VR work. A Rycote BBG works well with it and for more severe weather, there's a Rycote Cyclone with a mount to fit. The SPS200 also fits the bill, but is pricier, although once the Rode version appears, I suspect that the SPS may quietly disappear. However, you should note that both these microphones use a generic A-B conversion program and the Ambeo version is not that accurate, in my view. Len Moskowitz's TetraMic comes with individual calibration files for each microphone and is, to my ears, more accurate in terms of imaging and much better in terms of frequency response, although this can cause problems with location work as the mic is sensitive to cable and handling noise. This has been addressed with the new OctoMic, which uses a much more robust connector for the microphone. Both mics use an Ethernet Balun (like the InstaSnake stuff) for providing power and signal over long distances. The OctoMic produces pesudo second-order Ambisonic signals post processing (2nd Order horizontal, 1st Order vertical) and requires eight channels of matched, low-noise preamps: the Zoom F8n and the Sound Devices MixPre 10T are perfect matches. I can fit all the bits and pieces that I need into a small Sachtler bag, with an AudioRoot BDS and two Remote Audio MEON 98Wh batteries and work all day.
  2. soundmanjohn

    Abisonic Microphones

    I had an ST250 that Soundfield modded for me with a polycarbonate array holder as an experiment to see if the effects of extreme temperatures on the different metals of the capsule and the clamps could be negated. (Mine used to go out of alignment from time to time and this was an effort to stop that happening.) It seemed to work quite well and all was good until an officious security chap at an airport refused to let me take it on board as hand luggage with the rationale that it could be used as an offensive weapon. Despite very careful packing in my checked baggage, it arrived in New Orleans in a tangled masss of broken polycarb and capsule cables. As it was a one-off, it had to revert back to the usual holder, but with a modified cable that could provide a 12v supply to the heaters whenI wasn’t running on mains power. My SPS200SB got some reasonably heavy-handed treatment, but the built-in Cinela Zephyx coped well with that. So far, my ST450 has behaved well under duress and both my TetraMic and OctoMic from Core Sound have been pretty much bomb-proof. For long-haul, mics travel in protective cases; easier with the Core Sound mics, because they’re tiny. While I had the Ambeo on loan from Senneheiser, it didn’t strike me as being particularly fragile and was being passed around to various testers in a simple plastic case with a bit of foam for shock protection. Anything else I can help with? John
  3. soundmanjohn

    Hello… again!

    Hello Allen, long time no see! Exciting times in the Metric Halo world at the moment; just waiting for the software to emerge from B.J.'s brain. Also a MixPre-6 user, so looking forward to hearing your ideas. All the best, John
  4. soundmanjohn

    Soundfield/Ambisonics delivery workflow

    And, joy of joys, Len Moskowitz has announced the OctoMic - a second order Ambisonic mic with eight capsules (the ninth channel is derived in software) which will make life even more complicated, but the audio will be better with a larger sweet-spot and better localisation. I'll be getting mine in the spring of next year, along with an SD MixPre-10.
  5. soundmanjohn

    Sound Devices Mix Pre-3 and Mix Pre-6

    Latest firmware (1.2) allows four channel linking for the MixPre-6, so FOA people (like me) are happy! Thanks for listening SD. John
  6. soundmanjohn

    Trade Shows and Expos

    SoundPro is a very small show in London, but aimed pretty squarely at sound recordists. Lots of nice people to chat to, gear for sale and on demo, the odd lecture or two. On October 7th, free to get in, just register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/soundpro-2017-tickets-36857450627 John
  7. soundmanjohn

    Making Waves - KickStarter documentary on cinematic sound

    Backed it, thanks. John
  8. soundmanjohn

    Field Recording Equipment Case

    Case Design will also do custom inserts for Peli cases, I believe. Also Maplin do a Peli knock-off for about £50: not sure if it'll be large enough for the windshield, though. https://www.maplin.co.uk/p/large-high-impact-case-with-pre-cut-foam-interior-n14gr
  9. soundmanjohn

    Sound Devices Mix Pre-3 and Mix Pre-6

    Got my Stuart Torrance low-profile loom for my MixPre-6. A thing of beauty as always from Stuart.
  10. soundmanjohn

    ReVox Servicing in L.A.

    Asking for a friend: anyone know of somewhere he can get a number of ReVox tape machines serviced in Los Angeles? Thanks, John
  11. soundmanjohn

    Sound Devices Mix Pre-3 and Mix Pre-6

    For those who haven't seen these yet: https://www.trewaudio.com/product/hawk-woods-sd-1/ https://www.trewaudio.com/product/hawk-woods-sd-2/ Sd-1 quoted as being UK£87 including tax, SD-2 at UK£115 incuding tax. Regards,
  12. soundmanjohn

    DUNKIRK: Too Loud?

