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Sony HVR-Z7 / HVR-S270
Handheld and shoulder mount versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old April 18th, 2009, 03:55 PM   #1
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Audio for Sony Z5U / Z7U?

I'm posting another thread hers with more questions so my other Z5/Z7 post isn't too large to address:

Audio! It's half of the video game. I am a musician/audio engineer as well as a videographer. I take my audio seriously. I'm bummed that the audio on HDV is basically a high bit rate mp3 quality. I will probably only use camera audio for voice when I get the Z5 or Z7. Unless the sound just blows me away. I have some audio specific questions.

• Even though these cams have XLR connections, is the audio signal as clean as it could be? I have a Sound Devices MixPre mixer. Would I be better off in terms of signal/noise ratio if I used the MixPre in front of the on-camera inputs? I have a modified MixPre that I can attach to the bottom of the camera, top of the tripod semi-permanently. It would add weight, but it has limiters, bass roll-off, and lots of gain.

• Do these Z cameras have built-in limiters? Or do I need to ride volume to get a nice fat signal.

• Syncing to external audio recorders? I have use of an Edirol R4-Pro. It has a BNC SMPTE time code. Could these cameras accept timecode? Is there any way I can hit record on the camera, and have the R4 Pro record at the same time? I looked into the Edirol F-1, but that's 3,000.00, and not on the shopping list any time soon. I'm a "One Man Band" at most jobs, including recording live music, so if there is a way for me to capture uncompressed audio in sync with these cams, I would feel good about my work flow.

I also have a 2 ch Zoom H4, but those babies lose sync fast when you drop their audio files in the timeline. It's hard to get answers to these questions because most video guys don't pay too much attention to their audio. They hear talking, and say "Sounds fine!" So I need some real knowledge here.

Thanks!

Chadfish

Last edited by Chad Johnson; April 18th, 2009 at 09:11 PM.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 03:21 AM   #2
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My Z7 sounds fine! ;)
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Old April 20th, 2009, 06:55 PM   #3
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The attenuator is missing off these cameras but you can buy them at radio shack. I set my camera at -6db and It’s fine for what I do. I use an Audio-Technica 835ST mic (it might be some BP 40 something now) and it sounds great. You’ll have to dish out some cash though, it's about $600 or so. You really might want to search the forums. There is a ton of info already discussed.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 07:19 PM   #4
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Rob I'm talking about Limiters, not attenuators. I have in-line attenuators, and mics galore (Me-66 & NTG-2 shotguns, Rode NT3 Hypers, Lectrosonics Wireless).

I'm referring to a brick wall limiter that blocks any peaks that go up to 0db. I have this on my MixPre mixer, but I'm trying to avoid using that with these new cams.

I can't find a manual on line, only a brochure. If one of you kind souls could look up limiter in the back and see if there is one relating to audio. I know you can limit the gain on the video side.

Thanks

Chad
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Old April 20th, 2009, 07:38 PM   #5
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There is a limiter but I don't know the specifics
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Old April 21st, 2009, 12:36 PM   #6
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Auto on the Z7 is superb and the limiter is very good, I have shot all sorts of items inc discos with 600 watt sound systems running all on auto and the audio is clean with no distortion.
Listen to some of the party clips on here: - 14-4-2009
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Old April 21st, 2009, 03:46 PM   #7
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I did a test the other week when i was recording a band we took 2 direct feeds in the camera channel 2 had an attenuator and channel 1 was without.
two minutes into the record channel 1 dies leaving me with only channel 2 i would say there is a built in limiter and i had to turn off the camera and turn it on to reset the audio

Rob
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Old April 21st, 2009, 07:31 PM   #8
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Gary: All that clip was was a guy stopping a clock and talking. Was the clip supposed to be music?

Robert: Odd that a channel would die. Especially one with an attenuator on it. Anyway, I found a manual, and they do have limiters. That will keep you from clipping for the most part. If you are in a loud band situation I would still use the attenuator to pad down the signal before it gets to the camera. You can distort your input without even clipping the signal once it's in the camera. I have 2 Audio Technica (-10, -20, -30db) switchable in-line attenuators for stereo use, and they are life savers.

