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Old August 31st, 2011, 12:25 PM   #1
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Options for best on board audio?

I record solo and small group performances in small venues, mostly guitar and vocals. I've been using consumer HD camcorders for the video, with acceptable results. Currently I use a Sony SR-12. For audio, I mount a Microtech Gefell SM 200 on the camera with a Rycote shock mount, and split the signal into left and right XLR, which feed into a Juiced Link CX 231 that is mounted on the bottom of the camera, which feeds into the camcorder 3.5 mm mic input.

The audio is excellent, but I have three problems. First, consumer camcorders are not built to withstand repeated plugging and unplugging of mic cables, and the 3.5 mm jack has broken. Second, the set up works but is kludgy and not well balanced. Third, I never know much battery I have left in the Juiced Link, and as a result don't know when it might run out in the middle of recording.

I am thinking of getting a prosumer camera, like the Canon XF. It was noted on the Canon forum here that the XF100 has PCM audio, while the XA 10 and HF G10 models have compressed audio. I'm looking for suggestions as to what HD tapeless camera will give me the best audio options. (I am not wedded to Canon, will consider any brand). Are there any in the sub 3,000 dollar range that will provide high quality preamps, or will I still end up using an attached preamp like the JuicedLink?

I know that recording from a mic on camera is not optimal, but in the venues I record that is the only option. Thanks for any help!

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Old September 6th, 2011, 08:00 AM   #2
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Re: Options for best on board audio?

The XF100 actually doesn't sound like a bad choice at all, especially considering the price, but I like using preamps regardless of the camcorder's capabilities. I would recommend getting a Sound Devices mixpre(-D), as the audio and build quality are top notch, you'd have to bring out a hammer to break anything with a setup like that.
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Old September 6th, 2011, 09:54 AM   #3
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Re: Options for best on board audio?

The xf audio section is good but if you're recording music, I'd also recommend a preamplifier. I have a Sound Devices MM1 (mono) and it really raises the bar when I plug my studio mics or shotguns into it. If you have to have battery power you can't go wrong with any of their products. Otherwise, consider a studio grade pre. Too many to list but I have owned Langevin and DBX pre's and have used just about all the others during my audio production days with my favs being Avalon, Grace, Summit and Manley. All will interface just fine with an XF100 or audio recorder.
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