News & Press Releases

NEW PRODUCT RELEASE: Sound Devices 888 – Portable Production Mixer/Recorder

Meet the 888 – the portable mixer-recorder that’s compact and light enough to use in a bag, yet has the high channel count and power required for mobile cart productions. The  888 is the smallest portable mixer-recorder on the market that offers Dante for sending and receiving audio over Ethernet.

With 8 ultra low-noise, 8-Series microphone preamplifiers, 16 channels, 20 tracks, multiple powering methods, and support for multiple USB control surfaces, the 888 can be easily tailored to your workflow. An updated processing architecture and multiple FPGAs enables the 888 to be fully routable: any physical input may be sent to any track, bus, or output.

Many features have carried over from the premium Sound Devices’ Scorpio, such as the new 8-Series preamplifier design, 2 SD card slots, internal 256GB SSD, and dual L-Mount battery charging and powering. Alternatively, power your 888 using a smart battery, NP-1 battery, or an in-line power supply via its TA4 DC input. The ultra-accurate, fully-featured timecode generator contains its own battery to hold timecode for up to four hours after power off.

Dedicated coms and slate allows for professional bi-directional communication with other crew members. Send customized mixes to the camera or crew with multiple mix buses. With the ability to record to three media simultaneously, you can turn over an SD card to production, AAC files for transcription, and keep a backup on the internal 256 GB SSD.

A built-in three band EQ may be set to either pre- or post-fade for each channel to tackle any problems directly on-set. Enable  Dugan Automixing or MixAssist to automatically attenuate  unused microphones in multi-microphone applications.

Up to 16 channels can be automixed at a time. Get the perfect fit on your cart with one of several supported USB control surfaces for remote fader and transport control. Download the companion Android app, SD-Remote, to access to transport controls, metering, and sound reports on a large touch screen. Elevate your kit with the 888 Portable Production Mixer-Recorder.

Key Features:

  • 16 Channels
  • 20 Tracks
  • 8 Mic / Line Preamplifiers
  • 16 Channels Dante I/O
  • 10 Buses
  • 2 SD Card Slots
  • 256GB Internal SSD

Contact Jose on +27 (0)87 551 1034 or jose@stratosphere.co.za to place your order!

 

Read more here…

NEW PRODUCT RELEASE: Chroma Key Green Spacer Bubble Windshields by Bubblebee Industries

The new customised Spacer Bubbles in Chroma Key Green by Bubblebee Industries give you optimal wind protection for green screen sound recording. This is ideal for sound stage work with green screens, usually indoors and in low-wind environments. 

These chroma key green Spacer Bubbles are customisable with a white dipper band around the tip, or black, as required. Also available as a custom order item is a black Spacer Bubble with a white dipper band around the tip.

And before you ask, yes, the hunt is on for some Chroma Key Green cows to make the leather band green. We’ll update you when they’ve been found.

Simply choose the applicable size using the Size Guide and place your order with us for your custom Spacer Bubble or Spacer Kit. And what’s more is that you can get it for the same price as the regular versions.

Read more here…

Contact Jose on +27 (0)87 551 1034 or jose@stratosphere.co.za

NEW PRODUCT RELEASE: Sound Devices 833 – Portable Compact Mixer-Recorder

The 833 is the professional’s tool for mobile and small productions. Like the popular Sound Devices 633, the 833 is small, lightweight, and compact. A tactile interface with dedicated faders, trim knobs, and PFL switches makes this mixer-recorder ideal for run-and-gun bag use.

Key Features:

  • 6 ultra low-noise, all-new microphone preamplifiers
  • 8 channels, 6 buses, 12 tracks
  • 6 analog outputs
  • Ultra-accurate timecode
  • 256 GB internal SSD, 2 SD card slots
  • USB-A and C ports for SD-Remote app, linear fader control via MCU, keyboard, and file transfer
  • Dugan Automixing for up to 8 channels

Additionally, the 833 shares the same processing architecture and multiple FPGAs as the Scorpio. This enables the 833 to be fully routable, and any physical input can be routed to any track. The 833 features both digital and analog inputs and outputs, and has multiple powering options, so it will fit effortlessly into your existing kit.

