Turning a VX2100 Into A PD170 (sort of) 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, 01:21 PM   #1
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Turning a VX2100 Into A PD170 (sort of)

So, I got this brainstorm.....I'll just order the handle assembly for a PD170 from Sony and replace the handle assembly on my VX2100, to get the XLRs and channel switches.

They're backordered two weeks on the part (must be on a slow boat from Japan)....but now I'm thinking...what if Sony put different internal connectors on each camcorder? Or some other problem....I'd be out $150.00....anybody try this yet??
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Old April 29th, 2004, 05:49 PM   #2
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I would think there would be more to it than slappin on a new handle.Also $150 seems cheap for the phantom xlr box and all considering sony charges you $50 just for a lens hood.I would not reccomend you do this on your own unless you are a master of electronics and circuit boards.
Do you have a link where the handle is available?
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Old April 29th, 2004, 06:31 PM   #3
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Go to

https://servicesplus.us.sony.biz/partsPLUS.aspx

and do a search based on the Model Number DSR-PD170, then select the country you're in, then select "exploded views", then select "upper handle section". Look for "handle assembly" in the parts list; you can also click on an icon on the right side of the page to show an exploded diagram of the parts contained in the handle assembly.
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Old April 29th, 2004, 06:45 PM   #4
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Hey, I screwed up! I checked the diagrams again and the handle assembly is just one part of the whole handle section....and the whole thing is a lot more than $150!! Oh well, back to the drawing board....
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Old April 29th, 2004, 08:54 PM   #5
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For a basic understanding of the PD150 vs VX2000 audio differences visit http://www.gregjwinter.com/modification2.htm

Greg explains the differences in as much detail as he dare. Regretably, good audio cost some bucks, no way around it.

If there was an easy way it would've been done a few years ago.
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Old April 30th, 2004, 05:11 PM   #6
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Turning a VX2k into PD150

I looked at doing this myself about a year ago. Yes, you can order all the parts to make a handle, like the PD150. Came to about $1,200 in parts if I recall correctly... and to top that it will not even work! The connector is pin for pin match except that the V2k version of the VC-242 mainboard looks for certain signals that are present on the V2k handle. You might get sound, but it would not be what you expect!

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:

1. because the power supply voltages are not large enough to get good signal to noise ratio that you need for professional sound.

2. inexpensive parts used to save a few dollars per camera. Sony did upgrade the volume control to get 6 dB inprovement in S/N ratio - OK Sony that's a start.....

3. long, convoluted signal path and shared grounds pick up lots of noise - added to the lower voltages these audio signals run between only 0-6.3V as compared to professional -15V to +15V (see reason #1.)

So that is why I decided the best way to FIX this problem was to modify the camera to bypass all this and use a professional mixer/preamp.

Greg J. Winter
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Old April 30th, 2004, 06:54 PM   #7
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Very interesting reading your site, Greg. Thanks for the insight.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 12:28 AM   #8
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How do you bypass to a mixer on a VX2100?
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Old May 4th, 2004, 12:45 AM   #9
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So far you don't. I believe Greg Winters is trying to get a schematic for the VX2100. that mod is only for the tres picky.

The best is to input a higher level signal to your VX2100, keeping the internal gain on manual and at 25 - 40%. Otherwise you're stuck with battery operated high gain mics.

Read the posts on the mixers and the Beach DXA-8. Any of the units discussed wil give you Balanced inputs (XLRs) Phantom power, Limiters and preamplification.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 07:56 AM   #10
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VX2100 Schematics and Mod

I have schematics for the PD170/VX2100 now.... the audio section of the mainboard is exactly the same as the PD150/VX2000 with the exception of a new electronic volume control chip that is not as noisy as the one they use on the PD150/VX2000 - this is how they claim a 6 dB improvement in S/N ratio. The AGC sound is exactly the same between models. My mod is much better S/N at an improvement of 20 dB.

There is probably no change in the harmonic noise specs or the frequency response since there are no changes to the circuitry between camera releases (with the exception of the volume chip used only in manual gain mode - Jay Rose is planning on doing a comparision tests on a PD170 in the article he has planned on my modification in a upcoming article in DV magazine.

If anyone is unhappy with the noise and/or quality of audio with their new PD170 or VX2100.... wait until the year warranty expires and send the camera to me for modification. If you want to preview the sound you can expect, hook a mixer (even an inexpensive wall plug mixer will work) to the RCA jacks of an UNmodified PD150/170 or VX2000/21000 and record sound to the camera in VTR mode (does not work in CAMERA mode) and listen to the sound with headphones. You are limited to AGC mode only, but gives a good idea of what to expect.

Regards,
Greg J. Winter
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