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Chris Durfy

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About Chris Durfy

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    Production Sound Mixer
  • Birthday September 13

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    United Kingdom
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  • Interested in Sound for Picture
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  1. Overview/Review of the Lectrosonics Duet IEM System

    Good stuff Larry! Thanks!
  2. I've spent the last few months putting Lectrosonics's latest IEM/IFB system, called the Duet, through the paces here on my current show. The system is hands-down the BEST sounding in-ear monitor I've ever come across. It has a very good range in our studio and is nearly impervious to an incredible amount of wireless signals that are being used on our set. It is fully digital, scalable and it's also one of the most configurable and flexible cart-based systems on the market. The M2T Transmitter: The transmitter is 1RU tall and the width is ½ of a rack. Each transmitter comes with a hardware kit that covers half of what is needed to rack mount two units together as 1RU. There is also a kit available for mounting one M2T in a single rack-space. It boasts a large screen with easy to read, logically laid out status information. It has four levels of brightness control. In addition, the front panel layout has a headphone jack & volume control, Menu/Select & Back buttons, factory reset button, four channel buttons, menu navigation up/down buttons, USB Port, IR Port and power switch. The USB port is for updates and connectivity to Wireless Designer. The IR Port is for transferring settings to the M2R Receiver (including frequency, name, limiter, mix mode, etc).There are also plugs that can be easily removed to have external antennas front mounted on either side of the front panel if mounting a single M2T with the optional rack kit. The rear panel has two antenna output BNC connectors, power jack, dual Dante ports, four XLR/TRS inputs and an ethernet port for use with Wireless Designer. The transmission system is fully digital, and not a hybrid like some other Lectrosonics products. It has two separate transmitter carriers that each contain two audio signals. I'll talk more about the advantages later in the review. In addition to the four different analog inputs, the M2T features full Dante Connectivity – which means if you are running Dante, you can easily route ANY channel to the transmitter using Dante Controller via your computer. The menu system is logically laid out. You can adjust the Audio Level/Trim, Audio Input > XLR1-4 and Digital (Dante), Polarity, Custom Headphone monitoring setups, Brightness, Panel Lock, and editing of the names for tracks, signals and the individual M2R's name. With the Duet System, you can also set up a “FlexList” for creating up to 16 user profiles to quickly access your personal mixes on any of the receivers. The Duet system is wide-band and runs 470-608 Mhz for the US version, and 470-614 MHz for the export version. Both versions of the transmitter offer RF power output settings at 10, 25 or 50 mW. The M2R Receiver: The M2R is enclosed in a very solid milled aluminum case with the Lectrosonics “EbNi” finish - just like the current LT & SM series. The front of the M2R has a easy to read, square 1” x 1” screen. By default, it shows Name, signal strength & antenna diversity status, battery level percentage and audio levels (L & R). Under the screen there are four buttons: Menu/Select, Back, Up and Down. To the left of the screen is a battery LED showing battery strength (Green, Yellow & Red). This is useful when the screen backlight is set up to sleep after 30 seconds. The top of the unit has two fixed antennas, on/off & volume control pot, IR