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Old August 15th, 2005, 12:24 PM   #1
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Audio Technica (AT897) Shotgun Mic....

Oh man, I feel terrible. I saved up enough money to finally get an upgrade for the shotgun mic that comes with the Canon xl-1s. After taking my time and deciding what to get, I finally settled with the $279 audio technica, bought from BH Video. As excited as I was to get it, i never even opened it inside the 7 day return period (i had a bathroom remodel going on). I never even thought for a minute that it wouldn't work properly with my camera. Well, I finally started using it, hooked up to my beachtek adapter, and the sound from this mic is very low and muffled. I hooked up my sennheiser wireless and the the sound is perfect and clear, so i know the problem is not the beachtek. I did a test where i was switching the audio 1 controls from mic to audio 1 with both the shotgun mics plugged in. I played back this footage and Canon's shotgun mic was noticeably louder and much more crisp than my brand new AT shotgun mic! And I know that Canon does not specialize in sound, so I am very frustrated now! I even sent this mic to Audio Technica to make sure it wasn't just a bad mic, and the report came back that the mic was up to specs. And it still sucked on my camera. I called B&H and they wouldn't even think of letting me return it as i am a month and a half away from my purchase. They offered me $150 with me selling it as used equipment. Does anyone have any possible solutions for me concerning this mic and it's use on the Canon xl-1s?
thank you so much in advance,

Andrew Landies
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Old August 15th, 2005, 12:51 PM   #2
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First of all, what model Beachtek adapter are you using? Second. check the level of the mic versus the input sensitivity of the camera. The spec sheets say the mic outputs -40dB while the mic input for the XL1 is -55dB. You might be overloading the camera inputs. Try turning on the 20dB attentuator in the camera audio input.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 01:03 PM   #3
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The beachtek adapter I am using is the BED XA4C

thanks,
andy
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Old August 15th, 2005, 01:18 PM   #4
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Check levels all the way down the line. Beachtek set for mic level input, camera set for mic level input. Turn the in-camera att on if mic is too hot or reduce the level at the Beach.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 02:09 PM   #5
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Andy, are you sure of that model number? It's certainly not a current model, and I get zero hits on it at google.

Plus, what you are doing is very unclear. But it sounds like something is wrong. The AT897 is an outstanding mic, although not a very hot one. True, you may have to run it at higher gain levels than some others, but when you do the sound is better than most at anywhere near its price.

1. How many XLR inputs does the Beachtek have?
2. Does it have a mic/line level switch for each?
3. Does the Beach plug into the 1/8" mini jack on the cam or the RCA jacks? (The mini jack is not controlled by the external mic/audio 1 switch, its control is in the menu)
4. Exactly how were the AT897 and the Senn wireless each connected when you made that comparison?
5. Exactly how was everything connected when you made the 897 vs. Canon shotgun comparison?

If all else fails, you can certainly do a lot better than $150 on eBay. I paid $139 for a Canon DM-50 shotgun almost a year ago and sold it on eBay for $115 a few weeks ago.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 03:55 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. I will try to answer these questions as best as possible. I am a newcomer to prof. video, so ive been wrestling with your comments a bit. Here is a link to the beach tek I have Fred:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

so my initial post was wrong. it's a beach tek DXA-4.

Fred when you say the AT897 is a great mic, but not hot, what do you mean? Does "hot" refer to how loud it can receive sound?

1. The beachtek has 2 xlr inputs

2. The beachtek DOES have a mic/line switch for each xlr input. i have them both on mic when im testing microphones.

3. the beachtek plugs into the RCA jacks. You can choose to plug it into the audio rca jacks or the audio 2 rca jacks.

4. I plugged the sennheiser wireless into the far left xlr input on the beachtek, set the switch to mic, set the front switch on the beachtek to mono, plugged the beachtek into the audio 1 rca jack inputs on the camera. went into the menu of the camera and chose audio 1...mic. then i tested the mic on manual and auto volumes and had headphones on to listen to how well the sound was coming through. the sound was excellent. after that, i disconnected the sennheiser and plugged the AT897 into the same port the sennheiser was plugged into, set it up exactly as I had the sennheiser and then tested on manual and auto volumes. on manual low volumes you could barely hear anything from this mic in the headphones, in auto, you could barely hear anything from this mic. in manual operation with the volume turned all the way up, you could hear the mic, but it was low and muffled, especially compared to the sennheiser.

