2018 Launches New Pro Audio Products and Reflections on Audio for Production

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

You know sometimes we make such a big deal out of cinematic production that it has been said we forget about the importance of audio. I don’t think that is true at all. If anything, we should spend a lot more time thinking these days about how the audio plays such a big part in the whole production process. Which mics are we going to use? What sound fx? Who is d ing the music? Is it an original score? All those questions must be answered because audio matters.

Great audio in any form makes such a meaningful and profound impact on the quality of the production. Here is an example of what I am talking about. My first documentary (way back when) was all about missing and exploited kids - really heavy stuff for sure. We were interviewing one of the dads of a young teen-age girl who went missing and was sadly never found. While his words were obviously important, it was the sound of those words resonating and the room that carried the feeling of this mans burden. The hammer hitting the bell, seemingly heavier and heavier with each moment of the grandfather clock.  His heavy breathing, the whoosh, whoosh creaking ceiling fan, his struggle just to get the words out.

On first playback I was thinking oh man this audio is awful and no good, but when we went to edit, that is when the audio really took hold and made huge difference because it was real. But hey, lets not stay there. I hope you get my point. Of course there are just as many places as well where audio can be uplifting and will just bring your audience to a new and exciting level.  For example when we get the excellent audio from CBS broadcasts of the NFL or the Masters. Nothing like hearing the crowd roar to life after a history making moment. Oh yeah, the score from almost every good movie ever. Lastly, think of this and how important audio is - did you know that Walt Disney was the first person to add sound to cartoons? I didn’t. When I saw that process for the first time on PBS I just sat and watched in awe. (disclaimer, I am a huge Disney fan)

All of that is good but at the end of the day we still need the tools to capture and make it all happen or we just have a really nice looking slide show. Here then, are some great audio products bound to excite. Also just because, I’ve thrown in a few old favorites. By the way I’ve also enlisted my producer/director/guru pal Curtis Pair to get in a few of his picks as well. Let’s go!

Audio for New Thinking Production Models

Had to start here. This sounded cool. Can’t wait to try it out.

Roland announces the R-07 Audio Recorder with premium audio quality, portable chassis and Bluetooth connectivity

Roland has launched a new premium audio recorder - the Roland R-07 High Resolution Audio Recorder. The R-07 is a portable, battery-powered handheld recording device that is designed for anyone who needs to make high quality recordings on the go. It features built in stereo microphones, multiple high-quality recording modes (up to 24-bit/96kHz), plus unique dual recording and hybrid limiting options that guarantee consistently accurate audio capture.

The R-07 also features Bluetooth connectivity for remote operation and for audio streaming with its enhanced Qualcomm® aptX™ audio technology. The R-07 is available in three colours, including WhiteBlack and Red.

The R-07 has onboard stereo mics and is powered by 2x AA batteries or USB bus power.

The R-07 can be controlled via a free iOS or Android app, which allows users to wirelessly manage multiple functions and monitor the device status and audio levels. This is ideal for mounting the device in a location that is out-of-reach, and managing its operation remotely via mobile phone or even a smart watch.

The wireless functionality extends to audio listening, meaning you can monitor your audio stream wirelessly. The R-07 can record in WAV, MP3, or both formats simultaneously. It records to microSD or SDHC. The device also has an external MIC/AUX input should you wish to use your own microphone for audio capture. 4 types of reverb can be used to enhance your recording, along with speed change for practice/transcription purposes.

Warm Audio has also released the same preamp with EQ – the WA73-EQ1 Microphone Preamp with EQ – and two further twin channel preamps with and without EQ – the WA273-EQ 2-Channel Microphone Preamp with EQ and the WA273 2-Channel Microphone Preamp.

The preamps have 80db of gain, fully discrete electronics, 4 position inductor based hi-pass filter, and a direct-in. They also feature an instrument-in so can be used with musical instruments as well as microphones. Each unit has a TRS insert for use with external effects and switchable gain levels for use with different input levels and sound characteristics. The units with EQ feature a 3-band control section for additional sound-sculpting. These are highly versatile rack-mount devices that can be used for studio recording and live performances.

All four units are hand-wired and assembled with UK Custom Carnhill Transformers; these transformers recreate the response of the original Marinair Radar units used in the 1073 – renowned for their sweet saturation when pushed and their highly forgiving musical response. Warm Audio says "We…have not yet heard a modern day 1073-style preamp sound as close to the early vintage 1073 design as does our WA73 with these beautiful custom Transformers."

Warm Audio has also equipped their units with different styles of capacitors and output transistors to mimic the unique design of the 1073 - "using tantalum and polystyrene capacitors in the signal path and an output transistor choice that is much smoother in the high gain settings than what is typically found in modern 1073-style replicas." - Warm Audio.

  • Apogee has updated the MiC, which we first saw in 2011 and then updated to a 96k version in 2014, with a complete overhaul called the MiC Plus.
  • MiC Plus features an entirely new design and promises improved sound quality, dynamic range and adds a built-in headphone output for latency-free monitoring while recording on any device.
  • The microphone still retains its portable form-factor in combination with the professional quality you'd expect from a studio condenser microphone.
  • Setup is simple with MiC Plus selected as your audio interface in your favourite app and also includes three cables for connecting directly to Lightning/iOS, USB-C or USB (Type A) devices.

We will see Apogee at this year’s NAMM show, but if you cannot wait that long, the MiC Plus is available now priced at £239 RRP inc VAT.

