Which is better: VX2000 w/ DXA-8 or PD150? at DVinfo.net

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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old April 29th, 2004, 12:47 PM   #1
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Which is better: VX2000 w/ DXA-8 or PD150?

Hi all,
As of right now I have a VX2000 with a Beachtek DXA-4 adapter. I currently don't have any shotgun mics in my possession, but I used to have a few Audio Technicas (AT835b). I always thought they were very quiet even with levels on the beachtek turned up and all and I have been reading around here that they have a much lower output than Sennheiser's, and I'm thinking that could have been my problem - also the fact that Sony's preamp stinks - or that seems to be the general thought anyways.

So I was thinking of two options: moving up to a PD150 or upgrading to a DXA-8 attachment for the VX200 I currently have. What I am wondering is if either is a better option as far as sound quality or my ability to use an AT mic goes. I can't afford a new PD170, and all the PD150s on the market are used at this point, so I'm a little hesitiant to drop my VX2000 if I don't have to since it's like new and has very low hours on it and buying a used PD could be risky. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!


SUMMARY: Is there any advantage to buying a PD150 over a VX2000 and beachtek DXA-8 combo as far as sound quality is concerned?
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Old April 29th, 2004, 01:07 PM   #2
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You might want to think about picking up a microphone pre-amp and then running the VX in Line In mode.

Since you already have the camera, unless the adapter issue bothers you, I'd keep it and solve the problem with the mic pre.

I chose a 150 over a 2000 because I wanted XLR and phantom power and the other conveniences that the 150 has over the 2000. But if I already had a 2000, I wouldn't have paid the price to switch.
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Old April 29th, 2004, 01:33 PM   #3
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The best is the VX2000 with the preamps bypassed.

All tests at -12 dBFS, 48 kHz 16 bit files.

S/n = 76.9 dB.
(Unmodded VX2000 = 53 dB for +4 dBu in, 51 dB for -50 dBu in)

THD+N = .03%
(Unmod .34% @ +4 dBu, 6.50% @ -50 dBu)

Freq response 50 Hz - 20 kHz +0/-2 dB.
(unmod 80 Hz - 15 kHz)


http://www.dv.com/jive3/thread.jspa?...446&tstart=135

The same mod can be done on the PD150
The results were released by Jay Rose over at DV.com

THD+N, re 1 kHz @ -12 dBFS
before mod: 0.18%
after mod: 0.03%

S/N, A weighted, re -12 dBFS
before mod: 56.8dB
after mod: 75.5dB
Add 12 dB for dynamic range

The mod improves the freq response as well

http://www.dv.com/jive3/thread.jspa?...6513&tstart=30

http://www.gregjwinter.com/modification2.htm

It amazes me how something this amazing is ignored. My audio is better than any of the prosumer cameras of any manufacture.

The Mod for the VX 2000 is $200 and the PD150 is $300. I use a mix Pre or Sound Devices 302 but a PSC, Shure or an MP1 could be used. The internal mic can still be used.

The mod is fully explained on Gregs site but essentially the audio is input at line level through the RCA jacks into the Analog to Digital converter.
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Old April 29th, 2004, 04:02 PM   #4
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THANKS FOR THE REPLIES!!

Bryan-
I have heard of that mod (and read about it quite a bit here). I know that the results are great, but once I pay $200 for the mod, shipping and the price for the mixer, I have heard that a nice setup would cost $1000 or more. If that is the case, then I figure I'd be better off investing in a PD170 anyways, but maybe I'm wrong...believe me if money was no object, then I would certainly do this.

Mike-
I thought that the DXA-8 had a pre-amp that would serve the purpose you were talking of, but maybe I am mistaken. I am trying to learn, but I really don't know much of the technical aspects of sound equipment. But I was thinking with the DXA-8 offering a pre-amp and phantom power that might solve my problem....

But as far as pricing goes, here is what I am estimating:

If I buy a new Beachtek DXA-8- It'll cost me about $270 (considering I can get $100+ for my current DXA-4)

I could sell my whole VX setup and buy a used PD150, which would end up costing me about $500 extra at most (as far as what I am willing to spend/hoping to get for mine).

