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Sound Devices’ 552 Portable Production Mixer

RJ Yenesel

RJ Yenesel, sound engineer.

 

 

 

It goes without saying that the proper sound equipment is absolutely essential for video production, no matter when and/or where your shoot is taking place. Cinematography, acting skills, and script aside, film projects are not successful if the audience cannot hear the dialogue. Read on as RJ Yenesel, American Movie Company’s sound engineer, goes through the details his favorite sound equipment, along with helpful tech tips and tricks.

I am super impressed with Sound Devices’ 552 Portable Production Mixer.  It is perhaps one of the most technologically advanced mixers on the market.

Take a look below at what I consider a very helpful cheat sheet.

Sound Devices’ Field Mixer

To enter the setup menu in the SD 552 push and hold down the battery check button then push the button of the headphone knob.

After entering the setup menu use the headphone knob to scroll through and select options. The voice guidance system or SVEN will be audible through the monitor headphones but will not show up on a recording. This is especially useful during live shoots when you do not have time or access to the cheat sheets or manual.

The menu is separated and navigated through the LED meters. The LEFT channel refers to the Setup Menu options while the RIGHT channel refers to the current option selected. Both the LEFT and RIGHT channels are marked with decibel units.

-30 Output Limiter Threshold

Sets the output limiter threshold in dBu.

+4 to +20 dBu in 1 dB increments at Line Level.

-24 Balanced TA3 Outputs

Selects the nominal level of the active balanced TA3 Left and Right Outputs.

  • Line (-30) • -10 (-24) • Mic (-22)D

-22 Direct Outputs

Selects program and nominal output level of the TA3 Direct Outputs.

  • Line/Pre-Fade (-30) • Line/Post-Fade (-24) • -10/Pre-Fade (-22)

  • -10/Post-Fade (-20) • Mic/Pre-Fade (-18) • Mic/Post-Fade (-16)

-20 Record Mode

Selects file format and bit depth/data rate of recorded files. Disables the

recorder.

  • 24-Bit WAV (-30) • 16-Bit WAV (-24) • 64k MP3 (-22)

  • 128k MP3 (-20) • 192k MP3 (-18) • 320k MP3 (-16) • Off (-14)

-18 Record Pause

Allows user to start and stop recordings without creating new files. Feature is

ignored when Time Code is set to any of the Stamp File options.

  • Off (-30) • On (-24)

-16 Sample Rate

Sets the sampling rate for recordings and digital outputs. Sampling rate is

limited to 48 kHz and under when set to record mp3 files or time code to track.

  • 48 kHz (-30) • 44.1 kHz (-24) • 88.2 kHz (-22) • 96 kHz (-20)

-14 Time Code Enables External Time Code modes.

Time Code can be stamped to files, recorded to track, and used to start and stop recordings. Time Code to track

options force sampling rate to 48 kHz if set to higher sampling rates.

  • Off (-30) • Stamp File (-24) • Replace Left (-22) • Replace Right (-20)

  • Stamp file Auto Record (-18) • Replace Left Auto Record (-16)

  • Replace Right Auto Record (-14)

-12 Digital Output Routes

AES pairs to XLR or 10-Pin outputs. AES A uses Left XLR or Left 10-

Pin. AES B uses Right XLR or Right 10-Pin.

  • All Off (-30) • AES A XLR (-24) • AES B XLR (-22) • Both XLR On (-20)

  • AES A 10-Pin (-18) • AES B 10-Pin (-16) • Both 10-Pin On (-14)

-10 AES A Source Selects the source for AES A.

The selected source is sent to the recorder and to the AES A Digital Output (Left XLR or Left 10-pin), if enabled.

  • Left, Right Output (-30) • Inputs 1, 2 Pre-Fade (-24) • 1, 2 Post-Fade

(-22) • 3, 4 Pre-Fade (-20) • 3, 4 Post-Fade (-18) • 5 Pre-Fade, Left

(-16) • 1 Pre-Fade,= Left (-14) • 1 Pre-Fade, Left/Right (-12)

-8 AES B Source Selects the source for AES B.

