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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old June 28th, 2007, 03:45 PM   #1
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Line input

We have been having problems getting line input to work on our 3 XL-H1 cameras.

We seem to be running into limiting problems when selecting line input and sending line out from a mixer.

Anyone have a quick how-to on line level input for the XL-H1?
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Old June 28th, 2007, 08:47 PM   #2
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This is not unusual with this camera. Depending on what mixer you are using the input sensitivity in line mode is too low to get proper levels from some mixers line outputs(Ie Sound Devices). Set tone to -20DB with the inputs and run the levels a little hotter from the mixer usually works. Or use Mic level on the inputs.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 10:44 AM   #3
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The H1's XLR inputs are set for mic level which is approx -50db.
Therefore if you send it line level (-10 or +4) you will get distortion.
The answer is to purchase "in line attenuators" or "pads".
They look like a female to female XLR barrel adatper, but reduce the
signal strength. I would recommend pads of at least -20db.

No matter how much you lower the H1's input level, without pads
you will have distortion if you send it +4db line level signal.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 11:26 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info.

Why did Canon bother to put a Line/Mic switch on there if it doesn't give you a true line level input. Seems like a marketing hook with no follow-through.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 12:42 PM   #5
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I might be mistaken with part of my comment. Maybe their
line switch is good for -10db line level, but cannot control
the much more powerful +4db signal? Is +4 what you are
feeding the camera?
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Old July 6th, 2007, 12:50 PM   #6
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I will dig up the specs on my mixer.

The manual states the XLR inputs are
-54dbv (auto mode) /600ohm for MIC level
0dbv (auto mode) /600ohm for LINE level

no specs on manual mode
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Old July 6th, 2007, 12:59 PM   #7
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Dear Jacques,

I think the problem is the other way, the line input of the XL H1 is not sensitive enough for normal line level signals.

I would also like to send line levels from a wireless stereo receiver but there is not enough gain for it in the XL H1.

So I had to use the mic input and get more noise from the mic amplifiers than necessary.

Good luck Brian / Johan
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Old July 6th, 2007, 03:38 PM   #8
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Gotcha. You are probably sending out -10db line level to the H1
and when the H1 is set to 0 db you can't get enough gain, but
when set to mic level you get distortion. Again, -20db
pads should attenuate the mixer's -10 db signal enough for
the mic level setting to work. Also check the mixer, some
have a switch and can output mic level.
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Old July 6th, 2007, 09:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques Mersereau View Post
Gotcha. You are probably sending out -10db line level to the H1
and when the H1 is set to 0 db you can't get enough gain, but
when set to mic level you get distortion. Again, -20db
pads should attenuate the mixer's -10 db signal enough for
the mic level setting to work. Also check the mixer, some
have a switch and can output mic level.
Jacque
I completely disagree with your description of the Line Mic levels and the XLH1. The Line Level input sensitivity on the XLH1 can easily handle +4DB and higher unlike earlier Canon XL Models. Unfortunately Sound Devices max out at 0DB and this means the input knobs on the XLH1 on Line Level are set almost to full gain on the dial to get a tone signal of -20DB.(Forget trying to get to -12DB) Other mixers (Wendt and Shure) have hotter line outputs so they can use less gain on the dial but most still use camera input settings on the high side of the dial. Canon didn't give us the right range on the Line Level input dials to cover the range of different mixers outputs.
Unlike the XLH1 my DVX-100 and SDX-900 can handle the various mixers line levels and reach -12DB on the camera meters easily although the inputs are set higher for the Sound Devices than my other mixers.
The Mic Level switch on the XLH1 sets the camera to a -50DB input sensitivity which is in the range of most mixers when set to Mic Level and the inputs on the camera can be set closer to mid range on the dial.
You are correct that you can pad down Line Level signals of different devices to a point where they won't distort on Mic Level. Some radio mics and other audio devices which use a -10DB line out (Consumer RCA Line Standard) will not be able to generate enough signal to be used in XLR Line Level on the XLH1 so it might be the best solution to pad them down 20 or 30DB so you can use the Mic Level settings on the camera and not get distortion.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 01:39 PM   #10
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It would be interesting if somebody could measure the actual sensitivity of the line input for this camera and compare the stated value in the manual which says:
-10dBV, 47 kohm for the unbalanced RCA connectors and
0 dBV, 600 ohm for the balanced XLR inputs in LINE mode.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 03:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Epstein View Post
Jacque
I completely disagree with your description of the Line Mic levels and the XLH1.
<EDIT>
You are correct that you can pad down Line Level signals of different devices to a point where they won't distort on Mic Level. <EDIT>
Well, it seems as if you don't *completely disagree* Dan :)

