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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old October 20th, 2010, 01:13 AM   #1
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VX2000 and Beachtek

Hi all, I have some questions, and they may be a little dumb, but I hope someone can help me ASAP. :) I have a shoot coming up this weekend, which is very low-budget. I've asked a friend of mine to shoot it using his camera. He's got a Sony VX2000, but he doesn't have inputs for XLR. I'm not a real expert, just familiar with the cameras I've used - so I want to make sure I can attach a shotgun with XLR cables and record sound like I've done before with other cameras (one track records the the shotgun in stereo, the other the on-camera mic). So I am thinking of borrowing or renting a Beachtek. I've never actually done this before, all the cameras I've used before had the XLR inputs already on them. Where do I attach the Beachtek to the VX2000? I mean, I know it screw onto the bottom, but where do I plug into the audio with it? My guy has a 1/16 adapter but do Beachteks come with a plug or do I need to get one of those, too? Unfortunately the place I rent from doesn't say what model Beachtek it is on their website.

Just thought I'd come here and ask if a Beachtek actually can be added to this model. I've downloaded the user manual and have not come across any mention yet of being able to do that. Plus, I've read that the choices for audio are 12- or 16-bit, which confuses me. If I recall correctly, it's usually 16- or 24-bit on these cameras. But that's not the issue. Just want to confirm that if I do get a Beachtek, and I can use it with this camera, that I should use the 16-bit setting? Okay, thanks in advance for your insights. All suggestions and "how-to's" welcome!
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Old October 20th, 2010, 01:29 AM   #2
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Assuming this is the same as my DXA-4 Beachtek, there are different models for Canon, Sony and smaller camcorders, the difference being the mounting. I guess they are interchangeable but the balance might be affected. The various operating manuals are here BeachTek.com Support
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Old October 20th, 2010, 01:35 AM   #3
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Thanks - I actually have the Beachtek support page open in another browser tab right now, but I won't know til tomorrow what models they have to rent me. I'm going to give them a call in the a.m. When you mentioned balance, did you mean balance of the audio or balance of the weight of the camera itself? (we're using sticks).
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Old October 20th, 2010, 02:28 AM   #4
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Sorry, I meant camera balance. From what I can see, the difference is the position of the mounting screw to place the beachtek under the camera. So you may have problems if it's the wrong type.

Also, on my DXA-4, the output goes to the ext mic. socket on the camera, so the internal mic. will be disabled. I usually have a wireless mic. going into one channel on the DXA-4 and camera mounted shotgun into the other. More recent models have a separate 3.5mm socket for a wireless mic.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 10:04 AM   #5
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Beachteks (and the similar units by Sign Video and Studio One) all have 1/8 inch (3.5 mm) mini-stereo plugs that feed a mike-level signal to the camera. The external mike plug on the VX2000 is on the right side of the top handle just behind the on-board mic. It is hidden behind a a small, black, rubberized cover. There's a little slide switch below the jack. Switched towards the rear is for mike level; the forward position is for line-level input. There are labels printed in white on the camera. When using the Beachtek with the VX2000, be sure that the VX2000 is always switched to "mic" level input because that is what the Beacktek outputs.

You mentioned that your VX2000 has a 1/16th adapter. That is a "sub-mini" plug but the both Beachtek plug and the VX2000 jack are 1/8th inch mini not sub-mini. Also, do not insert a mono-plug into a stereo-jack because you will not get a proper ground and the result will be humming or buzzing in the audio track.

You also mentioned wanting to use the VX2000's on board mike while using the Beachtek. The VX200 does not have an option for simultaneously using both the on-board mike and an external mike. Anything plugged into the jack automatically cuts off the internal mike.

If you want to work with near and far mikes (say, a wireless lavalier on a speaker and another mike back by camera), you will need to get a second mike (say, a shogun) and either put it on a stand or add a bracket to the VX2000.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 10:55 AM   #6
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I may have been wrong about the jack - my friend showed it to me and I thought he said 1/16, but I also remember us talking about 1/8. So I probably got confused. He was showing me that it plugs into the place you described. I will ask him to make sure it's a stereo adapter. Thanks so much for all the details! I am considering just renting a camera I'm more familiar with.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 01:19 PM   #7
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I apologize if what I said was confusing. I had thought that the guy was wanting to use an adapter and was trying to explain why you did not need one.

The Beachtek's plug is a 1/8th stereo and the jack on the VX2000 is also 1/8th" stereo. No adapter is needed to plug the Beachtek into the VX2000.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 12:21 AM   #8
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Hi again and thanks so far for all the good info. I found out that the Beachtek they have available to rent is the DXA-2s. In reading their support page, no camera models are mentioned. Does anyone know offhand if it will work well with the VX2000? Thanks...
Diane
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Old October 21st, 2010, 12:57 AM   #9
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It should be fine Diane. I think the electronics is pretty much the same, it's just the physical size that's different.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 03:23 AM   #10
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Just to say that I used the VX2k with a Beachtek for many years and they worked beautifully together. Simple to fit, easy to use and the assembly allowed me to have a shotgun on camera and a radio mic in the other channel. Go for it.

tom.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 01:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay West View Post
Beachteks (and the similar units by Sign Video and Studio One)
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Old October 21st, 2010, 02:36 PM   #12
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A small thing to remember as you work with an older BeachTek adapter: As you look at each end, either the "front" where the controls are, or the "back" where the connectors are, the Left and Right locations are correct for each.
But when the BeachTek is mounted on the camera and you're operating the camera looking at the BeachTek controls (front), this puts the corresponding connector not directly behind the appropriate control, but instead on the opposite side.
I know that's silly and a small detail, but in the heat of the moment if you're unfamiliar with that piece of gear it can lead to confusion unless you look specifically at the connector end of the box.

Also be sure to print out, read and understand the pdf manual of how all the controls work. One switch being in the unintended position can make a huge difference in the quality of the sound you record.

This is especially true when using a single source and you have the switch set to M for "Mono". The mono switch mixes both inputs to both recording channels of the camera. Therefore both control knobs will have an affect on the signal, even the knob for the unused connector which should be fully clockwise at level "10".

In addition, if you have the mono switch engaged while you are using two mics, you will not be able to separate the two mics later in post-production. They will be forever mixed together in your recording.

If you want to record with two mics and keep them separated in the camera recording, you must use the S for Stereo position of the switch.

Lastly, cycle the G1 and G2 switch back and forth AFTER you've mounted all gear in place and listen for the least amount of hum if there is any. If you have hum in both positions, you may have to physically secure the BeachTek without it making metal to metal contact with the camera or tripod, but that's an unlikely scenario.

Set the Line/Mic switches appropriately as well depending on what you've connected to the BeachTek.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 08:03 PM   #13
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Thanks, everyone, for all your help!
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