A built-in three band EQ may be set to either pre- or post-fade for each channel to tackle any problems directly on-set. Enable Dugan Automixing to automatically attenuate unused microphones in multi-microphone applications.

Up to 8 channels can be automixed at a time, and two separate groups can be mixed simultaneously. Dedicated coms and slate allows for professional bi-directional communication with other crew members. Send customized mixes to the camera or crew with multiple mix buses. With the ability to record to three media simultaneously, you can turn over SD cards to production at the end of the day while keeping a backup on the internal 256 GB SSD.

The 833 may be controlled via the companion Android app, SD-Remote, which features transport controls, metering, and sound reports. For an instant mobile workstation, choose from one of several supported USB control surfaces for remote fader and transport control.

Read more here…

 

NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT: Tentacle Sync – TRACK E (pocket-sized audio recorder with 32-bit floating point technology)

The Track E is the newest addition the Tentacle Sync family. The audio recorder is nearly as small as the Timecode Sync Generator Sync E, so it can easily fit in your pocket for recording on the go. This allows mobile operation for example as a recorder for a clip-on microphone eliminating the need for a radio-link.

Key Features:

  • Timecode synchronization over bluetooth
  • Controllable through an app for iOS or Android,
  • Seamless integration with Sync E synchronization network by the push of a button
  • Does not need a Sync E device to operate
  • Can function as a stand-alone device.
  • 32 bit floating point technology with enhanced dynamic range
  • Uses a changeable SD card for recording the audio.
  • Input limiter and high-pass filter
  • Adjustable plugin power for supporting a wide range of microphones.

A free license of Tentacle Sync Studio is included with every Track E purchase. A bundled version with a microphone will be presented shortly.

The Track E will be available in Q1 2020.

Contact Jose on 087 551 1034 or jose@stratosphere.co.za for further info.

NEW PRODUCT RELEASE: Announcing the MixPre II: 32-Bit Float Recording, 142 dB Dynamic Range, Internal Timecode Generator, Record up to 192 kHz!

The new MixPre II Series offers improved hardware and new features for the MixPre-3, MixPre-6 and MixPre-10 including 32-bit float recording! 

New key features available in all models of the MixPre II include:

  • Bit depth up to 32-bit float for increased 142 dB dynamic range
  • Internal LTC time code generation and output
  • 192 kHz recording
  • Adjustable limiters
  • Auto-copy to USB drive
  • 10 second pre-roll buffer

Read more below…

Contact Jose on 087 551 1034 or jose@stratosphere.co.za to place your orders.

NEW PRODUCT RELEASE: Bubblebee Industries announces The Lav Concealer for Sennheiser MKE-2

Body mounting or clipping a Sennheiser MKE2 lavalier microphone to clothing or costumes has just become much easier.

The Lav Concealer for the Sennheiser MKE2 is a soft pliable mount that covers many different mounting options, moulding itself to any surface it is attached to. Because of its soft rubber material, it also acts as a shock mount, protecting the mic capsule from vibration and absorbing friction noise to give you clearer sound recordings.

Key Features:

CREATES SPACE:
Keeps material away from the Sennheiser MKE2 Lavalier capsule in tight spaces under or in clothing, protecting the mic from friction noise and vibrations and making your recordings sound cleaner.

SHOCK ABSORBING:
The moulded rubber concealer is made for excellent vibration and friction absorption, while the metal clothing clip and fabric guard prevent the transmission of vibration through the concealer to the microphone.

COLOUR OPTIONS:
Available in Matt Black or Matt White finish. The matt finish is non-reflective for discrete hiding.

WIRE FABRIC GUARD
The removable wire fabric guard keeps fabric from touching the capsule. The combination of wire and rubber materials acts as excellent friction absorpsion, cutting any transmission of friction to the mic capsule.

CLIP OR TAPE MOUNTING OPTIONS
Provides many options for mounting Sennheiser MKE2 lav mics on talent easily, effectively and quickly, many times under high pressure on sets.

ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND
The Lav Concealer is made from 100% natural rubber which is biodegradable and kind to the environment. The black and white versions don’t make use of harmful chemical compounds to achieve the colouring.

WHAT’S INCLUDED:
  • 1 x The LAV Concealer (Either Black or White finish)
  • 1 x wire clothing clip
  • 1 x wire fabric guard
  • 6 x pieces of The Lav Concealer Tape

Available in single packs or a 6-pack with 3 of each colour.

** A limited number ready to ship immediately, first come first served **

Contact Jose on 087 551 1034 or jose@stratosphere.co.za to place your order.

PRESS RELEASE: We’re at Mediatech 2019!

We’re at Mediatech 2019 right now until the 19th July!

Come pop by our stand B2 and see some of our latest products like:

The revolutionary Lectrosonics DSQD 4-channel HALF RACK receiver with Dante™
Sanken CSM1 Sanken CS-M1 – Short Shotgun Microphone
The virtually invisible Bubblebee Industries Sidekick In-Ear Monitor
Viviana body straps
Bubble Industries – The Windbubbles
Bubble Industries – Lav Concealers for various mics
And much, much more!

Turn right as you come through the Meditech entrance and you’ll see us there! Stand B2

PRESS RELEASE: Bubblebee Industries Interview with Local Sound Recordist Henau Marais

“When using lavaliers in very windy situations, it’s a kind of dark art to get everything to work perfectly. That’s when I go to my trusted Bubblebee lavalier accessories.”

Sound recordist Henau Marais has over 18 years of professional audio experience working on commercials, reality TV shows, feature films, documentaries, news and much more. He’s helped capture some incredible sound on broadcasts/productions for the likes of Disney, the BBC, Discovery, RedBull, Microsoft, Warner and HBO.

We took some time out from Bubblebee HQ to have a chat with Henau in Cape Town, South Africa.

Find out more about his work here

What’s your background and how did you end up becoming a sound recordist?

In 2000, I studied film and TV at a film school in Cape Town. Not long after my studies, I got a job with a local, independent production company who employed me to take care of their kit. I progressed really quickly, and soon became the main sound recordist there. I worked in that job for five years, and then ventured into the freelance world.

How do you travel with your sound gear, and do you have any tips on how to travel safe/light?

Even though every job is different, I always chat with Production beforehand about workflow and other equipment requirements to get the best results. Unfortunately, I don’t travel light! The main reason for this is that I don’t want to have major regrets about leaving a piece of gear at home: especially if I’m in a remote location. I may not be able to do my job properly – or could even end up delaying an entire production – if I don’t travel with backup kit.
 
Going through airports is always a major headache, particularly when you have hand luggage. I always take my fragile and expensive items on-board, including my Think Tank backpack and mixer bag. The rest of my gear goes in Peli cases in the hold.

Sounds like lots of fun at the airport! Talking of kit, what three tools do you use now that you can’t live without (or wish you had five years ago)?

My old umbilical cable to camera served me well, but when Zaxcom made the Camera Link to go with the RX200, it was a no-brainer to invest in a wireless link to camera. About a year ago, I also bit the bullet and decided to make my boom wireless. I’ve never looked back.
 
I don’t leave home without my Bubblebee Invisible Lav Covers FUR OUTDOOR and a Piece-A-Fur. As the industry grows and demand gets higher, companies like Bubblebee are there to make our lives easier on location with accessories that weren’t available in the past.

Are you more of a boom or a lav mic kind of guy?

I have no problem using a lav mic when it’s needed, and they’re pretty much the norm now. If you’re a location sound guy these days, you had better be able to make lavs sound good!
 
Sound recordists love the sound of top-quality boom mics, but it’s important to remember that that’s not an opinion shared by a lot of producers and directors. Plus, a lot of projects are shot in ways that make using lavs a must. Not all shots can be boomed.
 
Having said that, lavs bring other challenges like clothing rustle, wind exposure and RF issues. These are substantial enough to make me use a boom where possible.

So, a lot of it is really about craft and adapting to challenges in the moment. With that in mind, what was the most challenging production/project you worked on, and how did you go about overcoming its challenges?

