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Old September 25th, 2006, 04:34 AM   #1
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Mic problem

Mic isn't picking up strong sound?
I hooked up a Rode NT3 mic w/battery via XLR cable to a Beachtek 4P on my Canon GL2.

Rode mic switch is on, Beachtek is on mic/mono with gain up all the way, GL2 is on manual audio, Mic-ATT is off, L/R levels are 3/4's up to max.

I can tap the mic and the vu meters register sound on the camera. I speak into the mic and the levels go up a bit, but I cannot hear a thing on the headphones.
My headphones work fine.

I can record dialogue, but the sound is low on the tape playback. The on camera mic sounds great compared to the professional Rode mic.
What is the problem? Thanks.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 08:40 AM   #2
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A couple of things to double check:
Make sure you have a known good 9v battery in the mic. If you have a battery tester that actually puts the battery under a slight load that would be helpful. I don't remember right off hand what the mic's LED does with a dead battery. 9v batteries are easily drained if something conductive gets accidently placed across their contacts.
Since the BeachTek is in MONO, you must turn up BOTH controls fully. The off-side control will affect the total volume level of both sides. It's also pretty easy to plug in to the "wrong" side of a BeachTek. The connectors are placed left and right if you're looking at the connectors. If you plugged in while thinking about or looking at the left and right controls on the other end of the box, then you could be in backwards. Since you're set to MONO, if the controls are up any at all you'll get a small signal through even when plugged in to the opposite connector from what you intended.
How close do you have the mic to the subject? The Canon on-camera mics are designed to be very sensitive, the Rode is designed to be moderately sensitive. If it's more than 5 or 6 feet from the sound source and it's just normal dialogue, then your levels won't be really high.
Many Canon cameras also have very low headphone output. If you're trying to monitor yourself speaking during the test, that takes even more volume.
I have used the 3-output battery-powered headphone amp from Radio Shack. It works pretty well.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 02:09 PM   #3
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Thanks Jay for your advice.
The battery is good. Both controls on the Beachtek are all the way up.
I am yelling directly into the mic. I played back the tape on my tv and the sound is low.
Does the Rode need a pre-amp for a boost?

Jay you stated that the Canon on-camera mic is very sensitive. Do you know any hypercardioids that are very sensitive too?
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Old September 25th, 2006, 02:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorenzo Durand
Thanks Jay for your advice.
The battery is good. Both controls on the Beachtek are all the way up.
I am yelling directly into the mic. I played back the tape on my tv and the sound is low.
Does the Rode need a pre-amp for a boost?

Jay you stated that the Canon on-camera mic is very sensitive. Do you know any hypercardioids that are very sensitive too?
This may sound dumb, but try this experiment. (I don't have a Beach so I don't know if advancing the controls increases the attenuation & reduces the volume or decreases it & increases the volume.) Plug the mic into the left channel input on the Beach. Turn the right channel control on the Beach fully clockwise per Beach's directions. Set your camera to manual control and its input level controls to the midpoint. Turn the left channel knob on the Beach fully clockwise and record a bit, then fully counter-clockwise and record some more. Is there a difference? Which is louder?
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Old September 25th, 2006, 04:11 PM   #5
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Have you tried a different XLR cable between the mic and BeachTek?
Have you tried setting the BeachTek to STEREO, which with one mic will give you just one channel of audio. Maybe there's some kind of phase cancellation, either in the BeachTek set to MONO or in your playback to a TV.
Have you captured the footage and looked at the levels in an editing program?
Normal levels should be about -12db.
Other than triple checking such things as MIC/LINE to mic on the BeachTek and MicATT to Off with the camera, I'm not sure what else to check.
I would definitely check the levels by looking at captured footage rather than listening to a video monitor or TV though.
You should be able to get usable levels with this combo.
Also clean the BeachTek mini-plug with a soft, clean cloth and make sure it's fully seated when you plug it back in.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 06:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill
Have you tried a different XLR cable between the mic and BeachTek?
Have you tried setting the BeachTek to STEREO, which with one mic will give you just one channel of audio. Maybe there's some kind of phase cancellation, either in the BeachTek set to MONO or in your playback to a TV.
Have you captured the footage and looked at the levels in an editing program?
Normal levels should be about -12db.
Other than triple checking such things as MIC/LINE to mic on the BeachTek and MicATT to Off with the camera, I'm not sure what else to check.
I would definitely check the levels by looking at captured footage rather than listening to a video monitor or TV though.
You should be able to get usable levels with this combo.
Also clean the BeachTek mini-plug with a soft, clean cloth and make sure it's fully seated when you plug it back in.
Reading your note it struck me ... am I correct that a while back a batch of Beach units were shipped with an accidental phase reversal between the channels. Wonder if the unit in question might be one of them?

Lorenzo - why don't you give Beach tech support a phone call or email with your serial number and see if it might be one of the effected units.
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Old September 25th, 2006, 06:30 PM   #7
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The NT3's output is definitely high enough to feed the GL2's input. With this inexpensive adapter you could do it directly--if nothing else just to confirm that the mic and the camcorder input are okay. It's a good accessory to have.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

If that works, it's the Beachtek. They occasionally have problems, but the company is very easy to work with. [Edit--Ah, I see that Steve already addressed this]
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Old September 25th, 2006, 10:44 PM   #8
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Thank you very much fellas,
I will check on those suggestions that I've not tried - pronto.
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Old September 29th, 2006, 02:20 AM   #9
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I checked the beachtek adapter with another mic connecting to the auxilary input - worked fine. Emailed beachtek and the phase reversal only applied to the DXA-6 model.
So I checked the Rode NT-3 mic took off the top capsule and discovered two wires not connected to the capacitor. Problem solved! I'm shipping it back to B&H Video.
Thanks for the help.
~Lorenzo
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Old September 29th, 2006, 04:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorenzo Durand
I checked the beachtek adapter with another mic connecting to the auxilary input - worked fine. Emailed beachtek and the phase reversal only applied to the DXA-6 model.
So I checked the Rode NT-3 mic took off the top capsule and discovered two wires not connected to the capacitor. Problem solved! I'm shipping it back to B&H Video.
Thanks for the help.
~Lorenzo
LOL - that'll do it every time!
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Old October 2nd, 2006, 03:12 AM   #11
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Steve, what's a LOL?
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Old October 2nd, 2006, 04:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorenzo Durand
Steve, what's a LOL?
Laughing Out Loud
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Old October 3rd, 2006, 03:11 AM   #13
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Ah ha. Thanks! Steve.
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