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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old July 19th, 2005, 10:18 AM   #1
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XL2 mic choice census!

Would like to know which mics XL2 users prefer as solid workhorses.

My interest is that I'm looking to buy a multi-purpose mic, whose main use will be indoors in small, non-sound-insulated domestic rooms.

Is there a mic that is switchable between cardioid and hyper-cardioid? If so, is it lower quality than a dedicated cardioid? Will I even need a hyper-cardioid in domestic rooms?

Also, if you only have one mic and you plug into one of the XLR inputs on the back of the XL2, can you still get 16 bit sound?

Last edited by Jon Turner; July 19th, 2005 at 10:36 AM.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 12:05 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Turner
Would like to know which mics XL2 users prefer as solid workhorses.

My interest is that I'm looking to buy a multi-purpose mic, whose main use will be indoors in small, non-sound-insulated domestic rooms.

Is there a mic that is switchable between cardioid and hyper-cardioid? If so, is it lower quality than a dedicated cardioid? Will I even need a hyper-cardioid in domestic rooms?

Also, if you only have one mic and you plug into one of the XLR inputs on the back of the XL2, can you still get 16 bit sound?
A good compromise to save money without reducing quality is a mic system like the Sennheiser ME66 that has a body containing the electronics and interchangeable capsules with diffenent pickup patterns.

Yes, you can use 16 bit sound even when recording on just one track. A strategy to consider is to get an inexpensive stereo mixer and feed the mike to one of its mono inputs. Set the mike pan to the centre position so it's fed equally to the left and right stereo outputs, dual mono in other words. Send one output to the channel 1 input on the camera, recording at -12dBFS. Send the other output to the channel 2 input and record it at -20dBFS. That way you have backup audio and the lower level is there to use if an unexpected loud noise sends the primary so hot it overloads and distorts.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 01:26 PM   #3
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You don't need a separate mixer to record from just one mono mic; there is a mono/stereo switch on the audio panel of the XL2 that will toggle between sending one XLR to both channels, or keep left-to-left, right-to-right.

My personal "stock" config is to have an AT897 on the left channel and a Senn G2 wireless receiver on the right channel. Using the mono/stereo switch, I can quickly adapt my setup to record with both mics, either one to a mono channel, or by flipping the switch on the XL2, send one of the mics to both channels with different manual levels to each.

I've never used the ME66; seems to be a well thought of, quite "hot" mic. But at around $480 for the mic plus K6 power supply, it is about $200 more expensive than the AT897, which is not a particularly "hot" mic. But I've been happy with it.

To shop around for different sorts of mics, both AT and Sennheiser have very nicely done web sites that are worth browsing.

EDIT: The label of that switch is a little cryptic: REC CH SEL. It allows you to choose between recording Channel 1 (eg "Left Channel") or, as above, Left-to-Left, Right-to-Right.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 01:34 PM   #4
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"Also, if you only have one mic and you plug into one of the XLR inputs on the back of the XL2, can you still get 16 bit sound?"


The 16 bit sound is switchable only via the on-screen menu - so unless you went to this menu to switch to 12-bit 4 channel, the 16 bit 2 channel should still work by just switching the audio 1 switch to 'rear' on the side audio control panel. This disables the stock on-board stereo mic and recognizes only the rear XLR inputs. If you plug a single mono mic into the channel 1/3 XLR input you will get 16 bit audio onto channel 1. Via the same control panel, you can duplicate this channel onto channel 2 so that you are getting the same mono signal into both the left and right channels of a stereo feed. I have done this frequently with an AT897 shotgun when I know it is the only mic feed I am using for a shot and it has worked well for me, although I can't say that it is the all-purpose indoor mic you are looking for.

I suspect others more seasoned in that area can offer good feedback on the mic selection.
-Jon Jones
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Old July 21st, 2005, 05:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
Yes, you can use 16 bit sound even when recording on just one track. A strategy to consider is to get an inexpensive stereo mixer and feed the mike to one of its mono inputs. Set the mike pan to the centre position so it's fed equally to the left and right stereo outputs, dual mono in other words. Send one output to the channel 1 input on the camera, recording at -12dBFS. Send the other output to the channel 2 input and record it at -20dBFS. That way you have backup audio and the lower level is there to use if an unexpected loud noise sends the primary so hot it overloads and distorts.
The backup audio idea is fantastic! Is it a technique of your own invention? Great idea. Can you still get 16bit sound, though? Thought you had to use 12 bit sound when using two XLR inputs.
Does anyone else use this technique?
Anyway, thanks for your input, Steve.
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