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Old June 24th, 2006, 03:43 PM   #1
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Really Basic audio question......

hey everyone,

I am still quite a novice when it comes to audio work. I find that the mic that comes with my XL1s is too poor in quality, and want to upgrade to something more professional. I've already decided to upgrade to a Rode NTG-2 (decided over ATG-897). The XLR plug-in I currently have is the MA-100. Looking around on the site, I've made myself confused about the pros/cons of the MA-100.

If I use ONE NTG-2, and plug it into the left XLR input, the sound will only pickup on the left side. How can I get it to balance (center) between left and right? (Would the use of a y-cable balance the left/right??)

If I used a beachtek XLR adapter, what problems could I encounter? Although I would rather save the money and just use the MA-100, would a beachtek give better quality/balanced sound from left/right inputs?

Could someone please explain the difference between balance/unbalanced XLR inputs? Is the MA-100/XL1s input balanced?

I suppose I am basically after all the information I will need to properly use an NTG-2 on my XL1s. I woudl prefer a balanced left/right sound, (cannot get a second NTG-2 for a while........), and so need to know how to balance the final sound. Thank you very much for the help,

Clint Grant
P.S. would rather not resort to balancing the sound in post, if possible..........
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Old June 24th, 2006, 04:00 PM   #2
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Hi Clint, I can't respond to the mic questions, but I can tell you about my Beach experience.

I expected the beach would give me two distinctly different audio channels, but they don't. I've had three Beachs. Left Bleeds into right and vice versa. Hey in a way, it's kind of balancing, but that's not what I expected, nor what I want. Maybe some of the other XLR adapters are better.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 04:29 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clint Grant
...
If I use ONE NTG-2, and plug it into the left XLR input, the sound will only pickup on the left side. How can I get it to balance (center) between left and right? (Would the use of a y-cable balance the left/right??)

If I used a beachtek XLR adapter, what problems could I encounter? Although I would rather save the money and just use the MA-100, would a beachtek give better quality/balanced sound from left/right inputs?

Could someone please explain the difference between balance/unbalanced XLR inputs? Is the MA-100/XL1s input balanced?

I suppose I am basically after all the information I will need to properly use an NTG-2 on my XL1s. I woudl prefer a balanced left/right sound, (cannot get a second NTG-2 for a while........), and so need to know how to balance the final sound. Thank you very much for the help,

Clint Grant
P.S. would rather not resort to balancing the sound in post, if possible..........
Why not centre it between left and right in post? That's the preferred way to do it. Where people feed one mic to both audio tracks in the camera they are usually recording the two tracks at considerably different levels so they have an insurance track against accidental overload or too soft a recording on the primnary. Dialog is recorded mono and during editing the single mono track is "panned" equally to both the left and right stereo channels.

AFAIK, there's no such thing as unbalanced XLR inputs as such. A balanced XLR input can get unbalanced when cable adapters etc are used but that's another story. An unbalanced line has two conductors - one is the signal, the other is the ground. Your stereo receiver's RCA input connectors are classic examples with a centre pin and an outer shield conductor. OTOH, a balanced line has three conductors - signal plus ("hot"), signal minus ("cold"), and ground. The way the three are wired means that noise that might be introduced along the cable gets canceled out. The three conductors also allows it to carry phantom power to microphones over the same cable as the audio without interfering with the signal or burning up properly wired dynamic mics that don't use phantom. AFAIK, using an XLR connector with its three pins for an input or output is always an indication that it's a balanced connection (though there are other connector types - TRS, Hirose, etc - that are also used for balanced connections as well).

I don't have any hands-on experience with either one but I read in a number of sources that the Beachtek yields higher quality audio than does the MA100 because it has lower noise etc.
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Old June 24th, 2006, 05:34 PM   #4
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Thanks to both of your for the input, it helped a lot. I suppose I could centre the audio in post, but it would be more re-assuring to know that the sound is already "balanced" as I am filming. Thank you again,

Clint Grant
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Old June 24th, 2006, 06:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clint Grant
Thanks to both of your for the input, it helped a lot. I suppose I could centre the audio in post, but it would be more re-assuring to know that the sound is already "balanced" as I am filming. Thank you again,

Clint Grant
Don't be insulted if you're not mixing up the terms but be careful you're not confusing "balanced inputs" meaning electrically balanced circuits with the idea of "balanced L/R sound" meaning left and right channels recorded at exactly equal levels and in-phase. Using an adapter such as the MA-100 or the Beaachtek is no guarantee the two channels are going to be recorded identically in the camera. As I mentioned in my other post, in fact, there's some very good reasons NOT to try to record two identical tracks but rather to set one to a considerably lower level than the other as a backup just in case an unexpected loud peak sends the primary track into clipping. There's also been considerable discussion in another recent thread about the use of a "Y" adapter as a method of taking a single mic into two inputs and while some of the group feel it's okay, I remain unconvinced as to the wisdom of doing so. I was under the impression that the Beachtek's would split a single inpout equally to the left and right channels if their output switch was set to "mono" but in the light of Scott's post about his experience with the Beach you might want to take a look at the Studio One XLR adapters - they claim their stereo/mono switch does divide a single XLR input and send it to both the left and right channels in the camera.
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