Mackie is a quality audio


Mackie is a quality audio mixer ranging in price from about $100 for a 402-VLZ3 4channel, to $160 for the 802 VLZ3 8 CH; To have something I could utilize for pretty much ANY audio mixing I’d personally spring for the Mackie PRoFX 12, 12CH mixer for $263.

Some people prefer sliders over pot (knob) controls, but unless you’re constantly going to “ride” the levels either works fine IMHO.

Mics – Sennheiser, model E845-S (from $91 to $150 online at Amazon, etc.) might be a good drop mic, but those you see in church choirs and other stage setups, those long, slender shotgun-looking units, can run anywhere from $350 to south of a grand. The Sennheiser MD 421 II is well-rated.

Regarding mics, and having covered many a city council, hospital board and county government session as a journalist (pen and notepad, not video) I can tell you that the two basic configurations are straight across with six to eight council members all facing out into the audience, or a semi curved or horseshoe configuration where they’re easier to mic for sound but not always great for visuals.

I see the need for an overhead centered to the council seats, maybe an overhead over the general audience section, one at the podium or where people attending usually come forward to address the council, and two at the council table minimum regardless of configuration. A piezoelectric “piezo” mic is talked up a lot in various circles but actually not that great even though it does convert the table it is placed on into a large “speaker” so to speak. It also, however, picks up every paper rustle every ballpoint pen clicking nervously, every paperclip falling, every fist, finger or elbow thumping down … you get the idea.

So mics on table stands with shock holders to minimize vibration and other unwanted noise transfer …

All this fed into a Mackie or other mixer and out to a digital recording system rather than attempting to ride (unless you have help) the switches and fed directly into the camera(s) or BOTH with the digital recording system for backup just in case, is something to consider.

If you’re shooting with the newer model camcorders with SDHC recording capabilities, and with quality audio inputs for manual audio, then it is possible to find the general effective range of your strategically placed mics keep the levels there, feed into the primary camcorder, then if necessary, boost the audio in post where necessary.

If this is a direct to disk or other media and no editing type arrangement, say for live feed via the Internet or via the local cable television’s public access program, then the more mics the merrier and a 14 to 16 channel mixer might come in handy.

As has been said, knowing your budget would help others know more about what you could get by with, or not.

Curiously though, most city councils and similar government meeting facilities are already wired for sound so it would seem best, if possible, to connect to their board for audio, use the on-camera mic for backup and ambience, and record video knowing you’re covered otherwise.

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