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-   -   built in mic on PD150 and phantom (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/18460-built-mic-pd150-phantom.html)

Kaifoong Kok December 17th, 2003 06:00 AM

built in mic on PD150 and phantom
Please forgive my ignorance, I'm a true amateur :)

I've two questions:

1. What exactly is phantom power in PD150/170? DVX100 doesn't have it?

2. How's the PD150/170's built-in mic perform? Is it acceptable? It says shotgun, does it means boom? Can the mic be unmount from the camera and use like an external boom that don't always follow the direction of the camera lens? Cable long enough (i doubt) ?

Don Bloom December 17th, 2003 11:22 AM

Phantom Power is power supplied, by the camera in this case, to the microphone so it will operate.
I do not know if the DVX100 has it as I have not looked at the camera at all as I'm not buying any new cameras at this time.

As for the mic on the PD150, on the 2 that I have, the mics came off right away and were replaced by Sennheiser ME66's. The stock mic is too wide a pattern for my liking and will pick up ambient sound from behind it as well. It is however not as bad as I've always pretended it to be. Any mic with an XLR connection can be used but the "shotgun" types, be they Sennheisers, AT's, AKG, Sony or whatever brand can be used as a boom mic with a boom and a long cable and yes the mic can be changed in about 5 seconds or as long as it might take you to unscrew 1 little thumbscrew.
The cable on the stock mic is only about 6 inches long but you can use another cable attached to that if you need to.
Hope this helps,

Kaifoong Kok December 17th, 2003 12:00 PM

Thanks Don, it helps a lot. I thought phantom power has something to do with audio gain (an amp).

In fact, the wider pattern on PD150 may be even better for me, since i can use it to pick up environment sound, and then use another ME66 (everybody loves this mic in this forum!) for boom.

Are boom mics usually (or always) mono?

Helen Bach December 17th, 2003 12:12 PM

Kaifoong wrote: '...ME66 (everybody loves this mic in this forum!)...'

Not everybody! It's worth comparing it to the cheaper (and to some of us, 'better') AT835b.

and then asked 'Are boom mics usually (or always) mono?'

Sometimes stereo, but using stereo recordings is not easy if the camera angle keeps changing. I don't know the proportions, but I suspect most movies are recorded in mono (possible multi-channel, of course) and turned into stereo during post. There may be a separate stereo or surround ambience recording. Stereo is used in documentary recording to give good ambience.


Don Bloom December 17th, 2003 12:24 PM

Right you are. Mics come in all different sound 'shapes' for good reason, different jobs need different pattern pickups. I'm looking to make a decision soon about a new mic for doing some work coming up where I think something wider than the ME66 and less wide than the stock Sony is in order but thats another thread:-)

On the 150 the mic/line /mic att switch will give you another option to adjust the audio. I use mine on manual but in a very loud envioirment I will switch to MicAtt as that will drop the gain by 20db.

Search the forum and I know you will find many posts regarding audio issues and how to get good audio with the PD150.


Mike Rehmus December 17th, 2003 07:43 PM

I like the AT835B a lot. The ME66 seems a bit delicate to me a more prone to sound pressure overload. All shotguns seem to be quite 'tender' in this area.

All shotgun microphones (except the microprocessed AT shotgun) are only directional at higher frequencies. At lower frequencies they might as well be omni's. And they are sensitive to noise at their back too.

A good cardiod is just as good and frequently sounds better than a shotgun. Cardiods can be boomed to good effect.

I really like the Sony no-name microphone that came on my DSR-300. Wider than a shotgun but able to handle quite high impulse noises like gunfire, auto exhaust and the like.

I use the microphone that came with the PD150 frequently. It isn't super directional but it works OK in close.

Dave Largent December 17th, 2003 09:27 PM

Mike, do you know the model number on that
microprocessed AT?

Helen Bach December 17th, 2003 09:44 PM

Hope you don't mind me jumping in - is it the AT895 'adaptive array'? That's a remarkable mic, but a little noisy compared to simpler shotguns - and it isn't cheap.


