FX1 with XLR adapter vs Z1U (audio quality) at DVinfo.net

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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old October 12th, 2008, 02:27 PM   #1
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FX1 with XLR adapter vs Z1U (audio quality)

Hi everyone,
I was wondering what sounds better, the FX1 with a standard XLR adapter like a beachtek with phantom power or the stock Z1U?? considering the 2000$ difference (I know the Z1U has other advantages on the FX1 other than the XLR connections)
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Old October 13th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #2
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I have a Z1 and haven't used an FX1 so I can't comment specifically on this. But I would point out that the difference between them is probably less than $2,000. Evidently the FX1 has now been discontinued (see my other thread), but you can get the Z1 for $4,000 at B&H after rebate. Can you find a new FX1 for $2,000? Not too sure about that...
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Old October 13th, 2008, 02:12 PM   #3
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I ve used the FX1 and had 1 short experience with the Z1. On the sound side, I use a BeachTech with the FX1. No phantom power on mine. But I also run things through a mixer with phantom power first, in many situations. Otherwise, my main shotgun mic also has battery power. Unless you are in a situation where you are producing for a highly discerning client, the FX1 will be fine. I believe you can get very nice sound recordings with it. If sound is really a huge issue, you would probably not want to utilize HDV sound anyway.... and end up double system...
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Old October 13th, 2008, 06:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Blake View Post
Hi everyone,
I was wondering what sounds better, the FX1 with a standard XLR adapter like a beachtek with phantom power or the stock Z1U?? considering the 2000$ difference (I know the Z1U has other advantages on the FX1 other than the XLR connections)
From my experience I prefer the audio from my FX1 with a Juicedlink XLR adapter over the internal XLRs of the Z1. This is due to the noisy internal pre amps of the Sony cameras.

I prefer the Juicedlink XLR box over the Beachtek because it has ultra low active pre amps. Most of the Beachtek boxes don't have active pre amps, and as a result are much noisier than a box with active pre amps.

Now Beachtek does have a unit with active pre amps, but it is still louder (not by much) than the Juicedlink boxes.

Not to mention the Juicedlink boxes are much cheaper in price than the Beachtek.

Camcorder XLR Audio Adapter/Preamp: Buy Direct and Save
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Old October 14th, 2008, 08:53 AM   #5
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XLR is good for interfacing with audio systems. If u shoot ran and gun there is no need for that. The Rode Videomic works very well and I think it sounds better than my current XLR senny setup. Adding a beachtec is a PIA becuz it will make the cam heavier for handheld work. Unless your FX1 is going to be tripod mounted most of the time?

Thing is the FX1 doesnt do blacks very well. The Z1 has black stretch which helps a little. If I had the cash I will still go for the Z1. You will get a lot more shooting options with the XLR.
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Old October 14th, 2008, 09:13 AM   #6
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XLR is good for interfacing with audio systems. If u shoot ran and gun there is no need for that. The Rode Videomic works very well and I think it sounds better than my current XLR senny setup. Adding a beachtec is a PIA becuz it will make the cam heavier for handheld work. Unless your FX1 is going to be tripod mounted most of the time?

Thing is the FX1 doesnt do blacks very well. The Z1 has black stretch which helps a little. If I had the cash I will still go for the Z1. You will get a lot more shooting options with the XLR.
Sorry Sean I have to disagree with the XLR and run and gun statement.

I couldn't function without dual XLR capability in a run and gun environment.
I exclusively do run and gun live shoots (weddings, stage shows, sports events etc.) and find having dual XLR (channel) capability a must for good or decent audio/

I always try to have one wireless feed (critical audio) and an onbaord shotgun feed (for ambient audio) recording to tape (or hard drive). I rely on my wireless feed (either form board, lav mic, or feed from a line out of one of my recorders) for critical audio. I find an onbaord shotgun only really viable for close up interviews or ambient audio to mix with my critical audio form my other channel.

Yes an XLR box does add a little bit to your overall weight, but it can easily be accounted for by using a tripod, or even better for mobile support a monopod or a steady type support device like a DVMulti Rig.

And as for blacks, I find that the black stretch does add some nice depth to your blacks. But it does introduce a little bit of noise in lower light situations. So I prefer to shoot without Black stretch on my Z1. Which in turn produces a near similar picture to what's coming out of my FX1.
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Old November 2nd, 2008, 11:34 PM   #7
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I own the z1 and borrow an fx1.

I'd say its not really about the quality both offer similar results. It's more about convenience. I got sick of strapping on a beachtek on my last camera, the extra weight, the extra room in the bag, the extra cable plugged into the mini. It ruined two jobs where I forgot the mini cable was plugged in and I shot with the internal mic and got no audio or forgot to plugin the mini and got no external. I realized then and there that I had more than enough things to remember besides worrying about whether I had plugged in the beachtek. I anted up the cash, got the Z1 and never lost money on a botched job, so to me its worth every penny I spent for a camera with built in xlrs.

In addition, the type of microphone and its placement has a bigger impact than any other factor.
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