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Old October 9th, 2007, 01:47 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Michael Nistler View Post
<snip>
First, let's look at the specs for your HV20 (suspiciously, very sparse):
DV: 16 bit (2ch) 48 kHz
12 bit (4ch) 32 kHz
Microphone Terminal: 3.5 mm Stereo Mini-jack
<snip>
Doesn't it strike you as curious that Canon choses not to share similar specs on their low-end HV20? The serious videograhper would instead buy the high-end Canon XL H1 that can record decent audio:
http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...&modelid=12152
MPEG1 Audio Layer II: (Sampling frequency 48 kHz, bit rate 384 kbps/2 channels);
<snip>
Stop for a moment. Those HV20 specs quoted are standard DV video audio specs. Which are REALLY GOOD, awesome, in fact, better than audio CD! (nobody uses the 4 channel 12 bit recording). It is a different matter entirelly if the camera electronics can utilise those specs, and in cheap cameras thay can not. Even better cameras need to be fed line-in audio from good mixer to approach the limits of the 16/48k audio specs, which surpass the limits of human hearing, by the way.

Those specs given for XH-A1 are the HDV standard audios specks, which are exatly equal in HV20 also when shooting HDV format. XH-A1, when set to SD uses the same DV audio given above with HV20... so there is absolutelly no difference between the cams as far as standard audio specifications, which are video standard specific, not camera.

Here we have to note also that the specks for XH-A1 in the quote above are vastly INFERIOR to the DV audio given for HV20. DV audio 16/48 is totally uncomressed WAV type audio, HDV MP2 audio at 384 kbs is about five fold compressed compared to DV audio and unsuitable for critical work. This is unfortunate, but necessary to save space to be able to fit the HDV data to a DV-tape.

Just to get facts staight.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 09:29 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Matt Buys View Post
After searching this forum, I've decided on the SD302 for a field mixer. Primarily I'm hoping to use it for documentary sit down interviews. Possibly for film shorts later. My question is, can the SD302 work like my old beachtek and hook up to my HV20 by a 1/8 inch jack? Or what about an XHA1 which is on my horizon? Or do I need to buy something else too, like a DAT or a laptop? I know these questions sound ludicriously simple but please keep in mind I have NO experience in this area and did not see a neophyte answer in the online manual.
Well, I thought I'd give you another option...

If you need to use the HV20 for now and you have a limited bugdet...here would be a plan of action.

1) Get a less expensive mixer that matches well with the HV20. If it's a one man show then it should have a usable limiter and reasonably quiet preamps. The ENG44 gives you that mic & -10 line out (1/8") along w/ the XLR balanced outs + a send to the boom operator. It seems like a good match for the HV20 when you have to use it. Put the mixer in a quality bag (petrol) and hang it off the Tripod to mix the levels when you don't have a sound guy. You could use it in conjunction w/ the 302 in the future upgrade if you needed more inputs.

2) Plan to upgrade as you go.

A) The 302 would be a valuable tool and workhorse to match w/ the better camera.

B) A two track 24 bit recorder would be a valuable upgrade to work w/ both setups. The Edirol (R-09) or Korg (MR-1) would be options I would consider for the combination of price, quality, and size...would match w/ the HV20 setup. The SD multitracks would match well w/ the pro camera in a matching timecode scenario.

C) Better Mics- Upgrading mics can often make the greatest difference in quality. For me, going from the ME66 to the CMIT 5U shotgun made huge upgrade in sound quality.

3) Practice sound mic & recording techniques. Mastering your mic placement, controling the invironment, recording optimum levels, and hearing and fixing onsight problems as they pop up.

Obviously, you can only do what you can afford to do. Upgrades are costly and worth there weight in quality. Sometimes you have to take it one logical step at a time.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 10:56 PM   #33
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Chris and Michael

I AGREE with you both wholeheartedly when it comes to working for paying clients. It would be foolish and unprofessional to show up with consumer equipment.

But Matt is shooting a documentary, not a wedding or a kid's Bar Mitzva. So he probably has to worry a little less about the look of his equipment.

And it's easier to justfy a small camera when doing a documentary with something like "I've found this small size doesn't intimidate the subjects as much so I get more natural results."

But I will be testing this theory out in a few months. I'm going to be using an SD 302 and SD 702T and an HV-20 for a documentary.

