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Old December 12th, 2002, 08:05 PM   #16
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Beach Tek's DXA-4P

Eyeing to purchase this item for the (soon to be purchased) Canon GL2.

Noticed that the DXA-4P is geared towards the GL1. Will it attach itself to the GL2 in a similar fashion? Does it work well with the GL2?

(Obviously, I'm new to digital cameral world. I'm not aware of the physical differences between the GL1 and the GL2.)

Also. . . What is your opinion of the sound quality of Beach Tek's DXA-4P? Is it "noisy"? Is there a limited audio frequency response?

I'm also doing a little research into Sound Device products. Unfortunately they're a bit out of my price range. . . for now. Hopefully the DXA-4P will meet my more immediate needs.

Thanks.

Ted
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Old December 13th, 2002, 07:37 PM   #17
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I've not used the beachtek, but I have a Studio 1 that I am very happy with. I do not subject it to really rough conditions, though. The case is plastic, but all the connectors seem good quality. Here's what I like about it.

1) off camera. I hang it on the tripod strap, or my belt if I am mobile. Isolates the cords from the camera for better handling. Even on the tripod, it keeps the center of gravity on tilt adjustments closer to the axis of rotation.

2) 2 channels, both with XLR inputs, and a phone jack input each (one 1/4", one 1/8"). Very versatile.

3) switches allow mic or line level on each channel independently. Feed from a board possible, as well as both balanced and unbalanced mics. You can mix channels for mono.

4) individual level controls on each channel. Good for setting level on camera if you can't otherwise, or with the GL2, setting the camera level, and then cutting channel level if necessary during the shoot, and returning to the preset level without checking the meter (micing yourself and have to caugh?).

5) has a ground lift switch, good for avoiding the occasional idiosyncratic piece of equipment (Sony camcorders, etc.) .

6) The versatility: you can use it with any piece of equipment that has a minijack mic input, etc., allowing the use of balanced mics in other situations.

7) It's passive, and adds no noise to the circuit. At one point I was thinking of using a small mixer, but it was too noisy (as well as bulky and needing a plug). This device is transparent and does not attenuate the signal from the mic. I was told (by someone selling both) that the Beachtek does attenuate the signal noticably, but I have not personally verified that.

I think it might really depend on what suits your needs and style, but I have found it ideal for my uses. I do not work for the company either, and others may be better: it's just my experience!

Linc Kesler
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Old December 13th, 2002, 11:26 PM   #18
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Hi,
I have two questions:
1. With the canon MA-300, about how long do you guys think I could have my XLR cable before I start getting noise or interferance?

2. With the Studio 1, how do you manage an on-camera microphone? Do you have to run your XLR cable off the mic, across your body and into the box? This means that there are 2 cables coming from the camera to the box: the mic cable, and the mini-jack plug from the Studio 1 box. Dosn't this get annoying with two cables running back and forth?

Thanks!
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Old December 15th, 2002, 04:12 AM   #19
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I'll add another option into the mix for you. I bought a Sign Video XLR Pro from Zotz Digital a while ago and have been using that. The constrution is metal and all the connectors and switches seem rugged. It is both belt and undercam mountable. Has 2 1/4" mini jacks for input and two xlr inputs. Line/Mic switchable on both inputs. Two ground options and mono/stereo switch when you use just one input. I find it a good piece of equipment for the price (US$145 from Zotz)

The only thing I didn't like about it is that the volume controls are mounted on the wrong side of the unit so when it's undercam, hand holding can be awkward and if you're not careful you can inadvertently adjust the volume. Of course you can just belt clip carry it if that's an issue, but still a little inconvenient as I don't like belt clip mounting my adapter. Check it out at zotz, here.

The sound quality from is seems pretty damned good and I have no complaints yet.

http://www.zotzdigital.com/?page=sho...d=Sign%20Video

From what I understand, studio1 used to sell these until they branched out with their own units.

Cheers
Aaron
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Old December 15th, 2002, 11:26 AM   #20
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Zotz makes their own? Interesting. How long is the cable that you can do either belt or under-cam mounting? The studio1's is 4 feet.

Also, natural concern is, why is it so much cheaper than the others?

Thanks for the new input!
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Old December 15th, 2002, 01:07 PM   #21
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How Long is it?

<<<-- Originally posted by Scott Silverman : Hi,
I have two questions:
1. With the canon MA-300, about how long do you guys think I could have my XLR cable before I start getting noise or interferance?

I have used 30' of XLR with my AT835b and the MA300 with total silence. Let me qualify that; it's not "silent" but it's way quieter than the noise floor of my GL2. If you are using a mic with an internal power source like the AT835b you could probably run 50-100' with no problems since the signal is pretty hot coming from the mic. Noise may not be the only problem at that length, it may also suck some of the life out of your mic if it's a dynamic and not a condenser (powered) mic. I also use Mogami (Low Ox) cable, it's light and very flexible and does a great job of rejecting noise by itself. If you use pro gear you're more likely to get pro results - stay away from Radio Shack and other cheap cables and you'll be much better off.

