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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old April 15th, 2008, 07:26 PM   #1
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Canon XH A1 and line-in from Sound devices 302

(Hope it;s ok that I start a new thread. I've just posted the question below as a "reply" to a discussion thread I started on this topic a few days ago. When I looked at my entry I saw it on "page two" after 14 other entries so feared that my new question may not be seen. Sorry in advance if this is the wrong way to go about it.)


First, thank you all for the help and answers you've given me concerning my questions about my XH A1 and Sound Devices 302 mixer. I've learned a lot.

I'd like to ask one more question.

Several of you have said that the Canon XH A1 can accept line-in. The trick is to open the mic levels on the camera fully. When you do and send the tone from the SD 302 you'll get a reading of -20dB.

I've been experimenting today alternating between line-out and mic-out. I agree that the sound I get with line-out/line-in is clearer. The problem is volume. When I play back on the camera the sound is faint. When I transfer to Final Cut the volume is barely audible. The sonogram shows that. Even when I raise the volume of the track on FCP to the maximum the volume is still too low.

Am I doing something wrong?

I have to use the equipment tomorrow so, if someone can help me here I'd appreciate an answer as soon as possible.

Thanks again.

John
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Old April 15th, 2008, 08:00 PM   #2
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If your tone is set at a -20 and you then record your subjects so the sound is close to a -12, with the soft parts maybe dipping down to a -20 and the loud parts peaking to a -10, then you should be OK. Once you've set the incoming tone on the camera to -20, then you've calibrated the camera to the mixer. All additional gain adjustment is done with mic position or with the mixer. Tone at -20, everything else at -12.

Sorry if that's too elementary, but lots of people seem to mess that up.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 08:19 PM   #3
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Thanks.

After setting up the camera with tone to -20 dB I've turned on my mics and set their levels through the mixer to -20 to -12 (i.e. average topping at around -12). When I do that the level on the camera drops to below -20, more like -30. Are you suggesting I not use the rule of thumb of -20 to -12 on the mixer?
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Old April 15th, 2008, 09:39 PM   #4
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You're saying when your mixer is reading -12, the camera is recording only at a -20, after you've calibrated it? If that's the case, then I'm stumped. Obviously something's not right there. There's some signal being lost between the mixer and the camera. When you set your tone out of the mixer, your master is at zero, right? I can't figure this one out. I've only used the XH A1 with a Shure FP33, and everything worked fine.

One thing you said in your original post was that you had to crank the camera's pots all the way open to get a -20, was that right? When I used the Shure, I had to go only to about 2/3 to 3/4 wide open to get a -20. I don't know if that means anything or not, but if you can check it out with a different mixer, that would be the first thing I think I'd try.
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Old April 15th, 2008, 09:55 PM   #5
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Thanks again.

The SD 302 manual says: "the tone oscillator is set to output a 1 kHz tone at 0dBu to the outputs (when the outputs are set to Line level)", so no problem there I think.

As for fully opening the camera pots. Yes, they have to be to get -20dB registering on the camera meter. That is also the advice of Petri Kaipianen and others I received in this forum on the 7th, I think.

The only way I can get the camera to record above -20 is to crank the mixer way up so that it's madly peaking and averaging close to 0.

I hope those who were saying that the XH A1 can work with line in can offer their solutions to my problem.

John
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Old April 15th, 2008, 11:22 PM   #6
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I think here's my confusion...When you set audio levels, I was referring to -20 to -12 in the camera, not the mixer. I may have spelled that out in a confusing manner. The mixer is analog and your master control should be at zero. All your audio readings on the mixer should be between -5 and zero. Your master control on the mixer should be right at zero and the tone going to the camera should be at -20 on the camera. I was just assuming you were getting good levels on the mixer...zero on the mixer is -12 on the camera. My brain is a bit slow on the uptake tonight and I think I was totally off on that earlier post...I think in terms of zero on the mixer and -12 on the camera and I believe I said -12 on the mixer. When you turn on your tone in the mixer, you have to adjust the master control knob to zero. In the mixer your meters should be bouncing off the zero, maybe on occasion peaking over zero just a bit. On rereading my earlier post, it doesn't make sense. That's what I get for writing on 4 hours sleep. Does that make sense? Zero on the mixer, -12 in the camera. When you set your mixer master to zero and tone is -20 in the camera, then the camera is seeing -12 as the same thing the mixer sees as zero when recording voices assume you get your mic inputs to the mixer up to where they should be. Once you set the mixer master to about zero, leave it there and adjust the incoming mic input to the mixer so you're reading around zero. That should give you -12 in the camera. I'm getting repititous, time for bed.
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Old April 16th, 2008, 01:28 AM   #7
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Mixers use old analog scales, where zero 0 is a kind of optimum level, but full clipping level is at +20 dBVU. Digital cameras use digital scale, where full clipping signal is zero 0 and there are no positive levels at all.

Mixer zero level is set to -20 on camera with test tone. After that you set levels with mixer to be between zero and +16 dBVU, which makes them to appear at between -20 and -4 dBFS on the camera.

In conclusion: levels shown on mixer meters are and should be 20 dB higher than on camera meters. If you keep mixer levels below zero dBVU, they will be 20 dBFS too low on cam.

mixer dBVU*** camera dBFS
+20 ******** 0
+17 ******** -3 maximum safe level
+12 ******** -8
+6 ******** -12 dialog level
0 ******** -20 reference tone level
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Old January 8th, 2009, 06:50 PM   #8
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302 mixer input switch

Is the input switch for the channel you are using on your 302 mixer set to mic and ph for phantom? Microphone to xlr to 302 input?
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Old January 14th, 2009, 01:31 PM   #9
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I use (like Petri) the A1 and SD302 combination. The problemsolver for you is to push the mic levels on the mixer more to hot.

Set mixer 0 = camera line in to max (= -20db)
And set your limiter to start at -let say- +17db

Now make sure you let the mic signal on the mixer to hit until it hits the red zone...
There are more good articles on 'how to' also from Petri.
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