Kaifoong Kok December 18th, 2003 04:26 AM

Thanks Helen for bringing up another choice for me; AT835b (especially that it's cheaper!)

Thanks Don for the tips to get better sound in PD150.

Thanks Mike for the feedback on PD150's mic.

I thought motion pictures usually re-record sound in studio and then dub with the picture in post? It's hard to imagine they could capture those cristally clear sound that we hear in cinema or DVD on location, unless the location is in very close environment (indoor) or faked studio set up.

Jay Massengill December 18th, 2003 09:33 AM

Has anyone yet used the new AT897 short shotgun? It's looks to be kind of a cross between the 835b and the 4073a.
It's physically short (like the 4073a) but can still run on AA battery if needed (like 835b). It's more sensitive than the 835b but less sensitive than the ME66, which should be a good compromise for a lot of people. It's also low cost at about $280, but I haven't heard from anyone who's used it in the real world yet.
On a side note, the DVX-100 does supply phantom power.

Dave Largent December 18th, 2003 11:37 AM

Anyone know of a shotgun mic more sensitive than
the ME66? I know the 66 is rated at 35 mV/Pa.
The ME64 is 31 mV/Pa and the Sanken CS-1 is
32 mV/Pa.

Mike Rehmus December 18th, 2003 11:55 AM

<<<-- Originally posted by Helen Bach : Hope you don't mind me jumping in - is it the AT895 'adaptive array'? That's a remarkable mic, but a little noisy compared to simpler shotguns - and it isn't cheap.

Helen -->>>

Yes it is. I've been looking at it for my police work. I have been corresponding with a person in Miami who bought a couple for use with their PD. He also tried it out at an ice-hockey game. Said it worked a treat.

Some of the networks used that particular shotgun at the las Olympics and liked it a lot.

I've only played with it at NAB.

Noise is a relative issue here. In the use I contemplate of that unit, surrounding noise is going to mask any self-noise as it usually does outside of a sound booth.

Helen Bach December 18th, 2003 12:10 PM

Dave asked: 'Anyone know of a shotgun mic more sensitive than the ME66? I know the 66 is rated at 35 mV/Pa.
The ME64 is 31 mV/Pa and the Sanken CS-1 is
32 mV/Pa.

Here is a selection of higher output shotgun mics, all of which are true condenser mics, all of which can be recommended:

Sennheiser MKH60: 40 mV/Pa
MKH70: 50 mV/Pa
AT4071a: 89 mV/Pa
AT4073a: 71 mV/Pa


Dave Largent December 18th, 2003 02:08 PM

Just for the record here, I believe the spec I gave for the ME66 may be incorrect.
On the Senn site there is an overview info page about
the mic and then you can look at the PDF spec sheet
if so inclined. The overview page lists 35 mV/Pa
and the official spec sheet PDF lists 50 mV/Pa. I'm more inclined to believe the PDF. For the ME67 it is
also listed at the 35/50 while the ME62 and ME64 are
listed at 31 mV/Pa at both locations.

Sharon Fraats December 18th, 2003 04:18 PM

I did not want to reply to this post as it might bring up opposition to what I have to say. I have to say that my husband and I have had a great deal of experience in this area as we used two PD150s to film a feature length movie. We used a ME66 and ME67 for the mics as we found while searching the Internet for more info we found on PD150 forums that there was a problem that Sony did not share to the public openly. We found the mics are to hot for the input of the PD150 and that it was advised by several people to use a mixer to bring this under control. We also installed two ground lifts as this helped to stop hums that would develop from the mics as they were coming in to hot. Also as an extra precaution Jay Rose suggested that we use two “Pads” as this will help the input connections to the PD150. When we started shooting we found that the cameraman’s PD150 inputs were blown. He did not believe this in that we tried to sustain a constant level yet we had to tone it down as the mixer would start to hum so we removed the pads this helped yet when we went to a longer shoot one night near the end f the shoot we still had this hum. All items were shut down and the humming could be heard from the PD150s.

