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Ok now I am sure. The GH5's audio sucks balls (both with and without a mic)


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For years I have filmed weddings extensively with the GH3 and GH4. I always used the same microphone, a Shure Lenshopper VP83. Also, I have often even used the audio from the onboard mic. Especially the GH4's onboard mic's audio was great. Almost 'Zoom H1' like in nature.

Now since I have the GH5, I have noticed the following. First of all, the camera records WAY louder than the GH3 or GH4. They really messed it up and I don't know why. When setting the input gain, -12 on the GH5 is the same level as 0 on the GH3 or GH4. In other words, there is no real -12 on this camera.
Even -12 on the GH5 does not cut it for loud audio situations, such as receptions or parties where there is loud music.  This means I will have to use the limiter which I have never used on the GH3 or GH4. Also, the Shure VP83 has a -10db setting which I have never had to use before, but now have to.

Alright, so this woulnd't be so bad if it were the only problem. The real problem is that the GH5's audio circuit has WAY less dynamic range. When I am recording a speech now, the audio is usually on the limit of being loud enough, but as soon as the people start applauding it becomes so loud that it starts clipping very badly. The limiter prevents this slightly, but not completely.

I have just listened to some old clips of mine shot with the GH3. Same microphone. First of all, everything sounds simply 'better' (can't really explain why) but what really stands out, is that everything sounds almost at the same level. This is because of the dynamic range. For instance, a speech and the applause after both sound almost equally as loud and none of it clips. Even loud music during evening parties sounded great on the GH3 and GH4. It was almost impossible to let the audio clip on those cams. And never used the limiter on either.

So, this is pretty bad for me. I like the camera's image quality so much and I am heavily invested in this camera so I will keep using it. But this problem should be adressed. Maybe Panasonic could do something with a firmware update. Surely they can lower the input gain so that it matches the GH4. I am not so sure about the dynamic range and what can be done, but I do know that they messed it up bigtime.

This won't be a problem for people who use dual audio recording, which I also do during the ceremony. But for all other live event recording where you need the camera's audio, be it with or without an external mic, it very much is. Especially because they nailed it on the GH3 and GH4. Cost saving? Or a mistake while rushing for the release? Who knows. But please Panasonic, do something.

 

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That sounds utterly bizarre if you're having to pad the mic and turn the input level down.

A slight difference between the camera may be understandable, but not to that extent.

For it to be that hot it almost sounds like a line level signal going into something expecting a mic level signal.

Its the sort of issue that sounds unusual enough - and I have had a bit of a nose about and haven't seen it anywhere else - to have it checked out.

To support your case with the dealer/Panasonic, set this test tone off on your laptop or monitor speakers and record it with identical settings on both cameras.

You'll then be able to see definitively what the difference is in dB when you look at the file in an NLE.

 

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It does look a bit too loud.

With the mic limiter off the default 0 db internal mic setting sets nominal volume to 0db (say voice at 30 cm).

At this setting about half the signal is showing clipped on the meter (and is distorted on playback).

All digital recorders work best at about -12 to -18db for nominal levels with peaking above that. This provides maximum dynamic range and is marked on the scale.

Setting the GH5 to -12 db sets this average level to exactly -12db. This maximum dynamic range point is marked on the scale as well.
But that should be the normal setting with an additional pad below that being available in high noise situations.
The +6db option should be +6 from the -12 setting, not +6 from the 0 setting.

So those are my two conclusions.

Anyway, I have referred this to Panasonic and will relay their response.

Otherwise yes, use the limiter. No, don't assume the GH4 is better with a more compressed signal just because it might have, I don't know, more vigourous AGC and a more aggressive limiter. Any mic that handles party level music without distorting at normal levels is not giving you a unfiddled signal, that's for sure. This is more a case of finding out how a real audio recorder works in comparison to the GH4. I have not needed the additional pad available from my external microphone (tascam tm2x).

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I have guessed previously that Panasonic has tuned the GH5 internal circuit for the external audio adapter add on, seems like it is a mandatory option for good audio for the GH5?

Shame, I have other external options already purchased.

Alternately, maybe a simple in line circuit switchable pad could be used?

I have an Audio Technica XLR one some where arround...

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2 hours ago, buggz said:

I have guessed previously that Panasonic has tuned the GH5 internal circuit for the external audio adapter add on, seems like it is a mandatory option for good audio for the GH5?

 

It is clearly tuned to be accurate, specifically to 0 and -12db. 

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1 hour ago, jase said:

Slightly OT: what about the audio of the G85? Has it similar problems?

The audio on the G85 is fine. No clipping or distortion problems when I set levels to -12 for my voice, and even before, when I stupidly set levels to peak at 0, I seldom encountered noticeable distortion, or barely audible distortion anyhow. I've used the Rode VideoMic Pro, the RodeLink Filmmaker kit and the built-in microphone. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 04/07/2017 at 5:07 PM, Orangenz said:

Anyway, I have referred this to Panasonic and will relay their response.

Otherwise yes, use the limiter. No, don't assume the GH4 is better with a more compressed signal just because it might have, I don't know, more vigourous AGC and a more aggressive limiter. Any mic that handles party level music without distorting at normal levels is not giving you a unfiddled signal, that's for sure. This is more a case of finding out how a real audio recorder works in comparison to the GH4. I have not needed the additional pad available from my external microphone (tascam tm2x).

Finally heard back from the factory and they believe that the internal mic level is ok and recommend you use the Mic limiter to minimise the clipping.

I have used the GH5 now with and without additional mics. I have not had to use the pad on external mics. The on board limiter is both aggressive in suppressing clipping and invisible in operation so I'm happy with that. Again, this is db measured accurate settings on this recorder. It is doing exactly what it is meant to be doing, and doing it well. Set to -12 and use the limiter. This is on-board mics only, with a reasonably loud environment: 

 

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2 hours ago, Orangenz said:

Finally heard back from the factory and they believe that the internal mic level is ok and recommend you use the Mic limiter to minimise the clipping.

I have used the GH5 now with and without additional mics. I have not had to use the pad on external mics. The on board limiter is both aggressive in suppressing clipping and invisible in operation so I'm happy with that. Again, this is db measured accurate settings on this recorder. It is doing exactly what it is meant to be doing, and doing it well. Set to -12 and use the limiter. This is on-board mics only, with a reasonably loud environment: 

 

Good to see my old school hall !

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The quality for internal mics is very good.

I wouldn't expect anything better than that, I am sure Panasonic engineers spends some time thinking about mic selection and placement on their camera, but there are a few limitations of what the internal mics of a camera can do, and that is not going to change any time soon.

NZ is cool!

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10 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

Here's an example I shot today.  Judge for yerself if you think it's decent enough:

 

TEST_.mp4

Actually, I am impressed!

I just listened on my speakers, and the quality for internal mics (and such a low quality video) is excellent.

I am not sure what do you expect more.

Having an external recorder and better quality microphones help a lot (let's say a Sound Devices Mix Pre 3/Zoom F4 and an Oktava mic on a stand).

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47 minutes ago, fuzzynormal said:

To be clear, no pun intended, the title if the thread is: "The GH5's audio sucks balls both with and without a mic" --and this clip is with a mic.  The Sennheiser ew100 lav, actually.

Its running directly into the mini plug mic input on the GH5.

 

Ah, that wasn't clear. 

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Well, in my limited use so far of the GH5, connected to a Sennheiser AVX with MKE2 lav mic going through the DMW-XLR1 XLR Microphone Adapter, the audio seems both clear and loud... even in noisy environments. I cannot say that noise has been a problem. So perhaps there is something wrong with the OPs settings, or a problem with the gear?

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