Re: Question about sound equipment and post for 16mm

From: Rob Danielson (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Feb 10 2006 - 20:47:09 PST

Hi Tony--
The main strengths of the Rode NT1A's are their
extremely low "self-noise" and high output. Used
in conjunction with a recorder that also has
low-noise/high-gain, like the HiMD's, one can
record ambience with spatial clarity that would
have cost several thousands 5-6 years ago.
However, for robust sounds like music and voice--
or situations in which your recorder's gain is
set about 1/2 way-- one would probably have to
prefer the _sound quality_ of the Rode mics over
that of the 4033's to justify the change. "Good
sound quality" depends on many things, but most
people can readily hear the noise differences
like hiss. If you are experiencing noise with
the 4033's (and they do have about 20dBA more
self-noise and also less output), then an A/B
comparison with a Rode could prove to be

To use condenser mics with the HiMD recorders,
one also needs portable phantom power supply like
the Rolls PB224 or an Art Phantom II ($40-70).
Then use a "Y" cable adapter like this to connect
the phantom supply to the HiMD's 1/8" stereo mic
input: The ECM 717
will power on the 910's mic jack but it may not
be your first choice after you compare it to the
WL-183's wired for the mic jack: The Tram TR-50 is
among the better lavs, but the 183's lower
self-noise and higher output has people recording
ambience with them/ finding them a bit more
versatile. Note that the WL-183's do "bottom out"
with very loud sounds though.

Sam, you might be referring to the Crown stereo
"SASS" fixture. I'm very impressed with the
stereo and low Hz imaging of this design as well.
Some people have been purchasing a SASS fixture
separately from Crown @~$100 and fitting it with
lower noise Omni-directional mics like AT3032's
or expensive Sennheiser MKH-20's. If people are
interested in some of the more budget DIY rigs
field recordists are building-up, contact me
off-list and I'll assemble some links. Best, Rob

At 11:45 AM -0500 2/10/06, Tony Conrad wrote:
>Hi Rob-----------
>Of course I immediately ordered a MZ-RH910, since I have complete
>confidence in your judgement. Should I still use my precious little
>ECM-717 for general purpose?
>My standard for more demanding recording is the AT4033, of which I have
>several, and which I like very much. How do they compare with the AT3032
>(or the Rødes)?
>I guess I otta grab a pair of those lavs you suggest. And of course, I'd
>like to take advantage of your offer for wiring directions.
>PS--- That sound test is extremely classy!!
>Quoting Rob Danielson <email suppressed>:
>> At 5:13 PM -0500 2/8/06, Sam Wells wrote:
>> >MD is pretty good but avoid mini plugs if you can, well trying to
>> >work with them (borrowed deck Sony ? Sharp ? I forget has driven me
>> >crazy...)
>> All thumbs and fuzzy vision here too. There are some surprises in
>> "quality" though if one can cope with some inconvenience-- see below
>> link to a test comparing a $170 HiMD recorder to moderate and top
>> gear to get an idea. The recent availability of low-noise, high-gain
>> mics and recorders at such low cost seems unprecedented. Field
>> recordists on other lists I follow are using mics like Rode's NT1-A
>> and NT2-A and Audio Technica's AT3032 to provide astonishing
>> performance in the $170-$350 range. Shure's WL-183 is a fantastic
>> lavaliere mic for less than $200 a pair. (183's can be powered
>> directly from a HiMD recorder's mic jack. Contact me off-list for
>> wiring directions). Rob D.
>> (3.7mb QuickTime)
>> The Rode NT1-A mics used in this test have very low "self-noise"
>> allowing the performance of the mic preamps in the the recorders to
>> be more easily evaluated. The Sound Devices 722 recorder runs about
>> $2400 -- sort of the "Nagra" of today.
>> Rob Danielson
>> Film Department
> > University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
> >

Rob Danielson
Film Department
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.