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01-08-2015, 09:19 PM   #1
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14 Year Old Photographer, External Mic Not Working. Please Help

Hello everyone, I have a large problem that you may be able to help me with. I am a 14 year old photographer, and last year I bought a Pentax K-3. Lately I have gotten into more video work, and I have purchased a 16 inch, shotgun condenser microphone to use with my camera. (It has a built in battery) I have always been using the cheap, and unpractical female XLR - Male 1/4 inch cord, with a 1/4 inch - 1/8 inch adapter.

Recently I got a job to do shoot a video for a wedding (It's in just over a week) and I decided to buy the proper female XLR - 1/8 inch male connecter. Today, I went to the store, and using the new cord, I was not receiving any audio into the camera. We had both the mic, and the cord tested on a professional machine, and they both are fully functional. I then went to my local camera store to test if it was just my camera that is broken, or if it is the cord / mic combo.

I walked in, and unfortunately they did not have any K-3's left in stock. Instead I tested the mic, and new cord on both a nikon d810, and a Panasonic GH4. It worked flawlessly. (At this point I am thinking that my mic jack is broken, or pentax uses a different wiring system for their mics) I then tried using a Seinheiser mic (made for video) on my camera. IT WORKED! I then tried that mic on the GH4, because maybe the GH4 used the wiring that the K-3 didn't.

This is where my mind was BLOWN

Why would the Seinheiser work on my k-3, but not my shotgun? If you say its a loose connection on my mic, its not. My mic worked perfectly on the GH4 and d810.
Whats more peculiar is that when I cranked the mic volume on the k-3 and yelled into the mic, I saw an increase (small) on my indicator. (It's not the built in mic, I was sure to isolate that variable)

I am running firmware 1.11 on my camera.

Overall,

-It can't be the cord because the cord worked on 2 different cameras, and passed the professional cord testing machine.
-It can't be the mic, because it worked on the GH4 and d810.
-It can't be my camera because the Senheiser mic worked flawlessly
-It cant be my mic combined with my cord, because it worked on the GH4 and d810



Thank you for reading this, and please leave a comment. Any advise at all could help. I have never been this confused about technology ever.

Thanks.

01-08-2015, 09:55 PM   #2
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although I know nothing about the k3 video and inputs, as I have only recently received my K3 it sounds like a gain issue, if the shotgun is faintly working if you yell into it? Maybe the Seinheiser mic has a higher output? That doesnt explain why it was working before with the multiple adaptors?

Steve
01-08-2015, 10:42 PM   #3
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first of all check your battery and make sure that it is making good connection and has a good charge on it. next, compare the plug that does work with the plug that does not. look carefully. Some cheap cords may have a shorter plug than others. if the contacts Are not in proper alignment, it could short everything out. I have run across cords that would work in one Jack but not in others. Try a cord from a different manufacturer. I have also had to cut the insulation back a bit so that the plug can go in deeper into the Jack. It is not likely that the camera or the microphone is the problem. It is probably the cord, and the manufacturers lack of quality control.
01-08-2015, 11:17 PM   #4
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Like 5teve said, it does sound like a possible gain issue.

I presume you're assembling the video in post - that is, you're not doing any kind of live-cast. The ideal, in this case, is generally to record onto a separate video recorder, and let the K-3 pick up sound from its built-in mic (so you can sync the audio to that track later). I have the Roland R-26, but there are cheaper ones available (such as the Tascam DR-60D Mk II). You might consider it as an investment in the quality of your production - an investment toward ensuring your next wedding or event.

01-08-2015, 11:33 PM   #5
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I use a 15-year old Sennheiser ME-66 condenser shotgun mike with my K-3 occasionally and it works fine given the camera's recording limitations. I usually use the mike on my Zoom H2, though. Check all your connections. Note that the positive pole of the AA battery in Sennheisers points toward the handle, not the tip of the mike.

Jack
01-09-2015, 12:14 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by promacjoe Quote
first of all check your battery and make sure that it is making good connection and has a good charge on it. next, compare the plug that does work with the plug that does not. look carefully. Some cheap cords may have a shorter plug than others. if the contacts Are not in proper alignment, it could short everything out. I have run across cords that would work in one Jack but not in others. Try a cord from a different manufacturer. I have also had to cut the insulation back a bit so that the plug can go in deeper into the Jack. It is not likely that the camera or the microphone is the problem. It is probably the cord, and the manufacturers lack of quality control.
This.
01-09-2015, 05:09 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by promacjoe Quote
(...) I have also had to cut the insulation back a bit so that the plug can go in deeper into the Jack. It is not likely that the camera or the microphone is the problem. It is probably the cord, and the manufacturers lack of quality control.
I run into this problem as well. Worth checking with another cable (other brand/type)
01-09-2015, 07:06 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by 5teve Quote
although I know nothing about the k3 video and inputs, as I have only recently received my K3 it sounds like a gain issue, if the shotgun is faintly working if you yell into it? Maybe the Seinheiser mic has a higher output? That doesnt explain why it was working before with the multiple adaptors?

Steve
I suppose it could be, but the fact is, my mic with the GH4 worked fine, and so did the senheiser. I didn't change the input volume, although I suppose it could be on auto. But heres another reason it can't be the preamp. Whenever I use an XLR female - 1/4 inch cable, then use a 1/4 inch - 1/8 adapter, I can hear the audio fine, but only if the jack is sitting in halfway.

Any suggestions?

---------- Post added 01-09-15 at 07:08 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Like 5teve said, it does sound like a possible gain issue.

I presume you're assembling the video in post - that is, you're not doing any kind of live-cast. The ideal, in this case, is generally to record onto a separate video recorder, and let the K-3 pick up sound from its built-in mic (so you can sync the audio to that track later). I have the Roland R-26, but there are cheaper ones available (such as the Tascam DR-60D Mk II). You might consider it as an investment in the quality of your production - an investment toward ensuring your next wedding or event.
I suppose I could pick one of those up, but I mainly film run-and-gun action. I was considering the Rhode Video Mic Pro. Any thoughts on that?

01-09-2015, 07:24 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Woodepic Quote
I suppose I could pick one of those up, but I mainly film run-and-gun action. I was considering the Rhode Video Mic Pro. Any thoughts on that?
I haven't used one, but that was the immediate answer I got from the video guy in So. Cal's biggest camera store/chain (Samy's) when I was looking for a mic that simply works well. He's got a good bit of experience, so it has a good chance of working for you.

---------- Post added 01-09-15 at 06:29 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Woodepic Quote
Whenever I use an XLR female - 1/4 inch cable, then use a 1/4 inch - 1/8 adapter, I can hear the audio fine, but only if the jack is sitting in halfway.
This indeed makes it sound like it's an adapter type/length problem, like others mentioned.
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