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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 November 25th, 2006, 09:02 AM   #1
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A1 audio hissing?

I just read a Canon A1 review in the German VIDEOAKTIVDIGITAL journal. They find the audio much more hissing compared to the FX7. Can anyone confirm or - hopefully - dissaprove this? Thanks, Michael Mann
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Old December 8th, 2006, 02:09 PM   #2
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A1 Audio

I've been looking for info on the A1's audio capabilities also, but haven't found any. Seems that this would be an important item. Do most users here record audio direct to camera or to a separate audio recorder? Do you use a mixer?

Thanks.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #3
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I record directly into the camcorder, without mixer. It would be very helpful to know whether the hissing - if any - comes from the onboard stereo mic (minor drawback) or from the A1 mic preamps (major drawback!).

Fellow A1 users - please share your audio test results! Thanks, Michael Mann
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Old December 8th, 2006, 02:46 PM   #4
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I shot an interview last week. The audio sounded perfectly OK to me. No hissing, no weirdness at all. I doubt anybody could tell it didn't come from the DSR500, the other camera I shoot with. I used the same mic and setup I always do for interviews--a Sennheiser MKH60 on a fishpole mounted on a C-stand, positioned over the subject and slightly in front. Due to the quick and dirty nature of the interview, I didn't use a mixer, but went through the cameras's mic inputs.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 05:18 PM   #5
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I notice very slight hissing through the headphones, but not recorded to tape.
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Old December 8th, 2006, 08:12 PM   #6
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Just a couple things to think about:

Any hiss in the audio will sound louder with earphones than speakers.

Low cost condensor mics typically have a high noise/hiss level.

Low output level mics will require more amplification for the same audio level, which means any preamp noise will be more apparent in the recording.

Use of AGC can result in noise level pumping, the noise level comes up during otherwise silent portions of the recording.
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Old December 9th, 2006, 01:36 AM   #7
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I recently made some audio noise tests with the Sony FX1 vs. a $ 2,000.00 Sound Devices 702 flash card audio recorder (very high quality mic preamps), external mic input, manual gain control. Results: The mic preamps of the FX1 are surprisingly silent!

That is why I was alarmed by that German review saying the A1 produces much more audio hissing compared to the FX1. But maybe they left the AGC switched on while testing ...
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Old December 9th, 2006, 07:04 AM   #8
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I don't know if I would trust a review that defines "white noise" if that is what it said as Audio Hiss. White Noise can come from many sources. Automatic Gain Control devices, poor cables, older mics. These days Mics even low cost ones blow many old mics out of the water when it comes to noise "S/N" Signal to Noise ratio. Again RODE mics (I don't have any) but I have tested them and they are in many great studios, have some low cost mics that have very low S/N. The on board Canon mic is a little noisey. I ran some audio through them and yes they have some White Noise. Probably but (I am not a tech) due to both the Mic and the Electronics. That said though the S/N is really not that bad compared to some DAT recorders.

An out board mic is going to give you better results. Add an out board mini-mixer and some good preamps and the S/N will be even better generally speaking.

Mackie makes some very inexpensive really great little mini mixers that are used in Live/Post recording

Hopefully this helps.
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Old December 9th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #9
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You have to be really wary of posts that talk about audio hissing with no documentation about mics used, their placement, levels, etc. Remember when the PD150 came out and had the hiss problem? An early model run did have an issue under certain circumstances, and it was fixed, although Sony got some bad PR in the way it was handled. But even with later models people were saying there was a hiss.

For a long time, every time I read about a hiss issue I would ask where the mic was placed, what the levels were, etc. And I never got a response. I have intercut PD150 footage with DSR500 and DSR250 footage, and with a Tascam DAT deck with no problems at all. I would not go out and record a classical music concert with any video camera and expect excellent audio, but I have recorded various rock music things, through a mixer with house audio, and got very good quality audio with a variety of video cameras. Also, I've never had a professional soundman complain about the quality of the video camera recording--they've always got good audio under all shooting situations. Generally I use a Sennheiser MKH60 shotgun mic, but have also used a long AKG (don't remember the number) and an older Sony short shotgun with equal effectiveness. We have Lectrosonic wireless systems with Countryman lavs, and I recently bought a cheap Sennheiser M2 wireless, the one that's 500 bucks, and it works great, although the included mic is not great (I'm getting a better mic soon).

So far my only audio experience with the XH A1 is an interview I shot last week, and I have another one coming up early next week. I have total confidence in the audio quality. I never use an on camera mic and couldn't care less how it sounds. Well, that's an exaggeration--I do have a Sony shotgun I mounted on the camera that I'll use for ambient effects, traffic noise, etc. And one time I got caught with no mic and the opportunity to shoot a good interview and did that with the same Sony mic on the camera and got useable sound; but that's very rare. I would not buy a mic to mount on the camera if I didn't already have one. The built-in mic could be left off and it wouldn't bother me at all.
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Old December 12th, 2006, 02:35 PM   #10
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Audio Test

One test I'd be curious to do if I had the camera is connect a mic like an ME66, MKH50 or something with similar sensitivity to the camera, set it 3 feet from a person speaking in normal conversation, set the gain on the camera so that the signal peaks around -6 dBF. Take the same setting into a very quiet room, and just record the room tone. Play the recording back on an NLE, and if the audio signal from the quiet room peaks below -60 dBF, I'd think that would be pretty usable.
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Old December 12th, 2006, 03:14 PM   #11
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I never shoot any audio that peaks over a -12 to a -11. I'm not hearing any problems at all in shooting quite interviews.
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Old December 15th, 2006, 04:56 PM   #12
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One apprach to evaluating the internal preamp noise levels:

Using you intended mic, set manual gain levels to suit your application.

Remove the mic.

Record some more and then see what the noise level is on the segment without a mic attached..

If you are a purest, when you disconnect the mic, replace it with an XLR connctor that contains a ~200 ohm metal film resistor between pins 2 and 3. (which should be close to a good mic's output impedance.)

That should give you a good idea as to what the noise floor of the audio system is in your application.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 03:01 PM   #13
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Don,

that sounds like a good test. Would someone with an A1 be willing to try it and let us know what you find?

It curious that when any new camera comes out, there lots of postings for video quality and nothing on audio. I guess that's why they call 'em video cameras.

As for myself, I'm satisfied with just a decent picture, but I'd like to have really clean audio. If I get the A1, I'd only be using it's SD mode for now.

Thanks.
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Old December 19th, 2006, 04:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Mann
I just read a Canon A1 review in the German VIDEOAKTIVDIGITAL journal. They find the audio much more hissing compared to the FX7. Can anyone confirm or - hopefully - dissaprove this? Thanks, Michael Mann
Videoaktivdigital is a journal for the amateur filmer, I don't take it very seriously, but until now I did not hear any sound hissproblems on the A1. No complains heard. You also started the thread that you are worried about the 'SIGNIFICANT (chromatic?) aberration' you saw on the A1, as I speak no one saw that in that extreme either.

Are you a little over worried?
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Old December 20th, 2006, 02:04 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raymond Toussaint

Are you a little over worried?
Yes, I am.

Nevertheless ... I have finally decided to get the A1 - hissing or not, fringing or not.
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