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How far do your mic cables reach? 10, 20, 30.... 1000 feet? Multi-Channel Preamps
Old 30th September 2002
  #1
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Question How far do your mic cables reach? 10, 20, 30.... 1000 feet?

A couple of years ago, we did a gig that needed 750 to 1000 feet of audio snake, so went active.

Back on January 12th & 13th 2001, Aura Sonic Ltd (ASL) recorded and broadcasted the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra w/ the Brecker Bros. live from the IAJE convention in NYC. The concerts where aired in the Netherlands and Europe via ISDN lines from the ASL mobile audio truck.

The first concert on Friday which included the Brecker Brothers was at the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton. This show was recorded to be aired the following day. The second concert on Saturday was at Sheraton's Imperial Ballroom and aired live. Friday's taped show followed the live concert performance. The Netherlands Programme Service and music mix engineer, Gert De Bruijn did not want to move the mobile unit or use two different control rooms for a number of valid reasons. They also did not want to use a portable flypack system at one venue and an audio truck parked at the other space. Even two remote trucks parked on 53rd was not good enough for them. They asked me if I can figure out a way to pull it off. I had my work cut out for me.

I was seriously considering the Aphex 1788 remote mic pres (line level out) to the truck or use the digital out option via QSC's Rave digital system (64 channels plus control) etc. We ended up using our 48 channel XTA active mic/line splitter system thru 750 plus feet of Whirlwind MASS (W4) snakes. We connected (3) 250' and some shorty snakes and flew the cable from the roof of the Hilton (fifth floor) on the North side of 53rd street over to the South side of 53rd where the ASL Mobile Audio truck was parked for Saturday's live show at the Sheraton. We tested the system in the shop and it worked perfectly. No signal loss or fidelity issues were present. I was prepared to use our 48 channel API 3124 mic pre rig to drive the 750 plus feet of cable line level if the XTA's didn't sound right.

There were roughly 66 to 70 microphone inputs y'd to 48 channels on each stage. We set up 48 channels of the XTA DS800's at each location and just swoped out the snake runs at the truck's input panel. The XTA DS800's had plenty of headroom, so we went with them and were very happy we did!

The live broadcast across the pond worked out flawlessly and everyone was happy we didn't have to use different recording systems or move the truck from one side of the street to the other. If you have enough level at the head end of the snake you should never have a problem driving long cable runs. You can run thousands of feet of cable line level without loss, so 750 plus feet was nothing on this project.

What's the furthest you ran a mic cable, passive and or active?
Old 1st October 2002
  #2
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Being mostly a studio guy probably about 50 to 75' not including the snake between the live room and control room which is another 25'.

I started thinking one day about how many feet of cable a signal runs through from the time someone plays a note or sings before we mix it and it pops out of the speakers on someones stereo. Scary stuff.
Old 1st October 2002
  #3
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Remoteness's Avatar
How about remote mic pres and running them line level back to the control room?

Even if you cannot afford remote pre's, mic pre's in the studio can be a wonderful thing. Your assistant can tweak them until they're proper with just the right amount of headroom and you're rockin'.
Old 1st October 2002
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

running you mic-preamps on the stage/control room - and having an assistant set the gain structure is always another route, might require a two-way radio to get fancy...
Old 2nd October 2002
  #5
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Remoteness
How about remote mic pres and running them line level back to the control room?
I've done that a few times. Usually when other engineers bring in outboard pres and I don't have enough patch cables to leave them in the control room.
Old 16th October 2004
  #6
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Remoteness's Avatar
Two years post this thread and I'm still using copper...

How about you folks?
Old 17th October 2004
  #7
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sonare's Avatar
About a year ago I decided to upgrade cable and run line level only from the stage. The micpres were adequate already (Precision 8s) and feeding it down 180ft of Mogami AES made a startling improvement in clarity.

In the next few months I will be going to a new rig from Crispin at Crookwood that has 16 channels in a 4u panel with built-in A/D and remote controlled parameters.

I'll give a listening test report if anyone is curious.

