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


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Old August 19th, 2002, 01:25 PM   #1
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Frequency response / tradeoffs

I saw on a website that the frequency response of the Sony cameras are really only good for voice but don't have enough lows (rolling off at 100hz) for much else. I'm a sound engineer so this is important to me. I can't find any Sony tech specs detailing the audio aspects of the cameras. I do however read that a lot of people use portable DAT's to record their audio. Looking at the PD150 and the VX2000 with a difference of a $1000 in price is there anything else I'd be losing other than the phantom powered XLR inputs and monochrome viewfinder by going with the VX2000? I figure if I'm going to be recording the sound outside of the camera I might as well put the $1000 difference to a portable DAT or something. But anyway, I was just hoping someone might be able to verify whether or not the sound of the Sony's is a bit lacking and I figured I'd ask if there's anything else I'd be losing going with the VX2000. Thanks for any info.


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Old August 19th, 2002, 03:15 PM   #2
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The only thing I can think of is that the PD150 uses DVCAM tapes, which are more rugged. Oh and its a cool black colour too.
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Old August 19th, 2002, 07:19 PM   #3
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The manual that comes with the PD150 is vague; it says "Rotary heads, PCM system Quanitization: Fs32 kHz (12 bits, channels 1/2, channels 3/4) Fs48 kHz (16 bits, channels 1/2). Which tells you nothing you want to know.

Go to http://www.sounddevices.com/tech/pd150.htm to see Sound Devices analysis of the audio section of the PD150 complete with charts and graphs. I believe the information is also archived on the dvinfo.net site.
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Old August 19th, 2002, 09:51 PM   #4
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DVCam will rarely make a difference to a NLE user.

The PD-150 has separately adjustable levels for Channel 1 & 2, something I'm told is not (as?) easy in the 2000. A few other items are different.

I gotta tell ya that music sounds darned good to me off my digital cameras.

A lot of people use MD recorders too. They may be less trouble than a DAT.

I'd spend the extra money (and get the one for another $200 that comes with the soft padded case and the rain jacket. I did and it is a great camera.
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Old August 20th, 2002, 09:32 AM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by makonats : Go to http://www.sounddevices.com/tech/pd150.htm to see Sound Devices analysis of the audio section of the PD150 complete with charts and graphs. -->>>

Yeah, that's the site I read this info on. Only thing that irks me is they don't say how they tested. Like, did they test the sound somehow without using a microphone? Or, if they did use a mic was it a high end one? Etc, etc. Like I said though... it got me thinking regardless. I figure for the $1000 less I can buy a portable digital 8 track. Also, I plan on getting a 5 inch, or higher, external LCD monitor anyway so I don't know if I really even need the monochrome viewfinder. Decisions... decisions :-/
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Old August 20th, 2002, 12:36 PM   #6
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Unless you are going to take a sound person along with you, the external recorder is going to be a problem.
For 3 reasons:

1. You have to watch the recording process and that means you cannot watch the camera too. Something will suffer.

2. Syncing an inexpensive 8-track recorder is likely going to be a problem in the long term. Timing drifts could kill you.

3. The separate recorder means that your camera/sound recording system is not walk-around. You cannot follow action over any distance without a second person for sound.

I don't know what you intend to do and what your experience level is but from where I operate ( I tape actors 2 hours per week, do weddings on the weekends, and industrial and training videos at other times) the on-board XLRs, phantom power, and easily settable level controls makes the PD-150 the only choice for me. That is, other than an on-the-shoulder pro camera which I'd rather not purchase or carry if I don't have to.

Quality sound that I can record by myself, without an entourage, is very important to the success of my work. I am frequently allowed only short setup times and don't want to have to play with a bunch of equipment while the clients wait. I've done that when I was shooting with a VX-1000 and don't want to repeat the experience if I don't have to.

The only time I use a second sound recording system is during Weddings where I use an MD recorder to insure I don't lose any of the dialog.

