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jwill

Lectro PDR

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Has anyone used the PDRs from Lectro? This looks like a fantastic way to have a solid

backup, I see that you can take output of PDR into a transmitter, I have been on several shoots lately where talent gets out of range, or NYC where rf changes from front of building to the back and this setup would save the day. What are your opinions/thoughts?

 

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System works just fine.... nice little recorder for drive aways etc.  Output to transmitter works fine as well... I have one I rarely use, but I know it's there in case...

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My biggest complaint was them losing timecode every battery swap (might have been rectified on the 2 channel PDR?).  If you have to swap batteries and no sync source is available the TC resets to 0s.  That and the general cumbersome nature of two packs, no matter how small, makes them a subpar solution to Zax, or Audio ltd. (if you have access) recording transmitters.  They also have a space saving file in the file folder that messes with DITs who don't know that it's unnecessary to copy over, not a big deal since it's like 16gb in the grand scheme of Tbs of data, but still.

 

The wide band TX have a record option that cuts the transmitter function, making it one or the other.  All in all, the hassle pushed me into buying one set of dual ZMT and a QRX to solve this talent walk away situation.  At ~$4,000/channel for Zax and all the stuff that goes along with it (NP50 batteries, lemo lav connector vs. TA5 etc.) there's no clear solution, kind of sucks to be honest.

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3 minutes ago, Jesse Flaitz said:

My biggest complaint was them losing timecode every battery swap (might have been rectified on the 2 channel PDR?).  If you have to swap batteries and no sync source is available the TC resets to 0s.  That and the general cumbersome nature of two packs, no matter how small, makes them a subpar solution to Zax, or Audio ltd. (if you have access) recording transmitters.  They also have a space saving file in the file folder that messes with DITs who don't know that it's unnecessary to copy over, not a big deal since it's like 16gb in the grand scheme of Tbs of data, but still.

 

The wide band TX have a record option that cuts the transmitter function, making it one or the other.  All in all, the hassle pushed me into buying one set of dual ZMT and a QRX to solve this talent walk away situation.  At ~$4,000/channel for Zax and all the stuff that goes along with it (NP50 batteries, lemo lav connector vs. TA5 etc.) there's no clear solution, kind of sucks to be honest.

 

So, are you complaining that you have a wealth of solutions and gear choices that weren't available to sound mixers just a few years back? 

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46 minutes ago, John Blankenship said:

 

So, are you complaining that you have a wealth of solutions and gear choices that weren't available to sound mixers just a few years back? 

 

There's a lot of new technology not available to sound mixers a few years ago.  I guess I should have just responded that it's a good day to be alive instead of relaying my thoughts and experience.

 

The PDR is A solution that works, I don't think it's a great solution given alternatives, and I don't think those alternatives are great given what could be.  Are you open to offering help to OP with information, or just critique my post as it seems to have irked you?  If it's the latter, thanks for contributing.

 

EDIT: I'll grant the "kind of sucks" part came off whiny.  The tech is fantastic in the abstract, practically I think there is much room for improvement.

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The cost of 2 ZMT3.5 and one QRX200 is $3000 per channel. This is in line with wireless from other high end companies.

 

When you consider the possible increase in rental income of $10 TO $20 per unit per day ($15 average) for the recording transmitter and the savings of about $2 per day on lithium batteries , a Zaxcom ZMT wireless channel can generate $1700 per year in added income using it 100 days per year. 

 

Lets not forget the wow factor when you do a re-record to recover lost audio or remote control the gain from 100 feet way.

 

Priceless

 

Glenn

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21 minutes ago, glenn said:

The cost of 2 ZMT3.5 and one QRX200 is $3000 per channel. This is in line with wireless from other high end companies.

 

When you consider the possible increase in rental income of $10 TO $20 per unit per day ($15 average) for the recording transmitter and the savings of about $2 per day on lithium batteries , a Zaxcom ZMT wireless channel can generate $1700 per year in added income using it 100 days per year. 

 

Lets not forget the wow factor when you do a re-record to recover lost audio or remote control the gain from 100 feet way.

