You are here

Using an audio mixer with a camcorder

MachVI's picture
Last seen: 5 years 1 month ago
Joined: 10/18/2009 - 9:02pm

I've been out of video production for 15 years and am getting ready to jump back in with an HD camcorder purchase, but one of my absolute "must haves" is the ability to feed the camcorder with the "line out" of an audio mixing board for some studio work. What is not clear to me is if the microphone input jack (such as on a Canon HF20) is compatible with the normal line levels from an audio device, or will it only work with microphones?




EarlC's picture
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

That would be true, Rob, except I think all the HF20 has is a minijack microphone input. Still, I should not have been so blunt because there are ways to go from line to mic, or mic to line, but not without some degree of jury rigging and that often brings on additional audio problems, or can.


BruceMol's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: 03/11/2008 - 10:35pm

If the mic input on the HF20 is like the HV20, you'll have to deliver signal from your soundboardto a 1/8" stereo mini-plug. With the HV20 you can select auto or manual levels. I have to tell you though, if the HF is like the HV, it's really hard to monitor the levels and the indicator levels aren't so accurate. If it's a critical event, you want back up sound from some other device. I've used a ZOOM H2 hooked up to a soundboard for music and vocal and my HV20 recording theambient hall sound - I sync them up later. I see that BeachTek and others make a boxthatadds XLR inputs to cameras like ours. I've never tried one becausethe price was the same for a ZOOM and Earl has written about them before and he isabsolutely right, they are worth the money, piece of mind, ease of use, easy to monitor.

So, you probably can fiddle with the HF20 input levels for use with a soundboard, BeachTek boxes will allow you to do that better than the HF20 at the expense of adding some audio complexity but if you used anauxiliary audio device you'd have two copies of your sound -redundancy is good.


D0n
D0n's picture
Last seen: 5 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 11/09/2007 - 5:28pm

I shoot weddings.

I considered the beachtek adaptors.

I went instead with a peavy pv6 usb mixing board.

My reasoning was simply this.... some of the venues and churches I've been to have archaic soundboards and rather than risk plugging into phantom powered, plugs by accident or trying to figure out how to use/troubleshoot someone else's board it is easier to plug into thier board (even if the fastest means is to put a splitter on thier headphone jack, into a board that is safe and set up right, into both one or more of my camcorders and my laptop.


XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

You'll probably be able to feed a line signal into a mic input, whether it's switchable or not. You won't be able to feed a mic signal into a line port, on the other hand, and get any usable signal. Numerous times, I've been able to connect the speaker (line output) of my computer to my PC's audio input being set to Mic mode. The audio levels were fine after a significant amount of adjusting the speaker and microphone levels.

The possible side-effect of feeding a line signal into a mic input is an extra amplifyed and distorted signal. Most camcorders that don't have manual sound level controls will often adjust the levels automatically, so there probably won't be any worry.


film814's picture
Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: 02/04/2008 - 12:33pm

If you only have a 1.8" input, and want XLR inputs and controls, I would strongly recommend a JuicedLink. You can get them at B&H, and they work just like the Beachtek, but the preamps are much higher quality.

I've used one on a camera while shooting a stage production, and the audio came out gorgeous. (Plus it gives you the flexibility of not only using professional mics, but picking up a feed from a mixer if you want. i.e. if you're doing the video, and there's some other professional doing audio.)


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Line to mic WILL distort and overwhelm your mic circuits and could possibly cause serious damage to the audio circuits of your camcorder. DO NOT directly connect a line feed to a microphone input without some kind of converter!