In 2011, I was asked to work on a show for Discovery called Diamond Divers.
 
I wouldn’t say it was a pleasure, but it was very rewarding. On shoots like that, you really get to know yourself and your capacity to adapt and improvise. It wasn’t easy to work on a boat that was constantly rolling and getting pounded by the waves: you always had to hold onto something, and sleeping/bathroom arrangements were pretty basic.
 
The food was interesting, to say the least! One of the cast members had to cook, and what was on the plate would often end up on the deck because of the rough seas. On top of this, lots of people were getting seasick. That’s never a good thing to look at when you are eating dinner…
 
For me, the best approach through all of this was to get into a routine as quickly as possible. At the end of each day after filming, I’d start prep work for the following morning, cleaning kit, charging batteries, and preparing lav mics so they were ready to go straight onto cast members at 5am.
 
I really had to get into a rhythm and stay focused. I was running eight wireless microphones simultaneously, and had to constantly follow conversations that could lead to any drama or action. If something did happen (or sounded like it could happen), I had to let the camera team know so they could go in and get coverage. That kept me on my toes!
 
So ultimately, I guess I overcame challenges on that Diamond Divers shoot by staying focused on the job, and not letting things like the dangerous and difficult working conditions get to me.

For jobs like that, what’s your basic equipment checklist? Does it differ with each production?

In terms of what I use on a job, I like to keep it very simple. There’s almost always a call to the DP or cameraman to chat about audio workflow. I do this to avoid any stressful or unnecessary drama on set the next day, especially during 5am call times.

Cape Town can get pretty windy. How do you go about dealing with that?

Again, I’ve found the best way to approach this initially is to have a chat with the DP or director. Getting the best possible sound is in everyone’s interests, but there’s only so much wind protection one can practically use. This is where the boom is usually my friend.
 
I also like to be proactive in windy situations and make sure everyone’s reassured about the quality of the audio: I might try things like asking for closer shots, or turning the talent’s body so it naturally shields the wind.
 
When using lavaliers in very windy situations, it’s a kind of dark art to get everything to work perfectly. That’s when I go to my trusted Bubblebee lavalier accessories.

What’s the best moment of your career?

This is a difficult one for me… I guess for some people, it’s all about working on a big show or working with someone famous. For me, it’s about getting recognition for doing a good job.
 
Sometimes you get a call from a Producer, Director or Editor, and they compliment you on your work. That’s always a highlight, and it makes everything worthwhile.

* * *
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Henau!

PRESS RELEASE: For Pink Bassist Eva Gardner, Lectrosonics Wireless Is All Beautiful, No Trauma

“Not only is all my tone there, but the response is so immediate that I forget I’m even using wireless.”

(June 25, 2019) — With dozens of dates around the world and a show in which the band is as much a part of the choreography as the dancers and acrobats, Pink’s Beautiful Trauma tour is no place for musicians to be tied down by instrument cables. Yet longtime bassist Eva Gardner was frustrated with wireless systems that didn’t preserve the tone and response she required for her crucial role in the rhythm section — until she and her bass tech Ruff Stewart discovered Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless®, including LT transmittersalongside LR and R400a receivers.

“The big risk when you go off the cable is that your sound can suffer,” says Gardner, who has also played with Cher, Gwen Stefani, and Moby, to name a few. “Pink’s concerts are big, visual productions. There are a lot of dancers/ aerialists and even an acrobat, so I’m moving up and down the stage all the time. So, I really can’t be tethered, and have been using wireless for about a decade. On previous systems, my sound was never really all there. It was thin and over-compressed. Then, we started having some issues with dropouts, so for this tour, Ruff and I went on a quest for a new wireless setup.”

“I hadn’t heard of Lectrosonics until one of our monitor engineers told me about it,” recalls Stewart. “He’d used it with AC/DC where it was part of [rhythm guitarist] Malcolm Young’s rig. I always loved Malcolm’s tone, and figured if it was good enough for a guy like him, it was worth a listen. We literally just took it out of the box and plugged it in. Other than a minor gain adjustment to match Eva’s bass, we did nothing to it. On bass guitar, the Lectrosonics is the most lifelike wireless system I’ve ever used. It literally sounds like she’s playing through a cable.”

