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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old November 10th, 2010, 04:56 PM   #1
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How are you recording/monitoring sound?

Are you using a secondary recorder and syncing in post or are you using a Beactek or Juicelink unit with AGC disabling? I'm considering a 550d with a Beachtek unit for balanced inputs and a headphone jack. I know the 60d now has manual gain, but how are you monitoring the sound since it does not have a headphone jack? I wouldn't consider the 60d based on this fact alone.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 05:53 PM   #2
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i don't use beach tek or juicelink, but H4N.
I simply do not use HDSLR audio in post for actual audio, but rather for syncing up.
With 60D, it sounds much better, but this is what I do. Hope that helps.

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Old November 10th, 2010, 06:09 PM   #3
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I have been a long time proponent of getting sound to the camera. I participated in the initial testing of Magic Lantern with the Tramm Hudson group. And I can do it if I am shooting by myself using the CX231 Juiced Link XLR adapter. But for shoots where I have a sound guy, I gave up on trying record to my Canon DSLRs because of the development of Dual Eyes. I know with some real hard work, I can get decent sound in the camera. But to me, it is actually easier to do double system, now.

I have a decent 4 channel field mixer (Sign Video ENG44) and marry it with a Tascam DR07 mini recorder, or the Zoom H1 minirecorder. The two mixed together make a component recording sytems that is pretty good and I think might compare with the more expensive all in one recording units.

I changed course because I use Dual Eyes (from makers of Plural Eyes) to batch synch audio tracks the video cameras. Leaving the cameras in AGC mode ( incase of the 5D) seems to be best for trying to synch.
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Old November 10th, 2010, 07:05 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies guys. I really don't like the idea of doing a double system and syncing in post. Just seems like unnecessary time to me. I think I'll just use the Beachtek which includes meters, AGC disable and headphone jack. This seems like the most straightforward to me.

Beachtek DXA-5DA DSLR Cameras Passive Dual XLR Mic DXA-5DA B&H
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Old November 11th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #5
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Brian,

So you understand where I'm coming from, I'm from juicedLink. But, IMHO ...

Since you haven't selected a camera yet, let's talk about that first.

The T2i will require you to use an AGC Disable technique, since it does not have manual control of audio. So, you are going to have to sacrifice one of your recording channels, to get 1 clean channel for recording. Note, don't get yourself in trouble by trying to get that second clean recording track by trying to use a tone for AGC disable. Using a tone depends on unspecified parameters of your camera (Nyquist anti-aliasing filter) to try and keep harmonics from getting aliased back in band. Since you can not monitor what the camera is recording, if your camera is acting up, you will have no way of knowing that your audio is getting corrupted. AGC Disable works and is effective (but not quite as well as a camera that has manual control), but for only 1 clean track for recording.

The 60D has manual control, so there is no need to use an AGC Disable technique. You will get 2 clean tracks for recording.

If you have it in the budget, I would recommend the 60D over the T2i. The 60D is capable of high quality audio recording of 2 tracks without the need for AGC Disable. There is no need to use an external recording which will require you to sync in post.


The DXA-5Da that you mention is a passive adapter, and does not have a low noise preamplifier. This means that when you throttle back the noisy amplifiers in the camera (either manually or with AGC disable), you are also turning down the microphone signal. So, you don't really get an improvement in signal to noise performance.

To improve signal-to-noise performance, you want to throttle back the noisy amps (either manually, or with AGC Disable), then replace that noisy gain with clean gain from the juicedLink low-noise preamps.

Beachtek has a model (DXA-SLR) which has a preamp, phantom power, headphones, single LED signal indicator, AGC Disable (which you won't need with the 60D). The juicedLink DT454 also has a preamp, phantom power, headphones, meter, AGC Disable. But, the juicedLink DT454 also has other advantages: 1) 4 mic inputs, 2) higher available maximum gain, 3) 4-segment R/L meter, 4) ability to calibrate meter to different cameras, 5) battery saving 12V phantom power (in addition to 48V).


So, IMHO, the kit I recommend for you would be the 60D with the juicedLink DT454.

-R
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Last edited by Robert Rozak; November 11th, 2010 at 10:21 AM. Reason: more detail
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Old November 11th, 2010, 01:08 PM   #6
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Robert,

Thanks for the detailed response. I know that the solution you recommend is the best way to go but unfortunately, my budget does not allow for the 60D/juicelink combination. I am willing to live with the disadvantages of the combo I've chosen for the time being.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 03:14 PM   #7
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Brian,

Sorry, I thought you said you were still considering the 60D

I understand your budget constraints. But, if you don't have the budget for the 60D with manual control, and need to use the AGC Disable with the T2i, then I still recommend getting a low-noise preamplifier.

