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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
    Yes
  • About
    Audio supervisor for statewide Public TV network

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  1. Werner Althaus

    Recording from nightclub House AV - any tips?

    Terrific recording, really engaging both visually and aurally, that's the way it's done IMHO. I hope the shoot went well for the OP. I've done a few of these myself and the #1 thing is to realize that the board feed is only going to include sources that need reinforcement, if the instrument is loud enough acoustically it will likely not be miked, so for those sources and audience / ambience you have to use your own mics. these days I usually ask if the club/ venue has one of those ubiquitous Behringer X-32 rigs or similar that allows for ISO recordings of every micpre via FW or built-in SD card. If they do your day is going to be very easy, just ask to plug your supplemental mics (audience, etc) into FOH mixer as well (without sending them to the PA of course) and record with your laptop and DAW of choice ( I prefer Reaper for this, by far the most resilient for live recording) or onto SD card. You do put your fate into the hands of the FOH soundguy somewhat but if he/ she can't get clean signals through the FOH board then it's going to ruin the recording one way or another anyway, either by clipping or feedback or both.
  2. Werner Althaus

    Favorite Mic to use for Interior Situations?

    That's a lot of recommendations here. Instead of listing my favorite budget mic (I don't really have one) I'll just point out what I believe to be the most important feature for indoor use. Most mics recommended offer good enough specs in most areas except the most important one and that is off-axis response. (Lack of) Off-axis coloration is what separates Schoeps from the rest of the pack, and if I was looking for a cheap alternative I'd find the mic with the least amount of off-axis coloration.
  3. Werner Althaus

    Digital + Analog

    yes, but this isn't about Zaxcom, I'm not up to the latest specs on digital outputs of receivers but if the AES output is 44.1, 32 or anything else other than 48KHz I'd use the analog output unless I had a chance to put the mixers' SRC circuit through its paces. Not all SRCs are created equal. If the manufacturer includes the SRC circuit in their design chances are that it'll perform well though. On the other side, the analog output of our lectro SRc and 411A receivers is not significantly degraded by a second pass of AD conversion so I trust it more than certain SRC scenarios, especially 44.1 to 48 or something similar. 32 or 96 to 48 might be okay, the math would support that. My concerns are not only related to immediately audible audio degradation but also how it affects audio restoration software like RX 6, etc.
  4. Werner Althaus

    Digital + Analog

    I couldn't find the relevant posts and didn't feel like digging because it was a rather unpleasant exchange IIRC. Anyway, my take on this would be that if the output of the digital receiver is anything but 48K I'd treat it like an analog device just to be safe. YMMV.
  5. Werner Althaus

    Digital + Analog

    Maybe I didn't word it correctly, so to clarify, nobody suggested that up sampling would improve audio bandwidth, I'm NOT asking about the merits of 32KHz vs 48KHz sampling, I'm wondering if it would make sense to connect a 32 KHz AES output from a Zaxcom receiver (32 or 96KHz, correct? or do they have 48KHz output options?) and have the AES input of the mixer/recorder do the SRC to 48KHz (which of course would add no HF audio information, just "useless data" and possible HF garbage) versus connecting the analog Zaxcom out (the "real world scenario" or, as you put it..."it would be stupid...") to an analog in and do a straight AD conversion. Would you be comfortable running varying sample rates digitally into a mixer handling all the SRC? Just curious.
  6. Werner Althaus

    Digital + Analog

    I remember a discussion regarding Zaxcom's 32 KHz sampling rate and how it's irrelevant because, among other things "in the real world" (so I was told) the analog output would be used and converted to 48KHz digital via the recorder. This raises the question whether SRC (32 to 48 KHz) is preferable to DAC/ ADC both in terms of quality and latency. Thanks
  7. Werner Althaus

    Sennheiser MKH 8060 vs. MKH 416 for sound effects recording

    When I record outside FX it's usually either a Schoeps XY rig or a Sennheiser MKH60/30 MS combo. Neumann RSM 191 was probably my favorite but a bit clunky in the field due to it's power/ steering box. I used 416s for this in the past but find self noise and comparatively low output to be a problem with natural ambiences. Having said that I would not dismiss the 416 outright since there are things that IMHO only a 416 can do. I find that impact sounds, punches, ball bounces and hits, baseball glove catches, pretty much anything at a rodeo, etc. really benefit from the thunderous response of a 416, the 60 and others don't even come close. There'll always be a place for the good old 416.
  8. No, it is not, that's not how frequency responses were listed, read it again: "The frequency response at 15ips was spec’d at 30Hz to 15kHz (+/-2dB)." Translation: From 30 Hz to 15KHz the frequency response falls within +/- 2dB of the input signal, what comes out matches what went in within +/- 2dB. Outside those frequencies the frequency response is less linear and what comes out can't match the input signal within the +/- 2dB range deemed acceptable for a professional machine but there's definitely frequencies above 15KHz being recorded and reproduced, unlike in digital where a filter with a ultra steep slope keeps everything above sample-rate divided by 2 out of the signal path to avoid aliasing.
  9. The board's specs likely exceeded those of the tape recorder. The tape machines' honest specs are actually quite impressive for its vintage. Analog tape machines are usually lined up at 100 Hz, 1KHz and 10 KHz, if those can be lined up reasonably flat then it is assumed that the machines are reasonably flat, Note that what happens outside of 100 Hz to 10KHz isn't included in this at all. Tape machines' frequency response depends, among other things, on the tape speed, in a nutshell you get better bass response at 15IPS and more high end at 30 IPS. But the "Low end head bump" that all machines exhibit ,usually falls below 100Hz and it can can really mess with the low end of a mix on playback, much more so than a gentle roll off of the highs, just ask Bob Clearmountain or pretty much any engineer who cut his teeth on analog tape. The fact that this machine is spected within 2dB from 30 Hz to15 KHz is quite impressive and in addition it doesn't mean that there's nothing happening above 15KHz, it just means that it's high frequency response rolls off more than 2dB at this point, unlike the Zaxcom (or any other) digital gear where there's nothing happening above, 16KHz or 20 KHz, or whatever the cut-off is. Analog vs digital, apples and oranges. And regarding what anybody can hear, there's a famous story about Geoff Emmerick's complaint about one single channel in the custom Neve console build for George Martin, it turns out that the channel in question was oscillating at 54KHz and Geoff heard it.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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