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Old July 11th, 2011, 02:21 PM   #46
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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I find it quite amusing people always talk about mp3s being horrible and wavs being excellent, when the truth seems to be that low bitrate mp3s can indeed sound quite rough, but high bitrate recordings with quality atrac codecs can be very good, and make a very good stand against some wav recordings.
Well I did mean against high quality 24bit 48K audio which is uncompressed. At 384kbit/s, MPEG-1 Layer 2, HDV audio is compressed but I agree can sound pretty good and some class it as perceptually lossless.
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Old July 11th, 2011, 05:32 PM   #47
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

The problem with even high-bitrate mp3 is that it is a lossy compression. That means each time a file is opened for editing or mixing it is decompressed and then recompressed when it is saved, if saved back to mp3. Each time it goes through the opening/decompression/editing/recompression/saving cycle, more and more of the information in the file is being discarded. Eventually that loss of information will come back to haunt you as a noticable degradation in sound. That's why mp3 is fine as a distribution format but not as an aquisition format. The consumer HDV cameras get away with mpeg because the manufacturers assume, mostly rightfully so, that the video shot with them of family parties and vacations etc will be viewed 'as is' with no editing beyond perhaps elementary trimming of shot length or cuts-only scene assembly, certainly no audio editing, sweetening, or mixing..
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Old July 11th, 2011, 07:04 PM   #48
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

Sony ECM-MS957 $200

plus

Remote Audio 5-Pin Stereo XLR Female to Dual XLR Male CAXSTE B&H
$45
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Old July 12th, 2011, 02:38 AM   #49
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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The problem with even high-bitrate mp3 is that it is a lossy compression. That means each time a file is opened for editing or mixing it is decompressed and then recompressed when it is saved, if saved back to mp3.
Then presumably converting to PCM audio at the start will prevent this.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 04:38 AM   #50
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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Then presumably converting to PCM audio at the start will prevent this.
Not quite, it will help but not eliminiate the issue ... you still lose one generation's worth of bits since they are thrown away in the original recording's compression process. Better to record your original in an uncompressed format such as wave or a lossless compressed (if you really feel you need to scrimp on file sizes - storage is cheaper than dirt these days) format such as flac.

BTW the same thing applies to still photos if you shoot as jpeg - editing JPGs in Photoshop or other image editors reduces the file's quality every time you open, edit, and save as jpg.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 06:45 AM   #51
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

Thanks Steve, I understand. The problem is practical rather than an issue with storage space: a) having to sync in post and b) operating alone in remote (on foot only) locations means having to boom the mic in order to record it to my D-50 which could be problematic i.e. in just having to carry a mic stand along with everyhting else. I suppose I could still mount the mic on camera and get close and record it to the D-50 but that still leaves the syncing problem. I suppose it's often a trade-off between practicality and quality.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 08:01 AM   #52
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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Originally Posted by Geoffrey Cox View Post
Thanks Steve, I understand. The problem is practical rather than an issue with storage space: a) having to sync in post and b) operating alone in remote (on foot only) locations means having to boom the mic in order to record it to my D-50 which could be problematic i.e. in just having to carry a mic stand along with everyhting else. I suppose I could still mount the mic on camera and get close and record it to the D-50 but that still leaves the syncing problem. I suppose it's often a trade-off between practicality and quality.
It may be moot anyway, if you're shooting with the mic on the camera. Even a top-shelf shotgun needs to be within about 18 to 24 inches from the subject's mouth and aimed within a relatively small circle, 8 inches in diameter or so centred on the subject's larynx, to pickup sound at its best. It's a rare shot where that would be a good position for the camera. Conversely, shooting from where the image looks its best is usually a very wrong place for the mic, so your sound is compromised before you ever even get to issues around how it's being recorded.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 08:41 AM   #53
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

I have in the past used mikes on the camera, but only for tight shots or ambient shots, but generally not for important dialogue other than an establishing shot. etc.

Just an open question, how important are mikes such as the Rode Videomike, Nikon E11 and other units that are designed to be used on camera? I would like to know how other users are using these, or perhaps more to the point are they worth the money, given their limited use.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 09:08 AM   #54
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

While on-camera mics do have limited performance because of their placement, it's a necessary evil to record the best audio possible to the camera no matter what else you're recording with.

So it does eventually pay dividends to have a good on-camera mic.

Whether it's run-and-gun, an unexpected moment, as a backup to a failed off-camera recording, as a good signal for syncing either manually or with software, or to simply not drive you crazy when logging footage because you can hear clearly.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 02:42 PM   #55
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

I have found, as others have said elsewhere, that a wide angle lens really does help as you can get the camera pretty close without it looking like that on the image, close enough for the camera mounted mic to pick up a good signal. But I haven't tried this with a shotgun mic though where the positioning is more critical. I think the Videomic Pro looks like a good option for me perhaps given all the limitations of the working environment.

