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Old November 28th, 2003, 09:52 AM   #1
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PD150 Native Mic

So, how really is the mic that comes with the 150 for speech? Is it a sensitive mic? What is the directionality/pick-up pattern? Does it pick up cam handling noise?
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Old November 28th, 2003, 12:41 PM   #2
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Re: PD150 Native Mic

"<<<-- Originally posted by Dave Largent : So, how really is the mic that comes with the 150 for speech?"

OK. It is not a studio-quality microphone that costs $400.

"Is it a sensitive mic?"

Not in the class of a ME66 but it works OK for a lot of tasks. I use it to capture students in an acting class from about 10 feet away. Not as good as an AT835B or a ME66 but OK.

'What is the directionality/pick-up pattern?'

Kind of omni. Semi-cardiod at best. Don't think I've ever seen a polar pattern on the microphone.

"Does it pick up cam handling noise?"

It picks up fast zoom noise and sometimes head whine. That's what the NR setting in the audio menu is all about. It doesn't pick up noise from holding the camera.

-->>>
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Old November 28th, 2003, 01:14 PM   #3
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What does the NR setting do? Is it just a pad that lowers overall
sensitivity by a certain number of decibels?
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Old November 28th, 2003, 01:24 PM   #4
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Just curious: is the mike on the PD-150 the same as the mike on the PDX-10? The PDX-10 mike is labeled "SONY Electret Condenser Microphone ECM-NV1".

I've been taping our performances this season using a feed from the house sound board on input 1 and the on-camera mike on input 2. I've actually been impressed with how good the mike sounds for this sort of application. But I have very little experience in audio recording, so I can't say exactly how much better it might sound with a higher quality microphone. But it does compare favorably to the track recorded from the house sound board.
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Old November 28th, 2003, 02:27 PM   #5
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Hi Boyd

That indeed is the same mic that comes with the PD150. It usually gets a bad rap because the newbies want it to perform as a shotgun mic, which it is absolutely not. As you indicated, it is an omni directional mic, so it works well if the shooter is doing his own interviews, with a hand-held camera. You will pick up your questions along with the responder reasonably equally, if you use a wide angle lens and get within three to four feet of your subject. Much farther than that and you will be getting way too much ambience when you crank up the levels. Also, remember you can remove the mic and attach a length of cable to it and it will function quite well as a hand-held mic. Or, put it on a stand and run the cable to your camera. Not a great mic, but not deserving of all the raps.

Incidentally Boyd, I was surprised to see that you leave the camera audio settings in "auto" when you record with a feed from the house mix. That runs contrary to what I was taught. This is the way I would do it. Ask the audio mixer for the house to feed you a zero reference tone, and set your audio manually to between -20 and -12 db, and leave it. Now your audio is in the hands of your highly qualified mixer, rather than the camera. On quiet passages, or silent moments on stage, the auto gain may open up causing unwanted hiss and other undesireable artifacts. Using this manual setting should give you the best possible feed from the house mixer. Of course, if you are getting great results using your automatic setting, just ignore my comments.

Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old November 28th, 2003, 02:52 PM   #6
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That's always what I thought too Wayne, but I managed to ruin the audio with distortion during a loud chorus scene last season. With our operas there is such a huge range between soft and loud. Realize that the feed from the house board doesn't get a lot of "mixing"; it isn't for sound reinforcement but is just used as a backstage monitor so people can hear the show in the dressing rooms, etc. I imagine I could work with our audio guy to improve things, but after setting the camera for auto and being impressed with the results I've just continued to use this technique. The PDX-10's automatic gain doesn't seem to boost the soft parts objectionably. As I understand it, the PDX-10's audio is a significant improvement over the PD-150. Hopefully the PD-170 will put them back on par.
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Old November 28th, 2003, 09:15 PM   #7
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I don't find a whole lot wrong with the PD150 sound. It isn't as good as the sound on my DSR-300 but It is more than good enough for most applications.

Try leaving one of the channels on your 10 in auto and the other set low in manual if it will allow that. I usually send the sound from the mixer or a mic into the channel 1 input and send that to both channels. I always come home with good audio.
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Old November 29th, 2003, 07:13 AM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Mike Rehmus : Try leaving one of the channels on your 10 in auto and the other set low in manual if it will allow that. -->>>

Actually that's exactly what I have been doing. I was able to A/B the audio from my VX-2000 and PDX-10 recently, having recorded the same opera with both. I used a Beachtek on the VX-2000 and the built-in XLR's on the PDX-10; both were fed from the house board.

The VX-2000 audio was fine, but the PDX-10 sounded noticeably better to my ears (using Sony MDR-V600 headphones). The most striking difference was that the VX-2000 recorded at a much higher level than the PDX-10 (both cameras were set to auto). This tended to compress the sound more on the VX-2000 while the PDX-10 had better dynamic range.
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Old November 30th, 2003, 01:52 PM   #9
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I 'use' the sound from the channel kept on Auto from low to about mid-levels. For higher levels I blend in the sound from the channel kept low on Manual.

Usually I just bring the sound in to Sound Forge and copy channels around until the sound works for the piece.
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