I have yet to have a gig where I had to record H1 line level audio,
so I was shooting from the hip while not knowing what exactly
was the situation concerning both the H1 and the mixer being used.
I thought I remembered a thread stating that the H1 had trouble
ingesting +4db signal, but my memory ain't what it used to be, dang it.

I would however say that it seems the solution is getting both
devices set correctly to the appropriate signal strength
and that additional hardware (pads) will have to be
provided to make it work.
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Old July 7th, 2007, 10:03 PM   #12
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Jacque,
I have been shooting and recording audio with the XL-H1 for over a year now and this is one issue which comes up consistently given the popularity of Sound Devices and other field mixers being used with the cameras.
Since you admit to not yet having a gig with an XLH1 in XLR Line Level I can understand why you didn't correctly explain the issues with this camera even though you apparently have a very good understanding of Mic Line Levels in general.
If the XLH1 is the only device being recorded on then most guys will figure out how to get clean sound to it after a little trial and error. I dislike having to find out what mixer my Experienced Sound Guy is showing up with so I can tell him how to get the signal to read properly from his mixer. It also bothers me if I use the XLH1 in a multi device scenario and I can't set all my devices to record the same kind of signal at the same levels. Canon takes some of the blame but so do the the Mixer manufacturers who don't give you the option of the old standard Line Level spec +4DB.
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Old July 8th, 2007, 02:20 AM   #13
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Line Input

Greetings,
I have been using Mackie Onyx 1220 and find that it's outputs, fed directly into my XLR or RCA inputs of my XL-H1, very accurate. I find the ONYX MIXER one of the best of the new line of mixers for delivering a clean, low noise and accurate feed when sent directly into my XL-H1. I have found the ONYX feeds to be better than many boards 10 x's the cost of the ONYX line... Today, the ONYX boards are also built with FIREWIRE OUT. I hope these comments are helpful to you. Peace, Joe Ray
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Old July 8th, 2007, 09:19 AM   #14
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Joe,
Would you call the Onyx a field mixer or small studio board? It wouldn't surprise me if the people at Canon would use that as their standard. By the way I have an older Mackie which the XLR inputs couldn't cleanly handle a line output from my PVW-2800 so I had to get XLR to 1/4 inch cables for line level into the board. Looking at the Manual the Specs say the Mackie Onyx output is +4DBU. Where do your input settings on the XLH1 end up using the XLR inputs with Tone at 0 on the mixer and -20 on the camera? Around 3/4 I suspect.
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Old July 8th, 2007, 03:03 PM   #15
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I was surprised to hear that Sound Devices outputs at -0db.
That is unusual IMO. It seems like a device made for
"camera audio" should be able to output -50db mic, -10db and +4db
levels as there is no standard for all camcorders.
-0db line level output is an 'odd duck' in my experience, but
everyone should have at least a couple of XLR -20db barrel pads
in their kit. Those and IL-19s transformers I call "show savers"
as buzzing or distored audio is a show wrecker.

In regards to the other posters, I too agree for its price point
that that Mackie Onyx is pretty remarkable. I am using
two of the 16 channel models (1640?) and it is great to have six aux
sends with pre and post selection, a built in splitter, a phantom
power switch for each channel and
firewire recording too. My complaint is the activation issues with
Mackie's Traction software in a University environment and
"cross talk" between channels when the input signal is cranked.
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