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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 September 12th, 2004, 03:46 PM   #46
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Thanks Barry. Did you try the DVX with it's line level in on XLR, compared with the mic levle in of the XL2? I guess this is where test equipment might be the best thing to test these with.

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Old September 12th, 2004, 04:09 PM   #47
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No...I was primarily interested in Gregs comment about the circuit being hissy, and then another post by someone saying that the DVX's sound is "perfect, noiseless"...my feeling is that at this level none of these camera's is going to be substantially different...they all have their "one-ups"...panasonic comes out with 24p...then canon true 16:9...these are the marketed technologies....but the rest of the guts are all probably in the same ballpark...ie the sound guys at canon have tested the dvx, and know what it is capable of...they certainly aren't going to put out something significantly "less" capable...it would be suicide..the camera costs more...

Anyway I'll leave the real testing to someone who knows what they are doing...

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Old September 12th, 2004, 05:04 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally posted by Barry Goyette : ie the sound guys at canon have tested the dvx, and know what it is capable of...they certainly aren't going to put out something significantly "less" capable...it would be suicide..the camera costs more...
You cannot attribute rational motives to what camera manufacturers will do. I mean, the DVX has substantially superior audio to all prior prosumer cameras (as verified by Jay Rose) and had been out for about a year, and I believe the DVX100A had even been released, when Sony produced the PD170.

With a nasty hum whenever the LCD was open.

So you never know. HOPEFULLY Canon has addressed it and is giving solid DVX-or-better audio, but to just assume that because the camera costs more, it has more capability... that is unfortunately giving the manufacturers perhaps more credit than they deserve. The sheer lack of a line-in switch hints that not all was clearly thought out, and my pet peeve (no true manual focus on the 20x lens) further points out that just because someone else does it, that doesn't mean that everyone will get it "right" from that point forward!

Heck, look at the Sony HDV camera: the biggest clamor I'm hearing is that there's no progressive mode AT ALL... not 24P, not 30P, not any "P". And they had years to study what the market wanted.

So, all must be verified by competent testing -- taking it on faith that the manufacturer "got it right" is likely just wishful thinking, until it's proved on a test bench.
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Old September 12th, 2004, 05:22 PM   #49
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Barry (by the way...nice name)

I agree with you totally....my comment was based on two posts -- one that said (essentially) "the xl2 has a hiss" and another that said "the DVX is perfect, noiseless, clean"...well to my ears that sounded like I needed to find out if either of these claims was true....because my assumption would be that these cameras are most likely verrrry similar...unless I had a test...some data...something...to back it up. Yes, there are many examples of engineering flaws being brought to light by diligent people like you and me.

There are equally as many "rhetorical flaws" that can be corrected in the same way.

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Old September 12th, 2004, 06:05 PM   #50
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I'm amazed at the number of "Barrys" I'm running into on these forums... I don't think I've met more than two in my life, and now all of a sudden they're everywhere...

I'm right there with you. In fact, you had a tagline somewhere that said "let the truth be told..." I don't care which camera "wins", I'd just like to know what the facts are.

My ears are probably no match for Jay Rose, so I'm anxiously looking forward to what he says. For my purposes, 99.995% of the time I have a mic-level signal connected to the XLR's, so I don't think the lack of line-level will be a big deal. But overall audio quality certainly will be. So let's hear how good it really is...

I agree with you about both claims (hiss and noiseless)... the thing is, you've got to really test, not just slap on some headphones and make a declaration. The DVX100A has a very pronounced hiss on the headphone output, but that doesn't get recorded, it's a byproduct of them having boosted the output. But if someone didn't know that, and they just plugged in some phones to listen to the camrea, they'd say "whoa -- DVX audio's awful, what's with this hiss??!"

Thanks for all your work in making XL2 demo footage available to everyone!
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Old September 12th, 2004, 06:45 PM   #51
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Here's what Jay Rose had to say about these early audio reports on the XL2:

Quote:
Having only mic-level input isn't a drawback per se - it's possible to build very good mic preamps - but doesn't really tell us anything about about this particular camera.

In every camera I've tested that has both mic and line level in, the line level was considerably better in terms of noise, distortion, or both. However, IF Canon got their act together and built a high quality mic input on this camera, there'd definitely be a design/cost advantage to making it mic-only. You can always use an external pad for line-level signals.

Since camera manufacturers seldom publish meaningful specs (and I've never seen Canonn publish any), the only way to tell is with some objective tests.
Saw this on the DV forums, Audio section.
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Old September 12th, 2004, 06:57 PM   #52
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<<<-I agree with you about both claims (hiss and noiseless)... the thing is, you've got to really test, not just slap on some headphones and make a declaration. The DVX100A has a very pronounced hiss on the headphone output, but that doesn't get recorded, it's a byproduct of them having boosted the output. But if someone didn't know that, and they just plugged in some phones to listen to the camrea, they'd say "whoa -- DVX audio's awful, what's with this hiss??!" -->>>

Guys,
If you read my original posts what I said was:

The headphones have a significant hiss, but the recorded signal has substantially less hiss. But the recording does have noise....though not nearly as bad as what you are monitoring.

