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Best approach to minimise noise with Azden SMX-10

Simes's picture
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: 10/29/2011 - 6:35pm

Hi guys, I've an Azden SMX-10 which has a lot of hiss when the camera (HDC-SD900) is set at 0db on the mic input channel. When the Azden is turned off the noise level is reduced slightly - when it's turned on - the hiss levels increase.

I'm wondering what the best way to handle this is - either:

1) Record at 0db with the hiss & higher sound levels
2) Turn the Mic input down to <= -24db at which point the hiss is reduced - but also, so are the sound levels. At -24, speaking from 4 feet away, though audible on headphones barely registers on the camera db meter.

For number 1 - I'd be aiming at removing hiss in post - for 2) I'd be needing to increase the volume of the sound recording in post (which presumably would also increase the background noise as well).

Given the situation, what's my best approach to get the highest quality sound recording with the least hiss. I'm mainly recording speaking in quiet locations, so hiss is very noticeable.


Jack Wolcott's picture
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 01/02/2008 - 11:51pm
Plus Member

The answer that comes to mind immediately is Shure, Audio Technica and Sennheiser.

That said, since you already have the Azden, have you tried turning off the camera's AGC (auto gain control?) It's possible that in the absence of input the AGC is cranking up, trying to find sound and greatly increasing the "hiss." This diagnosis is supported by the fact that you're still hearing hiss when the Azden is turned off.

Also, make sure your camera isn't supplying phantom power to the mic. Its specs indicate that it uses a battery; having phantom power supplied to it can cause all sorts of distortion and may actually damage the mic.

I'd be very wary of hoping to fix this in post. It's white noise and may involve quite a number of frequencies and harmonics. The danger here is that by reducing the hiss you distort elements of speech.

Jack

VideOccasions



voodeux's picture
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: 07/25/2012 - 7:29pm

I'm with Jack on this one. Spend some coin for gear that won't cause you more time and work. Do you need a stereo mic for your recordings? There are also pre-amp boxes that might give you a cleaner signal...but then you introduce another piece of kit into the mix. What are you recording?


Simes's picture
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: 10/29/2011 - 6:35pm

Thanks guys, I've decided to go the route of a separate voice recorder - as opposed to trying to get something to work with the video camera. Jack, I tried turning of gain control but it didn't make any different. I wasn't able to locate a method turning off power to mic (camera/s are HDC-SD900/SD90), but am thinking this is a likely cause of the problem.

With a mounted sound recorder, I'm thinking an additional advantage is that I'll end up with two recordings, one (backup) from the camera's internal mic & the other from the recorder. Actually, the audio from the SD90 built in mic is pretty good, as the mic/s are on the front of the camera facing forward (compared with the top on the 900 which is mounted on top & records a very tinny sound). The 90 (with it's better audio, wider angle lens, just as good stabilisation & picture + half the price) is a better camera all round - I think.



jasmine15442's picture
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: 01/06/2013 - 11:47pm

 

I'm also encountered that problem with my Azden SMX-10 but the small speaker  is in good condition. I'm trying to remove hiss on it and I accidentally put it in a wrong position. I wonder, I cannot hear the sound with the music video that I've been trying to make. Please help me regarding to this problem.


brunerww's picture
Last seen: 3 hours 25 min ago
Joined: 06/09/2011 - 6:40am
Plus Member

Hi Simes - I have the Azden SMX-10 and a Panasonic TM900, so I know exactly what you are saying.  I tried the external recorder route with a Sescom cable going into the camera - but I finally gave up.

 

I am also with Jack.  Get rid of the Azden and get a real mic.  It won't cost you a lot of money if you buy used.  These mics are built like tanks and last forever.

 

And it won't cost you a lot of money - I won a $75 auction for a used, battery powered Audio-Technica AT835 off eBay (less than the cost of an SMX-10).  With a $17 Hosa XLR to 3.5mm line matching transformer and the TM900's manual audio gain control, I get clean sound straight out of the camera.  You should be able to sell the SMX-10 for $25 and break even!

 

Here are a couple of auctions for battery powered professional mics that are currently below $100. Both auctions expire in the next day or two, but if you keep your eyes open, you can find other bargains like these:

 

Audio Technica AT815A shotgun

 

Specs for AT815B here

 

Audio Technica AT8015 shotgun

 

Specs for AT8015 here

 

These mics are larger and heavier than the small consumer mics, but any of them will help you with your hiss problem - for not a lot of money.

 

 

Cheers,

 

Bill

Hybrid Camera Revolution


brunerww's picture
Last seen: 3 hours 25 min ago
Joined: 06/09/2011 - 6:40am
Plus Member

FYI - Here is a test comparison of the Azden SMX-10 and a used (and less expensive) pro mic, the Audio Technica AT-835:

 

 

And here's the blog post I did on it:

 

http://hybridcamerarevolution.blogspot.com/2013/02/audio-technica-at835-and-gh3-pro-mic-vs.html

 

Bottom line - if you want to avoid hiss, you probably want to avoid consumer mics :)

 

Cheers,

 

Bill

Hybrid Camera Revolution