My rationale is: if I wind up needing an XH-A1, I'll still want an HV-20 anyway to use as a deck, a second cam, to shoot B-roll, so I bought the HV-20 and I'll see what I can do with it. I am new to this world and there is enough for me to learn even with the HV-20 and all the sound stuff... it will be while before I realize that I need a better camera.

And I actually like the challenge of using a smaller camera. For a documentary, I THINK I can get away with it.

Last edited by Peter Moretti; October 9th, 2007 at 11:40 PM.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 08:51 PM   #34
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Just wanted to say a quick thanks to Dan Keaton and others for talking me through my audio questions.
I settled on the Sound Devices 702T. After using it these last two weeks I have to say I'm stunned at the difference in quality vs my HV20 and Beachtek. I'm not a gear hound and previously I thought the beachtek was plenty for my needs and it was but after semi-mastering the mixers nuances and realizing it's limitations, especially with mics like the SM57, I now hear exactly what Ty and others are saying when they suggest that if you want professional sound you need professional gear.
Two other unanticipated plusses: it's made in the US by workers earning a living wage and the controls are so brain dead easy to use that even Jerry Garcia could have learned to use it. I was importing sounds into Adobe Premiere the day after it arrived that sounded five times better than anything I'd ever gotten out of my other gear. I could be wrong, but I think buying the SD702T and an HV20 along with a Brevis and a good mic or two is more than enough for a talented filmmaker to take a film to Sundance and beyond.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 09:11 PM   #35
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Dear Matt,

Thank you for the very kind words.

It is very easy to recommend Sound Devices equipment.

They build great gear and they are very good to their customers. They are also very helpful when you have a question.

Once you experience the quality of any one of their products, it is easy to feel inclined to purchase more of their gear.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 09:21 PM   #36
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Hello Matt,

Yahoo for you! There is nothing quote like getting the right gear and hearing or seeing a substantial improvement. And thanks for taking the time to make the point. There is nothing quote like getting the right gear and hearing or seeing a substantial improvement in your work.

The idea that good gear really does make a difference does not necessarily mean that all expensive gear is better than cheaper gear. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. The RIGHT gear sounds best. Frequently, it's expensive.

I have a list of "good gear" in the back of my little book. Not all of it is expensive. All of it is good.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old January 7th, 2009, 12:40 PM   #37
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HV 20 and XH-A1 and 302 mixer

I've been considering buying an HV30 to supplement my XH-A1 for b-roll when the A1 is too bulky and I could get interesting angles with the smaller camera. Not to mention that I could buy 6 of them for the cost of one XH-A1.

But that pro look factor is something I have experienced. People look at my camera on location, then google the price. I've heard them talking about this.

By the way, many seem impressed by my Photoflex softbox. Whatever works! Several clients want them for general illumination uses.

I also just picked up a 302 mixer. From what I've read here, the line in on the XH-a1 requires more signal from the xlr outs on the 302. So if you set them up normally, the audio level is quite low.

Any ideas on how to do this correctly? I'd like to avoid the XH-A1 preamps entirely, but again, from what I have read, line in doesn't actually do this.

On another thread someone suggests cranking up the camera audio level all the way, max.

That doesn't seem right to me, why crank up the XH-A1 preamps all the way, since the 302's are better.

What am I missing here?
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Old January 7th, 2009, 01:58 PM   #38
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I'm glad you found a working solution. I wonder what the comparison would sound like side by side SM57>302>HV20 vs SM57>702T.
Just wondering if that little extra clarity is worth the syncing. Let us know if you develop a nice workflow.
As for the HV20 looking wimpy. Here's a pic that one of our customers sent in. It's the HV20 with a Formatt FM-600 Matte Box . He does 2 camera shoots with an A1 as well as the HV20 and wanted something to beef it up the smaller cam. The cool thing was that he fell in love with using ND Grad filters in the Matte box with the A1 after he got it. You can get some cool ND grads or "Sunset grads" that really give some nice results.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 02:17 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Vaughn View Post
I also just picked up a 302 mixer. From what I've read here, the line in on the XH-a1 requires more signal from the xlr outs on the 302. So if you set them up normally, the audio level is quite low.

Any ideas on how to do this correctly? I'd like to avoid the XH-A1 preamps entirely, but again, from what I have read, line in doesn't actually do this. On another thread someone suggests cranking up the camera audio level all the way, max. That doesn't seem right to me, why crank up the XH-A1 preamps all the way, since the 302's are better.
What am I missing here?
Um, out of the box the 302 comes set to mic level out. Did you miss that part in the instructions?

