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External mic wth camcorder

Merlin5

Active Member
Hi. I'm looking to buy a hard drive camcorder, but my main problem is finding something that I can plug my sony mic into. The mic is a sony ecm M907 and it's stereo. I get extremely crisp and detailed quality through my portable minidisc recorder with the mic, but a guy at a sony centre told me I'd get nowhere near the same audio quality with a camcorder, no matter what mic. Is that true? Also, is there a camcorder that has a minijack socket to take my mic, or maybe I'd need to get an adapter?

Currently, I just video with my digi camera (awful tinny distorting mic on it of course) and record sound with my minidisc recorder. It's a pain having to sync up sound and video on my pc. I just want an all in one solution to transfer straight to pc, no synching, mpeg2, but most importantly with very high quality audio.
 

A n d r e w

Well-known Member
A number of issues to think through.

(1) Do you want a high definition or a standard definition camcorder?
(2) Does it have to be harddrive-based, or would SD card recording be okay?
(3) What kind of money do you want to spend?

Among HD camcorders, you could look at the Canon HF100, HF10, & HF11 (all record to flash memory). Do the Sony SR11 & SR12 (which record to internal harddrive) have a mic jack? Not sure on that - anyone else? They take external mics, but I'm not sure whether, like the Sony CX11 (another flash memory camcorder) the external mic needs to be compatible with the proprietary accessory shoe (no cable) or not.

With standard def camcorders under £1000 your choices are more limited. The only one I can think of that has harddrive + mic jack is the JVC MG575 Everio, though I wouldn't recommend it. There's one above the MG575 in the JVC line of standard def harddrive camcorders, too.

16 bit 2-channel AC3 seems to be the norm, but there are variations on the theme. Why someone would say the audio quality of a camcorder + external mic is of necessity worse than what you're getting with Sony MiniDisc is beyond me - though staff at Sony centres have been quoted saying all sorts of random things, including "our camcorders don't work with Macs." Would be pretty funny if they weren't so serious. That said, if your MD recorder is capable of recording in Linear PCM, then I expect that would be a less compressed format than AC3. The quality of audio recorded with onboard mics is worse, but I guess you're on to that one already, hence the requirement of an mic jack.

Good luck,
Andrew.

P.S. I've got an ECM-MS907 too. I'm no expert, but for me it's got pretty good sound for the money.
 

Merlin5

Active Member
Andrew, thanks for the reply. :)

Standard definition is fine. Looking at maximum £250, harddrive or SD card, as long as I can directly transfer files straight to pc without having to record onto my pc with line-in. Example, I currently have to transfer my minidisc recordings via its headphone out into my line-in on my pc by pressing record on cool edit pro. I can then see the waveform as it records.

Someone warned me today not to get the Everio because it records in .MOD apparently. I believe the sony machines do it in mpeg2?

Ah right, you've got the same mic, so you know the quality. But here is a sample of something I recorded using the MS907 mic and my sharp minidisc, raw with no effects added. This is the quality I'm looking for.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/merlin.five/mustang (3).mp3
 

A n d r e w

Well-known Member
Standard definition is fine. Looking at maximum £250, harddrive or SD card, as long as I can directly transfer files straight to pc without having to record onto my pc with line-in.
I'm not too sure what Sony has that meets your criteria to be honest (anyone else?), but the Canon FS100 is standard definition, records MPEG-2 to SD cards, and has a minijack connector for an external self-powered condenser mic, recording Dolby Digital 2-channel AC3 audio (presumably 16 bit).

Two main problems. One is that for this kind of money, miniDV tape-based camcorders will give you noticeably better pictures (Canon does a couple of camcorders under £300 that record to tape and take external mics - you'll see them if you search for "Canon mini DV" on Amazon). The other is that the FS100 provides no manual control of audio levels. This means controlling levels with either a mixer (ease of use just flew out the window) or by moving toward or away from whatever you're recording (limiting your options for shooting video).

Plenty to think about there, anyway.

Band sounds pretty tight, btw. :)
 

chrishull3

Well-known Member
Hi. I'm looking to buy a hard drive camcorder, but my main problem is finding something that I can plug my sony mic into. The mic is a sony ecm M907 and it's stereo. I get extremely crisp and detailed quality through my portable minidisc recorder with the mic, but a guy at a sony centre told me I'd get nowhere near the same audio quality with a camcorder, no matter what mic. Is that true? Also, is there a camcorder that has a minijack socket to take my mic, or maybe I'd need to get an adapter?

