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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
For VIXIA / LEGRIA Series (HF G, HF S, HF and HV) consumer camcorders.


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Old January 26th, 2009, 06:26 PM   #1
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Question On How To Improve Sound Quality

Hello all,

I am new to the forum and have learned a lot from reading your posts. I have a question on the best way to improve the sound on the Canon HV20. As you know, the sound quality is less than stellar with this camera, even though I am happy with the picture quality. I do have a good external rhode mic and boom pole that I used with a XL1s, but need to configure it to the camra. I also would like to be able to add an additional external microphone. What is the best way to improve the sound quality for filming both in an indoor and outdoor setting on this camera with a budget of approx $1000. From what I read, it looks like I should invest in a sound mixer and/ or external recorder? Am I correct?

Thanks

Last edited by Rick Owens; January 26th, 2009 at 09:13 PM. Reason: Change Title
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Old January 27th, 2009, 01:25 PM   #2
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I suggest looking at one of the Beechtek xlr adapters, of which this one fits the HV20 nicely:
Beachtek | DXA-2S - Dual XLR Universal Microphone | DXA-2S | B&H
altough there are other models as well which you might consider. This one is a passive (attenuation only) model, switchable for line or mic, 2 xlr input or 1 xlr and 1 miniplug, as you choose. There are amplified models and ones with phantom power and meters,but they are bigger.

Or you might want an external mixer -pita if you are working alone, I think---there are compact ones and economical ones from Rolls and Azden, as well as more expensive from Shure and others, that you might consider.

We provide HV20 kits to our photographers who shoot occasional videos on their stories, and equip them with a Beechtek box, a Sennheiser MKE 300 (now out of print and replaced by the excellent MKE400) shotgun mike, a hand mike and a set of Sennheiser G2 wireless mikes with lavalier. This has proven satisfactory for our needs, ymmv. // Batttle Vaughan / Miamiherald.com video team
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Old January 27th, 2009, 03:40 PM   #3
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Audio question

Thanks for the info. Now, if I want to record the audio separate from the video and sync the two in post, what would the best way of doing so with the HV20 cam? Sorry if this is an amateur question, but Im a newbie and just learning.

thanks in advance!
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Old January 27th, 2009, 05:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Owens View Post
Thanks for the info. Now, if I want to record the audio separate from the video and sync the two in post, what would the best way of doing so with the HV20 cam? Sorry if this is an amateur question, but Im a newbie and just learning.

thanks in advance!
Double system - recording audio separately from the camera and syncing them in post - is problematic with consumer cameras like the HV20. So the first question to explore is if it would be worth the trouble. Just what about the sound you're getting now is it that you're trying to improve and why do you think double system might help with the specific issues that are giving you concerns?

What mics do you have now? You said earlier you have a Rode but which one? Do you work alone or do you / can you have a sound op or boom op to work with you?

For an XLR to mini adapter I favour the JuicedLink over the Beachtech. Take a look at their site and you'll see (and hear) some comparisons. If your budget doesn't sustain a real field mixer or all you need is to be able to use XLR mics with a camera that only has a minijack mic input they're worth considering.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 05:07 PM   #5
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Double system hard, yeah, but.....

While I agree in principle with Steve that double-system sound is difficult with consumer cameras, as a practical matter our reporters have done this quite well with the HV20 and a separate Edirol R-09 recorder for something like a press conference. The camera and the recorder are remarkably speed-stable, at least over, say, a five minute clip. They recorded with the on-camera mike at their position and the Edirol at the podium and I have been able to match the tracks up very easily, and they synch over reasonable lengths of time with no problem.

There are some tricky bits -- there is a delay that increases with distance, so the up-close recorder and the on-camera may be slightly out of synch with the moving lips and each other. But you can slide the tracks by eye very easily to match them, if it's necessary. I use the on-camera mike just to show where the audio is falling, and then adjust by eye, or even use a bit of that track as ambient, mixed with the up-close track. A sudden sharp accidental noise like someone dropping a metal object or coughing loudly (oops, how did that happen??) gives you a good starting point for matching the waveforms...;) / Battle Vaughan /miamiherald.com video team
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Old January 31st, 2009, 10:27 AM   #6
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Rick, I have the HV 20 and struggled with the issue for awhile. The conclusion I came to, based on the knowledgeable advice given here, was to invest in good mics and a field mixer. I chose a Sound Devices 3 channel mixer and I had my shop build a set of connectors to take it down from XLR to the minijack the camera accepts. I'm very happy with the set up and I noticed an improvement in the sound quality versus just plugging the mic into the camera. I rented the SD and a Beachtek box before purchasing and preferred the control of the SD to the Beachtek.

I'd note that the mixer is a device that you can/will use with future cameras. I looked into double system and came to the conclusion that the money spent on a good quality recorder would be better allocated toward a new camera with "proper' audio connectors and such. I also concluded that camera + mixer was the limit of what I could do solo. Adding an audio recorder would induce task overload to the point that I could not focus on shooting. If I need double system, I need another pair of hands and ears!

Last edited by Bob Kerner; January 31st, 2009 at 10:28 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old January 31st, 2009, 12:49 PM   #7
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I've got a Juicedlink on order for use with my HG20 - but I used to have two HV20s and I was frustrated from time to time until I figured out some of the quirks of the sound.

For some reason, the gain on the HV20 introduces a LOT of hiss, so I never, ever, ever, let the gain go above 2/3rds max on the HV20. I find I get better results adding gain in post.

Remember to turn off autogain.

One of the reasons I went with the Juicedlink instead of the Beachtek is that the Juicedlink has it's own pre-amp, which means that you can turn up the volume in the mixer while keeping the gain low in the HV20 itself. Greatly reduces the hiss.

Before then I was simply going with a Rode Videomic, cameramounted (I'm often one-man army.)

I HAD a Zoom H2, but it broke and I have to send it into repairs. I think it may have something to do with using it overseas, but I'm not sure. I just never got around to it. Sound from the Zoom is great but there is some issue of audio drift - it's not that hard to sync up in post, though.

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Old January 31st, 2009, 02:21 PM   #8
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Thanks all for the advice. I think Ill try either the Juicedlink or Beachteck XLR adapter with mixer and see if if it makes a difference. I'll keep you posted.
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