The passive adapter you are looking at does not have a low-noise preamp. So, when you throttle back the noisy amps in the camera (with AGC Disable for the T2i), it does not have any low-noise gain to boost back up the mic signal.

Check out this old comparison video done by Jon Fairhurst (using the Canon 5D before the new firmware gave it manual control of audio):

Put on some headphones, so you can compare the signal to noise performance.

The DXA-5D is a passive adapter (similar to the one you are looking at). In both cases presented in the video (where the DXA-5D AGC Disable was used, or MagicLantern was used to throttle back the noisy camera gain), the DXA-5D did not have any low-noise preamp to boost back up the mic signal level that was lost (when the camera gain got throttled back). So, without a low-noise preamp, the system signal-to-noise performance is poor.

The CX231 is a low-noise preamp. When MagicLantern was used to throttle back the noisy amps in the camera in the video, the low-noise preamp of the CX231 boosted back up the mic signal, resulting in improved system signal-to-noise performance.

Now, with your T2i, you're not going to want to use the CX231 (since it does not have headphones, meters, or AGC disable). With your T2i, you will want to use the juicedLink DT454 instead, which adds those features.


BTW. I've heard there has been some progress on the MagicLantern front for the T2i. If that's the case, then you won't need the AGC Disable feature and you will be able to get 2 clean tracks of audio. But, the key to improving signal-to-noise on a camera with manual control (original firmware, or MagicLantern), is the low-noise preamplifier. You'll still want the DT454 for its preamp and headphones.


IMHO ...

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Old November 11th, 2010, 05:46 PM   #8
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I see what you mean about the s/n level when using an adapter that is passive only. The noise is higher than it would be when using one with a preamp. I've heard that the magic lantern firmware for the T2i has been released. I may try this, although it seems like a lengthy process to get it installed. This is what attracted me to the beachtek box originally. I will consider the juicedlink unit instead.

Thanks.
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Old November 11th, 2010, 09:33 PM   #9
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Brian.

Beware the "hacked" firmware approach. Canon found a way to halt progress on the 7D by incorporating a firmware upgrade counter and a maximum limit to upgrades in a firmware upgrade. The word I got is that in his 7D, Tramm hit that maximum limit and his camera will no longer accept firmware updates. He is "stuck" with the last one installed and progress on the 7D stopped there.

you can bet your bottom dollar Canon is looking to do something to stop "hacked" upgrades for the T2i.

Panasonic stopped it cold in the GH1, when the "hacker" hit some real success on that one Panasonic stopped shipment of every GH1 still in their factory until a new "firmware upgrade" could be coded so that "unauthorized" firmware upgrade versions flat would not be installed.

So your best bet is to either follow Robert's advice or give double system sound a try and see if you can work with it. It's not as complex or bad as it looks.

I use the ZoomH2 (am helping thewindcutter.com test windmuffs for effective wind noise control with the H1) and it's actually pretty easy. Give yourself a good "synch" spike on both camera audio and the recorder. I get them both running and give the command "ACTION". I'm going to synch on the waveform spike for that word. Announce scene and take # for ID so you can find it on the audio recording for that scene.

I bring the H2 track into a free editor "Audacity", adjust audio level if necessary, and save the portion I need as a WAV file with a filename that tells me what it is.

Put it on the timeline on the sound effects track and drag it into position so it looks like the waveform spikes for "ACTION" match up. Expand the timeline portion so I can see where the spikes are and make minor adjustments until echo is gone.

Then I mute the camera audio track and can now trim to the IN point for the scene. Trim to the OUT point and repeat process for the next scene.

I record a bit low on the ZoomH2 because I can "boost" it in Audacity. I use thewindcutter.com "Stormchaser" model furry windmuff made to fit over the foam windscreen that comes with the H2. The "Stormchaser" has longer and denser fur and does the best job possible of cutting out wind noise.

The H1 is going to be one fantastic recorder, problem is the mics are very sensitive to wind and it is unusable outdoors in any kind of breeze. The folks at thewindcutter.com have sent me two prototypes for the H1 already and we're not happy with the performance so far. They are making up a prototype based on my last evaluation now, and I think we're onto something.

I'll post more info when I know more.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 12:09 AM   #10
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I will second the JuicedLink mixer with the 60D. I use it, I love it and it has worked well for me. Having headphone monitoring, seeing levels is wonderful. I also used it on my old 7D with the AGC defeat.

