OT Sony Digital 8 mic input question

B.Verlik wrote on 2/14/2005, 4:19 PM
Although this is an audio question, I thought more Sony Dig 8 users would be here. Everytime I bring my original Dig 8 camera around a live band, it completely distorts beyond being usable. I've just recently aquired a used Sony Dig 8 TRV-730. Of course no manuals came with it and when I went to Sonys regular website to download another, as usual, nothing happened even though I have the latest version of Adobe reader. So my question is: This camera has a mic input jack. Is there a simple way to make the sound in a "live band situation", not distort or am I going to have to use an external mixer and bring the output levels way down. If there's a volume control on the camera for the mic input jack, I haven't discovered it yet (Yes for playback of sound).


nickle wrote on 2/14/2005, 5:27 PM
Try this link for the manual


otherwise I'll try to look it up if no one answers.

EDIT There's a volume control on the bottom left of your lcd but I don't know if it's for recording or playback.

Do you have headphones?
B.Verlik wrote on 2/14/2005, 6:15 PM
I appreciate your response. I went to that site, and I had the same problem that I did with the Sony site. I found the manual and when I clicked on the link, it went to another page which said: 'Done' and there was nothing there. I have to use Adobe 6.0 because, according to Adobes site, Adobe 7.0 is only for Windows 2000 and XP and I'm on ME. I don't know why I can't view the PDF. I know that I can download PDFs and view them without any problem and I thought I enabled the Adobe to be able to read off the internet, but somehow that's not working. (Also, that particular page would not come up when using Firefox for browser.) I've even made PDFs with this Adobe 6.0 and sent them over the internet, so I don't understand what my problem is. I wonder why they don't make a downloadable PDF file.
PS: That volume control is for the little speaker that's built in. It probably works on the headphones too. (I figured if there was a control for the mic input jack, it would be accessed by the menu, but I didn't notice any the 1st time I searched the menus.) It's beginning to look like I'll have to use an outside mixer and lower the output.
nickle wrote on 2/14/2005, 6:25 PM
I'm using Firefox. I just right-click the link abd save it to the hard drive.

Opening a pdf in Firefox used to cause it to freeze, although that seems to be fixed now.

I have the pdf on my hard drive and did a search for distorion but no results.

I'll look again.
B.Verlik wrote on 2/14/2005, 6:40 PM
I've downloaded PDFs using FIrefox before. That's not the problem. I just couldn't open that page with all the lists of manuals with it, so I switched to explorer and it opened. The problem I have is it doesn't necessarily say it's downloadable, just that is a PDF. normally, I can download PDFs but those and the ones at Sony immediately jump to another page and it says 'Done' at the bottom and there's nothing there.
It probably won't say anything about distortion in the manual. I just wanted specs for the mic input and any instructions I may need to know. I thought there must be somebody at this site who's figured out how to overcome the easily overdriven sound of the Dig 8, when using an outside mic in a noisy setting. (So I won't have to go through the long trial and error period of figuring the exact "all around" setting I'll have to come up with.) I still have my instruction manual with my original TRV-130, but that doesn't have nearly everything this new cam has.
craftech wrote on 2/14/2005, 7:33 PM
Did you record it in "LP" mode?


Meanwhile let me see if I can find you a manual.
richard-courtney wrote on 2/14/2005, 7:34 PM
The TRV730 does the same as my family's TRV330. The AGC is poor
on these units.

A good solution is to use an external mic and a small adapter such as
BeachTek DXA-8 that has limiting. $360 is pricey but having more control
of the audio and standard line of pro mics out there, you may find it your
best accessory purchase.
craftech wrote on 2/14/2005, 7:43 PM
If you are going to try an external mic I would recommend the Audio Technica AT822 stereo mic. Perfect for recorders with 3.5 stereo inputs and comes with all cables, etc. Street price is $249.

Anyway here is the manual. Right click and "Save Target As" to your desktop.

farss wrote on 2/14/2005, 8:10 PM
It's quite possible you've managed to overload the camera mics themsleves so even if you could turn the gain down you'd still be in trouble.
On top of that if you're moving the camera around then your stereo image will be all over the place. Obviously the best thing is a proper mixer and seperate recording device and lots of mics. Failing that then a decent stereo mic on a stand with a long lead might be your best bet, you could probably make or buy a 10 or 20dB attentuator to go between the mic and the camera but again I'd watch the mics max SPL rating.
Marantz will soon have their PMD 660 CF recorder on the shelves, might be ideal for this kond of stuff.
B.Verlik wrote on 2/14/2005, 8:53 PM
Okay. 1st of all, thank you for all the responses. After 'Craftech' gave me a direct link and once again, all I could open was a blank page, I went into all my options in Firefox and discovered that I did have a PDF plugin. Then I noticed it said that if you disconnect any plugin, then the file would automatically be downloaded to the file of your choice. Well Duh and a 1/2. For 2 years I've been wondering why some sites let me have the PDF and some don't. I guess a 4.2 MB file can't even tell you it can't open up and all I would get is a blank page that said 'Done'.
I finally downloaded the PDF and then opened the file only to discover there's basically no information on the mic input jack except it's size and that is will work with power mics. Never the less, I'm glad I have the manual finally. It will come in handy for the 'pass-through' feature and some other options and info.
I have not recorded with this camera in a loud situation yet. My information is based on my original TRV-130 which was horrible in a live band situation. So bad it was completely unusable. Once I took it to a fairly quiet Jam session and it was still incredibly distorted. So I'm assuming that all the Dig 8s are that way unless there was something inside that would let you attenuate it.
In 1987, when Hi-FI VCRs were 1st on the market, I bought one and there weren't any inputs besides the RCAs. I had somebody build a very small stereo, mic to line transformer that included little screwdriver-turned, trim controls for the input stage. It's about the same size as the "wallwart" that powers it. I may try that first. I always have to work my way up from the cheapest solution.
Bob, you were right about that TBC working like a charm, when using Pass-thru. I didn't drop any frames at all. Even going over the sections that always created them before.
Thanks again for all the help, each of you.
cbrillow wrote on 2/15/2005, 9:24 AM
I have a DCR-TRV350 digital 8 camera and have dealt with this situation. In my case, I wanted to bypass the internal mic completely by taking line-level audio from the band's mixing board tape output.