port, headphone jack and RF Link status LED. The left side has the battery door (dual AA). The right side has a USB port. There is a socket on the left and right side for mounting the wire belt clip. The rear has the model number / serial number plate and the battery installation guide. The M2R menu system is feature rich, especially compared to most currently used systems on sets. From the menu, you can do Frequency Scans, access FlexLists, Frequency, L/R Balance adjustment, Mixer Mode (choosing a given audio output to L/R/Mono), Limiter functions, HF Boost, Meter Mode, Clear Scan Data, Backlight Level, Battery Type, Lock Settings and set the Compatibility Mode (Duet Digital or FM IFB). Range / RF Immunity: The Duet system is limited to a 50mw transmission. Even so, we get a range that easily covers our entire large studio floor. This is considering that the amount of other wireless devices on our set is more than I've ever seen - by a large factor. In fact, we're using a Clearcom Freespeak II system that sends up to 32 channels of audio out to the comms systems of our puppeteers. We tried the most common forms of IEM/IFB being used (Lectrosonics R1As, Comtek 216s and Sennheiser G3s) next to the Freespeak II transmitters. In each case the receiver got a nasty proximity buzzing sound... all except for the M2R, which was ROCK SOLID right up against the Freespeak II transmitter. Battery Life: Using Eneloop Pro rechargeable batteries, we easily made it to lunch (6+ hours), especially with the backlight set to 30 seconds on before going to sleep. (Update) I’ve gotten reports from another crew who are using the Duet System with Energizer AA Lithiums. They’ve been getting a full day on one set of batteries. Advantages in the real world: The Duet system is ideal for use as a PL and IFB for Boom Operators. A BoomOp has the independent ability to switch between Program Mix and Boom ISO Mix using the Mixer or Flexlist menu. The system is also ideal for directors and executives. Keep in mind, the menu controls can be locked in the menu. How We've Been Using It: We've been using it two ways on our set: 1: BoomOp IFB/PL - Our Boom Operators can switch between a Program Mix/Private Line Feed and an Isolated Boom Feed/Private Line Feed at a couple of button presses. The ability to use an isolated feed is great for finding noises and checking for strange reflections / phase issues. 2: Director's Comms / PL to Puppeteers - Our director is also operating a steadicam. We have a belt worn Comm/PL kit that consists of a M2R receiving a custom mix (Program + Performers). We are using a Lectro SMV with a Lectro Mute Switch (Referee-style) and lavalier so the director can then give instructions directly into the comm system to our puppeteers. Costs (MSRP): M2TND (no Dante): $2150.00 US M2T (With Dante): $2335.00 US M2R: $1080.00 US Take note: •Only a cart-based transmitter is available currently. There is a plan for a bag transmitter in the near future, but no definitive date set. •We've had the blue volume control knob come loose over time. No worries, just keep a 0.5mm hex wrench on hand and give it a good tighten now and then. •Be warned: once you've given the M2R to your director to listen to, they will never want to listen to another “inferior” IEM/IFB again. ;-) In Conclusion: The Duet is a powerful system offering crystal clear audio, great range and high RF immunity. Along with it's amazing routing options and also coupled with full Dante connectivity, the Lectrosonics Duet IEM Monitoring System is a prime choice for on set use. Links: Lectrosonics Duet System Page http://www.lectrosonics.com/europe/M2-Duet-System-IEM/IFB/category.html DUET Manuals: http://www.lectrosonics.com/europe/category/96-m2-duet-system-iem-ifb.html Full Review and Pictures on my blog: http://blog.chrisdurfy.com/the-lectrosonics-duet-iem-system-m2t-m2r/

