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My sound is definitely clipping....but the levels all look good. Thoughts?

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Noam Osband
My sound is definitely clipping....but the levels all look good. Thoughts?
on May 28, 2014 at 9:57:24 pm

I'm using a Rode NTG-3 with a Canon XA-10. When I listen to the audio I record, it definitely sounds a bit muddy, as if it's clipping. But the levels when I import into FCP 7 aren't showing clipping. Moreover, the levels on the camera aren't showing clipping either when I'm recording. Thoughts on how I might solve this?


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Peter Groom
Re: My sound is definitely clipping....but the levels all look good. Thoughts?
on May 29, 2014 at 6:42:43 am

If you're hitting the input electronics of any recorder you will hear the crushing clipping harshness but the levels after that point can appear ok.
Check bASIC thinks like mic/ line switching and look at what levels your devices re sending and expecting. A pad may be needed to pull down a hot input device to the right side of a sensitive or poor input stage.
I stress I'm not familiar with either device you have but the basic level matching rules apply everywhere
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Noam Osband
Re: My sound is definitely clipping....but the levels all look good. Thoughts?
on May 30, 2014 at 4:13:49 pm

There is an attenuater switch. Should I keep that on with this mic then? I'll try that...


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Craig Alan
Re: My sound is definitely clipping....but the levels all look good. Thoughts?
on Jun 1, 2014 at 5:40:49 am

Make sure that you are matching all inputs and outputs in terms of line or mic level. If there is mismatch, the meters can look fine and yet sound distorted.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Noam Osband
Re: My sound is definitely clipping....but the levels all look good. Thoughts?
on Jun 2, 2014 at 6:35:54 am

What do you mean? That they should all be mic or all be line? Or that the relative levels (whether the input is one a 2 or a 7) should be the same?


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Craig Alan
Re: My sound is definitely clipping....but the levels all look good. Thoughts?
on Jun 3, 2014 at 6:14:06 am

I mean if you output a line level signal then you need a line level input. For example if your mixer sends a line level signal to your recorder or camcorder then the camcorder or recorder input needs to be set at line level. If there is a mismatch then you can get distortion. And yes there are different flavors of line level. You can mix these within a chain. You can go mike level into your mixer and line level out your mixer.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Noam Osband
Re: My sound is definitely clipping....but the levels all look good. Thoughts?
on Jun 3, 2014 at 9:40:56 pm

Got it. Well, I'm going straight from the mic to the camera without a mixer....


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Craig Alan
Re: My sound is definitely clipping....but the levels all look good. Thoughts?
on Jun 4, 2014 at 4:48:17 am
Last Edited By Craig Alan on Jun 8, 2014 at 10:45:26 pm

Well certainly make sure your camera is set to mike level phantom power. Plug in a good set of monitoring headphones (Sony MDR-7506). Make sure you are recording the XLR mike to both channels. It might be recording the mike to one channel and the internal mike to another. While listening try different recording levels and the ATT or not. Reread Peters post. If the ATT setting doesn't help, an xlr pad is not expensive. Remember a $1500 camera doesn't come with a high end audio recorder. The first attack could overpower the audio circuits and sound harsh. You have to experiment with these prosumer level devices to find a sweet spot. Get your mike close to the source. Use a shock mount. It's a good mike so my guess is that the camera's recorder is what is not handling the load. I find that on cheaper cameras you need to trust your ears and not assume that a certain level is good just because it plays well on pro equipment.

How high do you need to set your camera's audio gain? It could be that if you need to go past 12 o'clock on the dial that the preamp just sounds bad. You should consider a small mixer like the SD 302. It will help a lot. It will outlive your camera. Set up your camera and fix your mike on a boom pole. aim at a constant audio recording and experiment with the settings and gain. Monitor with headphones. Learn where the sweet spots are and where the sound falls apart. Try different distances from the source.

Be aware that the headphone output on these cameras aren't great. so some noise is going to be added to the signal. But what sounds best even with that noise is what is best. Not sure muddy is the same as clipping.

You might want to post an audio file so the pros here can offer suggestions. The only reason I'm chiming is is because these guys tend not to use less expensive gear. But they do know their craft. So give them a chance to hear what you are up against.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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