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Making the upgrade, looking for guidance


sfw
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for starters, we could ask our post folks here, if they can tell, only by listening, what the tracks were recorded on..?

That's not what I was saying. I said that there is a difference, and it is audible. I didn't say that said difference could be referenced to a certain recorder. Nor would I even say that in post they would be able to hear out a cheap recorder, but they might say "hhmm, something's sounding a bit off here", especially of course, if different recorders are used on the same project
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Common questions on the DVcam OMB forums are, "if I spend $x amount on gear, will my sound be major league quality?" .. or,  "I spent thousands on top-shelf audio gear, but the sound still sucks.. why?".

 Who was it the sarcastically stated? "With low cost gear available, high level skills are not necessary as well"

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speaking of mics...

 

 we did try and use the tascam preamps once to push a dynamic mic. That was definitely the gear.

 

 

maybe not. probably not. get a shotgun mic and a pole. one more wireless lav or a whole new batch that can record isos. add in a 4 or 5 channel mixer. throw it all in a bag with your regular tascam. this is a basic kit. start there.

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I own a complete Zaxcom system and it is incredibly powerful, but that power comes with a steep learning curve.  My advice - If you are using your system everyday, go with Zaxcom.  If you are only going to pull it out every few weeks or months, then Sound Devices is a better choice because it has an easier workflow.  The ability to control transmitter gain and  frequency over Zaxnet is an amazing capability. I also love the ERX system and how easy it is to get timecode and scratch audio to camera.  If you are looking to use isos in post anyway, it might be the perfect solution for you.  I think the best thing to do is to rent each systems or make time to go to one of the major dealers so that you can get your hands on each of the units.  Until you've spent a few days with each of the systems, I don't think you can really know which one is right for you.  

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Lan: " If they want decent sound, tell them they have to pay for it. "

so you are saying that for the last two years, simicycle hasn't been delivering good sound, but that if they raise his pay rate, it will be better ??

!

This is actually good life advice. My brother is a mechanical engineer with a masters degree from MIT. He said a prof once gave them the advice that if you want a raise, you have to be ready to quit and get the same job elsewhere. There was some evidence that engineers did not get raises like people in other positions in a given company, so the workaround is to leave and go elsewhere.

That does terrible things for company loyalty, but the work world our grandfathers lived in is over. They lived in an era where, at least the concept, was that you spent your working life at one company and if you work hard you climb the ladder as you go. That's how my Dad's business was. His employees came to work there after they returned from WWII or Korea or Vietnam and stayed till they retired. That's not what we sign up for as freelancers.

Now, in most industries, the mindset is to keep an updated resume on LinkedIn (or whatever is useful in your specific field of work) and be open to options. My IT friends that are full time employees are regularly headhunted via LinkedIn and poached. They are good at what they do, and that's the easiest way to improve your pay or working conditions.

I point this out also because if you talked about this situation with your parents or grandparents over thanksgiving they may give you old world advice that unfortunately doesn't work as well in 2014. Again, maybe you could spend your working days and become part of that company, but it seems like you want to move on to bigger and better things. The great thing about being a freelancer like we are is that you can start to pick up other jobs before completely leaving the old company. No using a "personal day" to have an interview.

Glad to hear you guys are now on ok terms. You never know who will recommend you down the road. Maybe they will give you your new rate if they ever have a tougher shoot and your replacement isn't fully up to speed yet.

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Third option: spend $12,000 now and realize in a few years that this was a total waste of money, because for whatever reasons you don't need it anymore. Better to waste just $6,000

But he could also sell the $12,000 gear 5 years later for at least $6,000. The $6,000 cheaper kit probably won't be worth anything in 5 years. Pro gear holds its value very well.

Hence my advice to the OP: buy pro. If many different people operate the gear Lectro and SD is more sensible. If one person regularly works with that gear, Zax is the better option.

And to everyone: why is it so goddamn hard to give a straight answer to a simple question? He's not going to steal your jobs or wives or houses just because he buys a 633. get over it.

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Constantin: " I said that there is a difference, and it is audible "

and I tend to differ: while there are different specs, with recordings properly made, I suspect few could reliably hear the differences in a blind test.

 

JP: " This is actually good life advice. My brother is a mechanical engineer with a masters degree from MIT. He said a prof once gave them the advice that if you want a raise, you have to be ready to quit and get the same job elsewhere. There was some evidence that engineers did not get raises like people in other positions in a given company, so the workaround is to leave and go elsewhere. "

I tend to agree, though not necessarily limited to engineering...

" if you work hard you climb the ladder as you go. " this is still sometimes true, but in the case of the OP, he is asking for more money for the same job, or less, rather than looking to climb the ladder to become, say, production manager, or producer...

now, from the Boutique Production facilities' POV, this would mean hiring another, separate, PA, paying sound more, + rental + transpo; this means they go to their clients and raise their rates, so then their clients, in kind, respond by saying they liked what they were getting for the price they were paying, but maybe this boutique has outgrown us!

 

sf: " Taking the "fancy" kit out of the equation, what would you recommend for wireless and recorder? "

the Sennheiser EVO's wireless are an excellent value.  you could add a nice shotgun and boom pole kit, oh, you probably don't do that... (BTW, the AT 897 is an excellent value short shotgun mic).  and TASCAM products are great values.

 

CS: " He's not going to steal your jobs or wives or houses just because he buys a 633. get over it. "

I agree here,  although as a boutique agency that has been slowly developing its internal video and audio departments., I suspect a lot of us are seriously suggesting keep the gear simple for "the inexperienced grip/PA/sound/utility person who they find next to learn with" ...oops, that is the bridges topic).

Edited by studiomprd
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But he could also sell the $12,000 gear 5 years later for at least $6,000. The $6,000 cheaper kit probably won't be worth anything in 5 years. Pro gear holds its value very well.

Normally I would agree. But we are not talking about a budding sound guy (as I understood it), so 12 grand is a big investment that may never pay off. In this case I would recommend smaller steps that will vastly improve the quality, but won't cost too much. E.g. get an SD mixer and record those four direct outs plus a mix track on a Tascam 680. Get DPA lavs, but use a Sennheiser EW wireless wirh them, get a Schoeps/Sennheiser boom mic. Those few items are not expensive together, are also pro gear and may also hold their value, but they won't break the bank. Then, when the jobs keep piling on, you can upgrade your gear step by step.

Btw, regarding pro gear and market value: I bought my 442 in 2008 for €3200, which was a good deal then. I'd be lucky if I sold it for €1000 now. Of course, it's different for every piece of gear, and the 442 has paid itself many times over for me, but don't buy gear thinking you can sell it and get 50% in the future

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update:

Chased some Black Friday deals.

Picked up:

- Tascam DR-680 from BH. $430 includes case!

- Petrol 602 bag -used

- 2 sennheiser ew112 g packs from vistek in Canada ($599cad/each)

-1 sennheiser ew100 set ($699cad)

Brings me to 6+2 recording. 4 wireless setups.

Looking to add a few decent lav mics, a new shotgun (cmit or cs3e) and a battery system to the DR.

Good progress and I got deals on everything.

Edit: figured something out. Nevermind.

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