Ok, can someone give info on the Xl2 Audio performance. at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon XL2 / XL1S / XL1 and GL2 / XM2 / GL1 / XM1.


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Old August 31st, 2004, 07:01 PM   #1
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Ok, can someone give info on the Xl2 Audio performance.

Now that they've started shipping and people will start to have them soon, I imagine that this section of the forums is going to explode. Everyone will be talking about picture, but what I want to know is how good the audio performance is.

So if anyone's able to do some tests (preferably with test equipment) I'd love to see them posted here.

The DVX is known to have pretty good sound, and the XM2 isn't too shabby either for documentary style shooting. I think if Canon did some really good work in this area, it'd be a real plus to us low budget shooters.

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Old August 31st, 2004, 07:23 PM   #2
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Importantly, are the preamps any better than the ones in the XL1S?
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Old August 31st, 2004, 09:54 PM   #3
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I'm more of audio professional than shooting video, but the audio quality of XL2 is good. I use PMC studio monitor, Bryston poweramp and MOTU 828mkII audio interface to playback and the fidelity is better than DSR-PDX10. Also, the volume control function of XL2 is good. The attenuation works good for say, live performance with audio under reinforcement system , you can cut the volume greatly with flip of the switch, avoiding overly compressed audio image. The volume knobs are right there.

I don't have much experience with DVX100, so I can't compare.

XL2's audio is more than feasible, but I foud that it might need better absorption mechanizm since the mic picks up the noise from manual zoom moving.
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Old August 31st, 2004, 11:59 PM   #4
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<<Importantly, are the preamps any better than the ones in the XL1S?>>

Realistically, if you want to get quality sound with the XL, or any camera...even 50k+ range you need to use a field preamp and essentially bypass the onboard pres that are basically useless for serious sound.

Producing music and sound design, even into quality mixers like an 02R, MOTU, etc...I always use Focusrite, JoeMeek and other dedicated mic pres, and that gear is pretty serious and dedicated audio.

The point being that if you want to use dedicated pres recording through high end studio gear, you definitely want to do it on cameras where even good audio ins are really average to garbage.

Every serious shooter should spend the few hundreed dollars to get something like the Sound Design 2 channel field Pre and mixer. They're the guys thatOEM the 2 industry standard Shure field mixers. It's made with the best components, has every audio feature you'd ever need from slate and 1k tone to tape returns for monitoring off the camera, great daylight LEDs for level meters, pan and levels, stereo and mono, phantom power, etc.

Put a basic ME66 through one of these and into your XL and you'll be amazed at how the audio is suddenly good...and clean. I stick it on the back of the mini35 and the straight XL if I don't have a sound person...it fits in your palm and weighs less than a pound.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 12:12 AM   #5
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Hey Jim. I agree with you for the high end stuff, but if you are doing broadcast stuff for a local TV, cams like the DVX and XM2 are fine aren't they, assuming you don't have the $$ for some flash field mixer.

One query re the old Xl's audio - can you bypass the preamps totally with that? It would seem you'd need to otherwise you're back to square one?

Also re mixer, are you meaning the SoundDevices ones like the MixPre?

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Old September 1st, 2004, 01:20 AM   #6
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<<Hey Jim. I agree with you for the high end stuff, but if you are doing broadcast stuff for a local TV, cams like the DVX and XM2 are fine aren't they, assuming you don't have the $$ for some flash field mixer.>>

It's always a judgement call Aaron, I was just making the point that the quality of any in-camera audio is suspect and is you want good quality there's no way around a decent mixer/preamp

<<One query re the old Xl's audio - can you bypass the preamps totally with that? It would seem you'd need to otherwise you're back to square one?>>

By bypassing I mean using the field mixer/preamp to boost your gain to a strong average where you're maximizing signal to noise, avoiding preamp hiss (one of the real problem with XL level pres) and generally improving the signal quality before the Canon preamp.