The point I am making when using a 150 check the source for input and make sure that the levels don’t blow the inputs of the 150. it is not widely stated yet it does exist.

Mike Rehmus December 18th, 2003 04:48 PM

Sennheiser actually makes a modifed version of the K6 module for Sony cameras. B&H did stock them. Sennheiser service center does offer a conversion for either a little amount of money or for free.

Out of curiosity, did you use pads in addition to using the built-in microphone 'pad' on the 150?

Not to defend Sony but I'd not blame them when someone hooks up a signal source that is too hot.

It takes a lot to blow the inputs. I've inadvertently hooked line into the XLRs when microphone was selected. No problem has resulted. Wonder what was done to your cameraperson's 150 to blow the input.

Sharon Fraats December 18th, 2003 05:46 PM

From an article that was posted here on dvinfo


If you do a basic Internet search there are PD150 forums that show this problem were know by Sony yet was not addressed. In the later models they did fix the features more so yet not to the delight of the PD150 users. As to the cameraman’s camera his pads were shot as he lost control of his camera on earlier shoots by other audio technicians. As to blowing the inputs the better the mic the hotter the source as he was used to using Audio-Technicas as this brought in a source that could handle it yet using ME67s and the SEMKH70K are to hot for the main inputs so we went for control with a mixer.

Now please note that I did say that this was on cameras that we were using and that the person who posted this question should be aware of the ramifications of the PD150.

Mike Rehmus December 19th, 2003 07:53 PM

I think you are mixing the issues of excessive noise which Sony did address with the issue of dynamic range, which they have not.

The complaints about the 150's sound has always been about the early cameras and their excessive noise.

Jay Rose published a good article on DV camera sound a while back (DV Magazine). His conclusion was that even with the higher-end cameras, like the DSR-300's and 500's, that the sound wasn't all that good and could be equaled or bettered with a portable MD recorder.

I think my DSR-300 has much better sound than the PD150 but evidently even that is not as good as it could be, according to Jay.

Sharon Fraats December 20th, 2003 01:14 AM

To which this point I was making however maintaining the other side that precaution is merited when working with a PD150. I had asked the Cameraman and the Director to do an audio test prior to the shoot only to see what his camera could do. Would you not do this as well? The cameraman declined as he said his equipment was good and that everything was all right. While shooting problems kept arising due to that fact that this cameras inputs were blown.

I am not saying the camera that Helen Bach is using is blown it is that I am saying check then double check. As a professional I believe that we are held to a higher standard one to which we should confirm the many aspects of a shoot. Who is doing the shooting? What type of camera? Do you know the camera? What are its weaknesses as well as its strengths?

To what end did I go for the answers I had asked Jay Rose himself these very questions as to a PD150, as well as doing a good Google search.

Helen Bach December 20th, 2003 02:59 AM

Sharon wrote:'I am not saying the camera that Helen Bach is using is blown...'

Hi Sharon,

I'm not sure where I come into this - I'm not having any problems with either my own early VX2000 (which I've used a lot since June 2000, and which got the BBC/Glensound mod as soon as it was available) or other people's PD150s. I normally use them with AT4071 and 4073 mics (significantly hotter than the Senn ME67 and ME66) or the Senn MKH50 either directly connected or via an Audio Developments mixer.

The excellent article by Jon Tatooles that you refer to states that the mic input of the PD150 can cope with -15 dBu before clipping. That is 0.14 V. Even the hottest mics only put that out at over 97 dB.

I entirely agree that equipment should be tested together before use.


Kevin Lee December 20th, 2003 05:03 AM

Helen Bach seems to know her mics and audio pretty well. Based on her few words, i went into an audio shop and picked up the AT835B. I was previously using only the pd150 mic. I also bought a hot shoe adaptor as the long-azz AT835B popped up on screen (.7wide adaptor attached) when i attached it to the pd150 mic mount. A little surprise was that the hotshoe adaptor wonderfully screwed on perfectly to a monopod i had, saving me quite a bit on an overpriced (in my opinion) boompole. I also purchased an additional 6m xlr extension wire and a cheap mic stand for lone ranger scenarios.
All up i probably spent a little over $200US. I'm happy and good to go.

