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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old November 5th, 2002, 08:29 PM   #1
BillF741
 
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VX2000 audio for dummy (me)

Hi Gang,
I have read umpteen posts regarding the sound issues on the VX2000 and the dreaded hiss. I haven't had much time to mess with this puppy until today, and I have to say the hiss is really annoying. If this audio is the best Sony could do with a built in microphone then they should have just skipped it. Making a silent movie would be better than the lousy sound out of the built in microphone. I am on the verge of taking this thing back for a refund.

With that in mind, if I keep this thing (at least the video is really good) give me a step by step on what I need to do the following:

I record a lot of lectures; my own, and other people. I know that a wireless lavalier microphone would probably be the ticket. I would also like to be able to have more than one person talk. On occasion I add extemporaneous comments to the audience when someone else has lectured. Therefore a second wireless would be a good thing. Are there any uhf based wireless systems that will work? If I use 2 wireless microphones will this negate having a shotgun microphone on top of the camera?

If I go with a shotgun microphone, I have read a lot about the sennheiser 66 microphone (probably didn't get the exact model number down).

I know about the use of the XLR adapter from Beachtek, and I hear there is something by a company called Studio 1. Who has the best solution?

What components do I need to get the Sennheiser microphone working?

About the wireless lavalier microphones; what would anybody recommend? I was also thinking instead of a wireless lav, a handheld wireless microphone? Any thoughts.

Maybe it is just me, but the sound pickup on my old Sony TRV 20 is better than the built in microphone on the VX 2000. I am not so sure I made the right choice when it comes to sound with the VX 2000. I know the PD 150 may be marginally better, but it is also a good bit more money, and I hear that it also has sound issues. I have ruled out the PD 150.

If anybody wants to help, I'm willing to listen. I'm feeling pretty dumb about the sound set ups. Thanks.

Sincerely,
Bill
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Old November 6th, 2002, 11:23 AM   #2
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The hiss doesn't come from the microphone, it comes from the preamp and the internal circuitry in the camera. No matter, what you hook up to it, it'll hiss. The solution, if you're just recording lectures, is to keep it in AGC, not manual gain. But a better microphone will also do wonders. If you haven't, go to www.equipmentemporium.com and read every article they have. Then buy the mic from them, since they're nice guys. I'm not one of them, I was just a customer that they treated nicely.

Michael Tyler
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Old November 6th, 2002, 11:51 AM   #3
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Re: VX2000 audio for dummy (me)

<<<-- Originally posted by BillF741 : Hi Gang,
I have read umpteen posts regarding the sound issues on the VX2000 and the dreaded hiss. I haven't had much time to mess with this puppy until today, and I have to say the hiss is really annoying. If this audio is the best Sony could do with a built in microphone then they should have just skipped it. Making a silent movie would be better than the lousy sound out of the built in microphone. I am on the verge of taking this thing back for a refund.
--------------------
Go read what Jay Rose has to say about sound and the 2000. I'd start at www.dv.com. It isn't all that bad if you set up the camera correctly. And in a lecture environment, you won't hear it anyway. I think, except for very sensitive applications (and then a camera is way wrong for recording the sound anyway) it will not be a problem. Some people have the BBC mod added to the camera. About $500.
------------------------
I record a lot of lectures; my own, and other people. I know that a wireless lavalier microphone would probably be the ticket. I would also like to be able to have more than one person talk. On occasion I add extemporaneous comments to the audience when someone else has lectured. Therefore a second wireless would be a good thing. Are there any uhf based wireless systems that will work? If I use 2 wireless microphones will this negate having a shotgun microphone on top of the camera?

---------------------------------
Many questions in one para, here.
1. Wireless Lavs are probably the best answer unless you can handle wired units. From a reliability standpoint, wired is the way to go. Freedome suggests wireless although they are more expensive. Wired, I'd go with Sony ECM44's. $150 or so each.
Wireless . . . my system is Sennheiser which works really well for me. I use the body pack transmitters and receivers. You could use the body pack transmitters and the AC-powered receivers if you wanted. Get 2 but on different frequencies. Maybe an 'A' channel and a 'C' channel. Ask Sennheiser at www.sennheiser.com.

