Panasonic hc-v750 + w-850 mic levels etc

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by skunkwerx, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. skunkwerx

    skunkwerx
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    Hi all,

    So I have a Panasonic hc-w850, although this question is also relevant for the v-750 etc.

    I use the camcorder for vlogs, and also want to use it to record my guitar playing.

    I am concerned about the noise level damaging the camcorders microphone. Although I play through an amplifier and at fairly reasonable levels (bedroom levels) the videos I have made sound a bit sharp or have a noticeable hiss/noise floor during playback.

    When I record, it is in mp4 format, and I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to setting mic levels, or seeing if the audio is clipping.

    Am I right in thinking the w850 has a mode in mp4 stereo where you can see the left and right bars on the lcd, and if they go into the red it means its bad?

    Am I better to get an external mic? If so what one might suit my needs for guitar recording? The rode videomic seems within my budget.

    Cheers guys!
     
  2. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    If you are playing through an amp, you can directly record into the camera.
    You will need an attenuator cable, mine is made by SESCOM. The cable reduces the signal from Line Out to Mic In. The cable is advertised to connect a camera to a Zoom audio recorder.
    You connect the amp to the camcorder through the Headphone Out on the Amp and, via the attenuator cable, into the camera. You need to set all the volumes to zero and slowly increase the volumes until the meters on the camera read OK. You can monitor the camera via the headphone socket at the front RHS of the camera.
    I use this method to record my Juno-Di keyboard and my Zoom H2 recorder. It works OK.
     
  3. skunkwerx

    skunkwerx
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    Thanks for the reply! That sounds pretty cool actually, I'll give that a look.

    Anything to watch out for in the meantime just using the camcorder and its onboard mic? Definitely want to avoid causing any damage you see. My iphone mic gave up the ghost last summer, and I suspect that was due to recording guitar.. oops.
     
  4. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    There was a post recently about mics being "blown" by close filming to a vintage aeroplane engine. (No silencers - just pure exhaust noise) but you have a volume control on your amp so at normal levels (i.e. listening to Radio 4:laugh:) you should not damage the mic in any way. The downside of mic recording compared to the way I suggested above is that it picks up all the room noise as well.
     
  5. dosdan

    dosdan
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    It is unlikely that that a high SPL level would damage a electret microphone. Mic failure due to mechanical stressing from high SPL is unlikely - I'd be more worried about hearing damage. Electret mics have a permanently polarised diaphragm or backplate.

    Early electret designs had a poor HF response and a lifespan of only a few years in some cases (because the electret substrate tended to break down and lose its charge), but modern electrets are excellent and very long-lived. Indeed, some of the most highly revered studio microphones are electret designs, such as the DPA 4000 series, for example. More affordable types include the ever-popular Audio-Technica AT4033 and AKG's C3000. There are currently over 500 different electret mics available for the MI and professional audio markets.


    Quoted from How Microphones Work: Part 1

    High temperature (and perhaps to a small extent, high humidity), cause accelerated electret depolarisation, so I wouldn't leave a video camera or DSLR inside a parked hot car. (If you had to, I'd place it on the floor of the vehicle and shielded from direct sunlight.) See Figure 4.17 (p.173) in


    Dan.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  6. rogs

    rogs
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    I agree with Dan.. you are extremely unlikely to damage an electret capsule with excessive SPL (sound pressure level). Your ears would bleed before that would happen...:)

    If you do want to use the internal camera mics to gt the best from your guitar recording, then make sure the AGC is disabled to minimise the noise floor, and ensure that you record in 2 channel stereo. The cluster of 5 microphones on top of a consumer camcorder to try and create a 'high quality' 5.1 surround sound image is largely just a marketing gimmick, and will do nothing to improve your attempt to get a better quality music recording.

    Better still, use a direct attenuated input to eliminate the pickup of ambient room sounds..as suggested already by Terfyn
     
  7. 12harry

    12harry
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    "Direct" is certainly the Best method...but get some decent headphones to judge quality ( those with large muffs are better) . . . . and you'll have no microphone issues.

    However, as a Musician you may find a hand-held SDHC recorder is far more useful / easier to use.. . . and most have a line-input Option, so you may not need the Attenuator cable.
    A basic "ZoomRecorder" is about £70 (Maplin in UK ). If you need the video as well, then you use the camera mic-track to sync with the "ZoomRecorder" when you do the Edit.

    Check out the Guitar amp - it may be noisy at low-levels ( since most users will want #11-levels ). However, for recording quality Manual-level setting should be used on the "Zoom" DYOR.

    I really can't agree that High SPL's don't cause damage - why risk it? If you can move the mic away, or use moving-coil - then you have extra margin. However it seems OP can remove the need for a mic. What he does with the mic in the camcorder is another issue...

    Hope that helps.
     
  8. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    The cable I use is a Sescom LN2MIC-ZOOMH4N 3.5mm Line to Microphone Attenuation Cable for HDSLR Cameras The cost is about £19 so is a lot cheaper than a Zoom PLUS no synchronisation needed!
    I agree that a Zoom is a good buy as well. As you can see from the description the cable is specifically designed for a ZOOM H4N Line Out to a camera Mic In. Whereas I accept that there a number of ways to record a musical instrument I know that the attenuator cable method works because I have tested it with a number of Line Out to Mic In combinations including a keyboard and a Zoom recorder.
     
