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Old September 18th, 2012, 03:56 PM   #16
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Re: New to external mics

Okay, research shows I probably need a preamp for this sort of lav mic. Guess I'll play this out here for posterity :-)
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Old September 18th, 2012, 04:16 PM   #17
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Re: New to external mics

The Olympus mic needs "plug-in power" in order to work. (This is fairly common: most consumer-grade electret mics need this.)

Therefore, the Canon mic input needs to supply "plug-in power" to the microphone. You'll need to read your manual to find out for sure.

The specs listed on the Canon website say there are two XLR input jacks; these definitely will not have "plug-in power."

However, the specs also mention a 3.5mm stereo input jack. If this can be used for the mic input, it may have the "plug-in power" that you need. The specs do not mention it. However, "plug-in power" has been very common on consumer equipment for at least ten years, so it seems likely that the camera provides it.

Of course you need to have the input switched to "mic" mode. The "line" input mode will not have plug-in power, and also will not have enough gain for any mic level signal.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 04:50 PM   #18
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Re: New to external mics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Mirro View Post
...
If I use the AT875 to maximize the primary subject's sound, would something like a stereo lav mic with a wind sock record my voice and ambient sound better than the shotgun?
...(
Why do you want to record your voice and the ambient sounds together? In the field concentrate on the animal sounds and the ambiance. AFTER you have returned home and AFTER you have edited the picture is the time to record your voice commentary (written to fit the images and recorded while viewing the edited picture) and add it to the edited video as a step very close to the end of the entire process.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 05:17 PM   #19
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Re: New to external mics

Greg. The xa10 has +48v phantom power for the 2 xlr inputs. Will this give the needed power if I convert the stereo mic 1/8" to xlr?

Here is a question that will show my ignorance. If a mic has a stereo signal and is fed to one xlr input, will that stereo be preserved or blended to mono? I'm wanting a shotgun mic in one xlr and a stereo in the other.

Guess I'm wondering if these camcorders have a mixing function in them.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 05:56 PM   #20
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Re: New to external mics

No! +48 volt will likely destroy the consumer mic you have, which is designed to operate from a maximum of 10 volts.

+48 volt phantom is entirely different from "plug in power." True phantom is used for professional condenser mics with balanced wiring. You have a consumer mic with unbalanced wiring and "plug in power." You can't burn aviation fuel in your volkswagen, and you can't use phantom power with a consumer mic.

A consumer mic like yours has left channel (unbalanced) on one terminal (tip), right channel (unbalanced) on one terminal (ring), and common ground as well as shield on the third terminal (sleeve).

A professional XLR connector has "hot" signal on one terminal (pin 2) and inverted signal on one terminal (pin 3), thus giving balanced connectivity, and shield on pin 1. Phantom voltage (if it's turned on) appears equally on pin 2 and pin 3.

Of course there are many possible inter-connections between 3.5mm TRS and XLR, so I can't say with 100% certainty what would happen. If sleeve=pin 1, tip=pin 2, and ring=pin 3 (a likely adapter configuration), and if your stereo mic had its own internal power supply (which it does not -- so it won't work at all), then any audio common to both channels (typically your voice if you're equidistant from the two mic elements) would nearly cancel out and become inaudible (or at least very "thin" and wretched sounding). Only the stereo component (sounds that appeared almost exclusively in one channel of the other) would show up in the XLR input; and they would be out-of-phase, at that.

To properly use your present consumer mic with that recorder, at the very least you need a battery box which provides the "plug-in power" to the mic, and passes the audio through to the 3.5mm mic input on the camcorder. Otherwise you need a mixer which provides power and proper connectivity for input and output.

As it stands now, each XLR input on your camcorder is one channel, for a total of two. If you want to record stereo (two) plus a mono narration track, that's a total of three. The only possibility would be if your camera can mix the XLR inputs with the 3.5mm input. Read your manual.

If you really want to do something this complex, you will ultimately need a mixer, and one that has the proper connectivity for whatever mics you're using. If some of them are professional mics needing phantom power, and some are consumer mics needing "plug in power" then good luck to you... that will be a rather strange mixer IMHO.

