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Old April 18th, 2010, 06:10 AM   #1
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Rode SVM clipping.......

Hi to all, this is my last ditch effort before I retire this mic for family occasions only.
My Rode SVM cant handle live music, even when the cams attenuation is right down, the mic is set to -10 and low end cut off is switched, the audio file when put on the PC is distorted. The wave form is tiny and lower than all the other cams respective files, but its still clipped.

The mic has been returned to Rode once, they stated there was nothing wrong with it.
Is there away around this? any ideas most welcome.
cheers guys.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 06:48 AM   #2
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Hi Gerald if your SVM is current it has 3 dipswitches inside the battery compartment .. set to -20 for a loud sound source but don't forget to reset to -10 for regular use. Also insert the -10dB pad on the back panel.

Check your email.

Cheers.
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Old April 18th, 2010, 09:48 AM   #3
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Which camera are you using?
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Old April 19th, 2010, 02:28 AM   #4
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thanks for that Allen, rode and I are exchanging emails now.
Jay, Ive used it with a few cams including HV20, hf10, sony sr8 , even plugged in to my GYHM100, all with the same result :(
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Old April 19th, 2010, 06:28 AM   #5
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It could be the music is just simply so loud it's overloading the mic or if it's headbanger rock, the distortion might be in the music itself, overdriving the guitar cabs etc. Garbage in; garbage out.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 11:00 AM   #6
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I'm wondering if your mic is bad regardless of wht Rode said. I do mostly louder rock concerts and loud alt/folk. For loud music i have all three switches on and even recording near the front amps I get great audio.
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Last edited by Harry Simpson; May 15th, 2010 at 12:36 PM.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 04:13 PM   #7
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well according to Rode, there is nothing wrong with it.
Since the beginning of this thread Ive been corresponding with them via email, they were great to deal with.
After a few emails back and forth, their service manager offered to do a free check to see if there was anything wrong with the mic. So I posted it back and waited.
I got it back the other day with a letter that said they tested it and it responded exactly the same as other SVM's they had in stock. So there is nothing wrong with it.
So, it is great of them to give me the letter saying it is in good health, which I really appreciate, because now I can put it on Ebay with a clear conscience, and move on and buy another mic.
However, I am a bit suspect of how they test, I just cant see how I can attenuate down my HV20 or my HF10 down and use them in the mosh (and right in front of the speaker bins ) and get a clean audio track ( not that I use this, its only for syncing) and the SVM at the back of the room on a fixed cam is still clipped terribly !! ( and the low cut and low end roll off is engaged, and the cam is attenuated down so there is barely a wave file when put on the timeline )

Rode make great mics, I love my NT4, and they have been very easy to talk to and deal with, but I could not recommend a SVM for anyone who needs it for loud environments.
Family moments and school plays, its fine.

But then again there are so many other people who have no probs, maybe I just got the SVM runt of the litter, twice ( I learnt recently that they replaced it the first time I sent it back for warranty).
Im over it.
cheers guys.
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Old May 16th, 2010, 06:13 PM   #8
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It would be very interesting to take an inexpensive sound pressure meter to the next concert you're shooting and see just what the levels actually are in the room. If the levels are so high that the mic is clipping even on the camera in the back of the room, such as you state, I'd be very very concerned about the safety of working for extended periods in such an environment without serious ear protection. Rode rates the SVM at a maximum of 134dB SPL and if you're being exposed to that level of sound for any length of time you're going to suffer rapid and permanent hearing loss. In fact NIOSH cautions that exposure to SPLs exceeding 115dB for any time at all, no matter how brief, constitutes a "serious health risk." When you say the mic is clipping even with low recording levels on the waveform, just exactly what are you seeing? When you zoom in to magnify the waveform in your editor are you actually seeing all the peaks flattened off as if you had run a plane over the top and bottom of the waveform or are you hearing audible distortion that you identify as sounding like clipping? If you're thinking it's clipping by the way it sounds, could it be the musicians are playing so loud that their guitar cabs and PA are overloading and distorting but you're not identifying it as unusual in the excitment of the live environment?
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Old May 17th, 2010, 08:00 AM   #9
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Last concert I took a pretty good and calibrated SPL meter to it read a pretty solid 120dBA. Just for the record that was many decades ago and my hearing test only a few years ago showed I was still good to over 16KHz. Most of the people I work with can't hear anything at the top end but they've worked most of theirs lives in broadcast around the older VCRs with the sound of compressed air, vacuum pumps and tone. The period of exposure is far more important that the SPL, where the energy is in the spectrum is also important.

I'd be more inclined to suspect the front end of the camera's audio section is overloading than the mic itself. We've tried quite a few mics on various consummer cameras and found the preamps are set to a fairly high gain so a lot of mics are too sensitive to work well with the cameras. Maybe Rode need to add the option of more than 20dB attenuatation to cope with live music. Perhaps an inline 20dB attenutator as well as the one in the mic would cure the problem.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 02:44 PM   #10
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A few years back when the SVM first was introduced, I shot a bit of live music outdoors. You can hear it in the video below at about 3:31. The mic handled very well. Keep in mind that this was with the Canon GL2, which has manual audio controls. I'm sure the SPL's outdoors were also much lower. If your recording environment is over the SVM's limit, you may have to go with a different mic - or tap the board. I'm wondering if an additional -10dB pad would help in the meantime. Check the camera's owner's manual to see what signal level it is expecting to receive and compare it with what the SVM is outputting.

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