Channel One and Two Audio In The Twilight Zone! 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 June 26th, 2011, 06:17 PM   #1
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Channel One and Two Audio In The Twilight Zone!

Ever thought you were actually in the Twilight Zone? This is like having a UFO land in your backyard, have the little guys come in you house, take a six-pack from the fridge, sit on the couch drinking all the beer while watching an episode of The X-Files, get back in their ship and and zoom away, and then try telling your wife about it when she comes home and sees all the empty cans on the floor. "No, really honey, these little guys landed and then came in the house and well, um....and....they....um...you see, it was like this....never mind....I'll clean it up, sorry."

This is what I feel like. I have a XH-A1s. One of the reasons I waited for the "s" model to come out before I bought an XH A1 was that a new feature was the ability to set channel one at one level with one xlr mike and have that one mike go on channel two with a lower level. Standard trick to make certain that if somebody spikes with a laugh or scream, you have another track to use that is at a lower level and not distorted.

This camera is really prone to distorting really bad if you hit that red mark. When I got the camera I set it up this way. Worked great. Then I discovered bad pixels and had to take it to Canon for service. When I got the camera back, it was reset to factory defaults and I could not for the life of me get it back to be able to set separate levels for channel one and channel two. The manual makes no sense when it comes to this feature and does not really explain how to do it (which Canon acknowledges that it does not know - see below.)

Lived with it it like this for a year or so. Never could figure it out or find anybody on any forum that could explain how to set it up. Then I discovered new bad pixels. Back to Canon main service center in Irvine. While there I asked them to tell me how to set the levels as above or see if it was broken.

They couldn't tell me how to do it and said it maybe needed to be repaired. Got the camera back by FedEx and it is exactly like I gave it to them. No explanation for what they did, how to set the menu system to do this, nothing about it at all, but they charged me to "Fix" this issue. Also, they don't give you receipts for the work they do. No itemized list off work or parts. Just a big charge and you have no clue as to what work they did, if any.

So I call the Canon Professional Services Hotline to have them walk me through it. After 35 minutes of them not being able to set it on the camera they have in front of them and not being able to figure out the manual they have in front of them either (I had to explain what page the audio section was on in the manual in front of them), they tell me that after checking with everybody in the office, this is not a feature of this camera and it can't be done.

I really felt like I was going nuts. While on the phone, I get on the internet and read to them from the Canon product web page the list of features of the new Canon XH-A1s, which is the ability to set separate levels for one mike on the two different tracks. They say, "Oh, well.. sorry, but we can' help you, we don't know about that feature. Never heard of it. We just have the manual that you have and it does not explain how to do that." This is the freaking Canon Professional Services Hotline!

Nobody at Canon will admit that this is something you can do on this camera (even hough I had it working but I don't know how) and even though all over Canon's website and product information this is touted as one of the features. Made me feel like Rod Serling was in the room.

Anybody that can walk me through this and has done it should be working at Canon or give a training class to them.

And if any of you are thinking about getting this Camera, it can shoot some really nice stuff, but I'd look at Sony or Panasonic first. Canon's service is sub par and every Canon camera I've had has had bad pixels.

So, can anybody actually walk me through this or point to a web site where they show you how. I've googled it in every way I can think of and found nothing other than announcement and press releases from Canon about this being one of the new features of this new "s" model.

Get me out of this Twilight Zone!
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Old June 27th, 2011, 03:52 AM   #2
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Re: Channel One and Two Audio In The Twilight Zone!

I have the older A1..
I have two separate audio level knobs..one for L and one for R channel..dont you have those level controls on the A1s model?

Could it be your "auto-manual" switch is stuck in the "auto" mode? Flip it back and forth several times to make sure the switch is working.

good luck,

BTW..you should be a writer...enjoyed the post. :>)
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Old June 27th, 2011, 04:29 PM   #3
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Re: Channel One and Two Audio In The Twilight Zone!

