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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old November 16th, 2005, 07:21 PM   #1
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Sony Pd170 and audio setup...

Hello,
Last weekend I shot some footage of a high school playoff game for a local sports show. I didnt get a chance to view what I shot, but, I was told that (when edited)the audio was set way to loud, and crackling, especially when the croud would cheer!
Sounds simple, just turn down the audio, but heres my question. I was monitering the audio level with built in audio meter and headphones. I kept checking the meter because it just sounded too loud through the headphones, but the meter was showing between 6 and 12 (I guess that's minus 6 and 12, right)that should be good, right?
I'm using a Sennheiser Boom Mic, which picks up way better then the standard Sony Mic. The Sennheiser had it's own batteries so I had the camera power (+48V)off.
Is this normal, should I just go by the headphones, seems like the audio meter would be more accurate?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
-Shane
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Old November 16th, 2005, 08:37 PM   #2
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Was AGC turned on or off? I leave AGC on and have had great results with quiet and sudden loud noise.

On a separate note: I have read that mics work better with phantom power instead of using the battery. Not that this caused the problem, but why did you use the battery?
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Old November 16th, 2005, 09:00 PM   #3
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Classic problem with the Senn and most other shotguns. They are quite sensitive and you used it in an overly loud location. Senn will modify the microphone to reduce the sensitivity or you can just use another type of microphone.

Best plan is to use another type of microphone.
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Old November 16th, 2005, 09:22 PM   #4
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Sony Pd170 and audio setup...

Thanks for the responses.
Richard,
AGC was turned off because when monitoring the audio levels, it looked great, besides I have read that sudden loud noises (like crowds) throw it off.
Have you taped a sporting event and had good luck with AGC on?
I used the battery on the mic. only because I thought it would power it better, is that not true?
Mike,
I tested the Sony stock mic to the Senn mic prior to the shoot, the Senn picked up so much more, deeper base, and just so much crisper. The Sony sounds fine, but just not as god as the Senn.
Would you suggest using the Sony mic and set the AGC to on?
Thanks again.
-Shane
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Old November 16th, 2005, 09:44 PM   #5
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I do not use the included Sony microphone (DSR-150) for much. I use the Sony microphone which came with my DSR-300 (it is very good for general use) or I use a Shure SM-81C microphone which can handle gunshots and engine exhaust noises without overloading. It is a cymbal and choir microphone according to Shure. Cymbals have about the most aggressive loudness ramp-up of any musical instrument (guess I'd include bells in that too) and this microphone is unreal at capturing a realistic sound from those types of sources.

What I do is run the microphone into both channels and leave one channel on AGC and the other in manual and run down to about 1/4 bar. That way, no matter what happens, I always get good audio. (Not great audio, mind you. That takes a better audio chain that the PD150/170 has.)

Using this approach, I've shot stage plays, musical concerts, sporting events, Holiday events, SWAT team operations and ridden with the police and fire departments without once having sound problems.

Shotguns are always going to have problems in crowd and music environments. They were designed to capture speach while rejecting side noise and they are overly sensitive in other applications. I don't think they sound all that good for music either.
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Old November 17th, 2005, 12:34 AM   #6
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My boss tells me to always use AGC because it works better than trying to monitor the sound constantly. I capture mostly weddings and choruses. The loud sound I encounter is at receptions when I am close to a DJ's booming speaker. Sometimes the sound vibrates my body but I have never had an audio problem.

My advice is to try Mike's method to hear which you prefer. You may come to the conclusion as me and my boss have that AGC is quite capable of controling sound levels.

I have read that it is better to take advantage of phantom power and not to use the battery with mics but I do not know why. I follow this advice.

Changing to a more suitable mic will help too.
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Old November 17th, 2005, 01:39 AM   #7
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The microphones operate a little better at the higher voltage of Phantom Power. You can check this out on the microphone spec sheet.

Pure AGC operation is a mistake because overly loud sounds are distorted when the limiters kick in.
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Old November 17th, 2005, 06:51 AM   #8
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Sony Pd170 and audio setup...

OK.
So here's what I shoud try...plug the boom into ch1, power the mic from the camera and not the batteries, set the mic to ch1/ch2 (to send it to both channels), turn the AGC on for one of the channels, lets just say channel 1 (does it matter which one), and turn the channel that has AGC off (channel 2) down a little...I'm guessing to where it sounds good through headphones?
Does that sound like a good start?
Now, if I want to plug a handheld in for an interview at some point, I would just plug it in to ch 2 and switch the channel select to ch1, leave AGC on for ch1 and AGC off for ch2, that way I can manually adjust the handheld?
Am I on the right track!
Thanks for your patience, it's nice to be able to learn from others expirence.
-Shane
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Old November 17th, 2005, 11:14 AM   #9
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Yuu have it right except I'd lower the level on Ch 2 below the point where it sounds 'right.' Channel 2 is to take care of the over-the-top sound levels and you will normally use Channel 1's sound for your video so run with about 1/4 bar of volume setting. 2 is just the insurance.
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