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Old August 30th, 2004, 08:50 PM   #1
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1/8 to XLR

So I have a camcorder without XLR inputs. I've been hearing that the only way to use an XLR mike was to buy a beachtek adapter for ~$200 along with the mike. But in a previous post about the mke 300, a 1/8" to XLR cord was recommended to record in stereo. If I bought an XLR mike such as the AT897, and plugged the mike's XLR into the XLR part of the cord and the 1/8" into the camera, would that setup work? Thanks for your help.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 09:11 PM   #2
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The gender of the XLR portion of the cable would have to be correct. A mic, such as the AT897, has a male XLR output. The cable would need a female XLR connector, wired properly to a stereo 1/8" male connector for input to the camera jack.
If your camera's mic jack carries a DC voltage to power low-end 1/8" mics, then your adapter cable for XLR mics should have a blocking capacitor to counter this.
Shure, Remote Audio and SoundProfessionals carry the proper cables for these situations.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 09:45 PM   #3
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The HosaTech female XLR to male mini stereo is the way to go for $9.50 plus shipping. I used one even though I had a Beach Tek and i didn't need the blocking capacitor (vx2000) If you find you do , it's only a matter of soldering in a $0.25 part (or having it soldered in) Most professional mics like the AT won't be bothered by the camera voltage, if there is any.

The cable comes in 1 ft or 5ft lengths and has a 90 deg stereo mini plug so the tendency to jar it will be minimized. (straight plugs tend to destroy the mic inputs when they catch on something)

At the very least , it's an inexpensive way to get started. if you get hooked the sky is the limit. the $9.50 adapter becomes a $1300 field mixer with a $200 case , a $1400 mic on a $200 shock mount, on a $600 boom pole with a $150 merkin (rycote) on it for wind protection.

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Old August 30th, 2004, 10:16 PM   #4
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Ok, I'm pretty sure I get everything, I'm just confused a bit about the blocking capacitator. How do I know if I need it? What does it do?
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Old August 30th, 2004, 11:01 PM   #5
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I have a similar setup. It's a cheap way to get an audio education so you can save your money for the big bucks coming down the road later!

If you want to plug in two mics, there's the Hosa Y cable.

It's also a good idea to get a separate XLR cable for each mic so you can disconnect quickly. I use this one for the AT897 and a 15 footer for the NT3.

Oh yeah, don't forget to protect the 1/8th mini plug. I usually wrap it around the camcorder handle a couple of times and then secure it with the velcro just in case.
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Old August 30th, 2004, 11:12 PM   #6
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If you need a blocking capacitor you'll find out right away. I really doubt you will. Trust me on that.

Don't be going nuts on long unbalaced runs, you'll be begging for trouble. (noise, interference)
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Old August 31st, 2004, 08:34 PM   #7
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Ok cool, thanks guys.
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 01:19 PM   #8
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After seeing all the posts about using Beachtek units (with the $200 price tags), I thought I'd try a lower-cost trick first, so I built my own adapter cable. It converts from a 1/8" stereo plug (for the camera) to two XLR female connectors.

Note that this is an unbalanced system (even though XLR stereotypically is balanced), so line noise can be an issue if you're not careful. Impedance matching also just flew out the window.

I'm using it with a Canon GL2 (which I believe does not try to supply power through the mic jack -- don't know what would happen if you used this cable on a camera that did). It's not ideal, but considering I made it out of spare parts for $0 sometime around midnight with a shoot the next day, I figure it's not a bad second.

I opted to buy some inline attenuators for matching line-level mixer outputs to the camera's mic-level input (20db ProCo units from B&H) instead of building those (XLR connectors get pricey really fast anyway). So far I've used it for recording direct off a board and for handheld mics such as the Shure SM57 and SM58, with good results. I have noticed some odd distortion artifacts when the signal clips in manual mode, but I think that had more to do with the camera's preamps (a topic for a different thread).

As a sidenote, this cable (or any other adapter cable) will not work with mics requiring phantom power. For that you need a preamp that can provide power to the mic (or an inline phantom power injector).

If anyone wants to get creative with a soldering iron, I can post the schematic for the cable. (Disclaimer: If you try this with your $10,000 camera and $3,000 mic and fry something... use at your own risk.)
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