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Daniel Ignacio

Audio Limited A10 for talent.

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22 minutes ago, Constantin said:

I just wish we could move away from expressions like „insanely great audio“. This kind of hyperbolic rhetoric really is not going to help anyone. 

And in my personal opinion there is not one single wireless system that actually achieves even great audio, let alone insanely great. Sorry to say this, but to me both Zaxcom and Audio Ltd. so not live up to „insanel great“. Nor does Lectro or Sennheiser or whoever. 

With both systems I can hear artifacts from compression noise (data compression). I couldn’t care less about the presence or absence of a limiter as long as there are compression sounds. Please, don’t pretend like there isn’t. I can hear it in the final product, too. Post can’t even properly get rid of it. 

 

So I think we need to scale back the rhetoric a bit. Yes, the new generation wireless systems sound good, much better than their predecessors. But there is still lots and lots of room for improvement. 

+++1

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4 hours ago, Constantin said:

So I think we need to scale back the rhetoric a bit. Yes, the new generation wireless systems sound good, much better than their predecessors. But there is still lots and lots of room for improvement. 

 

personally I feel audio quality of gear has been the least important part for quite a while in general, and even wireless has reached a point where it's quite frankly good enough and I very much doubt that any film will sound significantly better with better transmitters...

 

It's tempting to focus on gear (which can bee seen on the post count in the different forums on this site, and I'm probably worse then most in this respect), but I feel that skills, ideas and technique are much more important then the tech specs of (professional grade) gear.

for example, 20% better lav placement will make more of a difference then 100% improvements in "compression noise", or 32khz vs 96khz.

 

If anything I find overall sound quality has gone downhill in the last 30 years... just compare the sound scape of the original "Blade Runner" to any german film made in the last 20 years. clearly wireless quality is not the main problem ; )

chris

 

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It always bothers me a bit when these type of discussions become philosophical. First of all, I think we all use wireless products for practical reasons, not because we think it's so much fun or sounds so great, instead it is a compromise to make life easier on set. Show me a high end recording studio that uses wireless products. Right, they don't. And neither would we if we didn't have to use booms and move around on sets. I personally have never used Zaxcom wireless or the digital Audio Limited, actually the only digital wireless I have used were Shure (event audio though) and Rode, the latter of which I didn't like because of the way (digital?) the noise floor sounded. The best sounding results I have gotten audio wise were boom mic cabled directly to Nomad, respectively via MM-1 to a Lectro LMa to SRa to Nomad, and I would be quite surprised if anyone could tell which is which by listening to the end product. Both ways sounded very good to my ears, with the advantage of cable offering a higher dynamic range. Unlike in studio recordings, we almost always have a level of background noise on a set that would mask the noise floor of any mic or wireless system we use. That is why in studios they pay insane amounts of money on extremely quiet preamps. I don't really care about the numbers either, or how Zaxcom, Audio Limited or Lectros would sound in a dead quiet studio. I don't need or want a universal tool that is great in every situation (like "the best mic for music, dialogue and sfx"), I want something useful to a specific need, in this case, an alternative to unpractical cabled mics for use on sets. 

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I am not talking about a philosophical problem here. 

Two issues here. The first, we have a manufacturer who in my opinion grossly overstates the sound quality of his products. 

 

For the other issue, I‘ll expand a bit: 

I am talking about digital boom mic transmitters. I used Zaxcom‘s TRX 742 and ZMT for a bit, then Audio Ltd. for a short time. 

Yes, there is no rf noise, fine. But I kept getting complaints from the post house about hiss on the speech, and just after, before fizzling away. The post guys had tried everything to get rid of that, but weren’t happy, because it would affect the quality of the speech. So they asked me to investigate. On set I couldn’t really hear it, but at home I noticed it too. I eliminated all extra cables on my cart, except for a straight connection from receiver to recorder. Digital out to digital in. Still the noise persisted. Same, by the way, for Zax and Audio. Or very similar. 

 

So I set up a blind listening test for my post people. 4 or 5 different mics, four different transmitters, all listening at the same distance to the same recording through the same speaker. I still have those files, if anyone is interested. 

They made their pick, without ever knowing what it was. Just a few weeks ago, my last film I did with the ZMT aired and I could hear the noise on the air and even through my crap tv. 

Aaand, next day I watched the 7th season of Homeland and yes I could hear it there, too. 

 

This is strictly for boom mics, on lavs I would probably be less critical. This may also matter less on some shows, but this is an audible issue and not at all some audiophile snobbery, and it’s not about numbers, either. 

I fully expect someone to chime in any moment now about the many great movies and tv shows they did with all digital Zaxcom booms. Fine. Maybe they sounded better in earlier incarnations. 