A couple of low-cost, simple solutions:

1) If you have soldering skills, a simple resistive divider will do the trick. That's what I did.

2) Radio Shack sells an attenuating dubbing cable. I believe that it's a mono cable, so you'd have to get two along with an appropriate adapter for stereo.
nickle wrote on 2/15/2005, 9:32 AM
As an "aside" to this, I ended up downloading a manual for the 720 which also has refernces to the 820.

While scanning through the pdf looking for references to audio/sound/mic etc. I came across the "printer".

The 820 has a built-n printer to print photos directly from the camera.

I was baffled.
Jsnkc wrote on 2/15/2005, 9:43 AM
I do live band recordings all the time. The easiest way I have found is to just let the sound guy do the recording of the audio and don't try to run it into the camera. Most of the guys I have worked with usually have a laptop, or a CD burner built into their system so they can easily record the live sound directly off the board and get excellent quality. I messed around with diffrent microphones, cameras and everything you can imagine to get a good "live sound" I could never get it to work though. Once I started having the sound guy record it, it made my work a LOT better, and sound a LOT more professional. A lot of times I will also mix in some of the audio that the camera pics up as well to get some crowd noise and really make is sound "live"
B.Verlik wrote on 2/15/2005, 11:49 AM
Ultimately, I will record onto something separate for audio. But once in a while something comes up and I can't set up separate audio recorders. For instance, last summer I was called to video tape an outdoor party with a 2 day notice. It turns out the guy had gone all out and had 'Beatlemania', 'The Turtles', and 'Chuck Negron' of Three Dog Night all set to play at this party. I wasn't allowed to get a feed from the PA. Still nobody said I couldn'd shoot video and I know all 3 bands saw me running around like an idiot, filming all day long. All I had was the cheesy sounding built in mics on a Sony Dig 8 and a Canon Hi-8. I had to use the sound of the Canon Hi8 and it was mono. The Sony distorted over almost anything above a loud conversation. (that's an exaggeration).
Anyway, there are times when I like to film my own jam sessions and I don't really want to go all out to set up a separate audio recording because it's just not important enough, but I wouldn't mind if the sound was much more normal, right off the camera
craftech wrote on 2/15/2005, 1:09 PM
Sorry you had problems downloading the manual, I tried it on my computer before I posted and it downloaded to my desktop. It opened right away. I looked through it and didn't see an external mic input and a manual gain control for the audio which is what you need for what you want to do. Why don't you consider selling the camera and getting another one with those features? Just watch out for those horrible 1/6th and 1/5th CCDs that make light gathering a pain on today's cameras. Yours has a 1/4 CCD (which is barely adequate) but has now become some sort of esoteric luxury on a modern camera. Find an older model with a 1/4 CCD like the one you have, only with better audio input and adjustment capabilities.

B.Verlik wrote on 2/15/2005, 1:28 PM
It was your post that made me go into my browser prefs and realize why it wasn't working, so thanks. I shouldn't have that problem again.
I get the feeling that of all these Sony Dig 8s, none of them have a manual gain control (unless you know something I don't). I mostly picked up the camera because of the 1/4 " chip and the 'Pass-thru' feature. The mic thing, wasn't something I thought about until I had the camera in my hand and noticed the jack. I was hoping for an easy solution for the distortion problems in a loud setting, but pretty much already knew I'd end up having to put in the time and do it myself.
I've been looking at used models for a while and a lot of sellers are starting to realize the value of the 1/4" chip and 'Pass-thru'.
craftech wrote on 2/15/2005, 6:05 PM
The industry annoys me with the way they produce things because not that long ago a videographer scorned a 1/4 CCD camera. That was because 8mm cameras usually came with a standard 1/3 CCD. The 1/4 CCD was laughed at as a cost saving ploy to dupe the consumer. Since that ploy worked so well the industry decided to shrink them down to 1/5 and 1/6 CCD. Now the 1/4 CCD becomes a prescious thing if you can find it. Pretty sickening.
Panasonic rose to fame in the past year with a new tactic. A three chip camera line with three 1/6th CCDs. You see, you can now own your VERY OWN three chip camera for a relatively low price that will bring the level of what you record up to the level of a single 1/4 CCD camera. It's insane. Read the user reviews on Amazon.com The pattern is pretty consistent. The older users don't like the newer cameras because they don't take video as well as the older cameras did, and the newer users think the cameras are "awesome".