Newbie question: need ext. mic input comparison for mini DV

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Mikey, Jul 24, 2004.

  1. Mikey

    Mikey Guest

    I make my living in audio, and want to buy or trade for a mini DV
    which has specific features, such as an external mic input, and
    hopefully a headphone output as well. I've been google searching, but
    I can't even come close to finding what I need yet. I need to find a
    comparison chart - preferably all brands - of available mini DVs that
    can *exclude* those without my desired features. I don't need reviews
    yet, just trying to narrow the field from 100 to 10 without
    overlooking anything.

    Does anyone have a link to anything like this? Feel free to email me
    privately with specific info. I will try to check back here later.

    Thanks for the bandwidth,
    Nova Music Productions
    Mikey, Jul 24, 2004
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  2. From what I have seen, it is mostly the very low-end
    camcorders that lack a mic input.
    Most DV camcorders have headphone outputs. Even the
    palm-size micro camcorders, IME. Doesn't mean that
    there will necessarily be anything worth monitoring! :-(
    Do you mean a list of camcorders that have/lack mic
    inputs, or camcorders that have/lack headphone outputs?
    Likely doesn't exist. You'll have to look up specs for the
    individual units.
    Shouldn't you start with the camcorders within your budget
    and then eliminate the products that lack the features you seek?
    It wouldn't hurt to ask in a forum like this, state your budget,
    and as many details about what you are looking for.
    Several of us came to video production from the world of
    audio production. And there are some authors (books,
    columnists, etc.) that specialize in audio for video. Jay Rose
    is a Clio and Emmy award winning sound designer and is
    one of those authors. He writes a regular column on audio for
    video for DV magazine, has written a couple of best-
    selling books on DV audio, and features a bunch of good
    info on his website:

    In particular, one of his DV Magazine articles might be of
    specific interest to you: "DV Camera Audio: Real Numbers,
    Real Recommendations"

    After reading it, you might re-consider doing "double-system"
    sound recording! :)

    Note also that there is a newsgroup that specializes in sound
    for production: As you might imagine, there is an ever-increasing amount
    of discussion of video production there, particularly with
    the amount of HD that is replacing traditional film-based
    production. Discussion of which video cameras are most
    audio-friendly is a semi-regular topic. A Google Groups
    search would likely turn up some interesting reading.
    Richard Crowley, Jul 24, 2004
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  3. Mikey

    Mikey Guest

    I'm looking for a low-cost unit (~$300-$400) With mic input, headphone
    output, Firewire (I)/O, Good video quality, Ext. video/SVHS I/O for
    pass-thru transfers to computer. Stills would be nice, and card
    storage, too. I'd like Analog zoom to be more than 10x - maybe
    16x-20x. I'm not too concerned about LCD size or resolution, tho
    brightness could be a factor as I do plan to shoot outside as well as

    Question - I've seen lots of mDVs with the little 1/8" "A/V" jack. Is
    this a stereo jack that allows mic in/headphone out at the same time,
    or what?
    I've seen both your's and Jay's posts on, as I've been
    hanging there for many years now. I figure I have all this
    under-utilized studio, so why not get my feet wet with video & see
    what happens? I have a couple of casual projects lined up already.
    A term I'm not familiar with...
    I couldn't get to it. I signed up but I couldn't get to the link. I'll
    try again.
    Thanks Richard, I'll try that too.

    Nova Music Productions
    Mikey, Jul 26, 2004
  4. Yikes! I hope you have a lot of time to try to find such a thing.
    Your wish list and budget almost seem to be in different
    universes. 8-/
    4-pole (sleeve, tip, and 2 rings) connector that has composite
    video, and left/right audio (line level) all on the same connector.
    If you feed video/audio IN while recording, it will override the
    camera and record the line-in. During playback, the same
    connector is video/audio line-level output. Headphone is almost
    always a separate connector.
    I hope you don't think that we are in the same league! Jay
    is a working professional that has been in the biz for decades
    and has the credits and awards to show for it. I have been in
    the engineering biz for decades (some of it audio and video)
    and love making/hacking equipment as much as using it.
    It means recording the audio on a separate machine from the
    film/video. Still used exclusively for film production and
    even on many (most?) high-budget HDTV. It is a somewhat
    specialized area of audio production and is discussed by
    working pros over in the r.a.p.s newsgroup.
    Richard Crowley, Jul 27, 2004
  5. Mikey

    Mikey Guest

    But I've seen a LOT of units with most, if not all of those features
    in that price range (street price @ Circuit City, etc.). The problem
    is I've seen too MANY models & few have the mic/HPH I/O I'm looking
    for. I did see a Samsung unit for $400 with everything, but I'm shy on
    Samsung, as well as Sony. Any brand recommendations overall? My
    opinion has always been high on JVC and Panasonic.
    Therefore useable while shooting as a post-mic pre line in? Or not
    useable because I'd not be getting video from the lens? Seems the
    latter is likely to me. IOW, when *anything* is plugged into the A/V
    jack EVERYTHING is bypassed in favor of both ext. audio and video.
    Ah - I get it. No, I'm not planning any DS work at this time. I think
    with good mics, pres, technique, and placement, the 16/bit/44 or 48k
    digital audio on-board the mini DV will do just fine. I'm assuming
    it's approximately the same quality/conversion as a DAT machine. Not
    Apogee quality, I'm sure, but 'good enough' for now.

    I've check Jay Rose's site - he's quite entertaining.

    Thanks for your help, Richard!

    Nova Music Productions
    Mikey, Jul 27, 2004
  6. "Mikey" wrote ...
    Not sure how important video quality is to you (or to whatever
    projects you are considering). If there are only a "few" with
    mic inputs and headphone outputs, that automatically cuts down
    your list, doesn't it? Lots of us have a prejudice FOR Sony
    (whether deserved or not). The majority of working video pros
    out there shooting news and reality field stuff are likely using
    Sony. But JVC and Panasonic certainly have their following
    also. Dunno how the quality reputations (of any of them) translate
    into the very low-end stuff, however.

    [A-V jack]
    Not usable, as it bypasses camera (video). There may not be
    ANY cameras <$20K that have true "line" inputs. My Sony
    DSR-300 (as all $5K-10K cameras and most conventional
    mixers, Mackie, et. al.) have attenuators to knock line-level
    down to feed into the balanced mic inputs.
    Read Jay Rose's article before you make such assumptions.
    You might be surprised. I think your expectations may
    exceed whats out there in the market, particularly at the
    low end.
    Richard Crowley, Jul 27, 2004
  7. Mikey

    Mikey Guest

    Let me rephrase my OP, then:

    Does anyone know of a miniDV cam under $500 ($400 street) with
    external mic/line in, firewire/dv out, good video quality & resolution
    (probably indoor and outdoor), a/v I/O for pass thru (mostly for
    analog transfers)? Still capture capability to memory card would be
    nice but not necessary. Headphone out while recording mic/line in
    would be nice, too.

    Thanks Richard for your advice.

    Best wishes,
    Nova Music Productions
    Mikey, Aug 6, 2004
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