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Old October 20th, 2002, 07:59 PM   #1
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Strange XL1S Audio Dropouts

Try to follow me on this one and hope it doesn't happen to you.

I had a strange thing happen while doing a video last week with my XL1S. While shooting, I monitored the audio (manual peak at -12) and everything sounded fine through my headsets. When I got home and played back the footage, the video was fine but my audio had major dropout problems. About every 3-5 seconds the audio would cut out and 'Stereo1' would flash on and off in the viewfinder. The audio that I could hear had sort of a hollow digitized sound which I can best describe as the way a cellular phone sounds with a weak signal. At first I thought I might have had the menu setting wrong or something but everything was set as specified in the manual. Playing the tape back in my Canon ZR40 had the same results. I put in a new tape and ended-up having to reshoot the video the next day assuming I had a bad tape. The re-shot video and sound came out fine. Today just for kicks, I put the 'bad' tape in my ZR40 and tried recording a show from my television. This time everything came out fine. So once again, I tried the 'bad' tape in my XL1S and recorded some test footage and... same audio dropout problems.

Camera info:
I'm using an MA-100 connected to a Sennheiser 100 series wireless (left channel). I was using 16bit sound.

Additional testing I did:
1) Using the 'bad' tape I tried recording with the built-in mic on the XL1S and had the same problem. This should eliminate the MA-100 and wireless.
2) I tried recording with both 12bit modes and also had the same problem.
3) I also tried recording on the 'bad' tape with automatic audio settings, same problem.

My only conclusion is that the 'bad' tape won't align properly with the tape heads on the XL1S when inserted. Perhaps the ZR40 records audio on a slightly different portion of the tape than the XL1S? I'm stumped! Anyone know what's going on? I'd like to just say it was a bad tape but now I'm not so sure. I don't want this problem to repeat itself.

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Old October 20th, 2002, 08:11 PM   #2
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Location: Clearwater, FL
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If I follow you correctly, you have one particular tape that will not record properly in your XL1s. But the XL1s has subsequently recorded fine on another tape. The tape in question has also been recorded over by a ZR40 with no problem. Stating the obvious you have an incompatibility between a tape and camera. Not unheard of, but much less common than it used to be. I would suspect the tape shell is slightly misformed and prevents the cassette from seating properly in the tape carrier.

Examine the tape in question for loose screws, irregularities in the case and compare it to a new one. I suspect you'll find a slight difference.

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Old October 21st, 2002, 07:49 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Tickfaw, LA
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Funky tapes acc funky too. I have had tapes on the mainframes around record fine on any brand of tapes, while others would only work with Scotch.
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Old October 22nd, 2002, 06:24 AM   #4
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Sounds like a marginal tape. Error correction cannot fully solve the read problems reuslting inthe funny sonding playback and the dropouts. These problems will usually appear in firewire stream before they will in the analog playback stream.
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Old October 22nd, 2002, 09:16 AM   #5
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I can't find any irregularities in the tape case but that's about the only explanation that makes since. The tapes are Sony Premiums and this is the first out of hundreds that I've had problems with. I suppose it was probably exposed to heat or was dropped. I'm just glad that it doesn't seem to be my equipment at fault.

I always do a complete forward and rewind, and color bar the first minute of all tapes used for a paid shoot. Now I'll also start doing a test tone and playing back each tape. It's irritating that a $6 tape can ruin your day.

Thanks for the responses!
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