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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old March 24th, 2005, 07:22 PM   #1
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XL2 Audio Question

I have shot with the panasonic 24p with shure's FP 24 field mixer and k series shotgun mic, no problem. I just got my new xl2 in the mail and noticed that there are no "line in" switches inside the audio panel. As we know line level recording is the best way to capture an audio signal so it will be very, very disappointing if canon missed this. However, they may simple assume that the user is aware of the XLR inputs in the back as being line level inputs, which are not labeled?

Hopefully somebody can answer this question.
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Old March 24th, 2005, 07:32 PM   #2
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Do a search, as there have been several posts that covered this topic in depth.

To summarize, the XLR inputs are Mic only and will not handle the line signal without an adaptor that pads it. You can get line level signal through the RCA input on the side, but if necessary, keep cable runs short.

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Old March 24th, 2005, 09:50 PM   #3
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The audio

I don't know what else to say. XLR inputs for mic line only: Sad, just SAD!

thanks for your reply kevin
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Old March 24th, 2005, 09:53 PM   #4
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Kevin C - yup - very sad. Why Canon chose to do it this way I dunno. For the extra few cents it would have cost them to put it in I dunno what they were thinking. Then again, Canon says the Xl2 is a "consumer" camera....

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Old March 24th, 2005, 11:56 PM   #5
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Yeah, but don't be too hard on them. At least we finally got XLR inputs at all!

Remember, adaptors for mic to line are not costly. The XL2 rocks...you still do get a lot of "pro" features for basically a consumer price. (Like "film grain"...just kidding)

Maybe in the XL3 we'll get a mic/line switch...

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Old March 25th, 2005, 12:32 PM   #6
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kevin Wild : Yeah, but don't be too hard on them. At least we finally got XLR inputs at all!

Remember, adaptors for mic to line are not costly. The XL2 rocks...you still do get a lot of "pro" features for basically a consumer price. (Like "film grain"...just kidding)

Maybe in the XL3 we'll get a mic/line switch...

Kevin -->>>

Well the XL2 has attenuation switches, but it's apparently not enough for line level. (So what was the point?) I recently tried to feed directly out of a PA system into the rear XLR jacks and it was all crunchy, even with the ATT switches on and the levels set well below red (knobs at approx. 11 o'clock position). It would appear that the audio inputs on the XL2 don't have much headroom. Anyhow, this was when I first learned how important a set of headphones could be.

But as Kevin says, at least we have the XLR inputs and attenuator pads can be bought cheaply, or made easily. I made a variable pad and mic power blocker for my older camera (TRV-30) with about $20 worth of parts from Radio Shack. It took me about two hours (if you count the sticky labels). I could scare up a diagram and list of parts if someone is interested.

Speaking of film grain... Is there any way to set it to simulate different types of film? And how about simulated video or audio noise? (also kidding) The saddest part about the whole film grain thing is all the poor folks who didn't get that er... "feature" and think they really missed out.

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Old March 25th, 2005, 05:11 PM   #7
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I'm not a real pro on this, but I'm pretty sure a normal "attenuator" is different than a mic to line adaptor. An attenuator does take levels down, but not nearly enough. However, it is still great to have this feature on the XL2. I just shot a couple bands at a corporate party and it was absolutely necessary to have the attenuator on.


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Old March 25th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kevin Wild : I'm not a real pro on this, but I'm pretty sure a normal "attenuator" is different than a mic to line adaptor. An attenuator does take levels down, but not nearly enough. However, it is still great to have this feature on the XL2. I just shot a couple bands at a corporate party and it was absolutely necessary to have the attenuator on.
Kevin -->>>

I'm far from a pro myself. Actually, I am getting paid for it, so I guess that makes me a novice pro. ;-) Seriously though, I've got some stage audio and electronics experience to fall back on here.

Technically they are both attenuators.

An attenuator is simply a passive device that reduces signal levels by some amount. The question is "how much?" If the purpose is just to be able to handle louder sounds without overloading the preamp (this is where some extra headroom would've been nice), that's apparently not enough attenuation to handle line levels. I was surprised how little difference there was in the levels between the att. on/off settings. If I recall, it was only about a one notch difference in the position of the level knobs.

Honestly, I was surprised to find line levels on a balanced XLR output. Live and learn!

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Old March 27th, 2005, 11:14 AM   #9
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Shure makes an XLR line level to mike input attentuator that pops immediately to mind. I'm sure the other manufacturers of pro mikes make similar devices.

http://www.shure.com/accessories/a15la.asp

Not very expensive and purpose made to solve exactly this problem.

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Old March 27th, 2005, 11:22 AM   #10
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Although I too think it was a mistake for Canon not to include a line/mic level switch on the XLR jacks, please keep in mind that the RCA jacks on this camera are in fact line level inputs, and perhaps more importantly, there is no difference in signal quality between XLR and RCA.

It's definitely a hassle to have to go from line-level XLR cables to an XLR-to-RCA adapter and then into the RCA inputs, but there's certainly no loss to the quality of your audio by doing that. Hope this helps,
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Old March 27th, 2005, 12:07 PM   #11
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But, Chris. The rca inputs are unbalanced and therefore only allow for a 12-15 foot cable run to be safe (no hums, noise, etc.) I guess that's fine in most cases, but still, it would've been nice to have the XLR line-ins.

Am I mistaken?

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Old March 27th, 2005, 12:09 PM   #12
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Re: XL2 Audio Question

<<<-- Originally posted by Kevin Crisp : As we know line level recording is the best way to capture an audio signal... -->>>

I've been working with audio for 20 years and I certainly don't know this. Would I like a line level switch for the XLR inputs? Sure why not. Do I think it's necessary? No.
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Old March 27th, 2005, 12:11 PM   #13
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Yeah, but Kevin - you can run a mile of balanced cable and then go to a quality rca cable for the last six inches. You'll never know (or hear) the difference.
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Old March 27th, 2005, 12:52 PM   #14
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And that is in fact the exact workaround you need.

The lack of a line-level XLR switch is definitely an annoyance, but not a deal-breaker.
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Old March 27th, 2005, 09:42 PM   #15
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Great Feedback

I just wanted to thank everyone for responding to the message that I posted. I'm armed with two solutions (rca or shure pad). I'm going in to the XL2 and out into pro tools. I'll see what's best.
kc
Thanks for the solutions.
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