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Old November 15th, 2002, 03:55 AM   #1
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Noisy XL1: Canon says "normal"?!

Gidday everyone,

I use an XL1 for professional production in conjunction with a range of pro audio equipment.

But ever since we've got it, the darn thing has been annoyingly hissy and noisy when recording through the external Audio One inputs at the menu preset "mic" or "mic -20" levels.

If I disconnect everything including the XLR adaptor from the camera, switch the menu preset level to "mic" and turn the level control half-way, I hear significant hiss through good quality headphones. If I turn the level all the way to full, the hiss gets seriously bad, registering clearly on the VU meters (bouncing up to -40dB, both channels)

I say "hiss" but the noise isn't actually that clean... sounds like electronic 'fizz'.

I've just sent the thing to Canon to fix this, but they've told me this is normal for the camera. I hope its not, because as things stand we can barely get away with the sound quality we're getting from plugging pro mics (eg. Sony ECM77B lapel mics) directly into the camera.

Could I ask other users to experiment with hiss levels (from Audio 1, no mics or XLR adaptor attached, "mic" menu preset) on their cameras and let me know what you experience?

You guys are my heros...

Tony Sutorius
Unreal Films
Wellington, New Zealand
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Old November 15th, 2002, 07:19 AM   #2
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Audio noise floor of the XL1 should be substantially better tahtn -40 dB relative to maximum digital record level, more like -65 dB or better, even at the MIC and MIC ATT settings.

The fizz sound might be caused by some sync spatter getting in to the audio system.
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Old November 16th, 2002, 02:43 AM   #3
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Thanks Don,

I feel a bit stuck then... Canon service have just returned it to me saying its behaving normally (and charged me about $US 150 for repairs to what seem to be imaginary problems in the MA100 XLR adaptor... sounds exactly the same!).

Any suggestions?

Cheers,

Tony Sutorius
Unreal Films
Wellington, New Zealand
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Old November 19th, 2002, 07:10 AM   #4
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Try capture the audio to a .WAV file and look at the wavform and run some statistics with a good sound editing program. (I use Cool Edit Pro myself.) That may give more insight into the source of the noise. I suspect that in some cases noise levels may relate to the specifics of battery construction and/or power connection and cable routing, but have not done a detaield analysis of this.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 01:45 PM   #5
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Hiss IS kinda normal!

A hiss will be heard if you are using a mono microphone, as the other half of the stereo is left 'open'. By not connecting any microphone, its even worse, as both are left 'open'.

I solved mine (after changing the mics and damn headphones thinking they were at fault) by getting a splitter cable, to go from one microphone into 'both' connectors (left and right).

By not leaving anything 'open' (either the left or right channels) no hiss should then be heard. Canon make great products but are pretty damn useless when asked to solve small questions!

Of course, you could connect two microphones for true stereo - one into the left channel and one into the right.
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