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Old January 27th, 2009, 05:24 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Henry Coll View Post
There's no other way to it (if you care about it) than to get a pro recorder, which are all quite expensive, starting from $1,000 up to $6,000.
What about the Zoom H4? That actually does provide 48 volts as far as I know. I hope it works well, since I just bought one.

Anyway, I'm buying up all the little pieces I need to hopefully start working with the 5d Mark II.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 11:23 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Joshua Fulton View Post
What about the Zoom H4? That actually does provide 48 volts as far as I know.
The options for powered mics are the Zoom H4, the Zoom H4n (not shipping just yet), and the M-Audio Microtrack II. The Microtrack has 1/4" TRS inputs, so you need an adapter cable, but given that, it works fine with dynamic mics.

I'm a few hundred miles from our production right now, but I heard a short bit from our Microtrack capture last night. It's a bit darker than I expected with our mic/environment, but I was able to boost the highs and they came through without any appreciable noise.

I don't know about the Zoom, but given the Microtrack results I heard last night, I'd upgrade to a top mic first, and a top recorder/mixer second.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 11:34 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
The options for powered mics are the Zoom H4, the Zoom H4n (not shipping just yet), and the M-Audio Microtrack II. The Microtrack has 1/4" TRS inputs, so you need an adapter cable, but given that, it works fine with dynamic mics.

I'm a few hundred miles from our production right now, but I heard a short bit from our Microtrack capture last night. It's a bit darker than I expected with our mic/environment, but I was able to boost the highs and they came through without any appreciable noise.

I don't know about the Zoom, but given the Microtrack results I heard last night, I'd upgrade to a top mic first, and a top recorder/mixer second.
The microtrack ii works decently well with dynamic mics but if you are trying to pick up detailed low level sounds I found that pre-amp can be a little bit noisy. I poked around the M-audio site and found that M-Audio even says it's not optimal for dynamic mics. From their FAQ page:

Quote:
Dynamic microphones can be used, however due to the low sensitivity of a dynamic microphone it's necessary to boost input gain, resulting in a higher noise level. For best quality results we recommend phantom powered condenser or electret microphones.
A workaround I plan to try is to use my wireless sennheiser setup to see if I can get cleaner signals using the sennheiser's pre-amp.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 01:03 PM   #64
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The microtrack ii works decently well with dynamic mics but if you are trying to pick up detailed low level sounds I found that pre-amp can be a little bit noisy.
I would think that most of us would be using condenser, rather than dynamic mics, so this shouldn't be an issue.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 03:50 PM   #65
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I've been searching and can't really find a good answer to this, but, what's the point of bringing your pro audio into this camera as long as it has auto-gain so integrated?

I've heard/seen a few examples on Vimeo where they use a nice shotgun plugged straight in to the 5dM2 and it sounds good until there's quiet. Then you can really clearly hear the audio levels creep up during those quiet times.
And worse, the levels drop for a loud noise and take a while to recover - just like any auto-level camera/setup.

I don't specifically remember the video, but they were showing a guy who was talking; he tapped something, producing a light mettle CLANG and the levels dropped to compensate, taking his voice with it.

Even taking audio in via pro mics into the 5DM2 via XLRs into a Beachtek wouldn't fix the auto levels, right?

Near as I can tell, the only thing the camera's audio is good for is reference.

I must be missing something obvious.
The pre-production BeachTek DXA-5D is specifically engineered to compensate for Auto Gain by generating a high pitched tone which is inaudible to the human ear. The high pitch tone keeps the audio at a consistent level.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 04:04 PM   #66
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The pre-production BeachTek DXA-5D is specifically engineered to compensate for Auto Gain by generating a high pitched tone which is inaudible to the human ear. The high pitch tone keeps the audio at a consistent level.
Guy, that's an awesome solution for the auto gain problem. Very clever idea by Beachtek. Can't wait for the dxa5d to finally be released.

My only concern, though, will the high pitch tone be harmful to household pets or Superman? :)
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Old January 27th, 2009, 04:07 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Guy Cochran View Post
The pre-production BeachTek DXA-5D is specifically engineered to compensate for Auto Gain by generating a high pitched tone which is inaudible to the human ear. The high pitch tone keeps the audio at a consistent level.
Well that's fairly ingenious and amazing.
Does that solve all problems from silent times (I can see how it would) to loud hits?
How does that all fair in Post?
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Old January 27th, 2009, 05:11 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by Martin Catt View Post
Go double system. Use a good quality camera for the video and a good quality digital recorder for the sound. Invest a few bucks in a simple slate, or make one.

