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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old November 17th, 2007, 05:20 PM   #1
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Audio Line-In for HD mode?

Hi, I'm considering alternative audio capturing for my ordered HV20.

Idea is to fix a stereo mike and a mike preamp (beachtek, mixpre, im2 etc) on the camera and feed the output of that preamp into HV20's Line-In (AV/Phones) - while filming in HD mode.

Does the HV20 record audio received on its AV/Phones socket, when in HD recording mode? Because the manual says on page 71 section "Analog Line-In Recording" it records analog video in DV standard - but not HDV.

So I'm thinking that if the camera is in HD mode it will ignore the sound it arrives on its line-in - is this so? Am I forced into the HV20's Mic input (and camera's mic preamp)?

Thanks,

Alex
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Old November 17th, 2007, 05:52 PM   #2
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Sorry but there are several misconceptions at work here.

1. Analog A/V Line Input (the yellow jack) refers only to the ability to record an SD (standard definition) video source when the HV20 is operating in VCR / playback mode -- not in camera recording mode.

2. You'll want to use the Mic Input (the red jack) in order to bring in sound from some other source (such as an external microphone) when the HV20 is operating in camera recording mode.

3. The Mic Input (the red jack) is active in both SD and HD modes.

4. Finally, you'll want to set the menu option to use the A/V Input (the yellow jack) as a headphone jack so that you can properly monitor the incoming audio signal during recording.

Hope this helps,
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Old November 17th, 2007, 06:09 PM   #3
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Thanks for clarification.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Sorry but there are several misconceptions at work here.

1. Analog A/V Line Input (the yellow jack) refers only to the ability to record an SD (standard definition) video source when the HV20 is operating in VCR / playback mode -- not in camera recording mode.
A-ha!

Quote:

2. You'll want to use the Mic Input (the red jack) in order to bring in sound from some other source (such as an external microphone) when the HV20 is operating in camera recording mode.

3. The Mic Input (the red jack) is active in both SD and HD modes.
So my sound is forced through HV20's mic preamp even though prior to it there's a higher-quality preamp? That's deceiving...

Quote:

4. Finally, you'll want to set the menu option to use the A/V Input (the yellow jack) as a headphone jack so that you can properly monitor the incoming audio signal during recording.

Hope this helps,
Right, monitoring from deeper in the chain is always useful. But I'd prefer that Yellow socket to be a "Line In" and me to monitor from the external preamp... Probably not possible with this HV20...

I'll probably end up adding an audio recording device too, with all the syncing issues.

Sorry if I may miss some aspect, newbie here.

Alex
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Old November 18th, 2007, 07:46 AM   #4
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Also when using an external mic or mixer, depending on the output level of the device, you may need to turn on the microphone attenuation feature of the camera to get the best results (and prevent clipping)
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Old November 18th, 2007, 09:44 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Zenreich View Post
Also when using an external mic or mixer, depending on the output level of the device, you may need to turn on the microphone attenuation feature of the camera to get the best results (and prevent clipping)
RIght... I still need to learn to use that. BAsically it's a second knob to control audio (in addition to the video start/stop+zoom+exposure). I'd prefer it to be only one for audio...

Alex
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Old November 18th, 2007, 10:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexandru Petrescu View Post
RIght... I still need to learn to use that. BAsically it's a second knob to control audio (in addition to the video start/stop+zoom+exposure). I'd prefer it to be only one for audio...

Alex
Alex,

It's not another control while recording... it's used to match the microphone to the camera's input, then you don't touch it. When I was recording a performance, I was given a feed coming from an auditorium's sound board. I piped this into a small mixer, and I had to turn on the mic attenuation setting to avoid a hum and clipping.

When the incoming sound level is within range (and this might require the attenuator) then it's just watching and changing the recording levels as needed.

One thing that's easy to overlook with the HV20 is that when you're recording and looking at the microphone settings/level, pushing the toggle left or right decreases or increases the volume... but toggling UP resets the volume to automatic... and then you can go left or right from there. This is particularly useful if you find yourself at a far end of the volume +/- range while using the toggle.

I do agree that it would be nice to be able to turn the attenuation on and off easily while recording without having to go through the menus.
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Old November 19th, 2007, 09:35 AM   #7
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"So my sound is forced through HV20's mic preamp even though prior to it there's a higher-quality preamp? That's deceiving..."

I haven't seen any specs on the internal preamp on the HV20 so I'm not sure that it's valid to state that it's a weaker link in the chain than the Beachtek or other line input level matching devices. I'd like to see some specs comparing the HV20 preamp to devices such as Beachtek to see if there is some crunching going on once the audio passes through the interenal preamp. Perhaps if you were using $2000 + mics recording a symphony, the internal preamp might come into play. I would say the audio specs of HDV is the weakest link to getting real high quality audio with the HV20.