5. i set up the at 897 exactly the same as i did in 4, and with canon's mic plugged into it's normal spot, i went to the audio 1 controls on the side of the camera and switched the switch between "mic" and "audio 1". And with the headphones on, i could listen to the 2 different mics compared to eachother, throughout all variations of volume change......manual, auto, high, low, etc. The stock Canon mic was unquestionably louder and clearer than the AT 897.


Steve, i have not yet tried running the AT897 with the settings being to Mic Lin ATT in the menu setup. I will try that, thanks.

"The spec sheets say the mic outputs -40dB while the mic input for the XL1 is -55dB. You might be overloading the camera inputs. Try turning on the 20dB attentuator in the camera audio input."

wouldn't that mean that the camera can handle more dB than the mic has to output?????

thanks so much for your help to all!
Andy
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Old August 15th, 2005, 03:58 PM   #7
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and to add one more thing.....in all my tests, i not only tested through headphones at the time of recording, but also tested the mics by playing back on tv (as to make sure there was nothing wrong with my headphones)!
andy
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Old August 15th, 2005, 04:07 PM   #8
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I'm trying to remember... the Xl1s does NOT have phantom power, no? Is there a battery in your AT 897? Is it oriented properly? Check the bass rolloff switch too.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 04:10 PM   #9
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Uh...is the AT897 expecting phantom power? The DXA-4 doesn't have phantom power does it? So did you have the battery inline in the mic since you weren't providing phantom power and have you tried a new battery to see if the one that came with the mic was dead?

Sorry if you've already tried this.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 04:14 PM   #10
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the mic does not run on phantom power. i did try putting a different battery in the mic, no luck. I believe the battery was oriented properly ( i followed the instructions in putting the battery in). how do i check the bass rolloff switch? and what should I be checking for?

thanks so much guys!
andy
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Old August 15th, 2005, 04:37 PM   #11
 
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The AT897 does run on phantom, it might be that you're not providing it. The DX-4 doesn't offer phantom, so you'll need to have a fresh battery, put in correctly. As far as orientation, that won't affect the mic to the point of very low volume, you just want the ports to be facing sideways.
On the bass rolloff switch, you'll see a flat line, and a slightly "bent" line. If you have rolloff enabled, the switch will be on the side of the slightly bent line, and if rolloff is disabled, the switch will be to the flat line. I believe the flat line is towards the back of the mic, and the "bent" line is towards the front. I'm too lazy to walk up 2 floors and look in the shop to know for sure. Maybe someone has an 897 next to their desk to confirm or dispute this.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 05:07 PM   #12
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Damn DSE, I had to walk all the way into the den to pick it up. Yeah, the "Rolloff" or curved line is towards the front.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 05:13 PM   #13
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should it be in the bent line or staight line position?
thanks,
andy
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Old August 15th, 2005, 05:31 PM   #14
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Andy,
With the switch in the 'rolloff' position, it will decrease the 'bass rumble' you get from airplanes, wind noise and such. But it's not going to make the mic go all silent on you.

I'm thinking it's a bad battery first. Then your connection at the Beachtek second. I use the mic with an xl2 and it's fine, I like it a lot. If AT says it's working... then the problem is between the mic and the line in.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 06:18 PM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
Damn DSE, I had to walk all the way into the den to pick it up. Yeah, the "Rolloff" or curved line is towards the front.
Better you walking to the den than me up 2 flights and down half a one. I'm getting old. :-)

Thanks for confirming what I thought was real.

Andy, where the switch goes is determined by where you're recording. You might want to leave it to the roll off position for most things, just for clarity of sound. As Richard mentions, the position of that switch won't change anything in terms of volume, just response. (which is a volume of sorts, if you want to get really technical)
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