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Old June 26th, 2012, 01:29 AM   #1
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VG20 - How's the external audio performance?

I've had a search around and I can't find this addressed specifically.

I tried using my Canon 600D for a sound-on shoot with an external mic a few weeks ago. I won't be doing *that* again! The external audio input is so noisy and hissy as to be basically pointless for my needs. A borrowed juicedlink unit helped to lower the noise-floor a little bit, but it's still pretty horrible.

We've been getting around it on TV commercial shoots by using an external recorder. That's fine for a TVC where we're just getting a few takes of a 10 second grab or something, but for longer-form interviews, vox pops etc. we'd really like to be a bit more self-contained. We're thinking of picking up a VG20 to fill that gap.

So I'm wondering if I can solicit some first-hand reports on how it sounds with external hardware?

I'd also be keen to hear peoples' thoughts on the headphone monitoring (another bugbear with the 600D). Is there plenty of output gain on the headphone jack? Does the sound being monitored just loop from the input, or is it post-compression? (so you can hear exactly what's being laid down to the memory card)

Thanks folks :)

Last edited by Nicholas Storr; June 26th, 2012 at 01:42 AM. Reason: Added question on monitoring
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Old June 26th, 2012, 06:57 PM   #2
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Re: VG20 - How's the external audio performance?

Hi Nic -

I was wondering if you could be a bit more specific about what exact equipment you're planning on using - "external" can mean just about anything, including a completely separate recording system.

The on-board sound via the built in mic is a million times better then any DSLR. It's prolly the best on-board mic I've used since I owned a Canon XL1. Besides offering either 5.1 or stereo, there's manual control over the mix, plus built-in limiter.

Far as hooking mics into the camera, I don't. When I plan on using something more then the built in mic, I record dual sound using a shotgun mic and the Tascam DR40.

This is for 3 basic reasons - by running 2 sets of mics, it gives me double redundancy. Second, I don't love cords hanging off my camera as they invariably get snagged on the dolly/tripod/what have you. Lastly, there's only a 1/8" mic input. If I was going to run an audio cord into my camera - which as I've said isn't my fav - it damn well better be an XLR - and the VG20 just doesn't have it.

One other note, once you plug a mic into the VG20, it shuts off the internal mic.

Far as what's being recorded vs what you hear on the headphones, I think its' what you hear is what you get.
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Old June 26th, 2012, 08:17 PM   #3
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Re: VG20 - How's the external audio performance?

Hey John, thanks for the reply.

We're running dual-system with our DSLR shoots at the moment, and I agree, it's definitely the best option in terms of redundancy, quality etc. as you suggest.

I would, however, like the option to run something like a beachtek or a juicedlink adapter in order to plug an XLR cable into the camera (or possibly just something like a Rode Videomic which already has the 3.5mm jack connector) and record useable audio for run & gun interview work etc. *without* the rigmarole of carrying around & operating a separate piece of audio equipment, and the ensuing post-sync work.

I've tried various XLR adapters with the Canon DSLR, and the signal/noise ratio is just unbearable - hissy and horrible. I'm well aware that there are some inherent limitations with a non-professional camera like this (XLRs on board would be nice!) but at the same time I've used adapters with consumer-grade 1/8inch mic ports on other camcorders and achieved perfectly acceptable results, which is why I was so aghast when I tried to use the Canon in the same way and got a big pile of white noise! :)

Basically I'm just seeking some reassurance that I can get reasonable, usable audio using an external microphone on the VG20 without the whole thing being drenched in hiss.
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Old June 27th, 2012, 10:52 AM   #4
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Re: VG20 - How's the external audio performance?

Hi Nicholas:

I have configured the VG20 the same way I configure my FX1 and have great results. I use the old and venerable Beachtek DXA-4 with similar results that I would get with the FX1. This adapter is still a viable option.

While this shoot used the set up, the boom was stationary and thus not getting ideal sound, but you can still get an idea how it sounds.


This is an edit with raw recorded sound without much post work. Again, done with shotgun mic on boom and not best conditions, but still gives you an idea.

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Old June 27th, 2012, 10:38 PM   #5
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Re: VG20 - How's the external audio performance?

Cheers Chris - that's exactly the sort of indication I was after :)
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