Welcome to No Limit Sound Productions

Company Founded
2005
Overview

Our services include Sound Engineering, Audio Post-Production, System Upgrades and Equipment Consulting.
Mission
Our mission is to provide excellent quality and service to our customers. We do customized service.

Monday, September 1, 2014

SOS NAMM: Alesis iMultimix & Multiport

Q. Can you recommend a low-cost heavy-duty mic stand?

Sound Advice : Miking




I have the usual selection of Stagg and anonymous mic stands, which are fine most of the time, but I now have some mics that are really pretty heavy (SE Electronics' Gemini III, for instance) and none of my present stands really cut it. Of course, all mic stands are described as 'heavy duty', but I'm looking for something that can hold really heavy microphones reliably and with the minimum of hard twisting of small knobs and so on.Of course, SE make a suitable stand, but I'm not sure I could justify $500 on one mic stand. Can you suggest anything usable below, say, $150?



An expensive mic stand might seem like a waste of money, given that most still suffer from 'droop', but some very well-engineered stands exist that do not suffer from this problem. This stand from Sontronics, for example, is more than worth its cost, given that it is protecting far more valuable mics that could last you a lifetime if well looked after.An expensive mic stand might seem like a waste of money, given that most still suffer from 'droop', but some very well-engineered stands exist that do not suffer from this problem. This stand from Sontronics, for example, is more than worth its cost, given that it is protecting far more valuable mics that could last you a lifetime if well looked after.



Via SOS web site

An expensive mic stand might seem like a waste of money, given that most still suffer from 'droop', but some very well-engineered stands exist that do not suffer from this problem. This stand from Sontronics, for example, is more than worth its cost, given that it is protecting far more valuable mics that could last you a lifetime if well looked after.

SOS Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: If you can use a mic stand without a boom arm — so, just the vertical pole — there shouldn't be any problem, because even budget mic stands should be able to support the heaviest microphone without too much trouble. The real problem comes when trying to hang a heavy mic on a boom arm, because most ordinary mic stands don't have anything like a sufficient counterweight mass to properly balance even moderate mics, let alone big, heavy ones. As a result, the boom arm clutch has to resist almost all of the rotational force created by the leverage of the heavy mic at the end of the boom and, frankly, most just aren't up to the job. The inevitable consequence is the annoying 'droopage', and the more you try to tighten the clutch to prevent it, the quicker the whole thing wears out (or breaks), and quickly becomes droopy even when supporting light microphones!



The correct engineering solution is to properly counterbalance the weight of the microphone so that there is no net rotational force at the boom clutch. That then allows the clutch to do what it was intended to do — stop the boom arm from moving — rather than have to accommodate the entire rotational leverage. The cheap and cheerful solution is to tape or affix some additional weight to the end of the boom arm; you need enough to balance your heaviest mic at the maximum boom extension you plan to use. However, this will be ugly and may not be as safe as it should be, and you certainly don't want the weight to fall off onto someone's foot... or the mic to crash onto the floor shortly afterwards!



I know the idea of spending $500 on a mic stand seems silly, but, to be honest, I think it's worth it for peace of mind when you're working with mics that cost $1500 and potential personal injury insurance claims! Moreover, mic stands in this cost bracket generally live forever, because they are so well designed and rugged, which means that the amortised investment is actually very low.



The SE mic stand is surprisingly stable, but it is a kind of hybrid of a reverse-engineered Keith Monks boom arm and clutch from the 1970s and a drummer's cymbal stand. It does have a heavier counter-weight than most budget stands, but it's still not an ideal solution, to my mind.



The most cost-effective and properly engineered stand I've come across to date is the Sontronix Matrix 10. It's not the prettiest or most compact stand on the planet — it's basically a modified photography lighting stand — but it has cogged clutches that definitely won't slip, a very sensible counterweight, removable wheels, and a handy drop-arm. It's very secure, totally reliable, and there's nothing to break, so it will live forever. I reviewed it in the August 2010 edition of Sound On Sound (see the full review at /sos/aug10/articles/sontronics-matrix-10.htm).



If you want something in matt black and with a much smaller footprint, I've just been reviewing the Latch Lake MicKing stands, which I have to say are utterly brilliant. However, they are also pretty expensive, because they are very well engineered, and imported from the US. The review is soon to appear in Sound On Sound, but these stands have a sensibly massive counterweight on the boom arm, a very heavy, but compact, base (with transport wheels to make it easy to move the stand to a storage area), a nice drop-arm system, and really ingenious lever locks and clutches that are adjustable for both tension and ease of use. These are very solid and impressive stands and well worth the investment, in my view.    

SOS NAMM: Novation Nocturn

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Q. Can I use my aux send/return loop, or do I need insert points?

Sound Advice : Mixing




I'm trying to hook a Behringer Denoiser and an SPL Vitalizer MK1 into an older-model Alesis Multimix 16USB mixing console, working with the sends and returns. I purchased two sets of send/Y-leads, which are obviously TRS single-to-dual monos, since the desk is a single jack send, but double on the returns. Now, when I'm fully set up on both units, and I plug in fully, I am missing one channel on each. I'm using the less reliable method of inserting the Y-lead plug halfway into the insert until there is a springy 'click' feeling and all is fine. Do I need to purchase a different-style lead, a TS, and not a TRS? I've not used many outboard effects before in send modes, but am digging out old gear that may still be of use.



