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Old June 7th, 2013, 12:32 AM   #1
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NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

Ok guys I shot a job with the VG 30 yesterday I was so disappointed with the results I took it back to the store today. The audio was so bad that I just can not live with it and I do not want to shoot separate audio. I was using a sennnheiser wireless mic that I have been using for years so it was not the mic. The sound was just dull. I have cleaned it up in post enough that I think I can get paid. But I never want to go thru that again. So I returned it. I am stuck with the Metabones adapter and extra batteries and charger that I bought to go with it. I am thinking about the EA50 I am going to have to read what others say about the audio. This makes me miss my V1 the sound on it was always so clear. Oh well back to the boards.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 05:11 AM   #2
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

You returned the VG30? Why? Because you did not take the time to understand how it works? If the sound was 'dull', you probably had a monumental impedance mismatch or you were trying to plug a mono microphone into an unbalanced stereo jack. Either way, you should have thoroughly tested this before your professional engagement.

I use a broadcast quality, 48 volt phantom powered Rode NTG3 with my VG20, plugged straight into the aux mic socket via a custom transformer equipped XLR to unbalanced phantom adapter and the sound is simply stunning.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 11:35 AM   #3
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

Is it possible there is a difference between the models? Far as the 20 goes, the on-board mic is decent - better then a DSLR for sure, but not as good as even a JVC GYU100. Kind of a 'tweener camera for sound.

In terms of using outboard mics, I've had mixed results. Fact is, it's not terrible easy to control the input of sound, or the monitoring of said sound with these cameras. You have to go into the menus to change values and let's face it, the way the VG series show/measure sound is clunky too.

I love my little VG20, but sound isn't something it does terribly well. While XLRs might be asking a bit much, a small knob to control sound input isn't. That's where models a step up (like the EA50, the AF100, FS100) have a clear advantage. Is it enough to return the camera? For me, no - but all I shoot is narrative work. A lot of my stuff's going to be ADRed no matter what.

But if I was shooting docs, weddings, or news gathering, it might be a different situation.

And it's not always practical to test equipment, esp if you don't live in a bigger city. True you can buy and send it back, but that is a massive hassle, esp if you've bough anything else with the camera (which most people do). Second, many people would blanch at spending $700 on a mic, and another $150 on an adapter. After all, that total cost is about what a new VG20 is going for right now.

Simply put, with that extra money you could buy an AF100 or (almost) an AE50.

I've heard good things about the Sony ECM-CG50, but have never used it. A possible solution in any case.

Amazon.com: Sony ECM-CG50 Shotgun Microphone for NEX-VG10 and HDR-FX1000 - Black: Camera & Photo
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Old June 7th, 2013, 01:27 PM   #4
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

So what you are saying is that on the VG-30 you can not just plug in a Sennheiser G2 wireless mic adjust the volume and it work. Like it does on four other Sony cams that I have tested. Including two Sony V1s Sony HC-1 and Sony TRV520.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 05:41 PM   #5
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

Ron, the VG20/30 employs an unbalanced, high impedance stereo 3.5mm mini jack as an aux. mic input. If your Sennheiser G2 is not stereo, it will not work. Does your microphone have a mono plug or stereo plug? If it is a mono mic but has what looks like a stereo TRS 3.5mm plug, it is probably a 'balanced' mono output. If you plug this into an unbalanced stereo input such as found on the VG20/30, very poor quality audio will be the result. As a professional video maker, you need to understand these different systems. Audio has often been the poor cousin of video but good quality sound is always what separates a professional from an amateur.

John, I built my own balanced XLR to unbalanced adapter box for around $35 and it delivers 48 volt phantom power too, if required. (for the NTG-3) I put a 'real knob' on the box so I can adjust the audio volume without going to the VG20 menu. It works very well.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 06:36 PM   #6
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

Any chance of buying one Craig?
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Old June 7th, 2013, 07:03 PM   #7
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

John, the time for me to assemble one then on sell it would make it too expensive for most semi professional users so wait till I publish the design, pictures and parts list, then anyone will a bit of soldering skill could make one up. The reason Pros like XLR connectors is they set a 'standard' - XLR to XLR works so there's a trap for new players when trying to interconnect consumer equipment. I could sell my design as a 'kit of parts' but then again, some of the parts are sourced from North America so that may not be very efficient.
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Old June 7th, 2013, 08:45 PM   #8
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

The Sennheiser G2 has a stereo plug.