Timing is just as important as tone, as Gardner explains: “The bass really needs to lock with the drums, so previously, latency was becoming more and more of an issue. That’s not the way playing the bass works — when you hit the string; it has to be in time! Lectrosonics has eliminated that problem. In fact, we recently did an A-B comparison between the system and a cable a few days ago. We listened very critically. Not only is all my tone there, but the response is so immediate that I forget I’m even using wireless.”

Stewart also praises Lectrosonics’ performance in high-RF environments, something any concert venue is virtually guaranteed to be. “Most people in the band are on in-ear monitors, there are cell phones, walkie-talkies for event staff, all of that,” he explains. “At first, I had some concerns over the distance factor in the face of all this RF, because Eva was on the opposite side of the very large stage from the receivers. But with the Lectrosonics stuff, we’ve had absolutely zero problems with dropouts, crosstalk, or latency. The frequency-scanning and pairing procedure between the receiver and transmitter is just brilliant, too. In Australia, we’d been using the R400a receivers and they were totally solid. Upon returning to the states, we switched over to the LR units as they gave us a bit more bandwidth for frequency choices.”
 
“We couldn’t be happier with the Lectrosonics gear,” concludes Gardner. “All my tone is there, I haven’t had an issue with battery life, and again, the responsiveness and timing are indistinguishable from being on a cable. I also love that the packs are so compact. It’s unbelievable.”

 
Read more here…

NEW PRODUCT RELEASE: Bubblebee Industries announces The Lav Concealer for RØDE Lavalier

Body mounting or clipping a RØDE lavalier microphone to clothing or costumes has just become much easier.

The Lav Concealer for the RØDE Lavalier is a soft pliable mount that covers many different mounting options, moulding itself to the surface it is attached to. Because of its soft rubber material, it also acts as a shock mount, protecting the mic capsule from vibration and absorbing friction noise to give you clearer sound recordings.

This Lav Concealer is a RØDE lav mount that fits the capsule snugly and, along with making hiding the mic easier, protects it from a build up of glue which can result from repeatedly attaching tape directly to the mic. The Lav Concealer for RØDE can be attached directly to skin or clothing using our Lav Concealer Tape. The LC Tape is very strong, hypoallergenic and easy to apply, for mounting on fabric or skin without worry.

The natural rubber used in manufacturing The Lav Concealer is biodegradable, which the environment will thank you for. In terms of clarity, using a soft, pliable rubber means it absorbs more vibrations than harder materials (eg. plastic), preventing unnecessary noise from ever reaching the capsule. The Lav Concealer for RØDE Lav includes a fabric guard and a clothing clip, made of sprung metal. These attach to the concealer in tiny holes on the front and back. Having two different materials operating in unison helps prevent friction or vibrations from being transferred from one to the other, and eventually to the capsule.

It moulds to your mounting style: The fabric guard and clothing clip are removable and you can mount them on the front or back of the lav concealer to lift the fabric off the entire concealer and attach it quickly to clothing seams.

Key Features:
  • Creates Space: Keeps material away from the RØDE Lavalier capsule in tight spaces under or in clothing
  • Shock absorbing: Excellent vibration and friction absorption
  • Colour options: Available in Matt Black or Matt White finish. The matt finish is non-reflective for discrete hiding.
  • Wire Fabric Guard: Combination of wire and rubber materials acts as excellent friction absorption
  • Clip or Tape Mounting Options: Provides many options for mounting
  • Environmentally sound:  100% biodegradable natural rubber – no harmful chemical compounds used.

Includes:

  • 1 x The LAV Concealer (Either Black or White finish)
  • 1 x Wire clothing clip
  • 1 x Wire fabric guard
  • 6 x Pieces of The Lav Concealer Tape

Available in single packs or a 6-pack with 3 of each colour.

Contact Jose on 087 551 1034 or jose@stratosphere.co.za to place your order.