Audio Technology Spotlight


In the ever changing world of TV technology, formats, standards and delivery, it’s always been reassuring to think that audio equipment for sound gathering on location hasn’t changed too much.

That is, until the last couple of years when the emergence of the now widely used digital solid state recorders, digital transmission radio mic systems, high quality sophisticated mixers, that offer the end user more choice, are all becoming the new standard.

We are seeing very strong growth in usage and sales in these areas and the sound department has entered a new phase of technological implementation.
Location sound is one of those things that most people don’t pay too much attention to, unless it’s bad or not even there. The “champions” of the location sound community, namely the “Sound Recordists” are constantly honing their craft and now through new types of equipment and a way or working are in a position to offer a much more flexible approach to their recordings and how they deliver the sound to their clients and post production.
We have highlighted a few products to recently hit the market, merited for their technological advances.

Ricsonix are a small company based in Australia and run by Ric Creaser, also a sound recordist. The Camlynx is a 2.4GHz based WiFi transmission system to facilitate getting rid of the all-annoying “Dog on a lead” syndrome that recordists hate so much. (The dreaded mixer to camera umbilical cable)
The kit comprises of a small, light transmitter and receiver system, they work on 2 AA batteries or external power and have full stereo transmission with a unique, confidence headphone beep if the transmitter stops communicating with the receiver or in effect drops out. It’s very user friendly and great for getting sound into the smaller cameras, like the new HDV offerings. There are LED VU meters on the receiver, that mimic the camera’s metering, so offer some visual confidence that the signal is getting there also.

The Camlynx units come supplied with a cable set, utilising XLR connectors and cables for external powering the tx/rx, and a small hard case.
It’s license free and usable the world over, (so no country specific frequencies needed) it uses sophisticated “channel hopping” transmission to find a free space and doesn’t suffer from mobile phone interference. Camlynx has also recently been modified to accommodate the use of 2.4 GHz video sender units. While not designed as a long-range system, most users will feel the benefit from just not having a cable between the camera operator and “soundie”. It offers a newly found freedom, confidence and lower cost that perhaps a traditional radio mic link doesn’t offer. Although the signal is reliable in most situations you do know when the receiver unit loses the audio signal, so the recordist is aware that a sound “pick up” may need to be done or a back up recording utilized. It’s a great innovation and sure to be popular with the fast pace of productions these days.

The anticipated arrival of the SXR4, 8-track recorder from this very high quality Swiss manufacturer is now over! Sonosax have an amazing pedigree in the manufacture of high-end audio equipment for Film, TV and Video production.
With some of the very best mixers, mic preamps and recorders available to sound professionals the SXR4 is the latest product in the Sonosax lineup.
The new SXR4 recorder utilises an internal hard drive (30GB) and compact flash based removable media. It’s the smallest, lightest and has the lowest power consumption of any of the currently available recorders on the market. There are 4 analogue line or mic inputs, all on XLR’s with switchable 48v phantom power for your favourite condenser mics. The mic preamps are some of the finest you can get and sonically the recorders are at the top of their league. With the fast moving recordist in mind, this product will sit very neatly in the ubiquitous “over the shoulder” bag of sound kit. There is a small but easy to read LCD for menu functions, the SXR4 will now record all 8 tracks of analogue and digital inputs to HD or compact flash, it runs on 6 AA batteries and has a very fast USB2 file download. It’s the perfect timecode back up recorder, either used in conjunction with a mixer to record 8 tracks (4 analogue and 4 digital) or on it’s own for sound effects/music/dialogue, including 5.1 surround sound. Great for documentary work or drama applications. A new 3 channel mixer with digital output is also due soon, this will make a 7 analogue input mixer/recording setup and a very small footprint.

Sound Devices could be seen as the market leader for location audio equipment, their meteoric rise as a forward thinking, innovate, customer focused company is borne out by their very successful range of products, used by sound professionals the world over.
The latest addition(s) to their product range is the 788t recorder and CL8 controller.

The 788t, an 8+2 track recorder that has an impressive set of features to enable the user to record pristine audio tracks for virtually any application imaginable. The 788 offers, 160GB of internal storage on a 2.5 SATA drive and a compact flash slot for removable media. 8 mic or line analogue inputs, AES/EBU digital inputs, Firewire 400 and 800 outputs in addition to USB2 port.

An extremely comprehensive set of menu tools for routing and monitoring your signals is also present in an easy to navigate screen-based menu. The unit weighs very little and packs a very powerful punch. Powered by the removable NP style DV camera battery or external power the unit can be used in a recordists documentary type of bag or quite at home on a trolley drama based setup for long periods.
Superb build quality and truly robust for all climates and environments.

Available by the end of November in the UK will be the optional control interface the CL8 (pictured above). A very innovative product to enable the user to operate the 788t recorder as a mixer/recorder. The very small additional size to the overall package will be very appealing to most end users. The powerful additional features that the controller gives will make the truly portable multitrack mixer/recorder ever closer. Fixing screws facilitate the marrying of the 2 units and a single cable completes the connection and enables functionality of the comprehensive fader panel. It is rumoured that there will also be a linear fader panel package available early next year satisfying the drama recordists needs. If you want technology and ultimate performance, it’s here in abundance in the 788t/CL8 combo.

Tags: iss025 | audio | wifi audio link | ricsonix camlynx | sonosax | digital audio recorder | sound devices | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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