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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 September 12th, 2008, 02:57 AM   #16
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Take it away: Tony Kofi on Vimeo
This saxophone was recorded with the in-built mics.
They were my back-up.
They gave an excellent result.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 08:12 PM   #17
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A1U vs. XH-A1 mics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Annie Haycock View Post
Robin

I admit to not having got into the audio side of things yet - concentrate what little time I have for video on getting the pictures right - but you mentioned the Sony A1. How do you rate the external mic that came with that camera. I have never used mine due to the fiddly nature of setting it up. But would it be any better on the Canon A1 than the Canon built-in mic?
The "comes with" short shotgun on the A1U (grabs cam out of bag to look) is a Sony part # ECM-NV1. It's good for spoken voice and more directional than most short shotguns I've used, which makes it great for "run and gun" news shooting. And that's what the A1U is designed for, no?

For music, it's not a good mic. My Rode NTG1 has a MUCH wider frequency response. Ditto my Nady Starpowers on stands -- a pair of them is my favorite stereo recording rig for live event shoots.

On the A1U I use the supplied shotgun and either an Audio-Technica Pro88W VHF wireless mic set or a Shure handheld as my most common setups -- with AGC -- and don't worry about a thing. On the XH-A1... I'm still dicking around with sound. I have hiss problems with the Pro88W, although not with my Samson UHF wireless rig *if* I set the rcvr output level to -20 with the attenuator on that channel "off" and the one that takes my NTG-1 (my shotguns are always Ch. 1) set "on" to compensate for the higher gain from that mic.

I've never had to fiddle with the shotgun on the A1U. I plug it in, make sure it has phantom power, and it's AGC all the way -- at least for news/interview work, which is most of what I do.

I've used the Sony shotgun mic on the Canon, too, for some fast news shoots, and it's fine -- for its intended purpose.

As far as not having had time yet to mess with sound: Huh?

Annie, I do this video stuff for money, and I assure you that between 60% and 80% of what separates pro video from amateur shooting is sound. I have no choice but to be obsessed with sound. Yes, I have denoising software, but that always denigrates audio quality.

I am not rich, so I am careful about the gear I buy. I am supremely irritated right now to find that my venerable Pro88W wireless mics are so poor with the XH-A1. I suppose (sigh) that to do interviews with two wireless lav mics I'll need to buy another Samson set on a different freq.

Or just go back to using the Sony A1U unless I *must* use the XH-A1. The Canon is a fine piece of equipment, but that little Sony is rugged and simple and I understand it and it understands me. Again, (sigh).

Last edited by Robin Miller; September 14th, 2008 at 08:38 PM. Reason: typo
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Old September 15th, 2008, 02:01 AM   #18
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A1U vs. XH-A1 mics

Hi Robin

Thanks for that info. My interest is in wildlife rather than people, so I haven't had to deal with the quality of voice or music recordings yet. Mostly I record ambient sound either directly to tape using either built-in mics or a Sennheiser MKE66 which was recommended as a good budget mic for wildlife. If things go according to plan, I should have time this winter to do a lot more with video and to get more familliar with the sound recording side of it.
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Old September 16th, 2008, 03:28 AM   #19
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I must add my sixpenn'oth and voice my disappointment at the in-built mics.

Yes, I know that one should use an external mic and I have a luverly MKH50 for that purpose but recently I took the XH A1 out and, being tired and lazy at the end of the day... I used the in-built mics for atmos. Unless the sound source is very loud or someone speaks within a yard of the camcorder, the result is awful and virtually unusable. "Sounds like a recording from the bottom of a bucket" is the phrase which comes to mind. I hate to admit it but my cheapo SD Sony sounds much better!

So IMNSHO (in my not-so-humble opinion) the XH is effin' superb on the images but below par on the in-built mics and audio ease-of-use generally (and why-oh-why do the sound level wheels turn the "wrong" way?).
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Old September 16th, 2008, 03:58 AM   #20
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Hey Kevin, I'm kind of surprised by this comparison XL2 vs XH-A1?

Audio has matured to the point were there's not much that can be done to make high quality audio imput equipment cheaper.. In this case, something has got to give.

When you compare the XL2 to the XL-H1, that would be an oranges to oranges comparison.

However, when you compare the XL2 or even XL1 to the XH-A1, that's a bananas to oranges comparison. The XH-A1 gives you so much more in terms of imaging, but you have to give in somewhere to make the unit priced for the general prosumer.

