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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old September 13th, 2007, 09:39 AM   #1
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Audio Amp Noisy on these Cameras?

Hello,

I have a Canon XL1 and an XL2 and am considering the H1, but I have a real problem with the quality of the audio.

If this only happened on one of the cameras, I might think it camera specific, but it happens on both of them. The XL2 is better than the XL1, but they both exhibit the following symptoms:

There is a constant hiss. It isn't the mic because it happens whether a mic is connected or not.

On the XL2 it is there for the front mic input and for the rear XLR inputs.

It doesn't exist when I choose the Audio 1 or 2 inputs (because I believe that is line in and doesn't use the on-board audio amplifier.

I always use manual levels and the hiss is becomes evident at around one mark before the center level and becomes more and more evident as I increase the gain.

Is this just a Canon thing or does this happen on all prosumer cameras?

I can't imagine turning in this audio on a commercial job??

Any feedback would be supportive and greatly appreciated.

Thanks... AM
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Old September 13th, 2007, 11:03 AM   #2
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Yes, this is true about the hiss. It's why you'll hear audio technicians prefer the DVX over the XL2. The DVX just has superior audio electronics, and the XL2 has noisy electronics. I'm an XL2 owner myself. For the most part I can clean it up with the audio software, as I would do anyways. But for a real production, you wouldn't be recording through the camera, you'd be recording to something like a DAT or those nice new flash recorders like from M-Audio.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 12:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Harbauer View Post
Yes, this is true about the hiss. It's why you'll hear audio technicians prefer the DVX over the XL2. The DVX just has superior audio electronics, and the XL2 has noisy electronics. I'm an XL2 owner myself. For the most part I can clean it up with the audio software, as I would do anyways. But for a real production, you wouldn't be recording through the camera, you'd be recording to something like a DAT or those nice new flash recorders like from M-Audio.
Hello,

Thanks for the input!

Yest for most commercial work I hire audio personnel and record off-camera. Its the run-n-gun stuff that really makes that difficult, especially if it is a low budget gig.

I will probably get an off-camera recorder (MD or Card Based) that is small enough to strap on somewhere convenient, for the run-n-gun stuff.

Any suggestions for a compact, yet excellent unit that could take XLR and Mini inputs?

Thanks Again :-)
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Old September 13th, 2007, 01:26 PM   #4
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I wish I could help you with some suggestions, but I'm more focused on the image end of things than the audio. Wish you the best!

Cheers!
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Old September 17th, 2007, 03:59 AM   #5
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M-Audio MicroTrack Pro for solid state recording.

The unit itself is intimidating to get up and running (workflow wise) but I just shot a feature with XL2 (no audio) and MicroTrack w/ boom.

The best way of routing is boom mic -> pre amp - > 1/2 inch phono plugs - > microTrack Pro.

I recordered everything at 48khz (16 bit) stereo WAV.

I then dithered to AIFF-C for Final Cut (it hates WAV files).

My recommendations are to get slate well with any alterior audio device and get a bigger flash media chip (512 is way too low for 48khz recording).

Hope this helps,
-C
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Old September 17th, 2007, 12:59 PM   #6
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I think the preamps on the XL2 are pretty decent. How high are the gain settings on the camera? They should be at a third or less.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 01:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
I think the preamps on the XL2 are pretty decent. How high are the gain settings on the camera? They should be at a third or less.
Hello,

Most of what I have read about pro shooters using the Canons agree with your assessment. I get distracting hiss if I go above 1 notch before center of gain on ch2 and a little less on ch1 of the XL2, and it is worst on the XL1.

Is this normal in your opinion??

Hearing clean audio at the movies or on a movie DVD has always impressed me. To hear absolute silence when it is suppose to be silent is marvelous.

We always sweeten our audio in house, or if it is a high-end job we have a recording studio do it for us.

I would love to be able to do in-house what the audio studios do for us, but I must admit, I don't get as good of results as they do. Audition is gret, but it/or I have limitations :-0

AM
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Old September 17th, 2007, 01:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Drews View Post
M-Audio MicroTrack Pro for solid state recording.

The unit itself is intimidating to get up and running (workflow wise) but I just shot a feature with XL2 (no audio) and MicroTrack w/ boom.

