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Old November 12th, 2007, 11:09 AM   #1
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Audio-Technica / Beachtek Settings Question

I am trying to set up my audio for documentary style interviews and I want to make sure I have all the setting correct. I seem to be getting a hum in the recorded dialog in post and I think it due to having the volumes turned up too loud somewhere.

I am using a XL1s with an Audio-Technica AT-4073a and a Beachtek DXA-6.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...phone_Kit.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...pter_with.html


Basically my question is where should my audio setting be on the camera, and on the Beachtek?

Also, should the boom mic (which is on a boom pole) have any covering over it or should it be bare because I seem to have to turn it up pretty loud to get the audio at a normal level.

Thanks!
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Old November 12th, 2007, 11:56 AM   #2
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I have this exact combination! Turn the Beachtek as high as possible without clipping. The idea is to keep the SNR as high as possible so you want to apply the gain as early in the chain as possible.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 12:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emre Safak View Post
Turn the Beachtek as high as possible without clipping.
The beachtek does not have a level monitor, I can only monitor it on the camera itself. Is that what you mean?

So you think I'm getting the hum from having the volume on the camera too high? I should keep that low?

Thanks Emre.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 01:43 PM   #4
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If you have a fresh 9v battery in the DXA-6, good cables, and you are using the 4073 at a reasonable distance for documentary interviews (2-5 feet), you should have plenty of gain.
The camera's input sensitivity switch is very important. With a hot mic like the 4073 and most outdoor subjects unless they are whispering, set the camera to "Mic ATT" and keep the BeachTek controls fairly high like 9 or 10.
Also make sure the BeachTec switches are set correctly. If you are just using the 4073, then Mic Level for both channels, both controls at 9 or 10, and the Mono/Stereo switch set to MONO. Also check the ground switch for the position with the lowest noise with everything hooked up.
Set the camera to Mic ATT and then adjust the camera audio level control for the mini-mic input to something in the middle of its range to get a solid reading of -12 to -8 db with no audible distortion on your subject's peaks. Clean the BeachTek mini plug with a soft clean cloth, don't get fingerprints on it and make sure it's solidly plugged into the camera input too.
You can use the camera input's pan control to make one channel a little lower than the other as a safety for loud peaks.
If you hear distortion on the headphones even if the camera meter is reading lower than full 0 level, then the signal you're sending into the camera is too hot. Turn down the BeachTek control until the distortion goes away, then adjust the camera levels for the correct recording level.
And you should certainly use a wind covering if you are outdoors, a zeppelin gives the best protection, a furry slip-on cover for the mic gives less protection, and the foam that comes with the mic is almost no protection.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 10:47 PM   #5
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Jay, thanks for all the great info. I did what you said and I still seem to be getting some background noise (white noise?). I know it wont go away totally but I think I can get a little better than this.

It's like if you had all your volumes at 10 with headphones on and you can here all this "white" noise in the background. I also have to turn the audio track to +12 to get it to a normal volume level in the editing software (Vegas).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyT1Xtk4sSA
(If you turn your volume up a lot you can really hear it)

XL1s - gain at 5.
AT-4073 - 5 feet away from subject.
DXA-6 - gain at 9/10.

Thanks!
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Old November 12th, 2007, 11:24 PM   #6
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i don't like beachtek adapters because of this and other things.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old November 13th, 2007, 09:08 AM   #7
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I've used this combination before on a friend's projects and I never had any trouble getting plenty of gain with minimal noise.
I can't watch the youtube clip at work, so I'm not sure of other things to suggest.
I would just say triple-check the camera input sensitivity and the BeachTek Line/Mic level switch. The BeachTek should be on Mic and the camera should be set to either Mic ATT (for louder sources) or Mic (for quieter sources). Those are the two switches that will dramatically change your levels. The BeachTek rotary controls should always be run in their upper range since they are just passive volume reducers. The camera level control will take some experimentation. If you're using Mic ATT on the camera and your source is medium volume, you may need to turn up the camera level control to raise the recording level appropriately.
Have you tried another mic, another mic cable, used a tested good 9v battery? That's what I would switch out next if going through the level settings doesn't help.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 11:05 AM   #8
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I called Audio-Technica and they said that the beachtek could be causing it. They suggested using a single channel phantom power supply like the Crown-Audio PH1A which has no gain control.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...e_Channel.html

From what I researched the beachtek seemed to be a good product but now I'm not so sure...

What do y'all think?
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Old November 13th, 2007, 11:35 AM   #9
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I hear the hiss

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Darden View Post
Jay, thanks for all the great info. I did what you said and I still seem to be getting some background noise (white noise?). I know it wont go away totally but I think I can get a little better than this.

It's like if you had all your volumes at 10 with headphones on and you can here all this "white" noise in the background. I also have to turn the audio track to +12 to get it to a normal volume level in the editing software (Vegas).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyT1Xtk4sSA
(If you turn your volume up a lot you can really hear it)

XL1s - gain at 5.
AT-4073 - 5 feet away from subject.
DXA-6 - gain at 9/10.

Thanks!
Sounds to me like like you aren't getting enough gain going into your camera. The fact that you had to boost the recorded signal in your editing software indicates this. Your DXA-6 is supplying phantom power to the 4073 so its important the battery is good. Perhaps you're a bit too far away from the subject although the voice didn't seem too roomy in the youtube clip. If you can, plug the mic into a mixer that has phantom power and listen to how it sounds at the mixer. If its quiet and has plenty of signal then you know the mic is ok. That would leave the beachtek or the camera as the problem. From your other posts it sounds like you're not getting alot of signal from your mic and your clip has the sound of an underpowered mic. Low level and too much background hiss. Could be the beachtek isn't supplying sufficient phantom power. The 4073 is supposed to be a hot mic so the low signal could be a bad mic, or the beachtek is bad.
Hope you figure it out.
Bernie
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Old November 14th, 2007, 10:37 AM   #10
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I got a multimeter and tested pins 1-2 and 1-3 and I am only getting 8.3 volts phantom power. I called Beachtek and they are going to send me another one.

I will update when I receive the new one and test my mic again.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 01:09 PM   #11
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That'd do it.

Ty Ford
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Old November 16th, 2007, 11:05 AM   #12
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Got the new Beachtek and the MIC sounds amazing.

Levels on the camera at 3 and 8 on the Beachtek sounds perfect.

Thanks for all your help everyone.
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