I a pinch I have used Sennheiser G2 wireless at high output directly into the camera. No headphone monitoring though. Secret is keeping the 60D at no more than a quarter of it's gain.
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Old November 12th, 2010, 04:02 PM   #11
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Bruce,
Thanks for te explanation of your workflow. Seems like it works well for you. I am very used to syncing tracks for my business right now, so this may be an option. I like the idea of having an external recorder which would also be useful for doing voiceover work as well as capturing sound in the field with the built-in mics.

Alan,
How did the juicelink work with the 7D with AGC defeat? Was the sound clean? Any issues? I'm probably going to go with the T2i, so I'll definitely need AGC feature if I get the juicelink.

I don't think I'm going to try the T2i hack for manual audio. Too big of a risk, plus it will probably void the warranty.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 08:41 PM   #12
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The JuicedLink worked great for me on the 7D. It did as advertised. I had good clean sound on channel one and noise on channel two. Would highly recommend it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Tori View Post
Bruce,
Thanks for te explanation of your workflow. Seems like it works well for you. I am very used to syncing tracks for my business right now, so this may be an option. I like the idea of having an external recorder which would also be useful for doing voiceover work as well as capturing sound in the field with the built-in mics.

Alan,
How did the juicelink work with the 7D with AGC defeat? Was the sound clean? Any issues? I'm probably going to go with the T2i, so I'll definitely need AGC feature if I get the juicelink.

I don't think I'm going to try the T2i hack for manual audio. Too big of a risk, plus it will probably void the warranty.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 11:26 PM   #13
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Here is an example in a production environment of 60D in camera audio with the JuicedLink DT454. I uses Sennheiser G2 Wireless mics. It was recorded at 1/4 gain in the camera. Very clean.

YouTube - Outdoors For All 2010 Auction Video

Last edited by Alan Halfhill; November 13th, 2010 at 11:40 PM. Reason: more info
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Old November 14th, 2010, 12:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Rozak View Post
Brian,

Sorry, I thought you said you were still considering the 60D

I understand your budget constraints. But, if you don't have the budget for the 60D with manual control, and need to use the AGC Disable with the T2i, then I still recommend getting a low-noise preamplifier.

The passive adapter you are looking at does not have a low-noise preamp. So, when you throttle back the noisy amps in the camera (with AGC Disable for the T2i), it does not have any low-noise gain to boost back up the mic signal.

Check out this old comparison video done by Jon Fairhurst (using the Canon 5D before the new firmware gave it manual control of audio):
1. Canon 5D Mark II Audio Exposed - Boom Mic (juicedLink, Zoom H4n, Microtrack II, BeachTek) on Vimeo

Put on some headphones, so you can compare the signal to noise performance.

The DXA-5D is a passive adapter (similar to the one you are looking at). In both cases presented in the video (where the DXA-5D AGC Disable was used, or MagicLantern was used to throttle back the noisy camera gain), the DXA-5D did not have any low-noise preamp to boost back up the mic signal level that was lost (when the camera gain got throttled back). So, without a low-noise preamp, the system signal-to-noise performance is poor.

The CX231 is a low-noise preamp. When MagicLantern was used to throttle back the noisy amps in the camera in the video, the low-noise preamp of the CX231 boosted back up the mic signal, resulting in improved system signal-to-noise performance.

Now, with your T2i, you're not going to want to use the CX231 (since it does not have headphones, meters, or AGC disable). With your T2i, you will want to use the juicedLink DT454 instead, which adds those features.


BTW. I've heard there has been some progress on the MagicLantern front for the T2i. If that's the case, then you won't need the AGC Disable feature and you will be able to get 2 clean tracks of audio. But, the key to improving signal-to-noise on a camera with manual control (original firmware, or MagicLantern), is the low-noise preamplifier. You'll still want the DT454 for its preamp and headphones.


IMHO ...

-R
Robert:

I've played a bit with the pre-alpha version of the T2i Magic Lantern in the last day or two. They have been able to disable audio gain, but there is not menu based system yet developed to control audio gain as we were able to do with the Canon 5D. However, in the latest version I have worked with, there is apparent capability of adjusting audio levels using the config file that Magic Lantern loads from. I will be testing that in next day or two to see how it works with your trusty CX231. No headphone monitoring that I am aware of at this point, and you have to dedicate a memory card to use only with Magic Lantern.
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Old November 14th, 2010, 06:40 PM   #15
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Thanks Alan. I'll probably end up going with the Juicedlink when the budget allows.
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