I underrstand why, just as you stated Canon has boosted the output on the headphones....BUT as a professional product this should not be acceptable. Afterall the purpose of the headphones is to be sure you are getting great audio, not acceptable audio. It is hard to tell thru all this hiss.
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Old September 12th, 2004, 08:23 PM   #53
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I think you just nailed it with the phrase "professional product." Canon sells the XL as a consumer product--just as Sony will sell their new HDV camera as a consumer product. Sony decided that consumers don't want XLRs, and Canon decided that consumers don't want line in to their XLRs.

I read a good article sometime last year about the difference between a consumer and a professional camera. The writer was talking about still cameras, but I think his rationale fits video cameras very well. Basically, he said you can do about 90 percent of what you usually need to do with a high end consumer camera, but it's that final 10 percent professionals often need that makes the gear cost a lot more.
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Old September 12th, 2004, 09:03 PM   #54
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Well you are correct that the XL2 is produced by Canon's consumer division, but there is no doubt that Canon is marketing and selling this to professionals. I doubt you would find many "consumers" buying this product.

This is a quote from Canons web site:

>>Unprecedented image control coordination between two XL2 cameras, remote computer camera control and direct video recording to computer are just a part of the capabilities of the XL2. Never before has so much creative power been put in the hands of the film maker, video artist, and corporate and event videographer.<<
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Old September 13th, 2004, 12:01 AM   #55
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Well Canon have it sussed then don't they. They can blab on about how this is a pro camera, for professionals and then when pros go "Err canon, where is the line level in?" they can go, "Well this is produced by our consumer division, and consumers don't need that".

Come on, no way in hell is this meant to be a consumer camera.

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Old September 13th, 2004, 10:32 AM   #56
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They market it by their consumer division, just as Sony does their small 1/3" chip cameras. I thought it was interesting that when the PD150 first came out it had that audio hiss problem in the mic level inputs, but the DSR250 had no such problems. The 150 was made in a Sony consumer factory, while the 250 is made in a professional camera factory. (That info came from a large L.A. dealer who is a strong reputation for reliability and no B.S., so I assumed it was true, but I didn't get the info first hand from Sony.)

Sony invented this whole "prosumer" phenomenon with the VX1000. I really think they thought it was a high end consumer camera, and it was. But--real filmmakers started using the hell out of it, and eventually Sony put DV into their professional market in the form of DVCAM. I think the manufacturers will never consider the small 1/3" chip cameras to be fully professional and probably won't ever offer all the stuff you really need for that final 10 percent.
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Old September 13th, 2004, 06:12 PM   #57
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There was a significant hiss problem with the VX2000/PD150 audio. After a few months of significant grips and lost sales, Sony modified the audio input design in the PD150 and offered a free correction to at least some PD150 owners. But VX2000 owners were out of luck. I believe the issue was solved by changing the mic preamp to a low noise model.

Like all makers, Canon designs camcorder for the market segment they are trying to reach. For the vast majority of XL-series users and prospective buyers, line level XLR was not an issue. For those for whom it is a buy / don't buy deciding issue, go with a different model and enjoy the design trade-offs it provides. In any case enjoy the cheese.
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Old September 13th, 2004, 07:19 PM   #58
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As I remember, it, Sony didn't offer a free fix to anybody. They charged like $150 or $250 for the fix.

Charles McConathy, owner of ProMax, stood up and said "no way... anybody who bought a PD150 from us, we'll cover you... we'll pay for the fix so your camera works properly."

I don't know if anyone else got it fixed for free, but ProMax buyers did, only 'cause Charles McConathy volunteered to pay for the fixes out of his own pocket.
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Old December 18th, 2004, 03:56 PM   #59
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Guys I am glad I read this thread BEFORE I started spending any money.

You know, I was trying to compile a really nice low budget equipment including the XL2 with some fine audio.. mixer, mic, boom and so on. And then I read this thing has no XLR-Line In!

I mean even the XL1 had a switch for Mic/Line Levels! And for balanced/unbalanced I bought a Beachtek, back then.

What is a XLR input good if Canon markets this camera to indie filmmakers when every serious sound person works with a mixer that puts out line level? Where is the audio improvement over the XL1? That they attached the MA200 to the camera to fix that lousy shoulderpad?

I am really pissed off now, because I spent half the day putting all equipment together and then everything falls apart, because Canon didn't build in such a damn switch!

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Old December 18th, 2004, 03:59 PM   #60
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Peter, it is an annoyance but I don't see how it would make or break a purchase decision. After all, there are work-arounds for this issue. I have yet to find "the perfect camera" from any manufacturer.
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