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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old February 7th, 2005, 07:22 PM   #1
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preamp for pd-170

I went to a sound workshop and they recommended that I buy an extra preamp because the mic on the PD-170 is poor. Is this true, and if so can anyone recommend any?

Thanks
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Old February 7th, 2005, 07:34 PM   #2
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That is like stating that you need more seats in your car because the tires are poor. One is not connected to the other. Furthemore, an outboard preamp has to feed throught the onboard preamp anyway.

I'd find another shop.

The microphone on the 170 isn't great (they got that right) and an after-market unit would improve your sound.

However, much more than cameras, microphones can be very application-specific. So you need to tell us what you are going to do with the camera before anyone can help you.

That said, I suggest you stroll over the sound forum and browse the threads. There has been more written about the subject than you probably want to read.
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Old February 8th, 2005, 10:13 AM   #3
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My apologies, Mike, I know the onboard mic is poor and I have many other mics. What I meant to say was that I heard the PD-170s preamp is poor and the sound of my superior mics can be improved if I get another. I did a search on preamps already, but I'd like some more info on them.

Thanks,

Michael
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Old February 8th, 2005, 11:32 AM   #4
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I am probably way over my head here, since I am not an expert on audio, but I have to take issue with the "poor" quality of the included mic on the PD170. And, maybe I am whistling out my butt, since I don't have the PD170, nor have I ever used one, but I do have the PD150, which also has taken a rap for having a "poor" quality mic. The truth is that many users expect a shotgun mic, when it is not that animal at all. You must get reasonably close to your subject to get decent audio with this mic, so it works well when you use a wide angle adapter and get physically close to your subject. Not ideal, perhaps, but not impossible. One advantage of this mic, is its wide pick-up pattern will allow you to get decent audio from the person doing the interview, who may also be operating the camera. Good for capturing a conversational quality to interviews. Also, add a mic cable and you have a pretty decent hand-held mic, or a good ambience mic.

Of course, when I want to get serious about sound, I use a Sennheiser 416, which costs 1K!

Just wanted to set the record straight, lest someone think that Sony is packaging a faulty piece of gear with their excellent camera. Before Michael spends his money on an external preamp, he would be well advised to rent a professional level shotgun mic and listen to his audio. Or, move in closer with the Sony mic.

Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old February 8th, 2005, 01:40 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Michael Bendixen : My apologies, Mike, I know the onboard mic is poor and I have many other mics. What I meant to say was that I heard the PD-170s preamp is poor and the sound of my superior mics can be improved if I get another. I did a search on preamps already, but I'd like some more info on them.

Thanks,

Michael -->>>

Michael, it doesn't matter a whole lot if you buy an external pre-amp because the sound gets fed through the Sony amp in any case. It is largely a waste of money unless you get the camera modified.

For the record, I find the preamps in the 150 to be just fine unless I want to do movie quality sound. It works just fine for commercials, weddings, etc.

For the record, I use the 'native' PD 150 microphone all the time. It isn't as good as my favorite GP microphone that came with my DSR-300. But it works well in close as long as you don't overload it.
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Old March 4th, 2005, 10:38 PM   #6
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If you use an outboard preamp and run the signal in through a line input into the camera it should bypass the preamp because the signal is already boosted. This is true with most electronics. That's why there is a switch on the 170s block to set the signal to line.

I think the quality of the preamp is pretty decent and I have a recording studio where I have tested the onboard preamp with a series of large condenser studio mics - including AKGs, Shures, Rodes, Studio Projects and Neumanns, arguably the cream of the crop. The 170s preamp was fairly clean and relatively noise free. I won't give up my studio class a preamps but "it ain't bad for what it's for" as they say.

I think with the right tweaking in post you can get very good quality audio with the onboard pre and mic.

Just my opinion.

Tony Z
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Old March 5th, 2005, 12:40 AM   #7
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IIRC, the difference between Line and Mic input on the 150/170 is that an attenuator is switched in for Line. You end up using the preamps in either case.

If that were not so, then people would not go to great lengths to modify the camera to bypass the on-board preamp.
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Old March 7th, 2005, 07:11 PM   #8
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I use the PD-150 with a lapel mic to my mackie mixer and out from the mixer to input 1 on the camera as line.. It seems to work pretty slick no complaints..

I do this because of the manual audio glitch in the older PD-150's and it allows me to control the input using AGC on the camera.. It's a work around and I don't want to pay sony $150 to fix or what they so call "COULD FIX" the problem..
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