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'MythBusters' uses Sound Devices audio mixers

Matt Jepson, production sound mixer for the Discovery Channel series “MythBusters,” uses Sound Devices’ 302 mixers to record the audio as the show tries to prove or bust popular urban legends using unique, and often complicated, science experiments.

Jepson’s setup involves two Sound Devices 302 mixers linked together. Audio sources include a Schoeps CMC6 boom-mounted mic or a Neumann KMR82 mic and up to five channels of Lectrosonics wireless lavalier mics mixed to the second channel. The 302’s stereo outs are sent to the camera via stereo wireless with IFB sent back the camera’s return feed.

From the mixer, Jepson occasionally sends a wireless feed of either the left or right signal out to a second camera on-site and/or a wireless headphone mix to the director. “MythBusters” currently uses several Sony cameras on the set, including the PDW700 Sony Professional XDCAM HD camcorder, HVR-Z1U, HDR-HC7, HDR-HC9, DCR-CX12 and HDR-HC3 models, with solid-state cameras used for the high-impact shots, while all talent dialog is caught on Lectrosonics Digital Hybrids.

Jepson sets the output limiter on his Sound Devices’ 302 mixers to 8dBu, which allows for good send levels onto either the Sony XDCAM or HVR-Z1U used on the show, so he doesn’t have to worry about clipping the meters on the digital cameras.

During production of the show, the Sound Devices mixers have withstood extreme climatic temperatures and explosive sounds — from a 115-degree sand storm in the Mojave Desert and shooting in 50 below in Alaska to shooting for two weeks in salty, humid air in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.