hc38 recording too loud for transfer

I have used the handycam to record live violin and then transfer the result to a CD via a dvr. This is just too cumbersome so I shifted to an ezcap via a suggestion so I could transfer the sound directly to my computer. The problem is that when I convert the file to a wav file and then into audacity editor, the peaks are very high and noisy; unusable. I can't figure out how to level out the sound and get rid of the noise and so far the help has been unhelpful. Does anyone know how I can collect the "video" onto my camera at a lower volume? are the any other ideas that I'm missing?

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May have to control the volume out of or into....

If you can't control the audio level out of the camcorder you may have to find a mixer to put into your capture setup.


I looked at that one since it has the RCA jacks which I bet is what the audio is from the camcorder and then you need just two more RCA cables to finish this setup.

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The camcorder receives audio without cables. The ezcap sends the result to the computer via rca cables. Want to understand better

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See below.

I read your issue as if the camcorder playback was fine on the TV or such but a capture issue where the audio was too high for the capture system. Read Terfyn's input on that.

I will add that if the camcorder's mic is overloaded then you might try a foam cover over the mic to drop the input level acoustically.

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Other options

One: Move the camera father away.
Two: Tape some sound adsorbing material to the mics on the camera.

If you are serious about the audio recording then use a separate audio recorder and combine with the video on your computer. My example uses a Tascam DR-60D MkII, this recorder will give a high quality audio recording with an audio feed into the camcorder to help with synchronisation. There are many good audio recorders available.

You are tackling the audio recording process from one direction, maybe it is time to take a step back and reconsider. For example current camcorders using SD cards normally have extra control over the on-board mics, My Panasonic HC-V800 gives me auto, or manual control over both the on -board mics and any external mics connected to the camera.

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Audio only

I cant afford that machine. I only use the camcorder because it has provided a clean sound transfer via an old DVR. But that requires a new blank CD with every test run. When I've used an expensive microphone without the camcorder I couldnt get a clean transfer to my computer.

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The version of Audacity I use

is 2.0.3... though I don't think there's been much of a change to the UI. And I use the macOS version... when the Audacity window is open and ready to record, there are a few drop-downs. One of the lets you select the audio input. Above that and to the left, there is an audio gain control.

When recording, the audio meters to left will show the audio levels. If the audio is too hot from the camcorder, pull down the audio gain control.

I need to read through the DCR-HC38 manual. There may be an "audio attenuator" selection in the menu that reduces high volume audio-in. I don't think the HC38 had granular manual audio gain control or headphone audio control... I will be back later today with findings on that (after locating and reading through the manual).

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Thank you for your extra effort. To clarify, by the time I get a wav file to audacity, the file as already been uploaded to the pc via the camcorder.

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Ah... My bad. Apologies.

I guess I was not paying attention.

So... What kind of computer? The DCR-HC38 is miniDV tape based. Link to the camcorder manual:

My normal import method for any type of miniDV tape based camcorder would be via firewire (AKA: IEEE1394, DV & i.Link). While most computers today don't have a firewire port, many have a way to add on (and many don't). If your computer has an available PCMCIA (desktop/tower) or PC Card slot (usually older laptops), the adding a firewire port is do-able. If your computer has an available ThunderBolt port, there is a Firewire adapter. In either case, this bypasses the external analog/digital converter (EasyCap).

There is no USB-to-Firewire converter/adapter that will work. Once upon a time there was a way to use USB (camcorder-to-computer) for the video transfer, but the USB driver has not been supported/updated since about Windows XP, so don't bother trying to get that to work on any Windows OS newer than that.

This does not resolve the question as to why the audio gain is so high - and I am still thinking about that. (I use an Elgato external "analog/digital converter" for the occasional VHS tape conversion, and have not had the audio issue you describe).

Reading through the manual, page 22 references adjusting the playback volume (though it does not specify if this is playback volume of the camcorder when viewed on the camcorder or the output to the AV-out (which, in your case, connects to the EasyCap).

And... another possible option... If your computer has an audio input, you could connect the left/right audio-in from the camcorder (presumably with a 3.5mm to left/right RCA cable tail) and capture the audio separately and directly into Audacity (bypass EasyCap)... Then add the audio to the EasyCap captured video and mute the audio that is "too hot" (assuming the video editor you are using has that sort of audio manipulation capability). The reason to initially keep the "too hot" audio is to use it to sync the good audio. When the echo is gone, the audio and video are in sync... But this becomes as cumbersome as the multi-step DVD recorder process you currently use... or you could get the audio off the CD and add that to the EasyCap captured video and mute the EasyCap too-hot audio...

