Typical boom / lav setup for service / product testimonial shoot. This particular production chose to create a white cyc backdrop inside a small conference room.
I acquired this classic digital mixer for a song because the screen had gone out. The old CCFL tube light had gone bad. I purchased a very thin strip of LEDs, found a 12V power rail from the power supply, and installed them as a replacement. It looks great and should keep this working for a long time.
I've noticed my blog has a lot of "audio tech" content and not much "production sound" content. I do production sound work full time, but there's usually an NDA in place or I'm just too busy on set to take pictures. (For example I recently worked on a shoot featuring a new 2023 Toyota vehicle and wasn't allowed to take photos.) Anyway, I'll try to include more production posts (including visual media or not) in the future.
Recently I've had to do some maintenance on some lav mics. Two of my Sanken COS-11D microphones that are wired with a TA5 connector had the plastic shells of the connectors cracked open from being pushed on from the sides. Rather than just replacing those connectors with the same thing, I decided to try something new. I replaced those connectors with some Cable Techniques TA5 low profile "right angle" connectors. I added a little heat shrink for extra cable strain relief and to make sure there was good grip to the connector. So far I'm very pleased with the results! The low profile connector is half the length of the original, which dramatically reduces the amount of pressure and leverage when it gets pressed on from the side. Also, the exposed connector is mostly metal, and the plastic end on it is at least twice as thick as the plastic of the original connector's shell. I don't consider the change in the angle of the cable exiting the transmitter to be significant. It's arguably better for some wardrobe and worse for others, but the same is true of the original.
Lectrosonics' LT series transmitters are arguably the most affordable way to get into high quality wideband RF for your lavalier microphones. However, it's not a perfect device. The body shape is a little big and a little square, the battery door can become unreliable and need a little maintenance (which is fortunately easy to do yourself), but the most trouble I've had with these transmitters is the stock wire belt clip. It's just a firm steel bent metal wire that provides almost no friction to whatever you clip it to. The good news is, it's easy to put on, it's easy to take off, and it's easy to remove entirely if you prefer to put the transmitter in a pocket or inside a strap. It's fine for stuff where talent isn't moving much, but when talent starts moving around, you're taking chances. I've had them fall off of talent on more than one occasion, which is embarrassing and can damage my lav mics. Lectrosonics does make an alternate heavy duty clip (part number BCSLEBN) that can be bolted on. However, it costs almost $50, makes the LT transmitter even harder to hide on talent, and is not easily removable.
A while ago I took on a repair and restoration project of a Studer B67 Mk1 reel to reel analog tape machine. I purchased the machine used and broken and then purchased a "Full Monty" repair kit from Nagravox in Australia.
I'm making progress, but it's not done yet. It's an exciting, but tedious process. The exciting part is that I'm working on this device that is considered by some to be the pinnacle of audio recording fidelity (when it's working properly). Today it's considered obsolete by most because of the convenience of digital recordings, but many audiophiles and purists say that analog still sounds the best. Plus it's just so darn COOL! It's like working on a (potentially) great sounding machine that has a Rube Goldberg / steam-punk aesthetic and feel that modern digital gear doesn't have (for better or for worse). The tedious part is combing through long technical documents (which mercifully include pictures), taking lots of measurements, and replacing a LOT of dried up capacitors and other parts.
Modern cell phone designs are eliminating the headphone jack in favor of better waterproofing and space for other features. It was a drag for me because i used my headphone jack for not only my wired headphone collection, but a variety of useful things in my job as an audio engineer. I discovered recently that for $70 I could still have a headphone jack, AND it's wireless, AND it provides more power than my cell did, AND it doesn't add much to what I'm already carrying in my pockets. This is the FiiO BTR3K. For $130 you can get the BTR5 which I recommend if you're trying to push more demanding headphones, but it's bigger, battery life is shorter, and range is shorter. #headphonejack #headphones #bluetooth
Just wrapped on a big reality show for Netflix! Had an awesome eight weeks of working with the sound team pictured above under the guidance of Sound Supervisor Tom Jao.
Get it?... Like boom pole?...
Anyway, 2021 is shaping up to be much busier than 2020 so far. Here's a shot from a corporate interview at Toyota's headquarters and a shot from a show called Cellmate Secrets I worked on recently.
Unfortunately the February 2021 "Snowpocalypse" cancelled FOUR shoots I had booked in ONE week. It was a real drag for work and a little scary, but we made it through with plenty of firewood and candle lit poker games.
Dave Burt is a career audio engineer and is currently working as a freelance Production Sound Mixer.