I've never had any synch problems with my MicroTrack, plus it's nice not having to tie the camera to the sound guy with a long cable. Hollywood got along just fine for decades using reel-to-reel Nagras with 1/4" tape. If you're really concerned about losing sync, do a tail slate at the end of the shot along with the slate at the beginning, and see how well it lines up with the video.

People act like it's such a hard thing to sync up a separate audio track with video. Slated properly, you have a wonderful single spike on the audio track waveform when the clapsticks close, which you line up with the video frame showing when the sticks close together. Takes maybe five seconds. Once aligned, group the audio clip with the video clip in the timeline, and they can be moved, edited, and shifted as a single item.

Martin
Even simpler - every camera has at least onboard audio. Looking at the waveform, you should be able to see a spike on the VIDEO's waveform as well as the seperately recorded audio. You can literally line the two spikes up and get perfect matching.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 10:12 PM   #69
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I wonder if you could feed the audio input with some kind of jam or reference signal, an ultrasonic one that only dogs can hear, at a constant or adjustable level, which would then set the auto gain accordingly. Then you could filter out the jam signal in post, and have your human audio where you want it.
I have thought about this for a while now. My original idea was to use something like this for other camcorders with mic inputs and auto-gain (then I bought a HV-30).

I think the idea is sound. You could go with either a ultra-low frequency (20-50 Hz) or ultra-high (15Khz to 20Khz). I think an ultra-low frequency would work better since I would expect better frequency response from the recording circuitry here. But I'm splitting hairs - experimentation could show which is better if there is a difference anyways.

The key design parameters are the ratio from the pseudo subsonic signal to the mic signal has to be well matched. You don't want any audio spikes overloading the input (over the subsonic signal) or the agc will kick in. On the other end you don't want the subsonic signal too high in relation to the mic signal or it will be more diffiicult to filter out in post.

The overall gain of both has to be well matched to the auto-gain circuit as well to get the best dynamic range without overloading - quite similar to adjusting manual gain for manual gain capable camcorders - except there's no indicators to help you here.

Could be a fun project someday . . .

On another note - regarding seperate audio recording - there is a big issue I have experienced myself. I record audio for my band and use seperate audio recorders to do it. It just so happens I have both a Maudio Microtrack _and_ a Zoom H4. I keep one recorder on stage to record the band instruments via two PZM mics. The other recorder goes to the house PA to pick up the Vocals and any PA amplified instruments straight off the board. I have also recorded video of the band with these recorders capturing the audio in the same fashion.

Both of these recorders have issues with the internal clock sources. They are no where near each other and neither ever matches the camcorders. The funny thing is when I use multiple camcorders they are never off by more than one frame (audio+video). I guess camcorders have significantly better clock sources then either of these recorders do.

Anyways, when I sync all the audio in post the difference between either recorder and the camcorder is startling. It is very easy to find the opening notes of a song/clip to begin sync but very quickly you can start hearing the sound phasing (caused by one signal lagging the other) and then it starts to sound like a slapback echo. BY the end of the song it sounds like avant garde music - LOL.

The fix is to time stretch the audio (I find an opening cue point and an ending cue point. I calculate the delta in time and then apply the stretch accordingly - using the camcorder audio time frame as the "golden reference"). I use Cubase 4 and it has the ability to do this. It works very well but it is a pain in the butt.

YMMV but something to consider with either the Microtrack or Zoom H4 since they both have this issue.
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Old January 27th, 2009, 11:33 PM   #70
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YMMV but something to consider with either the Microtrack or Zoom H4 since they both have this issue.
Do you have the original Microtrack, or the Microtrack II? The second generation had a number of important improvements - better preamps, improved handling of unbalanced mics in the 1/4" inputs, full 48VDC phantom, rather than ~30VDC...

Also, any preference in sound between the two?

I had read that the H4 had some noise from the blinking LED, but I'd imagine that was on the unbalanced inputs or onboard mics, rather than the XLRs.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 06:35 PM   #71
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What about the Zoom H4? That actually does provide 48 volts as far as I know. I hope it works well, since I just bought one.

Anyway, I'm buying up all the little pieces I need to hopefully start working with the 5d Mark II.
Depends on on where your bar is. I am, among many other things, a professional audio engineer, and to me the differences between cheap and pro gear are easily noticeable. Also, these days ALL manufacturers lie with specs. For instance having 48v doesnt mean the mic is continually sourced with this current without any voltage dropout, or how long the recorder's batteries will last when giving 48v away (maybe minutes instead of the 8 hrs from pro units). Same when they present frq responses, or A/D/A, and they say nothing about the analog circuits feeding those converters, etc etc.

Im not saying the zoom might a bad unit as i havent used, but i tried other zoom products and i found them products for the average consumer.


