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HELP What to buy on order of importance. No possibility of rental.


Beta Sound
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First an intro...

I have been an on and off prod. sound mixer for 4 years in the Dominican Republic. (on and off because I moved to spain for a while and also started a small av contracting business which i am currently closing) Mostly did commercials and the occasional documentary or tv program(over 60 or 70 commercials). I am currently on my second feature.

Little by little I have been able to purchase the following gear:

SD 744t

SD 442

Sennhesier MKH 416

Sennhesier MKH 50

2 Tram tr50

4 Sennhesier G2/G3 wireless

Bags, Rycote windshield kits, 18 ft and 12ft boompoles, plus aditional bells and whistles.

Looks like I'm going to be doing some features now. (pinewood building 6 lots here+ new film legislation has come into effect implementing tax incentives for film/tv production.)

This is what i would like to know.

Keep in mind there is no local rental house i can deal with.

Obviously the G2s are my weakest link. Thinking my next purchase should be a Venue with atleast 3 SMQs this will run me about 7K no-one even owns lectrosonics here and i just know it would give me great piece of mind (also RF space isn't very well regulated and could probably get away with running them at 250mw output. Are there any down sides other than being forced onto a cart? Does a cart seem like overkill for a 442 744t setup?

Anything I should think about buying before, like TC slate for example?

I love the idea of getting a 788t eventually with cl9, but seams like overkill without enough mics to fill the 8 inputs.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated, I know there have been a lot of threads on this forum about this, but most answers included renting lectrosonics or other proper wireless or other necessary equipment instead of buying.

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Yep. Get rid of those G2s. Great sound, but they preform BAD. Go with a small cart. Instead of a Venue, I started with (4) or (6) 411a Receivers. Eventually I bought a Diversity UHF Antenna distribution system and that allowed me a cheap way to use the re-use 411a's for Bag usage, or the Diversity for the cart set up depending on the gig.

-Richard

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You'll probably want several Comtek (or equivalent) sets for director, script supervisor, etc. Along with better wireless (although the Sennheisers are surprisingly good for the money), I recommend looking at Sanken COS-11 lavs and various mounting options for hiding them. You'll want a Duplex boom cable set for connecting with your boom op.

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When you get hired on a project, think about what your needs are for that project, and buy the gear to fulfill those needs.

Don't buy gear unless you have been hired to use it.

When I started out, I scoured eBay for deals and picked up gear I knew I would need and would keep for years.

Here's how I see it... $25,000 costs at MOST $250/month in interest to borrow. If you are getting at least $250/month in rental, then your gear isn't costing you anything. If you subrent gear you will eventually buy, you are just adding to the cost of the gear.

As you get more work, you start to pay off the loan with your rental income.

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Yep. Get rid of those G2s. Great sound, but they preform BAD. Go with a small cart. Instead of a Venue, I started with (4) or (6) 411a Receivers. Eventually I bought a Diversity UHF Antenna distribution system and that allowed me a cheap way to use the re-use 411a's for Bag usage, or the Diversity for the cart set up depending on the gig.

-Richard

Have to disagree here: Keep the g2's: They re great for backup wireless, ifb use and wireless scratch track on camera. I use mine still all the time.

But yes you should upgrade to lectros. Get a sr reciever you can get two channel per reciever.

Plus you could simply get the Lma transciever they re cheaper and they l do the trick for most situations. Also there are cheaper alternatives than sanken cos11 for lavs.

I very rarelly run my smqv s up to 250 mw since it drastically decreases battery life. 100mw usually does it outside and 50mw inside.

Hope that helps

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...Also there are cheaper alternatives than sanken cos11 for lavs...

Yes, but if you're spending $3,000 for a channel of wireless, buying a cheaper lav just to save $100 bucks makes no sense to me. A microphone is the key element that determines the quality of the sound and lavs are already too compromised (due to size, position, etc.) to compromise further just to save a tiny percentage of your budget. Spend the money where you can hear it.

Maybe consider DPAs if hiding isn't as much of an issue.

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" Great sound, but they preform BAD. "

I, too, disagree, and generally find they perform quite well, and their sound is fine (maybe not great!)... These can be improved by getting better lav mic's, and I have just recommended Oscar Sound Teck's lavs in another thread!

There is another thread about what equipment to buy, and I understand that rentals may not be available locally, but you may be able to make offshore arrangements, possibly via the productions themselves (or via Pinewood)..I also agree on the LMa TX's being an excellent value, and SR's being good values as you upgrade wireless...

For doing narrative movies, and even commercials, a cart is not a disadvantage. A few extra inputs will get filled in time, but there is also NOMAD, which can start basic / small and is upgradeable. The kind of movie projects that you seem to be expecting will probably require carts, but keep in mind that they will also probably bring their Production Sound Mixer, with Boomer, and kits, so you should also be getting yourself prepared to be the go-to-person for local hire utility, and playback (they would probably bring that kit, too)

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When you say "RF isn't well regulated", do you mean it's an unpredictible mess, or you can do whatever you want?

If it's an RF ghost town, those G2s should work pretty well. I agree with Dominique about keeping the G2s. You could use them for additional channels as you built out your kit, or IFB in a pinch, or camera scratch track feeds. I use mine all the time for camera scratch track. The RXs are small.. and both TX and RX can run 14 hours on PowerEX AA NiMH rechargeables. I don't even power them down for lunch of I am on a 10-12 hour day job.

I do agree about adding to your wireless kit. Also IFB is something you are going to need. I personally would not jump on buying a slate quite yet. It depends on your market, but often you can get production to bundle one in the camera package.