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4 hours ago, Constantin said:

I just wish we could move away from expressions like „insanely great audio“. This kind of hyperbolic rhetoric really is not going to help anyone. 

And in my personal opinion there is not one single wireless system that actually achieves even great audio, let alone insanely great. Sorry to say this, but to me both Zaxcom and Audio Ltd. so not live up to „insanel great“. Nor does Lectro or Sennheiser or whoever. 

With both systems I can hear artifacts from compression noise (data compression). I couldn’t care less about the presence or absence of a limiter as long as there are compression sounds. Please, don’t pretend like there isn’t. I can hear it in the final product, too. Post can’t even properly get rid of it. 

 

So I think we need to scale back the rhetoric a bit. Yes, the new generation wireless systems sound good, much better than their predecessors. But there is still lots and lots of room for improvement. 

 

While you may have a valid point to some degree, based on my experience, you're exaggerating in the other direction. 

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57 minutes ago, John Blankenship said:

 

While you may have a valid point to some degree, based on my experience, you're exaggerating in the other direction. 

 

You may be right, and I‘m not saying that digital wireless is useless. I‘m just (trying to) saying that there are extraneous noises caused by the digital systems. I should perhaps emphasize more that I would only consider this an issue for boom mics. With lavs I tend to agree to the above comments of technology vs placement.  What does get me riled up to a degree is the marketing jargon like:

“rivals a cable“, „insanely good“, etc. That is simply not the case. And it isn’t the case for any wireless. 

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Wow,  either my wireless Lectro systems sound really good or...

A:  I am getting too old for this and don't hear the artifacts that are being described...  My ears are shot..

B: I'm looking for fat audio of what I am trying to record and am simply happy with what I'm getting..

C: My sets are too noisy to hear that level of background noise

D: Everyones full of crap...LOL

 

Set up of system, Placement of mics, set noise,  mic choice and other factors are far more important to me...  Any noise I hear, which is so minimal I am happy to trade off for being bailed out by my wireless systems. It's simply the cost of using it..  For me that is a cheap trade off...I'll take it all day long...

 

For the record, I have never heard back from any post regarding any noise on any of my wireless systems going back many many years...

 

I am very happy with the audio I get out of these systems... Digital or not.. I think were splitting hairs here..

 

Remember,   our use of wireless is to normally bail out PRODUCTION for their style of shooting...  It's the tools we have to do that... If they (Units) hiss or moan .... not our fault, it's theirs for shooting with 4 cameras wide and tight...  They are lucky as far as I'm concerned.

 

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Hmmm times fly away pretty fast. Back in IBC 2014 I was asked about the future of wireless; I said full digital. If you ask me now (looking for IBC 2019 if work allows me to attend) I would say...

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1 hour ago, afewmoreyears said:

A:  I am getting too old for this and don't hear the artifacts that are being described...  My ears are shot..

 

As far as I have been able to establish this only concerns fully digital systems. Lectro and others aren’t that. 

 

1 hour ago, afewmoreyears said:

For the record, I have never heard back from any post regarding any noise on any of my wireless systems going back many many years...

 

Well, I’m in a lucky situation here, in that I am working on 4-5 TV movies every year and it’s always the same post team. They said on many other jobs they don’t bother, but here we have a good working relationship, so why not perfect the audio as far as possible. And I know these guys will have my back whenever there’s a director there with them who bitches about the audio that he himself caused by choosing a bad location. So I‘ll try hard to keep them happy. They also said if I couldn’t figure it out, everything would be fine, as well, it is not a grand issue. 

But my take away is... well, I sufficiently explained that in previous posts. 

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6 minutes ago, afewmoreyears said:

Maybe consider a hybrid system..?

If the fully digital system makes noise..

 

I‘m not writing this to settle on a new wireless system, I have of course drawn my conclusions from my listening tests. 

I don’t even want to get people to move away from digital wireless, I want the companies concerned to acknowledge this and work on a solution. 

And I want them to scale back the marketing rhetoric

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4 minutes ago, Constantin said:

 

I‘m not writing this to settle on a new wireless system, I have of course drawn my conclusions from my listening tests. 

I don’t even want to get people to move away from digital wireless, I want the companies concerned to acknowledge this and work on a solution. 

And I want them to scale back the marketing rhetoric

That makes perfect sense...

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4 minutes ago, Constantin said:

 

I‘m not writing this to settle on a new wireless system, I have of course drawn my conclusions from my listening tests. 

I don’t even want to get people to move away from digital wireless, I want the companies concerned to acknowledge this and work on a solution. 

And I want them to scale back the marketing rhetoric

I don't think many are keen on marketing rhetoric but the more of the current 1s they sell, the more money they can invest in the R&D etc of the next 1s - isn't that the paradigm? And therefore finding better solutions/improvements sooner, perhaps.

