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Old November 8th, 2008, 03:13 PM   #1
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AT-897 with XH-A1

I just got an AT-897 mic to use with my XH-A1. I will be using it in a few weeks outside, filming dialogue between a couple of people who will be in the midst of a crowd of people. I will be 4 to 6 feet away.

Being a newbie to external mics and XLR inputs, I'm looking for some advice. My first inclination is to leave the attenuator off and the XKR gain on auto. Is this the best approach?

What is the difference between using channel 1 or channel 1 & channel 2? (I'm only using the one mic).

I assume I use mic in. What is line in for?

For my first time out, should I leave the audio adjustments on auto or try manual? If I try to adjust them manually, is that best done in the field right before I shoot?
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Old November 8th, 2008, 06:19 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Sobel View Post
filming dialogue between a couple of people who will be in the midst of a crowd of people. I will be 4 to 6 feet away.
I am not very experienced in audio. However, I do have both the xh-a1 and AT897. I can share my experience with you. Depends on the ambient noise level, you may want to ask the couple to speak louder. If the ambient noise is high, lapel mic is the way to go. Don't use auto adjustment, always use manual. Line in is for connection to other audio equipment such as a mixer. If you turn XLR audio on and only have the AT897 plugged into CH1 and nothing in CH2, CH2 will record no sound. If you like, you can switch the audio selection switch to CH1 & CH2, so that the signal from the AT897 will be recorded on both CH1 & CH2. Read your XH-A1 manual for details.

You definitely want to do adjustment on site. Put an AA battery into your mic, my experience is that there is much less noise when the mic is internally powered.

Hope this helps.
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Old November 9th, 2008, 02:12 AM   #3
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The AT897 runs hotter when it is phantom powered. Trying to film dialog from two people in a crowd who are four to six feet away from the mic is useless. You really need to either boom this or use wireless. Yes, you should be using manual gain for this (assuming this isn't a documentary). However, having the camera operator manage the levels is often a disaster waiting to happen. Will it really be impossible to get a crew?
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Old November 9th, 2008, 05:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Sobel View Post
I just got an AT-897 mic to use with my XH-A1. I will be using it in a few weeks outside, filming dialogue between a couple of people who will be in the midst of a crowd of people. I will be 4 to 6 feet away.

...
I assume I use mic in. What is line in for?

...?
I add my advice to Marco's that 4 to 6 feet away is just too far from the subject in that environment to record decent sound, no matter what mic you use. You MIGHT be able to get away with it using a sensitive mic on a dead-quiet sound stage and with the surrounding crowd silently miming their conversations but in real world environments, 24 to 36 inches from the talent is about right. Even then, the crowd will have to pantomime. Unlike telephoto lenses that magnify distant images and make them appear closer, the laws of physics dictate that "teleaudio mics" for sound cannot exist.

"Line in" is used when you're recording through a mixer or preamp that raises the mic level signal to a line level voltage. Mics produce a signal that is just a few millivolts to tens of millivolts in strength. Audio gear such as mixers, amplifiers, etc communicate with each other with much stronger signals on the order of perhaps 300 millivolts up to 2 to 4 volts. So the input for a piece of gear will be designed with a particular sensitivity depending on what will be connected to it. Connecting a mic to an input designed for line level voltages will result in silence since the mic's signal isn't strong enough to drive it. Connecting a line level such as the output of a preamp to a mic level input will result in severe distortion as the high line level voltage overwhelms the poor little mic input.
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