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Romer

Wireless Receiver Output Level

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Hi all, I've been working as an assistant and boom operator under many different local mixers recently and I've come across a technical setting that I dont understand. Lots of mixers set the output level on their wireless receivers to (-20) and make up the gain on their mic preamps rather than setting the input on their mixers to line and leaving the output at say 0. I've read the technical information and guides on the (specifically) lectrosonics website, and they state that the receiver output attenuator does not affect the signal to noise ratio. Do people lower the output gain in order to achieve greater dynamic range on a voltage level, or is there a different reason? 

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Generally speaking, I want the cleanest audio going into my mixer.  So I always set the receiver output to max (on Lectrosonics, that's +5) to essentially have a line level input.  This way, I bypass the preamps on the mixer, which can introduce some additional noise (although on the higher end mixers is minimal).  Then I set my transmitter to an appropriate level for the talent's peaks so that there is not distortion at the transmitter.  In this way, you have put yourself in a good position to provide the cleanest sound possible at an appropriate level.

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15 minutes ago, Johnny Karlsson said:

+5

 

+1

 

However - if I were working as a boom op or utility and the mixer wanted to to it their way, simply because "that's how they like to do it" - I would not argue with them.

I totally agree with that. I worked for a mixer who liked his TX set at 22 regardless of mic, placement, or volume. I never understood it and his answer never made much sense to me but I happily set them there every day.

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I have a theory to why the -20 output on receivers became common practice.

 

When portable analog mixers were prevalent in the field, many were prone to channel bleeding. Particularly on the Wendt X4 and X5 mixers, if the signal was too hot coming in, it would bleed into the channels next to it and into the mix. So to compensate, the output levels on the receivers were lowered to -20 and the mixers were set to -10. Even when the gear no longer required doing this, people continued to do it out of habit.

 

Rental houses still often send out packages like this by default.

 

That all being said, there are some cart mixers who even pad down their receivers so that they can set their trim levels on their consoles near noon so that they have room on either end to adjust. I know this was common when the 01V was popular.

 

It all boils down to learning best practices, and then adjusting your strategy as you need to.

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