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Neumann Digital Mics direct into SD788T


soundmanjohn
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I've asked this question elsewhere, including (hat) to Sound Devices, both via email and in a short, but confusing phone conversation, so I'm posting here to see if anyone has real world experience, and if so, how they achieved what they achieved. (I'm also waiting on a call from someone in the UK who also might be able to help, so this may be moot, but I'll ask anyway.)

I managed to score a set of Neumann KM184D microphones on Ebay for a very small amount of money: I know they work, because Simon Bishop very kindly tested them for me on his rig (did you buy a set yourself, Simon?) and I know that for full use, I need to buy the Neumann DRM-2p interface, but I want to know if I can connect them directly to the SD788T via the 15 pin D-Sub, using the XL-88 loom, or if I have to have something made up specially, or if it's just not possible and I should give up.

The Neumann Digital mics are AES42 Mode 2 and the published info from Sound Devices says "Mode 2 microphones will automatically operate in Mode 1 when connected to the 788T" The SD tech I spoke to stated simply "if it's Mode 2, it's never going to work" leaving me rather in the dark.

My question is very simple: has anyone successfully connected a Neumann Solution D microphone (or any other AES42 Mode 2 digital mic) to a Sound Devices 788T (and yes, I have turned AES 42 powering on in the menu) and if so, can you detail the precise method by which you achieved success?

Thanks,

John

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Yes, I have done this with the same two mics. It works just fine, nothing special you need to do. other than (as you did) turn on the AES42 power. Clock (i.e. sync reference) must be set to internal and the src will kick in automatically. And yes, the input for these is on the rear, the D-Sub. You can use the XL-88 or whichever one you want. Just bear in mind that the AES protocol asks for two channels per XLR. To connect two separate mics you need to use two XLR ins (obviously) and thus you'll have you two mics on inputs 1 and 3, or wherever you connected it to. Use you routing options to assign them to the desired tracks. But I think in terms of faders, they'll stay on 1 and 3. 

with the DMI-2 you will need only one XLR and it will carry two channels and you can lock the 788 to the DMI's clock. 

what are the specific problems you are experiencing?

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Thanks, Constantin: simply, I get no signal. It looks as though the mics are not getting power. The LEDs on the body don't illuminate and nothing shows up on the meters. I have the input channels selected to digital, AES power turned on, but nothing. I'll try and get hold of a duplicate set-up and see if that works.

John

 

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Aha, now we are getting to the root of the problem, I suspect: making a quick check with a meter, I got 10v between pin 2 and the Neutrik shell and pin 3 and the shell, but not between pins 1 & 2, or pins 1 & 3. On opening up the XLR, I see that the screen is connected to the shell, but Pin 1 is n/c. It's a genuine SD XL-88, but I guess that it predates the arrival of AES42 and will therefore need to be modified. If anyone has an XL-88 working with digital mics, could they do a quick check to see that pin 1 is connected to the screen on the AES inputs?

I'll contact SD support as well and see if this rings a bell with them.

Thanks for the help, folks. Much appreciated.

John

Edited by soundmanjohn
typo
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Just did a very quick check and that was indeed the problem. Link pin 1 to the screen in all AES connectors on the XL-88 and all is good. Have notified Sound Devices, but no response as yet.

Thanks to Constantin for confirming that it's possible and especially to Rich for the suggestion that pointed me in the right direction: now I can enjoy my bargain mics. (Four for £1k - not bad, eh?)

John

Edited by soundmanjohn
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Call Spike Shaw at Stage Electrics in Bristol. As far as I can tell, they bought a bunch for an install by mistake and they may have a pair left. Simon Bishop was after a pair and he may well have had the last ones. Direct line number is +44 117 937 9564. If you don't have any luck, call me: I may part with a pair to help fund a DMI-2P

John

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Hi soundmanjohn!  

My name is Nelson, I work at Sound Devices.  Can you contact me  at support@sounddevices.com and let me know if you would like us to send you a new 788 cable for AES 42 digital mic use.  We would like to take care of this issue for you.   Thanks.

 

Best Regards,

Nelson

 

 

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And finally, I hooked up the cable and all AES42 inputs work fine. So, for those who might have wanted to buy a pair of mine, I'm hanging on to them until after I've done some testing in the real world later in the year. After that I'll make a decision and if I decide to sell a pair, you'll hear about it here first.

Thanks to all for the help and encouragement and to Nelson and all at Sound Devices for astonishingly good service.

All the best,

John

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