HVR-Z1U audio strangeness at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old June 1st, 2007, 09:56 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 111
HVR-Z1U audio strangeness

Recently started work on a project shooting on these cameras. I was shocked to find out that we were getting worse audio from my 302 than with a lav going straight to camera. Everything was low, the louder audio was distorted, and the hiss was terrible.

After some more poking around it seems like there is something wrong with the line input setting on the XLRs. It sounds like - maybe? - the inputs can't handle normal line levels and are being attenuated somehow. Tone from the mixer registers at 80% on the meters with the preamps on 10, and is clearly peaking a little.

Audio under 50% meter is almost unlistenable due to noise. Audio in the 50-80% range starts to peak.

I "solved" the problem by dropping the mixer down to a hot mic level, setting the camera's ins to mic level, and barely using the preamps (staying in the 2-3 range). This actually sounds great, and is less noisy than I'd expect from a camera in this price range.

I'm writing in because it just doesn't seem right. Anybody else have these issues? Maybe with a different camera? I wish I could provide some audio but I can't. Thanks in advance.
Abe Dolinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 1st, 2007, 10:35 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,259
I've had some similar issues with true line-level input on other xlr-equipped sony prosumer cameras. In this case, cam was being fed from a house mixing board. There was no combination that would allow me to accept a full line level signal without some distortion.

Although I was briefly pulling out my hair as I was prepping for an event about to begin, some quick adjustment of the mixer output level downward was helpful. This wasn't your typical field mixer setup, and I couldn't depend on the house sound operator to run levels for me anyways, so, matching his zero db to my -12 or -20db wasn't so important - I needed to ride levels.

I've only had my hands on a Z1 for about 10 days of shooting, in which I was mostly receiving signal from a Sound Devices 442. We didn't have problems at all, but this was back in Dec. 2005, and I don't remember whether we came in at line-level or mic level.
Seth Bloombaum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 1st, 2007, 07:52 PM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 1,550
if line is too hot you can purchase an inexpensive in-line pad attenuator (Hosa ATT-448 switchable -10,-30,or -40db). I had a similar problem once doing a dance recital. I now keep it in my bag just in case.
Pete Cofrancesco is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 1st, 2007, 10:27 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Baltimore, MD USA
Posts: 2,323
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abe Dolinger View Post
Recently started work on a project shooting on these cameras. I was shocked to find out that we were getting worse audio from my 302 than with a lav going straight to camera. Everything was low, the louder audio was distorted, and the hiss was terrible.

After some more poking around it seems like there is something wrong with the line input setting on the XLRs. It sounds like - maybe? - the inputs can't handle normal line levels and are being attenuated somehow. Tone from the mixer registers at 80% on the meters with the preamps on 10, and is clearly peaking a little.

Audio under 50% meter is almost unlistenable due to noise. Audio in the 50-80% range starts to peak.

I "solved" the problem by dropping the mixer down to a hot mic level, setting the camera's ins to mic level, and barely using the preamps (staying in the 2-3 range). This actually sounds great, and is less noisy than I'd expect from a camera in this price range.

I'm writing in because it just doesn't seem right. Anybody else have these issues? Maybe with a different camera? I wish I could provide some audio but I can't. Thanks in advance.
Hello Abe,

Hiss? Lots of buttons and switches on that camera. Menus too. Keep poking around. RTM? Check with the forum that supports this camera and see what they have to say.

Ty Ford
Ty Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 2nd, 2007, 11:09 AM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta/USA
Posts: 2,507
Abe, on the Z1 everything audio related is manually adjustable, so even in case your input level is not standard, you should be able to adjust to get the right level. I am surprised to hear you're not able to get clean audio - I love the audio part of my Z1... except for high quality symphonic music recordings, where the mpeg compression shows its limits.

Of course, anything can go bad, so there might be a circuitry problem in your camcorder.
__________________
Ervin Farkas, CDVS
Certified Legal Videographer
Ervin Farkas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 5th, 2007, 11:33 AM   #6
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 111
Thanks for the input everybody. Seth, I think we had the same issue. Maybe there was a range of time when Sony put weird hardware in their prosumer cameras? We may never know.

Pete - not a bad idea. I can also just drop the output level on the 302. The problem is that even on full signal, the camera meters read 80% and the signal is low, noisy.

Ty - indeed! I pored over the manual and all the buttons and switches. Sadly, almost everything you need to adjust quickly on this camera is buried in menus. Many features are not adjustable during takes (like switching from camera mics to XLR). The only unexplained feature (I couldn't tell the difference) was a 'mic NR' function, described only as noise reduction in the manual.

Ervin - I'm leaning towards a circuitry problem. It just sounds analog, or like analog circuits are being constrained digitally, or something.

