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Old December 21st, 2010, 01:01 PM   #1
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xlr adaptor/beachtek or studio 1

buying the sony cx550 and want to get one of these for a wireless lav/ or boom. anyone used either one? want the best quality one.
also, how good is the audio on this camera? alot of the built in mics dont handle music at wedding reception real well, sound over modulated
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 12:44 AM   #2
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I've noticed that posters on this forum lean toward the Beachtek. A friend of mine used a Beachtek with his Canon Vixia. It worked, but ....

Since his camcorder did not have manual control of the audio level, whenever there was a lull in the dialog, the camcorder AGC automatically increased the volume to the point where you heard a loud hiss. As soon as someone started talking, the AGC adjusted the volume for the dialog, and the hiss went away, until the next lull in the conversation. He got around this by rigging up an MP3 player to constantly play a steady noise ("white noise" or "pink noise"). He connected that to one input channel of the camcorder's stereo mic input, and the Beachtek's output to the other channel. Doing that kept the camcorder's AGC from trying to increase the volume when there was nothing to hear. Beachtek now has one or two models that have some sort of built-in AGC disable feature. I heard they also have an add-on device to do this.

Another problem was caused by his using a 35mm lens adapter, which had a tiny electric motor to vibrate a ground glass. When the motor was ON, there was hum in the audio. Luckily, Beachtek anticipated this, and put a switch on the unit which changes the way the audio signal is grounded. We found that with the vibration motor ON, the ground switch should be one way, and with the motor OFF, the switch should be the other way.

I don't have experience with Studio 1, Sign Video, or Juiced Link. Although I think Juiced Link has developed their own AGC-disable device.

Of course, the pain-free solution would be to get a prosumer camcorder with built-in XLR inputs, but that might cost a little more.

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Old December 22nd, 2010, 11:03 AM   #3
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Do yourself a favor and look at the Juiced link adapters, they are far superior to beachtek or sign video.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 11:27 AM   #4
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Juiced Link

Yes, I should have mentioned that Juiced Link is also a favorite in this forum. While I don't have personal experience with it, many other posters have given Juiced Link the "thumbs up". Thanks for mentioning it Gerry. And, checking the JuicedLink site, I see they do have an AGC-disable add-on device, and at least one XLR adapter with built-in AGC-disable.

Audio: Preamps, Mixers, Etc : juicedLink, Unique and Trusted Solutions for Audio and Video Production

Of course, I still prefer getting a camcorder that has built-in XLR inputs. But if you're going the DSLR route, then that wouldn't be an option.


Last edited by Ken Hull; December 22nd, 2010 at 12:17 PM.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 04:08 PM   #5
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I assume that the OP's question was about using the passive XLR adapters.

I've been using adapters from Sign Video and Studio One for over a decade. I just used a couple of them with CX550v cams last week when videoing a Christmas concert.

I've also used Beachteks. They are all plain and simple devices and dead bang reliable. They all have "ground lift" switches in case you run into 60hz hum in the electrical connections. They all have switches to record stereo or mono feeds. (The mono puts one signal on both tracks.)

You can get them as "mic only" or with "mic and line" switches. I'd recommend the latter. You have XLR and mini (1/8th inch) plugs. You can connect RCA line feeds by getting readily available the "RCA to Phono" adapter plugs.

They are all passive mixers. That means they just route signals and do not require any power. It also means that they cannot provide phantom power to mics, so your XLR mics need to have their own power supplies or batteries. (I've happily used AT177 shotguns as well as AT and Senheiser wireless mics.)

The Juiced Link units that most folks talk about are the active pre-amp/mixers, the models CX 231 (2 channel) and 431 (431). These cost roughly half-again to twice as much as the passive units from Sign Video et al. But these Juiced Link units are active devices. They can supply phantom power to your XLR mics. They can be sonically quieter than the passive units (although I've never had any trouble with my passive units.) They only have XLR inputs, which means you have to to buy RCA to Phono to XLR adapters to get RCA line feeds.

As I recall, Juiced Link also makes a passive unit , the CX211, which is priced about the same as the Beachtek and SignVideo units and competes with them. I do not recall anything else about this unit.

I also understand that both of the other companies are now offering active versions to compete with Juiced Link. I haven't searched on them recently but I recall reading some complaints about them being noisy or, at least, more prone to noise than the Juiced Link units. B&H carries both Beachtek and Juiced Link lines, so you could check the customer reviews on the various products.
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Old February 21st, 2011, 07:27 PM   #6
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JuicedLink CX211 Experience

Even though this is a two-month old thread by now, just in case someone does a little bit of research, I thought I'd add my two-cents worth with regard to my 211 experience. The 211 has two XLR inputs with separate gain controls.

Reason for choosing: I needed an active pre for my XLR mics because the camera couldn't supply the power, and the camera only had a stereo mini jack input. So power was needed and XLR input was needed.

Research: after looking around for what would work, one of the things that caught my attention was the low noise. I think this is advertised on the JuicedLink web site as one of the selling points.

Cons that I see:
There is a mounting screw to attach the camera but this is not the longest in the world. I wish it would be just a tad longer, even 1 or 2 mm in order to capture a bit more screw thread. It work fine the way it is but I just wished it would have been longer.

Centering Pin: Some cameras has a hole in the base that allows a centering pin to engage inorder to keep accessories aligned along a centerline axis. On the JuicedLink this is a nylon part that screws into the JuicedLink. On my unit, I bought a used one, it was missing. I called JuicedLink and learned this is a "special part" and the cost was not cheap, then there would be shipping and handling on top of that. So for a nickle-dime part it would wind up costing a small bundle.

My solution was to look in my screw collection - I have a large assortment of nylon screws - and I found one that fit the small threads, and the screw head was just the right size to fit the base of my camera (Note: the thing is all-together and I can't remember if this was on the camera side or the tripod head adapter side). Not the worlds perfect solution but it worked. I was advised not to use metal (I have a lot of small stainless screws, too) because there is a circuit board just inside where the screw would go.

Also, I put a thin rubberized anti-skid mat, something that boaters use to keep their dishes from sliding on the table, between the 211 and the camera. This works really well to keep the two from twisting.

211 Base: This has a lot of user adjustments with what looks like a silk-screened instructions and labels. The base is the same part that would mate with a tripod head and, over time, all this writing could be easily scraped off. I don't consider this very good industrial design. Why couldn't more of these things be placed on the side or somewhere else? If they had to be placed there, couldn't there have been some other way of providing the required information without having it so it can be scraped off easily?

Summary: Probably the main gripe I have is with the cost of the replacement nylon centering pin. Otherwise, I'm taking good care of everything and so far, so good.

It would be nice to have a small alarm so if when you go to shoot and the unit isn't turned on, there would be a beeping sound. I still have problems remembering to turn the mic and pre on!

Picture of camera setup with Sennheiser ME66 shotgun and CX211, post #1: New (to me) JVC-GZ-HD7

Last edited by John Nantz; February 21st, 2011 at 07:35 PM. Reason: spelling mistake, word mistake
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