Z1U - AT897 Mic Trouble at DVinfo.net

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Old June 3rd, 2006, 11:45 AM   #1
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Z1U - AT897 Mic Trouble

Hi, I am a college student who has recently took an interest on videography. I am experienced with video editing/post production, but am definitely a newbie when it comes to actual shooting. I bought the Z1U a couple of weeks ago, it's not bad for my first camera! I love the Z1U but I decided last week that I would buy a shotgun mic so that noise behind the camera wouldn't be picked up. I searched the forums and found that a lot of people here suggested the AT897 as a good mic for the Z1U. I ordered it and it arrived yesterday, here are my concerns:

1. After hooking everything up, I immediately plugged in a pair of headphones to test the sound pickup. However, the only thing I hear through my headphones is buzzing/hissing/electronic noise. Yes, I can hear some other noise through the headphones, for example, I'll tap the mic with my finger and I can hear that. When I record, the sound comes through clear, there is no buzzing/hissing like what I hear through the headphones. Maybe there's some kind of setting I am overlooking? As mentioned above, I am new to cameras so it is definitely a possibility.

2. The actual sound that is recorded to tape is very low. It is very clear but also very low. I have to max the volume on my television when previewing my footage. For what I paid for this mic, I expected the volume to at least be recorded at a somewhat decent level. Is there anyway to set the mic so that it records at a higher volume? I could boost the volume in post but I want to be sure that I am not overlooking anything before I resort to that.

Also, does anyone have any good suggestions on what I should use to hold the mic in place? Thanks.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 12:40 PM   #2
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I have an FX1 ,not the Z1,but you should check a couple of things.
1-Do you have the xlr cable from the 897 plugged into the xlr input on the Z1?
2-Did you check the recording level options in the menu, and make sure you have the level set correctly?
On my FX1 I use a Beachtek box, but you don't need that since the Z1 has xlr audio inputs.
Re read your mnual carefully on the section dealing with external mics.
Bruce S. yarock
P.S.- If you get camera motor noise, you might want to get an isolation adaptor (cradle) which you can slide into the shoe. This will keep the mic seperate from the body of the camera.I forgot the model I have, but I think it's made by AT.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 12:44 PM   #3
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I believe the AT897 requires phantom power, which the Z1 can supply.

Did you turn on phantom on that channel? Note that you do need a correctly wired XLR cable for this to work (pin 1 goes to pin 1, and etc.)
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 02:13 PM   #4
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Seth,
The 897 works on either phantom or battery(2 aa's).
Bruce S. Yarock
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 09:07 PM   #5
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Are you using AGC on the audio? That has always been a noise maker but it sounds to me like perhaps you have the audio input set to LINE instead of mic. I thought the Z1 had a switch similar to the 150/170 to switch from LINE toMIC to MIC ATT. I might be wrong though. Check it out.

Don
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Old June 4th, 2006, 12:16 AM   #6
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Okay, I've read everything about external mics in the manual and was relieved to find out that I could change the recording volume by adjusting the two audio level dials on the back of the camera. I set both channels to 10 and now the audio is recorded loud and clear.

Now, about the buzzing sound I hear through the headphones. I was playing around with my settings and enabled the internal mic to see if I would get the same buzzing noise I get from the AT897. Sure enough, I got the same noise when previewing the internal mic. This told me that the problem was not with the mics but with the camera or headphones. So then I played around with the headphones as they were plugged into the jack. I unplugged my headphones about halfway and the buzzing noise disappeared! I tried it with two different pair of headphones, same results. So it seems that I can preview my sound clearly through headphones but they can only be plugged in halfway. Both of the headphones I used are cheap, I didn't pay more than $10 for either one. Could the problem be that I am trying to use cheap headphones or should any pair of headphones work? I wouldn't mind returning the camera if this is a small defect but I should probably try a better pair of headphones first...
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Old June 4th, 2006, 12:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom
I thought the Z1 had a switch similar to the 150/170 to switch from LINE toMIC to MIC ATT.

I cant find hte Mic Att setting on the Z1, it seems to only have line and mic, maybe i just haven't looked enough, but i do miss it, its a wonderful setting when levels are high.


edit: after another quick check i still can't find it in the menu.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Savoie
Could the problem be that I am trying to use cheap headphones or should any pair of headphones work? I wouldn't mind returning the camera if this is a small defect but I should probably try a better pair of headphones first...
Yes, your $10 headphones will definately be one of the problems. Try some decent ones before you consider it a problem with the camera.


joe
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Old June 4th, 2006, 02:01 AM   #8
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BTW, I cut a piece of my mousepad off and used it to hold the AT897 in place, works great.
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Old June 4th, 2006, 09:05 AM   #9
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Yep, Cheap headphones are better to monitor with than NO headphones, just not sure how much better. Instead of only plugging them in half way get a good set-doesn't have to be the BEST just a decent set right now until you CAN afford a good set and you hear a hugh difference.

As for MIC ATT like I said I'm not familiar with all the controls of the Z1 since I don't use one I just thought it might be there. Oh well, get a nice 10 or 20 db attenuator for the shotgun mic and there you go. ;-)

Don
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Old June 4th, 2006, 09:43 AM   #10
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The Z1 has no simple MIC/MIC_ATT/LINE switch setting like the PD-170, rather it has a XLR INPUT TRIM controls (separate for each channel - deep in the menus) which goes from -18dB, though 0dB, and on up to +12dB.
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Old June 4th, 2006, 06:02 PM   #11
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In the Z1 Audio menu, XLR set, there are the options for Input1 Level and Input2 Level, for which the settings are either Mic or Line.

The "Mic" setting is the one needed for the AT897 (and most microphones). I also set the Input Trim to +6db. When I was setting it to +12db I found lots of hiss. I turn on the Phantom Power switch & don't use batteries in the AT897.
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