(Translation: you can't get $5,000.00 production audio with a $300.00 budget.)
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Old September 18th, 2012, 06:14 PM   #21
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Re: New to external mics

Wow this is really helpful. Thanks for jumping in here. You should charge a consulting fee for that level of knowledge... kidding : - )

Can you possibly recommend hardware that might give me the desired effect? Is there a way to get a separate stereo signal to mix with the shotgun signal in a harmonious way? The camera cannot mix xlr and the MIC terminal. The MIC terminal can only mix with the built in mics.

Is each xlr a separate stereo input.

My budget for a stereo lapel mic and anything else needed (excluding the shotgun) is around 200. Was hoping to add this mic to an Audio Technica AT875, each using an xlr input.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 06:28 PM   #22
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Re: New to external mics

Nick, you seem to not grasping the stereo / mono bit.
A Stereo mic is actually 2 microphones in a single setup, it has 2 outputs L & R it needs to be recorded separately onto individual tracks, and if your camera only has 2 audio tracks that's all you can record..

If you mix L+R you will get MONO which is the same as a single mic and can't be descrambled back into stereo....EVER

Lav mics are MONO mics.
Shotgun mics are MONO mics.
Hand mics are MONO mics.

Stereo mics in many of configurations are regarded as specialist mics
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Old September 18th, 2012, 06:44 PM   #23
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Re: New to external mics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Mirro View Post
Is each xlr a separate stereo input.
No. As I said above, each XLR is one channel. Stereo, of course, is two channels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Mirro View Post
Can you possibly recommend hardware that might give me the desired effect? Is there a way to get a separate stereo signal to mix with the shotgun signal in a harmonious way? The camera cannot mix xlr and the MIC terminal. The MIC terminal can only mix with the built in mics.
That really depends on your whole production flow. Most of the people on this forum would probably recommend that you record everything separate: parabolic mic for the distant animals, mono lav for yourself, and perhaps a stereo pair for ambience. That's a total of four channels. Then you would mix those in post-production, to get a pleasing balance.

If you want to do that, then you'd need a way to record two more channels, in addition to the two channels on your camera. Many people would use something like a Tascam, Sony, or other portable stereo recorder (which you could use for the stereo ambience). Then in post, you'd sync up the camera with the separate audio, and finally produce the desired mix of those four channels.

Now, if you had a good audio person working with you, and a portable audio mixer, you could perhaps -- with luck -- achieve a good two-channel mix on the fly, and record that on the two channels of your camera. But working alone, you will never get a good mix of all those different elements, while running the camera and worrying about the image. And once those elements are mixed down to two tracks on the camera, there is no way you will separate them and clean up the mix in post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Mirro View Post
My budget for a stereo lapel mic and anything else needed (excluding the shotgun) is around 200. Was hoping to add this mic to an Audio Technica AT875, each using an xlr input.
First of all, there is no good reason to use a stereo lapel mic. You have one voice, that should get recorded through one (mono) microphone element onto one channel. A stereo lapel mic won't be pointing toward your mouth, it will be pointing somewhere off to the sides. It will use two channels to get a bad recording of your voice. A mono lapel mic will use one channel to get a good recording.

Next, you seem determined to get a shotgun, although that's really not the right tool for quiet animal noises at 50' distance. Then you need a pair of mics if you want stereo ambience. That's a total of four mics.

And finally, if you want to record and mix it live, which is a really bad idea, you need to buy a mixer.

Fuggedaboddit!!!!!!!!!!!! You are many times over your budget.

You are using an $1100.00 camera, you can expect your audio gear to cost at least that much, given the complexity of the track that you want to capture. (Or do you want cheesy "Radio Shack" quality audio to accompany your beautiful HD image?)

The simple way out: buy a portable stereo recorder (Tascam DR-05 or similar) and use its stereo mics to capture ambience. That whole works will set you back about $100.00.

Get some modest mono lav mic for your narration. Spend whatever's left on a good rig for your "distant animal grunts" recording. (IMHO a parabolic will be much more selective than any other kind of mic.) Record those two mics on the camera, and mix that with the ambience in post. That's your best shot at getting it done within your budget.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 07:14 PM   #24
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Re: New to external mics

Ok I've absorbed most of this now.

