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Werner Althaus

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About Werner Althaus

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  • Location
    Lincoln, NE
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
  • About
    Audio supervisor for statewide Public TV network

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  1. I forgot to mention, I went to the Nashville location, I think it's much newer and maybe in better shape. Got to listen to some fine mics but nothing at VK could touch the mics I heard at Shannon Rhoades' "mic-rehab", he's Blackbirds "mic curator" and makes his own capsules for Mitek CV4 mods. That's where I'd spend my money if I was in the market.
  2. Are you referring to the video or the regular setup at the store? When I was there I found the setup with the foot switches really useful. What I remember most was the fact that there were 2 mics that really stood out from the crowd and no, they were not U47 clones. Everybody I was with that day picked those 2 as the standouts. In this video I don't hear anything conclusive, other than that the U47fet sounds rather underwhelming on vocal,(there's a reason you only see those in front of kick drums) and that the cheaper variants, while generally holding their own, appear more sibilant. Interesting also the differences in pickup pattern (all are cardioid, I assume), you can really hear the room differently in all those mics when the guy sings. I was surprised about the U87AI, the guy must not be hitting it very hard since those mics are so easily clipped rather unpleasantly by strong voices.
  3. Werner Althaus

    MIX and ISO Tracks levels

    I get it but I felt that the Sony decks -20 dBFS reference = +4dBu with a front end that could take it all the way up to 0dBFS was a beautiful thing in the field and a great match to fieldmixers that actually were capable of outputting clean +24dBu. In the meantime companies like SD have moved the goalposts and now have made 0dBu the defacto reference with a max of +20dBu output.Not crazy about that one. . For post to sacrifice 8-10 dB headroom at the top of the scale due to broadcast delivery specs had probably more to do with legacy technology in the analog transmission realm where 10dB of headroom was all you got. I still have to mix live with a -10dBFS peak ceiling for certain networks, not my favorite thing in the world but I get where they are coming from and why they are reluctant to adopt loudness normalized TruePeak levels of -2dBFS.
  4. Werner Althaus

    MIX and ISO Tracks levels

    That's really interesting, I never really thought about S/N vs dynamic range in analog vs digital systems and what it means exactly , so thank you for that insight. S/N is a confusing term anyway in this day and age when people refer to a microphone's isolation of wanted audio against unwanted audio as "Signal to noise ratio", arguing that directional mics have "better S/N", etc. I also don't think the theoretical dynamic range of a digital system as determined by some formula is of much use in determining the usable dynamic range of a given system. That's where the ears come in. Take 16bit, giving us a range that should be adequate for anything you throw at it. I used to record a few orchestral performances and operas in the late 90's/ early 2000's on Tascam DA-88s (16bit). A few years earlier I was working some with blackface ADATs (16bit) and the usable dynamic range of these two systems struck me as vastly different because the ADATs sounded pretty ratty when pushed close to 0 dBFS while the Tascam handled it much better IMO. On the other end however they both exhibited a high degree of quantization noise, dither/ noise shaping wasn't what it is today. So while the 16bit machines theoretically had a dynamic range of 96dB plus change, in reality they performed (much) worse than a good analog recorder with SR. Even today those numbers tossed around regarding dynamic range don't warrant much attention IMO ("ADC A is better because it has 137 dB of dynamic range, ADC B is bad because it only has 127" etc.) . The Zoom F8 (sorry for picking on this one, it's actually a nice machine for the money) claims a dynamic range of 120 dB, in reality I treat it as little more than half that. Maybe I'm wrong but the only 3 digit number in decibels I care about is the maximum SPL a mic can handle, that number actually matters as we all know. Thanks again.
  5. Werner Althaus