Mark
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Old December 15th, 2002, 01:35 PM   #22
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Mark,
I would be using a ME66 (nonphantom) Do you think it would work as well as your AT835b with low noise if I used a professional cable with it?

Thanks!
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Old December 15th, 2002, 05:46 PM   #23
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<<<-- Originally posted by Imran Zaidi : Zotz makes their own? Interesting. How long is the cable that you can do either belt or under-cam mounting? The studio1's is 4 feet.

Also, natural concern is, why is it so much cheaper than the others?

Thanks for the new input! -->>>

Zotz don't make their own, they are just resellers of the Sign Video ones. Go to

http://www.signvideo.com/xlr-pro_xlr...udio-mixer.htm

for a look at the adapter. It' seems good and I heard good things about it's sound quality before I bought it.

The default cable is about 30cm long but comes with an extender cable of about 1.2m.

Cheers
Aaron
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Old December 17th, 2002, 08:31 AM   #24
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I have both the XLR-BP and the XLR-BP Pro from Studio 1.

The XLR-BP is a great low budget adapter for short mic runs. The XLR-BP Pro will handle anything you throw at it. I have run mic line 200 feet with it and no problems.

Some people make a big deal that the box it plastic, but I can say it is very rugged and buy having in the plastic box keeps it light weight, which helps when you have it on your belt. The box is internally shielded and Studio 1 also shields the transformers. Noise pickup has never been a problem for me.

The controls on the XLR-BP Pro are on the side of the box, while the jacks are on the face. This make it nice if you have to move and pull the cables with you, as the XLR adapter will not slip off your belt.

I asked the people at Studio 1 why they make the XLR-BP and the XLR-BP Pro, they said to meet different peoples needs. The XLR-BP is aimed at the low budget person who is using dynamic mics on interviews or mic booms. They said they sell a lot of the XLR-BP's to schools where the kids do the school news and interview other kids.

They said that most high end videographers buy the XLR-BP Pro since it can handle both mic and line level input and has a ground lift switch. (I have found the ground lift switch to have saved my butt more than once when connecting to audio mixing boards and ended up with a groud loop hum problem).

I have tried the XLR-PRO that Zotz has and didn't care for it. They say it can be mounted on the belt, but if you move and the cables pull, it pulls on the side of the adapter causing it to slip off the belt. Hand holding it is a real problem and either the connectors or the controls are pressed in your hand. There are a few other problems I didn't like about it.

Beachtek can be hand held a lot better than the XLR-PRO, however it can't be belt mounted.

The sound quality on the Studio 1 "hears" to be better, with the XLR-PRO coming in second and the Beach coming in third. The Beach unit seems to have a slight audio level loss.

Everyone has different needs and opinions on what they need for an XLR adapter. I like having the XLR adapter off of the camera.

Hope this helps anyone who is looking at these different adapters. Charles
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Old December 17th, 2002, 09:58 AM   #25
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It seems that many people seem to like the Studio1. I think I am going that route - I really like the idea of the belt clip, and the ground lift.

Since I currently am using a borrowed Beachtek, and I will be getting the Studio 1 XLR BP Pro for myself, I'll post my feelings about each here when I get a chance to compare the two.

Thanks everyone!
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Old December 17th, 2002, 10:45 AM   #26
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XLR/balanced etc...

<<<-- Originally posted by Scott Silverman : Mark,
I would be using a ME66 (nonphantom) Do you think it would work as well as your AT835b with low noise if I used a professional cable with it?

Thanks! -->>>

How far are you going to go? As I mentioned before noise is one factor, and the second is that in a long run the dynamic mics loose some puch over a long cable. That's a problem if you are a singer, but it may not even be noticeable for voice recording. Most people can't hear the difference.

I'm going to try and and solve the balanced / unbalanced xlr quandry once and for all..I'll keep you posted for results..
Mark
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Old December 17th, 2002, 01:52 PM   #27
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<<<-- Originally posted by Imran Zaidi :
Since I currently am using a borrowed Beachtek, and I will be getting the Studio 1 XLR BP Pro for myself, I'll post my feelings about each here when I get a chance to compare the two.
-->>>

Hey, it works out great... turns out Studio1Productions is run out of a location 20 minutes from me. They don't have a retail store, but they gave me free shipping for being in town and took my order over the phone to ensure it would be shipped today, which probably means I'll get it tomorrow.

I should have a mini-comparison/review between the two soon.
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Old December 19th, 2002, 11:57 PM   #28
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My Comparison Text

OK, I got the Studio 1 Productions XLR BP Pro yesterday (only took a day since Studio 1 headquarters is in my 'hood). So I decided that I need to, if only for myself, find out once and for all which one I think is better, since I had a borrowed Beachtek on hand as well. After doing my testing, I'm pretty much convinced, and it would take some really hard evidence otherwise to change my mind. So here's the summary.

