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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old June 14th, 2006, 12:06 AM   #1
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What's wrong with my new vx2100 audio setup

I just received the following components to add professional audio to my vx2100 (which is also new):

Rode NTG-2 Shotgun microphone w/ XLR output
Azden SGM-1X Shotgun microphone w/ XLR output
SignVideo XLR-PRO adapter

The problem is that when using either of my new mics going through the XLR-PRO the end result sounds horrible and my vx2100 built-in mic sounds much better. The problem is that there is lots of background noise and the desired sounds aren't nearly high enough compared to the noise level. I get nearly identical results with either the Rode or the Azden. I've tried every combination on the level controls and when I get enough level magnitude to hear the desired sounds then the noise level is too loud. I've also tried every other thing I can think of including mic/line switches on adapter and on vx2100.

Since the results are the same with either mic I have to assume the problem is either with the camera or more likely the XLR adapter. I'm new to alot of this but I am an electrical engineer so I'm pretty sure I'm not doing anything too wrong. Anyone else ever had this problem with their vx2100 or SignVideo XLR-PRO adapter?

I'm thinking the SignVideo XLR adapter is malfunctioning and if not and this is "normal" then this adapter is a piece of junk. I expected that with this setup that I should be able at least to clearly record someone talking at a normal volume 15' away but that is not the case. If I crank up the levels enough to actually make sense of the voices then the noise is off the chart.

I'm really considering returning the Signvideo XLR-PRO adapter and instead getting the Beachtek DXA-8. Any comments? Ultimately the only to probably know for sure which piece is malfunctioning is to start by replacing the most likely pieces and working from there.

Anyone know if B&H offers any type of tech support (they're closed right now and it's not clear from their website - which means probably no)?

Thanks,
John
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Old June 14th, 2006, 12:47 AM   #2
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John:

First, where the minijack from the XLR adapter conects to the camera, what is the switch set at. On my VX2000 it is set at microphone. But the XLR adapter may have some preamp or amp, and you could have to set to line.

Second, the mics are very sensitive. While shot gun mics are directional, you still have to get them as close to the subject as possible, using a boom and a long XLR cord if necessary. The farther away from the subject you are, the more likely you will pick up other surrounding noise. News cameras with Boom mics attached are right up on the subject because of that, and even then, the preference is an off camera mic

Third, in room, you also have to deal with the sound reflections and echo. A lot depends on flooring, ceiling heights and wall and ceiling material.

Assuming the XLR adapter is working right, and set up properly, experiment with these other things, and you should be able to dial in things better.
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Old June 14th, 2006, 04:02 AM   #3
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I had exactly the same issue when I got a new pretty professional AKG wireless lavalier setup (I have DXA-6 adapter). The noise or hiss in the background was really bad, but the built-in mic didn't have it at all. I somehow managed to reduce it to an acceptable level by adjusting the volume knob on the transmitter, having the Beachtek knobs set to max and camera gain to about half or so. I would really love to get the hiss even lower and if I only had a professional technician to use, let him do the so-called "BBC Mod" which basically eliminates the hiss completely.

Here's how you can test if the problem is in the camera or XLR adapter - take any miniplug cable which doesn't have a microphone on the other end and connect it to the microphone jack. Then listen to the differences and decide if the XLR adapter adds any additional hiss.
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Old June 14th, 2006, 10:00 AM   #4
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Chris has it right. There is nothing wrong with your equipment except it is just too far away from the sound source you want. Even with shotguns that cost thousands of dollars and the best recording chain money can buy, sound guys dangle the microphones as close to the talent as possible without getting it in the frame.
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