Which microphone for a camcorder?

11 replies [Last post]
AlfredTomlin
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Joined: Mar 6 2009

Hello there,

I have a pansonic nv-gs120 and when I have attached an external mic to it, the mic is very loud and picks up all the hum. I think I will be getting a 'Beachtek' adapter for it. My only problem now is how does one go about choosing a suitable microphone? Can anyone recommend something suitable, around the £100 mark?

Also does anyone know of a shop in London where it is possible to test all this gear out on your camcorder to see if it is the correct choice? Many thanks.

Mark M
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Joined: Nov 17 1999

Alfred, welcome to the DV Doctor community.

If you explore the forum structure you'll see there's a section called FAQs, and the third one down deals exactly with your question about suitable microphones.

HTH

Mark

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Arthur.S
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Joined: Jun 2 1999

You don't say which mic you have Alfred? If you're picking up noise from the cam, you need something to isolate the mic from it. Most sensitive mics have this. Both of my Rode mics for instance.
Also, you need to be able to adjust the level manually - sounds to me like you are on full auto?

AlfredTomlin
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Joined: Mar 6 2009

Hi,

MarkM, I looked at the FAQ thanks but did not find much information, just that for my cheapo camcorder that I should pay around £100-£160. From that I still don't know how you are supposed to discern what one is suitable.

Arthur S, I don't have a mic yet and with the camcorder there is no way to adjust the volume level manually at all. It is a total pain. I will probably have to buy one of those 'Beachtek' gadgets for it because I don't want to use the internal mic as it is so tinny and rubbish.

Arthur.S
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Joined: Jun 2 1999
Quote:
when I have attached an external mic to it, the mic is very loud and picks up all the hum.

So, was this a mic you were just trying out in a shop Alfred? A Beachtek won't let you adjust the volume manually, it's an adaptor to let you connect mics with an XLR connection rather than the mini-jack. There are plenty of mics with a mini-jack connection though. Do you need a stereo, or mono mic? I have one of these and can vouch for the quality of it:
http://www.warehouseexpress.com/product/default.aspx?sku=1020156

Notice the way that the mic is suspended to avoid picking up camera noise like you experienced.

AlfredTomlin
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Joined: Mar 6 2009

Hi there,
thanks for the tip about the Rode mic. Yes, the mic I tried in a shop and bought and then took back was a fairly cheap Audio Technica ATR-25 and what happened was, when the earphones were plugged into the camcorder there is a very low humm. However, when the Audio Technica mic was plugged in the humm heard through the head phones seemed to have amplified massively so it was very loud and the mic attached was just too sensitive, so it could pick up my voice from 12ft away as if it was really close to the mic say 1ft away.

There was no way I could turn the volume down on the camcorder and I have checked the manual very thoroughly for this issue. That's why I thought a beachtek would solved the problem since you don't get volume control on microphones. What do you think is going on with the camcorder and is there a way to get around this. I sort of wondered what the point was of Panasonic having put an external mic socket in the camcorder in the first place.

colin rowe
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Joined: Dec 16 2000

Alfred.
A Beachtek will give you level adjustment, see here http://www.beachtek.com/dxa2s.html
Is the noise you are getting being recorded on tape, or is it only apparent through headphones whilst monitoring the sound? (as this is not uncommon with cheaper mics).

Colin Rowe

AlfredTomlin
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Joined: Mar 6 2009

Hi,
I am a little confused - Arthur S says the Beachtek does not allow you to adjust the volume but Colin says it will let me adjust the level / volume. Which one is right?

I have just listened to the mic recording on tape and yes there is a discernable low hiss, not as bad as how it sounded when I was doing the recording (so the camcorder must adjust the volume) but it is still there. Very annoying.

colin rowe
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Joined: Dec 16 2000

Yes Alfred a Beachtek will give you control of the signal level. There are two pots on the back of the unit, one adjusts channel 1 and the other channel 2. Check out here. http://www.beachtek.com/prod.html Quote. "TRIM CONTROLS adjusts signal level on each channel from unity to no output" end quote. I use Beachteks and can assure you that every model has trim controls to adjust audio levels.

Colin Rowe

AlfredTomlin
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Joined: Mar 6 2009

Hi there Colin,

Thanks for the reply. If I have to buy a beachtek AND a suitable microphone surely I could just buy the Stereo Zoom Microphone (VW-VMH3E) that is meant to go with this model camcorder? I will also save some money then.

colin rowe
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Joined: Dec 16 2000

Yes Alfred you could do just that, but you will still not have any control over the input levels. It all depends on what you want to do regarding audio. If you want to use one or two mics with control over audio, buy the Beachtek and seperate mics. If you think the Rode will serve the purpose, then go for it. I would suggest that you take your camcorder to a dealer and try out any mic you may be considering on your camcorder. Record some footage, take it home and check it out. My personal choice would be the Beachtek and XLR mic option. I think having no control over audio is rather like having no control over exposure or focus. Ultimately, only you can decide what would suit your needs best.

Colin Rowe

Arthur.S
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Joined: Jun 2 1999

have to admit that I've never used a Beachtek, so it's news to me that you can adjust volume with it. It's all sounding a bit on the expensive side for the particular camera you have Alfred. Don't forget that the Beachtek will add quite a bit of bulk, so the camera won't be so 'handy'. It all depends really on what you want to achieve with the camera, and what you use it for most.