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Crown CM311-AE with XD-V75?
by Mrmediaguy on 2012-11-02 22:27:09.2880

I know this has been dealt with in other posts because I purchased the Crown CM311-AE along with my new XD-75 system on the basis of others who reported success with this combination (or at least with the XD-70). I couldn't be more pleased and amazed with the XD-75 in general, but the Crown has left me a little underwhelmed in terms of output level. I know the "AE" version of this mic (with the TA4 connector) is rated for a lower sensitivity than the "A" version with the 9V beltpack and XLR connector, but I was disappointed to get only one LED "bar" on the audio level meter of the receiver except when shouting, when I get two. (And before anyone asks, I'm very familiar with the CM311 and I know you have to get it practically in your mouth to get optimum pickup, so that's not the problem.)

The mic "sounds" fine, but I either have to crank the preamp a lot more than I'd like to, or add between +6 and +12 dB at the XD receiver, to get a signal that I feel matches a regular dynamic mic. Using the Line 6 supplied headset mic instead of the Crown, I can tell it's roughly 2x to 3x "hotter" going into the transmitter -- which translates to 3-4 bars on average at the audio meter on the XD receiver.

So my question is, is anyone using the CM311-AE (TA4 connector without beltpack) with the XD system, and if so are you seeing the same behavior? Or would I be better off with the CM311-A even though I'd have to wear two belt packs and use an XLR-to-TA4 patch cable? Or should I just ignore it and go with it?

As I said, it "sounds" okay, but I can't really tell so far if I'm losing anything by having to crank the gain up. Thanks for any thoughts.

Re: Crown CM311-AE with XD-V75?
by RonMarton on 2012-11-02 23:47:52.2470

I've been a big fan of the vocal definition, "punch" and isolation from high levels of spill when using the "A" version of the CM311 cabled from drummer vocalists, but I've not had occasion to try either version with my Line 6 TBP12 beltpacks.

As far as I can see, about the only drawback from winding in extra gain at either the receiver or the "downstream" mic preamp would be slightly more amplifier hiss being added to the mix.

I'd reckon that could only be a problem should multi-tracking demand an absolutely pristine solo recording of the vocal in question. Even then, I feel that the additional residual noise would almost certainly be masked when other components of the final mix were added.

Rather than trussing yourself up with an additional power-supply belt-pack, it is possible to boost the input level to your transmitter by squeezing a tiny 5kΩ to 10 kΩ "gain making" resistor inside the mic's cabled TA4F connector in series with pin 2, ...but I'd only perform that fiddly modification in the unlikely event that the higher noise floor truly proved to be unbearable.

Having done so, I'd then "shock proof" those internal modifications to the connector by filling it with the clear silicone "goo" that's normally used for the moisture-resistant sealing of gaps.

Re: Crown CM311-AE with XD-V75?
by dboomer on 2012-11-03 14:02:09.7090

You should ignore it and just turn the mic pre a bit more.  That Crown mic has a sensitivity that is about 15 dB lower than say using an SM58 so it is working exactly the way it is supposed to.  Using the "A" version just sticks a preamp in front of your mic pre... But gain is gain.  In fact the mic preamp quality in your mixer is likely better than using any external preamp or the gain in the V75 receiver.

Re: Crown CM311-AE with XD-V75?
by Mrmediaguy on 2012-11-03 16:28:55.1000

Thanks to both of you for the quick replies and reassurance. The truth is, the added gain still doesn't raise the noise floor noticeably -- I think it's more the psychological effect that says "I just spent a grand on this rig -- the darn lights should blink more." :) The mic pre is a Focusrite so (no offense) it probably is better than the gain in the V75. So I'll just crank it and be happy with the great sound. (And it is spectacular, I must say!)

Question to Ron -- I don't plan to actually do your resistor mod since the consensus (and your own opinion) seems to be that it's unnecessary, but it did make me curious....are there any downsides to that kind of mod to boost the gain? It seems like you can't really get "something for nothing" so there must be a trade off somewhere, right?

Re: Crown CM311-AE with XD-V75?
by RonMarton on 2012-11-03 19:19:01.6850

Aah, the cruelty, the pain, the injustice of it...

Why can't anyone figure out a way to get something for nothing?

You're absolutely right ...and two trade-off's spring to mind immediately:

  1. Physical. A deterioration I would try to address with the silicone sealant I mentioned, ...being the relatively non-roadworthy fragility engendered by packing even the tiniest resistor inside a TA4F housing and
  2. Gain structure. More gain up front must inevitably induce less headroom "downstream". Not a really smart move, I reckon, given both the limitations inherent in battery powering and the amazing quietness of the XD-V digital system tending to render it unnecesary.

As ever, Don Boomer's reply is far more concise and to the point than mine, but I think he might be a tad too modest when he criticises his receivers' inbuilt option, allowing up to 12 dB more gain, that arrived with the later firmware.

Sure, I would have serious reservations about employing it when recording an instrument, but, run via a "fully wound up" line input in more "basic" situations, it does enable bypassing of the gritty and distortion-prone excuses for mic preamps that dwell in many a club and bar.

When the only choice is between "shash" and clipping, I'll take the hissy "shash" every time!

Now, why can't we have additional gain, with the glorious transparency of Focusrite, SSL or Neve, built into XD-V receivers at no extra cost?

...Aaaah, the cruelty, the pain, the injustice of it!

Re: Crown CM311-AE with XD-V75?
by TheOneManBand on 2012-12-02 21:50:08.3800

I've been using a Crown 311 AE with an XD-V75 for a couple months now on my vocal and harmonica. I only get a bar or (maybe two) of level on the receiver. I've done 30 maybe 40 gigs like this and could not be happier. The 1st thing I noticed was a huge impovement to frequency responce in the highs, it was feeding back when I sound checked it 1st time. The lows are much more apparent too but of course I use a high pass to get rid of rumble.

One bar of output level showing on the unit has made no difference after tweaking trim to compression, dynamic settings or effects.

It sounds way better then my old set up with Sennhieser analog wireless and the system is physical built better. TAF4 connectors are way better than Sennhiesers 3.5mm TSR locking connectors IMO. 3.5mm TRS locking connectors if not tightly locked can pop if hit by accident and if on an electric guitar with some dirt can make a horrific sound.

I have another wired headset mic as a spare and years ago had to rig it to my wireless transmitter. Carrying two packs and the extra cable in my pocket was a PITA. Now I carry two Crown 311 AE, and as I write this post I'm remembering I have to solder a TAF4 connector on to my spare cause I ain't going back to Sennhieser.

Anyways, I'm happy with one bar of level output.

BTW Do you use one of the EQ settings on the bodypack. I've tried them all. I kinda like SF1 (Gentle Hi Pass) but can't make my mind up?

Re: Crown CM311-AE with XD-V75?
by RonMarton on 2012-12-02 22:13:38.4250

On reflection, "Crown(ed) Heads"...

Maybe it's misleading for Line 6 to have hung the term "Level" onto the LED bar graph in question, as it conjures up ideas of calibrated metering.

I've always taken it to be more of an "audio is actually coming in" or "confidence" indicator, (a slighly more graphic version of the single "Audio" LED on the beltpacks) ...the main diagnostic uses of which are to ascertain

  1. That there is, in fact, a viable microphone and/or
  2. That a performance is actually happening into that mic and/or
  3. The source of an individual "rhythmic" problem such as "splatting" or "thumping".

That being said, I'll be blowed if I can come up with a better front-panel label for it, so maybe Line 6 might give some thought to following that "beltpack logic" and renaming it "Audio"?

The information above may not be current, and you should direct questions to the current forum or review the manual.