Does the XH A1 have a limiter? at DVinfo.net

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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 May 29th, 2008, 06:25 PM   #1
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Does the XH A1 have a limiter?

Hello,

Playing around I realized that the audio meter on the XH A1 never goes past -2dB. No mater how loud a noise I produced that's as high as it reads. I'd listen back to what I'd recorded and it didn't sound distorted, but it's hard to be sure when what is recorded is me screaming.

So, anybody know whether this camera had a limiter at work?

Thanks.

John
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Old May 29th, 2008, 09:18 PM   #2
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Sounds like the attenuator is on. Move the "XLR MIC ATT" switch to the left, and you should be able to get higher sound levels.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 10:23 PM   #3
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If it's on auto gain, that is the limiter. Switch to manual and adjust the pots accordingly.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:01 PM   #4
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The attenuator has not been on so that's not the source of mystery.

I am interested in this idea of the gain. Maybe I need to learn something here. I'd always assumed that the automatic gain control on my XH A1 just adjusted video. As the manual says concerning the Automatic Gain Control switch: "The gain control adjusts the level of the video signal generated..." But I see too that gain is measured in db. (As the manual goes on to say: "you can independently assign gain values from -3dB to +36dB".) So does "gain" here, ie. the camera's ACG, also affect audio and act as a limiter when in "on" position as you suggest?
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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Whiteway View Post
The attenuator has not been on so that's not the source of mystery.

I am interested in this idea of the gain. Maybe I need to learn something here. I'd always assumed that the automatic gain control on my XH A1 just adjusted video. As the manual says concerning the Automatic Gain Control switch: "The gain control adjusts the level of the video signal generated..." But I see too that gain is measured in db. (As the manual goes on to say: "you can independently assign gain values from -3dB to +36dB".) So does "gain" here, ie. the camera's ACG, also affect audio and act as a limiter when in "on" position as you suggest?
Video gain control and audio level control 2 different things. Keep reading in the manual.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Whiteway View Post
The attenuator has not been on so that's not the source of mystery.

I am interested in this idea of the gain. Maybe I need to learn something here. I'd always assumed that the automatic gain control on my XH A1 just adjusted video. As the manual says concerning the Automatic Gain Control switch: "The gain control adjusts the level of the video signal generated..." But I see too that gain is measured in db. (As the manual goes on to say: "you can independently assign gain values from -3dB to +36dB".) So does "gain" here, ie. the camera's ACG, also affect audio and act as a limiter when in "on" position as you suggest?
I think I see the source of the confusion here.

Bill is correct to use the term "gain" for the audio, but the manual uses the term "level" instead. So the camera has two separate gains, one for video, the other for audio and both can be set for either automatic or manual.

The audio gain ("level") is either set manually by adjusting the little dials ("pots") on the left side at the back, or automatically by moving the switch underneath the pots from M for manual to A for automatic. The attenuators for mics and XLR inputs can be used with either M or A setting.

Bill's point was that when the audio switch is set to A, the camera effectively has an audio limiter.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 08:16 PM   #7
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Be aware that the audio ALC is not a true limiter, and will it can mange the average record level it will not prevent clipping in the preamps because it comes after the preamps in the signal path. For loud venues and hot mics it is common to need to use use the MIC ATT setting to prevent clipping in the audio preamps.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 01:25 AM   #8
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XH-A1 does NOT have a limiter.

Let's keep the terminology clear.

Automati gain controlfor audio not only damps loud peaks (but often too slowly), but also raises low levels.

Limiter only damps the peaks, but so fast, that overload and clipping can not happen (when properly adjusted).

Auto gain for audio has side effects (pumping) which make it unusable for critical applications. Limiter is a standard professional tool in mixers and pro cameras,
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Old September 21st, 2008, 04:44 PM   #9
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Lack of a limiter on the xh-a1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petri Kaipiainen View Post
XH-A1 does NOT have a limiter. Limiter is a standard professional tool in mixers and pro cameras,
I was spoiled with my old Panasonic DVX which had a sound limiter. I would like some advice on how other A1 owners are handling those times when extreme audio occurs before we can react?
I hope there is another alternative besides automatic audio mode.

Last edited by Greg Clark; September 21st, 2008 at 06:22 PM.
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Old September 21st, 2008, 05:38 PM   #10
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Greg, I found the lack of an A1 limiter was a problem at first but it led to investigating other ways of recording its audio.

I use a Sound Devices SD302 mixer which is excellent and there are others which have limiters. The plus is that you can get better overall sound from your A1.

Cheers.
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