2008 January 25th, 20:12
Frustrated (Mic suggestion)
I bought two ARS Technica mics, the ATR55 (mono directional) and the ATR25 (stereo). The ATR55 is OK, I'm sure there are better, but it does a decent job, as far as I can tell, and it blocks the tape motor noise. The ATR25 however, is going back to Amazon because it has terrible gain compared to the camera's mic, and also it doesn't block the motor noise at all, in fact it's like it enhances it.
I'm getting very frustrated with this camcorder because one of my uses forthe camera is recording nature, parks, lakes and all that, and it becomes really annoying to have that buzz from the motor noise. I thought the ATR25 would block it since it's a couple of inches away from the tape, but apparently not. And I read many users saying that the DR-50 mic also captures tape noise. So I'm very close to return my HV20 and get an HG10, and just keep the AVCHD files on DVDs until a year or two when Blu-Ray burners and media become accessible for the masses and I can then get all the content on Vegas and output to like 45 Mbps Mpeg 2 and put it in a Blu-Ray disc so I don't see much quality degradation.
So, is there a reasonably priced stereo mic that has the same gain as the internal mic, and that cancels the motor noise?
2008 January 25th, 20:33
2008 January 25th, 20:53
I think what you're seeing with the stereo mic is that it's not directional like the shotgun, so it's picking up more noise in the immediate vicinity. To avoid the noise with a stereo mic rigjt above the camera, my testing indicates that you have to get it 8" or more off the camera. I haven't used the Rode (which is pretty expensive compared to the mics you mentioned), it may be that it's more "forward looking" even though stereo. Also the Rode mount does get the thing a ways off the camera, and sort of forward, which would help. The bottom line is that there is no really cheap fix to the HV20 motor noise problem (except to tape in really noisy locations where the noise is drowned out). You can rig the mic so that it's off camera, or you can record to a separate device like the Zoom H2, also off-camera. Alternatively, my initial tests are showing that with a stereo mic shockmounted on a stalk about 2" above the camera, putting an acoustic barrier between the camera and the mic (3/8" closed cell foam a little larger than the camera outline) cuts the motor noise to the same level as moving the mic 10" away from the camera. But you have to have a tall enough mount, and you have to make sure you don't make noise by touching the foam when you zoom. One of these days I'll get pics and audio samples posted. BTW, a nice stereo mic in the sub $100 range is the Sony ECM-908C. But it picks up camera noise very well, like the AT you mentioned.
2008 January 25th, 22:03
I think I may have to go the AVCHD route. Other than wearing a hat with a stereo mic on top of it, I don't see other choice. I don't want to hold a mic on my left hand while videotaping because I use both hands to support the camera, to minimize shaking. If I'm taping a conference, sure, I can always set a mic close to the speakers, but when I'm recording in parks where I want to enjoy the sound of nature and then my recording has this winning noise all over it, that's really annoying and distracting.
2008 January 26th, 14:55
Before you go to expensive measures to solve your problem, you might try something like this to give you a bit more distance between your mic and your camera. There are longer ones as well.
You could even fabricate on if you have a little spare time.
2008 January 26th, 21:29
A lot of the problem is a high noise level inherent in the mic preamp in the camera. I wouldn't spend a lot of money on a mic unless you plan on using an output mic to line level preamp. The camera is noiser than the Sony's I'm familiar with without preamp but considerably quieter with outboard preamp. You can see my camera in the mods section and some input on Shure FP11 preamp. Perhaps a good solution is a Sennheiser wireless unit that can output almost line level for not much more money than a shotgun mic and preamp. The one problem of wireless mics though is that the sound is too "dead". Not enough ambient sound effects coming through.