XL1s + MA-200 + Azden Shotgun mic = VERY low Audio at DVinfo.net

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Old August 31st, 2003, 10:40 PM   #1
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XL1s + MA-200 + Azden Shotgun mic = VERY low Audio

Hey all,
I have the XL1S and have been using an Azden shotgun mic with the Beachtek XLR converter going through the mic-in connector, with no issues, except for the background hiss. I just purchased the MA-200 and after hooking everything up, (Switching to "line in" and connecting all the cables) it seemed i was getting no audio out coming into the camera. I ran a test record and during playback, the sound was extremely low. if i turned up the volume on the headphones i could still barely hear it and i would get a background hiss (The main reason i wanted to switch from the beachtek).

I switched the mic back to the beachtek and into the mic input to make sure there was nothing wrong with my cables or the mic and everything worked fine. I switched everything back to the MA-200 and still i am getting only a very low input. When i look at the audio meter, ut shows that sound is going through, but registering very low. Yelling didn't even bring it up to the "12" marker (Even after taking it off Automatic volume control and setting the record volume all the way up). I have it set to line in, and 16 bit record mode. And i have the the three main cables plugged into the audio 1 in ports. (I can even hear the sound fully go off and come back on when i plug in the DC connector).

Is there something i am missing? I don't want to look like a fool if i send this thing back to the place i bought it and it actually works.

Please let me know if you have anything i should try to get this thing working.

Thanks for your time,

Aaron Goodmiller
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Old August 31st, 2003, 11:55 PM   #2
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Did you plug the power cable of the MA-200 (small mini-plug) into the power jack in the back of the XL1S?

Write back and let us know,

- don
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Old September 1st, 2003, 07:17 AM   #3
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Also, did you set the Audio1 (or Audio2 if using it) input level to MIC (or MIC ATT for loud venues) from the menu? It defaults to consumer line input sensitivity, which is about -10 dBV, and typical mic output is on the order of -40 dBV or less. BTW: this is the most common pproblem folks hve when they use the MA-100/200 the first time.

Which Azden mic? The hiss you hear may be a charactersitic of the mic.
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Old September 1st, 2003, 08:51 AM   #4
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I do have th epower connected to the back of the camera. However, i was using the line in setting. I will try it with the Mic in, and be thouroughly upset if i have to use it in this fashion. Not because i was using the wrong setting, but because that setting absolutely sucks. it puts an his onto the soundtrack that is unbearable.

And no that's it's not the mic that is creating the hiss. I spent 2 hours one night testing every single configuration possible and found that the hiss is there as long as the camera is using "mic" setting. (I even tested it with nothing connected to any mic or rca port and the hiss was still there.)

Anyway, i'll give that a shot.
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Old September 1st, 2003, 08:53 AM   #5
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DOH!. i forgot to say thanks for the replies.

so...

Thanks for the replies and info. :)

Aaron
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Old September 1st, 2003, 07:59 PM   #6
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Part 2 of XL1s + MA-200 + Azden Shotgun mic = VERY low Audio

Below is my previous post. since this post i have tried using the MA-200 with the audio setup for "Mic In" and this gave me absolutely no sound. I even got the proper connectors to allow the BeachTek XLR converter to connect to the RCA ins and got the same Very Low Audio results. I have to think that there is some kind of setting in the menus that i am missing. Can anybody think of anything? My next option is to take the camera someplace and have them take a look at the RCA ins and see if that is the problem. (And yes the power connecter on the MA-200 has been connected to the camera every time i have tested it).

Thanks again for your time,

Aaron Goodmiller

------Previous Post----
Hey all,
I have the XL1S and have been using an Azden shotgun mic with the Beachtek XLR converter going through the mic-in connector, with no issues, except for the background hiss. I just purchased the MA-200 and after hooking everything up, (Switching to "line in" and connecting all the cables) it seemed i was getting no audio out coming into the camera. I ran a test record and during playback, the sound was extremely low. if i turned up the volume on the headphones i could still barely hear it and i would get a background hiss (The main reason i wanted to switch from the beachtek).

I switched the mic back to the beachtek and into the mic input to make sure there was nothing wrong with my cables or the mic and everything worked fine. I switched everything back to the MA-200 and still i am getting only a very low input. When i look at the audio meter, ut shows that sound is going through, but registering very low. Yelling didn't even bring it up to the "12" marker (Even after taking it off Automatic volume control and setting the record volume all the way up). I have it set to line in, and 16 bit record mode. And i have the the three main cables plugged into the audio 1 in ports. (I can even hear the sound fully go off and come back on when i plug in the DC connector).

Is there something i am missing? I don't want to look like a fool if i send this thing back to the place i bought it and it actually works.

Please let me know if you have anything i should try to get this thing working.

Thanks for your time,

Aaron Goodmiller
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 01:00 AM   #7
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So you're saying it's better to have the audio 1 set to "Line" than "Mic" or "Mic ATT" for getting a quality signal? I'm needing to buy a new XLR adapter, and was leaning toward a beachtek DXA4C, since it seems to have more features than the MA100.