The selected source is sent to the AES B Digital Output (Right XLR or Right 10-pin), if enabled.

  • Left, Right Output (-30) • Inputs 1, 2 Pre-Fade (-24) • 1, 2 Post-Fade

(-22) • 3, 4 Pre-Fade (-20) • 3, 4 Post-Fade (-18) • 5 Pre-Fade, Left

(-16) • 1 Pre-Fade, Left (-14) • 5 Pre-Fade, Left/Right (-12)

-6 Phantom Voltage

Sets the Phantom power voltage to be applied to all inputs. When 12 V is

selected the overall power consumption of the 552 is lowered. Line options allow

Phantom to be applied to both Mic- and Line-Level inputs. Disable Phantom

power with Line-level output devices susceptible to damage from DC.

  • 48 V (-30) • 12 V (-24) • 48 V Line (-22) • 12 V Line (-20)

-4 Input Linking

Selects input linking for channels 1, 2 and 3,4. Inputs can be linked as stereo or MS pairs.

  • Unlinked (-30) • Inputs 1,2 Stereo (-24) • 1,2 MS (-22)

  • 3,4 Stereo (-20) • 3,4 MS (-18) • 1,2 Stereo and 3,4 Stereo (-16)

  • 1,2 MS and 3,4 MS (-14) • 1,2 Stereo and 3,4 MS (-12)

  • 1,2 MS and 3,4 Stereo (-10)

-2 Slate Mic

Enables/disables the Slate Mic switch. Tone + Slate option adds a 400 Hz tone when slate is activated.

  • On (-30) • Tone + Slate (-24) • Off (-22)

0 Talk Back

Allows 3.5 mm headphone jack to be used as a communication link. Slate appears in right ear only and is mixed with select audio. Slate is only sent to 1/4” and 3.5 mm headphones.

  • Off (-30) • Slate Only (-24) • Slate plus Left Program (-22) • Slate plus

Input 1 Post-Fade (-20)

2 Meter Reference Level

Selects 0 VU to dBu reference

  • 0 dBu VU (-30) • +4 dBu VU (-24) • +8 dBu VU (-22) • +1 dBu VU /

Peak (-20) • +2 dBu VU / Peak (-18) • +3 dBu VU / Peak (-16) • +4 dBu

VU / Peak (-14) • +5 dBu VU / Peak (-12) • +6 dBu VU / Peak (-10) • +7

dBu VU / Peak (-8) • +8 dBu VU / Peak (-6)

4 Meter Ballistics

Selects the metering ballistics of the Output Meter. When a No Zoom option is selected, the front panel zoom function is disabled. This prevents accidental activation. When on, press the Headphone Controller to enter Zoom Mode. .

  • Peak Hold plus VU (-30) • Peak Only (-24) • VU Only (-22) • Peak plus

Peak Hold (-20) • Peak plus VU (-18) • Peak Hold plus VU No Zoom

(-16) • Peak Only No Zoom (-14) • VU Only No Zoom (-12) • Peak plus

Peak Hold No Zoom (-10) • Peak plus VU No Zoom(-8)

6 Return Metering

When on, the active RTN signal activity is displayed on the Output Meter.

  • On (-30) • Off (-24)

8 Tone Frequency

Selects the frequency (ƒ) of the sine wave setup tone oscillator.

  • 1000 Hz (-30) • 400 Hz (-24) • 100 Hz (-22)

12 Tone Level

Selects the output level of the tone oscillator in dBu.

  • 0 dBu (-30) • Off (-24) • -20 dBu (-22)

  • -10 dBu (-20) to +8 dBu (20) in 1 dB increments

16 External DC Reference

Selects the range for external power voltage reference. Determines external

power metering, warning level, and low voltage level.

  • 12 V Ni Cad (-30) • 12 V Ni Cad Wide (-24) • 12 V Lead Acid (-22)

  • Full range DC Input (-20) • 14 V Lith

I trust the above was useful and informative.

In need of a sound engineer for your next video production shoot?  Please give us a call at 917.414.5489 to book film/video production crew in the New York City area.

 

 

 

 

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