The shotgun is going to be a waste of time in a lecture environment. Too far from the speakers. Any microphone will give you room tone which you should mix in at a low level or the sound will be way too sterile.

Three microphones means you need a mixer. Easy to do. In a lecture setup, you can use an AC-powered microphone which means that you can purchase a relatively inexpensive model and be very happy. Battery powered, 3-channel mixers are a bit more expensive IIRC. I use a Shure 32 or 267, depending on the needs.
-----------------------------

I know about the use of the XLR adapter from Beachtek, and I hear there is something by a company called Studio 1. Who has the best solution?
-------------------------
If you use the mixer approach, you don't need a XLR adapter. Just come out of the mixer to the camera at line level and use a conversion cable. About $15 at Radio Shack or you can build your own quite easily.
----------------------
About the wireless lavalier microphones; what would anybody recommend? I was also thinking instead of a wireless lav, a handheld wireless microphone? Any thoughts.
-------------------------------
Handeld is a bad idea in a lecture environment. Nobody wants to handle a microphone and you don't want them mis-handling them to the detriment of your sound.
---------------------------------


Maybe it is just me, but the sound pickup on my old Sony TRV 20 is better than the built in microphone on the VX 2000. I am not so sure I made the right choice when it comes to sound with the VX 2000. I know the PD 150 may be marginally better, but it is also a good bit more money, and I hear that it also has sound issues. I have ruled out the PD 150.

I cannot compare the two cameras. But I doubt that a test would agree with you. But I've been wrong before.

With regard to the 150. I think it is a better solution. I bought one. For no other reason than I have XLR connections and Phantom Power. In my business, not having to work with extra boxes means I can do a lot of work Solo. I've done the VX-1000 with the XLR box. No thank you.

The DVCam option is nice only because I have a few clients that want DVCam masters. So it is an option. Also the timecode is controllable in DVCam mode. Means I can more positively ID tapes and clips. Otherwise I always shoot DV.
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Old November 6th, 2002, 06:31 PM   #4
BillF741
 
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buggin out

I appreciate the information that I have been able to pick up here with the forum. I know many of you are very very happy with the VX 2000. I have decided to cut my disappointment quickly by taking this camera back for a refund. I just don't have the time, desire, or money to "tweak" this camera into what I need it to do.

I thank all of you.
Sincerely,
Bill
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Old November 8th, 2002, 06:21 PM   #5
BillF741
 
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PD 150

Mike,
Thank you for a great response. I have dumped the VX 2000. It just seemed like it was crippled when it came to sound. After more review of the PD 150 it sounds like an incredibly flexible system. I just wanted to check with you or the others here, and ask if the sound is fine with or with the AGC turned on?
Thanks again.

Sincerely,
Bill
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Old November 8th, 2002, 06:50 PM   #6
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The sound on the PD150 is still notoriously bad in comaprison with DAT or minidisc recorders. Compared to something like the XL1, it's just a bit worse. The new models from JVC and Panasonic haven't received any bad comments about their audio yet (it happened early with the Sony's). The sound is hissy and doesn't have much dynamic range, the mic preamps are bad, very cheap. This is in Manual audio mode. In AGC, auto mode, there's no hiss, but for some shooting environments it's not a good way to capture audio. Ask about the Panasonic and JVC, and test them, before you plunk down several thousand dollars for one. The PD150 is a fantastic camera otherwise.

Michael Tyler
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Old November 8th, 2002, 06:56 PM   #7
BillF741
 
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poor sound is baffling

It baffles me wny audio is such an afterthought, or more likely a no thought with the folks making these cameras. I tried the VX 2000 and I was stunned that the built in audio was terrible. My old TRV 20 has great sound compared to the VX 2000. You would think with all of that sound experience that Sony has with so many other products that they would have produced a product with matching sound and video. The video is just so sharp on the VX2000/PD 150. Thanks.
Sincerely,
Bill
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Old November 8th, 2002, 07:12 PM   #8
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The truth is a modern MD recorder is better than even the best of the camcorders. This even applies to the $20,000 Sony DSR-570.
Part of the problem may be the 16-bit level resolution although I don't know that for a hard fact. Could be that between leaving enough head-room and the noise floor, there just isn't enough room for clean audio.