Think of it this way, you get what you pay for right? You paid for a video camera made to take great video(which it does), but you weren't really paying for a multi-track recorder(so you're left with the crappy onboard mic).
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Old September 16th, 2008, 09:25 AM   #21
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I hear you. The XL2 and H1 deliver virtually identical audio characteristics (identical on-board mics & inputs). Canon could've at least included a dual stereo mini-in so A1 users could swap in the mic from these cams.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 02:43 AM   #22
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HDV has more compressed audio data rate than SD

As far as I know, the HDV spec has stereo 384 Kb per second compressed MP3 audi0-- worse than the uncompressed audio spec of SD, which is uncompressed 16 bit 44.1 Khz.

I think they thought MP3 was "good enough" and they thereby saved some of the bandwidth ( limited by what you can write to tape per second) for the extremely compressed HDV video.

It might not be the mikes.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 06:03 AM   #23
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Quote:
I believe the XL2 and XLH1 have the same on-board (stereo) short shotgun. It's a dual stereo 1/8" mini input. I'm wondering why Canon opted for a single mini input on the A1?
Probably is the same mic, and the likely same used on the XL1 and XL1s as well.

Note that the "dual" plug, one (the 3.5mm) is the stereo unbalanced audio, the other (2.5mm) is for the 5 VDC power the mic draws from the camcorder. This mic powering scheme dates back at least to the to the Canon Hi8 (A1 and L1/L2) camcorders from the early 1990s, if not before.

The XH-A1 does not provide the 5 VDC power option to its mini phone external mic jack.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 11:04 AM   #24
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Has anyone had a problem with their external mic not fitting into the clip that is mounted on the A1? I just received my Sennheiser ME-66 in the mail the other day and when I tried to put it in the clip it was too small :( I am considering taping a bunch of Gaff to it so it's thick enough... its sad to have to tape up a beautiful new mic...
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Old January 13th, 2009, 11:23 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Christensen View Post
Has anyone had a problem with their external mic not fitting into the clip that is mounted on the A1? I just received my Sennheiser ME-66 in the mail the other day and when I tried to put it in the clip it was too small :( I am considering taping a bunch of Gaff to it so it's thick enough... its sad to have to tape up a beautiful new mic...
It's a common problem. Solutions include rubber O-rings (high-class rubber bands), small sheets of rubber, bubble pack, etc.

However, I find that the rigid mount transmits too much motor and handling noise, even with padding between holder and mic. (I have the old XH-A1. I think the new XH-A1s has a better, less rigid design.) I use a simple shock-mount in the hot-shoe socket. There are various makes, including Rode, Rycote, Bayer Dynamic, Audio Technica, etc.

If you have other gadgets in the shoe socket, try a "J-Rod" or the Rode SM5 (I think) which both fit into the round mic-holder.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 11:33 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Fry View Post
It's a common problem. Solutions include rubber O-rings (high-class rubber bands), small sheets of rubber, bubble pack, etc.

However, I find that the rigid mount transmits too much motor and handling noise, even with padding between holder and mic. (I have the old XH-A1. I think the new XH-A1s has a better, less rigid design.) I use a simple shock-mount in the hot-shoe socket. There are various makes, including Rode, Rycote, Bayer Dynamic, Audio Technica, etc.

If you have other gadgets in the shoe socket, try a "J-Rod" or the Rode SM5 (I think) which both fit into the round mic-holder.
Thanks for the tip mark! sorry to hijack the thread...
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Old January 13th, 2009, 04:46 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alain Lumina View Post
As far as I know, the HDV spec has stereo 384 Kb per second compressed MP3 audi0-- worse than the uncompressed audio spec of SD, which is uncompressed 16 bit 44.1 Khz.

I think they thought MP3 was "good enough" and they thereby saved some of the bandwidth ( limited by what you can write to tape per second) for the extremely compressed HDV video.

It might not be the mikes.
It's not MP3 Alain but you're right about the mics.

I think a lot of peoples A1 mic evaluations are based on how they handle the A1s HDV MPEG 1 Layer 11 audio compression during post. It's not great quality to start with but lower quality rendering makes it worse.

IMO the A1 cam mic is really only useable for general location sfx. if you've got nothing else but I've had reasonable results.

And although the picture might look great, the sound is bad because the cam mic was in the wrong position, 5 feet to the left or right might have been much better, a good case for using headphones and having the time to play.

I find the RODE Stereo Videomic is excellent for SFX on the A1, its 10db pad on the rear is quick and handy. The AT822 is also very good.

Cheers.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Christensen View Post
Has anyone had a problem with their external mic not fitting into the clip that is mounted on the A1?
Want a simpler way that doesn't need any extra kit? Loop the mic cable through the mic holder underneath the mic. This works fine with my Rode NTG-1. Doesn't stop the noise problem though.

I use a hot shoe shock mount most of the time since when the Rode is wearing the dead cat, you'll see fur in frame on full zoom out with the Canon mount.
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