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Old August 5th, 2004, 05:35 PM   #1
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Frustration with Mikes for VX2000...Help!

I am a prosumer video enthusiast who recently started thinking about upgrading my on-camera audio. Most of my work is done with my family (trips, music videos, and documentaries) and neighbors on my VX2000.

In order to keep to a reasonable budget (<$250) for a mike, I read the dozens of threads and bought a Sennheiser MKE-300, thinking it would be easy to use and give me a reasonable audio improvement. Unfortunately it's going back to B and H as the background hum is too substantial to ignore, defeating the purpose of a mike.

From all that has been posted in this forum, I have the following observations:

1. That some Vx2000 owners (of perhaps older cameras) have chronic noise issues with their onboard mikes and that people have suggested a BBC modification or one provided by G. Winters in Rochester who bypasses the preamps.

2. That the native preamp circuitry in the VX2000 will make most shotgun mikes, connected directly to the 1/8 plug, too noisy.

3. The Sennheiser M66/K6 may have enough of a hot signal to overcome these noise problems. Some of you like this mike and others do not but there is no concensus whether this is a good shotgun mike to purchase.

4. The expensive and bulky Beachtek DXA-8 preamp unit is cited a few times as a way to acheive improved sound.

5. There are conflicting posts regarding the AT 897 shotgun and whether it can be used successfully with the VX2000.

6. Ultimately shotgun mikes are limited anyway, unless they are reasonably close to the subject.

--In essence I'm fairly confused by all the various suggestions and comments. I'm reluctant to purchase so many pieces of equipment (pre-amp, mike, shockmounts, etc. ) and would rather have something user-friendly and simple. As a non-professional, having too much gear and gadgetry makes me too intrusive.

Can someone suggest a basic plan of attack for a good (not necessarily perfect) on-camera miking setup that would help a prosumer using the VX2000? I guess spending $500 would be fair, but the information on these threads makes determining a good setup difficult.

Thanks for the recommendations,


MarcS
Syracuse, NY
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Old August 9th, 2004, 01:56 AM   #2
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"1. That some Vx2000 owners (of perhaps older cameras) have chronic noise issues with their onboard mikes and that people have suggested a BBC modification or one provided by G. Winters in Rochester who bypasses the preamps."

Have you read Greg's site info on the modification? The preamps on a good quality will outshine any camera preamp. The BBC or Greg's mod are foe people that want DAT quality sound. you'd also want a high quality mic to go along with the mod.

The audio from the VX is pretty good so long as the internal gain is set below 40%. It's actually passable to 60% but after that it gets noisy.

"2. That the native preamp circuitry in the VX2000 will make most shotgun mikes, connected directly to the 1/8 plug, too noisy."

Depends on the output of the mic. Like I said , keep the gain as low as possible.

"3. The Sennheiser M66/K6 may have enough of a hot signal to overcome these noise problems. Some of you like this mike and others do not but there is no concensus whether this is a good shotgun mike to purchase."

It has a very high output and will allow you to set the VX pre to 50% or lower. whether or not it's a good mic is up to your ears. For the money it's a good mic. You can spend over a thousand really easily. Have a listen to the ME66

"4. The expensive and bulky Beachtek DXA-8 preamp unit is cited a few times as a way to acheive improved sound. "

The DXA-8 sure as hell isn't bulky. It's small compared with other 2 channel preamps. the phantom, preamplification and limiters make the VX a pretty complete field camera. The price (370) is reasonable for what it does and the quality of build.

Read my review of the DXA-8




"5. There are conflicting posts regarding the AT 897 shotgun and whether it can be used successfully with the VX2000."

It depends on what your definition of good sound is. A lower output mic like the AT897 requires that the VX onboard pre work to a point that causes a fair amout of hiss

"6. Ultimately shotgun mikes are limited anyway, unless they are reasonably close to the subject. "

All mics are limited. There is no mic that'll handle everything. Shotgunns are for situations where you want to reject unwanted periferal noise. They also give you added "reach" The closeness with a mic like the AT897 allows it to give the VX a hotter signal

"--In essence I'm fairly confused by all the various suggestions and comments. I'm reluctant to purchase so many pieces of equipment (pre-amp, mike, shockmounts, etc. ) and would rather have something user-friendly and simple. As a non-professional, having too much gear and gadgetry makes me too intrusive."