    MIX and ISO Tracks levels

    Maybe I didn't explain clearly what I was trying to say but my point was that in practice I can gain up a nice Schoeps mic to give me "good healthy and clean" levels (peaks around -3 or 4 dBFS on my Zoom F8) only to find that the mic sounds "pinched" or 'slightly distorted and shrill"while backing off the mic pre's gain and effectively lowering the ISO levels will improve the response significantly but going too far the other direction into "super-safe" territory will result in a lifeless, dull recording. These linearity issues are a fairly common problem with budget audio interfaces and mixers. I tend to gain stage according to the gear I'm using, the better the chain, the hotter (or lower, not a paradox since improved linearity affects both ends of the dynamic range) I feel I can print, within reason. The frontend on SD 442/ 664/ 552 or 633 , while all sounding different, have never given me any grief in this area but the Zoom definitely has as have the mic and line inputs of cheap cameras. I'll hit a Sony PDW700 different than a Canon C 100 and I remember the Sony HDW-F900 sounding way better when hit hard than any camcorder on the market today. So IMHO proper gain staging is one thing but knowing how your gear responds to varying levels is also important.
  6. Werner Althaus

    MIX and ISO Tracks levels

    I don't necessarily agree with this, it sounds like the old "don't waste any bits" argument of the 16 bit era. I have found that it really depends on the analog front end and ADC. Mic gain and ISO recording levels are linked (if pre-fade ISOs are recorded) so if you have a cheap mixer/ recorder (Zoom F8, etc) gaining up to "use every bit" may result in a "pinched" sound from the pres giving out before the ADC clips while under-cranking the mic gain may result in an "anemic" sound. I usually shoot for peaks in the -18-12dBFS range and as a post mixer I expect to make up 10 dB of gain or more on ISOs, no big deal as long as there's good S/N ratio, which again can be a problem with cheap mixers/ recorders when printing low levels, regardless of 24bit resolution. On quality mixers/ recorders that most here use this is less of an issue since a good quality pre and ADC will be linear across a wide range but many cheap interfaces and mixers/ recorders underperform in this area so it is something to be mindful of. I wouldn't say that a recording approaching 0 dBFS would constitute a "perfect recording" unless I knew the recording chain.
  7. I don't know if they "squeeze the intelligibility out of the tracks" or whether that's even possible. The 3rd clip sounds to me like watching Colombo on "MeTV" or some other secondary TV channel geared towards nostalgic viewers. I've heard it said many times here that shows like "Colombo" sounded really good because of competent actors projecting well and great boom ops vs lavs everywhere, however these stations, for reasons I can only guess, have turned the soundtrack into an unintelligible mess due to excessive audio compression. The 3rd scene's noisy location may not nearly be as problematic if they only laid off the compression a bit, but the fact that the dialog is still intelligible is a testament to the mixers ability to "proof" his mixes to withstand the abuses the audio may be exposed to downstream. I do agree with the comments regarding audiences expectations vs creative decisions, like I said, IMO it's done for effect, not to help with intelligibility. hard to listen to nonetheless.
  8. I don't believe that the compression used in the first 2 examples was supposed to help with intelligibility and consistency at lower listening levels, I believe it was used as a tone shaping tool similar to what pop music guys do. I personally find it irritating to hear the room getting sucked into the mic during dialog, it actually hurts intelligibility but it does have a "dramatic" effect of sorts. To someone who grew up listening to hyper compressed audio it might actually sound more "normal", but to me it's a distraction. If leveling for consistency is the goal there are much better ways to achieve this than strapping a high ratio compressor across the dialog track. The third track is just too hilarious to comment on.
  9. Werner Althaus

    360 Video dialog panning convention

    I've done a few 360 video mixes uaing Audio Ease 360pan suite, usually music or outdoor ambiences and the occasional presentation where talent is always visible. I'm gearing up to mix a slew of 360 videos that'll feature on-location interviews (usually a lav on the subject, the interviewer standing "behind" the camera to be painted out). I have the 360 panning sorted out but I am curious about the panning convention when the video cuts away from the subject while he/ she is still talking, making the interview audio effectively non-diegetic. If the cutaway happens mid-sentence do I leave the point-source panning in place or dissolve into non-headtracking audio like what a Narrator would be? If we cut to the subject on camera mid sentence, do I dissolve from non-headtracking to headtracking pan? I'm also still on the fence whether to use Audioeases' "spatial blur" or a zero order (w channel only) bus to deal with this. IMO the spatial blur on HOA panners sounds phasey when monitored binaurally compared to a straight W-channel routing.
  10. Werner Althaus

    Audio Limited A10 for talent.

