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Old April 1st, 2005, 09:06 PM   #1
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DXA-8 & AT3031 weirdness

Why can't I get good audio levels from the AT3031 cardiod mic connected to the DXA-8? Everything is connected correctly, I can hear the signal from the mic through my headphones plugged into the GL2, but I can't get the audio levels to get even halfway to -12db.

The audio knobs on both the beachtek unit and the GL2 don't affect the sound level at all... its just a constant low volume. I thought the DXA-8 had great preamps?

I must be doing something wrong. Last night it refused to work at all. In fact, the wireless mic on the other channel would work fine until I plug in the AT3031 and then zap-no audio at all, until I unplug the AT3031 again. I don't know what I did different for it to work now...

So am I doing something wrong, or is this a hardware problem? If it's a hardware issue, is it a problem with the Beachtek or the Mic?

Thanks
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 08:05 AM   #2
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Sounds like the mic is not powered up. Are you sure that

1. Phantom power is turned ON for the channel the 3031 is in and turned OFF on the other channel?

2. The 9V battery is good? You can't judge that by trying it in another device. A used one that still works in other devices can be too weak for the DXA-8. If you had put a new one in there and have been experimenting a lot, or left the unit on when you weren't using it, it may be spent. Try a fresh one. I found that inadvertantly having phantom power turned on in a channel that was connected to something other than a mic killed batteries very quickly.

I just used that very combination (AT3031, DXA-8, GL2) last night. I run the GL2 with MIC ATT ON and could still hit 0 dB very easily if I wanted to in an auditorium during a musical with the DXA-8 and GL2 controls.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 12:02 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

1. Phantom power is turned ON on the correct channel and OFF on the other.
2. The battery is brand new. The battery I used when testing the setup died because I accidently left the Beachtek box on. However, last night when I was testing the mic again (on the fresh battery), I did end up switching the phantom power and limiters up and down on both channels before I got it working properly. Maybe this was draining the battery, because...

I called my dad, who borrowed the GL2 and mic this morning to shoot my sister's piano recital. I had showed him how to use everything before he left (turns out the problem with the mic being too quiet only happened on the left channel... when plugged into the right channel and the left turned OFF, it worked just fine, and sounded very good.)

Anyway, he said that when he first started shooting video, the mic sounded great (he had headphones) but after a few minutes the sound progressively started to distort more and more. I had shown him how to set the audio levels correctly, and the Limiter was turned ON, so I'm not sure what is causing it. Now, he says it distorts continuosly, and he had to switch back to the GL2's mic.

Note... I did tell him that the beachtek box drains the batteries fairly quickly, and that he should turn it off whenever it's not in use, but maybe its still a battery problem.

Sorry for such a long post... do you have any ideas?
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 09:51 PM   #4
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I think you have a defective EeachTek there. I'd bet a week's pay that the battery died as your father was using it. I returned my first one for exchange for the very same concern--unreasonably short battery life. The mic working only in one channel on yours is another red flag.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 08:49 AM   #5
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Is your wireless mic plugged into the DXA-8 using the aux mini-jack or an XLR connector?
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Old April 4th, 2005, 02:44 PM   #6
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The wireless is plugged into the other channel via XLR.

The battery seems to be working just fine. I didnt see the problem my dad described as the sound gradually distorting over a period of time, but I do have problems with it continuously distorting.

Even when just recording someone talking at a normal volume (with the AT3031) the mic will consistently distort as it reaches the -12db mark.

I'll call B&H and see what they think... may just be a defective unit.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 03:09 PM   #7
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Chris, just out of curiousity, how high are the respective BeachTek and GL2 control knobs set when you get -12 dB and distortion?
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Old April 4th, 2005, 04:37 PM   #8
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I keep the GL2's audio levels at about 60% with MIC ATT on, and the Beachtek distorts the AT3031 even when it's set very low... around 30% or so and up, with the limiters turned on.

If you want, I can capture the video from the orchestra performance on saturday and post it online to give you an idea of what sound distortion I'm getting. I don't know if that would help or not. It was my dad shooting that video, not me... so I had the GL2's levels set to automatic to make it easier for him and told him to turn the Beachtek up until the red limiter light flashed regulary, but wasnt on continuously.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 07:29 PM   #9
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Chris, It's not clear whether you've tested the BeachTek with the wireless by itself and the 3031 by itself. It still appears to me that the mic, the mic cable and the BeachTek are all suspect. Sorry you're having such trouble.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 07:35 PM   #10
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The wireless works just fine when used by itself via the beachtek.

The AT3031 has the same distortion problems when used by itself.

When I have both mics plugged into the beachtek simultaneously, The wireless mic works just fine until you turn on the phantom power for the AT3031... doing this kills the wireless mic's signal, and I still get bad sound from the AT3031.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 09:23 PM   #11
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1. I assume that the wireless works fine in either channel, that the 3031 alone doesn't work properly in either channel, and that the combination of the two behaves the same way if you switch channels?
2. I assume that the wireless continues to be fine if phantom power is turned on in the other channel when nothing is attached?

If so, I suggest that you rule out a short in the mic cable by attachiing it without the mic simultaneously with the wireless and see if turning on phantom power still affects the wireless. I don't suppose the wireless's cable is XLR at both ends? It would be nice to be able to try it with the AT

If the cable checks out okay then it seems that you or someone else is really going to need to try another mic to see whether it's the BeachTek or the mic.
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Old April 6th, 2005, 08:06 PM   #12
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your assumptions are correct.

and you're right, the wireless cable isnt xlr on both ends, its an 1/8" to XLR adapter. I don't own any other XLR cables other than the short 1.5ft cable I purchased with the AT3031, but tomorrow I'll borrow one from one of my teachers and give it a shot.
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