Dan Ballmer's Review Hiss problem at DVinfo.net

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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old February 15th, 2003, 07:57 PM   #1
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Dan Ballmer's Review Hiss problem

The following is taken from Dan Ballmer's Review which is on the web site:

www.dvinfo.net/sony/reports/vx2k-db.php

The Hiss

Upon its initial release, many Sony users were terrified to find that the PD150 (and VX2000) had an audible audio hiss problem. The problem manifested itself when the camera was taken out of Audio Gain Control (AGC) and placed in manual audio mode. For a time, Sony denied the hiss problem existed, but eventually relented under mounting consumer pressure. The PD150's owners were offered a fix, and all PD150's created after serial #1003300 (approx.) were shipped free of this problem. Unfortunately Sony considers the VX2000 a 'consumer' model camera and therefore refused to fix the audio hiss problem on this model.


Does this paragraph suggest that new VX2000s still have this problem.

Thanks for help/input
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Old February 15th, 2003, 09:33 PM   #2
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Well, that's why the BBC came up with a fix for the VX2000: because the problem is still there with the VX2000, and Sony's PD150 audio fix was just a band-aid solution.

If you keep the gain down, however, and use a better mic and XLR adaptor, the audio improves.
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Old February 16th, 2003, 02:04 AM   #3
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Frank,

What is the BBC?
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Old February 16th, 2003, 02:24 AM   #4
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Old February 16th, 2003, 03:10 AM   #5
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The fix comprises of sending your VX2000 there, they change some wires around, and add a Glenbox XLR adaptor. This is the best known fix out there that I know about, and I've been following this VX2000/PD150 audio saga since day 1. It's not cheap, though.
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Old February 16th, 2003, 07:11 AM   #6
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I don't know about sound problems with the VX2000. It's sound circuitry has got to be at least a little different from the PD150 if only because it lacks the XLR inputs.

As far as the dreaded "hiss" on the PD150, I don't know if it was ever real. It may have been but on my camera at least it wasn't a problem.

I have a fairly early PD150, serial #1000196. When I shift from AGC to manual the hiss in the earphones goes up significantly. Oh no the hiss! Well I tried recording the hiss on tape. I couldn't. I tried and tried but failed. So I stopped worrying about the hiss.

I talked to a friend, a pro-sound guy, and a tech at Sony and they didn't seem worried about the hiss. The argument Sony made was that damping out the hiss was cutting out part of the dynamic range. (I probably have this wrong. It was several years ago.) I ran the argument by my sound guy friend and it sounded reasonable to him. I stopped worrying.

I am not saying that no one had a hiss problem (I only consider it a problem if it records on tape.) I am just saying that for me the hiss is definately not an issue.
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Old February 16th, 2003, 10:52 AM   #7
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To echo Rick's comments, the Global-DVC website posted a "wish list" of suggestions from camera owners that they would like to see in the next generation of VX2K/PD150, and out of all the suggestions, none requested an improvement to the audio section relating to these supposed problems. Most of the posters are Europeans, who either don't seem to have the problem, or they are all deaf.

Rumors are easy to start and difficult to stamp out. Many people mistook the hiss in the monitor circuit for actual hiss going to tape, which just isn't true. You must keep the volume level on the camera monitor at the mid level. If you turn it up to max, you are going to hear hiss, but it is not recorded, as Rick points out.
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Old February 21st, 2003, 06:03 AM   #8
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Peter,
It sounds like you are on the bubble with buying a PD 150 vs. the cost of the VX 2000. I asked almost all of the same questions you did when I bought my PD 150 in November. The issue of the recording with the miniDV is a non-issue. Yeah, I read your other thread. The sound issues are very real in the VX 2000. The sound sucks. You will need to go with an external XLR adapter box; beachtek, or one of the others. You will also need to get a good shotgun like a Sennheiser ME 66 with the power unit, and a wireless set up. Once you spec out all of the extra stuff you realize that the VX2000 is only a few hundred bucks more than the PD 150. As one person on here mentioned "I don't hear many people saying I wish I had saved the money and bought the VX 2000" Instead they wish they had bought the PD 150. I am not trying to offend anybody who bought a VX 2000 and has bought all the extra stuff to make it work, but out of the box, the PD 150 beat the VX 2000 for sound. The only thing, and it is debateable, is there have been a few times when recording a lecture or something where the LP mode on the VX 2000 is missed. I actually bought and tried the VX 2000 before I bought the PD 150. The hiss is real, and to the best of my knowledge, Sony is not going to fix it.

Good luck
-Bill
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Old February 21st, 2003, 07:35 AM   #9
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The HISS appears to be louder via the headphones rather than being recorded on the tape.
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Old March 7th, 2003, 11:59 PM   #10
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I have a PAL PD150 with a bucketload of hiss. So maybe Europeans are deaf. Out of fairness, I didn't initially notice the hiss. It was only when I started doing critical audio sweetening with studio monitors that the hiss really came out. As one of my actors put it, it sounds like someone is frying something in the kitchen. The problem persisted after sending it to Sony for its "upgrade." There was no noticeable improvement in the hiss. Also, as Jay Rose has pointed out, the preamps will distort easily. Luckily, that's an easier fix than the hiss.

Somehow I doubt that most uses for the PD150 are going to need critical audio quality. Most people seem content with their audio. It surprises me, since mine is so bad. Out of curiousity, how many of you listened to your audio through studio monitors? Maybe I really just got one of the lemons. In the end, I bought an HHB Portadisc, which more than suits my audio needs. The PD150 only records scratch audio now.
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Old March 8th, 2003, 10:49 AM   #11
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Sorry about your problem, Michael, but it just does not jibe with my experience. In one particular situation, I recorded a number of tapes using a Sennheiser 416 on a boom, cabled direct to my PD150 to record dialogue. I found the audio in post to be dead quiet, monitoring on JBL 4311 speakers. The only problems occured when I was caught off-guard when someone spoke too loud, or the boom operator missed a cue.

I have also used the 416 for talking head interviews with the mic mounted on the PD150, with equally excellent results. Obviously this mic provides vastly improved results over the supplied Sony mic.

Let me note that the ideal situation would be to have the audio monitored by a sound man with his mixer. I have had even better results with this set up.
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Old March 8th, 2003, 12:30 PM   #12
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I use an ME66 on one and an Azden on the other, yep, Azden's not so good-better than stock but...I have never noticed a hiss with either of my 150's EXCEPT when I do something stupid. I stay out of AGC and watch the levels closely especially when there's a DJ who doesn't know that the volume control on his board also goes lower. I've had a couple of instances when I got a surprise from the DJ or band at a wedding and had abit of a hot sound until I adjusted but other than that, I'm happy with the sound from the 150's and more importantly so are my clients.
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