I paid 1999. Expecting this camcorder to come down. Hope it isn't that low already :-(

Now understand that the camera cannot possibly mix stereo input and shotgun mono. Suppose that the 2nd xlr is only useful for an additional mic.

I guess the stereo recorder is the best option.

Since there will be redundant ambient sound in the lav, the recorder and whatever I use to record "grunts," will there be some cancellation or other negative effect?
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Old September 18th, 2012, 07:37 PM   #25
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Re: New to external mics

"Nick, you seem to not grasping the stereo / mono bit."

Well it was the xlr inputs that were not understood. Now I do. Thanks very much for clarifying.

Why is the field mixer a bad idea? That would eliminate all of the sound remixing.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 07:53 PM   #26
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Re: New to external mics

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Originally Posted by Nick Mirro View Post
Why is the field mixer a bad idea? That would eliminate all of the sound remixing.
Read it again...

Quote:
if you want to record and mix it live, which is a really bad idea, you need to buy a mixer.
A professional with years of experience would find it challenging to "mix it live". No offense, but you don't have a prayer of doing it even to your own satisfaction.

Remember that almost NONE of the sound you hear in nature videos was recorded on the camera or in sync with shooting the video. The right (or safe) place for a camera is ALMOST NEVER the right place for a microphone to pick up nature sounds. The sounds are typically either collected separately (optimized for sound recording, not for shooting video) or a surprisingly large percentage of what you hear in nature videos was created artificially by Foley artists during post-production (perhaps thousands of miles from the original action.)
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Old September 18th, 2012, 09:29 PM   #27
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Re: New to external mics

I did read it again and thought about it. In spite of my "gaff" regarding xlr (another good pun :-), my chin remains high. Personally I enjoy complex problems and am relishing working this out. Struggling to balance audio levels while sitting on a log is my idea of fun!

So based on everything (and unwarranted optimism), this appeals

http://static.bhphoto.com/images/largeimages/294571.jpg

and this

http://static.bhphoto.com/images/largeimages/495302.jpg

Regarding this,

Quote:
To properly use your present consumer mic with that recorder, at the very least you need a battery box which provides the "plug-in power" to the mic, and passes the audio through to the 3.5mm mic input on the camcorder. Otherwise you need a mixer which provides power and proper connectivity for input and output.
Does this mean that the plug-in powered Olympus mic would work (with this mixer) if I use a Y (3.5 mm to 2 channels of XLR male) converter?

That ends up with $310 including tax and shipping. I am flat on my face if the Olympus is still not going to work. It would have combined my voice and ambient sources nicely, reducing the input to 3 channels and simplifying things.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 09:58 PM   #28
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Re: New to external mics

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Originally Posted by Nick Mirro View Post
Struggling to balance audio levels while sitting on a log is my idea of fun!
As long as your definition of "fun" doesn't include any sort of decent audio mix.

Quote:
Does this mean that the plug-in powered Olympus mic would work (with this mixer) if I use a Y (3.5 mm to 2 channels of XLR male) converter?
If you have to ask that question, then you don't know as much about XLR connections as you think. (Hint: the answer is no way unless you want to fry the microphone)
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Old September 18th, 2012, 10:09 PM   #29
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Re: New to external mics

Okay, I mis-read Greg's post then. Forgetting the Olympus... a stereo lapel mic of some sort would solve a lot here.

Mainly, it would allow me to narrate at a reasonably balanced level (in spite of moving around) and would pick up ambient sound, combining both into 2 channels. From experience, a wearable stereo mic of this size and quality, along with one of these types of covers

http://tinyurl.com/9sojctc

is adequate for what I do. Can your recommend a "type" of wearable mic that would be compatible with the mixer?

Still have $90 in the budget.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 10:27 PM   #30
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Re: New to external mics

There are no "stereo" lapel mics. Reason: the concept is ridiculous. Only politicians (who talk out of both sides of their mouth) need stereo microphones for speech.

Trying to record speech AND ambient sounds concurrently with the same microphone is just insane. Nobody who knows what they are doing would even dream of trying that. You have no control over the balance or "mix" between the speech and the ambient sounds.
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