My $350 Sony MD is betterthan the PD-150 which I think is just fine for most of my work. I don't hear any hiss. But then my hearing isn't all that good either. But when I crank up the monitors, I hear clean sound. But the MD is better, no doubt in my mind.

But the 'real' sound guys either use DATs or hard disk recorders and now sample at 96 kHz, 24 bit sound (I think those are the specs.)

Some perfectionists are now recording at 196 kHz or thereabouts. In my experience recording waveforms on digital oscilloscopes, 196 kHz is about the minimum to get good signal fidelity for audio. But I'm no longer up on the latest sampling theory.
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Old November 9th, 2002, 12:07 AM   #9
prooption
 
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Mike what kind of mic do you use with your md recorder? Also where do u place the mic?
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Old November 9th, 2002, 01:40 AM   #10
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Since there are several Mike's answering this thread, I'll pipe in my mic list also. I record audio with an Octava MC012, which is excellent if you buy the right one and treat it nicely (good boompole handling). For exteriors, I use an AT 4073/4071 combo (short and long shotguns). Rarely if ever put a mic on the camera unless I'm just recording scratch audio, which I usually do anyway with the crappy stock mic that comes with the PD150. All of my production audio is recorded with an HHB Portadisc, the high-end minidisc recorder that costs around 1300 and it worth every penny. I'm trying to get other people to try these and see how easy and great sounding they are. Don't use lavalier mics very much, but I may include them more in my arsenal sooner or later.

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Old November 9th, 2002, 01:48 AM   #11
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By the way, the reason that minidiscs are better than camcorders has nothing to do with 16 bit or kilohertz or any spec like that. It has to do with their mic preamps and internal circuitry. The PD150 has worse audio than the DSR500 so that it doesn't compete so readily with something that costs 10K more. It's a marketting decision. Sony did the same thing with it's minidisc line. Sony is a horrible company that just has a good product line. The MZR37 (early model and rather big compared to today's models) had very good audio quality. When the execs caught on that it was on the same level with their 3K DAT machine, they subsequenlt downgraded the performance of newer models. So if you want a good minidisc, buy it on Ebay and don't fatten Sony's pockets any more. The old MZR37's are the ones to get. This is just what I've read from other sources. The DSR500's audio is still not on par with professional audio recorders (even minidiscs), and apparently, neither are the mic pres in the 100K hidef cams.
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Old November 9th, 2002, 05:18 PM   #12
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I use whatever microphone is suitable for the job. Normally I use a cheap Sony lav for backup voice recordings during weddings. But I have use a shotgun, a good lav, a Beta58, and an At-4033 at different times.

I especially like it with the 4033 for voice over work.
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Old November 10th, 2002, 08:14 AM   #13
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Mike,


Which external microphone do you suggest? LOU
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Old November 10th, 2002, 03:39 PM   #14
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For your lectures, I'd use the Sony 145 which is about $45 at B&H and use it with a MD recorder. It is an OK voice microphone.

If you want to record to the camera and it is placed at the back of the room, I'd use the Sennheiser model 100 wireless system with the ME2 lavaliere microphone. If I could use wired, I'd use the Sony pro lav, the model 44 which is self-powered and has a balanced output and XLR connector. I'd then place a mixer at the front of the room and drive the camera at line levels from there.
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Old November 12th, 2002, 02:51 PM   #15
BillF741
 
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FYI-Sony is aware

Out of curiosity, I called Sony today and actually got through to a real person. According to their database on the hissing sound issues with the VX 2000 "we are aware of the problem and we are working on a fix". Specifically what they were doing was not mentioned, however, the engineers are supposed to be working on a fix. Must be more than a few people that have noticed the hiss problem.

Sincerely,
Bill
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