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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old October 22nd, 2005, 03:28 PM   #1
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Motor noise on A1

I have just purchased a new A1P as a backup camera for my Z1.
I am 95% happy with it - very good image quality (not quite in the Z1 class but still very good) fantastic size with excellent stability, but one thing is concerning me - the motor noise. Whenever I move out of pause mode the motor noise seems very loud and is picked up clearly by the onboard mics. It is not a problem with the XLR adaptor which gives excellent sound, but the beauty of this little camera is being able to "dismast" the XLR and use it covertly as a handycam. I dont want to use the XLR's a lot of the time - so sound from the on-board mics is quite important to me. Has anyone else noticed the motor noise on their A1 (or HC1) or is it just that I have a slightly defective camera. It is not the heads making the noise, as in pause mode the camera is dead silent. By comparison the motor on the Z1 is almost inaudible all of the time.

Other things that I am not so keen on are the bottom loading tape compartment - which makes it a pain to change tapes with the tipod quick release plate on (I know that Sony will say that this is to allow them to miniaturise the camera better), and I still would have liked hardware buttons to control the menu - even if it is on the screen. That way you could also change the menus using the viewfinder. I have started using a touch screen pen rather than my finger for menu changes as I didn't like the fingerprints on the LCD screen. This works well - but I have to find a way to attach it to the camera so that it is always handy. I also don't like the bayonet fittings on the hood that stop you from fitting filters. I know that you can remove them, but I just think that a better design might have been to use the same system as the Z1. I have just removed the A1 hood, and now use a rubber retractable hood with a clear glass front filter and dont worry about a lens cap at all - even quicker that opening the blades on the supplied hood.

I know it must sound like I am trashing the camera a bit - which I am not - I think that it is a great little camera, but I just think that there are a couple of niggles which could have been better thought out.

Any coments on the motor noise from A1 or HC1 owners?
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 06:59 AM   #2
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Hi Graeme,

yes, you are right. I listened the motor noise as well when I made some tests without the XLR-adaptor. But for me it is no problem. I will use the cam (I have borrowed one actually) for professional work. Without the XLR it would be used in tricky circunstanes where the cam should not be recognized as a professional one and usually the XLR would fitted for stand ups or interviews. And just remember the XL1. I had to buy an adaptor to isolate the motor noise from the attached microfone.

Markus
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 02:31 PM   #3
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Thanks Markus,

I suspected that it might be the case. It is only a real problem when sound levels are low - I guess I will have to fix in the post.
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Old October 23rd, 2005, 08:44 PM   #4
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You could check out the microphones at microphonemadness.com. They draw their power from the sony DC biased jacks. Maybe to lavs cliped on to a baseball cap or something might work out well.
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Old October 24th, 2005, 12:34 AM   #5
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Another thing to be aware of is that if you take off the XLR assemble and put on a Rode Videomic, it actually sounds quite a bit better than the stock shotgun that comes with the camera. That in addition to being a little smaller. There are also some Sony consumer grade mics that fit into the new style accessory mount, but I doubt that they sound any better than the built-in stereo mic.
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Old October 24th, 2005, 12:44 AM   #6
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One last thing: I find the shock mount insufficient on the A1 (as well as the Z1). The best shock mount I've found is the Rode SM5:

http://www.avw.co.nz/Item1.aspx?ID=7511

That's what I need to mount my ME64. Now I just have to find one in the US. No Rode dealers have them listed here yet.
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Old October 24th, 2005, 06:49 AM   #7
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Laurence,

Thanks for all the help and suggestions. I have a Rode SM5 and a Sennheiser ME64. Agreed that the ME64 is light years better than the supplied Sony shotgun. The Rode shock mount is great and at the right price. I was hoping to use the A1 sans XLR or large mic for max portability where I cannot use my Z1.

Just out of interest - do you have much motor noise with your A1? I just want to check that mine is normal.

All help and suggestions much appreciated.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 03:50 AM   #8
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Graeme,

I own an HC1 and have much motor noise too; after a first investigation, I've found that the noise doesn't exactly come from the motor but mainly come from the metallic case holding the tape (that in fact amplifies the vibration coming from the motor).

I've sent a mail to Sony about this problem, and the answer was to show the HC1 to a Sony repair station (they've proposed that not because they understand that it's a defect, but because they cannot appreciate if the noise is normal or not without a technical look at the camera).
But HC1 is a consumer camera, if I leave it in the repair station, I will need to wait for 1 or 2 weeks (or more?) before to get it back.

I've planned next week-end to try to put on the metallic case a piece of something to absorb this noisy vibration. If I can limit the amount of noise by myself, I will be able to leave further my camera in the repair station at a time I will not need to use it.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 03:22 AM   #9
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Thanks Bruno,

Please let us know how you get on and if it works how you did it.

Much appreciated.
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