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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 May 3rd, 2007, 12:29 PM   #1
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Help with A1 & RODE NTG-2

Hi all,

I very recently bought a RODE NTG-2 for my A1. I know nothing about mics but I wanted a better one than than the default canon one. So, the RODE seemed like a good choice and was a good price at 150 or somthing like that. (I assume(d) an XLR mic costing that much would be professional (as it claims).

After using it just around the house the last few days, I am considering sending it back, as the default canon mic sounds infinitely better, or it could be somthing I'm doing or not doing, which I'm hoping some of you will be able to diaganose :)

The set-up: Mic is plugged into the CH1 XLR terminal (25cm XLR cable) and I enable it on the audio set-up. The actual mic is held in the A1's slot, and I've filled the extra ring space with some foam.

When I put headphones on, there seems to be much more (noise / gain whatever it's called, (+12db gain is not enabled on audio set up)) than the default canon. I carried out a few tests, and the RODE does seem to take in more bass and quality, but every single little tap of the camera I make with a finger tip or camera movement is picked up by the mic, so when you listen to it back, you keep hearing these little thumping and booming sounds, simply awful and unusable, it's as if the mic is 'too' sensitive. The default canon one seems to eliminate these little sounds, and there are pretty much no buttons on the RODE for adjustment. It seems the Canon mic is just much sharper and more crisp than the RODE... Should it be?

NOTE: I've messed with the other buttons on the XLR port without success in making the sound quality better / usable.

I'd be so grateful for any advice on this matter? Is the NTG-2 a sh** mic? Is it my set-up? Who knows?

Best all,

Giles B

P.s. Just wondering what db stood for anyway? as in + or - 12db
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 01:43 PM   #2
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Have you tried turning on Mic Attenuation? That might help.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 02:14 PM   #3
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Shotgun mics aren't so great for indoor recording, especially around a conventional home with small rooms. I had the same delemma, I have an A1 but needed a mic and I ended up opting for the Rode NT3 which is a hypercardiod mic and it sounds incredible indoors. Give it a look I know you'll love it, check out the packages and such they have at dvcreators.net you can hear samples, and call them to order and get accessories in nice packages with boom and all that stuff.

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Old May 3rd, 2007, 02:39 PM   #4
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The NTG-2 is an OK mic, and most folks who have one think that it is worth its price point. It may be more sensitive than the built-in mic, especially to handling noise. Turning on the MIC ATT may help reduce handling noise during periods of quiet program material, especially if you are using an AGC mode for sound level control.

One thing that may make a difference is not to have the mic clamp real tight. The tighter it is, the more effectively noise is coupled from the camcorder to the mic. There are several folks offering camcorder shock mounts for mics that may help. The reason the built-in mic wobbles is that it is in a shock mount already.

As to sound quality, the NTG-2 is a shotgun mic with a line-gradient pattern, so it will have a different sound character than the built-in mic, which is stereo and has is more cardoid pattern. Also, shotgun mics tend to have different side and back lobe sensitivty at different frequencies, so in bounded spaces, like a normal size room in a home, it can sound rather different due to how it handles sound reflected from the walls, floor, and ceiling

As to judging the sound quality for the type of material you shoot, when testing mics, be sure to adjust the gain for each so that you are getting the same level recorded to tape.

The purpose for shotgun mics is to reduce sound pick-up from the sides and rear of the mic. The cardoid is designed to reject sound from the rear, but does pickup sound from the front and sides.