 

Priceless

 

Glenn

 

Should have specified I was talking ZMTph2 and including batteries, cables, lavs etc. all the things necessary to actually use the wireless system.  That being said, pointing to savings from lithiums, and additional rental income from the record function is rather misleading.  In a walk away situation I'd much rather have a lithium powered recorder than one using NP-50s, and there's no guarantee of an accepted premium for rentals due to functionality.

 

I have more than enough Zaxcom stuff to be impressed with your innovation, but I will not hesitate to voice criticism if I think it's warranted. 

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56 minutes ago, Jesse Flaitz said:

...there's no guarantee of an accepted premium for rentals due to functionality.

When I'm using my zaxcom wireless as a transmitter I bill as normal. But when the transmitter becomes primary audio I always bill more money.

On average about $40 more per unit per day.

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2 hours ago, Jesse Flaitz said:

 

There's a lot of new technology not available to sound mixers a few years ago.  I guess I should have just responded that it's a good day to be alive instead of relaying my thoughts and experience.

 

The PDR is A solution that works, I don't think it's a great solution given alternatives, and I don't think those alternatives are great given what could be.  Are you open to offering help to OP with information, or just critique my post as it seems to have irked you?  If it's the latter, thanks for contributing.

 

EDIT: I'll grant the "kind of sucks" part came off whiny.  The tech is fantastic in the abstract, practically I think there is much room for improvement.

 

It appears you misread the intent of my post.  That's the problem with written responses, in contrast to a face-to-face comment offered with a smile.   It was intended as a friendly reminder of how much innovation we now enjoy -- certainly not as a hostile criticism.  My apology for any dismay it may have caused.

 

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9 minutes ago, John Blankenship said:

 

It appears you misread the intent of my post.  That's the problem with written responses, in contrast to a face-to-face comment offered with a smile.   It was intended as a friendly reminder of how much innovation we now enjoy -- certainly not as a hostile criticism.  My apology for any dismay it may have caused.

 

 

Hah, yeah been there, apologies for the contentious response.

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"Should have specified I was talking ZMTph2 and including batteries, cables, lavs etc. all the things necessary to actually use the wireless system."

 

All wireless need those things so when comparing only the cost of the wireless channel sold be quoted. 

 

"...there's no guarantee of an accepted premium for rentals due to functionality."

 

No, but it is the case more often than not that there is a premium based on the feedback from Zaxcom wireless users. The only guarantee is that without transmitter recording the rental rate will be the lower than with recording. My example of  $1700 was an average. Your mileage will vary.

 

Glenn

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1 hour ago, glenn said:

All wireless need those things so when comparing only the cost of the wireless channel sold be quoted. 

 

OK, let me list the costs or wireless:

 

Lectro - $1450-1550 per transmitter, $2350 for receiver

Wisycom - $5700 for 2 TX and dual receiver WITH sanken Lavs from Gotham Sound

Audio Limited - $1400 transmitter, $2200 for receiver

Zaxcom - $1750 per transmitter, $2500 for receiver

 

Now, thats not counting the fact that the ZMT requires third party solutions for a belt clip.  Also they use NP-50 batteries that run $40/each plus a charger. Yes so does the SSM which is $1450, but every other SM wireless and alternate manufacturers use AA.  Comparing AA rechargeables and chargers to the NP-50s is apples to oranges, but with the Oranges being clearly cheaper.

 

For people not already on the Zax wireless path, the PDR is a much simpler solution to recording locally.  As Phil Perkins mentioned, the Tascam solution and even the small zoom recording device is OKish on a budget.  This is all so situation dependent as to not really be a discussion without specific application.

 

I do think currently Zaxcom has the best solution to the wireless plus recording problem.  That being said, there's no perfect solution.  The NP-50s will last no where near as long as a TX and PDR/tascam with lithiums.  Not to mention the potential for things like battery eliminators as an alternative solution for extreme recording times.

 

1 hour ago, glenn said:

No, but it is the case more often than not that there is a premium based on the feedback from Zaxcom wireless users. The only guarantee is that without transmitter recording the rental rate will be the lower than with recording. My example of  $1700 was an average. Your mileage will vary.

