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Tentacle Sync Track E vs Lectrosonics MTCR or PDR


FrankH
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Thoughts if you think the Sync Track E will be a direct competitor to Lectrosonics PDR or MTCR or not. 
 

seems to me the 32 bit float might give an edge to tentacle since your not able to monitor the audio.

 

but the build quality and stand alone operation on MTCR, PDR is a plus for Lectro.

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I, like probably a lot of us, got an email from Tentacle saying the first batch of Track E recorders are just about ready:

https://tentaclesync.com/track-e?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TRACK+E+-+Release

 

But unless you're using 3.5mm connectors, you'll need an adapter (they say they'll have some available, IIRC).

And I wonder about the quality of their A/D. And looks like you'll be leaning on their setup software to control the thing. 

Probably none of those will be an issue for the intended users, though. Congrats to them for getting their recorder just about out the door.

 

Who here is thinking of buying a couple of these?

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I ordered two. Very curious about them. Thought of using them as backup recorders for difficult wireless situations. I know I could also use Zax wireless instead, but I‘m not. 
Size will be a very real advantage of these, although I agree that Lectro may have the edge with build quality. Although it’s hard to say, I‘ve never had a problem with the Sync E‘s either. 
They will also make a very nice and light backup recorder for bag work. And I intend to use them as very inconspicuous ambience recorders, for a low profile stereo atmos. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

So my colleague has one of theese now and we used it for the first time about a week ago.

 

Quite a nifty little device. Somehow "bigger than expected" but still small.

 

Playback via the app makes it easy to scroll material, the app doesnt show recorded TC when scrolling (just the start of the recorded file), maybe it is just a setting? Else I can imagine that would not be too hard to add, and would be really handy for work when you know that just a particular time is for interest, but you started the recording let's say, hours beforehand.

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4 hours ago, Constantin said:


But if you did have TC you‘d still only have the start TC. I‘m not sure of how much help that woud be if you’re looking for a certain point in the recording?

When scrolling on other recorders that have TC data, you will often have the option to see the time when it was recorded when scrubbing through (not the lenght), even if the TC recording trigger only technically happened once.

 

In this case it would have been useful to see what was going on at 6 pm and 8pm, while it was started roughly 2 hours beforehand, without trying to do math - very simple math. Maybe not a big thing, but I would find it convenient if the app gave this info, especially if there are a few events based around known times that you want to revisit in the field.

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On 10/30/2020 at 6:54 AM, resonate said:

i wonder if it would be possible to add a battery pack thru usb charging port if somebody would need a really loooong day of shooting (maybe someplace really remote). Could work. 

Probably, if they're like the two earlier Tentacle models, you can charge them and use them at the same time.

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  • 11 months later...

Good of you to point out, @Jim Feeley, right up top that this is 3.5mm connectors. I, like many of us, am not investing my lavs with this connection. This is typically addressed with an adaptor. Connecting an adaptor into a discrete recorder which is unable to be monitored and is flexing and bumping and moving with a person is introducing an additional point of failure. Every adaptor I've ever made, including tension safety cables, microdot, locking, and what have you, they all crackle. They all snap. Someone sits on it. Or the casing exposes the solder points. Or the screw on slips and never screws on. Or they were just made with a flaw.

 

Then your "Plan B" if using the Track E? Using the included mic or an equivalent, such as the one that comes with a G3. Then while you are eliminating a single point of failure, you are recording into the track e with a consumer-grade lav.

 

Finally, what both scenarios don't account for is clothing noise. As soon as you hide these, the risk of not knowing there's a problem, including a mic that's fallen down someone's shirt or chest scratches or anything, increases. 

 

Maybe these would be good as a plant mic. Or with the DPA 4097 in a car sequence, where you might already be pressing record and walking away. Or with a broadcast loop and a proper windscreen outside clothing.

 

Or when you are just making a polite nod to a participant-micing situation that is entirely handled with the boom. Say a talking head interview where the producer has asked you to mic someone, but the camera op and director are accustomed to only using boom, and give you the go-ahead to not bother. Or suppose you don't have permission to handle that person or they've presented you with no time or an utterly complicated wardrobe choice and an unforgiving camera frame. Or maybe someone in another studio just stepped on your frequency choice. Or you cannot chase down a crappy cable. Maybe in those instances you could use these, as lip service, or a formality. You addressed an immediate circumstance. Kind of like an audible confirmation that they are more risky to begin with than your boom.