First, the parts involved:

Camera: Canon GL2
XLR Adapters: Studio1 XLR BP Pro and the Beachtek DXA4P
Shotgun Mic: Azden SGM-2X, connected with a hi-quality lo-z 4-foot cable with balanced connectors
Test area: Carpeted bedroom, A/C turned off, no other discernible audio interruptions (late at night)
Test subject: Moi, an 'advanced amateur with a very good ear'

Physical comparison:
The Studio1 is lighter. However, it seems every bit as durable as the Beachtek. It's just lighter. I imagine Studio1 could have stuck a sandbag or lead brick inside if they so wished to make it seem like it's more durable, but I like the fact that it's lighter. But it's not like it feels like cheap plastic--it seems to be made of the same material on the outside. I don't believe that either one would outlast the other in the field. But then, I can't remember the last time I went on Safari (never) so what do I know?

During the entire duration of the test, the mic was approximately 1 foot from my mouth, in normal mode (no wind-noise cancelling). The volume controls in both adapters were set to maximum, with levels being controled with the GL2's all new on board level controls. The Studio1 is brand new, and the Beachtek is over a year old, but handled with care.

The tests:
I recorded myself reading a long paragraph of a product description. At one point at the end of a sentence, the recording was paused. Everything was kept the same, all in the same place, with the only difference being the switchout of the XLR adapter from one to the other. The recording was then resumed with me continuing the reading. In playback, the only difference was the audio. When playing back, this was a great quick way to compare and contrast the two sounds.

The result? The Studio1 was letting through significantly more sound. At first I thought there was more hiss, but I was wrong. What was happening upon closer inspection and a repeat of the test, was that EVERYTHING was louder coming through the Studio1; my voice, the ambient sound of the room, everything. Also, upon closer inspection, with the Beachtek, when the audio levels indicator was just at the turning point between green and yellow, a switch to the Studio1 one pushed the levels well into the yellow area. There was no question, the Beachtek was not letting some sound through that the Studio1 was.

Then I tried another test - silence to silence, with matched audio levels, to get an overall idea of the sound I could get. Basically, what I did was adjust volume to a good level on one adapter, talk and then record silence, and then do the switchout of the adapter, but this time, adjust the audio levels to match, and then start recording with silence and then speak some more. This, again, was a good quick way to do a comparison, this time, with matched audio levels.

The result of this test? Well, since the Studio1 was letting in more sound, I found that when the levels of the camera were brought down to make it match the levels with the Beachtek hooked up, I got what I felt to be a cleaner sound with less background hiss, presumably because the camera was just getting more to work with from the Studio1. So with the volume being turned down, so did any unwanted noise. My voice appeared clearer, and I could more clearly hear the smack of my tongue and every lip-lick or saliva bubble as I talked. Sorry for the ugly visual.

Conclusion:
I was really not expecting to hear any real discernible difference. I honestly thought that you would need lab gear to really gauge which adapter might be better. But this wasn't a lab test. I didn't have a multi-thousand dollar audio meter or mixer or any such device hooked up. But I definitely noticed a difference - my ears heard it, and my camera's audio levels indicated it loud and clear.

I enjoyed the fact that everything was kept simple in this test. The point of this was to do a straight one-to-one comparison, with as few outside factors as possible. I am not an audio engineer. Like I said before, I'm just an advanced amateur with a very good ear. Take my test as you so choose. I just know that I'm convinced--The Studio1 is for me. Especially when you account for the fact that you can potentially use it with other devices, and you aren't just limited to your one camera. And I really like the fact that I can keep it on my belt, because that works really well with my camera stabilizer. The more weight I can take off, the happier my forearm is.

Hope this guerrilla test was useful to you. Just thought I'd offer something back since this board has been helping me tremendously on a variety of topics.

Imran.
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Old December 20th, 2002, 12:28 AM   #29
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Thanks for that review. Now your next step is to compare the MA300 to the Studio1 and we will have a final result! (just kidding)

Thanks for that great review, I figured the Studio 1 would be better, now I know for sure. However, I think when my GL2 comes along and am going to get a MA300 because I will be doing mostly mic on camera work using a ME66. I am the only man, I have no sound guy and I will be shooting handheld/glidecam/tripod back and forth so the mic cord coming off the camera and to my belt and then back into the camera could be a pain.

Thanks again for your review, I hope others find it just as useful as I did!
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Old December 20th, 2002, 12:56 AM   #30
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Imran - Very thorough and logical test.

Scott - Yes, MA300 here. Have the Senny [Sennhiesher]ME66 etc... Single camerman here too, can't be bothering with lots of wires and things hanging off tripods. Senny has own battery; done interviews in crowded bars, need to "whizz" easily through crowds; wedding stuff needing the same. I'm a klutz when it comes to parts and wires, don't feel I want to trip over wires - works for me - simple - effective and excellent quality. Thehas an extra "gripping" mic boss sticking out with the Senny mic [and its logo-ed Sennhieser cover - very posey!] very pro looking!!!

Grazie
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