 

 

That so Glenn? You have a lot of experience negotiating equipment rates with production?  I have no doubt that the rental premium will have a higher ROI vs. nonrecording transmitters, but $1700/year as an average premium return is preposterous.

 

Jesse

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1 hour ago, Philip Perkins said:

And meanwhile, somewhat down the budget ladder, the Tascam DRs are working really well in this context.

I have used the Tascam DR10 and the PDR on bike tours  (Tascam the one year, Lectrosonics the following year) and there are worlds between the two devices. The Tascam has a clearly audible limiter and has a clearly higher noise level. And if I am not mistaken, the Tascam doesn't come with a time code function, so there is more work in the post production.

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15 minutes ago, jbuerjes said:

I have used the Tascam DR10 and the PDR on bike tours  (Tascam the one year, Lectrosonics the following year) and there are worlds between the two devices. The Tascam has a clearly audible limiter and has a clearly higher noise level. And if I am not mistaken, the Tascam doesn't come with a time code function, so there is more work in the post production.

 

Yeah that sounds about right, as a stand alone solution the PDR is the best local recorder IMO.  There's plenty of solutions if you want to get creative, the mini papi into a Tascam will remove the limiter/noise floor issue, but adds bulk and requires external power.  An MM1 into a zoom or tascam will sound fantastic, but now bulk is huge, though no external power needed.

 

I guess back when, production would just rely on camera mics? Or hire more sound people? It's made me uncomfortable the amount of times production has asked me to plant recorders with no one monitoring audio.  In any of those situations I either push for an additional mixer/A2 to monitor the channels or explicitly state I'm not responsible for unmonitored audio.

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4 minutes ago, Jesse Flaitz said:

 

Yeah that sounds about right, as a stand alone solution the PDR is the best local recorder IMO.  There's plenty of solutions if you want to get creative, the mini papi into a Tascam with remove the limiter/noise floor issue, but adds bulk and requires external power.  An MM1 into a zoom or tascam will sound fantastic, but now bulk is huge, though no external power needed.

 

I guess back when, production would just rely on camera mics? Or hire more sound people? It's made me uncomfortable the amount of times production has asked me to plant recorders with no one monitoring audio.  In any of those situations I either push for an additional mixer/A2 to monitor the channels or explicitly state I'm not responsible for unmonitored audio.

I used the Tascam and the PDR to pass through the audio to a wireless. And as long as the people on the bike tour were in the reach of my RX, the audio from the wireless was used. In other cases the audio from the Tascam/Lectro was used. So the recorders were the first stage - and since the pair Tascam to Sennheiser (SK5212) sounded ugly, I wanted another option the following year. And I was pleased with the pair PDR to Sennheiser (SK50).

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42 minutes ago, Jesse Flaitz said:

It's made me uncomfortable the amount of times production has asked me to plant recorders with no one monitoring audio.  In any of those situations I either push for an additional mixer/A2 to monitor the channels or explicitly state I'm not responsible for unmonitored audio.

But yes. I think the recording function is a step towards automation.

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2 hours ago, jbuerjes said:

I have used the Tascam DR10 and the PDR on bike tours  (Tascam the one year, Lectrosonics the following year) and there are worlds between the two devices. The Tascam has a clearly audible limiter and has a clearly higher noise level. And if I am not mistaken, the Tascam doesn't come with a time code function, so there is more work in the post production.

All fixable stuff.  Don't like the limiter?  Turn it off and use the 2-level dual file function (-6 or -12).  If you hare having a clearly higher noise level (esp for real world location audio) then you have other problems.  Problems in post?  Have you dealt with DR10 files in post yourself?  I have.  You set the internal clock of the DR10 to the whole minute of your master TC and that puts you in the ballpark for post sync.  If you do long rolls, which is the norm in this kind of work, you can grab a piece of the audio from your own recorder, note it's TC start, line up the DR10 audio to that and then edit the TC start so you can turn in a file that's in dead sync.   Don't whine about extra work, you are getting a great remote recording for a tiny price!   The DR10s are cheap enough to be expendables!  A 2-box solution for TX+recorder is not at all as elegant as the Audio Limited or Zax 1-box solution at all.  If you have the $ then great, but meanwhile the DR10 has saved my ass many times by now on surprise driveaways, 2nd units, bad RF zones and so on.

