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Home > Reviews > Camcorders > BeachTek DXA-2

BeachTek DXA-2

DXA-2 used with the MKE-300. When using the MKE-300 or WCS-999, the Stereo/Mono switch is set to M (mono).
When using a monaural microphone, such as the Sennheiser MKE-300, or a wireless mic, like the Sony WCS-999, the sound is recorded to the left channel only. To be able to hear that sound on both channels, you have to mix the sound (using a computer). In iMovie, you will need QuickTime Pro to edit each captured clip. In a higher level movie editor, such as Final Cut Express/Pro, you can edit/mix the sound within the program. This is a time consuming process, and it works. But there is an easier way.

I've tried "mono to stereo" 3.5mm (1/8") adapters. They are cheap, and they do send the sound signal to both left and right channels. But it also generates a mid to low level frequency noise that sounds like a leaf blower at 100 feet, or a Cessna flying at a 1000 feet. I knew they wouldn't work, but I had to find out for myself. Someone once told me, "A smart person learns from their mistakes. A wise person learns from the mistake of others." Well, I'm neither smart nor wise, because I've experimented with several of these adapters.

I didn't realize that the wiring would be an issue.

My DCR-PC101, seems to like the ground switch setting on G2.
After doing some research, I came across BeachTek's (www.beachtek.com) DXA-2 Compact XLR Adapter. There are others, such as Studio One's (www.studio1productions.com) XLR-Pro, but the DXA-2 was designed for the compact camcorder. The case is all metal, and the construction is very solid. This unit weights 10 oz (285 grams).

The DXA-2 attaches to the bottom of the camcorder's tripod mount. It has a 20 inch cable with a 3.5mm (1/8") stereo mini plug that goes into the microphone jack on the camcorder. No batteries required (I like that). There are two input jacks. A balanced XLR, for professional mics, and an unbalanced mono mini-jack. The instruction guide that came with the DXA-2, and BeachTek's web site, state that the mini-jack is for wireless receivers. But, powered, low impedance mics, such as the MKE-300 will also work.

There are three switches and two volume control knobs. The switch in front (between the mic jacks) is the ground switch with a G1 and G2 setting. My Sony camcorder prefers this set to G2. There are two switches between the volume control knobs. On the left is the mono/stereo switch. If you plan to use two microphones, this switch should be set to S (stereo). If using one mic, such as the MKE-300, set to M (mono) so that the sound is mixed to both channels. The switch on the right is a line/mic input switch. I'm not taking any input from a mixing board or other audio device, so this switch is set to Mic.

When using the MKE-300 or WCS-999, I found that the best overall volume control setting for the left is 8. But that depends on how close you are to the subject. It can vary from 5 (very close) to 10. The right volume control should be set to 10 (fully clockwise). When using both mics, you will need a 3.5mm female to XLR male cable.

The only (minor) complaints I have with the DXA-2, is the long 20" cable that dangles all over the place, and that it mounts directly to the bottom of the camcorder. With it attached to the bottom of the DCR-PC101, you can't eject/replace the miniDV tapes because the eject switch is on the bottom of the camcorder. Actually I blame Sony. With the camcorder on the tripod, I have the same problem.

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