Ziezie to Helen and her insight. Mike Rehmus too of course.

Helen Bach December 20th, 2003 08:04 AM


Many thanks for your kind words.

You're right about those monopods - it's also worth looking at lighting booms as a low-budget alternative to those 'overpriced' boompoles.

Where do you get your audio gear? I used to go to Wailian in Sim Lim Square. Great shop, great prices, and happy to export. At least that's how it was when I was last in Singapore in mid-2000. http://www.welect.com/


Mike Rehmus December 20th, 2003 08:48 AM


Of course one tests the camera(s). I don't dispute that. I test them before I leave for a shoot and run test footage at the shoot.

It is starting to look like the more our cameras resemble computers, the more bugs we find.

My old EVW-300 didn't do as much as the newer cameras but it had, as far as I know, no major problems. It's replacement, the DSR-300 has a few but they are subtle.

The PD150's have a lot. Sound, WB, EMI susceptibility, Steadyshot fireflies, and more. Now the PD170 has added a few more.

I think this is going to be the trend. You will know it is so when they start supplying new firmware downloads that can be installed via the memory stick. Actually the cameras can probably accept that type of input now.

Sharon Fraats December 20th, 2003 10:12 AM

I see what you mean there. As to the variance of cameras while on two-camera shoot, we had a DSR500 and a DVC200 each was getting split audio feed from the same source the thing is the audio on the DVC200 was better. However the DSR500 had better range.

Kevin Lee December 20th, 2003 11:01 AM

Hi Helen,

This world is smaller than i think. 6 degrees they say. Haha. Really didn't expect "Sim Lim" from you. I was down there just today. That place always makes me dizzy with four floors jammed to the rim with everything i'd ever want. The purchase today was my second from Hung Brothers (www.hungbros.com). They were recommended by a friend of mine. A small shop but very well stocked and run obviously by brothers. I was served by Adam, a very helpful chap. My first purchase was a lav mic and i think i spent about 2 hours trying various models and getting helpful advice from him. The prices i got from them were pretty hard to beat. If you decide to give them a go, tell them you were recommended (seems to work).

If you don't mind me asking... What brought you to Singapore? Short overseas stint or were you stationed here at one of the local production houses?


Carlos E. Martinez December 20th, 2003 04:02 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Helen Bach : Kaifoong wrote:
Sometimes stereo, but using stereo recordings is not easy if the camera angle keeps changing. I don't know the proportions, but I suspect most movies are recorded in mono (possible multi-channel, of course) and turned into stereo during post. There may be a separate stereo or surround ambience recording. Stereo is used in documentary recording to give good ambience.

Your suspicion is certainly right. Dialogue is ALWAYS recorded mono and pan potted during the mix.

You may use more mics to pick stereo ambience, but during the mix the dialogue 99% of the times has to be in the middle. There might be lots of phase problems if that stereo dialogue were played on a mono speaker, as sadly still is in the majority of TVs around the world.


Kevin Lee December 20th, 2003 10:45 PM


I have some questions now.

The PD150 has 2 xlr inputs each capable of recording to the 1st/2nd audio channel or both. Shooting with a mono mic will put a single track to one of the channel. When i capture this to my NLE, the 2 dv channels get input onto my timeline as a stereo track. I either pick the better track and dupe to the other track - striping the other away(if i shot one on Manual and the other on AGC) or mix both down in a sound app and duping the mixed track into 2 tracks again (stereo).

So how does a stereo mike fit in or change what i mentioned above??

The pd150 has a 4 channel mix menu. I am assuming channels 3 and 4 is only available for audio/insert edit dubs on camera after shooting?? Do i only slide the mix to the middle of 1/2 and 3/4 channels in the cases where i do do an insert edit of audio after shooting? I have so far just made use of channels 1 and 2 leaving the slide at the extreme left.


