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Liam Morgan June 2nd, 2010 03:25 AM

manual audio control?
Hi, I've been using a 5d with a mixer for the sound. The 5d now has manual control of the audio gain (new firmware). Now I've got to buy a second camera and I'm wondering if the 7d and 550d have this same function, or if they are still stuck with AGC problems. I hope you can clear this up. Thanks.


Daniel von Euw June 2nd, 2010 03:41 AM

Only the 5D II have manual gain control with the latest firmware.


Liam Morgan June 2nd, 2010 09:49 AM

That's too bad... could've saved me a bunch of money. Thanks.


Jeremy Pevar June 2nd, 2010 10:50 AM

Liam - are you planning on using the two cameras together or separately? If you are looking to use the new camera as a "B" cam (that is, in tandem with the 5D MkII you already have) then the audio really isn't an issue. Simply record the crappy audio on the "B" cam and sync the two cameras in post. Alternatively, take a portion of the $900 you would save if you buy a 7D and purchase a digital audio recorder. Many folks use the Zoom H4N, though I prefer the Fostex FR2 LE. I assume that regardless of which camera you purchase you were already planning to purchase a microphone of some sort.

Good luck.

Bill Pryor June 2nd, 2010 12:19 PM

Even with manual gain control, I don't think the camera sound is great. I use the H4N and shoot double system sound all the time, except for just picking up ambient sound.

Jon Fairhurst June 2nd, 2010 12:28 PM

To make the most of the 5D2 audio (or any DvSLR audio), you need a solid preamp upstream. And, if it's not a 5D2, you need the AGC killer.

With a preamp like the DT454 or CX231 and 5D2 manual gain, you can get results that are on par with the H4n or DR-100. If you run the manual gain from Magic Lantern, you can optimize the in-camera gain better than Canon did with the 2.0.3 and later firmware. With a solid preamp and Magic Lantern, you can get a notably better signal to noise ratio than you can with the H4n or DR-100.

Chuck Spaulding June 2nd, 2010 01:13 PM

Jon, I don't doubt what your saying, I just don't understand what your saying???

For paying gigs I only use the 7D as a "B" camera and use the EX3 as the primary camera. However, I'm using the 7D more and have a potential project that I would like to use the 7D as the primary [only] camera. So I need to figure out how to capture good audio to use with the 7D, I'm not well versed in audio and have a budget of around $400-$500.

Sorry Liam, it's not my intention to hijack this thread, so if you'd like me to start a new one I will. Jon mentioned a lot in his reply that I too am trying to clear up - in my head anyway...

Recently I had decided to purchase the H4n, although a bit pricier the Fostex FR2 LE that Jeremy mentioned looks quite nice, and record double system sound. All of the pre-amp, AGC killing sounds complicated and expensive. I'm not even sure the best way to reach this decision.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Jon Fairhurst June 3rd, 2010 12:29 AM

Hi Chuck,

The simple answer is that if you want to record into the 7D, get the DT454. The switches on the back are a bit busy, but they're recessed "set and forget" switches. It's easy to use in real life. The sound will be nearly as good as with an H4n or DR-100 and you don't have to sync. (With the 5D2, it can be superior.) You also don't have to worry about hitting REC on two devices.

Just yesterday I did a project at work with the 5D2 and DR-100 with about eighty takes. (I had people sit in the "hot seat" with a clipped-on lav and say their name. I'll edit the project to play back the names to a drum beat.) I found one problem with the DR-100. When the indicator says "Low Battery", it doesn't mean, "replace your battery soon so you don't lose a take." It means, "sorry Bub. You lost the end of that last take. Neener, neener." I also lost one of the takes when I was recording on one device but not the other. Oops. You simply won't have those problems when recording audio into the camera. As long as you are monitoring with headphones, surprises are unlikely.

So, personally, I prefer recording into the camera when working alone. And it's nice not to have to sync.

Chuck Spaulding June 3rd, 2010 01:42 AM

Thanks Jon. Took a quick look online at the DT454, looks pretty cool.

If your using this with the 7D, you have to use one channel to defeat the AGC, which means you can only record audio on one channel, correct?

I'm not sure that's a huge problem for me, I'm just curious.

Bruce S. Yarock June 3rd, 2010 02:01 AM

I've been using the Tascam 100 for double sound, and it is a pain in the ass, especially if you forget to hit "record".. I like the tascam over the zoom because it has sperate input controls, left and right. like Jon says, that battery issue is also a pain.

last week I was doing a shoot and I had a problem with the tascam ( somehow the playback setting got changed and i couldn't figure it out on the spot). so i grabbed my emergency back up rig- my Sounddevices 302 with a line into my edirol R-09. The sound was excellent ( the 302 has great preamps and limiters) and you have much more control. It is, however, a lot of gear for one guy to deal with on a shoot. But with a helper, It's really the way to go for clean, controlable audio.

bruce Yarock

Jon Fairhurst June 3rd, 2010 07:21 PM

The DT-100 has two modes for AGC killing. One puts white noise into a single channel while you record into the other. The second mode puts a high frequency sine wave into the camera, so you can record both channels. You should EQ out the HF sound from your recordings to be safe for all playback, but you can generally get away without it for web encoding.

With meters, headphone monitoring, two modes of AGC disable, and clean circuitry, it matches the 7D and T2i really well. It also has more gain than the CX231, so it works great with the 5D2 as well. You can turn the 5D2 gain all the way down and blast it with a clean signal from the DT454.

And the workflow is as simple as it gets for a single shooter with no sync'ing in post.

Ben Moore June 3rd, 2010 09:24 PM

Any word of Canon releasing 7D firmware with manual gain control?

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