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-   -   AT897 and Z1U audio levels? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/51847-at897-z1u-audio-levels.html)

James Sarte September 27th, 2005 01:42 PM

AT897 and Z1U audio levels?
Hello all,

Just got my Audio Technica AT897 mic, and I have a couple of questions.

1. What do you guys normally set your audio levels too for indoor, one person speaking. It seems I have to really crank up the level to maybe 7 or 8 to get a suitable recording volume without clipping. Automatic levels is the same way, and can be confirmed through the VU meters.

2. Is there a way to record this mic's input to both channels (L&R) at the same time? I know the mic is mono only, but it would be nice to have both channels recording and balanced at the same time.

James Sarte September 27th, 2005 01:48 PM

Disregard question #2 - found it in the manual.

James Sarte September 27th, 2005 06:02 PM

Well, I've found the dB boost of +6 and +12. Using +6 seems to get good results while keeping the recording level at 5. It seems odd though that one would have to use so much audio gain? Is it just the camera, or is there something wrong with the mic?

Don Bloom September 27th, 2005 09:21 PM

I have used an AT897 on a PD150 a JVC5000 and a Sony DSR570. It is nowhere near as hot as other mics I've used such as Senn ME66,67 or 416.
Using it as my standard mic on my 5000 I do have to crank the levels up BUT be aware that as you crank it up you also bring up the floor noise so find a happy place for your levels and stay there. For the money though the AT897 is a really good mic.


James Sarte September 28th, 2005 04:33 AM

Perhaps you're right, but it still seems wrong that I have to really crank up recording levels and/or audio gain in order to get a decent signal. I mean, my built-in mic gets a stronger audio signal on auto-settings for goodness sake! Auto levels for the AT897 are damn near useless unless your subject is shouting. I'm going to try a different XLR cable today, and perhaps a different mic to see if things change. If not, I'll return the camera for another one.

Douglas Spotted Eagle September 28th, 2005 09:09 AM

This may sound like a dumb question, but do you have a battery in the 897?
Do you have Phantom Power enabled?

Robin Davies-Rollinson September 28th, 2005 10:33 AM

I certainly don't have any problems using the AT897 in either the FX1 or Z1...
-certainly not having to crank up the gain as was mentioned.


Augusto Manuel September 28th, 2005 10:39 AM

I have a PD170 and recently I used the camera mic which comes with the PD170 and put it on the Z1. I noticed that I had to boost it a bit to +3 db to get better levels. I am not sure yet but the audio in the Z1 at 0 db seems a bit lower than other cameras. Maybe not.

James Sarte September 28th, 2005 10:54 AM


Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
This may sound like a dumb question, but do you have a battery in the 897?
Do you have Phantom Power enabled?

I have phantom power on. I tried it with the battery, and the results were similar if not worse.

James Sarte September 28th, 2005 02:44 PM

Ok, found out the problem. The mic was at fault. It seems the mv output of the AT897 is only 10mv. I tried several 897's at B&H today, along with the ME66's. The ME66 is definitely a hotter mic, pushing 50mv. However, I decided on the short barreled Audio Technica AT4073a instead. Expensive at almost $600, but worth it. This mic is even hotter than the ME, pushing 70.8mv, and it's really short to boot! This camera is cooking now. On manual, I have the gain set to 0db, and have to turn the levels down to about 3.5 or 4 to avoid clipping during normal conversation levels.

I will never recommend the AT897 for this camcorder. It's a good boom mic, but not good with the Z1 or on-camera use.


P.S. If you guys ever go to B&H, I suggest checking out the pro-audio sound room. You can test these mics there for yourself.

Douglas Spotted Eagle September 28th, 2005 06:54 PM

Uhh...Myself and many, many others use the 897 with the Z1, no problems whatsoever.

James Sarte September 28th, 2005 07:03 PM

I don't know what to say then. We tried several 897's with my Z1 and the demo Z1 at B&H. Both camera's needed to have levels and gain increased far beyond what I felt was necessary, along with introducing more audio noise.

Perhaps the preamps in my camera aren't as strong as yours, or perhaps we just have different ideas of what audio should sound like. If you don't mind, would you tell me what your audio settings are for your setup?

Douglas Spotted Eagle September 28th, 2005 07:13 PM

Can't imagine mine is any different than yours, Z1, 897 (among roughly 200 other mics in my collection) and Mogami cable. Phantom on, gain set to 6, it's reading approx -6db.
Yes, the ME66 is a hotter mic, and sounds poor in comparison.
The 4073 is a hotter and better mic than either of the other two, but the 897 is one of the most populuar Z1 accessories available.

With that, I'm moving this thread to the "Now Hear This" forum.

James Sarte September 28th, 2005 07:21 PM

When you say gain is 6, are you referring to the +6dB gain boost in the audio menu, or do you mean you have your individual channel levels set to 6?

Like I said earlier, I was able to get a decent signal with my gain set to +6dB, and Channel 1 level set to at least 7 with the 897, but playback analysis showed more audio hiss then what I thought was correct with this setup.

The 4073a on the other hand is exceptionally clean. I now have my gain set back to 0dB, and have my channel levels down to 3 or 4 to aviod clipping.



Douglas Spotted Eagle September 28th, 2005 07:24 PM

No gain boost whatsoever. Electronics set to 0dB.

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