The best way of routing is boom mic -> pre amp - > 1/2 inch phono plugs - > microTrack Pro.

I recordered everything at 48khz (16 bit) stereo WAV.

I then dithered to AIFF-C for Final Cut (it hates WAV files).

My recommendations are to get slate well with any alterior audio device and get a bigger flash media chip (512 is way too low for 48khz recording).

Hope this helps,
-C
Hello, Thanks for the Feedback!

How is the hiss level on this unit?

Why so you use a preamp when you connect up with your mic?

How could I go directly from my shotgun mic, using XLR, to this unit directly (I would need some type of adapter, what would you suggest?)?.

Thanks!
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Old September 17th, 2007, 02:50 PM   #9
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One of the XH A1 forum threads gives some noise figures for the XH A1, I suspect that the XL H1 would have similar performance.

IMHO preamp noise characteristics are good for the XL series camcorders' price points, especially for a field shooting environments, if one is running a well matched system (good mics matched to the venue and camcorder's capability). In general it is better to have quality mics with high output, and run the camcorder at the MIC ATT settings for a better noise floor, if you can get adequate record levels.

And if you need studio-quality sound, use studio grade recording equipment.

And if you have to record to the camcorder, an external mixer feeding a -30 dB mic-level level signal to the MA-100, using MIC ATT setting, (or a -10 dB line level unbalanced signal to the Audio 1 input) would be the minimum configuration if you need the best possible sound from the XL-1/1s

I've found that the MicroTrack works well, has balanced (TRS) 1/4" phone jacks inputs, but probably best not to rely on its phantom power.
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Old September 17th, 2007, 08:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Palomaki View Post
One of the XH A1 forum threads gives some noise figures for the XH A1, I suspect that the XL H1 would have similar performance.

IMHO preamp noise characteristics are good for the XL series camcorders' price points, especially for a field shooting environments, if one is running a well matched system (good mics matched to the venue and camcorder's capability). In general it is better to have quality mics with high output, and run the camcorder at the MIC ATT settings for a better noise floor, if you can get adequate record levels.

And if you need studio-quality sound, use studio grade recording equipment.

And if you have to record to the camcorder, an external mixer feeding a -30 dB mic-level level signal to the MA-100, using MIC ATT setting, (or a -10 dB line level unbalanced signal to the Audio 1 input) would be the minimum configuration if you need the best possible sound from the XL-1/1s

I've found that the MicroTrack works well, has balanced (TRS) 1/4" phone jacks inputs, but probably best not to rely on its phantom power.
Hello Don,

I never thought of that... using the ATT. That would be a good reason to use a hi-quality pre-amp to boost the gain before you get to the cameras' pre-amp so that you could use the ATT setting.

I think that if I were going to strap on any additional equipment though, it would be a recording device and I would use alternate mics into the camera as ambient/backup tracks.

So you like the MicroTrack?

How noisy is it?

Thanks Again!!
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Old September 17th, 2007, 10:32 PM   #11
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MicroTrack

Yeah - I never use the phantom switch on the MicroTrack because it doesn't work with 48v mics. A complete waste of design in my mind.

Hiss on the MicroTrack depends on your configuration. It is solid state - so there are no moving parts (which is good for isolating noise). We used a Langevin Vocal Combo as our Pre (a studio buddy hooked me up) then took phono 1/4" out to MicroTrack pro.

I like what Don said and seems like great advice for using the camera's inputs.

I think this :
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...4_Channel.html

is a better buy than this :
http://www.bananas.com/productdetail...gital-Recorder

for getting the best audio quality. Never underestimate the power of a isolated pre-amp.

-C
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Old September 18th, 2007, 07:57 AM   #12
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I've not run measurements on the MicroTrack, but for a couple reviews:

http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/pub/...ew.html?page=1

http://www.sonicstudios.com/mt2496rv.htm (with noise spectrum curves).

And, if you have a good preamp with output around -10 dBV close to the camcorder (short cables), go directly into the XL Audio 1/2 jacks at line level, but do not send a line level input to the MA-100/200, it will clip (at around -10 dBV) - it is designed for mic level signals
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