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Camera Mic

February 16th, 2005

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What camera/camera mic should I use to clearly record drumming?

I have a pretty decent Sony HD Handycam with wide lenses and I wanted to record drum covers to upload them. However, the mic isn't great at all and everything but the cymbals sounds like muffled thumps. Any help?

Drums are loud.

You need some way to control the mic gain so the automatic audio gain circuit does not get over driven.

The EASIEST way to do this is to have manual audio control.

Some of the low end Sony's have a menu selection, "MicRefLevel". Some of the low end Canons have a menu selection, "Mic Attenuation". "Normal" for regular audio levels, and the other setting ("Low" or "On") for high volume levels. Since you did not tell us which Sony you are using, we have no way to know if yours has this setting.

In the case of the mid range consumer cams like the Canon HVR20, 30, 40 or Sony HDR-HC1, 3, 5, 7, they have a more granular 12-14 step manual audio control accessed through the menu. Propsumer and pro-grade cams have manual audio controls that are easy to get to and use on the outside of the camcorder.

When the auto mic gain is opver driven, there is a muddy sound (like what your cymbal crashes are giving you) in the recording and when it is REALLY loud, there is "static" - this is "peaking". Neither can be fixed after it is recorded. Not by Audacity or any other audio manipulation tool.

Without manual audio control, there is no external mic available that can resolve this.

I have read that using tape and cotton balls over the camcorder mic works - I have never done it.

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