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Important Question Regarding Beachtek DXA-SLR

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Steve Crow
Important Question Regarding Beachtek DXA-SLR
on Mar 9, 2011 at 10:11:39 pm

I am testing out the DXA-SLR for use with my Canon T2i and have a couple of important questions/issues which I don't understand

1. AGC Disable Function - The entire reason I got the unit was for this feature. With the AGC Disable feature ON the only thing I notice (besides the tone added to the LEFT channel) is that the overall audio signal level is cut in half as compared to when it is OFF - I am not actually hearing any difference in the noise level during quiet passages other than the reduced signal level. What might I be doing wrong if anything?


2. I have my Rode NTG-2 microphone connected via XLR to the Beachtek and then I have the output of the Beachtek going into the audio input jack of the T2i. Of course the Beachtek has 2 XLR inputs a RIGHT and a LEFT.

If I plan on using the AGC disable function should I then always only use the RIGHT XLR input since the LEFT track has the tone added to it?


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Important Question Regarding Beachtek DXA-SLR
on Mar 10, 2011 at 10:09:14 am

The AGC Disable Function sends the tone signal as a control function to the camera. It doesn't actually disable the AGC in the camera, it just sends it a constant tone for the camera to maintain a constant level to and stop it automatically raising levels (and thus background noise) when ever the main audio source in your microphone stops or is lowered. You are using it correctly. You can experiment a little with the levels you set your microphone at in the Beachtek.

If you set the Beachtek to Mono when using a single input it will send audio to both tracks. You'll notice the left track waveform with the inaudble reference tone will look like a huge block with a few peaks compared to the right track that will look "normal".

I still use a Zoom H4 inputting the mike into that, then line out into the Beachtek. The audio pre amps are not good in these cameras. Through good speakers in the edit suite the quality difference between audio on the H4 and that from the audio passed through to the camera is quite noticeable. I have the original H4 that has seperate line out and headphone out, as well as individual level control of each track as standard (and now available as a firmware upgrade on the H4n).
Recording dual system sound also helps overcome any problems with long running interviews. Leave the audio recorder rolling and quickly button off and on in the camera during an interviewer question. Pluraleyes will sort it out in post.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Steve Crow
Re: Important Question Regarding Beachtek DXA-SLR
on Mar 10, 2011 at 4:44:36 pm

Thanks everyone...after lots of back and forth with BeachTek Tech Support it looks like the issue is related to the Rode NTG-2 mic not delivering a very strong signal. It helped when I removed the windmuff from the Mic but I found I still had to crank the volume up on the mic (through the BeachTek box) practically all the way before the BeachTek could could even "work with" the audio signal it was being given. By that I refer to the little green lights used to tell you that you have a strong incoming signals - those didn't come on until I removed the Wind Muff AND cranked the volume way way up. There's still more hiss/noise being generated (by the mic I assume) than I would like.

I am still concerned that with this Mic setup I have to get very close to the subject in order to get a decent audio signal and for documentary work that's not ideal.

It occurs to me that this particular Mic is most often used for voice overs where the talent is working very close to the Mic - for that it's a great Mic - for documentary field work I am concerned. I am going to try using the Rode VideoMic just as another test but the last time I tried it I couldn't hear anything out of the earphone jack - but I will be giving that another shot for comparison.


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Steve Crow
Re: Important Question Regarding Beachtek DXA-SLR
on Mar 10, 2011 at 4:47:05 pm

Thanks Phil, I will try that Zoom trick!


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Steve Crow
Re: Important Question Regarding Beachtek DXA-SLR
on Mar 10, 2011 at 5:01:34 pm

Yeah the Rode VideoMic is working MUCH better than the NTG-2 I was trying earlier. So that's going to be my documentary solution for right now.


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Important Question Regarding Beachtek DXA-SLR
on Mar 10, 2011 at 9:53:22 pm

Steve, my DXA-SLR has Hi and Low Gain switches underneath. Mine are set to Low for the Zoom H4 Line Out with the Inputs set to Mic on the DXA-SLR. Sounds wrong but the levels coming out of the Zoom H4 are not full broadcast line out.

You may also find switching these to High will overcome your problem with the Rode NTG-2 (if you haven't already tried this, that is).

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://philming.com.au
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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