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Old April 26th, 2012, 04:29 PM   #1
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Terrible hiss from 5d Mark iii

I'm really disappointed that Canon didn't improve the audio quality at all with this new version. I deal with hiss quite often when doing audio mixing but it's usually easy to remove because its a really high frequency that can be cut off with EQing. The hiss coming from this camera is so thick, occupying a wide frequency range that by the time you get the hiss only about half eliminated, your audio is sounding so muddy and terrible.

Even the actual tone/quality of the audio aside from the hiss is very poor. I was hoping that with the addition of the headphone jack they would be paying a bit more attention to the audio but it seems the audio circuitry is just as terrible as before.

I am not using the DSLR shotgun mics in my tests. I'm using expensive sennheiser lavs and a rode ntg-2 - which create no hiss at all when i have them plugged into my red scarlet or panasonic hpx250. the canon cannot be used to record professional audio by any means. Not even good enough audio for web use. Such a disappointment.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 04:35 PM   #2
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Re: Terrible hiss from 5d Mark iii

Yet another good argument for double-system sound.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 04:39 PM   #3
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Re: Terrible hiss from 5d Mark iii

I shoot bands playing acoustically in public, yeah OK it would be fine to use an H4n ontop of the camera for the 1 shot take of the song, (and have the artist give me a clap for sync before the start of the song) but for the intro footage I dont want the artist to have to give me a clap sync point for every single time i press record while we're walking around and i'm capturing random footage.

I guess the intro footage having hiss is far less destructive than the actual take of the song having hiss but still... i'm paying around $4000 for a camera that has terrible audio quality and can buy a 100-200 audio unit that records pristine pro audio? Kind of a drag.
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Old April 26th, 2012, 04:59 PM   #4
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Re: Terrible hiss from 5d Mark iii

I think the only thing that may help is when you're manually setting the audio on the camera, only set the level one notch above zero, and then have your lav mics coming in as hot as they can without clipping themselves. The cameras preamp is terrible so if your signal is hotter and camera audio level lower, it will help the cause a little bit, but still I would record audio separately when it makes sense to
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Old April 26th, 2012, 05:06 PM   #5
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Re: Terrible hiss from 5d Mark iii

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch Fillion View Post
I'm using expensive sennheiser lavs and a rode ntg-2
What are you using to connect the XLR balanced mics to the 1/8" unbalanced inputs? You really need a preamp with clean gain to feed a consumer input if you want good results. Yeah, Scarlet and the HPX-250 have built-in balanced inputs, but for the price difference, you could buy a box full of preamps for the DSLR. :)

With a juicedLink, 5D2, and Magic Lantern, I can get a signal to noise ratio that's very close to the 16-bit limit. It's actually cleaner than an H4n or DR-100 recorder. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to test the audio on the 5D3. Hopefully, Canon's chip and firmward implementation are better than on the Mark II. Magic Lantern lets me reduce noise by about 9dB. It would be nice to get that performance (or better) with a JL and a 5D3 without having to load ML.

If somebody has a 5D3 in the Portland, OR area, I'd love to run some test signals into it through the preamp and do the noise measurements.

Regarding double sound, I recommend that as well - when you have double people. When filming solo, I like recording in-camera to simplify operation and for reliability. When I'm busy framing, I can't look at the recorder to see if the Low Battery light has come on, or if I've gotten out of sync with the recorder in Standby while the camera is in Rec.

But yeah, plugging a mic directly into the 5D without external gain? Expect massive hiss, guaranteed.
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Old April 27th, 2012, 12:53 AM   #6
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Re: Terrible hiss from 5d Mark iii

Thanks for shedding some more light on this Jon!

I tried keeping the camera audio level one notch above zero tonight and boosted the gain on my sennheiser wireless receiver instead. Sounded pretty awesome, no hiss at all. I'll have to buy a beachtek or something to get a proper level for when I use the shotgun mic though.
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Old April 27th, 2012, 01:24 AM   #7
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Re: Terrible hiss from 5d Mark iii

Very nice. Yeah, cranking a wireless receiver and turning down the camera gain should definitely do the trick.

I've got to admit, I'm really curious to know how the 5D3 does compared to the 5D2 with and without ML. Hopefully, the Canon engineers read the various posts on this and dialed up a nice solution.
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Old April 27th, 2012, 06:59 AM   #8
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Re: Terrible hiss from 5d Mark iii

yeah, i agree, photo camera does not have decent preamps,
terrible!
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Old April 27th, 2012, 01:18 PM   #9
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Re: Terrible hiss from 5d Mark iii

...but if a unit with bad preamps allows it's analog gain to be turned down, you can get good results with an external preamp. :)
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Old April 27th, 2012, 01:58 PM   #10
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Re: Terrible hiss from 5d Mark iii

OP, I ran a 6 hour shoot last night...6 straight hours (yes you have to push the record button every so often)
Used my Sennheiser G2 lav system plugged right into the mkIII and it sounds great. No hiss, decent level, and totally useable. It's not as nice as my XF300 but certainly not as you describe.
The day before, I used my Sound Devices MM-1 to power a Rode NTG-3 and then a 414TLII and they sounded fantastic. Definitely a gain structure out of whack issue you have there.

As for syncing with external recorders, you don't need a slate. Looking at the waveforms will get you there. Also some tools like Plural Eyes and (gag) FCPX does OK too. I have been hand syncing for years with no issues.

My big disappointment with the 5DmkIII is it doesn't drive the headphone out hot enough to really do critical listening in the field. And why they have a multi button command to adjust the headphones is annoying too!

Hope you can get it worked out in-cam cause it really can sound fine!
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Old April 27th, 2012, 05:09 PM   #11
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Re: Terrible hiss from 5d Mark iii

If the output level from the 5D3 is low, consider the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II headphones. I generally prefer over-the-ear cans to these on-the-ear headphones, but the 25s are quite a bit more efficient than the HD 280 Pros or the Sony 7506s.
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