A sound problem resolved

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ned c
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: Dammeron Valley USA

A sound problem resolved

Post by ned c »

I was setting up to shoot an interview with the Sony AX700 and In one of those moments of complete stupidity I inadvertently set my input audio recording level at maximum. I hooked up the Sony wireless mic plugged everything in; put on the headphones and powered up. The sound in the headphones practically blew my head off; quick switch off; reset the sound level; headphones on; nothing. I had seemingly blown out the headphone circuit; the sound levels registered on the LCD side screen and on my external monitor via HDMI; plug the headphones into the monitor and discover that there is a perceptible lag; painful but at least I can get a sense of the ambience and the recording. Stagger through the shoot and contact a camera repair center; quote $360 plus shipping both ways, probably total cost about $400 for a moment of sheer carelessness; I thought about it.

On my next shoot I again used the external monitor headphone connection but that lag is totally distracting; OK to set up but hopeless for continuous audio monitoring. Before committing to the $400 repair I decided to explore alternative approaches and discovered the Scaramonic audio mixer with lavalier microphone kit; price $45. A visit to YouTube and a careful reading suggested this may be a work around my headphone problem; set ordered from Amazon. The package arrived, designed for use with telephones, GoPros and DSLRs the unit is powered by one AAA battery and has two microphone inputs, one threaded for locking one audio output; plus the essential headphone socket . Also in the package a wired lavalier microphone which turned out to be very good and cables to meet all needs; great value indeed. Tried it out; it worked; a messy method but it answered an urgent need. With the Covid19 shut down I didn’t use the camera for more than a month; then time to shoot the local vineyard which I am following over a year. I powered up the camera to discover that everything had reverted to reset; date/time/button selections etc. groan and go through everything. Plug in the external mic; without thinking put on the headphones; to my amazement they are working; check with the built-in camera mics and an external mic via the XLR adaptor; sound to the headphones from every source.

I do not know the true explanation of what happened but can make some guesses; by returning the camera to the “factory settings” a fuse or something like it in the headphone circuit had been restored; or perhaps there are gremlins after all.
ned c
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TimStannard
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Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: A sound problem resolved

Post by TimStannard »

Thanks Ned,

A lesson to us all. But yet again, effectively "turn it off (in this case for long enough for any residual current to disperse) and turn it on again". How often that works.

Glad you saved yourself $400, Ned and can start filming agin unencumbered by extra hardware.
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
Michael Slowe
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Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 4:24 pm

Re: A sound problem resolved

Post by Michael Slowe »

Ned, what a saga, thanks for sharing it. I'm ashamed to say I hardly ever monitor audio through headphones as I'm working alone and trying to forge a relationship with my subject and the wearing of headphones would be an encumbrance. Once I've checked on the screen that audio is being recorded I get on with the filming, hoping that it's all OK. I set recording levels to auto, again to allow concentration on the subject. Of course, with a drama set up and other people involved, it is important to know that you are getting what you want, with me it's only me I'm letting down if there is a problem.
ned c
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: Dammeron Valley USA

Re: A sound problem resolved

Post by ned c »

Michael I agree that it is not always possible to monitor through headphones all the time but my sound guru tells me to always monitor at set up and record the ambience (he calls it the "noise floor') so that he can clean up the sound if there is a constant background noise from something I cannot control.
What I learnt from my experience is that cameras rather like computers can be "re-booted" by resetting or returning to the "factory settings". If I had realised this I would have avoided some pain and expense.

ned c
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TimStannard
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Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: Surrey

Re: A sound problem resolved

Post by TimStannard »

ned c wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 3:17 pm ...my sound guru tells me to always monitor at set up
And I bet he suggests monitor though closed back headphones. I invested a couple of years back in a pair of Sony HD25s - having read they are common in the industry for ENG. They are very close fitting and superb at eliminating external noise. They are not brilliant across the frequency range and I wouldn't want to listen to classical music - or any music really - through them, but for establishing what the camera/digital recorder is capturing - especially in the voice frequencies, they really get the job done. I pop them on and immediately hear any extraneous sound being picked up.

I fully accept there are times when you can only monitor at setup, but in these cases it is absolutely critical you visually monitor the meters and question any changes (not just drop outs)
ned c wrote: Sun May 10, 2020 3:17 pm and record the ambience (he calls it the "noise floor') so that he can clean up the sound if there is a constant background noise from something I cannot control.
Good advice, which I know and regularly forget!
Tim
Proud to be an amateur film maker - I do it for the love of it
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