Audio-Technica | AT8202 In-Line Attenuator | AT8202 | B&H Photo
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 03:14 AM   #9
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It was me stopping the clock as my pub has sadly had to close, if you look down the list on the right you will see the party clips click on the thumbnail and you will select the video you want to play. The two cornsay barn dances were also done on auto and show a live band recorded on the camera mic.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 09:37 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=Gary Nattrass;1120505]Auto on the Z7 is superb and the limiter is very good, I have shot all sorts of items inc discos with 600 watt sound systems running all on auto and the audio is clean with no distortion. [QUOTE]

Was that with the mic the Z7 came with? I have had no success with auto audio. Auto does not know the dynamics of the mic you're using on the camera.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 10:29 AM   #11
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In general you should avoid auto gain at all costs. It kills dynamics and pushes up the noise whenever there is silence.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 11:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
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In general you should avoid auto gain at all costs. It kills dynamics and pushes up the noise whenever there is silence.
Sorry but I have to disagree I have used the stock sony mic on the V1,Z7 and S270 and have not found this to be the case, the audio is superb and i do not hear any extra noise or any of the old pumping limiter effect that used to be the bane of any auto gain.

I have to own up that all the audio recorded on my two IPTV test sites was done with auto gain on, however I always take care not to push the levels too much but as said the party disco clips and band audio was all done with the mic as supplied by sony and on auto.

All items were edited on final cut and dubbed on pro tools using dynaudio BM10 monitors. Listen to the high force item on the IPTV test site www.inortheast.tv it was all done on two G2 radio mics in a force 5 gale with auto setting on the S270.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 12:48 PM   #13
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Hi Gary

I'm not sure where to find the music/disco stuff you recorded. The earlier link went to some grainey shots of a guy stopping a clock.

Hey that's great if the auto gain on these cameras is less harsh than is standard. Usually when I import anything with auto gain the levels are pushed up, and the wave forms are flat across the top. In the high force item you managed to keep wind noise to a minimum in that strong wind - great! Still, as an audio guy I would have chose to record with no compression on location, and done it to taste in post. Though you can hear all the talking, I believe your background noise, which was a constant with the wind and water, would have sat lower in the mix with no auto gain. All things considered it still sounded good.

As far as loud constant live music goes, I believe that's the best time for auto gain, as there is no quiet sections to hear the noise getting pushed up. But if there is a limiter in these cameras there should be no need for auto gain, as all peaks above 0db would be attenuated. It all depends on your use. With these cameras I wouldn't use on=camera audio to capture music if music was the focus. If it were a story abut the band, and you are just capturing the excitement of a show, sure. But Mp3 quality audio annoys me.

So can you lease give me a direct link to your loud music examples? Thanks.

Chad
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 03:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Johnson View Post
Hi Gary

I'm not sure where to find the music/disco stuff you recorded. The earlier link went to some grainey shots of a guy stopping a clock.

Hey that's great if the auto gain on these cameras is less harsh than is standard. Usually when I import anything with auto gain the levels are pushed up, and the wave forms are flat across the top. In the high force item you managed to keep wind noise to a minimum in that strong wind - great! Still, as an audio guy I would have chose to record with no compression on location, and done it to taste in post. Though you can hear all the talking, I believe your background noise, which was a constant with the wind and water, would have sat lower in the mix with no auto gain. All things considered it still sounded good.

As far as loud constant live music goes, I believe that's the best time for auto gain, as there is no quiet sections to hear the noise getting pushed up. But if there is a limiter in these cameras there should be no need for auto gain, as all peaks above 0db would be attenuated. It all depends on your use. With these cameras I wouldn't use on=camera audio to capture music if music was the focus. If it were a story abut the band, and you are just capturing the excitement of a show, sure. But Mp3 quality audio annoys me.

So can you lease give me a direct link to your loud music examples? Thanks.

Chad
Sorry I cant give you a direct link as the pub site has a video scheduler, all you have to do is click on the video thumbnail in the right hand side to select the video you want to play. There are two partys held in the pub with disco, the new years eve clip and the cornsay barn dances were all done on auto with the stock sony mic.
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 02:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Johnson View Post
Gary: All that clip was was a guy stopping a clock and talking. Was the clip supposed to be music?

Robert: Odd that a channel would die. Especially one with an attenuator on it. Anyway, I found a manual, and they do have limiters. That will keep you from clipping for the most part. If you are in a loud band situation I would still use the attenuator to pad down the signal before it gets to the camera. You can distort your input without even clipping the signal once it's in the camera. I have 2 Audio Technica (-10, -20, -30db) switchable in-line attenuators for stereo use, and they are life savers.

Audio-Technica | AT8202 In-Line Attenuator | AT8202 | B&H Photo
Chad the channel that died was the one without the attenuator
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