Because you've got the gain where you need it, you can keep the Canon pres virtually turned off (all the way counterclockwise) or very nearly closed. This eliminates Canon gain stage and therefore any noise, hiss, junk or degrading the mic signal with crummy electronics.

<<Also re mixer, are you meaning the SoundDevices ones like the MixPre? >>


That's the one exactly...check one out.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 02:01 AM   #7
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<<Also re mixer, are you meaning the SoundDevices ones like the MixPre? >>

I use my XL1 for wildlife filming and have suffered for years with the poor audio quality of the camera. Recently, I bought the SoundDevices MixPre preamplifier, and I can second what Jim said. A proper preamplifier indeed makes a big difference in the sound quality; especially the noise level is reduced a lot. (Needless to say, low noise is important in capturing e.g. singing birds.)

Another advantage is that proper preamplifies contain a limiter and high pass filter. They are rather helpful in many circumstances.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 02:28 AM   #8
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THanks Jim and Lauri. A mixer/preamp has been one of those things I've been holding off on. I've got the ME66 which is pretty hot so it's managed to do not too bad so far. I know though, that if I go for a better mic down the line I'll no doubt need some decent preamps. Also I've had occasion to take a line level feed from a mixing desk, but no way to get that down to my XM2's level (Only mic, no line). Something like the 302 would be good for that as that can take line in.

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Old September 1st, 2004, 05:53 AM   #9
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> ... and have suffered for years with the poor audio quality of the camera ...

Perhaps a harsh statement, unless you have a defectiver camcorder. The XL1 sound quality was excellent for its price point and market segment. But it is not professional studio sound gear.

Best S/N is obtained using Audio 1 inputs at line level (e.g., about -11 dBV) and a high quality extenal preamps. I suspect that some modest priced condensor shotgun mics have higher self-noise floors than the XL1 mic input.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 08:12 AM   #10
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I also use the SoundDevices MixPre. I purchased this unit for the same reason when I had my XL1s, the preamps were noisy in that camera. I ran the mixer into the line in (RCA L & R) on the camera and the sound improved greatly. The line in is much cleaner than mic level on the XL1s, I rarely used the MA-100. Since I purchased my DVX100a, I don't use the MixPre as much, that camera has super clean audio direct into the camera I must say.
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Old September 1st, 2004, 08:49 AM   #11
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> Perhaps a harsh statement, unless you have a defectiver camcorder.

Well, I did not mean to be harsh --my apologizes-- for it's obvious that one can't get pro audio and excellent video quality for the price of XL1. MixPre costs already a good portion of XL1(s).

My point was that in recording (distant) birds and other sounds coming from the nature, I always ended having a rather weak signal (although I have high quality mics). Thus, I also had to spend a lot of time filtering out the noise during edition. The preamplifier improved the situation significantly, and there is now far less trouble with the audio tracks.

For this reason I feel being silly not getting the preamplifier much earlier since I knew all the time the problem was there. Instead, I "punished" myself with some unnecessary edit load taking a lot of time. That's why I employed word "suffer".
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Old September 1st, 2004, 09:13 AM   #12
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To avoid misunderstandings, I should add, the quality of video of XL1 and XL1s has been just amazing in my view. It's only the audio side which is not that impressive.

In the past I used a Sony Betacam, and back in 1997 when I had the chance to test the XL1 for the first time, it was nothing but an amazing experience. The weight of the whole XL1 package was less that 1/4 of a Betacam camera, batteries were really light (and they have lasted all these years), and the video quality was at least comparable to the Betacam (if not better). Moreover, equipped with the interchangable lens system the XL1 was like all dreams coming true in an affordable package.

All these years I've been carrying the XL1 in the middle of nowhere and keep shooting in conditions when the spirit level has frozen and XL1 has been nothing but reliable. For this experience, I did not hesitate a single moment to order the new XL2 as soon as the first messages came out.
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