Audio Quality at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:56 PM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Oxford, UK (until 2008: Lhasa, Tibetan Autonomous Region)
Posts: 65
Audio Quality

What do you think about the audio quality (mic preamps, xlr-line-in, ALC, etc) of the A1?

Background: I am very close to switching from Sony to Canon. What I never liked about the cheaper Sony cameras (150/170/Z1, I don't know about the V1) was the quality of the XLR-inputs: they were just too noisy and even managed to mess up a clean and strong line signal from a good mixer/recorder. How does the A1 compare with the Sonys?

Could anybody post some audio samples recorded with the A1 and a decent microphone to get a rough idea about noise, dynamic range, etc?

Or would any of you guys be able to do some audio testing on a A1/G1? I am thinking of something straight forward: some "1-2-3 check, check" in a more of less silent room with a decent mic in four different settings:
1) recorded directly to the camera with ALC,
2) with levels set manually,
3) going through a mixer and using line-in on the A1
4) and as "reference": recorded to a high quality Fostex or Tascam or whatever.

I followed a lot of highly interesting discussions on image quality during the last weeks in this great forum but I wasn't able to find anything more detailed about the A1's audio qualities or limitations up to now.

Martin
Martin Saxer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 22nd, 2007, 05:09 PM   #2
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Zurich (Switzerland); Luxembourg (L)
Posts: 44
Hi Martin,

I just used my XLR-in 2 days ago. It was outside in a forest and a small river nearby. I used a Shure SM 58 Vocal Mic.
Audio level auto!!!
No Mixer used...the sound is absolutely GREAT!
Ive used a JVC 2/3" 3 CCD Cam before and i prefer the A1 sound.
__________________
Canon XH A1 -> Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro
Manfrotto 701RC2 on 755BK
Rolf Seitz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 27th, 2007, 10:14 AM   #3
Tourist
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Bristol UK
Posts: 3
Hi all

I've just joined the ranks of XH-A1 owners and I have to say that on the whole I love the camera. The image quality available is stunning and so far it's really impressed me in terms of usability and creative scope.

Sadly though I have to report that the XLR inputs are indeed rather noisy and IMO not up to scratch for many applications - anyone wanting to record interviews will certainly want to consider using a separate recorder or at least a heavy dose of noise reduction. To my surprise it actually seems to be noisier than my Sony PDX10 which I've always considered to be a bit of a white noise generator!

The microphones I have tried are as follows:

Sure SM57
GrooveTubes GT57
Rode NT-1
Rode NTG-1

In each case there was a pervading hissy noise characteristic that isn't present when the mics are used with other equipment such as a rackmount preamps etc.

I can provide some audio clips if anyone is interested.

Thanks

Martin
Martin Holmes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 27th, 2007, 10:35 AM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Oxford, UK (until 2008: Lhasa, Tibetan Autonomous Region)
Posts: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Holmes
I can provide some audio clips if anyone is interested.
Dear Martin
yes, please do! I would be especially interested in a sample that shows the white noise genereated by the pre-amps (your best mic, some distance to the camera, a voice sample and some silence) and, if possible, a sample that shows the quality of the XLR inputs when used with line level.

all the best,

Martin
Martin Saxer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 27th, 2007, 10:49 AM   #5
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
I've been shooting interviews without a mixer, going mic in, and the sound quality has been excellent. Most of the times I use a Sennheiser MKH60. On one occasion I used the cheap Sennheiser G2 wireless, and it was amazingly good too for the money. I can't tell any difference between audio from the XH A1, mic in, and the DSR500WS, mic in.

For most of the interviews I usually put the boom on a C-stand, mic positioned in the normal manner, a foot or so from the talent, or I have a soundman with me. When using the lav, I stick it under the collar and let it show because it doesn't like to be buried. When I need to use buried lavs, I use the Lectrosonics wireless with Countryman lav.

If you're getting unacceptable audio from your mic inputs, there's some kind of problem with your camera or your setup, and you might want to check it out with another camera if you can.

While the Sennheiser is a high quality shotgun mic, I've also used an ancient Sony shotgun too on rare occasion, and although the sound is not as rich as the MKH60, there's no noise.
Bill Pryor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 27th, 2007, 11:01 AM   #6
Tourist
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Bristol UK
Posts: 3
Hi Martin

Well you'll be pleased to know that the noise performance is MUCH better when using an external preamp going into the XLR inputs at line level - the hiss largely disappears leaving what sounds like a pretty well balanced, un molested signal.

I have some spare time tomorrow so I'll do some more controlled testing and produce some clips to demonstrate the results.
Martin Holmes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 25th, 2007, 09:05 AM   #7
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 4,294
Just tried a quick test of intrnal mic preamp noise.
Using the mic jack (not XLR for this quick test)
16-bit audio mode
Battery power
Automatic gain ON
Record in SD mode to tape
Dummy plug (open circuit) inserted in the MIC jack (to disconenct internal mic)
Captured via firewire
Viewing resulting .WAV files with AUDITION.

Noise was -66.4 dB relative to max record level (sine wave).
With MIC ATT enabled the noise was -71.5 dB.
No dominant frequency noted in the noise.

