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Old November 1st, 2004, 01:28 PM   #16
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<<<-- Originally posted by Guy Bruner : It seems that there are some folks who are having problems with the tape transport making noise that is loud enough to be picked up by the microphones.-->>>

Can this be overcome if you plug in an external mike? Or does the external also pick up the noise?
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Old November 1st, 2004, 05:36 PM   #17
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As I understand the problem, on a few camcorders the tape transport does not close tightly enough to firmly engage the tape to the transport hubs. So, there is friction or slippage noise. This noise is audible when the cam is held away from your head. So, yes. An external mic will pick up the noise.

There are reports that the noise can be eliminated if pressure is applied to the back of the tape transport which then presses the tape onto the hubs. One person put velcro on the transport back which contacts the clamshell when closed and presses the tape onto the hubs. This mod eliminated the noise. However, this mod should be unnecessary.

At this point, it appears that this is a worldwide problem since reports are being posted from countries other than North America.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 06:30 PM   #18
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Thanks for the information, Guy. I got all paranoid -- just bought the GS400, but I haven't had a chance to test it out -- so I went home and tested it. If there was a sound, I didn't notice it. Mostly hum from nearby electronics, like the frig, but nothing noticeable in a quiet room. I hope this is not something that might happen over time or use...

But thanks for the heads-up, everyone. That's something I'm keeping an eye out in the future (or more accurately, keeping an "ear" out for.)
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Old November 19th, 2004, 04:50 PM   #19
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0 for 2 with GS400

This is in response to Raimo's question about the tape transport noise in the GS400. I've struck out twice with the GS400 - two units, two transport problems - so I consider myself something of an expert on this topic.

Raimo asks: "Just how annoying is it?"

When I unpacked my first GS400 (after much eager anticipation), I made some test recordings, and right away, I could hear that there was an annoying, grinding sound when I listened to the tape through my TV's speakers. At that time, I had not heard anything about other users having this problem, so I wasn't listening for a problem - it jumped out at me. The sound was annoying enough that I knew it would always be noticeable whenever there were pauses in conversations, or any other time that ambient sound levels were low.

Even more importantly - this isn't mainly an audio problem. The fact that there's a mechanical problem with the tape transport doesn't exactly inspire confidence in Panasonic. The "fixes" that other users have written about (e.g., different methods of wedging the tape holder carriage into place) sound pretty iffy to me. Mechanical problems tend to get worse over time (typically after the warranty expires); I wouldn't want to be on vacation somewhere and have the tape transport break down on me.

After I sent back the first camcorder, I received a replacement unit with nearly the exact same problem, so I turned to the internet. It was only then that I found out that many other users had discovered this same problem with the GS400.

If you want to hear exactly what other users are experiencing, there are several sound files posted by board members on Guy's website, (this site also has Panasonic's letter in response to this problem: they offer warranty service. Thanks a lot!) You can also find many tales of woe about this on the forum.

My advice to anyone who has this problem is: don't just "live with it"! Either return the unit for a refund or a replacement (hope you have better luck than I did). If you can't do that, then get it repaired by Panasonic (and keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't break down again after it's out of warranty).
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