Rich
Old 17th October 2004
  #8
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hollywood_steve's Avatar
 

Interesting, I've given serious thought to setting up my location rig to facilitate placing mic preamps adjacent to the stage with the run back to the recording location at line level. The vast majority of my jobs involve cable runs of under 100ft, usually less than 50. So I am not worried about loss of level as much as I am susceptibility to interference. (anything from fluorescent lighting to refrigerator motors, etc.) My thought being that line level signals would be less likely to be negatively impacted by these sorts of interference than mic level signals. (nothing like applying 70dB of gain to the noise of an electrical motor )

While remote control preamps would be nice, they are certainly not a requirement for this type of setup. But there are many little details to think about when "remoting" the preamps. Little things like the fact that you can no longer power all of your gear from a single circuit. (which is normally one of my firm rules when setting up my gear on location)
Old 17th October 2004
  #9
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Remoteness's Avatar
Not necessarily...

When we place our mic preamps or active splitter near the mics on stage, we almost always run an AC line to the amps fed from our isolated & conditioned power source. I'm not really worried about interference from our power run. We're running line level and the amount of current the amps draw is minimal. IMO, it's all good... In this scenario you can never go wrong running line level back to the control room.
Old 18th October 2004
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Nathanael's Avatar
 

My experience is very close to Hollywood Steve. For the acoustic location stuff I do, 100' has always gotten me out of the performance room into a nearby space of some kind.

It is getting time for a 8ch pre, and the Grace remote pre's look interesting for the stated reasons.

Any experience?
Old 18th October 2004
  #11
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I usually try to stay within a single 100' run when I set up... That said, sometimes it is stretched where the 100 feet is to the main box and then there are either long cables on the stage or subsnakes running to that box. That can make a run 150' or more sometimes from mic to recorer-land...

--Ben
Old 18th October 2004
  #12
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sonare's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by Nathanael

It is getting time for a 8ch pre, and the Grace remote pre's look interesting for the stated reasons.
As I mentioned above, Crookwood in England is coming out with a a new remote micpre and optional A/D that can be configured in multiples of 4 channels at similar quality. Crispins micpres are not well-known in the US (similarly with Broadhurst Gardens) but they have a fine reputation, as do his mastering consoles.

Rich
Old 21st October 2004
  #13
Gear Head
 

This is an interesting topic because lately, I have been researching "digital" CAT5 /fiber snakes for my remote production clients. These are now available from over a half dozen manufacturers with varying capabilities from full remote control with remote processing (expensive) to straight forward copper replacements.

These include such products as the QSC Rave system. But the two most interesting (and least expensive) systems are new products.

Light Viper http://lightviper.com and

AudioRail http://audiorail.home.comcast.net/simple.htm

While the Light Viper uses what looks like a standard stage box with premaps built in, the AudioRail allows you to use nearly any preamp.
Old 21st October 2004
  #14
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sonare's Avatar
As I see it, the problem with fiber optic is that it cannot be repaired; coax can, however. CAT5 ain't cheap (at least something good like Belden Mediatwist). Surely there are more efficient options than multiway!

Rich
Old 21st October 2004
  #15
Gear Head
 

CAT 5 expensive?

MEdiatwist CAT6 can be had for about $.15 / foot, and the ruggedized DataTuff CAT5 can be had for under $.22 per foot. What do you pay for your copper snake cable? Fiber costs as little as $.20 per foot.

BTW, you can't "fix" CAT5 other than by connectorizing it, but fiber can certainly be repaired. People splice fibers every day. It's not easy, but nwither is fixing 19 pairs of copper either!

With up to 64 channels on a single pipe or cable they seem pretty efficient to me!

These systems are also networkable. Meaning you can extend or daisy chain any number of channels to additional I/O boxes. From stage to monitor, to FOH to truck on a single run!

Some of these systems offer remote control over their built-in preamps as well

Another interesting system is the Digigram Ethersound.
Old 21st October 2004
  #16
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sonare's Avatar
I stand corrected!

Rich
Old 15th September 2007
  #17
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Dr. Cuso's Avatar
 

Hello all!

I will be recording a voice conference and translation over 2 different buildings (actually 6 different languages), distance is about 1300 ft. I'm planning to send line level but I want to ask an advice of what kind of troubles I may find. Since this audio is for video only, I'm not too worried about some signal degradation, in my experience video guys have some margin of tolerance (you know the video guys).

Thanks.

