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Old January 15th, 2006, 03:10 PM   #1
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at897 problem

Hi there
I recently purchased a second hand at897 . I have been very disappointed with the performance of it and feel there may be a problem with it. The onboard mic gives a much better sound with higher levels - the at897 is just poorer- surely this is not meant to be? I have tried it both through an ma100 and with a mini jack plug with that same results - The settings are correct on the camera ,i.e the audio switch set to audio 1 and the menu set to mic- does anyone please have any suggestions as to what I could try - has anyone else had the same problem - i remember reading a thread but cannot find it? Any help would be much appreciated , thanks

Barry
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Old January 15th, 2006, 03:23 PM   #2
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The typical things to check for are a fresh battery, inserted correctly and with cleaned battery terminals and contacts.
Substitute a known good XLR cable. Clean and check the camera's and the MA-100's RCA connectors for tightness. Check the MA-100's power plug too.
Also keep in mind that the AT897 is a medium sensitivity mic. When used at a distance for medium to softer sounds it will not have as much output as the onboard XL-1 mic has. It's also mono, so unless you're using an RCA splitter or a properly wired XLR female to stereo mini-plug adapter, you'll get audio on just one track. Mis-wired XLR to mini adapters are also often a culprit for poor sound.
Check the mic with a mixer as well. It is possible something is wrong with the mic and that's why it was available second-hand.
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Old January 15th, 2006, 03:45 PM   #3
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check

Hi Jay,
I have checked as you mentioned the battery and all - I am getting levels alright but not as good as the on board mic - for example i ran a few tests from up close to about 10 feet away and the onboard mic out performed the at897 everytime - the low levels indicate that the mic is not broken outright which is confusing me . could there be any other reason- I got the mic from the US and I am based in Europe, would this be a cause for concern?
thanks
BArry
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Old January 15th, 2006, 04:23 PM   #4
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hi there,
i have just imported footage in fcp and the levels of the onboard mic are better than that of the shotgun - not much but is this normal. I recorded my girlfriend talking about 5 feet away and then ten feet away with the same results - this is the first time I have used a mic other than the on board one so I am not sure but it was not cheap and I would have expected more from it- thanks
barry
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Old January 15th, 2006, 04:28 PM   #5
 
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I'd be taking the mic to a store and comparing it to a new 897. While the 897 isn't the hottest mic in the world, it's also a great tool that thousands of folks use, so it may well be you've got a defective/damaged mic.
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Old January 15th, 2006, 09:28 PM   #6
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Hi Barry...

The 897 I have was used with the XL1s a lot and its performance was OK.

The on-board mic will record a lot hotter sometimes but that depends on how the camera is set up. I didn't use the on-board mic very often -- rarely, in fact -- and can't make a useful comparison.

Is the audio control set to manual or auto level? The 897, as well as other shotgun mics, are more sensitive to wind noise and low-frequency noise peaks can force an ALC to drop levels. I noticed that it wasn't hard to overload the 897 in windy conditions, even with a furry LightWave windscreen.
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Old January 15th, 2006, 09:47 PM   #7
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try using phantom power and see if you like it that way. I would try to clean it the best you can. See how far you can get without doing anything that would void a warranty, even if it is not covered.

Phantom should give slightly better characteristics across the board, it always does. These mic pick-ups can be damaged if treated with major abuse. It does not have to be cosmetic, it could be damaged by too much sonic pressure on the pick-up.

If you are using a windscreen, keep in mind these can knock a level down considerably, some windscreens can act like a 5 to 10 db pad. Take it off to test it.

Here are the vitals related to phantom vs battery specific to the at897.

OPEN CIRCUIT SENSITIVITY Phantom: -40 dB (10.0 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa
Battery: -41 dB (8.9 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IMPEDANCE Phantom: 200 ohms
Battery: 300 ohms

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MAXIMUM INPUT SOUND LEVEL Phantom: 129 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% T.H.D.
Battery: 115 dB SPL, 1 kHz at 1% T.H.D.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DYNAMIC RANGE (typical) Phantom: 112 dB, 1 kHz at Max SPL
Battery: 98 dB, 1 kHz at Max SPL
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Old January 17th, 2006, 07:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Hunt
- I got the mic from the US and I am based in Europe, would this be a cause for concern?
thanks
BArry

No.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old January 17th, 2006, 06:08 PM   #9
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thanks

thanks for the replies- dvd was excellent dean-
bye
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Old January 17th, 2006, 07:11 PM   #10
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Barry

Reading all the above, i personally feel that it is likely just your reaction to what to you was a surprisingly low output level on the AT897. I think this is the root cause of your discontent. I *may* be wrong and there is some mechanical or electrical fault with your unit, but i do get the impression with quite a few purchasers of their 1st external mic that they tend to judge the new mic on how 'loud' it sounds compared to the internal mic.
Better sound quality relative to the internal mic, is not the same thing (necessarily) as a higher output level.

just my opinion.
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