    The director of the the theatre show I'm currently working on, who is also a movie director, saw the film yesterday in a local cinema and said the biggest problem he found with the sound was lack of dynamic range, pretty loud all the time, so no space for big sound events. I plan to try and see it over the weekend. John
  13. soundmanjohn

    Soundfield/Ambisonics delivery workflow

    OK, maybe time for a little Ambisonic refresher here: apologies for those who already know, but I sense some real confusion here. All first-order Ambisonic microphones currently available use what's known as a tetrahedral array of four cardioid-ish capsules. Viewed from the front, those from Soundfield, Sennheiser and Core Sound have capsules arranged to point as follows: Front Left Up, Front Right Down, Back Left Down, Back Right Up. (Note that there is no actual front capsule - probably best to choose FLU which is nomally channel 1 in the output designation if you're going to scratch and verbally ident.) The DPA-4 mic reverses the up and down for each direction and as it's rare as hen's teeth, we'll ignore it for the moment. The SPS200, the Sennheiser Ambeo and the CoreSound TetraMic all deliver just the four capsule outputs and use software to carry out further processing. WIthout the further processing, these four mic outputs comprise what is known as an A-Format signal and if that's what you deliver to post, without any further details of mic orientation, you're just delivering four mic signals pointing in random directions. Soundfield, Sennheiser and CoreSound all have software-based tools to convert the A-Format signal to what's known as B-Format, which allows the magic to happen: Effectively, what you get in a B-Format signal is four mathematically defined microphones: an omni reference and three figure-of-eights, effectively pointing front-back, left-right and up-down. Further processing introduces correction filters and, in the case of the CoreSound, capsule corrections as well, specific to each particular microphone. Only CoreSound does this, Soundfield and Sennheiser rely on a generic corrections, reckoning that their capsule tolerances are pretty tight, although some have found this not to be the case. Soundfield's SurroundZone 2 (http://www.soundfield.com/products/surroundzone2) is free and deals with signals both in A & B-Format for its own microphones: CoreSound provides two free VST programs to deal with the A-B format conversion and capusle correction and then another for B-Format to various other output formats. (http://www.core-sound.com/TetraMic/1.php) Sennheiser's Ambeo effort currently only does the A-B conversion for its own microphone, but see below for an alternative.(http://en-uk.sennheiser.com/ambeo-blueprints-downloads) So, if you're delivering A-Format, you need to tell post which manufacturer the mic is from and the orientation at recording, i.e. front-fire, end-fire, and if inverted. The higher-priced Soundfields have the A to B-Format conversion carried out in hardware and the ability to correct for microphone orientation at the time of recording, plus a few other niceties, like a high-pass filter, gain control and, in the case of the ST450, the ability to output B-Format and a derived stereo output at the same time, with pattern and width control for the stereo output on the front panel, without affecting the B-Format output, which can be a time-saver if full surround is not required. if you're delivering B-Format and have corrected for mic orientation at recording time, this should probably be noted for information. B-Format signals can then be transcoded to any channel count, from mono to full surround with height, with the right software. Some of this software is free, as in the Soundfield and CoreSound offerings, along with programs from the likes of Daniel Courville, (http://www.radio.uqam.ca/ambisonic/) Angelo Farino (http://pcfarina.eng.unipr.it/Ambisonics.htm) and Bruce WIggins, (https://www.brucewiggins.co.uk/?page_id=78); some is not, like Dave McGriffy's premium VVEncode software for the TetraMic (https://www.vvaudio.com/products) and, the most comprehensive and powerful program, Svein Berge's Harpex-X, which can handle both flavours of Soundfield and the Sennhesier Ambeo and gives you all very many possibilities for transcoding. It's expensive, but it's worth it, in my opinion. Harpex-X also deals with FuMa (Furse-Malham) and AmbiX (or ACN or SND3, or whatever you want to call it) channel designation which, instead of the FuMa sequence of WXYZ, uses a numbered designation, the first four of which, 0,1,2 & 3 correspond to FuMa's WYZX, although there's some level jiggery pokery as well. The reasons for the change are to do with the ease of defining higher-order signals (more channels, better localisation.) http://www.harpex.net/ If you want to do really astonishing stuff in post with 1st order Ambisonics, the you should invest in Richard Furse's Blue Ripple software packages. http://www.blueripplesound.com/product-listings/pro-audio I hope this clarifies things a bit... (or maybe not.) Oh, and if you want Ambisonics on the cheap, only without the height element, the Zoom H2n with the V2 Firmware does a pretty good job. Regards, John Edit: I left out Matthias Kronlachner's excellent ambiX software - it's here: http://www.matthiaskronlachner.com/?p=2015
  14. soundmanjohn

    2 cardiod back to back=figure 8

    Well, M/S, for a start, but I find them useful in many circumstances because of the side null. In tight spaces in orchestra pits, for example, or in odd acoustics to minimise reflections from side walls. John
  15. soundmanjohn

    At the Dawn of Recorded Sound, No One Cared

    One of these recordings was played over the air by the BBC: the news reader, highly respected and professional Charlotte Green, heard her producer commenting in her headphones that it sounded like a bee trapped in a jar. This did not bode well for Charlotte's composure, as you can hear: