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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old August 14th, 2002, 02:53 PM   #1
B. Daley
Posts: n/a
XL1S & Audio

My business partner and I are planning on purchasing a camera in the near future to make a feature length digital film. We have been researching cameras and packages to try and find the best equipment for the money.

Both of us are familiar with the PD150 which we like due to the image quality and the XLR inputs. I have done numerous shoots where all we needed for good audio was the PD150 and the mic.

The XL1S has appealed to us recently due to the interchangable lenses, the movie mode feature, and the cost. The only thing that troubles me about the camera is the lack of XLR inputs. I like using balanced mics and using adaptors (although the MA-100 and MA-200 look solid enough) makes me worry about noise and interference.

So I guess my question is, if you are using the MA-100 or MA-200 is there much difference than if you were to have a XLR on the camera? I read though some of the posts, but some said the adaptors were great while others said they were alright. I am really fussy when it comes to audio so if someone could give me a detailed answer, I would greatly appreciate it.

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Old August 14th, 2002, 04:22 PM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Clearwater, FL
Posts: 8,267
You either love' em or hate 'em (the MA-100 & MA-200 that is). I love my MA-200. It is comfortable and has great audio. However, the next guy will probably post the opposite. What do you do? If you have a local dealer see if you can have a peak at it. Get a look at it, at a trade show. Some of the members here may be nearby. But I would think a city the size of Seattle has a dealer with one somewhere.

I come from a broadcast background so I'm used to built in XLR and phantom power. With the MA-200 (I want the option of 4 channels) and Sound Devices MM1 I find my audio is comparable to the $30,000 Betacam units I used for ten years. Some users have reported a noise problem. My experience is the noise is caused by cheap or defective cables, improper setting of the XL1 audio controls or improper setting of the Beachtex or Studio 1 XLR adapters. I believe I read that early MA-100's had a mfg. defect and had a noise problem. This has since been corrected. This was never a problem with the MA-200.

The comfort and balance of the camera/MA-100/200 is a very individual thing. Your size, weight, camera, lens, battery combination, use of LightWave Isolator will all affect how the MA-100/200 works for you. That is why I highly suggest trying one before you buy. You'll either love it or hate it.

Zotz is a sponsor and they are nearby in Oregon.

Sound Devices http://www.sounddevices.com/index.html
Beachtek http://www.beachtek.com/
Studio 1 http://www.studio1productions.com/
Canon http://www.canondv.com/xl1s/a_audio_access.html

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Old August 14th, 2002, 07:20 PM   #3
Major Player
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 540
This has been brought up before, but one of the least important factors to consider in the camera purchase are the XLR inputs. There are numerous solutions out there, both from Canon, and others like Beachtek. Pay attention to the more important issues in your ultimate selection -- the Canon audio circuits are amazing, no matter how you get it into the camera. Good hunting.
-- Vic Owen --
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Old September 15th, 2002, 12:59 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 21
I suggest looking into the Beachtek DX6 or DXA-4c depending on if you ned the phantom powereing for the mics. I find them much better than the MA series. You can also try a SOund Devices MixPre and utilize the tape out minijack and convert to the camera's RCA audio 1 inputs. That way you avoid the crummy XL! preamps.
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Old September 15th, 2002, 02:43 PM   #5
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 4,208
To each his own.

I've found the XL1 preamps to be reasonably good for a camcorder. Noise level is quite low. Noise added by the MA100 is not significant.

Be aware that the MA-100 is designed for mic levels. it will start to clip if the input signal approaches -10 dBV or so.

If sound is really important, consider a proper sound system DAT and add the sound in post.
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