    Hi, Constantin Thanks for your comments, very useful. Regarding the hiss on speech, is there any way to describe it more specifically? Is it a data compression artifact, pre/post ringing, does this vary with the type of boom mic you use? I'd like a copy of those files. Regarding soundquality, to my ears our old 5000 series sennheiser analog system from the mid 90s still sounds the best, companding notwithstanding, just my opinion. My guess is that, as in all things related to digital audio, the quality of the analog front end matters at least as much, if not more than the AD/DA circuitry and digital transmission modes. .
  11. Werner Althaus

    New Zoom H3-VR Recorder mic combo..

    I just grabbed a quick screenshot of their live video with meters moving, so a bug maybe? Doesn't really matter, I was just unsure whether this is a legit B-format channel order that I hadn't heard of. Thanks.
  12. Werner Althaus

    New Zoom H3-VR Recorder mic combo..

    A typo in the display? I wonder if the channel order in the 4channel file matches Ambix ACN or the display.
  13. Werner Althaus

    New Zoom H3-VR Recorder mic combo..

    I was asked about this unit by some in-house emerging media producers recently so I'm following this discussion with some interest. First off I have to ask (maybe I'm ignorant) about the B-format channel order displayed in Zoom's promotional videos, I have never heard of a channel order WYXZ, can someone enlighten me? I believe this unit should be regarded as a replacement for the H2n, geared towards VR/360 shooters who work without audio support. As such I can see it being an upgrade. In close proximity to the sound source it'll probably gets you something that "moves" with head rotation and you get an actual track 3 waveform, bingo, mission accomplished. If you want things like timecode, better capsules , proper windprotection, additional tracks for Boom and lavs so you can actually record dialog, hire an audio guy. One thing I'd find useful here (and in the F8) would be binaural monitoring via Bluetooth. Looking forward to some reports from the field.
  14. Werner Althaus

    Neil Young talks about analog vs. digital

    Good point. I love old Neil and his approach to music, recording and all but I've been trying to make the same point in discussions numerous times, the idea that digital audio is different (and inferior for some esoteric reason) because electrical signals get converted into abstract things like zeros and ones falls apart when you consider that a tapehead is also nothing but a converter, call it a ACF converter (AC to Flux) converting electrical signal into storable information via magnetically orienting oxide particles. Even the stylus of a cutting lathe is a converter ,AC to mechanical, so are microphones and speakers and at every conversion process the original is encoded into a different physical state ( sorry, I'm no physicist, so excuse my lingo). Then there are our ears and brains, the ultimate conversion device, incoming mechanical signals passing through impedance conversion from air and bone to fluid, then decoded into electricity / sampled by a limited number of detectors (1,200 to 1,800 detectable frequencies) to ultimately be (up) converted again in our brain by comparison to previous data. The idea of "universal wholeness" vs "fragmented sameness" is a charming one though. BTW, are people still using the CLASP system (that device which lets you record digitally straight off the playbackhead during the recording process)? I thought it was a great idea.
  15. Werner Althaus

    Abisonic Microphones

    Yep, 360 cameras are cheap and they'll use every camera they can get their hands on, lol. As far as cameras in each others' shot, nobody seems to care, I was actually told not to worry about hiding mic cables or even dress them to look neat, in fact I was told not to. We only had one ambi mic for this , a Calrec Soundfield MK IV, and DPA 4060s, now we have an additional Sennheiser ambeo. But many times there are 3 to 5 cameras. I'm not sure I'd use multiple Ambi mics because of the recorders and cabling involved. Truth be told, the clients seem more interested in exaggerated spatial audio, something that the spot mics are really helpful with. Here's the Calrec plus spot mics https://www.facebook.com/netnebraska/videos/1969744153051575/ Here is the Ambeo with a spot mic on the organ, one camera only this time. .https://www.facebook.com/netnebraska/videos/2164905490202106/