Welcome to our second newsletter. If you are getting this for the first time,
please read Audio Part 1 first. This is a continuing subject.
Now for maintenance tips
If you notice low level or distorted audio when playing back recorded audio or
while monitoring your recording in the PB mode, there is a way to help determine where the
problems is. Because the playback and record circuits are generally independent of each
other, just play back a known good tape. If that audio sounds just as bad as the audio you
just recorded, you can assume that the recording may be OK. It might be worth the risk, to
continue recording. If audio sounds good then chances are the recording is bad.
Usually (about 95% of the time) this problem is due to an audio head clogged
with tape debris. A proper wet cleaning of the heads will most likely fix your problem. If
you don't have time, move your most important audio source to the working channel. It is
unlikely that you’ll get two head clogs at the same time. It's also important to remember
that heads don't clog themselves. It is debris coming off the tape that causes the problems.
Some videographers have had years with no record problems, because they were lucky to have
had used good tape stock. You just never know when some bad stock will show up. Under
conditions of high humidity and temperatures, marginal tape stock can get even
Another option to think about is the use of the back up recordings made on the
AFM tracks 3 and 4. This double recording can save your butt if you happen to get a clog on
one of your linear tracks 1 and 2. The Ch 3 & 4 AFM tracks recorded in the video signal
are independent of the linear recording circuits. With the broadcast BVW and HL-V series
camcorders, Ch1 & 2 simultaneously get recorded on Ch 3 & 4 when using metal tape. On
the BVV-5, make sure the AFM input is switched to CH 1& 2. The down side of this
technique is that if the editing playback decks do not have capabilities of AFM playback, a
dub will have to be made from one that has. This can however, save your shoot!
When recording non-recoverable events and you need only one channel, use an XLR
"Y" audio splitter and record on all 4 channels. Some even use a DAT recorder or a back up
Betacam deck in such circumstances. Problems will and do occur, so be prepared.
Another trap is the 48-volt power that is included on all camcorders and
dockable audio XLR inputs. The purpose of this switch is to provide 48-volt DC to power
shotgun mikes that require external power. Often the power switch is accidentally bumped or
left in the "on" position. This can over power and kill a normal microphone. We have received
quite a few calls on this one. If your camera mounted shotgun mike has a problem, unplug it
and plug it into rear mike jacks on deck. Turn on the 48-volt switch and switch the audio
input selector switch to the mike position. We have made many repairs to the internal mike
circuits and by bypassing the front connector you can at least buy some time until you can
get it repaired.
We occasionally get calls about level problems, usually Ch 1. On broadcast
camcorders and dockable decks, Ch 1 has a second audio control mounted either on the side of
camera or on the front of the viewfinder that makes it easy to adjust the Ch1 audio level on
the fly. Almost every one is caught once with this control accidentally turned down. This
control is in series with the side mounted one, and if left turned down will make the normal
There are many common audio problems that may not even be related to the
recording deck. This is especially true with crews that use a sound tech with a mixer and
radio mikes, and would show up in EE mode without even rolling tape. Start using the process
of elimination by plugging a hard wired one directly into camcorder or deck. If problem
clears up, look into mixer, cables, batteries, mikes, RF interference as source of