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Old August 29th, 2008, 04:03 AM   #1
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Configuring sounddevices 302 up to a canon xh a1

Hey everybody.
I recently invested in a Sounddevices 302 eng mixer, and a sennheiser mkh-416 with rycote kit to supply my canon xh a1 camera with some good sound.

I have some trouble configuring the audio output from the mixer to get the decent amount of audio in to the camera.

ill go a bit techy now..
when i do the test signal from the 302, its a long way from reaching the sweetspot mark on the A1 audio meter. the signal is way to low. Even when I try to adjust the audio volume on the A1 up to max volume input its still not close to the green swetspot mark on the audio meter. the audio output from the mixer is the default output. im not sure how to gain the audio output.

i have the xh a1 setup with two xlr inputs from the mixer, and set to line level input.
Anybody here that is familiar with setting this up right?
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Old August 29th, 2008, 07:41 AM   #2
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This issue has been discussed many times and you should be able to find it in the archives. The output from the Sound Devices is low for the Canon's Line level which is less sensitive than traditional line level inputs which gives you this result. Some people say there is a way to set the Sound Devices output higher or at least set the meter so you mix the sound higher. There isn't much you can so on the Canon End. While using the mic inputs on the camera is supposedly noisier you can try it for yourself. It may be a better fit for you HTH
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Old August 29th, 2008, 08:28 AM   #3
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thanx :)
I contacted canon support now to see what they have to say about this problem.
I just can't believe that something so obvious like line input db standards i different from supplier to supplier..

i also found another thread about this problem but i think using mic inputs and to lower the output levels of the sounddevices degrades the quality of the productions to much...
the noise floor goes up to the roof..

SD302 with a Canon XH-A1 [Archive] - DV Forums
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Old August 29th, 2008, 09:20 AM   #4
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Oh no.
I've bought a 302 thinking it would be top kit. It's cost me a lot of money but I thought it would be a good investment and that I'd learn how to use it when I got it.
I've only used it with my Fostex recorder so far.
But I've got an XH A1 too.
How can a highly-regarded and widely-recommended sound mixer not work with one of the most popular semi pro HDV cameras on the market?
Unbelievable.
:-(
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Last edited by Richard Gooderick; August 29th, 2008 at 10:07 AM.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 10:41 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
Oh no.
I've bought a 302 thinking it would be top kit. It's cost me a lot of money but I thought it would be a good investment and that I'd learn how to use it when I got it.
I've only used it with my Fostex recorder so far.
But I've got an XH A1 too.
How can a highly-regarded and widely-recommended sound mixer not work with one of the most popular semi pro HDV cameras on the market?
Unbelievable.
:-(
The 302 IS top kit, 100% professional. It's the Canon camera that's wonky, deviating (wildly) from normal professional practices. As I recall Canon used +8dBu as the line level input sensitivity - god only knows what they were thinking! The traditional professional line level is +4dBu. Many mixer manufacturers such as Sound Devices are standardizing on meter calibrations where 0dBu = 0VU to be more consistent with digital recording standards.

