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Old June 24th, 2009, 02:09 PM   #1
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Audio quality on the HMC-150 ?

Any opinions on the audio quality on the HMC-150?

Pre-amps?
Converters?
Sound of the AVCHD codec?


I was looking at buying at DVX100b with a separate $800 audio recorder for very high quality sound. But if I forgo that, I can get the HMC-150. (I know there are issues w/ workflow, of course)

Thanks, all.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 02:50 PM   #2
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the AC3 compressed audio stream, is, compressed. That is an ugly fact after coming from the miniDV format. For spoken word it is OK, and also for most day to day operations, however, it is definitely audible if your ears are good.

As for the preamps and noise floor, they are both much better than the DVX, but not up to my exacting standards. Basically, if you have good ears and headphones, you will hear the noise... :-/

I am very picky when it comes to this, as I enjoy expensive audio gear when I have the money.

-Adam
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Old June 24th, 2009, 03:01 PM   #3
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Thanks, Adam. I kinda figured and was worried about that.

I come from an audio (and music) background, so most likely, I will notice the effects. It's just a matter of sitting down and seeing where the compromises are, I guess.

I'm no snob - just want to know exactly which corners are cut, and how much so!
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Old June 24th, 2009, 03:13 PM   #4
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Hi Fitz!

If you are used the the audio from the DVX, the upgraded noise floor of the HMC is a *NICE* upgrade.

The compression, on the other hand, is a downgrade.

-Adam

Last edited by Adam Sturman; June 24th, 2009 at 04:17 PM. Reason: Mispelled name, sorry...
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Old June 29th, 2009, 12:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitz Townsend View Post
Any opinions on the audio quality on the HMC-150?

Pre-amps?
Converters?
Sound of the AVCHD codec?


I was looking at buying at DVX100b with a separate $800 audio recorder for very high quality sound. But if I forgo that, I can get the HMC-150. (I know there are issues w/ workflow, of course)

Thanks, all.
Fitz:

The audio quality on the HMC-150 is similar to the quality on all the other popular prosumer cameras like the XH-A1, HVRZ5U, etc. None of these cameras have effective limiters, 24bit capture or any mid-level or higher digital audio recorder features. Plus, are you running the mixer straight into the camera?

Even so, the HMC-150 audio is very good. The HMC-150 has an AC-3, 48Khz, 16 bit, 384 kbps stream in the PH modes. The pre-amps are pretty quiet and the conversion is about as good as any.

I don't think you have to be an audiophile to hear the difference between any camera and a good digital recorder handling the input, there is a pretty big difference, depending on the material. But for on-camera capture, the HMC-150 audio is pretty good and right there with the rest of the pack.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 04:07 PM   #6
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If I was doing it this way. I'd run into the cam at line level, skip the pre-amps. It seems that AVCHD allows for uncompressed PCM recording, but that the HMC150 only allows AC-3 level compression, which is another important factor.

Thanks, Jeff.
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Old July 1st, 2009, 10:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Fitz Townsend View Post
If I was doing it this way. I'd run into the cam at line level, skip the pre-amps. It seems that AVCHD allows for uncompressed PCM recording, but that the HMC150 only allows AC-3 level compression, which is another important factor.

Thanks, Jeff.
Not to rationalize the HMC-150 using AC-3 too much, but using an AC-3 audio track (mandatory if you are going 5.1) keeps the audio bandwidth footprint much smaller than LPCM, so you can have more video or higher bandwidth video. For straight off the camera audio, the HMC-150 audio stream is actually perfect to use for a DVD, since it is a native DVD format.

However, I end up equilizing and compressing the native audio for every shoot, so the audio is second generation compressed on the DVD (kept at 384 kbps). Even so, it still sounds really good.

For a BD delivery, it's another story, there is so much more bandwidth and 24b lossless format standards. Of course most people watch the BD on a nice HD set, but through the stinking TVs 3" paper cone speakers with a 5W 15% THD amp, so whats the point?
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Old July 1st, 2009, 04:21 PM   #8
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I'll be recording classical music, so I'm just going to have to buy a stand-alone recorder. It's crazy to even consider on-cam audio, but if there was an non-lossy audio format - just maaaaybe.

You're rationalizing!!! :)


I'd rather have the choice of PCM or AC-3. Choices never hurt. I'll be delivering in SD to begin with, so squeezing the video image a bit wouldn't kill me. But it's moot, now. I've got to record outside the camera. And anyone serious about sound has got to expect that.


PS, I'm sure I will be rationalizing, too, once I pull the trigger on purchasing this pup. :)
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Old July 1st, 2009, 07:12 PM   #9
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Fitz, if you are going to get picky about the quality of the sound you are recording, then expect to spend at least a couple thousand on mics and a mixer with good pre-amps, on top of the cost of buying a good digital audio recorder.

I shoot talking-head corporate videos, and I've spent at least 4K on my audio set-up, because it makes a huge difference in the final product. And yes, I still EQ and compress in post to achieve the best result I can.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 07:59 AM   #10
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Fitz:

As an economical start to your sound kit, consider something like a Sony PCM-D50 recorder ($500). It has built in mics that are very good for low wind (indoor) locations and you can use the line input for capture off a mixer later.

I have captured several wedding bands/singers with very good results.

The only downside is no XLR inputs without a bulky $500 add on adapter. Im sure there are some other recorders with XLR inputs built in, but none I am familiar enough with to reccomend.
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Old July 2nd, 2009, 10:50 AM   #11
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I second the Sony PCM-D50 recorder recommendation. Great recorder for the price. Good built-in mics, low noise, and one set of batteries will last more than 10 hours. I bought mine at B&H for $450.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 01:53 AM   #12
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Thanks for the suggestions.

I had budgeted for stand-alone audio, but that was when I was considering the DVX100b. On a side note, Tapeless lured me away (yes, more than HD).

I'm also looking at the Tascam HDP2 since it has onboard video sync capabilities. I'll be doing long form shoots, so keeping audio clock sunk to the video clock will be important.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 01:56 AM   #13
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Speaking of - I assume that I can get Tri-level sync out of the composite or the component video outputs, right? Sorry for the off topic..
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