With the MA100, I always had Audio 1 (found in the menu, under "VCR setup," I think) at either "MIC" or "MIC ATT" (If I could get away with the attenuator on, I would, as it produced less background noise). You have to plug in the miniplug, as well as the red and white RCA cables, all at the same time, for this adapter to work, as far as I know. The miniplug goes in the hole between the RCAs.

I want to know more about that "MIC" and "LINE" stuff. . .I don't know what any of the audio stuff means.
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 05:12 AM   #8
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With high output mics, you often can use the MIC ATT setting which produces less hiss (better nosie floor).

With the MA-100/200 yo get an extra 6 dB gain over the standard mic input jack, so you may hear a higher nosie floor.

The MIC or MIC ATT setting gives more gain, but with that comes a higher noise floor than the line setting. A fact of having more amplifiers in the signal path.

Do not totally rely on headphones to judge effective hiss levels, they tend to make it much more noticeable then speakers in a real room would.
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 07:01 AM   #9
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I finally got it work. I thought that is you switched the audio 1 item to "mic" or "mic att" in the menu system that it would not work. I was incorrect.

After switching to "mic att" in the menu system ad putting the switch on the outside to audio 1, everything worked fine.

The reason i have thought that using the "Line in" settings would give less his is that whenever i switch from "mic" to "Audio 1" the hiss would fully disapear.

Is there anyway (without buying a DAT Recorder) to get rid of the hiss all together?

Thanks
Aaron
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 01:46 PM   #10
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So you want to use "LINE" if you can, is the idea? But MIC and MIC ATT boost your gain, but also your noise floor. So is the beachtek any better at alleviating these issues, or is it all the same?
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 02:12 PM   #11
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Actually. I thought that maybe by using Line it would give lessto no Hiss, but it seems if you use Line In the sound is FAR lower than if you used Mic or Mic ATT ins. so when you raise the volume on that, you get Hiss as well. so i don't know what to think. I would think that considering this is supposed to be close to if not equivilent to DAT quality sound recording, there would be no hiss. But it seems i am wrong.
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 02:42 PM   #12
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Audio experts? HELP US!
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 07:02 PM   #13
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OK.

The line input setting expects a signal on the order of -11 dBV (~o.28 volts) to provide full record level.

The MIC ATT setting expects an input signal of -35 dBV (~0.018 volts) for full record level.

The MIC setting expects an input of about -55 dBV (~0.0018 volts) for full record level.

All electronic devices have a certain internal/self-noise level, it is based in part on the temperature of the cricuits and components and quality of the design. Usually the first amplifier in a chain (e.g., the mic preamp) sets the noise floor, or minimum noise level, of the device. Using line input level has the least internal amplification of the noise generated by the input amplifiers, so it has the best signal to noise ratio (least hiss, best noise floor). MIC ATT is next, and MIC has the highest noise floor.

The XL1 has a relatively good audio section for a camcorder in its price range. To obtain improvement, you need to use a bettter external preamp. than the preamps in the XL1, which means buying professional quality gear.

The Beachtek is passive, which means no internal gain, just variable amounts of signal loss depending on the setting of its controls. Using a Beachtek (or Studio One or Signvideo) will improve the overall nose or hiss only if the XL!'s MIC input preamplifier is lower noise than the preamps on the AUDIO1 input. And that would tend to depend on the specific XL1 being used.

With a high output mic the Beachtek could actually be worse if you turn down the signal using the Beachtek rather than switching to MIC ATT mode.

So how noisy is the XL1 Audio 1 iunput? Some measurements from my unit: Battery powered, nothing connected to the audio 1 input, manual level control with level pot mid range.

Line setting: -80 dB
MIC ATT setting: -79 dB
MIC setting -67 dB

Readings for the mic jack:
MIC ATT: -71 dB
MIC: -66 dB

These reading are relative to the maximum digital record level for a sine wave with direct firewire capture from the camcorder Keep in mind that the MIC setting has about 20 dB more gain than the MIC ATT setting. so the noise level could be as much as 20 dB higher (but it isn't). Also, increasing the level control setting will increase the noise floor, especailly at the MIC setting.
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Old September 2nd, 2003, 08:04 PM   #14
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So if i got a pre-amp and pumped MA-200 through that and into the Line In and Set the menu to Line in also, then the hiss noise would essentially be around -80db?
That is of course, as long as i have a pre-amp that is doesn't add any hiss above the -80db..
(just checking to make sure i read what you wrote properly)
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Old September 3rd, 2003, 06:01 AM   #15
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If you get a very good mic pramp, then your noise level can be very low, perhaps -80 dB. However your Azden mic is probably noisier than that. How much audible noise you get from it will depend on the sound level of the program material. Normal speeh is typically in the range of 70-80 dB at 3 feet. This translates to the hiss level being roughly 35 to 40 dB below the voice with the Asden SGM-1X. And that is noticeable hiss.

The MA-100/200 should not be fed signals above around -12 dBV, it will clip on peaks. The best signal level for the MA-100/200 is probably on the order of -35 dBV, which translatews to the MIC ATT setting
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