Look in the SD manual foir the discussion on Advanced Gain Structure and Full Scall Tone to see a method that could help align it to the Canon's inputs.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 11:07 AM   #6
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Look in the SD manual foir the discussion on Advanced Gain Structure and Full Scall Tone to see a method that could help align it to the Canon's inputs.
Hi Steve
Thank you once again for you help.
I'll check this advice out.
I think that the steam has just about stopped coming out of my ears now.
:-)
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Old August 29th, 2008, 11:48 AM   #7
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Frankly a pox on both their houses (Canon and Sound Devices) for not allowing for the possibility that compatibility with standard practices should be a required feature of any mixer and or camcorder. In truth Sound Devices has a good idea making 0 = 0 but they should have the flexibility to deal with the +4 more easily since they know people are going to be interfacing with all sorts of analog and digital recorders. As for what Canon was thinking I have no idea but I don't expect them to know sound.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 11:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Epstein View Post
Frankly a pox on both their houses (Canon and Sound Devices) for not allowing for the possibility that compatibility with standard practices should be a required feature of any mixer and or camcorder. In truth Sound Devices has a good idea making 0 = 0 but they should have the flexibility to deal with the +4 more easily since they know people are going to be interfacing with all sorts of analog and digital recorders. As for what Canon was thinking I have no idea but I don't expect them to know sound.
Wasn't SD's answer to that problem by allowing the change of the 0 VU ref to 0, +4 and +8?
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Old August 29th, 2008, 01:26 PM   #9
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The Full Scale tone procedure seems a brilliant solution to me. Turning it on in the 302 sends tone to the camera right at the mixer's maximum output level, just below the clipping point, ~+20dBu. Sending that to the camera and setting the camera's input levels until its clipping warning just lights or its digital reading meter just touches full scale means that the mixer's meters reliably indicate what's going on in the camera and the mixer's limiters will prevent clipping in the camera no matter what. Frankly I wish it was a feature on my 442 but I haven't been able to find it.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 01:54 PM   #10
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The problem lies with the bizarre audio structure of the Canons. I've dreaded those Canon shoots since the XL-1.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 09:36 PM   #11
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While the Canon audio is definitely problematic I have noticed the Sound Devices 302 output (the way most people leave them set up) is lower than some of the other mixers I use. Just the day before yesterday we were using a 302 and the input settings on my Panasonic SDX-900 had to be adjusted much higher to get the same record level as compared to my Wendt X5. Not a big deal but certainly different. Could be an issue if you are switching back and forth between cameras and soundman with different rigs.
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Old August 29th, 2008, 10:24 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Daniel Epstein View Post
While the Canon audio is definitely problematic I have noticed the Sound Devices 302 output (the way most people leave them set up) is lower than some of the other mixers I use. Just the day before yesterday we were using a 302 and the input settings on my Panasonic SDX-900 had to be adjusted much higher to get the same record level as compared to my Wendt X5. Not a big deal but certainly different. Could be an issue if you are switching back and forth between cameras and soundman with different rigs.
Interesting. Wendt says the mixer's 0VU tone is 0dBu output, same as Sound Devices for the 302. On my 442 the tone output level is constant regardless of what the mixer's master gain setting might be - I wonder if that's the case on the Wendt? If not, having the master gains on one or the other of the two mixers set at something other than unity could account for that anomoly.

0VU = 0dBu seems to be the new standard. My Mackie 1642 desktop meter calibration is the same, 0VU indicated = 0 dBu output.

Back in the 40's and 50's some broadcast plants were calibrated to 0VU=+8dBu, I wonder if that's where Canon got the notion.
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Old August 30th, 2008, 06:55 AM   #13
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Great response here. Im currently reading up in the SD manual about how to fix this.
Link to the sounddevices manual can be found here. http://www.sounddevices.com/download/guides/302_en.pdf
page 20 :)
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Old September 8th, 2008, 01:18 AM   #14
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I am running a SD302 with XH-A1 and they match PERFECTLY!

- leave SD302 as it is, factory settings, standard output.
- plug it in to XH-A1 line inputs, no padding, no nothing.
- turn the audio potentiometers FULLY OPEN on XH-A1. This removes all unnecessary attennuation in the camera.
- Perfect match! Made in Audio Heaven. All as easy as possible.

If you do not belive it, just send 0 dBVU and +20 dBVU (full scale, 0 dBFS) test signals to the camera set up this way. The camera meter will show -20 and 0 dBFS. Record this if you are still not sure and capture the audio to Audition for example. Analyze audio, you will find the levels to be -20 and 0 dBFS. Pefect.

And, if you still think it is a no-no to turn any potentiometers fully open consider this: I made a test recording with ultra quiet mics with this setup. Peaks came to -0.4 dBFS and noise floor was at -91 dBFS. Yes, almost the theoretical maximum. And still people complain, I do not get it?

In that test I ran SD302 limiters at +17 dBVU.
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Old January 7th, 2009, 11:46 AM   #15
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302 and XH-A1

I just got my 302 mixer to use with my XH-A1 and I wonder if anyone else is turning up the mic inputs all the way on the camera?

I just spoke to a Sound Devices tech at the factory and he gave different instructions. Personally, I'd like to bypass the Canon preamps entirely, by turning the mic inputs up all the way it doesn't seem like that would happen.

Other suggestions?
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