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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 5th, 2008, 06:32 PM   #1
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XH-A1 Audio Question

Is anyone using a small mixer to controll the shotgun and lav mic, I find the dials to be a little hard to make quick changes too. I find there are times my second XH-A! with stock mics having to provide the audio when sudden changes happen and audio becomes distorted.

I would love to hear how you guys are dealing with problems like this.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #2
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Trying to ride audio levels on the A1 while shooting with it will make you nuts. It sounds like you're concurrently recording two different sources. You might be able to simply put it on auto if both mics are recording the same location. One major down side to this is if you get a loud spike on one channel it will bury the other one too. The AGC ties both channels together to some degree.

Another option is to set your normal peak gain at -12. That will give you 12dB of headroom to work with. If you need more, back it off a bit more. This, however, could increase system noise level. But if you're running solo with no audio guy your choices are a bit limited. If you get a mixer, you'll need an audio guy.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 08:11 PM   #3
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I bought an SD 302 to do exactly that. But then discovered that it doesn't work too well with the XH A1. Apparently there is a workaround but I haven't had the time to investigate yet. There is a thread on this that you might want to look at here:
Configuring sounddevices 302 up to a canon xh a1 - The Digital Video Information Network

I've used the 302 with my Fostex FR2 LE (to record double sound) whilst filming an interview with my XH A1 and that worked fine.

The display is very easy to read and the limiters are very good. So I don't see why it shouldn't work when used directly with the camera if the level problem can be overcome.

I've rigged it up on a stand and clamp so that it's in line of sight when using the camera.
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Last edited by Richard Gooderick; September 6th, 2008 at 03:32 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old September 8th, 2008, 01:16 AM   #4
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XH-A1 and SD302 not working easily together is TOTALLY WRONG information!

I am running a SD302 with XH-A1 and they match PERFECTLY! (sorry for all this yelling, but it is soooo simple...)

- leave SD302 as it is, factory settings, standard output.
- plug it in to XH-A1 line inputs, no padding, no nothing.
- turn the audio potentiometers FULLY OPEN on XH-A1. This removes all unnecessary attennuation in the camera.
- Perfect match! Made in Audio Heaven. All as easy as possible.

If you do not belive it, just send 0 dBVU and +20 dBVU (full scale, 0 dBFS) test signals to the camera set up this way. The camera meter will show -20 and 0 dBFS. Record this if you are still not sure and capture the audio to Audition for example. Analyze audio, you will find the levels to be -20 and 0 dBFS. Pefect.

And, if you still think it is a no-no to turn any potentiometers fully open consider this: I made a test recording with ultra quiet mics with this setup. Peaks came to -0.4 dBFS and noise floor was at -91 dBFS. Yes, almost the theoretical maximum. And still people complain, I do not get it? You should not view those pots as amplifiers, but as attenuators. When you turn them open, the voltage levels are perfectly standard and SD302 fits perfectly (am I repeating myself?).

In that test I ran SD302 limiters at +17 dBVU.
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Old September 8th, 2008, 09:58 AM   #5
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When I first got my XH A1 I checked out the line level inputs. The mixer I had at the time was a Shure FP33. With the tone on and master control at zero, the XH A1 got a -20 reading with the pots between 2/3 and 3/4 open. This was a slightly higher gain needed than the DSR500 which got -20 at about 2/3 open, but the difference was negligible. You can, of course, crank the master up just a bit if you want, but it's best to run it close to zero. On a recent shoot with another FP33 mixer (it is the main one used by most people around here), the same readings held true, so there was nothing unusual about the first FP33. It could be that the 302 under discussion does indeed output a little less than normal with its factory setting; if so, just crank it up a bit.
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Old September 8th, 2008, 10:20 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone, I see many do use a mixer of some sort rather than relying on the camera itself.
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Old September 8th, 2008, 10:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
It could be that the 302 under discussion does indeed output a little less than normal with its factory setting; if so, just crank it up a bit.
The factory setting in SD302 is the standard level used in pro audio gear and it is not possible to crank it up. What I suggest doing (see above) is to crank down the line in attennuation on XH-A1. There is nothing wrong with XH-A1 line in, with the pots fully open it aligns perfectly with standard audio line levels. There is no need for higher levels, all level setting is done with the mixer.
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Old September 8th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #8
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Petri
It seems to me that we have got two threads mixed up here and Denny's thread has been hijacked.
This one was about using a mixer with a XH A1 generally.
Not about using the SD 302 with the XH A1 specifically.
Therefore shouldn't this discussion be continued here (where you have double posted):
Configuring sounddevices 302 up to a canon xh a1 - The Digital Video Information Network
??
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Old September 8th, 2008, 12:04 PM   #9
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Petri, I'm wondering why the 302 output is lower than a mixer like the FP33 at zero. As I said, I've used two different FP33 mixers with master gain at zero and camera settings were the same, at between 2/3 and 3/4 open. Have you tried the 302 with any other camera to see what you get?
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Old September 8th, 2008, 01:56 PM   #10
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Sorry to have offended some of you good people, but I see, eh, crimson when XH-A1 is accused of not being able to take standard line in levels. The reason must be that people are wary of turning any volume potentiometers fully open, which needs to be done with XH-A1. I see them as attennuators, with pots at open position the connection is at 1:1 ratio with nothing in the way of perfect audio transfer. Getting over 90 dB S/N ratios with this setup tells the story I think.

I can not understand why people first pad mixers (SD302) down to mic level output, then reamplify the signal with XH-A1's inferior mic preamplifiers, and have to set levels on XH-A1 instead of just opening the pots. This, at best, gives 10 dB more hiss and more possibilities for screwups.

I have not used other mixers than SD302, but if Shure FP33 gives out higher levels at factory settings, you just attenuate the input a bit on XH-A1. Not as fast and easy as with SD302, but what is the problem? Maybe padding the FP33 output a bit would make it behave like SD302 and the link would be the same (pots open). Easy and fast.

I have used SD302 with Pana DVX100, there the pots were somewhere around 11 o'clock position and SD302 had to be padded down about 8-10 dB. XH-A1 is much easier, just link 'em at factory setting. I wrote a short manual for SD302 to DVX100 connetion for the other forum: Procedure for setting up SD302/DVX100 combination - DVXuser.com -- The online community for filmmaking
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Old September 8th, 2008, 02:10 PM   #11
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I'm not offended and don't mean to be critical. I'm just wondering why this mixer has a lower output than the FP33 at zero on the master control knob. I'm also wondering what the line level needs to be set at with other mixers in the FP33 class that are zero'd out.
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Old September 8th, 2008, 04:23 PM   #12
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if you are setting audio to 100% try switching attenuation on and backing off on gain - you will notice a marked improvement

working run and gun - send the same mono signal to both channels and set ch2 6-8db below ch1
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