Read and learn, then make an informed position. there's a nre threadcon the audio forum here that's discussing finding quality mics

"Can someone suggest a basic plan of attack for a good (not necessarily perfect) on-camera miking setup that would help a prosumer using the VX2000? I guess spending $500 would be fair, but the information on these threads makes determining a good setup difficult. "

buy an ME66 , a shock mount and a hosa 1/8" stereo to XLR cable at B&H for $10 and you're off to the races. Do a search in the audio forum. This has been done many times. The "Now Hear This" forum has many posts on this vein. You either need a high output mic or a preamp. the choice is yours.
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Old August 9th, 2004, 10:10 AM   #3
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Dear Bryan,

Thank you for your detailed response. I've been trying to do my homework and scouring the forums and more fully appreciate the issues and nuances of audio and the VX2000.

I called Greg in Rochester who was willing to do a modification of my video camera and use the MP1 preamp and an Octava 012 microphone. It appears the best way to go but as a hobbyist I need to determine how much extra-configuring of my camera I want to do at the present time, both in terms of money and effort.

Greg appeared to favor the MP1's capabilities over the Beachtek DC-8 (for the equivalent price). The DC-8 is nice in that it attaches directly to the base of the camera where the MP1 would need to be drilled for this. It sounds from your review that you were pleased with the DC-8's performance.

Considering that I'm not a professional, do you think one could do well with a DC-8 and a Octava MC012 without the modification? I could then plan on the mod later in the year if needed.

Thanks a lot. You're clearly very steeped in audio knowledge for DV.

- Marc Safran
Syracuse, NY
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Old August 9th, 2004, 03:45 PM   #4
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Bryan...

I just want to commend you on a great reply. Too many times on forums people give half-assed answers that require more interpretation or research than had no response even been made.

Your response was accurate, intelligent, and extremely helpful. Kudos from one crusty old fart to another.
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Old August 9th, 2004, 11:16 PM   #5
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Marc
i own a VX2000 and was Greg's second modification. If you have the mod done then the MM-1 or better, the Mix pre or PSC mixer is the best bet.

If you don't have the mod done then the Beach DXA-8 is the way to fly. The Beach won't work with the mod anyway. The mod requires line level input and all the beach gives you is mic level.

I have a before and after clip of the mod and I also have a demo with and without the DVA-8. The DXA-8 clip isn't online so i'd have to email that to you. I'll be in hospital for the next 4-6 days getting a new knee but I'll be available after i get out. read all the material I linked you to.

Bottom line

The best is the mod, hands down, but it's for a really dedicated few. Read and listen to the before and after with decent headphones or monitors. Mod review and before and after clips

If you want to move slowly, buy a mix pre, PSC mixer or the MM/MP1, that will give you phantom , limiters and preamplification and a better audio as a result (I'm assuming that you read the Beach Tek review) the Mix Pre is about $650, the PSC is $500 and the single channel MM/MP1 is 300 and 350.

You can get the mod done later and you'll have all of the goodies to make it work. Be aware that the MM1/MP1 are single chanel and use a click stop gain control that functions at 4 db increments. That means you're limited to one channel and because the gain is in 4 db steps you can't ride the gain from there MP/MM1.

So we have the mod at $200, plus 650 for the mix pre or 500 for the PSC. The MM/Mp is only 300 or 350 and in my mind something you'll regret if you're serious.

OR if you're sure you don't want the mod then the Beach at $370 is a good deal. It's well built and fits under the camera.

So far as micsthe Oktava is a good one. i'd start with the MCO12 with hypercardoid from the sound room.

We're into it hot and heavy on the "Now hear this" forum on this site. The post is the best of shotguns and hypers or something like that.

Read up on the mixers. the sound devices are great, I own a Mix pre and the 302, SD also make the MM and MP1. The Sound devices site is here

The PSC Promix3

Don't be toying with cheap crap and doing the mod. The Sony analog to digital converters do a good job and with a good preamp you get DAT quality sound. I run my schoeps MK41 and MKH60 through the modified system with stunning results.
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