I also tried it with a Beachtek DXA-6 XLR adapter with the same results. The beachtek setup works well with my Canon 7d.
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Old June 8th, 2013, 01:57 AM   #9
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

I use a Sony wireless mic on my VG30 all the time.
Works great, this little camera rocks.

Cairns Video & Media Productions | Photography, Video , DVD & Fly Through Virtual Tours
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Old June 8th, 2013, 02:14 AM   #10
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

No Ron - it doesn't! It is a mono,unbalanced output, and the supplied CL-1 has two of the circuits shorted together, to provide the feed for cameras. It's also a pretty hot output, which often forces the camera's agc circuit to work hard - which also does little for the sound. I expect you reduced the receiver output to match it, but perhaps not enough.

Now the problem. If your camera is really expecting a stereo input, then you are also going to short out one channel with the supplied Sennheiser cable. The XLR cable supplied is also converted in the plug to unbalanced.

The sound design of the camera is quite basic, and I have no idea if the agc is ganged across the two audio channels, so with one being fed nothing and the other loud audio, maybe the cabling needs re-assessing. Me, I'd make up a custom cable that splits the receiver audio to both channels, a differently wired shorted cable. Knock the receiver output down, and try again. What is certain is that you cannot expect to take it out the box and connect kit to it where there are so many things to consider.
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Old June 8th, 2013, 09:54 AM   #11
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

What about the Beachtek DXA-6 that takes two XLR inputs and converts them to a stereo mini plug. That should work right.


Here is the description from B&H
The DXA-6 Dual XLR adapter offers 48 Volt phantom power on both inputs for use with condenser microphones, and is universally compatible with any camcorder. Two sources may be recorded simultaneously, and each input may be recorded on a separate audio track, making it possible to mix both channels individually during editing. The unit provides channel separation adequate for recording timecode and audio simultaneously and the shielding and XLR connectors are of a professional quality.
1. Two input channels allow recording of two sources on separate tracks for post audio mixing; both channels have a dedicated mic/line level switch and trim potentiometers for seperate level control 48 Volt phantom power on both channels for use with professional Condenser Mics Auxiliary Mini-Jack on right channel for wireless Mics Dual MIC/LINE level switches for connection of Mics or CD and Cassette players and other line level sources Mono/Stereo Switch for single input recording Standard 9 Volt battery powering LED battery power Indicator
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Old June 8th, 2013, 11:17 PM   #12
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

I looked into the Beachtek units and they are a good design but if you read my essay on Phantom Power for the VG20/30 in RedSharkNews, you'll see that as Tascam DR-40 PCM recorder is actually cheaper than the Beachtek unit. (around $140 on ebay, out of the USA)

The DR-40 can be used stand alone to record separate audio or send the STEREO 3.5mm mini jack output direct to the VG20/30 for true sync sound. It also offers 2 or 4 channels at up to 96/24, plus 48v phantom out, plus mic or line XLR level inputs. Not much larger than a pack of cigarettes, you only need to secure it on or under your camera.
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Old June 9th, 2013, 05:36 PM   #13
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

Another interesting idea Craig! I have the DR40... it's a nice unit, but it's exhibited some wonky behavior (like input levels rising on their own), even after resetting the firmware.

Very clean recorder (when working properly).

All that said, I hate the idea have needing a 2ndary unit like the beechtech or DR40 - it complicates things, and at least with the DR40 you need 3 AA batteries. And the DR40 eats batteries like they were candy.

But it is an option for sure (one I'll be checking out soon)! Keep those great ideas coming Craig...
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Old June 9th, 2013, 08:09 PM   #14
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

My DR-40 has performed faultlessly to date and given the complexity of my rig, adding the recorder to the mix is no drama but a simple alternative was one of the reasons I developed the small XLR to 3.5mm black box.
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Old June 11th, 2013, 10:32 AM   #15
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Re: NEX-VG30 Bad Audio

I want to thank everyone for your time on this problem. I have tried several mics using the Beachtek adapter and directly plugged into the VG3O. The sound quality is just not up to my standards. It may be that my VG30 is flawed. But honestly that was just the last straw with this cam. When I got it I was disappointed in the 24p it would only give a good picture in auto mode. In any other setting it displayed banding in the image. Not that big of a deal since the company I work for only works in 30p. But the VG30 doesn’t do 30p. No big deal 60p converts easily to 30p. I hate a touch screen but not a problem in manual mode you have the iris control shutter speed, white balance and gain available. I could live with that but the poor audio was just the straw. So I am glad you guys have good results with your vg30s. I am moving to a more professional cam. Thanks again.
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