MachVI's picture
Last seen: 5 years 1 month ago
Joined: 10/18/2009 - 9:02pm

Wow - it was interesting to do a web search on this topic and find my own question from a year ago. I never saw the replies until now. Thanks for the input, and yes, I still haven't gotten around to setting up my studio, with this issue being one of the gating issues. The problem is that I'm looking for a low-cost solution as I already have a decent little Yamaha mixing board, I was hoping there was some quick and cheap way to connect its line-out to the mic-in of a camcorder. I was hoping someone would say something like "just buy this $15 attenuator cord from XXX and you'll be just fine." No such luck?


hshk's picture
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: 02/13/2012 - 10:11pm

This is what I was looking for too as I wanted to record music performances for cheap with good sound quality by providing directly the mixer output to the video recorder, but has been out of luck. I tried using a Cannon HF-R200 camcorder with the audio output from a Behringer 801 mixer and that didn't work, except some kind of humming sound. I could connect the audio output from my macbook and could record music with video. I was searching in google and found this adaptor at Amazon. May be worth a try using with the mixer. Let me know if any of you try this one out.

http://www.amazon.com/Shure-A15LA-Adapter-Attenuate-Impedance/dp/B0006NMSXS


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 7 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

I thought most audio mixers had a mic output as well, allowing source in to go to the camcorder mic input at the proper levels. Mine does, but it is a Studiomaster, but my cheap RadioShack mixer also has both mic/line.


channelone's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 06/02/2012 - 1:54pm

EarlC wrote:I thought most audio mixers had a mic output as well, allowing source in to go to the camcorder mic input at the proper levels. Mine does, but it is a Studiomaster, but my cheap RadioShack mixer also has both mic/line.

 

Not really, the majority of the boards I have come across which is probably a few hundred by now, output a balanced line level signal at either -8dBu or -4dBu via either a TRS jack or a XLR jack, though a few “consumer” boards do output at -10dBu.

 

Either way using a matching 25dB attenuator cable will bring the pro line level down to either -33dBu or -29dBu which is well within the input specifications of consumer or pro-sumer camcorders.

 

That stated, it must be remembered that nearly all of the 25dB down cables are utilizing a resistor T-pad network and while that provides a pretty good impedance match from board to camcorder it’s not perfect and using one will cause a bit of a tilt of around -2dB+, above 8kHz, which for 99.9% of videographers will go un-noticed.

 

Now if one is audio anal like I am and insists on a nearly perfect impedance match, the addition of a Shure A95UF will create an excellent match between the balanced line level XLR output on a board to the un-balanced 25dB down cable at the camcorder.

 

The nice thing about using the A95UF is it’s possible to extend the balanced line level output of the board utilizing standard balanced microphone cables quite a distance, something that cannot happen with the un-balanced output of the A95UF or any other unbalanced cable.

 

Wayne

 


DNSVideo's picture
Last seen: 6 years 9 months ago
Joined: 02/24/2008 - 11:28pm

I have used both the Phones port and my Main Mix out ports to send audio to my camcorders MIC port, no ill effects suffered when doing this. See the specs for my Mixer and camcorder here - http://asimplelife.ca/specs.html


Rick Crampton's picture
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 08/20/2009 - 1:08pm

MachVI sez:

"I was hoping someone would say something like "just buy this $15 attenuator cord from XXX and you'll be just fine." No such luck? "

If you know which end of a hot soldering iron to pick up, the price of your solution is considerably less than $ 15/channel. You have "unbalanced " inputs on your camcorder, I assume, since the mic input is stereo on a mini TRS ( tip-ring-shield ) connector. I will also assume that the output connectorsof your mixer are unbalanced, each having a " hot " wire ( coaxial core or 1/4" plug " tip "), surrounded by a shield ( "commond "or ground ). You need to connect a resister in series with each ofthe left and right" hot "leads ( between the mixer and the camera ), and a " shunt "resister from the junction of each ofthe series resisters ( on the camera side ) to the common ( or shield ) which is continuous from the mixer to the camera. It is the ratio of the resister values in each leg ( left or right channel) which will determine the amount of attenuation you wind up with. For starters, I would begin with a 100K ohm series resister, and a 10K ohm shunt resister. If this ratioprovides too much attenuation, decrease the value of the series resister. If not enough attenuation, increase the value of the series resister. This should fit into something about the size of a small metal Band-Aid box.Radio Shack could be your friend for what should be readily available and inexpensive components. A friend who is an electronics tinkerer or ham radio type could also be valuable.