Thanks again . . for now, mic level it is. Like I said, quality is surprisingly good, it's just plain strange.
Abe Dolinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 5th, 2007, 12:31 PM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,259
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Cofran View Post
if line is too hot you can purchase an inexpensive in-line pad attenuator (Hosa ATT-448 switchable -10,-30,or -40db). I had a similar problem once doing a dance recital. I now keep it in my bag just in case.
I should have mentioned this, too - very handy to have along when you expect to tie in with a house mixer. Again, in this circumstance you typically don't get the benefit of a house engineer riding levels specifically for you, it is very usual for live sound engineers in small and medium venues to pay no attention to the meters on their mixer.

Another handy device is a direct box, aka. DI. This will convert unbalanced Hi-Z mixer output to balanced Lo-Z, allowing that xlr cable run to wherever you want the camera. And, it typically pads line-to-mic at the same time, some of these with adjustable pads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abe Dolinger View Post
...The only unexplained feature (I couldn't tell the difference) was a 'mic NR' function, described only as noise reduction in the manual...
Sony prosumer cameras have this NR function that operates as a high-pass filter, which can indirectly help when the mic is experiencing wind noise. The time to use it is when you're hearing a lot of low-frequency rumble from wind on the mic. Usually, this is so dang loud that it not only sounds bad, but overmodulates the recording to the point that you turn it way down, which is not ideal for the signal you do want. Of course a mic with significant wind noise is unacceptable for many uses... and the filter doesn't provide much help in the quality of the sound, just the recording level.
Seth Bloombaum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6th, 2007, 02:24 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: israel
Posts: 296
i never found any problems go line level to z-1
but if you have some trouble because the camera
the mic inputs have internal attenuation ( true the menu) to calibrate the mic level inputs
also if you use mic inputs - shut down the nr- and wind( high pass filter), internal menu
Oleg Kaizerman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 6th, 2007, 08:05 PM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,259
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
...Sony prosumer cameras have this NR function that operates as a high-pass filter...
Whoops, Oleg's post reminded me - the *Wind* function is the high-pass. NR is Sony's attempt to compensate for camera noise that might be heard in an on-camera mic. Fairly useless, in my experience.
Seth Bloombaum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 7th, 2007, 12:40 AM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 595
I've never had any issues sending a 302/422/etc. signal to my Z1P. I've also never heard any complaints about the camera being noisy. Sure you have to deal with HDV compression, however you always have the option to record in DVCAM.

Make sure:

PHANTOM POWER - OFF
AUDIO OUTPUT - 2Vrms
AUDIO LIMIT - OFF
MIC NR - OFF
MIC SELECT - XLR
INPUT1 LEVEL - LINE
INPUT1 TRIM - 0dB
INPUT1 WIND - OFF
AUDIO SELECT - MAN

Also double check everything on your field mixer. Did you try running the output of your 302 to something else to check that the 302 wasn't at fault? My guess is that either the batteries were dying, bad cabling or wrong settings on the mixer. Did you change anything else apart from setting "LINE TO MIC"? If not, then I guess that rules out batteries and cabling. Very odd!

Quote:
The problem is that even on full signal, the camera meters read 80% and the signal is low, noisy.
You've lost me...

Quote:
Another handy device is a direct box, aka. DI. This will convert unbalanced Hi-Z mixer output to balanced Lo-Z, allowing that xlr cable run to wherever you want the camera. And, it typically pads line-to-mic at the same time, some of these with adjustable pads.
Very good suggestion. Whenever I'm recording a "live desk" I normally use the RCA Record Out (which is post fade) to a DI and then go to the camera.

I doubt Sony have changed the way they build the Z1. I've used a variety of different Z1's (some old some brand new) and have never come across this problem before. As others have said, maybe it's just a faulty unit. But if it worked on MIC LEVEL, it makes me think that the camera is fine, and something else is to blame...

Hope this is of some help!

Chris!
Chris Hocking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 7th, 2007, 11:16 AM   #11
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 111
Seth - a DI box sounds like it should be pretty useful. No reason not to have one. Thanks.

Chris - thanks for the huge reply. I'm as puzzled as you are! I had all the settings the way you described. I plugged my headphones directly into the XLR outs of the mixer and everything sounded fine, but I didn't try going to another device, per se. The mixer has been very good on past shoots going into other cameras . . I trust it. I don't think it's my breakaway cable, as the audio sounds fine through it when the camera's on mic level. Batteries were fresh.

[Quote:
"The problem is that even on full signal, the camera meters read 80% and the signal is low, noisy."
You've lost me... ]

Sorry, this was unclear. What I meant was, when the mixer is going out line level (no attenuation), camera ins on line, camera levels set to 10 on both inputs: tone at 0dB reads as 80% on the camera, and is starting to clip a little bit. (It sounds like analog distortion, for what that's worth.) Naturally if mixer's 0dB is only at 80% with the preamps jacked up, other audio is going to be low and noisy.

Oleg - Thanks to you also. I did try attenuating the XLR ins on the menu setting, but whatever attenuation that provided was definitely happening _after_ the strange attenuation I'm getting. It was the same signal, only down a few dB.

Sounds like it could be a lemon? A half-lemon, since the inputs work on mic level . . . heh. I'll try to find another camera to try it on in the meantime.
Abe Dolinger is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:39 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network