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I bought two of these with a few intended use cases:

 

- I recorded an F1 car several weeks ago, and had to rent a couple PDR's and 4062's for interior plant mics. Bringing over a tentacle to jam sync the PDR after every new location & power cycle was a pain. Track E's fit right in with my existing timecode workflow and I wouldn't have to physically jam sync anything. 32 bit is a great use case for situations like this with extreme dynamic range and where I can't be physically present (although the PDR at minimum gain with the -18db safety track worked just fine, too).

 

- Plants with the 4097, as you mentioned before. Every now and then, I get put into a car bag drop scenario with a minimal amount of prep time, and this would be the easy solution. 

 

- Mounting a 4097 on a film camera during verité or experimental style shoots. A lot of the DP's I work with mainly shoot on 16mm cameras and love stealing shots between setups. I've learned to be on my toes and rarely miss something they've ran off for, but I imagine a nice camera mounted mic synced to my bag's timecode could give post another good option.

 

- Handing them to friends who want to record dialogue for a no-budget personal project, if I am unavailable or if they're traveling. I already did this, and a friend with no background in audio or film produced excellent recordings by simply clipping the included lav mic to each subject's collar. A huge improvement over the usual H4n or NTG2 amateur solution, especially for two person interviews, and laypeople are comfortable with using the phone app without any instruction by me on how to set levels etc. Getting a synced multi-mic interview recording without a mixer or external timecode device is a huge plus.

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These are all very worthwhile contingencies @Ian Berman

I enjoy being of service to smaller projects. Say a sketch team wants to try their luck with a youtube channel, or a community producer on the public access channel has a really good pitch on a local hero. It could be pro bono for a non-profit or an upcoming director who can't afford me, but in my case was already invited to enter Sundance next year. It only means that among anyone who breaks out of our collective talent, they'll know that I was there on the ground floor with them.

 

Thanks for mentioning that they are 32-bit. That's a big plus. I've never clipped on a job, kanuhura. Always thought that was a coloring-book-for-adults kind of selling point. But I just came out of a firing range on Saturday, and I believe there will be further coverage requiring the location. Wouldn't it be neat if any of my plant mics were neither set up for dialog or gun shots, but rather both? It's so cool to see a waveform seemingly clipped and as tall as a footstool get brought down with every peak intact. That's certainly a confidence in these unmonitored situations.

 

Do you think for the price of 2, I'd be better off getting a mixpre 3ii? I may be able to pickup a pair today for $600, still in the box and registration card. They are difficult to come by, but still. Plus I'm still waiting to try Noise Assist. Problem is, I don't see how mixpre's can route input signal to 2 different input channels. I couldn't even do something as rudimentary as bracketing my gain on the boom when I had that firing range shoot this weekend (earplugs--not buds--AND earmuffs and no monitoring, thank you very much) They can link channels, but that means something different in this circumstance. You're either applying the plugin to a particular mic or you're not. You'd have to put the single instance of the plugin on a Bus L or R track if you wanted to give a client the bypassed version.

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5 hours ago, James Louis said:

Do you think for the price of 2, I'd be better off getting a mixpre 3ii? I may be able to pickup a pair today for $600, still in the box and registration card. They are difficult to come by, but still. Plus I'm still waiting to try Noise Assist. Problem is, I don't see how mixpre's can route input signal to 2 different input channels. I couldn't even do something as rudimentary as bracketing my gain on the boom when I had that firing range shoot this weekend (earplugs--not buds--AND earmuffs and no monitoring, thank you very much) They can link channels, but that means something different in this circumstance. You're either applying the plugin to a particular mic or you're not. You'd have to put the single instance of the plugin on a Bus L or R track if you wanted to give a client the bypassed version.

Better off depends on your use case I guess! I happened to already have a 4097 on order, and a sennheiser locking 1/8" microdot adapter lying around, so it was a no brainer for me. Plus the included lavs are fine if you're just giving it to a friend. I personally wouldn't want to use a mp3 in any of the situations I mentioned beforehand, it makes less sense in plant situations, but I do kind of want a mp3 or 6 for recording ambiences. Maybe next year!

 

PS. someone in another thread just posted they are adding iOS monitoring, which may make your decision a little easier!

 

FWIW I have a mp10ii and don't love the noise assist algorithm. As you mention, routing possibilities are somewhat limited so I just keep the noise assist on the MixL channel when recording mono sources, and disable it when recording anything in stereo. I find that it only really works indoors with mics that are very close to the subject's mouth, like a well-placed lav or a 50 on a tight frame, and I rarely use anything over -5db. I think it's most useful in interview situations where you know there's not going to be a proper post-production sound/RX pass, which, to be fair, is exactly what they advertise it for.

 

Will keep an eye out for ya, I'm in Ridgewood!

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