But I will try a dual method on the next interview shoot (which is with a friend so less critical when I'm trying to get everything sorted) also recording separately to a D-50 using a shotgun then compare the two and see if it's really worth it. I think, with the wide angle, I'll be able to position the shotgun below just out of shot but we'll see.
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Old July 12th, 2011, 05:14 PM   #56
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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Originally Posted by Geoffrey Cox View Post
I have found, as others have said elsewhere, that a wide angle lens really does help as you can get the camera pretty close without it looking like that on the image, close enough for the camera mounted mic to pick up a good signal. But I haven't tried this with a shotgun mic though where the positioning is more critical. I think the Videomic Pro looks like a good option for me perhaps given all the limitations of the working environment.

But I will try a dual method on the next interview shoot (which is with a friend so less critical when I'm trying to get everything sorted) also recording separately to a D-50 using a shotgun then compare the two and see if it's really worth it. I think, with the wide angle, I'll be able to position the shotgun below just out of shot but we'll see.
Be careful. Faces shot up close with a wide angle tend to appear very distorted, with an unnatural emphasis on the nose, chin, etc. You often get what used to be call a "Wallace Berry Nose" from the actor who was famous for the size of his schnozz. That's why in still photography fashion and portraiture is often shot with a short telephoto in order to reduce distorting the features and giving a more pleasing overall rendering. An ECU of the face looks better through a telephoto lens from an increased camera-subject distance than it does shot with a wide-angle with a reduced camera-subject distance, even though the face is rendered exactly the same size in both images. Perspective, the relative rendering of the various objects within the frame and their relationship to each other, is governed completely by the film or sensor plane-subject distance, the size of the frame itself is determined by lens focal length. That implies that shooting interview closeups using a wide angle lens is not a strategy that will endear the filmmaker to the subject.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 02:17 PM   #57
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This is really weird. I got the two RCA to XLR adapters, and I short 3.5mm female to 2 RCA male cable to connect the Azden SMX10. The sound is better than the built in mic, with one big problem: it captures the noise from the camera writing onto the card, to the point where it's unusable. I'm not talking raise the volume of the home theater all the way up audible, I'm saying that at normal voice speech level, you can hear it. Not terribly so, but still to the point where it's a nuisance. It's like a high pitched noise that is one second long, every other second. And the weird thing is that this happens whether the microphone is sitting on the shoe, on the holder with the clamp, or even if I move it around as far as the cable will go.

It took me a while to realize where it was coming from, at first I thought it could have been something in that particular room, so I went around the house while recording, and also outside. This noise is noticeable even outdoors, along with the noise of all the critters typical of this time of the year. I even put my ear half an inch away from the compartment that holds the two memory cards and I can hear the high pitched noise coming from there.

Even weirder, the built in mic doesn't make this noise at all, even if I record in a silent room, with the levels on manual and the highest they will go.

Then, I put the SMX10 in the other camera I own, the Panasonic AG-HMC40, and this annoying noise is not present at all, even when raising the volume really loud.

So I'm puzzled. Is this a noise present because of the XLR adapters and extra cabling, or is it that the AX2000 has this terrible defect and even if I buy an expensive XLR mic for it it will still capture the noise of the card writing?

Last edited by Sebastian Alvarez; July 15th, 2011 at 02:55 PM.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 02:57 PM   #58
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

If the camera is electrically noisy when writing to the card, an unbalanced cable like you have with the Azden is inviting interference. That's why pros use balanced mics - the balanced wiring is less susceptible to such outside interference. Stacking the adapters adds to the risk, as you were warned.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 03:14 PM   #59
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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If the camera is electrically noisy when writing to the card, an unbalanced cable like you have with the Azden is inviting interference. That's why pros use balanced mics - the balanced wiring is less susceptible to such outside interference. Stacking the adapters adds to the risk, as you were warned.
So what you're saying is that this is not an acoustic problem, such as the microphone capturing too much ambient noise, but an electronic interference, the kind that balanced mics are meant to deal with, right?

Still, it has to be design defect in the AX2000, right? Because the Panasonic HMC40 has a direct 3.5mm input and this noise is completely absent from it. I mean, it this was caused only by using unbalanced audio, then the HMC40 should also have this problem, and it doesn't.
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Old July 15th, 2011, 05:06 PM   #60
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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Originally Posted by Sebastian Alvarez View Post
So what you're saying is that this is not an acoustic problem, such as the microphone capturing too much ambient noise, but an electronic interference, the kind that balanced mics are meant to deal with, right?

Still, it has to be design defect in the AX2000, right? Because the Panasonic HMC40 has a direct 3.5mm input and this noise is completely absent from it. I mean, it this was caused only by using unbalanced audio, then the HMC40 should also have this problem, and it doesn't.
Are you saying you can hear the sound with your naked ear when you put your ear next to the camera? Can you still hear it when you put your ear close when the mic is not connected at all? When you said you hear it when the cable was at it's maximum I interpreted that to mean it was audible in the recording even when the mic was removed from the holder and held out several feet away from the camera body.
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