Dr. Cuso
Old 15th September 2007
  #18
Gear Head
 

I think the first thing you should do is gage your client's willingness to accept degraded audio rather than assuming they will. Of course there may need to be a budget balance between good audio & the willingness to pay for it. However, it's not difficult to get really good audio quality at that distance if done right. Are the two buildings occupied by one company? What sort of lines, if any, currently exist between the two buildings?

Here are a few thoughts:

Is there a data network you could borrow bandwidth from? You could send many channels of cobranet, ethersound, etc. over standard ethernet lines. Could you run your own CAT 5 cable between the buildings?

Perhaps talk to the telecom (PBX) contractor about borrowing and routing a few dry pairs. You can send voice thousands of feet with little quality loss if the copper is good.

A good wireless mic system with directional Tx & Rx antennas would be capable of 1300 feet.
Old 15th September 2007
  #19
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MichaelPatrick's Avatar
 

CobraNet standard emerging?

The CobraNet consortium looks promising and some products are already shipping. It seems you'd setup a little ethernet network to pass both audio and control signals, and let one or two cat5 cables carry it between a robotic onstage head-end (consisting of pres->ADC->network terminal) and the truck.

CobraNet Community

The member list is impressive:

Ashly Audio, AudioScience, Biamp, Bosch, Bose KK Japan, BSS Audio, Clear-Com, ClearOne, Commentary Systems, Creative Audio, Crest Audio, Crown, D&R Electronica, dbx Professional Products, Digigram, Digispider, DigiTech, DOD, Dynacord, Eastern Acoustic Works, Electro-Voice, Golden Sound, IED Innovative Electronic Designs, Ivie Technologies, JBL Professional, Klark Teknik, Lab Gruppen, Lance Design, Level Control Systems, Mackie, Media Technology Systems, MIDAS, NOVAR, Peavey, QSC Audio, RANE, Renkus-Heinz, Richmond Sound Design, RTS, Shure, Soundcraft, Symetrix, Telex, Whirlwind, Yamaha
Old 15th September 2007
  #20
Gear Head
 

Cobranet products have been shipping for years, and they are on their second or third generation processor.

Some mixers have Cobranet ports built in, and outboard equipment can set up anywhere from a simple point to point transport (ie: Rave) to a multipoint network with full DSP, control & transport (ie: Symnet). Cobranet signals can be carried by ethernet CAT 5, microwave, fiber, and infra-red.

There are other multichannel digital transport systems such as Ethersound, and digital snakes from several manufacturers.
Old 16th September 2007
  #21
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Roland's Avatar
Cobranet (as coolstuff above pointed out) has been around for years, however it has never seemed to penetrate the market such as to become the accepted standard. From my understanding to use the technology you have to license it, those cost ultimately have to be met by the end users. However, Madi which has also been around for a while is starting to get adopted by more and more manufacturers and is free to use. Quite a lot of broadcasters and PA companies are using it now and companies like RME. Digital Audio Denmark, SSL are producing box's to interface other equipment, I suspect this will become the most common "standard" for large channel count installations.

Regards


Roland
Old 16th September 2007
  #22
Here for the gear
 
Dr. Cuso's Avatar
 

According to Steve's first post, going line level is good idea "You can run thousands of feet of cable line level without loss".I think signal degradation would be minimal (may be only in theory) and unnoticeable by the video guys. My plan, budget and dead line is limited, so send balanced lines to the truck at line level is the only option I have available. My question is for advice of problems that I may find going this way.

Avoid florescent lights? hi voltage lines?

Thank you

Dr. Cuso
Old 16th September 2007
  #23
Gear Head
 

Any time you run a long line, you can run in to noise problems from power transformers, lighting, RF transmitters, etc. Good transformers at both ends will minimize that risk.

You'll have to determine where to lay your cable between buildings, how to route it through the buildings, and what type of cable to use. Safety to pedestrians will be an issue, as well as vehicular traffic if you have to cross a street. You may have to work with and contract a municipal services department if you have to fly a cable across a public street.

The telecom line option I mentioned, if available, could be very inexpensive or even free, and could get you between the buildings or even from room to room without having to cable them on your own.

Copper is expensive these days. Wireless systems & antennas are rentable and would make quick work of the building hop.

Good Luck.
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