Tuesday, December 8, 2015

AES NYC 2015 A Journeyman's Wandering #04

This fourth report from AES/NYC 2015 moves on to cover more of the booth visits I made over a day and a half. I took a small Olympus Stylus TOUGH TG-4 Digital camera with me so I didn't have to take notes and because "reality video" catches a bit of what it feels like on the floor. It's has a 16MP BSI CMOS with a top sensitivity of ISO 6400 and a 5 fps shooting rate at full resolution. 

I got it over the hundreds of others on the market because it's built to withstand underwater dives to 50 feet, falls from as high as seven feet onto what I don't know), temperatures as low as 14 degrees fahrenheit and pressure up to 220 lbf. I wasn't expecting to operate the camera at any of those extremes, but thought being prepared might come in handy later.

I used it in auto mode most of the time and, while not perfect due to operator error and the whims of the camera itself, I was and remain happy with it. The "stereo mics" are mounted exactly where my left hand wants to hold the camera, so I had to learn to hold it somewhere else our all you could hear was mmmfmmmmfmfmmfmfmmff.

Glenn Sanders is relentless in his efforts to improve location audio gear. First in many things, the Zaxcom "firsts" that stand out for me are a small, digital body pack transmitter that has a built in audio recorder and also records time code to a mini-SD card, NeverClip, a system that prevents overloading of the transmitter by unexpectedly loud sounds and the ZaxNet systematic approach that, among many other things, allows an operator to adjust the sensitivity of a transmitter from a Zaxcom console without ever touching the transmitter itself. Click on the Zaxnet link to find out more.

Join Glenn above as he talks about the new Nomad Touch Remote control. If you're doing location audio from a bag or on a cart, the Nomad Touch can let you take care of business very easily; metadata, changing output busses, record enable tracks. So it's a Deva-style touch screen for a Nomad recorder. Nice!

Scott Boland was at the Redding audio stand and among other things was showing the new Rycote Cyclone windshield kit. The system is different in that the windscreen itself is attached via a suspension system to the base. That reduces vibrations from making their way to the microphone. Scott is showing a medium sized vernon in the video. It works with a Sennheiser 416Schoeps CMITRode NTG1NTG2 or NTG4 or 4+. As of 12/7/15, the only size available in the USA is large. That would be the right size for long shotgun mics like a Sennheiser 816 (If you still have one), Audio-Technica 4071L, or a Rode NTG8. Shorter versions are expected in 2016. Check out Scott's demo below.

Eric Blackmer was just across the aisle at Earthworks. It had been some time since I had talked to him and we did some catchup, especially on an ingenious invention called a KP1 KICKPAD, an inline device that allows almost any XLR terminated mic to be used as a kick drum mic. $99.

It comes with the Earthworks DK25/L Live Performance Drum Mics that also includes three SR25 cardioid mics and a windscreen for the kick drum for a simple but effective three mic drum PA setup. 

There is also the Earthworks DK25/R Recording kit that includes two TC25 omni mics for overhead, a SR25 cardioid for kick, a KP1 KICKPAD and a windscreen.

Finding solutions for situations is vitally important for any company. The Earthworks FW730 FlexWand mics and stands are good example of this approach. Preachers, drummer and choir directors take note as Blackmer details the applications and why the FW730 works so well. I like the fact that it has an XLR plug built-in to the stand itself and the cord runs internally all the way up to the microphone. And as Eric demonstrates below, it's very stable.

Finally, Blackmer showed me the Earthworks SR20 handheld cardioid condenser for live work that can withstand 145 dB SPL. I was struck by the ingenuity of Earthworks designers to come up with the screw on headgrille that allows one of his typical designs to be repurposed for a totally different application. Very cool! $599 is certainly out of the reach of anyone with an SM58 budget. It's up there past an Audio-Technica AE5400 and equal to a Neumann KMS 105but mics are sometimes something you don't know you want until you hear what they do. Then you want one! See what Eric has to say about the Earthworks SR20 below.

Coming up in the next edition, the RME BabyFace Pro, a long list of Radial Engineering gear, a new Tascam plug on recorder plug on for dynamic mics, a Tascam 64 track recorder with removable hard drives, a new soft, silicon surfaced Roli music keyboard, a gaggle of Shure in ear monitors and more! Keep an eye out! Subscribe to the Blog!!!

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