I'm also recording externally with a Zoom 4 but I haven't tried and don't look forward to the sync scenerio in post op. I'm still feeding my $200 mic into my XLR Pro and on into the Mic in on the camera in addition to the Zoom.
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Old November 19th, 2007, 10:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Hotze View Post
"So my sound is forced through HV20's mic preamp even though prior to it there's a higher-quality preamp? That's deceiving..."

I haven't seen any specs on the internal preamp on the HV20 so I'm not sure that it's valid to state that it's a weaker link in the chain than the Beachtek or other line input level matching devices. I'd like to see some specs comparing the HV20 preamp to devices such as Beachtek to see if there is some crunching going on once the audio passes through the interenal preamp. Perhaps if you were using $2000 + mics recording a symphony, the internal preamp might come into play. I would say the audio specs of HDV is the weakest link to getting real high quality audio with the HV20.
I think that is a good conclusion. I think for highest portable quality I need external recording anyways to avoid internal preamp _and_ HDV's mpeg audio encoding.

(no I'm not recording symphony not even music, just sound under all its aspects).

Quote:
I'm also recording externally with a Zoom 4 but I haven't tried and don't look forward to the sync scenerio in post op. I'm still feeding my $200 mic into my XLR Pro and on into the Mic in on the camera in addition to the Zoom.
Thanks for the pointer to XLR Pro. After looking at the spec I understand it can not accept a microphone needing phantom power, like AudioTechnica BP4029 M/S shotgun? BEcause XLR Pro says it has no battery. Is this so?

Otherwise it looks as a very portable device easily mountable on the camera. (I've posted a list of other devices with similar I've identified in the "All Things Audio Forum" http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=108234 )
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Old November 19th, 2007, 10:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Zenreich View Post
Alex,

It's not another control while recording... it's used to match the microphone to the camera's input, then you don't touch it. When I was recording a performance, I was given a feed coming from an auditorium's sound board. I piped this into a small mixer, and I had to turn on the mic attenuation setting to avoid a hum and clipping.

When the incoming sound level is within range (and this might require the attenuator) then it's just watching and changing the recording levels as needed.

One thing that's easy to overlook with the HV20 is that when you're recording and looking at the microphone settings/level, pushing the toggle left or right decreases or increases the volume... but toggling UP resets the volume to automatic... and then you can go left or right from there. This is particularly useful if you find yourself at a far end of the volume +/- range while using the toggle.

I do agree that it would be nice to be able to turn the attenuation on and off easily while recording without having to go through the menus.
Thanks that's the kind of clues will take me some time. I'll have to practice these.

Alex
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Old November 19th, 2007, 10:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexandru Petrescu View Post
I'd prefer that Yellow socket to be a "Line In" and me to monitor from the external preamp... Probably not possible with this HV20.
Correct. It is not possible with the HV20 or any other consumer camcorder that I'm aware of.
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Old November 20th, 2007, 07:59 AM   #11
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A couple observations, but no actual tests of an HV-20.

Generally speaking most camcorders will have a somewhat better (i.e., lower) noise floor when using the MIC ATT setting. This can be an advantage if you have a higher level audio source, such as a hot mic or output from a quality mixer and can achieve normal recording levels.

Many of the Beachtek-like XLR adapters (Sign-Video ans Studio-1 to name a couple) are passive. All they do is attenuate the sound, and add no internally generated noise component of their own.

Many (but not all) mixers and wireless mics offer a mic-level output at a nominal -30dB or so level. This should match well with the MIC ATT setting on camcorders. You have to check the specs of the audio source to see what you have.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 07:13 AM   #12
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Sorry, I'm a bit unclear about the final result of this thread.

In the end, does the camera's microphone attenuation allow the HV20 to accept a line-level input? I have a Sound Devices MP-1 I'd like to hook up, so that I can get a long, balanced cable run, and so I have phantom power to my mics.

(I don't own an HV20, but it's so cheap I wouldn't mind having one in the bag).
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Old March 5th, 2008, 09:40 PM   #13
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i also have a zoom h4 that i've been using when i shoot bands and am very happy with it (i sync sound in post). another option you could try is to mount the zoom to the hv20 via the shoe mount and run the line out on the h4 to the input on the hv20, so you'd be capturing the feed to the h4 and the hv20 concurrently.

i've also run quite a few things into my hv20 at line level and mic att is a must. otherwise the quality has been acceptable with line level feeds.
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