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Beachtek DXA-SLR for HDSLR Video
  • There are lots of ways to plug XLR microphones into an HDSLR camera now-a-days. You can use a juicedLink box, a Studio 1 Productions adapter, or even a new Sound Devices MixPre-D with the mounting accessory. But if you want to keep things relatively simple yet still get great sound, one of the best options is the Beachtek DXA-SLR.

    For ages the name “Beachtek” was used much in the same way that the term “Xerox” is used for copies. When you needed to plug an XLR microphone into your camera, people told you to use a Beachtek. They certainly wouldn’t say “Use a Camcorder XLR Adapter,” even though, technically, that’s what these boxes are called. In recent years Beachtek has faced lots of healthy competition from the likes of a new-comer called juciedLink. But Beachtek didn’t rest on its laurels, and recently developed the DXA-SLR specifically for HDSLR video shooters.

    Read the rest here -

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  • 44 Replies sorted by
  • Very interesting, thanks for info :-)
  • Personally I'd not bother with this - despite what the reviewer says in his blog, it is still a cumbersome solution. If audio is really important, it's a lot easier to use a separate recorder like the Zoom H4n or similar, to have flexibility with microphone positioning / phantom power etc, syncing afterwards using the in-camera mic as a guide. Having used plug-in XLR adaptors right from the days of DAT and earlier, it's awkward having boxes and leads attached to other equipment (particularly something you want to move around, like a camera), and using a plug-in audio adaptor still means you're relying on the audio capabilities of the camera, which to be honest are never going to be that great for anything critical.

    Depends on the scenario you'd use it for but I struggle to think of one instance where you would gain from the hassle and expense of an adaptor like this.
  • Generally many situations exist then you can use such devices.
    Normally their preamps are much better.
    And using H4n or TR100 for low level signals or with not very sensitive condencer mikes will lead to not very good results.
    Can't say about Beachtek, but DT454 is much better than TR100 (that requires max settings for normal talk recording).
  • I'm hoping the Fostex DC-R302 turns out good. Would be useful for quite a few different camera applications.
  • Just saw that you posted a thread on it before Vitality. Back in april
  • Like the look of the Fostex - three channels is very sensible (2 for left/right, one for say a personal / gun mic). And it records. Shame it doesn't exist yet, but when it does, I bet that will be a popular one.

    I take your points Vitaliy, and for example I haven't done anything with my gun mike and the GH2 because... well, the last shoot I had, I used my Canon HD camcorders. But as for noise, yes you do get a bit off the H4n's internal mikes. Have a listen to this - my voice was recorded using my Sennheiser gun mix going into the XLR on the H4n, while the harp was also simultaneously recorded in stereo using the H4n's mics. It's a very simple setup - the camera was about 15m away, and I used the GH2 as a guide for sync, and from the H4n tracks I just mixed between the two as needed: here's the result (excuse very very basic camerawork, but the point was to do a very quick video to illustrate something, and was all done in one take - although I played a couple of sections afterwards to get the additional angles):

  • For harp I particularly like the Fostex FR2-LE--there's a lot of complex overtones similar to bell harmonics but less dense in the treble than the bell, and the Fostex does a great job with those harmonics. But then, you have to plug in two mics.....
  • The Beachtek DXA is a great little unit. Phantom power for my Rode mics; has AGC over-ride ...and decent pre-amps.

    I used to use my Zoom H4 (or a Juicedlink) together with a 18 KHz tone via an MP3 player (to knock out AGC) until I bought a Beachtek DXA when it came out a few months ago. It's a very well designed/made compact unit...and a lot easier to assemble and use. I have one permanently mounted on my shoulder rig, and another for on tripod use.
  • @Mark Nice audio recording. In a controlled setting, H4n sure does the job.
  • The Sound Devices MixPreD sounds interesting - it's twice the cost of the Beachtek but everyone seems to agree that the SD's preamps are the quietest (for the price, at least).

    I'm pretty sure the best way price/performance ratio would be to use a mixer like a MixPre and a H4N but I'm planning on shooting a feature and the amount of time spent syncing up the audio without timecode from the H4N could be enormous. Even if the camera recorded sound isn't as good, there's a lot to be said for having everything already in sync. The only thing keeping me on the fence about getting an H4N is having the flexibility of recording audio without the camera when I need to for post sound design, etc.
  • How does the DXA-SLR compare to the older model, the DX-A2S? (There's a substantial price difference between the two.) Is it that the DXA-SLR has a pre-amp and the A2s doesn't?
  • DX-A2S was a passive device (transformer based) Phantom power; no pre-amps.
  • Anyone have experience with the DR100 hack? Does it boost the signal? I own an unhacked unit and like it a lot, it's better than the H4n, but as V says, you need to run the levels at near maximum for recording dialog.
  • We need engineer to look at DR100 preamp.

    Sad thing about this units is that they are made for recording loud music.
  • "everyone seems to agree that the SD's preamps are the quietest"
    Everyone except me :)
  • Or save angst in the dub and hire a sound guy ;p Mixers spend more time de-noising, tidying, rescuing badly recorded audio these days than mixing hehe
  • @DrDave

    Which preamps do you think are better? Is there something cheaper than Sound Devices kit that you think are as good or better?
  • I run and gun, so most of the time can live without headphone monitoring. Has anyone got experience with using an XLR to 3.5mm adapter with the GH2 like this one:

    I was considering upgrading from a Videomic Pro to a shock mounted NTG-2.
  • I picked up a BeachTek DXA-4P Dual XLR Adapter on ebay for 60 bucks and since the boom has a battery I figured no biggie that its not phantom powered. It works good BUT I noticed that I am only get a single mono signal into the GH2 not sure if its the 2.5-3.5 adapter cable or a setting on the camera etc...
  • It takes two balanced inputs. i.e. left channel and right channel separately. It mixes and outputs unbalanced signal.

    If you connect one mic input, it feeds to only one input channel. it outputs with only one channel.

    Just duplicate the channel during post-processing.
  • Thanks stonebat that is what I was thinking just wasn't sure.
  • @Ptchaw
    Yep, I use that set up all the time for fast and dirty stuff. Just remember, that won't get you all the way there, you need 3.5 to 2.5 reducer -- I haven't seen xlr to 2.5. I tape the connectors to each other for safety. And your mic needs some sort of power too of course.
  • If you just need a cheap Run-and-Gun you could always get the Rode and a 3.5 to 2.5 cable...


    Then you don't need adapters and the quality is great since the cable from mic to camera isn't long enough to cause bad noise issues.
  • @brianluce Thanks, good to hear :) Does an adapter affect the quality much? I've heard comparisons between the Videomic Pro and an NTG-2, but only with the NTG-2 going directly into an XLR recorder.

    @No_SuRReNDeR Thats what I'm using at the moment, except with a Videomic Pro. What noise issues are there with using an XLR adapter?
  • @Pitchaw
    All I know is running a decent self powered mic (Rode NT3 and Senn me66) sounds decent. Light years better than what's recorded off the onboard mic.