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3 hours ago, Constantin said:

I am not talking about a philosophical problem here. 

Two issues here. The first, we have a manufacturer who in my opinion grossly overstates the sound quality of his products. 

 

For the other issue, I‘ll expand a bit: 

I am talking about digital boom mic transmitters. I used Zaxcom‘s TRX 742 and ZMT for a bit, then Audio Ltd. for a short time. 

Yes, there is no rf noise, fine. But I kept getting complaints from the post house about hiss on the speech, and just after, before fizzling away. The post guys had tried everything to get rid of that, but weren’t happy, because it would affect the quality of the speech. So they asked me to investigate. On set I couldn’t really hear it, but at home I noticed it too. I eliminated all extra cables on my cart, except for a straight connection from receiver to recorder. Digital out to digital in. Still the noise persisted. Same, by the way, for Zax and Audio. Or very similar. 

 

So I set up a blind listening test for my post people. 4 or 5 different mics, four different transmitters, all listening at the same distance to the same recording through the same speaker. I still have those files, if anyone is interested. 

They made their pick, without ever knowing what it was. Just a few weeks ago, my last film I did with the ZMT aired and I could hear the noise on the air and even through my crap tv. 

Aaand, next day I watched the 7th season of Homeland and yes I could hear it there, too. 

 

This is strictly for boom mics, on lavs I would probably be less critical. This may also matter less on some shows, but this is an audible issue and not at all some audiophile snobbery, and it’s not about numbers, either. 

I fully expect someone to chime in any moment now about the many great movies and tv shows they did with all digital Zaxcom booms. Fine. Maybe they sounded better in earlier incarnations. 

Hi, Constantin

Thanks for your comments, very useful.

Regarding the hiss on speech, is there any way to describe it more specifically? Is it a data compression artifact, pre/post ringing, does this vary with the type of boom mic you use? I'd like a copy of those files.

Regarding soundquality, to my ears our old 5000 series sennheiser analog system from the mid 90s still sounds the best, companding notwithstanding, just my opinion. My guess is that, as in all things related to digital audio, the quality of the analog front end matters at least as much, if not more than the AD/DA circuitry and digital transmission modes.  .

 

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4 hours ago, Constantin said:

I still have those files, if anyone is interested. 

If you can post some files on Wetransfer or something that would be nice, also potentially for SD/Audio ltd/Zaxcom to comment on your specific tests. 

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33 minutes ago, Vincent R. said:

If you can post some files on Wetransfer or something that would be nice, also potentially for SD/Audio ltd/Zaxcom to comment on your specific tests. 

+1 on this. I have done some informal tests, so having some better empirical evidence would be great. I'm wondering if the artifacts you refer to are caused by the decode on the Rx side of things. When the range is stretched, I can sometimes hear the digital stretching. So comparing what is recorded on the card in side the Tx, Vs what is on the other side of the Rx would be interesting.

 

I'm going to listen to season 7 of Homeland on my Barefoots now to see if I can hear the ZMT. Thanks for calling out a specific real-world example Constantin. Dänke!

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I have just now created a new thread. I think it's better to move this to its own topic. I have uploaded four files there, so everyone can have a listen, and please comment. 

 

 

3 hours ago, Brian Liston said:

+1 on this. I have done some informal tests, so having some better empirical evidence would be great. I'm wondering if the artifacts you refer to are caused by the decode on the Rx side of things. When the range is stretched, I can sometimes hear the digital stretching. So comparing what is recorded on the card in side the Tx, Vs what is on the other side of the Rx would be interesting.

 

I'm going to listen to season 7 of Homeland on my Barefoots now to see if I can hear the ZMT. Thanks for calling out a specific real-world example Constantin. Dänke!

 

Sure! I don't know if they used a ZMT, I don't even know for a fact if they used any Zaxcom gear, so it's a bit risky perhaps for me to claim this, but it just really sounds like it. I am fairly sure the noise is a product of the compression algorithm, it's best comparable to a good MP3, I'd say. So the compression would take place in the tx. I did not compare any internal recordings to my transmitted recordings, though. 

 

5 hours ago, Werner Althaus said:

 

Regarding the hiss on speech, is there any way to describe it more specifically? Is it a data compression artifact, pre/post ringing, does this vary with the type of boom mic you use? I'd like a copy of those files.

 

 

It's difficult to describe (but you can listen for yourself over on the other thread), but it's probably most similar to what Mp3 compression does to your audio. This does vary a bit with the mic used, but I think that's only really because it seems to affect higher frequencies the most, and some mics accentuate those more than others. I have for now only posted the test with my DPA 4017B, but I have repeated it with the DPA 4017C, Schoeps CMIT, Schoeps CMK641, Sanken CS3e and Sennheiser MKH8060. I could post those files later, too. Didn't want to put too much stuff on the server, as I didn't compress these files, obviously. 