If your console doesn't have channel-insert sockets and you want to be able to process individual source channels, the easiest solution would be to use a patchbay. If your console doesn't have channel-insert sockets and you want to be able to process individual source channels, the easiest solution would be to use a patchbay.



Via SOS web site

If your console doesn't have channel-insert sockets and you want to be able to process individual source channels, the easiest solution would be to use a patchbay.

SOS Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: Hooking up the Behringer Denoiser and the SPL Vitalizer MK1 into the Alesis Multimix should be easy enough. The first port of call is the manual, to check how the mixer is wired. In this case, there are no channel or mix insert points, but there are two mono aux sends (called Aux A and Aux B), and both are wired as impedance-balanced outputs. That means that there is a signal on the tip connection, but no signal on the ring connection.



The mixer also has two stereo balanced effects returns (called FX Return A and B), although the B return socket is normalled from the output of the internal FX processor. Stereo FX Return A is wired such that if you only plug something into the left channel, it is normalled across to the right as well. FX Return B does not have that facility. As I recall, the original stereo Vitalizer had both balanced XLRs and unbalanced quarter-inch TS sockets for the inputs and outputs, and the Behringer SNR2000 two-channel Denoiser has both XLR and TRS sockets on the inputs and outputs, wired balanced, but usable unbalanced.



Given these interconnection formats, it makes sense that you'd be missing one channel with your types of cables. The kind of cable you have connects the TRS tip to the tip of one of the TS plugs, and the TRS ring to the tip of the other. With an impedance-balanced output, there will, therefore, only be a signal on one of the TS plugs.



That's physically what is available, so how should things be connected? Firstly, in terms of the send/return Y-leads you've purchased, I think you've misunderstood what's going on here. Each aux output is a mono send. The effects returns are stereo returns. This is quite normal because, typically, you'd be patching a stereo reverb across them: taking a mono input to the reverb and creating a stereo return signal, for example.



Both the Vitalizer and the Denoiser are stereo or dual-channel devices — so what are you trying to achieve? If you want to process the main mix bus, the aux send/effects return loop can't access the mix bus at all. If you want to process a stereo input channel, the aux sends are both derived mono sums, so that won't work in stereo either. And, if you want to process the input channels individually in mono, plugging up both sides of both processors is pointless.



But, fundamentally, both the Vitalizer and the Denoiser are really insert processors, not send-return processors. They are both designed to work directly on the source signal, and the processed signal is then mixed with all the other console inputs. Neither the Vitalizer nor the Denoiser generates an independent return signal — like, say, a reverb does — that you would want to mix alongside everything else. Basically, these tools are simply not designed to be used in an aux-send/effects-return configuration.



If you want to be able to process individual source channels through the Vitalizer or Denoiser, and the console doesn't have channel-insert sockets (and yours doesn't), the easiest solution would be to invest in a TRS patchbay. You could then manually patch the source signals either directly to the mixer inputs, or to a processor input, and then patch the processor output back to the appropriate mixer input. You could even patch the stereo mix out via the Vitalizer or Denoiser before sending it on to your recording and monitoring chain. That would be a far more practical and sensible solution.    

SOS NAMM: Alesis SR-18

Friday, August 29, 2014

Q. Which budget tube preamp should I buy?

I'm looking to get a tube preamp but am on quite a small budget. I've already looked at the ART Tube MP and PreSonus TubePRE. Can anyone offer any opinions on these, or suggest any other potential buys? My budget is around $150, although I may be going halves with a friend, so would welcome suggestions up to around $250.




If you only have a small budget, a tube preamp may not be the best way to go. If you can stretch to more than few hundred pounds, the TL Audio Ivory, for example, could be a good buy. Otherwise, the preamps you may already have on a decent audio interface are hard to beat.If you only have a small budget, a tube preamp may not be the best way to go. If you can stretch to more than few hundred pounds, the TL Audio Ivory, for example, could be a good buy. Otherwise, the preamps you may already have on a decent audio interface are hard to beat.



Via SOS web site

If you only have a small budget, a tube preamp may not be the best way to go. If you can stretch to more than few hundred pounds, the TL Audio Ivory, for example, could be a good buy. Otherwise, the preamps you may already have on a decent audio interface are hard to beat.

SOS Review Editor Matt Houghton replies: This question crops up quite a lot. The first thing to ascertain is why you want a tube preamp, because, in my experience, most people who ask this question haven't really thought about it, and generally haven't arrived at any answer. So what qualities are you seeking from a tube preamp? Warmth? Flair? Clarity?



Personally, I've used a number of budget and high-end tube preamps, and there are very few 'affordable' ones that I'd countenance, simply because there are far, far better solid-state preamps at the same price. I'd count anything below $700 in that category. Between $700 and $1500 there are a few that may be worth a look if they do what you want: the SPL Goldmike or the TL Audio Ivory/Ebony, for example.



But if you're looking for 'warmth', you're arguably more likely to get that from a preamp or other device with audio transformers. If it's 'flair', you might find that picking the right mic (which may very well be a tube mic) is a better option.



At your sort of budget, the bang-for-buck you get from the preamps on a decent audio interface is hard to beat, in my opinion. Going up to about $400 starts to bring the likes of the GA Pre73 into view. But then $400 might very well buy you a nicer mic that does what you want!    

SOS NAMM: Prism Sound Orpheus