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Lectrosonics SMQV and Buttplug Clicking During moving TX and RX


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Hey Guys,

 

I just bought some Lectros this year.  Prior to them, I was using my old RMS2000 system.  Despite it's size and lack of frequencies to choose from, I really liked my RMS2000 system.

 

I was mixing a scene on a moving train the other day and had the actors wired with the new Lectros.  They were all SMQV transmitters with cos-11's on them.  The boom op was using the Lectro butt plug. 

 

We did a range test and i was getting about 75% RF on the Venue display.  Figured I didnt want to risk anything, so I ran both my sharkfins into the picture car.  I was in the car next to it.  We used 25' of 50 ohm bnc per sharkfin to get them into the picture car.

 

When the train was stationary, everything was fine.  When the train moved, things were fine most of the time.  Occasionally, though, on both the butt plug and the SMQV's, i would get what sounded like a faint clicking.  It was not as loud as an intermittent mic connection would be.  The RF display on the Venue going up and down didnt seem to coincide with the sound i was getting.  I'm not sure how accurate the RF meter on the venue LCD is, but it was definitely happening when the meter displayed unchanging full RF reception.

 

It eventually stopped for whatever reason, and the scenes we shot sounded fine.  We got off the train and did some scenes with the same actors running full speed and going much farther away from me than they were on the train and I had no problems.

 

The next day, we did a picture car with a follow van.  I was in the follow van passenger seat with my venue.  Both actors in the picture car were wired.  there was a 416 with the buttplug planted for the driver.  Since i was out of lectros, i planted one of my old RMS 2000's for the second passenger.  

 

When both the picture car and the follow van moved at the same time, I got the same low intermittent clicking I heard on the train, but only on the lectrosonics units.  My rms2000's performed perfectly, which made me kind of sad.  The RF meter on the venue was rock solid the whole time we were free driving.  I eventually used the rms2000 to do the whole scene because the lectro clicking was so bad.

 

I know this seems kind of ridiculous that i'm talking about this clicking sound and dont have an example to play for you.  I'm going to go through my sound roll for the day and see if there is any place where i can get you guys an un-copywritten sample to hear.

 

anybody ever have this happen to them?  

 

 

Thanks,

 

joe

 

 

 

 

 

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Great point Jason.....  I talk about this often.... Per Lectro ...  Those SMQvs and even the butt plug need to be set high enough to allow for proper usage.... The SMQv, the -20 light should tickle red during your set up audio and level test... If thats not happening, you may have an answer... Many people set them at a number value instead of what the transmitter says....  The numbers are for reference only...  On a soft talker, it may be at 29, for a loud deal it may be at 11....  Play around with that.... It may be the answer...

 The butt plug is less of a deal... 12 noon is a starting point, or 11....

 

  If this is not the issue, it is something else.... With it happening to both, I would say a setting... but... who knows....  It probably sounded great through speakers though..

 

 A 416 in the car, pointed at the driver....  Interesting... ::)

 

Maybe the whole venue to the picture train car instead of the antennas...  Just a thought...  I always remote my units rather than running Antenna BNC...  I set my whole SIXPACK wherever I need it and mic line back to me...

But, it did the same on your other set up... so who knows...

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Thanks for the replies, guys.  I'm almost certain it is the gain setting now that you mention it.  I was struggling getting a good setting when I first set them up.  Why cant everything be as simple as an Audio Limited 10 position dial??

 

Didn't know that about the numbers/leds on the Lectros.  I'd need to have someone help me because i'm color blind.  LED's that are green/red are very hard for me to see.  The mixer I third for has to confirm that our batteries are charged for me....

 

I'll play around with the gain and see what happens.

 

On a semi-related note:  Does anyone with a Cooper 106 have a recommended way to deal with a line level input?  I was using the pad switches to bump down the feed from the venue system.  Is there any downside to using the full pad on the mixer to bump it down?

 

Thanks,

 

joe

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Over the years Lectrosonics has often commented that many users set their transmitter modulation too low. Earlier units had the limit LED set at about 10dB before limiting with the intent that it would frequently light with peaks. So many users avoided it lighting at all, that on the UMC200C version and forward, they set the limit LED to light at roughly a 10dB higher level, or just about at the threshold of limiting. Ideally, you still want an occasional flicker.

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Just to play Devils Advocate - recent Oscar Winner and board member Simon Hayes commented on Facebook that he chooses to run Lectro transmitters much lower than the 'advised' settings as it works better for him.

Whatever floats your boat....

 

The Lectro engineer advised settings work great and have worked great for years...

 

  When the people who design and manufacture the gear speak... I will normally listen..  Can I make them sound good set 10 or  20 db lower...?   sure... but for reasons other than just "how it sounds", I will stick to Proper settings....  Unless you are recording material that may go in all directions level wise.. Then a backed off setting would in my opinion be advised...

