24 January 2014

Zax Attack

Welp, the rumor mill came through, and the Big Z did indeed announce new products yesterday, along with some new firmware goodness.

The new TRXLA2 transmitter:

The new QRX200 receiver:

(These are the base models; stereo transmitters will also be available, as well as a QRX with an IFB option). 

The Zaxcom kids got out of the office for a field trip to demo the new units' performance. Please to enjoy:

The new modulation scheme promises longer range even for legacy units. This is a big deal, and a promising direction for the industry. The demands on field mixers increase constantly, from higher track counts to rather unrealistic demands for distance between crew and moving talent. Allowing owners who have made significant investments in their gear to benefit from the new software without having to upgrade the entire unit is quite refreshing.

The other eyebrow-raiser is the fact that the new model line offers “tuneable tracking front end”, essentially making each unit capable of covering over three frequency blocks, rather than the standard single block. In addition to the channels available in each block, this offers unprecedented frequency agility. If you often find yourself in an RF-constipated environment, being able to hop blocks could be a lifesaver.

The "Jackie Chan of Wireless", if you will...

Zaxcom is doing soft launch of their new website, and you can see a preview of that at the link below. Until then, Gotham Sound is the main source for specs and info.



13 January 2014

Shake, Rattle and Roll Redux

The Ktek Nautilus Follow Up

After the my initial review of the Ktek Nautilus suspension, several readers noted that they did not have the same experience with their Nautili, and Dave Fisk graciously offered to send another review sample. I recreated the setup, using the same gear and parameters as before. Here is the new batch of test files:


As before, there is a pervasive, low level ticking in the new Nautilus sample. To be fair, this is a torture test, pushing both suspensions beyond a common use scenario. Any competent boom op will swing a mic with far more grace than that, and even an ENG mixer booming with one hand will not likely ever induce the amount of vibration that I was during the test. I'm sure that the satisfied owners of the Nautilus are operating their booms sensibly, and enjoying good results.

But what about the more rough-and-tumble gigs, like back-pedaling and booming over uneven ground? In that situation, you're watching several things at once, and you don't want to have to worry about handling noise if you can help it. If one product can audibly out-perform another, especially at a lower cost, then is there even a contest?

[Disclosure: while I am loaned samples of gear for review, they are returned after the fact (or purchased at retail price). I do not receive any compensation for my reviews, other than the many beers I buy myself after I post. ]

I earned it.

10 January 2014

The D Stands For Depressing

Sonicpool Post has, for some reason, developed and released a free iOs app called Guerrilla ADR, which, according to the press release, “gives talent the ability to download the...app, put on a pair of headphones and record their ADR lines in sync with picture. They can preview a video clip of the line along with a text description of the line below it."

Hopefully the next version has an undershirt filter.

Where to begin...[sips coffee, grinds teeth]

Feedback. Placing an actor in charge of their own session without live direction will more than likely result in more notes and more re-takes. More time=more money.

The environment. Unless the actor has their own VO booth (or even a well-stocked walk-in closet), the background will be less-than-ideal at best, and a complete cluster at worst. This is a even more vexing when you consider that they’re likely doing ADR because the background was too noisy to begin with.

Finally, the mic. By design, it’s intended to be used for telephone calls. Because it’s a telephone. That’s kind of, you know, what’s it meant to be, and all.

Unless this is intended to record temp tracks as placeholders for the edit, I can’t see this being useful in a professional capacity. Unless, of course, the idea is that they encourage clients to use this to “save money”, then end up charging OT to fix the tracks because the talent gave them poor-quality deliverables. In which case, JEANYUS.

Link to the PR.