Camcorder Audio Tests

This page is a compilation of tests performed both by myself and other owners of a number of video cameras, using a standardized test program, RightMark Audio Analyzer. These pages also contain comments about real-world audio performance of selected models, based on my experience in the field, recording music, fireworks and other sounds.

I recently added a new page to this series, The Skinny on EX1 Audio. It contains field-tested advise for use of the Sony PMW-EX1 with external microphone sources, as well as line level audio sources.


A note about these tests: There is an individual posting inaccurate information about my testing methods, the origin of my Sony V1U and the scientific quality of these tests on a major videographer's discussion forum. He has stated that the camera is "grey market", despite the fact that I have informed him that I have two of these and one of them definitely is NOT grey market, as it came from B&H Video of New York. He is also claiming that my tests are improperly-performed and that no one should believe any of the results. This individual is doing a grave disservice to the videography community, as what I am attempting to do (to get Sony to recall the camera and fix the problem) will benefit ALL owners of this camera. It would be in all our best interests if this individual would cease posting inaccurate and misleading information, while misusing his credentials to impart authority on his "opinion", which is not based on scientific measurements and hard facts.

I invite that individual to pick up a free copy of RightMark Audio Analyzer and test his V1U cameras, all six of them, for himself. Others in that forum are starting to notice the bass deficiency in the V1U and this individual is working hard to quell the questions. I'm convinced that he's receiving a lot of product and possibly sponsor money from Sony, based on his outright denial of this very obvious problem, which is audible on the audio from every V1U that I've heard on the net, in addition to my two V1Us. Test it for yourself, if you don't believe me. I have no motivation to fabricate this "problem". I'm simply reporting on facts. The fact is, the Sony V1U has a high pass filter in its audio chain that cannot be turned off. Current models may have this problem fixed, but I have yet to test one that meets "20-20KHz" that B&H now lists on the camera specs.

Canon HV20 Canon HV20 demonstrates "decent" frequency response.
Panasonic DVX100 Panasonic DVX100 Audio Response, as tested by John Beale* **
HVR-V1U Audio Tests Sony HVR-V1U Audio Frequency Response Issue
HVR-V1U Audio Demo Hear how Sony's crippled audio circuit destroys your sound
HDR-FX1 Audio Tests Sony HDR-FX1 Audio Response, as tested by John Beale*
HDR-HC1 Audio Test Sony HDR-HC1 Audio Reponse, on camera loaned by friend
DCR-VX2000 Audio Tests Sony VX2000 Audio Response, tested by Bass Pig
PMW-EX1 Audio Tests Sony PMW-EX1 Audio Response, tested by Bass Pig
PMW-EX1 Audio Tests Sony PMW-EX1 Audio Response, tested by Bass Pig NEW 1.11 FIRMWARE!!
PXW-FS7 Audio Tests Sony PXW-FS7 (firmware 2.0) Audio Response, tested by Bass Pig
PXW-FS7 Audio Tests Sony PXW-FS7 (firmware 1.2) Audio Response, tested by Christopher Allain
VOICE SPECTRAL GRAPH Male vocal spectrum, recorded with studio condenser mic




















*Test results published with expressed permission from the author.
** Author states that this camera may be defective, as the odd response was taken from only one camera sample.
*** Test performed using MacBook Pro as audio signal source passed through 2 balanced audio transformers to mic level; results may not reflect actual camera audio performance accurately--they are an approximation until further testing can be done.

The second PMW-EX1 test was conducted by me on my own Sony XDCam EX, received today from B&H. I am pleased to report that the audio performance exceeds Sony's specifications by a significant margin. The RightMark graphs look wide and flat--the absolute best I've tested on ANY camera.


The following is a rather stunning demonstration of the quality difference between the HVR-V1U audio and an inexpensive external recorder that I mounted on top of the HVR-V1U as shown in the photographs below. These were taken at Grand Central Terminal on the platform as a Metro North train was leaving.

HVR-V1U Audio Sony HVR-V1U Audio of electric train leaving station
Zoom H4 Audio Zoom H4 Audio of electric train leaving station
The following three audio clips are from a wedding ceremony that I shot this past weekend. I had external condenser mics connected to all of the recording systems. In the V1U sample, a cardioid electret condenser mic was used for the right channel, and the Sony shotgun mic for the left. Since the Sony mic was hotter, I increased the gain on the right channel, which is why there is more hiss on the right. The HV20 also had electret condenser mics positioned at the same location at the right channel mic on the V1U (these were for redundant pickup of wedding vows). The Zoom H4 had external studio condenser mics plugged into it as well.
Canon HV20 Canon HV20 Audio of cathedral organ at wedding ceremony.
HVR-V1U Sony HVR-V1U Audio of cathedral organ at wedding ceremony.
Zoom H4 Zoom H4 Audio of cathedral organ at wedding ceremony.











To submit your RightMark test of your camera, please e-mail me at Bass Pig.

The RightMark free audio analyser software can be downloaded from the site.

My idea of a temporary workaround for the audio problem was to mount a Zoom H4 digital portable recorder to the camera with an Impact hot shoe adapter. The remaining challenge is to devise a way to stop and start the H4 when the V1U is stopped and started.
Detailed close-up of the hot shoe mount. Well worth the $19 it cost at B&H.








































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Last Updated 06/17/2015 01:14 AM