    I've always liked and respected Don, even though I never had a chance to meet him in person. Over the years after purchasing my first Loon, I'd give him a call for parts, advice and support. He was always helpful, available and didn't hesitate to send parts and take the time tell me how to properly put them into play. I last talked to him about three weeks before his death, not knowing he was sick. We talked about sending me some parts for my Loon to the UK. I told him no rush, and to send them via USPS. A part of me hopes to still see them arrive in the post any day just as a testament to Don's values. Godspeed Don. You will be missed. -Chris
  4. URSA Straps Review

    URSA Strap – A better mousetrap aka THIGHstrap! I’ve recently had the chance to play with the full line of URSA straps. Let me bluntly say that they are a total gamechanger in the world of wireless bodypack straps. They are thinner, more breathable and simply better built. They also have some ingenious design features that take them leaps and bounds above the existing market leader in straps, Neopax. Let’s take a look at the differences: URSA vs NeoPax Material – The URSA strap is a 1 mm thick fabric that is much thinner than NP, yet still feels strong and stretchy. It can be easier to hide and is much more breathable. Costume department members and actors will be fans! They also take up a lot less space in the kit, which is an added bonus! Pouch – The pouch is sewed together with a much higher quality stitch than the Neopax, which, in my experience, are sometimes prone to come apart. Each ankle and thigh strap have an oval of nonslip gripper inside the pouch to keep the transmitter securely in place. URSA Pouch Protector straps are also available for absolute security. Nonslip – Ever had an actress hiking and pulling up her thigh strap over and over in between takes? Well URSA has applied the same nonslip strip in each pouch on the thigh strap which highly minimizes / eliminates the issue. Again, happy actors and costumers is a good thing! Cable Management – URSA has added a special cable Management pocket to effectively manage excess wire. There is a technique for using it, check out the URSA video: https://www.facebook.com/ursastraps/videos/386809564997907/ Velcro Alignment – The velcro on the URSA strap is curved and also doesn’t go edge to edge. This, again, is for actor comfort. And it also won’t threaten to ruin a pair of tights like the Neopax thigh straps, which have velcro from edge to edge, have in the past. The curved velcro also can be helpful to blend in under wardrobe without the stark lines that can telegraph through wardrobe like with the Neopax. The velcro on the thigh strap is also of a lower profile to further reduce possible snagging and bunching up. Color Coded Identification – Again, a simple design idea that allows for easy identification of which strap is which. The color also quickly identifies the pouch’s top side orientation. Strap Colors – URSA comes in three colors: Beige, Brown and Black. Brown is a welcome addition for our darker skinned actors. Strap / Pouch Sizes – The URSAs come in five sizes: Ankle, thigh and waist (small, medium & large). Each strap also has two pouch sizes available to accommodate smaller and larger transmitters. Chest Strap – Chest straps have always been a difficult beast. I’ve never come across one that really worked. They’d slip, be visible under wardrobe and cable management was difficult. URSA’s Chest Strap manages all of these problems. Like the rest of the line, it is extremely thin for hidability. Similar to the thigh straps, it has the non-slip strips to keep the strap in place. And it incorporates cable management guides along the strap to guide the microphone cable in place under the strap. URSA Case – URSA also has a nice clear pouch available to keep your straps together in a neat orderly package along with the color-coded identification chart. Availability – Until recently, you couldn’t get URSA Straps in the US, but I’m hearing reports that the hurdle has been overcome with some design changes and you should be seeing them in stock around April or May of this year! All in all, I think URSA is going take over the market for its segment of the production sound world. I for one, will be using them exclusively from now on! Find out more at http://ursastraps.com/ You can see my original blog post and loads of comparison pictures here: http://blog.chrisdurfy.com/?p=711
  5. I feel like I am seeing parts of private messages between folks on the main page. Anyone else? Concerned? Cheers, -Chris
  6. Orcabags OR-32 Revision

    I’ve been playing with a new pre-release version of the Orcabags OR-32 I got from the Orca bags R&D team. I built directly out of my version 1 OR-32 and I must say, I am VERY impressed with the myriad of updates! The bag retains all of the features I really liked, like bag rigidity, accessibility and quality construction. The updated bag has addressed some early issues that I had with the OR-32, (even as serviceable and robust as it was) and dealt with ever single issue and adding some nuances and user upgrades along the way! Main TPU Loops have been moved to the frame – This means no more drooping sides when clipping cables and accessories to the bag. All small snaps have been converted to Velcro connections. Rain flap Velcro has also been added in lieu of snaps when rain flap is in use. Finally, the flap has an addition of velcro so that it can roll up into itself and stay shut. Both zippered side access points have been converted to a larger and more accessible oval opening with extra zipper heads. Side Removable accessory pouches also lose their snaps in favor of Velcro connections. Extra Zipper Heads on all four corners allow for more cable management options. Pull tabs at velcro connections allow for easier opening of bag sides. At the top front pocket they are two Velcro straps to hold a boom pole / protector. Great addition! I also wanted to confirm that CF & SD cards and 1/8” Headphones input are accessible on SD 688 when mounted properly. I used some zip ties to really lock it in after leveling with the OrcaLift mounts. Cheers Orcabags on a great revision of a great product! Pictures on my blog at: http://blog.chrisdurfy.com/?p=657 Cheers, -Chris
  7. Let's buy JW a night out!

