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Re: Re: testing,.. surround

Subject: Re: Re: testing,.. surround
From: Rob Danielson <>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 2003 18:15:54 -0500
Walt wrote:
>Rob Danielson wrote:
>  >
>>  sans the car battery and long runs of wire:
>Unfortunately, the car battery and runs of wire are part of the
>practical problem. A notebook computer may be ok for such a multichannel
>array, which because of the effort to set it up is not portable. In my
>approach I want to be able to carry a full recording setup on me. Though
>at times I may use supports and so on.
>If I try to go into a site, it's extremely rare there is so much as a
>trail, it's through the brush. And that the footing contains water and
>soft mud and such like does not help. And the carrying of the gear
>cannot distract enough to where I don't see the snake...
>This approach is really why I don't see a laptop as a practical solution
>except in fixed locations. Having it running while moving would be very
>unsafe for both me and it. Whatever I use over the years, it's going to
>be a recorder designed specifically for the field. For recording while
>>  It started me thinking more about the Sound Devices 744,...two mic
>>  preamps, 4 channels and fits in the palm of a hand. Add an MP-2,
>>  battery pack and it would be much smaller than my current stereo rig.
>>  While working with the files on the laptop, I discovered I was making
>>  global EQ settings, regions, exporting sub files, logging and burning
>  > to DVD-R all at the same time.
>Yes, there are some solutions. But in the setup you had you were still
>not mobile enough to follow animals that were moving while calling. And
>it took some time to set up. Even changing your location a little bit
>would be difficult.
>Even if working quality recording I cover a number of sites in a few
>hours. If doing survey I may travel 50 miles or more in a evening
>stringing sites together. That puts certain limitations on speed of
>setup and takedown. I can easily be recording within a minute of
>arriving at a site, and leave just as rapidly. Though I usually take
>longer. Even doing the samples from all those different mic setups can
>be done rapidly in my system, depending on how far I'm walking.
>I'm not sure you'd need a MP-2 with the new Sound Devices recorder. I'd
>expect that they have built that pre in.
>>  The line between equalizing and mixing is one I'd like to cross less
>>  often. Single field recordings standing on it their own-- Aaron Ximm
>>  has great talent for this.  When a recording seems to have promise, I
>>  enjoy attenuating the dominant frequencies that are masking
>>  attentions to other frequencies and textures.  Each file brings a
>>  complex of issues to resolve. When I have to mix files to create
>>  something that is missing its a lot of work to do right and not as
>>  much fun. Recording six channels at once using only what's there has
>  some of both methods.
>One other thought on large array recording. With the continually
>increasing noise problem I expect that directional mics will be more and
>more necessary. Open arrays recording from all directions are going to
>be special occasion things. Or, like in science recording, where we can
>tolerate picking up more noise. For this reason alone I'm not all that
>hopeful of surround recordings ever being a big part of nature
>recording. Even if all the equipment problems are solved. I'm focusing
>on stereo, which is bad enough for the noise problem.

The sheet from Sound Devices shows two mic pres and two line inputs 
on the 744. I thot it had 4 mic pres at first too. A surround set up 
for tracking callers would be something! I did see a funny wrap 
around the headg worn device somewhere, but space is space.  Even 
with a 744T instead of a laptop, the cabling  and mic-mounting 
(especially if rain is a possibility) make surround more of a 
"build-it-and-see-what-comes" relation to the setting.  Wireless 
transmitters instead of cabling would help but good ones are 
~$600/channel.  As for noise, I'd rather have a more accurate image 
of the cars and jets in the space as long as they are existing with 
the other communicators.  As reference, I usually get about 3-7 
minutes of interesting material per hour in that Valley due to the 
traffic working in stereo, but with the surround array, and partially 
because its fresh to listen to, closer to 30 minutes per hour was of 
interest. Rob D.

Rob Danielson
Film Department
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


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