I believe the proper setting affects how the signal travels, not just how it sounds...

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To throw an extra wrench in the works...

 

I tend to make relatively constant adjustments to the SM to get the optimal level, but erring on the low side.  The limiters are really obvious, in my opinion, so I avoid squaring out at all costs.  On this last movie, our actors routinely went from a lowish talk to shouting at each other.  Always overlapping and multiple cameras, so cabling to a boom was not an option.  I tended to set the levels very low and ride the gain on the board.  What I noticed was that in a more conversational level, the dialog sounded very flat.  I emailed Larry to ask if other than increased noise, would low settings affect the audio.  He stated that it was "possible" that at very low transmitter settings, high end in the voice might be interpreted as "noise" by the NR system, and suggested I try turning off NR.

 

Don't know if this was purely in my head, but I turned off NR and found it to be better for this particular application.

 

Robert

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To throw an extra wrench in the works...

 

I tend to make relatively constant adjustments to the SM to get the optimal level, but erring on the low side.  The limiters are really obvious, in my opinion, so I avoid squaring out at all costs.  On this last movie, our actors routinely went from a lowish talk to shouting at each other.  Always overlapping and multiple cameras, so cabling to a boom was not an option.  I tended to set the levels very low and ride the gain on the board.  What I noticed was that in a more conversational level, the dialog sounded very flat.  I emailed Larry to ask if other than increased noise, would low settings affect the audio.  He stated that it was "possible" that at very low transmitter settings, high end in the voice might be interpreted as "noise" by the NR system, and suggested I try turning off NR.

 

Don't know if this was purely in my head, but I turned off NR and found it to be better for this particular application.

 

Robert

I also find that I adjust the gain a lot on my SM. Much, much more so than on my old 2020 and Micron. I also try and avoid the limiters. The NR system is pretty fabulous, but I sometimes switch it off or set it lower depending on mic placement.

I still can't indentify the 'buzziness' I sometimes get with buried or slightly muffled mics. Never something i heard on my old kit so it mystifies me.

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  • 2 years later...

Hey there,

 I've been using a Lectro venue wideband RX coupled with 2 x HM Tx's ( 1 blk 20 & 1 Blk 26) 4 x Sm (1 x Blk 26 & 3 x Blk 20) for the last 5 years without any problems. Over the last 3 weeks of a fast turnaround TV show I've been working on I've started to hear the odd click here & there on both of my HMs. I've swapped out venues with our local dealer and still heard the noise. The range I'm getting on the venue is 100%-75% reception using a pair of lectro ALP620s. I'm getting the clicks in the studio too, so not a RF hostile place. 

I've read the previous comments about running Tx's too low but my HMs are set to 24 as a standard on MKH 50 mics and there's generally plenty of level.

Any ideas?

(My boom ops are hating being back on the cables...)

 

Cheers

Mark

5_32T01.WAV

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Email lectro with the firmware version your Tx's are running. They should be able to tell you if your units have the low battery clicking noise bug. It's caused by the telemetry IIRC  

Theres a fix for it, needs a firmware update. 

Depending on the firmware, your units may also have the block change with power restore on bug. 

Cant remember the latest revision of firmware. Will have a look tomorrow. 

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Firmware is at 5.2

Your clicking noise might be the battery telemetry bug. Not sure if it applies to you, just thought it could possibly be your problem.

There's also the sleep bug I forgot about yesterday.

See email from Lectro below, this is 2 years old but info should be pretty accurate now still

Version 5.2 is the latest firmware for SMV family transmitters with backlit displays, however the only change since version 5.1 is the addition of factory alignment functions, to streamline production.  No user-perceptible changes have been made since version 5.1.  The sleep/wake problem was ultimately fixed in version 4.4 for backlit units (v3.2 for non-backlit), the battery telemetry was quieted in version v4.6 for backlit (v3.2 for non-backlit), and the "block change" issue was nailed to the wall in version 4.9 (no such issue with non-backlit models).

 

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If you aren't using the all channels on your Venue or only a single channel on an SR receivers, try using the ratio diversity mode to see if that helps.  And while 24 might SOUND hot enough, double check your modulation indicators on the transmitter - if you aren't getting an occasional red on the first LED, you are probably still too low. (You can always turn down the receiver output if you are overdriving your input on the mixer.

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Just another thought (I didn't see this mentioned in a very quick skim of this post):

I've experienced clicking sounds using my SMQVs and fixed the problem with a quick scrubbing of the battery door screw. Lectro now includes a bit of silver paste to apply to the screw, but out in the field I haven't had that with me. As far as I can tell, corrosion and residue on the threads of the battery compartment screw can cause the clicking, and while the paste might give the best continuity for the circuit, clean metal on metal is certainly better than mystery muck. Just something to try...

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