Mattg

Two Channel Wireless Sound Package Advice

14 posts in this topic

I am researching a two channel, wireless audio package, for a client. They are looking to use it on a no budget project / favor and have some experience with shooting, but very little with capturing audio. They realize they'd be better off hiring someone, but the people they will be filming are not willing to have additional crew in the room. Budget is $3,000

I am not very familiar with the prosumer and lower end stuff, having used all Lectrosonics and Sound Devices, for 15 years

Recorder requirements are

Small in footprint, records 2-4 channels, XLR inputs,  best possible sound quality, blue tooth transmitter for monitoring or sending scratch track to camera, decent limiter, long battery life

Wireless requirements are

straightforward to use, best possible sound quality, long battery life, relatively compact

Advice / ideas welcome.

 

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The budget is $3k for all of that? Do they want to rent or buy?

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When I've been asked this sort of question I usually (truthfully) reply that I don't know anything about prosumer wireless below the level of Senn G3 stuff.  I don't want to be responsible for someone buying some brand-x wireless and then ending up with bad audio because the gear wasn't up to the task.....     Suggest they look at older used gear?

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I have a Roland R4 Pro (4 Track Recorder with Timecode) and a couple audio technica wireless I'd sell you

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I would still suggest hiring a sound person - when everything is set up and the cast are properly wired up, mixer can work from outside the room...

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As others have stated in other ways, even with $40,000 of the best gear their inexperience practically guarantees that the sound will suck very well indeed even with you available by phone for advice. Better to give a motivated not-quite-just-out-of-school student with their own gear the $3K and go forth that way. Well that assumes they want it to sound semi-professionally done. As Johnny noted, wireless should permit mixing from the next room, but not in the hands of someone totally inexperienced.

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This topic causes my heart to sink somewhat, as my "other job" is doing audio post, often on small-scale "content" docs.  Please do not advise inexperienced but well-meaning people to buy low-end gear: if they can't hire a real soundie then please tell them to A: get less good gear instead of more junk, B: really learn (be taught) how to use it before you go out to shoot, and C: only fight the battles your army can win, so to speak.  Keep it simple.

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Maybe the sennheiser avx system might fit the bill for this. Paired with a zoom h6 or f4? It's designed for set it and go non-soundies. The agc on the avx system might actually be useful for this sort of scenario.

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It's not such a big deal - Zoom F4, Sony 7506, Rode shotgun or used 416, softy and the rest on batteries, cables and radios - G3 / UWP / AVX / Rode Link (G3s and Sonys can be easily repurposed has hops or monitors and more than 1 RX can be on the same freq). Probably find this sort of package at 1 of the suppliers. For the stated budget this is a credible way to go - of course their budget is what you spend on 1 radio mic but that's why they're asking you. 

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32 minutes ago, daniel said:

It's not such a big deal - Zoom F4, Sony 7506, Rode shotgun or used 416, softy and the rest on batteries, cables and radios - G3 / UWP / AVX / Rode Link (G3s and Sonys can be easily repurposed has hops or monitors and more than 1 RX can be on the same freq). Probably find this sort of package at 1 of the suppliers). For the stated budget this is credible way to go - of course their budget is what you spend on 1 radio mic but that's why they're asking you. 

Right, no big deal for any of us here, but note that op said "they have some experience with shooting, but very little with capturing audio".

Fast forward to shoot day when they try to set up and have no idea about gain staging, setting radio frequencies etc. Even if they managed to hook everything up or someone helped them do this part - who will monitor? Keep track of batteries and so on...

Will very possibly end up with something like "um ok, let's just put the shotgun on the camera and shoot this".

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I'm wondering if this sort of job would be a good place for the various little body-pack recorders (without wireless) plus an upgrade to the on-camera mic. They are unlikely to really monitor wireless properly, and can sync the individual recorded Lavs (if they work out) with the guide track on camera manually or using Pluraleyes in post. Maybe set them up with a mic cable and decent boom stand for interview setups (the K&M overhead stand is a lot cheaper / simpler than a C-Stand/Boom Buddy/mic boom rig) to get the mic off the camera when appropriate.

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Thank you for everyone's reply. I appreciate and agree, with everyone's concerns. Everything I suggest to them, will be with a signed disclaimer. Something will definitely go wrong, at some point and this I have pointed out. 

These are folks that appreciate the value of hiring real sound professionals and are ONLY using this in very confidential and sensitive situations where only one person is allowed into a maximum security facility. If you can't bring the sound mixer with you, best next option is to tap into their knowlege / problem solving skills and make the best of it.

With that said, thank you for the suggestion nickreich. I did some research and came across a couple promising, budget units, which I will test and swap out the lavs on, before delivering. I am going to suggest two units, on each person, one set at a very low level.

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Are these maximum security facilities going to be happy with allowing unsecured wireless transmitters inside?

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On 28/01/2017 at 10:24 PM, Johnny Karlsson said:

Right, no big deal for any of us here, but note that op said "they have some experience with shooting, but very little with capturing audio".

Fast forward to shoot day when they try to set up and have no idea about gain staging, setting radio frequencies etc. Even if they managed to hook everything up or someone helped them do this part - who will monitor? Keep track of batteries and so on...

Will very possibly end up with something like "um ok, let's just put the shotgun on the camera and shoot this".

There are some similarities between "shooting" and "capturing audio" as well some differences - they'll figure it out eventually.

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