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old January 8th, 2009, 03:04 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Vaughn View Post
Any ideas on how to do this correctly? I'd like to avoid the XH-A1 preamps entirely, but again, from what I have read, line in doesn't actually do this.

On another thread someone suggests cranking up the camera audio level all the way, max.

That doesn't seem right to me, why crank up the XH-A1 preamps all the way, since the 302's are better.

What am I missing here?
You are missing the fact that when using line in levels in XH-A1 you are apparently bypassing XH-A1 preamps entirelly. That is the whole idea of using line levels, there is only one preamp, in this case SD302.

It is stupid to use SD302 and then lower the signal to mic level and reamplify this in XH-A1 again. I can not understand why some people insist on doing this.

SD302 and XH-A1 match perfectly at LINE LEVEL: Set SD302 to normal, standard line out output level (max level it can go), set XH-A1 to line level and potentiometers FULLY OPEN (no attennuation). That's all there is to it. You will get over 90 dB dynamic range and S/N ratio.

Just test this with both 0 dBVU and +20 dBVU test tones, they will fall to -20 dBFS and 0 dBFS like they should on the camera meters. After this you can forget the XH-A1 dials and meters and use SD302 only (monitoring from the camera or return, of course).

For added safety adjust the limiter on the SD302 to +17 dBVU, that gives added 60 dB of headroom = impossible to clip the signal.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 06:08 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Petri Kaipiainen View Post
You are missing the fact that when using line in levels in XH-A1 you are apparently bypassing XH-A1 preamps entirelly. That is the whole idea of using line levels, there is only one preamp, in this case SD302.....

I might be misremembering but I understand that the XHA1 is a little different from most cameras in this regard, in that switching the inputs to line level actually does not bypass its preamps. Instead, it switches in an inline pad before the preamp to take the line level it's being fed and knock it down to mic level, then it goes on to the preamps for reamplification. Seems a very weird way to do it but I understand that's how Canon chose to go with this camera. Possibly the rational was it's cheaper than putting in two separate recording amps, one optimized for mic level input and the other for line level input.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 07:08 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
I might be misremembering but I understand that the XHA1 is a little different from most cameras in this regard, in that switching the inputs to line level actually does not bypass its preamps. Instead, it switches in an inline pad before the preamp to take the line level it's being fed and knock it down to mic level, then it goes on to the preamps for reamplification. Seems a very weird way to do it but I understand that's how Canon chose to go with this camera. Possibly the rational was it's cheaper than putting in two separate recording amps, one optimized for mic level input and the other for line level input.
Whatever, using it the way I described it (line level from SD302 and pots fully open) I got over 90 dB S/N ratio, using mic level from SD302 and reamplification I got 80 dB S/N ratio.

A no-brainer to me.
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Old January 8th, 2009, 07:09 AM   #43
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Steve,

I'm pretty sure a lot of cameras do that now. Engineering in a pad is easier than a separate signal path around the preamp.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old January 8th, 2009, 10:16 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
Steve,

I'm pretty sure a lot of cameras do that now. Engineering in a pad is easier than a separate signal path around the preamp.

Regards,

Ty Ford
The 302 mixer does the same thing on its inputs as well. Also, Ty I think the 302 comes out of the box set for line level not mic. Of course as you've described in other threads the level can be lowered to mic via the software.
Thing to remember about the Canon XH1. The pots are attenuators so as you turn them to the left you are increasing the amount of gain going into the camera. This is counter intuitive to most audio people as we all know that Up is usually Louder. The sweet spot marking on the meter on the side of the camera is at -12. Don't set your tone to that mark. There is a -20 mark that is smaller. You want to set your tone to that. If you go to the -12 mark you will have 8 db less headroom and could easily distort on peaks. Also use the 302's vu plus peak reading setting so you can accurately see what the camera is getting. Petri is dead on in his assessment of how to work with this camera.
I know you are fully aware of all this Ty, just wanted to add some clarity.
Cheers,
Bernie
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Old January 8th, 2009, 10:33 AM   #45
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Hey Bernie,

Thanks for that. I don't know that about the Canon input controls. That's whacked!

Regards,

Ty
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