The mod would cost $200 + $30 shipping + price of mixer

This pricing is why I am hoping that the DXA-8 would work well due to built in pre-amps/phantom power/compact size. I don't mean to simply argue with eveyone's ideas, but price is a big issue for me as well as quality.
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Old April 29th, 2004, 05:45 PM   #5
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I wonder if its difficult to mod the DXA8 to work with the Greg Winters mod.Output at line level with RCA's instead of the mini plug?
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Old April 29th, 2004, 08:40 PM   #6
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If you read my last post you will see that the PD150/170 audio is nowhere near the quality of the modified VX2000/2100 (They still apparently have the same set up).

The one set of specs was for a PD150 modified by Greg. The PD150 actually requires more work and the mod costs $300.

the DXA-8 will let you input at a sufficiently high level to avoid the hiss. it gives you limiters and phantom as well. This is all most people would want and it does a damn good job. It can't be adapted for line level. read below and you'll see that Beach is addressing that issue

With my VX2000 and Mix Pre I get as Jay puts it "Theatrical Quality" audio. the camera will actually do a better job than the PMD670 (going through the marantz pres) going through the sound devices and into line level, they're even.

Two considerations.

1. Beach Tek will be coming out with a reasonably priced preamp that outputs a balanced and a line level signal. it is suposed to be in the same price range as the DXA-8

2. sound Devices has a single channel preamp with limiters and phantom for $300 or $350 with a headphone amp.

I spent a few bucks on some really nice mics and want to bring out the best. lets face it I"M OBSESSED ;-)
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Old April 29th, 2004, 11:06 PM   #7
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Hey Bryan,
Actually I forgot to ask about the PD150 quality, I did see that it also had problems but I wasn't sure if I was reading it right, I'll put that out of mind since you've answered my question and there appears to be no real advantage sound wise anyways. I think I'll have to determine how much of a rush I am in as I will most likely go the way of the DXA-8 or newer model if I have the patience.

I too am obsessive about quality, but unfortunately I am more poor than I am obsessed about anything!! :) But I really appreciate all of the info and feel much better as I was leaning towards getting that Beachtek to begin with, and I'm looking into those Sound Devices ones as well...Thanks!
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Old April 29th, 2004, 11:37 PM   #8
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I've used all of the gear that I talked about. The DXA-8 is a well built little unit. The new one that's being developed will have very high quality preamps with +/- 15 volt rails and will be priced about the same as the DXA-8.

I love the quality of the Sound devices stuff but Beach is doing a fine job and exploring a market area that is not very crowded.
The new unit won't be camera mounted, or at least that's what they've said.
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Old April 30th, 2004, 12:46 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Robbie Smolinsky : Hey Bryan,
Actually I forgot to ask about the PD150 quality, I did see that it also had problems but I wasn't sure if I was reading it right, I'll put that out of mind since you've answered my question and there appears to be no real advantage sound wise anyways. I think I'll have to determine how much of a rush I am in as I will most likely go the way of the DXA-8 or newer model if I have the patience.


The 150 is better than the 2000. AAMOF, the 150 sound is quite good enough for most commercial uses.


I too am obsessive about quality, but unfortunately I am more poor than I am obsessed about anything!! :) But I really appreciate all of the info and feel much better as I was leaning towards getting that Beachtek to begin with, and I'm looking into those Sound Devices ones as well...Thanks! -->>>
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Old April 30th, 2004, 01:48 PM   #10
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<<<--
The 150 is better than the 2000. AAMOF, the 150 sound is quite good enough for most commercial uses.-->>>

Unmodified, the sound is better but not that much better with preamplification (signal to noise is 4 db apart with line in and 7 with mic level in) There is a wider divergence on the THD.

Modified there is no comparison on either, the PD150 is just more involved.

To see what the difference will be feed a line level quality input through the RCA inputs with either camera in VCR mode. The only difference between the mod and that VCR Record function is AGC is on in VCR record

or listen to the before and after by clicking on the headphones at the bottom of the page.
http://www.dvfreelancer.com/articles/vx2000.html
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Old April 30th, 2004, 03:44 PM   #11
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The sound didn't come across when I clicked on the headphone icons so I didn't get to hear the undoubted improvement.

Regardless of the test results, the fact still remains that the 150 and 170 audio capabilities are satisfactory for a lot of commercial applications. I don't get excessive amounts of noise or any other problems and I use the 150 to capture VO as well as live events.

