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    Audio Rig for Marantz PMD661 and Nikon D7000
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    I've been commissioned to do a short film documentary in Indonesia and this will be my first real out of studio shoot. I've been assembling my setup and have read the forum posts on audio solutions and I'd like a little advice on what the best option would be. I'll be shooting with the Nikon D7000 and would like dual audio. I have the Marantz PMD661 which I like very much from previous use so I'd like to use it for the audio recording in addition to the camera so I don't have to purchase another recorder. So here's the question: The B&H audio department is saying that I can run a step down cable out of the Marantz into the D7000 with a (?) splitter for the headphones to monitor audio. That way I can run the Rode NTG-2 into the Marantz. Now from reading several posts elsewhere this should work, but I've been contemplating using a Sound Devices MixPre-D as a field mixer - connect this to the Rode mic XLR and then run outs to the camera and to the Marantz. Now I think this would be a better set up, but is it worth the additional $700 and addition to the bag? I guess I'm looking for clarification on how much improvement this would offer and whether I should just suck it up and make the purchase.

    I appreciate your help and advice in advance.


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    Section Moderator Alex H.'s Avatar
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    The MixPre-D gives you better pre-amps, better limiting, better signal routing, and better level control. Plus, it has the direct mic-level output designed specifically for DSLR cameras. In all, it's a worthy investment.
    Formerly known as C2V
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    Nobody notices audio... until it's not there.


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    Thanks! I guess I'll take the plunge.


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    Senior Member Rick R's Avatar
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    The MixPre is a great unit no doubt, however the 661 does have decent pre-amps and rotary faders... unlike many portable DARs. That would save you some weight and other issues of having extra equipment. Which, in my experience is an issue with international travel and difficult locations.
    Aside from that get the proper shots and other precautions to your specific destination. Get the proper carnets and customs forms for the gear. It's a good idea to have a local 'fixer' on hand too.


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    Junior Member SonicPadawan's Avatar
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    Is there an advantage with going dual system with a DSLR camera?
    "By magic numbers and persuasive sound." - William Congreve


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    Section Moderator Alex H.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SonicPadawan View Post
    Is there an advantage with going dual system with a DSLR camera?
    Absolutely, yes. Just search the forums for lots of discussion on that.

    DSLR cameras have cheaper pre-amps, so using an external mixer and recorder gives you the chance to use clean pre-amps.
    DSLR cameras offer only 1/8" mic-level input, so using a second system gives you the ability to use XLR mics without funky adapters.
    DSLR cameras typically don't offer tactile audio level control (if any at all), on-screen meters, or headphone monitoring from camera. These are not issues with a second system.
    DSLR cameras typically have AGC that cannot be defeated. External mixers and recorders don't use AGC.

    There are ways of improving in-camera audio recording with a DSLR. Some cameras can use a third-party firmware plug-in (Magic Lantern) to offer AGC defeat, input level control, on-screen meters, etc. But this still doesn't overcome the cheap pre-amps and the other lesser-quality audio circuitry. These are cameras that are not designed to be used in this manner. Audio is an afterthought, since they have the ability to record video. They cannot sell a video-capable camera without audio.

    If audio is of any concern when it comes to quality, dual-system sound with a DSLR is a must.
    Formerly known as C2V
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    Nobody notices audio... until it's not there.


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    Junior Member SonicPadawan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex H. View Post
    Absolutely, yes. Just search the forums for lots of discussion on that.

    DSLR cameras have cheaper pre-amps, so using an external mixer and recorder gives you the chance to use clean pre-amps.
    DSLR cameras offer only 1/8" mic-level input, so using a second system gives you the ability to use XLR mics without funky adapters.
    DSLR cameras typically don't offer tactile audio level control (if any at all), on-screen meters, or headphone monitoring from camera. These are not issues with a second system.
    DSLR cameras typically have AGC that cannot be defeated. External mixers and recorders don't use AGC.

    There are ways of improving in-camera audio recording with a DSLR. Some cameras can use a third-party firmware plug-in (Magic Lantern) to offer AGC defeat, input level control, on-screen meters, etc. But this still doesn't overcome the cheap pre-amps and the other lesser-quality audio circuitry. These are cameras that are not designed to be used in this manner. Audio is an afterthought, since they have the ability to record video. They cannot sell a video-capable camera without audio.

    If audio is of any concern when it comes to quality, dual-system sound with a DSLR is a must.
    Yes, certainly. I understand and agree with all that. My question wasn't meant to ask why should you use an external mixer and recorder, but instead what advantage does recording to the DSLR camera in addition to the external recorder have? If there's no question that the mixer/recorder combination is superior, why go through the hassle of connection to the camera?
    "By magic numbers and persuasive sound." - William Congreve


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    Senior Member Rick R's Avatar
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    "why go through the hassle of connection to the camera?"
    > It's a lot easier to sync if there's an audio track, especially if one uses Plural Eyes.
    Back-up too, if worse comes to worse.


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