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Thread: Sound Devices 302

  1. #1

    Default Sound Devices 302

    I bought one of these about 18 months ago and haven't really used it yet (played around with it a bit though) and wanted to ask (I think The Guru also has the same mixer) when you send the 1k tone to the camera what do set the camera level at. In tests I've found its better to have the levels the same on both, but I've googled around and most advise is to set the cameras level between -20db and -12db.

  2. #2
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    Hi Shiner, yeah I've got the 302 and love it!

    Assuming that you're working with a digital camcorder. I've always set the camera as near to -18db as I can. On most, this seems to be at the -20db setting. I wouldn't go any higher as I found that this is the best combination with the 302's limiter (and a cracking limiter it is too).

    The numbering on the 302 is a bit misleading. What they have as 0 is the same as PPM4. In other words when the 302 reads 0, it should be reading -18 on the camcorder. If you match the 302 number-for-number with the camcorder, you'll find the levels from the 302 seem to be much too high.
    So, if you have the output such that the 1khz tone is just illuminating the first orange led on the 302 and match this to the -20db mark on the camcorder, it should be happy.
    Or, at least, this is what I work at and it seems to be the "normal" settings.

    You can change the output level in the menu and, if you're having problems, it might be worth checking that it hasn't been changed accidentally. It's a bit of a faff and when you read the instructions (page 16) it seems very complicated but once you get going, providing you do it step-by-step, it's easy. I keep the output to the factory default which seems to be the standard location mixer output level.

    It might be worth doing a "default restore" to reset everything back to the factory presets if you think that the levels may have been changed...

    If you're working with BetaSP or analogue gear, then you can go a bit higher, setting the level to 0 on the camcorder. With digital it's best to record a bit too low, with analogue you can go a bit higher. Since there's no inherent tape "hiss" with digital, low levels aren't as serious as with BetaSP.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 06-03-2008 at 04:40 PM.

  3. #3

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    Thanks Guru. I've just looked at at page 16 (is yours just cream coloured A4's stapled together) and will have a thorouh read later. So with the camera set at -20 or -18, when recording do you try to keep the SD302 to between -20 and -12 on the levels or let it go up to 0db. Sorry to be a pain

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    Yeah, my "instruction book" is a also handfull of stapled cream pages!

    What I do is to line up the 302 as follows, with a digital camcorder:

    I put all the faders down to zero and switch on the set-up 1khz tone which lights all the green LEDs and the first orange LED on the meters.
    Then on the camcorder I set the input such that it's getting as close to -18db as I can get it. On most camcorders, the nearest mark is -20db, so I line up to that mark. I then put a bit of gaffa tape over the knob because I don't know how many times I've knocked it after the set-up!

    I like to have the meter set as a PPM meter, so that it reacts to the peaks. I've also changed the limiter so that it comes in at +10 dBu as opposed to the +20 dBu which is the factory default. That way it cuts in just as the signal is about to distort.

    When recording I try to keep the 302's meter in the upper green area. If it very occasionally lights up the orange then that seems to be okay but I try to avoid the orange LEDs coming on if possible. If a red led comes on then the sound is always distorted in my experience.

    If you get into difficulties then PM me with your 'phone number and I'll give you a call.

  5. #5

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    Just had a try using your 'Instuction book' Guru and the result sounded wonderful, far far better than anything I've had before. Really appreciate your help and also the offer of a call. And I still haven't forgotten your previous offer, and as soon as anything worthwhile turns up will contact you. Thanks again

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    Glad I could help.

  7. #7

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    Just tried a quick test using The Guru's recommendation's http://www.digitalgloss.com/RecordTest.wmv

    Edit : PS Sorry about the 'umm umming' and the terrible voice
    Last edited by shiner; 06-07-2008 at 11:47 AM.

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    That's a really good demo of three different mics!

    The Schoeps really stands out, in my opinion. Strangely, television people tend to go for Sennheiser MKH mics and film recordists prefer the Schoeps. I think the Schoeps range has a great sound when recording voices but, being a supercardiod, rather than a "shotgun" you have to keep it close, otherwise it can sound a bit "roomy". Since the boom operator has to be really switched on and know what (s)he's doing with the supercardiod and the Sennheiser MKH range are a lot less sensitive to damp conditions the MKHs have gained a foothold in telly-vishun-land.
    However, when it's in close, as your demo clearly shows, it blows the Sennheisers out of the water when it comes to recording speech!

    A really nice trio of mics, thanks for that.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 06-08-2008 at 05:46 PM.

  9. #9

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    Have to agree, the Schoeps is a class above, especially when wearing cans to listen. That sound was not edited at all Guru, do you think it's loud enough ? or is that something that is done in post ? The only thing I didn't do was change the limiter to +10db on the 302

  10. #10
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    I think the levels were more than okay. I've been told that a lot of people record the sound too loud on digital gear, a hang-over from analogue days when you needed to get the levels as high a possible to avoid tape hiss. In the edit, the sound should never peak above -6 db on the meters and, ideally hang around the -18 mark.

    I have the limiter on +10 as a safety net since I've noticed that, with digital recording, once you go over zero, the sound is irreversably distorted.

    Thanks again Shiner, a nice demo on using a mixer and how different mics can sound.

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