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I think it comes down to what Glenn said: it’s probably worth it to get a Zaxcom setup for this  if you can use it on about 100 days per year (although it really depends on your negotiating skills if you‘ll really get the extra rental). Although you‘ll get two additional channels of wireless if you need it

If you have much less days for this, like afewmoreyears, it’s probably not worth the extra cost. As you probably already own some form of wireless gear which you could then use with whatever recorder. I think that would be the smarter choice, and out of those other options the PDR is possibly one of the best

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On 1/22/2019 at 10:47 PM, Philip Perkins said:

All fixable stuff.  Don't like the limiter?  Turn it off and use the 2-level dual file function (-6 or -12).  If you hare having a clearly higher noise level (esp for real world location audio) then you have other problems.  Problems in post?  Have you dealt with DR10 files in post yourself?  I have.  You set the internal clock of the DR10 to the whole minute of your master TC and that puts you in the ballpark for post sync.  If you do long rolls, which is the norm in this kind of work, you can grab a piece of the audio from your own recorder, note it's TC start, line up the DR10 audio to that and then edit the TC start so you can turn in a file that's in dead sync.   Don't whine about extra work, you are getting a great remote recording for a tiny price!   The DR10s are cheap enough to be expendables!  A 2-box solution for TX+recorder is not at all as elegant as the Audio Limited or Zax 1-box solution at all.  If you have the $ then great, but meanwhile the DR10 has saved my ass many times by now on surprise driveaways, 2nd units, bad RF zones and so on.

I haven't dealt with the files myself, I only heard the complaints afterwards. It was a production for public television in Germany. For myself I draw the conclusion to get TX with recording function. Edit: I wasn't whining by the way

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If you can get the 1-piece recorder-TX devices on the job, good for you.  But don't slag a very useful tool like DR10 due to lack of understanding of how it works, or can work!  The recorder-TX solutions are very expensive to own if you are not needing them and getting rental for them all the time--while the DR10 is cheap enough to keep in one's kit as a "just in case" tool regardless of what wireless one has.

 

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On 1/23/2019 at 12:55 AM, Jesse Flaitz said:

They also have a space saving file in the file folder that messes with DITs who don't know that it's unnecessary to copy over, not a big deal since it's like 16gb in the grand scheme of Tbs of data, but still.

What is a "space saving file"?

 

On 1/23/2019 at 6:50 AM, Jesse Flaitz said:

Comparing AA rechargeables and chargers to the NP-50s is apples to oranges, but with the Oranges being clearly cheaper.

Usually it is apples that is cheaper 😉 Wish I lived somewhere that had oranges cheaper instead!

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3 hours ago, IronFilm said:

What is a "space saving file"?

To assure consistent recording, the SD card is formatted by the PDR with contiguous sectors so that the recordings are properly recorded in sequential segments.  Without this, the recordings would be laid down like those on a laptop hardrive - randomly scattered about the disk.  By pre-formatting sequentially, the recordings are assured of a constant time factor in laying down the data, assuring a good recording.  The reserved spaces are NOT wav files so as to discourage the post guys from copying them over.  In the latest firmware revs, the size of these segments are set up to match the Windows maximum of 4Gb.  When you record, the files are terminated by the PDR as wav files either when the file size limit is hit or when you hit stop.  If your unit loses power and the file is not properly terminated, the un-terminated files is detected as an un-recovered file the next time the PDR powers up and you  get a recovery screen.  Just follow the defaults on the screen and the PDR will then terminate the file segment properly for Post's use.  Do not send a SD card from a PDR  that lost power in mid-recording without first putting in fresh batteries and running the recovery first.  And don't use the card for other stuff - such as adding files like the daily log sheet.  The best way to handle the files after you pull the card is to copy all the wav files from the card to a thumbdrive or another SD card and THEN you can view/edit in Wave Agent and add additional meta data, logs etc.  The new firmware also allows for iXML metadata such as that you add via WaveAgent. 

 

Hope this makes sense - it IS getting late in the day and my stomach is demanding dinner......

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