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Old February 9th, 2005, 08:10 AM   #1
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2 mics into gl2 NOT via xlr adaptor

Hello

(this forum is so good it has consumed hours of my time since recently discovering it...thanks everyone.)

Im a photographer but a beginner with dv.

i have the xm2/gl2, one mke300 which is on minijack, one at897 with an xvm101 short converter lead which takes it from xlr down to minijack.

I want to exploit both mics at once.

I cannot financially consider a beachtek right now, and with the mke300 on minijack i dont know if thats a solution anyway.

If i have correctly understood a suggestion appearing on a uk dealers website, the answer is both cheap and easy. They dont go on to say anything about any quality implications if there are any though.

The suggestion is to simply use a '2 female down to one male' minijack converter. plug the mics to the converter and the converter directly to the mic socket on the side of the xm2.

would it work?
would i have to set the xm2 to 12 or 16 bit sound?
would the minjacks on the mics specifically need to be mono or stereo?
would the '2 to 1' converter need specifically to be mono or stereo?

would audio footage of a quality adequate for a fly-on -the wall doco' around motorcycle pitlane/paddock environments (which may end up broadcast) be viable on this setup?

I am assuming to be unconcerned about missing out on the xlr capability of the at897, largely as i dont anticipate cable runs off either mic being over 3m.

Im not sure if this is best asked here or in 'now hear this', but im grateful for any insight??

Michael
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Old February 9th, 2005, 12:16 PM   #2
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Welcome Michael! Glad we have consumed so much of your time! <g>

While you might be able to easily find a 2-in/1-out mini-plug adapter / splitter (indeed, I have two in a drawer somewhere) there are three hitches to beware of that come to my mind offhand.

First, you will have to make certain that the adapter is able to correctly separate the two mics' channels. That is, the splitter's male side must feature a 2-channel connection and the female sides must be able to navigate the mics' 1-channel connections into two separate (left and right) channels with each mic's signal occupying a single channel. (Most external mics, such as your Sennheiser MKE300, are mono (1-channel)).

The second hitch might be that of noise. Long lengths of cable tend to act like antennas. Professional audio cables (ex: those with XLR connections) feature a "balanced" configuration that enables the cable to resist electromagnetic noise -- which will often appear in your sound track as continuous or sporadic hum. The better cables are also shielded to further reduce external interference. The cable and connection design for mini-jack-style plugs offers no such protection. That 2-to-1 connector itself will likely be a hotbed of noise. So you will need to keep you cable lengths relatively short. (Interconnecting XLR and mini-plug cabling will, to a degree, negate the noise reduction benefits of the balanced line.)

The third hitch is a practical matter relating to connecting an XLR cable into that mini-jack adapter. XLR cables and connectors are heavy. Mini-plug connections are light and frail. Preventing the XLR cable from disconnecting from the little mini-plug connection will require some thought and field engineering. You may be able to rig some type of strain relief loop with gaffers tape but it will still require some care.

Good luck!
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Old February 10th, 2005, 05:45 AM   #3
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As Ken notes, the "Y" adap[ter must fo from a pair of mono female mini-phone jacks to a male stereo mini-phone plug. You can then connect the mics tot eh left and right input.

Note that sound levels might be a bit problematic if the mic output levels are not reasonably matched, especially with agc, and in any case they may have a rather differnt sound in each chanel due to differing characteristics.

And Ken's warning about cable weight is very valid. Whether or not you have a noise pickup problem will depend onthe environment in which you are working.
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Old February 10th, 2005, 08:19 AM   #4
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Thank you guys for the insight. Sounds like its possible but 'suck-it-and-see' as far as the quality of results go.

Cable weight and clumsy adapters have been on my mind from the practicability point of view .

Im softening to the idea of putting my hand in my pocket again for the beachtek but how do i use the mke300 (minijack) in such an xlr device? I know it wont magically get xlr characteristics but will it even plug in!?

(sorry if this is a stupid question but if im gonna buy a $170 item and pay $45 shipping i dont want to overlook a $10 adapter and pay a further $30 shipping)

thanks again
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Old February 10th, 2005, 12:16 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Michael Donne :
...Im softening to the idea of putting my hand in my pocket again for the beachtek but how do i use the mke300 (minijack) in such an xlr device? I know it wont magically get xlr characteristics but will it even plug in!?
-->>>

The Beachtek is an excellent choice for XLR adapters.

Actually, you probably wouldn't use the MKE300 in conjunction with a Beachtek. At least I don't. I only use my MKE300 when I need a narrower sound field on-camera and am in a highly mobile situation where I need to remain light. I've always been glad I have the MKE300 when I've needed it but it's not a mic I often use, as I really do not like to use on-camera mics at all if possible.

That's not to say that it -could not- be used. Here, again, it's possible to get an adapter to mate the mini-plug to a very short XLR line that connects to the Beachtek. But, frankly, it could present another practical nightmare to accommodate. The XLR connector and cable will have to be secured to the camera body to prevent it from bashing the camera and the sound track. You'll probably have so much tape and cable on the camera that it will like it's being held hostage.

One of the few things I can say I've learned over the years is that there are practical limits to creative adaptability.
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