Currently, I just video with my digi camera (awful tinny distorting mic on it of course) and record sound with my minidisc recorder. It's a pain having to sync up sound and video on my pc. I just want an all in one solution to transfer straight to pc, no synching, mpeg2, but most importantly with very high quality audio.
A good external mike will work with any cam with an external socket,i use a rode stereo with my FX-7 and SR12 cams.
 

A n d r e w

Well-known Member

Merlin5

Active Member
Courtaj, thanks for the band compliment. :) And thanks for the recommendation, I reckon the Canon FS100 you mentioned is my best (and only) bet and I think it'll be pretty good. It seems to be quite small too which is a bonus. I've done some research on it and even found a review where the guy put up a video he recorded on it. This was a compressed video suitable for uploading and even then it was good enough quality for what I want. Yeah, it's really difficult finding a camcorder with mic input, even on some high end ones!

I found an article where sony made an external mic adapter, the sony vmc- k100 http://www.gadgetmadness.com/archiv...rive_camcorder_with_microphone_input_jack.php

but it's been discontinued. Notice how our sony mic is mentioned n the article .:D

About the FS100, do I need a card reader or will I be able to transfer video via usb as easily as if it were a harddrive camcorder? I'll be happy with an 8GB SD card which isn't expensive, and apparently on the best setting XP I should be able to get just under 2 hours of recording, which is fine. Amazon are doing the camcorder and a Transcend 8GB SDHC class 6 flash memory card for £235, which is good. I could buy another camcorder for the same money with 30GB hard drive, but it wouldn't have the mic input.

This just leaves the problem of lack of audio control levels that you pointed out. Hmm, it may well not be a huge problem. I'm assuming it'll have some sort of auto mic level? Assuming it doesn't overload the mic or distort, do you think I'll achieve the same sound quality as my recording I uploaded from the minidisc?
 

A n d r e w

Well-known Member
do I need a card reader or will I be able to transfer video via usb as easily as if it were a harddrive camcorder?

Prefacing my remarks with the caveat that I've never actually used an FS100, I'd imagine you can transfer from the SD card without removing it from the camera "as easily if it were a harddrive camcorder," but in my experience it's easier to pop the card out and use a card reader strictly from a desk-clutter perspective. You can pick up USB card readers pretty cheaply.

I'm assuming it'll have some sort of auto mic level?

I don't know. You can download the instruction manual from the Canon website - hopefully it'll mention whether or not it uses auto gain control.

Assuming it doesn't overload the mic or distort, do you think I'll achieve the same sound quality as my recording I uploaded from the minidisc?
Again, hard to say. I don't know which model MD you've been using. Did it have manual level control? Did it record Linear PCM (which is less compressed than AC3)? There are a bunch of variables involved, including whether or not you're able to find the necessary sweet spot for recording good pictures and good sounds with the same unit.

My advice would be to find somewhere with a good returns policy and try it out to see if it does what you need it to do.

Andrew.

 

Merlin5

Active Member
Yeah good idea, I'll find a place that does return policy within so many days. I'll also check the canon website for the instruction manual. Cheers!
 

PS3 Tag, Luggs

Active Member
Hi. I'm looking to buy a hard drive camcorder, but my main problem is finding something that I can plug my sony mic into. The mic is a sony ecm M907 and it's stereo. I get extremely crisp and detailed quality through my portable minidisc recorder with the mic, but a guy at a sony centre told me I'd get nowhere near the same audio quality with a camcorder, no matter what mic. Is that true? Also, is there a camcorder that has a minijack socket to take my mic, or maybe I'd need to get an adapter?

Currently, I just video with my digi camera (awful tinny distorting mic on it of course) and record sound with my minidisc recorder. It's a pain having to sync up sound and video on my pc. I just want an all in one solution to transfer straight to pc, no synching, mpeg2, but most importantly with very high quality audio.

what ya doin', bootleggin' gigs !
 

PS3 Tag, Luggs

Active Member
Hi. I'm looking to buy a hard drive camcorder, but my main problem is finding something that I can plug my sony mic into. The mic is a sony ecm M907 and it's stereo. I get extremely crisp and detailed quality through my portable minidisc recorder with the mic, but a guy at a sony centre told me I'd get nowhere near the same audio quality with a camcorder, no matter what mic. Is that true? Also, is there a camcorder that has a minijack socket to take my mic, or maybe I'd need to get an adapter?

Currently, I just video with my digi camera (awful tinny distorting mic on it of course) and record sound with my minidisc recorder. It's a pain having to sync up sound and video on my pc. I just want an all in one solution to transfer straight to pc, no synching, mpeg2, but most importantly with very high quality audio.

No but seriously, Pana HS9, 60 gig plus card slot and 5.1 recording with it's 5 mics, which can be zoomed in & out:thumbsup:
 

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