    Too late Jeff, this one is on us! Enjoy!
  8. Let's buy JW a night out!

    Who else would like to thank Jeff for all his hard work in fostering the sound community? Chip in $1, $5 or $10 and buy him a great dinner! https://www.gofundme.com/JWsound Thanks Jeff!
  9. Venue vs. Venue 2 Breakdown

    Significant updates to the original post have just been made.
  10. Venue vs. Venue 2 Breakdown

    I’ve recently had the pleasure of using the new Lectrosonics Venue 2. It’s such a huge improvement over the original Venue; something our industry already considers the proven modular workhorse. With new features such as wide-band blocks, IQ filtering, lowered noise floor, Wireless Designer with built-in frequency coordination and—one of my favorite features—menu-driven antenna power toggling, you can be sure to see the Venue 2 on sound mixer’s carts all over the world soon enough! What the new and old Venues have in common: The Venue and Venue 2 share many core similarities. Each can handle six wireless modules which can be installed without tools. Both have a built-in RF multi-coupler with loop-thru output to gang multiple units together through a common pair of antennas. Phantom power is available to run remote powered antennas. They are also both available in Wideband Low (470 - 691 MHz) and Wideband Mid (537 - 768 MHz). For the most part, every feature from the Venue has been carried over and/or improved in the new Venue 2. Front Face The front face on the new V2 is a flush surface with membrane buttons, a welcome change. It also sports a new non-glare flush-mount LCD that has brightness options and can display more information. The selector dial is now a larger wheel. New additions to the face include: Alert indicators, an IR port (for programming newer style transmitters), a USB connectivity port and a recessed reset switch. The headphone knob is now a push to open/close knob. Also of note: There are two rubber caps on either side of the face that allow BNCs to be rerouted from the back to the front of the venue. Rear Panel The V2 rear panel has all of the same elements of the original V1 with a singular and powerful addition: the ethernet port. The BNC ports have been rearranged into an over/under rather the the V1's side by side layout. Top Existing V1 users will be at home with the design of the V2. Modules are loaded in the same way and locked into place with clips, just like the V1. VRT vs VRT2 – Wideband The new VRT2s are now wide band. They allow tuning between three consecutive blocks with 3072 tunable frequencies in each module called Bands. A1, covering blocks 470, 19 and 20 (470.100 - 537.575 MHz), B1, covering blocks 21, 22 and 23, (537.600 - 614.375 MHz), C1, covering blocks 24, 25 and 26 (614.400 - 691.175 MHz). Please note: older VRTs and VRSs are not compatible with the new V2. IQ Filtering “Basically, IQ filter means Intelligent Q. The filter dynamically adjusts according to received signal strength. Let's say you are in a hi RF environment . With Venue, you would run a risk of front end overload setting your transmitters to 250 mW at close range. IQ filtering sharpens the Q of the filter and lowers sensitivity if the signal is strong. This reduces interference and allows tighter spacing. If the talent walks away, the sensitivity increases and the Q is lowered to capture more RF. Impossible to overload and automatically adaptive. At its lowest Q it's like a VRT. At its highest Q, it's like a 411 on steroids. Additionally, the tracking changes with the frequency - more resolution - LOTS MORE” - Gordon Moore Phase Switching & Noise Floor Reduction “Considerable time was spent in engineering on the diversity circuit and algorithms for the Venue 2. First, how often the phase switching takes place was reduced. In the older systems, this switching is more aggressive, meaning that even with fairly strong signals, the phase of the 2nd antenna can still tend to switch. With the Venue 2, this switching is minimized to when it is absolutely needed, i.e. the signal drops by a lot and/or the noise is increasing. Because of this, there are fewer corrections needed to keep this switching out of the audio. Then, a significant amount of tuning by ear was done to the design of the hardware and software filters and timing elements. Even though the resulting numbers appear to be better only by a small amount (up to a 1.4% reduction in distortion at 250 Hz, with 45 kHz of deviation, for instance), the improvement in subjective sound quality is more significant. Of course, users will have to judge for themselves if they can hear these improvements.