Sharon Fraats December 20th, 2003 11:08 PM

If you cut one track by so doing you need to add the other right. Yet this is not true stereo what has to be done next is to fool our ears. We do this by laying down the second track off by 100th or just a little lore of a second. Our ears hear stereo by one ear hearing it just a little bit out of sync.

As for the 4 channels this won't or I should say can't happen as the camera has to inputs and as such is limited to two channels. To do more than two you will need a DAT recorder or a Computerized Deck as we did this weekend shooting a live performance we or I should say my friend had a deck with six inputs each laying down a separate track to be mixed later by me when I input it into the computer.

Mike Rehmus December 21st, 2003 02:21 PM

And remember that when you use 4 channels of sound on the PD150, sampling occurs at 32kHz instead of 48kHz. Not much of an issue on voice (if you are not fairly picky) but an issue on everything in music except perhaps a music bed (elevator music).

Then you cannot record all 4 tracks at once.

I'm not certain I would ever use the 4 tracks. Just easier to record them as good as possible using something else. Or add something like an MD recorder for the second two channels. Or another camera in a multi-camera shoot.

It is easier to swap sound between channels in something like Sound Forge using the Repair function. I just export the sound tracks and edit accordingly.

Sharon's trick of delaying one channel by 1/100 of a second is great. Most NLE programs don't allow that fine a control (they are limited to editing on frame boundaries) so you will have to edit in something like Sound Forge to get that.

Sharon Fraats December 21st, 2003 03:08 PM

Mike does the PD150 truly record a 3rd and 4th channel and if so where does this come from or should I say go to?

Kevin Lee December 21st, 2003 07:23 PM

If i remember correctly from reading the manual, you can audio dub and insert 2 more tracks (most likely a voice over and soundtrack - I'm guessing this is for ENG use) on camera after your shoot. There is also a balance to adjust mix between channels 1/2 and 3/4. When i capture through firewire... there is an option for audio: dv channels 1/2 or dv channels 3/4.

Mike Rehmus December 21st, 2003 08:09 PM

It is on page 85-88 of the manual. The connection is via the XLR or the RCA connectors with the usual routing.

It is a bit involved the first time. You have to use the menu system to set it up.

If you use the XLR inputs, then you can adjust levels.
Balance the channel 1 & 2 sound against the channel 3 & 4 sound in the Menu under Audio Mix.

Several restrictions:

Must be a DVCam tape, not a DV tape.
Video must be present on the tape where the dubbed sound will be placed.
XLR connectors have precidence over the RCA connectors
Cannot have an iLink cable hooked up.

Sharon Fraats December 21st, 2003 10:06 PM

Is it true 4 channel?

Mike Rehmus December 23rd, 2003 12:05 AM

I'm not certain what you mean by the word, 'true.' It is represented as 4 separate channels but I have not tested it as 32 bit, dub recording has no interest for me.


Sharon Fraats December 23rd, 2003 12:43 AM

I mean when you import it into a NLE does it show up as two or four channels?

Or does the camera mix them and then export them as two?

I have never imported a tape with four channels from a DV tape as of yet that’s why the question…Sorry

Mike Rehmus December 23rd, 2003 01:53 AM

On my NLE (canopus), one has to select which pair of channels to import. 1/2 or 3/4. Cannot get all 4 at a time.

I think it shows up as a second stereo audio track but I've not tried it.

Dave Largent December 23rd, 2003 06:41 PM

Just wondering how is a mic such as the ME66
attached to the 150? Can it be put in the holder
that is used for the mic that comes with the cam?

Mike Rehmus December 23rd, 2003 07:31 PM

I switched my 150's to the CAC-12 holder which moves the microphone away from the camera body by another inch or so.

I just wrap my skinny microphones with a bit of gaffer tape or several rubber bands. Seems to work very well.

I suppose rubber sheeting would be more elegant but the temp fixes are easily removed.

I did remove the rubber sheet (the one that looks like very shallow U-channel from the Sony microphone and used it too.

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