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Voice-to-background ratio in Wireless


vale
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Some days ago, I shot a couple of long scenes in a very crowded shopping center where the background was very loud.

I had 3 Zaxcom LANC transmitters and, at the last minute, I had to add an other mic and I used a backup Sennheiser G3. All had Sanken Cos11 as mic.

 

Yesterday, I listened at the files in ProTools and noticed that the Sennheiser had a better separation between actor voice and background noise. I compared it (it was mounted on a man) with an other male actor standing beside him, but having Zaxcom Tx, with the mic in the same position and at the almost identical level of voice and the Zaxcom had the background noise at a noticeable higher level.

 

Someone using different brands of wireless experienced something similar (even comparing other brands than mine)?

 

Coul it be a more aggressive setting of the Sennheiser expander?

 

Just curious.

 

Vale.

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Interesting. Were the talents facing the same direction? Were they of similar physique, wearing similar clothes? If the Senn compander was doing something funky, you would hear the bg noise come up as the person spoke, would you not?

Based on all the info I would just guess that the guy's body somehow dampened more of the noise and/or he spoke just thst much louder?

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interesting notice! I got the same feeling! Even with sony d11 comparing to all my Lectros. And sennheiser G3 with its original Lav. I thought it might due to the mic placement or the standing position of the subjects. Since you brought this topic up. It's interesting that I got the same feeling. In addition, it doesn't seem that the noise floor from G3 or D11 are identical on location. It's quite a bit when I do side by side comparing between all the wireless.

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Probably a compander thing. Recently did a job with a zaxcom system, and I immediately noticed how awesome it sounded, couldn't believe it was a lav. I use DPA with xlr connectors sometimes and the zaxcom sounded very close to that. But I also noticed more BG noise.

Also did almost half a year on wisy and noticed the same thing when comparing to g3. I like that more though. G3s sound so unnatural IMHO..

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That is exactly what one would expect. Companded wireless will have an unnatural sound because it is pushing the background noise down in an effort to eliminate noise due to RF transmission.

 

The Zaxcom wireless will work more like a hard wire correctly representing the actual microphone audio without the compander distortion.

 

Glenn

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Sure Glenn, concerning audio quality Zaxcom was absolutely the winner, but I found more difficult (in comparison to Sennheiser) to get the lines from the background in that particular case.

I know that Dynamic menu can give more compression/expansion if properly set, maybe it could be useful to play with that settings in situation when the background is very high. It needs some tests, anyway...

 

Anyway, as soon as I have the time I will post a sample of the scene I described I was involved in.

 

In the meanwhile, happy Christmas everybody!

 

Valentino.

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Voice-to-background ratio depends mostly on lav placement. I really can't imagine it do be dependent on the tx type, unless they have some form of noise reduction built in, like Lectro. Using a compressor to combat background noise can have the opposite effect, depending on the circumstances

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No argument.

To clarify: The Zaxcom transmitter DYNAMICS settings section in the extended menu includes expansion settings as well as compression.

 

In fact, I was referring to the Dynamics settings for what concerns the expansion part. 

 

Anyway, I can assure you that both of the actors in the described scene had a Sanken Cos11 mounted in the button-hole of their shirt, at almost the identical distance from mouth. Both actors faced the same direction, because they were side by side talking with a couple of girls in front of them.

 

Anyway, later I will try to post a sample.

 

Anyhow, it's not the first time I had this feeling.

 

Valentino.

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Comparison is not easy :
The voices may have a different frequencies content as regards to background noise...One voice can be easier than another to hear against the background noise.
If one of the transmitters have its level set a bit too high the sound may hit the limiter : it can reduce the difference between voice and background noise.
In my experience, a G3 is usually less clear than its challengers (Zax, Lectro, Wisy, Audio...).
Anyway some sounds sample may be interesting
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  • 3 weeks later...

Yesterday, I listened at the files in ProTools and noticed that the Sennheiser had a better separation between actor voice and background noise. I compared it (it was mounted on a man) with an other male actor standing beside him, but having Zaxcom Tx, with the mic in the same position and at the almost identical level of voice and the Zaxcom had the background noise at a noticeable higher level.

 

Someone using different brands of wireless experienced something similar (even comparing other brands than mine)?

 

Could it be a more aggressive setting of the Sennheiser expander?

 

Yes, the Sennheiser G3 has a stronger compander compared to high-quality wireless system and the micpreamp isn't as good, two factors that in my experience affect the "voice-to-noise" ratio.

I've experienced the same thing filming documentaries using G3 and Wisycom systems.

In documentaries, in sensitive situations when booming isn't possible, it's crucial to be able to pick up a bit of dialogue from persons standing next to a miced person - in my experience the G3 wouldn't do that. It would basically just pick up the sound of the person that's miced. That's pretty much the main reason why I opted for higher quality wireless systems for my sound bag.

 

Also the micpreamp in the G3 probably isn't as good as Wisycom, Zaxcom or similar high quality systems.

 

In the end you get a somewhat "dryer" dialogue with G3 but it will not sound as natural and be less flexible for processing.

 

Still, the G3 is good value for money.

 

It's a bit like when I encourage musicians to buy quality Neumann microphones and a good micpreamp - the first response always is "man, it sounds great!" and then "but now I can hear the room on the recording". And I tell them that it's okay, because their voices and acoustic guitars sound much better than before.

 

 

Cheers

Fred 

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