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  • White noise on SONY PXW Z 90 is this normal?

     baidawi dawi updated 1 year, 1 month ago 4 Members · 6 Posts
  • Rich Kaelin

    January 23, 2018 at 2:18 am

    Okay, so I jumped right in and bought the PXW Z90 that was just released this month. It’s a really nice compac t4K camcorder that I think is going to be great for a job I have to film where a really small camera is needed.

    Unfortunately, it seems there is a white noise recorded on the audio. I am wondering if I have heard this before and never noticed it on other cameras, or if this is unusual? I mean I edit a lot, and we always do room tone, and there’s always some kind of sound in the background. Maybe I just assumed this hissing was part of that sound. When I hook up the XLR handle, and don’t even have an input attached, I hear some white noise on the recording. When I hook up a mic I hear even more, but I thought perhaps that was because it was a cheap mic. So I ran some tests and I disconnected everything, and even with nothing connected to the XLR there is still some white noise recorded. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I think I hear more white noise when I turn the phantom power on, even if there’s nothing connected. Is this normal on some cameras? I would read it as something like tape hiss.

    The audio settings on this camera aren’t great, and I’m hoping that a firmware update will be released that allows a little more control. If anyone can tell me whether or not this is normal that would be wonderful.

    Rich Kaelin
    Kaelin Motion Production Services
    New York

  • Craig Seeman

    January 23, 2018 at 3:12 am

    I have both the X70 and Z90 and there is no difference.
    It really depends on mic and settings so any blanket statement is virtually pointless.
    Hotter signals are generally better at suppressing preamp noise.

  • Rich Kaelin

    January 23, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    It seems even if I run it with no input hooked up I hear some “hiss.” Seems worse with phantom power on.

    Rich Kaelin
    Kaelin Motion Production Services
    New York

  • Bob Mark

    January 23, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Can you record without an input microphone connected and then look at the file in a program that will show the waveform? Then you will see the self noise. Some camcorders have noisy pre-amps. Are you recording at mic or line level input? You might ask this question in the audio professionals forum.


  • Rich Kaelin

    January 23, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    Thank you. Yes I have done all kinds of tests. The noise is definitely greater when I turn on phantom power. Without phantom power is almost nonexistent. It is very low when phantom power in on and nothing is hooked up. I think the microphone I have may just be generating noise on its own or picking up room noise. It was pretty cheap and I took a chance. I may have to invest more, or like I said maybe it’s just picking up the room because it’s really sensitive and I am mistaking it for white noise. But it doesn’t sound like a fan, it sounds like hiss. I have a wireless lav that does not require phantom, and it is much cleaner although I do hear what I assume is a little bit of radio frequency interference in the background. When I disconnect that mic the channel goes pretty silent. The wired lav that requires phantom has “a lot” of noise, but when I disconnect it there is still a little bit of noise, then when I switch off the Phantom that goes away. I put “a lot” in quotes because that’s just my opinion. Maybe it’s perfectly acceptable. But I am seeing it run about -45 to -50 DB. That seems like an awful lot to me. With the wireless lav it is a small fraction of that. I am going to run some more concise tests and maybe submit the waveforms to the audio group. Thank you.

    Rich Kaelin
    Kaelin Motion Production Services
    New York

  • baidawi dawi

    August 5, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    I’m getting the same issue with my PXW Z90. A lot of white noise when the audio unit is connected which isnt there when I use audio direct from the camera.

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