5 hours ago, daniel said:

I don't think many are keen on marketing rhetoric but the more of the current 1s they sell, the more money they can invest in the R&D etc of the next 1s - isn't that the paradigm? And therefore finding better solutions/improvements sooner, perhaps.

 

Of course, there is some truth in there, I guess. However, I feel repelled by over the top marketing, and that applies to any company. Any sympathy I may felt towards a company can evaporate completely, if I hate their ad campaign and especially how they behave on social media (and here). This is why, as an example, I will never buy the transmitter straps from a certain company, and I very nearly said goodbye to DPA after their stupid "game changer" campaign. That's just me, of course, but I still see more potential for driving customers away than attracting them with the wrong style. 

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My two cents as a Lectro User, and having owned a two channel hop from Zaxcom that was brilliant.  It has to work.  And also it boils down to this for me.  Service, and Life of the equipment matter. Built quality matters to me.  And also, getting a repair done fast is a must if needed.  For what it's worth, I love the Lectro stuff. Sounds great  It just works ALL THE TIME.  I've had complaints from many many people about other manufactures who say their stuff is better because it's Digital.  In the real world, no one can ever pick out what recorder, or Mic or lav has been used on a major production when simply watching, and Listening to the final product.  Whether it's a Sound Devices, Zaxcom, or Cantar, or for that matter Zoom, or Lectro, Zaxcom, Audio Ltm or for that matter Sennheiser, you get really excellent quality.  I really think it boils down to budget, what you like to work with on a daily basis, and what you think sounds the best or provided the best feature set for you intended use.  I use Cantar X3, Lectro and Schoeps, Cos-11, B6 and DPA 4060 for the recording chain and It sound amazing.  I've recorded equally great material on a Filmtech LSP4 for those who are old enough, with a Neumann KMR81 to a Betacam SP that sounded brilliant with UM200 transmitters with Cos-11.  I've owned 788t which was such a solid performer.  My zaxcom hop never let me down and was fantastic up until I sold it.  BB king sounded just as good on a Gibson ES 335 into a Gibson Amp than say The Edge thru all those effects.  If It sounds good it is good regardless of your setup. Nitpicking  about khz and bandwidth is all good, because the technical aspects have to be sorted to make a great product, but it certainly is not what I would rest my case on for picking a wireless system.

 

Two cents

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On 9/13/2018 at 5:02 AM, Daniel Ignacio said:

Thank you @Moesound!

 

 

Another thing that makes me consider the A10 over Lectrosonics’s wideband offerings is the ability to change transmitter settings via Bluetooth. Wondering what you think about that, Ilari.


Well Lectrosonics has their tweedle tone for changing transmitter settings, not quite the same, but still it is handy to have. 

 

On 9/13/2018 at 11:19 PM, Constantin said:

Bluetooth range is terrible, though. I don’t get why that is.


I guess this means the even shorter range of the Lectro tweedle tone is not such a big downside vs the Audio Ltd bluetooth if you have to get up from your seat anyway to walk over to the talent. 

 

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14 hours ago, IronFilm said:

Lectrosonics has their tweedle tone for changing transmitter settings

 

I use LectroRM but wireless control still would be way better. Plus one-man banding means that I’m always close to talent, so the short Bluetooth range personally wouldn’t be a prevalent issue.

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On 10/19/2018 at 6:31 AM, IronFilm said:

I guess this means the even shorter range of the Lectro tweedle tone is not such a big downside vs the Audio Ltd bluetooth if you have to get up from your seat anyway to walk over to the talent. 

 

 

At this stage I prefer the Lectro tones, because I don’t have to wait. I‘ll approach talent, tell them I need to beep them, click on the prepared dweedle and that’s it. 

With the Bluetooth I don’t necessarily need to talk to the talent, but I have to sort if linger around them and wait for the Bluetooth to connect. Which can take a while. And if I ask them to wait for the Bluetooth it still feels really awkward, because it takes so long. 

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16 minutes ago, Constantin said:

 

At this stage I prefer the Lectro tones, because I don’t have to wait. I‘ll approach talent, tell them I need to beep them, click on the prepared dweedle and that’s it. 

With the Bluetooth I don’t necessarily need to talk to the talent, but I have to sort if linger around them and wait for the Bluetooth to connect. Which can take a while. And if I ask them to wait for the Bluetooth it still feels really awkward, because it takes so long. 

Pity to read the BT is not so good. Is there a way to relay BT? Some has suggested being able to dial new settings without a connection then something like a burst transmission/instant upload when in range/'paired'.

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