Some people might be satisfied with a rode mic into the canon. I wouldn't set for anything
less than a sennheiser MKH or Schoeps mic along with a pro external audio recorder.
And later in post, I would pay as much attention to audio as to video, building a soundtrack in layers, with all the classical elements if required: (production) dialog, ADR, foley, walla, fx and music (and all at 48khz/24bit ).
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Old January 29th, 2009, 07:35 AM   #72
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Do you have the original Microtrack, or the Microtrack II? The second generation had a number of important improvements - better preamps, improved handling of unbalanced mics in the 1/4" inputs, full 48VDC phantom, rather than ~30VDC...

Also, any preference in sound between the two?

I had read that the H4 had some noise from the blinking LED, but I'd imagine that was on the unbalanced inputs or onboard mics, rather than the XLRs.
I have the first Microtrack. I am quite happy with the sound quality from both. Since I am doing live recording from PZM's and PA feed I am not using the phantom function (or onboard mics) and I am sure I am not feeding in the best signal possible to really test the units. My biggest beef with both is the clock source issue.

My second beef is battery life for both are awful. The Microtrack has a non-replaceable internal battery that goes dead whether it's powered up or not. And for being a LiON battery it's stay alive time when charged is pathetic. The Zoom H4 also eats batteries (2 AA's) like they are going out of style.

Luckily for me I bought both of them them for convenience, price and size - not battery power. [Note - I was hoodwinked into the Zoom H4 thinking I could do 4 simultaneous track recording with the 2 onboard mics + 2 offboard mics - nope can't be done] You could always use battery packs and power cord adapters to drive them for better battery life.

One more note - they are targeted to practicing musicians so yeah, they both probably are not what one would consider pro-quality "field" recorders. If you are looking for "studio" grade recording in a field recorder there are much better (and more expensive) options out there.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 12:42 PM   #73
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Heres what I am stongly considering doing for my 5Dmk2. It is important to me to be able to record audio in cameras since syncing in the edit is not the best option for every format of shooting (reality, doc, event, web).

I've been looking at the Azden FMX-32 field mixer which is less than half the price of a sound devices mixpre with similar capabilities (phantom power, vu, etc but no built in tone or slate mic). The azden mixer seems to have better battery life, headphone amp/monitor built in and is less expensive compared to a beachtek (DXA-6vu is what i was considering before).

according to john saunder's tests (Canon 5d Mk2 Audio Test on Vimeo) and also it sounds like a similar route to what beachtek is taking, applying a consistent tone to the channel will prevent agc from activating, and the agc is linked for both channels, so worst case you apply a tone to R channel to control agc and record actual audio to L channel. And a 3 channel mixer would allow for one xlr tone generating dongle (like this Goldline GL1K*::*Test Equipment*::*Toolbox*::*Installations*::*Blue Dog Audio) on channel 3 mapped to R output and leave 2 xlr inputs that can be mixed into the L output channel. Of course if we could do what beachtek does and use a high-freq tone that does not interfere with other recording on the same channel (and doesnt need to be removed in post??), I might actually be able to get two recordable agc-free channels. anyone know what kind of tone generator might be appropriate for this? might be tough to monitor the channel with the tone and mic input on it since the VU meter would probably just read the peak of the tone... maybe there is a way to apply the inaudible tone after the mixer before the camera?

anyone see any holes in this plan? any suggestions?

if it works it seems pretty reasonable and flexible compared to beachtek's options which seem more expensive in general. maybe if beachtek released modular products it would be more helpful, like making a agc-defeating in-line inaudible tone generator or something.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 09:59 AM   #74
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As Noah said I did some audio tests with my mixpre and tone to see how the ACGs react. Here they are if anyone is interested.

Test with 1khz tone
Canon 5d Mk2 Audio Test on Vimeo

Test with ultra high and low tones
Audio test for 5DM2 extreme low and high frequencies on Vimeo

Hope that helps.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 10:18 AM   #75
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Zoom H4 - Michael Schoenfeld

Hey everyone,

Michael Schoenfeld here,

I use the Zoom H4 - it's pretty good based upon what mic you attach.

I have two options - Beer, and champagne.

Sennheiser G2 with a Countryman B6 (Beer)

Schoeps CMIT5 (Champagne)

The tricky part is not to forget that the "normal" file will be 30P, NOT 29.97 in the US of A, so it needs to be conformed with some tool so the movie AND the audio file will sync perfectly.

I conform all my files with MPEG Streamclip to 29.97 and the audio sync works that way - the timeline wants to make the clip "out of sync" with the H4 file because of this stupid Canon thing - why oh why Canon, are you not making this camera pro friendly (I "know" the answer (as good as anyone can) so no flames, please).

The nikon and zeiss glass is the only way to fly with this beast right now - thanks Canon,


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