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CineW

Star Trek Original Sound

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I've always wondered what microphone and recorder they used in Star Trek the original series. The dialogue is so nice and thick, even on a wide 4 person shot where the boom would have to be high because of the nearly square TV frame. You hardly hear any noise too. Really clean. This quality was common on TV shows of the mid 60s, "Hogan's Heroes" also had great sound. Does anybody know what sound gear was used in Star Trek? Thanks

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37 minutes ago, CineW said:

I've always wondered what microphone and recorder they used in Star Trek the original series. The dialogue is so nice and thick, even on a wide 4 person shot where the boom would have to be high because of the nearly square TV frame. You hardly hear any noise too. Really clean. This quality was common on TV shows of the mid 60s, "Hogan's Heroes" also had great sound. Does anybody know what sound gear was used in Star Trek? Thanks

I've been curious about shows from that era too. I think everything had to be on a fisher boom, but no idea what mics. I'm always impressed at how these shows or older films sound when I know it was almost always just one mic high over their heads.

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Many actors in those days spoke up loud and clear. In recent years the so-called talent' are a bunch of low talkers who incoherently mumble. The FX heavy mixes do not help much either </end rant>.

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I know little, but it seems RCA KU-3's and EV 642's were in heavy usage in the era.   The Sennheiser MKH805 shotguns showed up somewhere at the end of the 1960's, and Langevin in LA rebranded them.  

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1 hour ago, John Blankenship said:

In large part it's a testament to how much acoustics matter -- in most cases more than the mic choice.

 

This!!

 

And also 

2 hours ago, Rick Reineke said:

Many actors in those days spoke up loud and clear. In recent years the so-called talent' are a bunch of low talkers who incoherently mumble. The FX heavy mixes do not help much either </end rant>.

 

I remember one time in a shoot we had the actors  in a scene in a studio two doctors and one patient. The patient is on a bed, the two doctors are standing up talking to eachother. The two doctors were young actresses, standing just at perfect mic position, crisp and clear easy peasy booming, head ended just outside of frame. The old school actor on the bed lay at the far bottom of the frame. 

He ALWAYS sounded 10dB louder and clearer. I was easily a meter (approx 3+ feet) away from that guy. I had to ask him to take his voice down a bit. Even then he sounded louder, closer and clearer. 

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The simplest answer to this question, a question which in some form or another has often been asked regarding how good some older shows sound, can be summed up as: much quieter recording environment (most productions shot on quiet sound stages, real sound stages), actors spoke properly with projection (and the good actors could do this without even seeming to be projecting). 

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3 hours ago, Jeff Wexler said:

The simplest answer to this question, a question which in some form or another has often been asked regarding how good some older shows sound, can be summed up as: much quieter recording environment (most productions shot on quiet sound stages, real sound stages), actors spoke properly with projection (and the good actors could do this without even seeming to be projecting). 

 

Makes sense. I just checked IMDB and it says that Star Trek was filmed at Desilu's Culver City stage which was an old RKO building. And sure enough, "Hogan's Heroes" was shot there too.

 

I know that we have so much dynamic range now that post houses love to really push the ends of the spectrum, but most recent shows drive me nuts when I watch them on TV. I'm constantly having to ride the volume control. It's either too quiet, or way too loud. Why can't they mix the levels on a regular TV? Even on my decent mid-tier Best Buy Magnolia home theater system, I still have to ride the volume. This can also be said with the dynamic range on the visuals. Back in the day, they considered "Godfather" too dark, but that would be be bright compared to "Game of Thrones" "Longest Night" episode.

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CineW,

I couldn't agree more about current day final stage studio mixers stretching the bleeding edge of audio dynamics. The last 5 to 7 years i have had to have the remote in hand in order to gain up  whispering dialog only to then hear nuclear bomb SPL sound from a roaring jet that blows my hair straight back as I mash the volume button down. I think these mixers get an evil pleasure from what they are doing. My next AV amp is going to have and AGC control.

 

I have ranted about this before on this forum. I'll crawl back into my whole.