Rick Crampton


channelone's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 06/02/2012 - 1:54pm

gldnears wrote: You need to connect a resister in series with each ofthe left and right" hot "leads ( between the mixer and the camera ), and a " shunt "resister from the junction of each ofthe series resisters ( on the camera side ) to the common ( or shield ) which is continuous from the mixer to the camera. It is the ratio of the resister values in each leg ( left or right channel) which will determine the amount of attenuation you wind up with. For starters, I would begin with a 100K ohm series resister, and a 10K ohm shunt resister.

Rick Crampton

 

Rick, for what it is worth, to build a standard 25 dB down cord, the input resistor needs to be around 51 ohms, the output resistor needs to be 40k and the shunt resistor needs to be around 600 ohms.

 

Now some of those numbers may look familiar and they should, the input resistor supplies a good deal of the (low impedance) attenuation and the bridge matches the input of the pad to the nominal 600 ohm output of the board, while the 40K provides more attenuation and a decent match from the output of the pad to the input of the camcorder.

 

Wayne


TChris's picture
Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: 01/26/2013 - 8:51pm

Help!  No matter what mixer I use, and I have 3, I get a loud ground noise from my mixer output to the direct audio input on the camera.  Any way around this?


channelone's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 06/02/2012 - 1:54pm

TChris wrote:Help!  No matter what mixer I use, and I have 3, I get a loud ground noise from my mixer output to the direct audio input on the camera.  Any way around this?

 

Two possiblities, the primary one being you probably have a serious impedance mismatch between the board and the camcorder and or you are using a long un-balanced cable.

 

Either one can screw the pooch.

 

Wayne  


channelone's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 06/02/2012 - 1:54pm

MachVI wrote:I've been out of video production for 15 years and am getting ready to jump back in with an HD camcorder purchase, but one of my absolute "must haves" is the ability to feed the camcorder with the "line out" of an audio mixing board for some studio work. What is not clear to me is if the microphone input jack (such as on a Canon HF20) is compatible with the normal line levels from an audio device, or will it only work with microphones?

 

 

It's fairly simple to do, you take a -25dB line to microphone cable connect it to the camcorder and adapt the other end to match the output jack of the board which is commonly a ¼ inch TRS jack.

 

Here’s one such cable.

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/767986-REG/Whirlwind_WHH4NL3_5_WHH4NL3_5_Line_to_Microphone.html

 

Wayne


Tommy Chris's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 05/29/2013 - 12:08pm

Whatever audio is coming into the mixer will go to your camera.  It doesn't have to be just mics.


dagunner's picture
Last seen: 10 months 1 week ago
Joined: 07/02/2009 - 2:25am

I would like to add a question to this thread. I record racing at a lot of different tracks. I usually give the announcer my wireless mic to use along side of his mic. Most don't mind but a few do not want to use it as they feel they have no control of the mic and don't want to be recorded saying something silly. Handling 2 mics is also an issue. This season I am plugging into the headphone out jack of their systems. No matter what I do the sound is too distorted once the cars start to race and the announcer has to talk real loud. I am thinking of getting a Behringer XENYX 802 Mixer that another person recommended for this issue. I record with a Sony AX2000. Is this a good solution? They will not let me adjust any settings other than the headphone level on their systems


Rick Crampton's picture
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: 08/20/2009 - 1:08pm

"  I am thinking of getting a Behringer XENYX 802 Mixer that another person recommended for this issue. "    I took a quick peek at the Behringer mixer you propose and I didn't see that it had any " input pading ) feature. You might find that " something " might still overload your camera's audio, even with an external mixer.    Does you camera have the ability to switch between mic level input and line level input ( which is usually about 50 db louder than mic level )? If not, then a relatively inexpensive in-line " pad " ( or attenuator= same thing ) will take care of your problem.    If you still want an audio mixer, I think I'd be looking at something a bit better quality than the Behringer stuff.


dagunner's picture
Last seen: 10 months 1 week ago
Joined: 07/02/2009 - 2:25am

Yes it has dual XLR and the ability to set line or mic inputs. This is an area I have neglected to study up on. Guess I will do that now. Thanks!