Of course, if the sound recording job is big enough, I do employ a sound person operating a mixer, etc. But the sound is sent directly to the camera if possible (even via wireless from mixer to camera) and also sent to a second recorder as a backup.

----------------------------------

My personal belief is that the monochrome viewfinder is almost useless. It is not sharp enough to allow one to critically focus. And the lack of color means that a lot of the on-screen text is hard to read and not at all obvious.

The difference between the 150's viewfinder and a truly good high resolution monochrome viewfinder is very high and in favor of the conventional CRT-based viewfinder.

A 5" LCD screen will not be any better unless you find the $ to purchase a high resolution unit. Almost, if not all of the $500 and under LCD screens only have 240 lines of vertical resolution. That is less than the monochrome viewfinder in the 150 and the same as the pop-out screen.

If you want a small monitor on which to check focus and exposure, I think even a 5" high-resolution color monitor is marginal. That's why most field monitor setups are 8 or 9 inches.

A 4 or 5 inch monochorme high-resolution monitor will work for that purpose (that is what you find on the top of the low- and medium-end studio cameras).

Conclusions: Don't let the monochrome viewfinder sway you towards the 150 vs the 2000 unless you have tried it out.

OTOH, IN MY PERSONAL OPINION, the XLR, phantom power and individually settable level controls are reasons to select the 2000.

Your mileage may vary.
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Old August 20th, 2002, 01:11 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Mike Rehmus : 2. Syncing an inexpensive 8-track recorder is likely going to be a problem in the long term. Timing drifts could kill you.
3. The separate recorder means that your camera/sound recording system is not walk-around. You cannot follow action over any distance without a second person for sound.-->>>

Thanks for the advice on the viewfinder! As for the sound... yes I will in fact be using another sound engineer. I have a friend that I will be using for the pupose of setting and monitoring levels as well as operating the boom mic. As for syncing I don't see how it would be all that difficult. For one I'd be using a digital recorder (ie. no tape stretching). Secondly, I'm personally extremely experienced with audio and have synced many audio projects before. If there is a slight drift the easiest thing to do is cut the audio up and replace each part in sync individually since the drift only occurs over long periods. Besides, I don't think I'll be filming a straight cut long enough for the audio to go out of sync. But the only problem I'm seeing is portablilty. Sure the recorders are light enough and portable but anything that runs off of batteries costs a fortune! But, that's something I'm still trying to work out. Thanks again for your help! It's definitely making it easier to figure out which path to go with.


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Old August 20th, 2002, 06:36 PM   #8
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It would be fairly normal procedure to feed the camera a source of pink noise and measure that. There would probably be an electret peak in the high end if they used the mic.

Elsewhere it has been documented that the headphone output of the PD150 boosts the high end - I can attest to the fact that the headphone output sounds quite different from the actual audio played back on my NLE. Monitoring this audio is hardly optimum. Still, if you are a sound engineer the PD150 is not going to satisfy you in the audio department. There some strange sounds that the camera seems to generate on its own...occasional buzzing noises mostly...that seem to have something to do with the (defeatable) noise reduction.

I agree with Mike about the viewfinder - it is fiendishly difficult to focus with especially coupled with the electronically controlled focus ring. Go with that monitor!

Good luck!

<<<--Yeah, that's the site I read this info on. Only thing that irks me is they don't say how they tested. Like, did they test the sound somehow without using a microphone? Or, if they did use a mic was it a high end one? Etc, etc. Like I said though... it got me thinking regardless. I figure for the $1000 less I can buy a portable digital 8 track. Also, I plan on getting a 5 inch, or higher, external LCD monitor anyway so I don't know if I really even need the monochrome viewfinder. Decisions... decisions :-/-->>>
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Old August 20th, 2002, 06:49 PM   #9
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Why pink noise instead of white noise? Aren't you trying to measure the performance of the system with respect to a flat input in this case? Otherwise you have to factor in the pink noise power curve don't you?


Trust me, I havn't done this so I don't know.
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