Apogee MiC Plus highlights

  • Professional cardioid condenser microphone capsule
  • Made for iPad, iPhone, Mac and Windows 10 PC
  • Includes 3 cables: Lightning, USB (Type-C) and USB (Type-A)
  • PureDIGITAL connection for pristine sound quality up to 24-bit / 96kHz
  • 46dB of mic preamp gain, digitally controlled for greater precision
  • Powerful headphone output with Blend feature for zero latency monitoring

Neumann TLM 103 SET Vocal Mic

Even if you don’t know a single thing about a mic, you must have heard the name Neumann, the company is known for manufacturing some of the best quality mics produced in todays world.

Although Neumann is known for manufacturing some very expensive mics but this model i.e. Neumann TLM 103 Set Vocal Mic is fairly inexpensive.

These mics come in with a pretty large diaphragm that enables them to perform quite well and are cardioid microphones. They have an extremely low noise and that is 7 dB-A.

Sennheiser sets new audiophile standard with launch of HD 820 Headphones

Sennheiser is redefining the limits of audiophile sound – with the new HD 820 which was first showcased at CES. The closed-back dynamic stereo headphones deliver astonishingly transparent sound, thanks to a unique glass transducer cover that minimizes resonances an innovation that ensures an incredibly realistic and natural sound field.

“Whether on the move, at work or at home, the passionate audiophile will always want to appreciate their music to the full,” said Axel Grell, Portfolio Management Consumer at Sennheiser. “Usually, high-end headphones require an open-back design, which has placed limits on where you can enjoy true audiophile sound. The HD 820 is a game changer that delivers exceptional sound while insulating the listener from their environment. I consider them to be the most transparent-sounding closed-back headphones in the world.”

The HD 820 establishes a new reference standard for its class, with an incredibly realistic and natural sound field. This breakthrough performance has been achieved through a special innovation: Over each of the legendary Sennheiser Ring Radiator transducers are unique glass covers. Revealing the acoustics within, the patent-pending curved Gorilla glass serves to reflect the sound waves from the rear of the transducer to two absorber chambers, which results in minimal resonance.

The new HD 820 will be available from early summer 2018 for 2,399 EUR/2,399.95 USD (MSRP).

Tentacle Sync Studio not only reads and analyses any kind of timecode, it provides a clear overview of all footage allowing you to effortlessly sift through it – saving you valuable time. It also exports your dailies and prepares your material for editing, all within the blink of an eye (well almost). Our Tentacle Sync Studio software does all the hard work so you don’t have to.

Drag and Drop. Tentacle Sync Studio gives you everything you’ve come to expect from a modern, intuitive software. Take drag and drop functionality for example: Just throw your media folders in and view your synced dailies instantly.

Visual Sync Map. You know the term WYSIWYG? Well the visual Tentacle Sync map gives you an additional NYSWYD (Now You See What You Did)! With a clear and instant overview of all your synced material, the visually-pleasing interface takes the pain out of sifting through material. 

Hardware accelerated Transcoding. When it comes to converting (transcoding) clips into other formats, we use modern 64-bit frameworks that work hand in hand with your graphics card to ensure this happens quickly and smoothly.

Advanced audio TC reading Algorithms. We’ve been continuously improving the reliability of audio timecode reading algorithms based on the real-life, valuable feedback of our customers. This means that even when timecode isn’t perfectly recorded, Tentacle Sync Studio can still read it.

Multicam Functionality. Cameras are becoming smaller and cheaper, meaning you can film with more of them at one time. This often leads to complicated data madness and more work for post production when sifting through and sorting footage. Thanks to advanced multicam synchronisation features such as automated camera angle detection, Tentacle Sync Studio takes care of time-consuming organisation and gives you a complete overview of all your footage in one place.

Enhanced Metadata Support. We care about your metadata and handle all of it with care! The metadata embedded in your media files is increasingly important in post production as it helps the editor when organising and deciding what is needed and what isn’t. That’s why Tentacle Sync Studio has advanced metadata merging options. 

Flexible output Formats. Tentacle Sync Studio exports Quicktime, XML and AAF files so you can use them effortlessly with editing systems such as Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer or Final Cut X.

FEATURES

  • Drag and drop functionality: Just throw your media folders in and view your synced dailies instantly.
  • Reads and analyses any timecode recorded on audio tracks, even from competitor’s products
  • Supported import formats: Quicktime, AVCHD, R3D, MP4, BWF, WAVE, MXF, CinemaDNG
  • Supported export formats: Quicktime, XML: FCP7, Premiere, FCPX , AAF
  • Simultaneously syncs and transcodes your material on export to more editing-friendly codecs like ProRes
  • Multicam support
  • System requirements: min. OSX 10.9

ZYLIA Portable Recording Studio

ZYLIA is the world’s first Portable Recording Studio that allows you to record entire sound scenes with only one microphone and then separate the individual sound sources from the recording. By combining advanced digital signal processing algorithms and microphone array technology we have created a truly unique and innovative product.  

Hopefully this little bit of insight will inspire you to rethink your audio design for video production mindset. A lot of how you want to approach and execute audio will be the same as for visuals. You know this stuff already. Get some real emotion from your audience and you are half way to the house!

About the Writer

Mark J. Foley, MBA BA is an award winning producer/director and the Technology Editor for ProductionHUB.com. He is on a mission to provide the best in new equipment reviews, along with exclusive analysis and interviews with the best, the brightest, and most creative minds in the entertainment and production business. Have a suggestion for a product review or a cool production or new technique you want to tell us about? Mark can be reached at: mfoley@productionhub.com.

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