It boils down to selecting a mic with the appropriate characteristics for the application. Some folks feel that a cardoid sounds better in a smallish room and a shotgun does better in a large, open space.

dB stands for decibel, a tenth of a Bel. In general it a measure of relative power or amplitude. It is 10 times the log of the power ratio. Then talking voltage, it is 20 times the log of the voltage ratio. So 20 dB represents a voltage ratio of 10. So to have meaning dB have to be referenced to something. In common notation dBV is referenced to 1 volt. dBm is referenced to 1 milliwatt. dBU is referenced to about 0.77 volts (i.e., 1 milliwatt into 600 ohms)

Sound pressure level (SPL) is also often measured in dB, with 94 dB SPL corresponding to a sound pressure of 1 Pascal The threshold of hearing is about 0dB SPL. Note that 94 dB SPL (often used for mic sensitivity measurements) is rather loud, and long term exposure may cause hearing damage. Normal conversation is something like 60 dB SPL, and a rock concert may be on the order of 110 dB SPL.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 02:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Palomaki View Post
It boils down to selecting a mic with the appropriate characteristics for the application. Some folks feel that a cardoid sounds better in a smallish room and a shotgun does better in a large, open space.
Bingo, thats basically what I wanted to say, just shorter.

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Old May 3rd, 2007, 03:15 PM   #6
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Either get a shock mount for that puppy or stick it on a boompole. Something like this:
http://www.samys.com/product_detail.php?item=9026

something like that will eliminate the bumping sounds you're hearing.

As far as selecting a mic, it all depends on the type of sound you're mostly going to capture. Are you going to record a lot of dialogue for narratives or documentaries or are you using it for around the house, fun little events type of thing? You can't not have a shotgun for important dialogue, whether its indoors or not. You'll sound like an amateur if you try to use that stereo on board mic for anything serious.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 03:16 PM   #7
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Also, man, take the sound into post and do a low cut, to get those lower frequencies out of there. You sure the mic doesn't have an onboard low cut switch?
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 03:32 PM   #8
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It does. Kicks in at 80 Hz.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 06:01 AM   #9
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Cheers for the info guys, I actually think it could be that the mic is bound too tightly to the camera. I need to invest in one of those Elastic mounts, but 35 is an outrageous price!

Also, what does the atteunator thing do? When I turn it on, everything goes really silent... Is this meant to happen?
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Old May 4th, 2007, 09:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles Buchanan View Post
Cheers for the info guys, I actually think it could be that the mic is bound too tightly to the camera. I need to invest in one of those Elastic mounts, but 35 is an outrageous price!
I really recommend a shock mount for your NTG2. For that purpose Rode sells SM5: http://www.rodemic.com/?pagename=Products&product=SM5 . I have the SM5 and it works nicely with my NTG1. Your sound will improve a lot with a good shock mount. No handling noises at all.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 09:54 AM   #11
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Yep. It lowers everything by 12 dB for the on-camera mic, and -20 dB (if I remember correctly) for external ones.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 10:41 AM   #12
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I tried 3 different shotgun mics in the A1's mic holder and even used foam making it fit loosely in the holder and ALWAYS got handling noise. I then laid the mic on a table and tested it... still handling noise (thumps, taps, etc.) I beleive and have concluded that the handling vibrations are coming through the camera chassis travelling through the XLR cable and to the mic....

Thus, I will not be using an external mic unless its a tripod only shoot or for getting comments at wedding receptions and just being very very still at handling.....
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Old May 4th, 2007, 12:12 PM   #13
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...what does the atteunator thing do?
It essentailly reduces sensitivity of the input preamps used for mic inputs; as noted 12 dB for the internal mic and 20 db for external mics. The XLR inputs have separate switches from the built-in/mic jack. It is mainly of value for hot mics (i.e., high output) and when shooting with very loud sound sources. This is discussed at some length in several other audio-related threads as well.
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Old May 4th, 2007, 12:45 PM   #14
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So it looks like I'm going to have to invest in a shock mount which I'm really reluctant to do. I think I might try and make one for myself, to hell with 35!

Cheers for the help all,

Giles B
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Old May 4th, 2007, 01:08 PM   #15
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So it looks like I'm going to have to invest in a shock mount
It may well prove a good investment, but try some of the other options as well to see what benefit they provide. Major handling noise may imply "rough handling" and/or a serious mismatch between the camcorder settings and the mic.

Also, it depends on the shooting situation. Its worth noting that in many situations moderate handling noise is masked by ambient sound in the venue. The noise sitution in a quiet room with just you and the camcorder present is very different than at an active wedding reception.
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