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Capture Audio using 2 Microphone on Camcorder

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Editing Forum' started by Amelia, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. Amelia

    Amelia
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    My Camcorder has one Stereo 3.5mm input. I wanted to connect 2 Microphones to it (i.e. one captures Left Channel and the other Right). My camera has a levels control but it doesn't control levels individually.

    Are there any schematics available to build a XLR type input for a camcorder? I basically what to connect to mono mics to my single 3.5 mm Stereo Mic input.

    Thanks
    Amelia
     
  2. Roy Mallard

    Roy Mallard
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    At the top end of the marktet there the likes of ASC Minx mixers and Shure Mixers which will let you take up to four mic or line inputs (can be mixed) into a field mixer and then give you a mic or line output to your cam through a balanced XLR (which can be adapted to unbalanced minijack).

    SQNs sadly don't they only give you a line output.

    The great benefit of a sound mixer is that you can changed the audio levels on the fly, with much more control (things like bass lift, attenuators, stereo panning, tone audio level generator and -essentially- levels) without causing camera shake. Controlling the levels on the camera is far less responsive and will cause camera shake.

    The downside is cost. £1300ish for a shure or ASC Minx.

    If you reckon you can avoid camera shake Beechtek make XLR breakout boxes which give you two XLR inputs (either A1 & A2 or L&R, it's up to you when you come to edit). The have mic line input switching (so you can take an audio feed from say a mixing desk or a mic) and level adjust dials on the unit. The two channels go to the camera as a mic signal through a 3.5 minijack.

    These are far less expsnive, UK retail around £300.

    Beechtak do various models for various cameras, so if you have audio level control you are probably at the panasonic MX, Canon XM/XL or Sony VX level or above, they will almost certainly do one to suit.

    One other thing to note:

    Check your mics have their own power supply. Beechteks only give you phantom power on certian models, units like the Sennheiser K6 system can usually be self powered.

    Hope this helps
     
  3. Amelia

    Amelia
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    Thanks Roy,

    I have a Shotgun Mic and a wireless tie-clip mic, both of which are powered. I guess I was hoping to get out of this Cheaply :blush:

    I'm wondering if its as simple as splitting the camera mic input, so the Shotgun is on the left and the wireless on the right and simply use a potentiometer on each channel. Would that work?

    Thanks
    Amelia
     
  4. Roy Mallard

    Roy Mallard
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    You could do this in theory, but if you've expensive mics it seems a shame to downgrade quality (i.e. going from ballanced to unballanced) and you are still not going to get the ease of control you want. A DI box might be an idea, it won't help you with fluid level control but there will attenuators, mic/line switching and ground/lift switching. This would start from around £100.

    It's a theme you've got to return to again and again, it's amazing the kit you can buy for very little money these days, especially one peice camcorder units, but if you want things like professional sound, you need to spend professioanl money.
     
  5. Amelia

    Amelia
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    Thanks Roy,

    I think I'll just spend the money and do it right as much as I would have liked to have spent less money.

    Thanks for your help.

    Cheers
    Amelia
     
  6. Roy Mallard

    Roy Mallard
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    I would go for the beechtek unit, as the best compromise without spending mega bucks, ukp 300, but also us$300, know anybody in the states?.

    good luck
     
  7. BadAss

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    I've just done a similar thing. I've got two Sennheiser MK300s routed to a 2:1 mono jack connector into a Sony VX2100. This gives me two point sound on a single channel. Yes its mono but I dont want stereo, as long as I have two points at the some db level.

    Making this stereo would require some audio editing. Copy the mono track to each L,R channel and edit from one to the other to get the stereo effect. Time consuming yes but cheap yes. This only works if your software allows you to edit channels seperately.

    I've never done this in practice yet, but i'm sure some one will correct me if it isn't possible.
     
  8. Amelia

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    I'm using Premier Pro so converting to Stereo or 5.1 shouldn't be an issue. I mainly want it to pick up voice.

    How are the 2 mics connected to your stereo connector? Are you using any device to manage the levels for each mic?

    Thanks
    Amelia
     
  9. BadAss

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    The two mic signals are joined using a £1.50 jack connector from Keene. Two mono mics using a mono connector giving a mono recording. Then its down to your skill as an audio engineer to split the signal as explained to each channel.

    If it was me I just wouldn't bother having voices in stereo anyway as it may be distracting. Most movies have the dialog set to the center speaker.
     
  10. SystemBlack

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    I have a Tandy mic mixer which has 4 line inputs and 4 6.5mm jack inputs. It is battery operated and you can alter the levels independantly. There are 4 sliders, two for left and two for right channels, you can mix down to l/r output and if you need, mix the 4 channels to a single mono output. It cost me £19.95 a few years ago and is quite compact.
    Only problem is that Tandy no longer have branches in the UK but there seem to be a few retailers who can order products from them in the USA through their dealership network. I would think that Maplin may have a similar item but at what cost, I don't know.
     

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