“ - Karl Winkler Spectrum Scan The Spectrum Scan operates as before. It's scan speed has been improved quite a bit, especially considering it scans three times more of the spectrum with the new wide-band VRT2s. Smart Tune The SmartTune process is like that in V1. It provides a step-by-step way to set frequencies based on real world conditions. It works well for up to six channels, but any more than that will probably take longer than most people have the patience for. New LCD The new screen is 50% larger and has a much higher resolution, allowing for more information to be displayed. It is also now flush with the face of the V2. It has four settings for brightness control and sports a non-glare screen. Alert Indicators The V2 now will now report when an antenna short is detected by blinking above the hazard icon and turn off power to antennas automatically. The bi-directional arrows next to the hazard symbol let you know when the V2 is connected to a computer source through the ethernet or USB connector running Wireless Designer. Wireless Designer: Venue Control, Frequency Scanner & Coordination Wireless Designer is a great suite of tools that offers direct control of your V2's functions and marries in a built-in full spectrum frequency scanner that has easy exporting ability to it's frequency coordination program. I will explore the Wireless Designer tools in more detail in the upcoming "Road Test". Front USB Access Windows users can easily direct-connect to the V2 via Wireless Designer with standard USB "B" cable. Lectrosonics is currently working on an update to allow OSX users to use the USB connector in the front. The update should be entering a beta test period soon and should be available to Mac users in the near future. Ethernet Enabled You can connect to the V2 with both Mac and PCs via Wireless Designer. Your V2 must be wired into a router so that it is assigned it's own I.P. address. As mentioned above, this is only way, currently, to connect a Mac to the V2. Talkback Talkback is a brand new feature built into the V2. It sets up a module as a “com” channel so the person using a HH transmitter can have a direct line to the crew or production staff by depressing the button on the HH. It might come in handy for a "Voice of God" setup. IR Transmitter Control With newer transmitters that allow it, such as the LT, you can have the V2 program your settings by holding up your transmitter within a couple of feet from the IR Port. You can choose to send frequencies only, or send all settings for the transmitter. Menu-based Antenna Power Toggling Finally, we can turn on and off phantom power without having to pull the V1 out the rack after disconnecting all cables and then using a screw driver to open the unit up and then reseting the jumper pins and then reversing the process! Now, it is as simple as a toggled setting in the V2 menu, or from a screen in Wireless Designer. Walk Test Recorder Walk Test Recorder is a utility built into Wireless Designer that records the signal strength of a transmitter during a walk test on a scrolling display. You have the option of recording the audio to the computer by using the included ¼” to 1/8” adapter. The audio will sync up to scrolling display on playback so you can visually see signal strength as it references any audio problems. Pricing Venue: $1,499.00 / VRT Module: $550 Total Venue & 6 VRT modules: $4799 Venue 2: $2375 / VRT2 Module: $679 Total Venue 2 & 6 VRT2 modules: $6499 Road testing: Coming up in Part II! See pics and comparisons on the blog: http://blog.chrisdurfy.com/?p=554
  11. First Look at the Lectrosonics Venue 2

    Ahhh, I think you have to be a member of Facebook and the Freelance Sound Mixer's Group. If you can't see it now, I will post something here in a few days. Cheers, -C
  12. First Look at the Lectrosonics Venue 2

    I'll be putting something more formal together later, but here is a first look at the Venue 2. Pretty sweet! https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.10156188512640543&type=1 -Chris
  13. I'm thinking Glenn should be offering Rado a job in the near future. ;-)
  14. 4th Annual Atlanta Sound Mixer Barbecue

    Hey all, Here is a link to the public dropbox folder for the pictures. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qou9dn4jq0gtbzk/AAC6nlSHJJbW5VY_IDCCofATa?dl=0 Thanks to all who participated! Cheers, -Chris