Yes, channel one and channel two knobs. The "s" is no different that the non "s" in form factor. The "s" allows you to have one XLR external mono mike put down on both channel one and channel two but to be able to set them at two different numbers. For instance, channel one/knob one can be put at the number 8 and channel two/knob two can be put at the number 5. This is so if you the levels are set correctly on channel one and a person laughs out loud or yells and puts the levels into red, distorting the sound, you have channel two that you can use in editing where the shout would not have distorted because it was set at a lower level.

I had it set this way for a year but it will not get back to that setting and Canon says that it is not a feature of the Camera even though it is advertised as such and is listed on the Canon website product information section and is in all of the press releases.

But thanks for asking.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 04:07 AM   #4
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Re: Channel One and Two Audio In The Twilight Zone!

Hi Kelley,

I have just bought an XH-A1S (and I am loving it, having moved from an XL2). I did a great deal of research before I purchased and I have to say that is a feature I never once came across.

When I first read your post I thought you meant the ability to use the built in mic at the same time as an external mic (which is, I think, new to the A1S).

If anyone does know how to activate this elusive feature (if it exists!) I would love to know about it as well. To achieve the same result I currently use a small mixer - when luggage space allows!
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Old June 28th, 2011, 07:32 PM   #5
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Re: Channel One and Two Audio In The Twilight Zone!

Yes, you can do this with the on board mike and one external mike. Maybe I'm having false memory or something. I would have bet the farm that I was doing this before. I'm really convinced, but all the evidence is stacking up against me in this so I may just have to say it is a mystery.

One possible remedy I thought of is to use an XLR splitter cable and put the one mike into channel one and channel two at the same time. The Camera will just be getting a signal from each XLR, just as if you were using two separate mikes but it will really be coming from one mike. The camera shouldn't care as long as it is getting a signal. Then maybe go into the menu and set it up as two mikes, controlled individually and ride each dial the way I wanted to in the first place.

If you can set the internal and one external mike on separate channels and set separate levels (which this Canon confirmed is possible) you should be able to do so with XLR one and XLR two inputs as well.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #6
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Re: Channel One and Two Audio In The Twilight Zone!

If you go to the menu, and choose audio setup, what are the options displayed??
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Old June 29th, 2011, 04:04 PM   #7
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Re: Channel One and Two Audio In The Twilight Zone!

to go from mono to stero, ensure the switch above the xlr connections is set to CH1/CH2 . that will send the seperate inputs to seperate channels.
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Old July 1st, 2011, 11:05 AM   #8
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Re: Channel One and Two Audio In The Twilight Zone!

I have an ext. mike on ch 1 ( cutting out the onboard mike) and a wireless on ch 2 via the xlr.

In menu mode,(audio setup) I have the output channel as "ch1/ch 2",

ch1 input as "int/ext mic"

ch2 input as "xlr mic"

Works great for me but make sure that the audio levels are set to manual at the slide switches above the xlr sockets and use the manual audio level switches on the left side of cam...since I'm using two mono mikes I can tell the difference thru earphones and if I want either channel to bounce or merge I can do this thru my editing software, Pete.
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Old July 1st, 2011, 11:22 AM   #9
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Re: Channel One and Two Audio In The Twilight Zone!

I think the original challenge was to take a single source, i.e. one mic into one XLR socket, and have the signal INTERNALLY split to Channel 1 and Channel 2, with the levels set differently for each. As Kelly says, this is an old trick to make sure that any spikes on your main audio channel can be edited out by using the audio from the second channel which has been set to record at a lower level.
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Old July 2nd, 2011, 04:53 AM   #10
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Re: Channel One and Two Audio In The Twilight Zone!

Sorry, misread 1st post. I've just been playing around with my audio settings and if I plug my ext mic into, say ch 1 xlr, even tho I've set the output to both channels and my audio levels to manual the only loudness control I have is thru the ch 1 dial on the left side...ch 2 dial is completely dead...seems each xlr input is dedicated to either ch 1 OR ch 2...guess a splitter is the easy option...
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Old July 2nd, 2011, 05:09 AM   #11
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Re: Channel One and Two Audio In The Twilight Zone!

Also, for what it's worth, just got back from hols and used one ext mic instead of my usual two, forgot to reset the audio settings and now have all audio on one channel so will have to dupe to a second audio track in editing,,,,gotta watch that
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