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Old March 13th, 2007, 10:13 PM   #1
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Sony pro vs consumer cam audio

Sony has "pairs" of consumer and pro HDV camera models: the HC1/A1 and FX7/V1. The latter have audio modules with XLR inputs.

I have a couple of questions:

1) These modules are detactable, right? So when they are attached, how does the audio actually enter the camera?

2) Are the required mic levels the same, or different, for the XLRs vs. the 'consumer' 3.5mm ports on the camera body? i.e. are the modules doing any attenuating or boosting or whatever?

Thanks.
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Old March 13th, 2007, 10:30 PM   #2
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the 'modules' are not detachable but might look like it due to the fact that they have to be somewhat larger to accept the XLR connections.
The sound enters the camera the same way as any other microphone connection be it 3.5 or even a built in. The therory is the same - the mic collects the sound waves and sends them down the wire to the sound board or chip in the camera which sends it to the tape. A VERY simplistic explaination but...To say the levels would be the same is hard to say HOWEVER the by product should be the same. IOW, some cameras might have a hotter audio signal (Sony PD150s for example) than others BUT if you can adjust the levels then you want to try to find the sweet spot for that particular camera and work to keep the levels around that point as much as possible. It in most cases doesn't matter if its an XLR or 3.5-example the Sony VX2xxx cameras use a 3.5 where the PD1xx series use XLRs and for the most part the audio circuitry is the same. One of the reasons for XLR is locking in the connection.
As for boosting or attenuating the signal again most of the cameras I'm familar with do not have any kind of boost except the level control but many if not most have some sort of attenuation-again I point to the Sony PD1xx series whereas the Sony DSR250 does not have any attenuation.
I'm not real good at explaining things like this so this is in very very general terms and not meant to be an end all be all - heaven help all of us if it is ;-)
BUT I hope it answered your questions a little bit.

Don
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Old March 13th, 2007, 10:39 PM   #3
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Thanks for that!

(Because I had assumed the modules were detachable, by 'entering the camera' I was wondering whether there was some kind of connector plug or socket).
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Old March 14th, 2007, 06:21 AM   #4
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The XLR adapter on the Sony A1u is detachable. In fact, it is detached when you take the camera out of the box. If you don't want, or need, to use XLRs, there is a stereo microphone built-in to the camera body. There is also a standard 3.5mm mini connector on the side of the camera.

The XLR's have an attenuation switch. If you are using the 3.5mm jack the only way I can think of to control the audio signal would be through the manual gain setting.

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Peter
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Old March 15th, 2007, 10:38 AM   #5
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OK with the A1 then, how does the module's output connect to the camera itself? Through the "smart" hotshoe?
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Old March 15th, 2007, 10:51 AM   #6
 
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The "shoe" isn't a shoe like you're used to. It's an Intelligent Interface that won't mount anything BUT a Sony accessory,.
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Old March 16th, 2007, 04:01 AM   #7
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There is an A1u manual posted in the Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC1/3/5/7 forum. Page 19 shows how the XLR adapter is connected.

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Old March 16th, 2007, 04:07 AM   #8
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I am not a friend of Sony's approach to Audio on their cheaper "pro" models. I worked with the PD150 and the Z1 and although they have line/mic switchable XLR inputs they don't live up to their promise. They are noisy no matter if you feed them mic or line. Used with line-in its like the audio would go through an attenuation and the (not so great) pre-amps anyway. Well, at least that's my experience.
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