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1 minute ago, Mark LeBlanc said:

Stumbled on this Pic... Looks like it's from the Pilot Episode with Capt Pike 

 

 

Wow! Thanks for sharing!! Looks like EmRR is right. The mic appears to be an RCA KU-3A. I can't believe how far it is from the talent and still sound so rich an full.

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On 7/21/2020 at 12:25 AM, CineW said:

 

Wow! Thanks for sharing!! Looks like EmRR is right. The mic appears to be an RCA KU-3A. I can't believe how far it is from the talent and still sound so rich an full.

 

The magic of proximity effect in ribbons!  I was stunned the first time I used an RCA 44, the manual isn’t kidding when it says you need to use the low cut filter when closer than 3 feet.  Maybe not the built in ‘voice’ filter, but some sort of compensation.  

 

A friend who obsesses over Columbo tells me the KU-3A was Peter Falk’s preferred mic.  

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Cool discussion guys, I grew on on V1.0 Star Trek and always thought the same.

When I was at film school, we had an old school Fisher platform boom in our studio and I had a few chances to actually work with and boom scenes with it, what a great piece of equipment that just like Fisher dollies, was a well made, perfectly crafted piece of gear.

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On 7/20/2020 at 11:21 PM, Mark LeBlanc said:

Stumbled on this Pic... Looks like it's from the Pilot Episode with Capt Pike 

pjgw6dvpvz0pndcukx2z.jpg


Nice find Mark!!
 

Great and depressing thread!  Musta been great back then.  Fisher booms...  Projecting actors...  Quiet sets...  No wires...  Single camera shoots...

 

Those were the days; how I wish I could remember them rather than fantasize about em.

 

But as we are seeing human history isn’t an upward arc, but rather a sine that we’re in a downward leg of.  The negative polarity of our alternating culture.  Maybe these things will come back if people’s sense’s ever return.  HAH!  That’s a laugh!

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On 21 July 2020 at 1:50 AM, PMC said:

CineW,

I couldn't agree more about current day final stage studio mixers stretching the bleeding edge of audio dynamics. The last 5 to 7 years i have had to have the remote in hand in order to gain up  whispering dialog only to then hear nuclear bomb SPL sound from a roaring jet that blows my hair straight back as I mash the volume button down. I think these mixers get an evil pleasure from what they are doing. My next AV amp is going to have and AGC control.

 

I have ranted about this before on this forum. I'll crawl back into my whole.

 

6 hours ago, Izen Ears said:


Nice find Mark!!
 

Great and depressing thread!  Musta been great back then.  Fisher booms...  Projecting actors...  Quiet sets...  No wires...  Single camera shoots...

 

Those were the days; how I wish I could remember them rather than fantasize about em.

 

But as we are seeing human history isn’t an upward arc, but rather a sine that we’re in a downward leg of.  The negative polarity of our alternating culture.  Maybe these things will come back if people’s sense’s ever return.  HAH!  That’s a laugh!

 

I agree this is a really great thread with some good information (not to mention pics too)!

 

To some extent I don't think it is the broadcast rerecording mixer who is to blame for the excessive dynamic range (although sometimes it most definitely is). It is usually the 'direct employer' of said mixer (who indeed may employ said mixer because they have a mutual understanding what dynamic range ought to be on a TV show)!?

 

Have loudness standards really improved the intelligibility of dialogue ... ?

 

Next, Izen Ears, "Those were the days"  ... they're still with us in part: for every unconcerned team there's a concerned team; for every lousy location there's an ideal location; for every star who alternates SHOUTS and (whispers) there is an old stalwart who provides the same performance take after take...

 

Hell, if it wasn't fun why the hell do it?

 

Interesting thread from the same question we periodically ask ourselves! The stage pictures and RCA ribbons are a delight for me, thank you!

 

Jez

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After digging some more, I am almost certain the mic used is an Electro-Voice Model 668. A relatively inexpensive mic to buy used today compared the the RCA KU-3A. I've always loved EV mics especially the oldies. If you look a the cable connector at the end on the behind the scenes pics, it looks like the EV 668, on a custom suspension for the Fisher boom.

 

star trek mic crop.jpg

 

star trel set mic3.jpg

 

EV668-1.jpg

ev668-2.jpg

 

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