Will test the XLR input jacks in the near future.
__________________
dpalomaki@dspalomaki.com
Don Palomaki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 27th, 2007, 03:35 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Holmes View Post
Hi Martin

Well you'll be pleased to know that the noise performance is MUCH better when using an external preamp going into the XLR inputs at line level - the hiss largely disappears leaving what sounds like a pretty well balanced, un molested signal.
What external preamp did you use for this?
Steven Fokkinga is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30th, 2007, 06:27 AM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 173
Strange to hear (..) different opinions on this one. I think the headphone amp particular is very noisy, the build in mic in combination with auto level ( something I never use) in a silent room, gives a noise/hiss amount on my studio headphone that is like standing in a waterfall.
Raymond Toussaint is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 30th, 2007, 07:59 AM   #10
Wrangler
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 4,294
Use of headphones will accentuate the impression of hiss because there is strong direct coupling to the ears. This noise is much less apparent in a typical listening environment.

As to using Automatic audio level in a quiet room. AGC is generally dumb. It tries to maintain an average sound level in the normal recording range. If you put the camcorder in a quiet room, the AGC will increase the gain until what ever input reaching the AGC sensor (signal from ambient room noise, mic-self noise, and preamp noise) reaches the desired record level, or gain reaches the MAX point.

Judge noise in the context of how it comapares to normal program material level using an appropriate recording technique, tempered by the job requirement. The audio requirement for a from-the-scene news report of a fire is different than a classical concert.

For field shooting, ambinet noise will more than mask preamp noise with most reasonable microphones choices. If folks need studio-quality sound they should use studio quality audio recording equipment. It is all abotu knowing the equipment, it capabilities and limitations, and using it accordingly. After all, it is only a $3200 (street price after rebates) prosumer-class camcorder.
__________________
dpalomaki@dspalomaki.com
Don Palomaki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2nd, 2007, 03:26 PM   #11
New Boot
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 15
not loving this camera's audio

I agree with all the praise people have heaped on this camera's wonderful images. I've been shooting with the XH A1 for a few months now in both documentary and scripted production. But from an audio perspective I have to agree that using some sort of secondary pro audio recording medium is much better than recording production sound through the xlr inputs on the A1.

I recently shot in a very controlled environment with a dedicated sound department. We ran production sound into the camera for reference, but the noise level difference between what I'm hearing off the DAT and what got recorded to the camera is remarkable. In fact, I edited for a week with camera audio before the sound recordist delivered all the audio for the whole shoot as .wav files on a data dvd. And when I heard the first .wav file I thought "Did someone turn the air conditioner off for this take?" When I went further and compared all of the audio, I found that it was simply the case that background audio from the DAT stayed in the background, whereas something in either the circuitry or the compression of the Canon audio was moving all the background noise well into the midrange where our dialogue was. For my ear, the difference was remarkable.

This has been a discouraging experience since half of my work is documentary, and I have noticed that when cuttting doc footage I have a much harder time matching the ambience from cut to cut when using audio recorded directly to the Canon. This has been the case when using the rhode shotgun and when using a lectrosonics wireless.

If someone can recommend an HDV (or ProHD etc...) camera that they really like for a good clean audio signal please post here.
Michael Blieden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2nd, 2007, 05:29 PM   #12
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Burbank
Posts: 1,811
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Blieden View Post
This has been a discouraging experience since half of my work is documentary, and I have noticed that when cuttting doc footage I have a much harder time matching the ambience from cut to cut when using audio recorded directly to the Canon. This has been the case when using the rhode shotgun and when using a lectrosonics wireless.

If someone can recommend an HDV (or ProHD etc...) camera that they really like for a good clean audio signal please post here.
Are you using a mixer and going into the camera at line level, or are you plugging the microphone directly into the camera?
Jack Walker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2nd, 2007, 06:36 PM   #13
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
If it had a really bad noise level, did you not turn the ATT on? I thought there was something wrong with mine until I noticed the switch was flipped the wrong way. I find the mic in audio quality actually better than what I get with mic in to the DSR500. It's even better with line in, naturally. Under controlled contitions I use a mixer, but for documentary interviews I almost always go mic in. The mic is a Sennheiser MKH60, when I have a soundman, or a Sennheiser G2 wireless if I'm by myself. I have intercut audio from this camera with that from the same mic going to an M-Audio Microtrak and I can't hear any real difference in noise level.
Bill Pryor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 2nd, 2007, 08:50 PM   #14
New Boot
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
If it had a really bad noise level, did you not turn the ATT on? I thought there was something wrong with mine until I noticed the switch was flipped the wrong way. I find the mic in audio quality actually better than what I get with mic in to the DSR500. It's even better with line in, naturally.
I have never tried the ATT switch before. Now I'm burning with curiousity to see if it helps. Camera is being cleaned at Canon in Irvine, but I'm going to test this right away when the unit comes back.
Michael Blieden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 3rd, 2007, 10:18 AM   #15
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 4,449
If it's not in the proper position, the audio sounds crappy.
Bill Pryor is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Canon EOS / MXF / AVCHD / HDV / DV Camera Systems > Canon HDV and DV Camera Systems > Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:56 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network