Hi guys, I need your audio forensics skills in this here situation…
I have recently bought one of these camcorders, and I love it…
Last weekend I was filming some of NZ’s best blues talent at a nearby festival, more as a test than anything else. I am good friends with the owner of the venue.
The board was a Soundcraft SI Impact - and the engineer is known to be “moody” to say the least. However, I was pleased to learn I could get two XLR channels from the board, via a split cable that he had put in. There wasn’t time to ask too many questions.
When I came home after the Friday night, I was horrified to hear the result on the camera. That evening it was three different guitar-vocalist performers, and the recorded vox was definitely clipping.
There was no clipping on the camera itself, as I understand it. The gain dial was set to 1.2 out of 8 and there was never any red-lining on the meter. The only thing I found odd was I needed to select “mic” instead of “line” on the camera’s input selector - there was no noticeable signal when “line” was selected.
The video quality was great, the audio was bad.
The next day it went from bad to worse as there were several large bands, with trombones, saxophones and lead guitars - loud drums. The signal was never clipping on the camera and when I tried lowering the gain further, the signal basically disappeared. So I put it back to the 1.2 value.
It also sounded horrible in the headphones as I was monitoring the music… the sound from the Bose Array speakers was better, even though it was technically too loud and also boomy at times. There was also sounds of clipping, especially from the main vocal mic, a Neumann.
I asked the engineer if the mix I got to the camera was a special mix - he said it was not, it was the same as the main mix, he said. However, listening to my mix it appears it was stereo.
He had also recorded sessions into wave files, which I got hold of. They were MUCH quieter and mono.
Anyway, here’s my Exhibit A that something weird is going on…
The section to the left is heavily distorted when you listen to it. Not surprising when you see the even “lawn-mowing” cuts across big sections… there are still some spikes, could be the snare?
The section to the right sounds absolutely fine… this was recorded much later in the evening - and I suspect the engineer realized he had some wrong settings somewhere and corrected it… the signals on that section look much more natural and they also extend beyond the left part in amplitude.
I think the engineer was running the show with something clipping in the signal chain somewhere, totally screwing the sound - at least the mix to the camera. Unless there’s something really basic that I have misunderstood…
What do you think?