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You'll probably want several Comtek (or equivalent) sets for director, script supervisor, etc. Along with better wireless (although the Sennheisers are surprisingly good for the money), I recommend looking at Sanken COS-11 lavs and various mounting options for hiding them. You'll want a Duplex boom cable set for connecting with your boom op.

I forgot to mention that i already have on comtek 216 receiver and 216 transmitter and duplex boom cable, i want to look in to the remote audio boom box for talkback and what not, although i usually get by, by just talking into slate mic and have the boom op talk into the boom.

"..I also agree on the LMa TX's being an excellent value, and SR's being good values as you upgrade wireless..."

No love for the Venue? seems to me if I'm going for more bang for the buck. I figure its inevitable for me to get into a cart. One, i could start off with two Lma's, when the time comes to upgrade to a 788t or Zaxcomm equivalent. Two i could get an additional pair of smq's or 400 xmitters, and still have two channels left over to use in compatibility mode with my g2s if need be.(buying the respective vrs modules ofcourse)

Although, i could just get a pair of LMA and UCR 100's and go for the venue when i spring for the SMQ's, that way, i can always go to the bag with the UCR's. Will the UCRs work with the SMQs? Or will i be stuck with the lma's for that?

When you say "RF isn't well regulated", do you mean it's an unpredictible mess, or you can do whatever you want?

If it's an RF ghost town, those G2s should work pretty well.

RF traffic is fairly clear. I having to live with the G2's for a couple of years now, i can tell that the only way I can feel comfortable using them unless I'm very close to the talent, is putting them on a c-stand as close as the DP and set will allow me to put them. (just think it looks kind of "amateur hour"). RF is not well regulated, but not enforced, so im sure if I can use the 250mw mode without worrying about it. Might come in handy since construction here is mostly concrete block.

For LAVs i have trams wired for my g2's and am using them with the production company's g3s. I had always thought i should get all the same lavs, as a way to help in matching audio. any reason not to go with trams? I find sometimes they are hard to hide in clothes due capsule being where it is as opposed to being on top like me2's. Both my Trams are now currently emmiting some popping sounds when used on the g3's, not always, its super random i tried jiggling the cable all around, and it only happens sometimes, other times not at all. any help here? I have been forced to go back to the Me2's which i had for the 3rd and 4th wireless.

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Hi Beta. I strongly agree about the Sanken COS-11 lavs. they are my most used RF mics for drama, followed by Countryman B6s. With the rubber mounts they are probably the best for hiding under clothing and avoiding rubbing noises in my opinion. I have a set up like yours: 442/744T combo and Lectro 411s with SM and UM 400s. I also have a G2 which I use all the time, like Dominique said. I have a really simple cart set up, it's a Harper utility cart made for light duty, but it's held up very well for over 4 years. cost a hundred bucks. I use it essentially as a place to put my bag set up. I'm looking to buy an SR setup with SMQVs soon.

chris newton

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No love for the Venue? seems to me if I'm going for more bang for the buck. I figure its inevitable for me to get into a cart.

Sure, the Venue is terrific in that situation. You certainly can't buy 6 standalone top-performance receivers for the cost of a Venue, even with VRT modules. But there are advantages to the separate receivers in some situations. I wind up using both, especially situations where the cart just won't fit.

Will the UCRs work with the SMQs? Or will i be stuck with the lma's for that?

The UCR401 and 411 receivers work great with the SMQs. I would look very carefully at the used market, since Lectro gear pops up on eBay, at pro audio shops, and here on the classified ads all the time. Zaxcom also makes terrific wireless gear.

Both my Trams are now currently emmiting some popping sounds when used on the g3's, not always, its super random i tried jiggling the cable all around, and it only happens sometimes, other times not at all. any help here? I have been forced to go back to the Me2's which i had for the 3rd and 4th wireless.

Lavs don't last forever. You basically have to treat them as an expendable item with a limited lifespan. Their performance does change over time. The Oscar Sound Tech OST-801 lavs are good substitutes for the Tram TR-50s, and sound virtually identical.

--Marc W.

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If you're building a dedicated cart rig, the Venue is an excellent value. I love mine. The LMa transmitters are a lot of bang for the buck. The smart tuning also saves a lot of time and effort. LMa transmitters + Venue RX can get you a lot of Lectrosonics for your money. You can upgrade to the SMQV or WM transmitters as you go forward if they are required.

I don't know what your kit rental situation is, but if production won't/can't spring for a bunch of Lectro wireless mics, using those G2s may save you (making YOUR life easier, as well as your boom op). They are really versatile little things. Even if you need to run them out towards set on XLR cables. If you are doing it, it's because production doesn't have the budget for you to have all high end wireless mics.

Will you always have AC power available? A mixing board might be something to put on the wish list. The 442 is great, but mixing from sliders is wonderful. Using a board powered off AC means there are a TON of options at all price points. If you keep adding channels, you can then mix down to the 744 as needed.

p.s. upping the power to 250 is not always a solution. In some situations, the extra power just causes the signal to ricochet all over the place. Physics is funny like that.

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I never used a UCR100 RX, but based on (non-hands on) research, it seems like you make some definite compromises for such a small package. Personally I would be inclined to look for used 401 or 211 RXs as a way to save costs when in the bag. Maybe a SR?

Offhand a SR (depending on source and specs) is about $2200 new. A new 401 is about $1300. Used SR receivers show up for sale here too. Might be a good way to get bag RXs that can be repurposed as camera hops (if you might have that need).

Offhand certain NYC camera shoppes sell a 401+LMa for under $2000 (compared to about $3,000 for a 411/SMQV). There is a major upgrade to the SMQV/411 set, but the LMa/401 is still a huge leap from the Senheiser G2 or G3.

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