In the real commercial world that I and a lot of people work in, it just isn't an issue in any practical sense.
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Old April 30th, 2004, 05:32 PM   #12
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OK, the sound files are 12.1 megabytes. They finally came through.

I must have a tin ear. To me, they sound about alike (I"m using ear-buds, not good headphones on my connected-to-the-Internet computer (long story)).

If I get time, I'll download the files and move them to my editing computer where I can hear differences.

As Greg states of the unmodified cameras, "They aren't DATs!"
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Old April 30th, 2004, 06:47 PM   #13
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I'm 59 and I can hear the difference. That was also through a Shoeps MK41 mic. It's what I like that counts for me, to each his own. Essentially they are like DAT's, it's digital tape. The feed is through a Sound devices 302 or mix pre and it's direct to the onboard analog to digital converters than on to the tape. The signal to noise is increased on both cameras a minimum of 19 db and that's one hell of a lot.

You may not appreciate the sound or the exercise but thats no reason to belittle my tastes or anybody elses. In the real world people like Jay Rose do appreciate that quality. He is certainly a pro.

Mike, you've misquoted Greg, he said
"Bottom line is that neither the PD150, PD170, VX2000 or VX2100 have great sound (like what you can record on a DAT recorder) for 3 reasons:"
He is reffering of course, to stock audio configuration.
He goes on to remedy those shortcomings. That's what the mod is all about
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Old April 30th, 2004, 07:33 PM   #14
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bryan Beasleigh : I'm 59 and I can hear the difference. That was also through a Shoeps MK41 mic. It's what I like that counts for me, to each his own. Essentially they are like DAT's, it's digital tape. The feed is through a Sound devices 302 or mix pre and it's direct to the onboard analog to digital converters than on to the tape. The signal to noise is increased on both cameras a minimum of 19 db and that's one hell of a lot.

You may not appreciate the sound or the exercise but thats no reason to belittle my tastes or anybody elses. In the real world people like Jay Rose do appreciate that quality. He is certainly a pro.

--------------
Come on, Brain, that isn't a put-down I wrote. I don't go around belittling anyone's taste. Personal preferences are just that, personal.

What I am trying to do is make certain that people (especially the neophite) understand that the PD150 is OK for a lot of work.

There are postings in this forum that, read as-is would make one think the sky is falling with regard to sound on these cameras. I and a lot of people who make serious money with the cameras find them to be OK. In the industrial world for which they were made, the PD150 and 170 work just fine. Picture and sound.

Can they be better? You bet. My DSR-300 is better (and Jay doesn't think much of that either).

I understand the 150/170 sound it isn't perfect and that's what I meant by quoting, "They aren't DATs" (although I didn't preface it correctly so you could take what I said as applying to your reworked 2000 which I did not mean.) I"ve amended that post to accurately reflect what I meant.
snip -->>>

I am pleased that you and others have found ways to improve the recording quality and I always read with interest your postings as you explore the audio world. Please keep it up and keep us informed. Greg and others who strive to make the cameras better are to be commended.
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Old April 30th, 2004, 08:34 PM   #15
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Thanks Mike, I feel better that you've clarified your thoughts and I do agree with your position on the stock Sony PD/VX.

The VX2000, the PD150 and the latest incarnations are the better of whats on the market. Their picture quality and robust build make them an attractive alternative. If I was buying today i might look at the DVX but it would most likely wind up the same with the Sony. (JMO)

I went through all the stages and yes the VX2K sound is passable , there has to be a chink in the armour somewhere. With a high level input and a good mic most people would be extremely satisfied, I was until i bought a better mic, the 302 and a flash recorder. I got in a bad habit of relying on the recorder for my principle audio. I wanted the same from my camera. When i finally bought the Schoeps i was chomping at the bit when I found out about Gregs mod.

The Beach with Phantom, limiters, preamplification and basic mix ability takes the camera to a new level and should be more than most will ever need.

In this persuit there is a gigantic drawback and it can be explained simply. Stuff begets more stuff and the better the stuff gets the more stuff you crave.

Now I am slightly older than dirt and after watching people around me drop like flies I have said to myself, "Self, you want it you deserve it." Bottom line is i'm enjoying this persuit and my wife and heirs will have on hell of an estate sale.

Can you imagine the look on their faces when they find out what all this cr@p is worth.
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