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Low Audio Recording Levels in Panasonic AG-DVC30

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jeremyGB
Low Audio Recording Levels in Panasonic AG-DVC30
on Apr 20, 2006 at 7:19:07 pm

About a year ago I bought a Panasonic AG-DVC30 camcorder. The image is great, but the sound level stinks.

Recently I made a semi "scientific" study of the sound levels. I set up a standard color bars & tone in Premiere, positioned the camera about 10 feet from the speakers and then tried various mic settings. I imported them into Premiere and looked at them with its audio meter. 'Course, this does not relate to any objective scale, but the relative levels are perhaps significant. And I did set the loudness of the tone so that it was roughly equivalent to humans talking.

When I use the built-in mic and the default settings (i.e., AGC), I get a reading of

-30 dB

Which seems very low to my ear. When I attach an external (shotgun) mic and connect the cable to the "mic" input, I get the same thing:

-30dB

However, if I shoot the same thing using a modest, consumer-grade Canon camcorder in exactly the same location, I get:

-12 dB

Which sounds "normal" to my ear.

Next, I set the AG-DVC30 to manual level setting (which is a pain because you have to go through 2 or 3 menu levels). This way I could bump the record level a notch or two and achieve -18 dB or higher.

My main question is: Is this camera defective?

Thanks for the advice.

Jeremy




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Matte
Re: Low Audio Recording Levels in Panasonic AG-DVC30
on Apr 20, 2006 at 9:19:14 pm

Don't know this camcorder, but it sounds like you might have a MIC ATTENUATION setting turned on.

Check the menus and slide-switches for this.
That could account for 10 to 20 dB of lower level.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Low Audio Recording Levels in Panasonic AG-DVC30
on Apr 20, 2006 at 11:51:31 pm

[jeremyGB] "My main question is: Is this camera defective?"

No, you're right that the levels ought to be around -12 db. That's a nice, comfy setting for DV, and the ABSOLUTE MOST you'd ever let it peak to is -4 db. Unfortunately, your particular camera is simply a right royal pain in the neck to operate.

One of this camera's known weakesses is that there are no audio knobs, just a stinkin' menu. You need audio knobs and a meter to set levels properly. I don't know about the meter, but I do know this particular camera has no knobs.

If you plan to do any serious shooting -- and you plan to use the audio -- and you don't want spend all day setting levels, you might want to think about a different camera. This thing's gonna drag you down.

If you have any acquaintances who have oohed and aahed over it, see if you can sell it to them, bite the bullet, and get what you need. Don't sell it to a friend, because they know where you live.


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jeremyGB
Re: Low Audio Recording Levels in Panasonic AG-DVC30
on Apr 21, 2006 at 11:17:03 am

Man, that is depressing.

Sigh.

If only I'd known to Google "AG-DVC30 'low audio'" before I bought it, I'd have found this page:

http://www.camcorderinfo.com/bbs/t115691.html

Sigh.



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