  9. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    The pro way of doing it is to use a DI Box, ie Behringer DI100 Ultra-DI Box at Gear4music.com
    Available from around £30 it should work out cheaper than an external mic or Zoom recorder.

    Mark.
     
  10. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    Yes but does it give a line output or an output suitable for a camcorder mic in socket?

    Read the Manual. Yes it does.:thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  11. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Correct, they convert their line level input to a mic level output. They are used in PA and studio setups for exactly the OP's type of situation, connecting a keyboard, guitar amp etc. to the mic inputs on a mixing desk.
    Not the cheapest option as an attenuated cable will obviously cost less, but as I said it is the way the pro's do it so should give a better quality audio feed to the camcorder.

    Mark.
     
  12. skunkwerx

    skunkwerx
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    Thats some awesome food for thought, cheers all.

    Only confused by this bit!
     
  13. 12harry

    12harry
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    Post No 12.
    Should you insist in high SPL, even though you are using some form of attenuator, (as suggested here by several means) , but recording into the camcorder..... the camcorder microphone is still experiencing high SPL..... and that needs addressing - Not because it will distort the ( guitar ) recordings, but when sometime later, you wish to record something at "normal levels" - so you need to do "something" to avoid this situation... this was shortened to the comment of mine that you Quoted.
     
  14. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    As rogs said nothing will happen. When an external mic is connected, the camera mics are isolated and when the headphone out of the guitar amp is connected, the speaker would be disconnected! Using any attenuator between any two pieces of kit would suggest starting with the volumes set to zero and then working up. As I said in post #8 I have used this connection between my keyboard and my camera with perfect results.
     
  15. skunkwerx

    skunkwerx
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    Cool, cheers. It just confused me as I am a complete noob and not very technical minded.

    When I use the camcorder to record my playing, its around 2 meters from the amp. The amp is set on its lowest volume, which is Probably a tad louder than you would normally watch tv at.

    I will get an attenuator cable if thats best. Literally just wondered if the mic will be damaged when filming guitar in the mean time.

    Not sure when its classed as high spl though, I know the set up in my car moves a lot of air but compared to the volume i play and record guitar at its a huge difference.
     
  16. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    NO!
    The disadvantage of recording with a mic is that it picks up every noise within range - you coughing, low flying aircraft, sirens and so on.
    A direct connection will record only the sound through the amp circuit. The problem is that the amp puts out a high signal and the camera only wants a low level signal (i.e. from a mic) So we need to attenuate or reduce the signal before it goes into the camera.
    In my past I have recorded classical and theatre organs - now they move air!! and have had no problems with mics collapsing.:laugh:
    You will have no problem with mics on your camera with the setup you describe but you may pick up sounds you don't want.
     
  17. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Agree, I've filmed some heavy rock concerts with the internal mic used for syncing the dedicated audio recording taken from the mixing desk. That is far louder than my TV could be set to and no damage was caused to any part of the camcorder (wish I could be as sure about my hearing :eek: ).

    Mark.
     
  18. skunkwerx

    skunkwerx
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    Thanks all.

    Actually having recorded a little something this evening, the amps minimum level may be louder than I thought ha!

    The recording sounded ok, twas too loud for normal listening when playing it back on my laptop with the laptops volume at 100% though.

    What is the AGC mode for?

    I can set mic level with AGC on or off, and the bars that show up do fill up mostly when recording.
     
  19. noiseboy72

    noiseboy72
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    Set AGC OFF, then use the manual mic levels so that you don't exceed about 75% on average. This will prevent the noise floor "pumping" or peak levels causing distortion.

    I would move the camcorder closer to the amp, so the direct sound from it is greater than the reflected sound from the room itself. This will give a tighter, less echoey sound. If you get an external mic, clip it onto the front of the amp - or jut dangle it down the front. Then, set up the manual levels as above. Please note that an attenuation cable probably won't work with most camcorder mics, as they derive their power - called Plug in Power from the camcorder.
     
  20. skunkwerx

    skunkwerx
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    Got ya. So set Agc off and the mic level by a few decibels.

    I'm torn between getting an external mic for the camcorder too actually, as I make tutorials/demo's so theres playing and periodic talking too.
     
  21. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    You DO NOT use the attenuation cable with a mic.:facepalm: It is designed for direct connection to a line output from the amp. For example the Headphone Out socket. The attenuation cable makes the mic input on the camera close to a Line Input.
    The whole idea is to transfer the sound from the guitar directly into the camcorder without any mic being involved. I use the attenuation cable to connect my keyboard to my camera. I also use it to connect my Zoom H2 to the camera via the Zoom Line Out. (The Zoom mics are superior to the camera mics)

    As for external mics, I suggest you get an electret condenser mic. Most will have a battery to operate them but with some you can drive the mic directly from the camera external mic socket.
     

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