I'm still trying to figure out why the (acceptable) audio goes icky during the EasyCap transfer...

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I probably have an old firewire attachable port but the camcorder has no firewire port that I recall. I'll try the foam cover next and moving the camcorder further away but the latter doesn't make sense to me right now. As I think about it the audio on the camcorder does not crackle, not until I transfer it.

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Sony's idea for Firewire
i.LINK is the Sony Corporation implementation of a standard, IEEE 1394, High Performance Serial Bus, for connecting devices to your personal computer.

This is why I will never touch Sony kit. Sony insisted on going their own way and forcing users to buy Sony kit.
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So sad.

The IEEE1394 protocol carried over the wires was developed primarily by Apple. Sony's contribution was to make the 4-pin connector ("1394a" which was about 1/3 smaller than the original 6-pin connector used in a couple of Canon prosumer camcorders).

Sony's smaller connector (first used with their Digital8 camcorders) was good enough for Canon, JVC, Sony and Panasonic to adopt on their miniDV tape based camcorders (with the exception of the XL-1 - perhaps the XL-2). The 4-pin 1394a connector was less expensive and used less real estate on camcorders than the larger 6-pin connectors - while maintaining the 400 mbits streamed throughput (which at the time was a lot better for video than bursty, slower, USB).

I've never purchased or used a Sony i.Link cable. The firewire cables I did use were interchangeable with the various Canon, JVC, Sony and Panasonic miniDV tape camcorders I've used up until about 15 years ago when I moved to flash memory storage...

I apologize for being off-topic. Terfyn should, too.

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(NT) Sorry!
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My sorry answer.

I've used my Firewire cables on Sony. Worked, got it done and done.

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According to page 42 and 69 (item 5)

in the manual, the i.Link/DV/IEEE1394/Firewire port is at the back of the DCR-HC30, bottom left. It looks similar to a mini-USB (not micro USB), but the sides are more parallel as compared to the mini USB's not-so-parallel sides.

Without details regarding your computer, we don't know if it has a firewire port (or if one can easily and inexpensively added). And if it does have a firewire port, we have three different connectors that are most common (depending on the computer's age and the firewire speed (400 vs 800 mbits/second).

I had an HP EliteBook a few years ago that had a built-in 4-pin 1394 port so a 4-pin-to-4-pin firewire cable was needed... like

More commonly, if a computer is 10+ years old and has a firewire port (and is a desktop or tower model), it is most likely a 6-pin connector, so the cable needed is

Both 4-pin and 6-pin connectors support 400 mbits/second transfer.

A few computers ~7-10 years old or so may have an 9-pin firewire connector for Firewire 800. In this case, a 4-pin to 9-pin firewire cable is needed, like
If your computer has a Thunderbolt port and you need the Thunderbolt-to-firewire adapter, then
one of these: + a 4-pin to 9-pin firewire cable. Because the camcorder's DV port is firewire400, the cable allows the connectivity to the firewire 800 port, but the throughput will be at the slower 400 mbits/second.

None of the above are recommended manufacturers, but merely to show the cables are readily available and not expensive. The retail channel is also not a recommendation - I usually get my computer stuff at Fry's Electronics brick/mortar stores.

Using "pc card firewire" to search will yield all sorts of results. I have not used SIIG firewire cards, specifically and have been happy with a few of their other products on both Windows and macOS based platforms.

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Since we don't know how close the

camcorder is today, we don't know if "moving the camcorder further away" will get what you need to do. In theory, the audio should not be so loud, but keep in mid the camcorder mics will also be picking up the audio in the expanded space when the computer is moved farther away.

Your trade-off may be the crackly audio goes away, but the echo of the room is added.

If the Tascam DR-60D MkII Terfyn suggested is not interesting to you, is the Zoom ZH1, H1N or Tascam DH05? Using a field audio recorder on a mic stand near the performer allows you to have the video capture independent of the audio capture and use the "merge" process when editing. The main difference between these and "spoken word-only" audio recorders is stereo vs mono audio capture. Two mics for stereo costs more... Marantz, Roland, and a few others make similar stereo audio field recorders.

Since the DCR-HC38 has no audio input, connecting the audio-out port of the field recorder to the camcorder is not possible. You *could* connect the camcorder's audio-out to the field recorder's audio-in and try to control the gain using the knobs on the audio field recorder - assuming the camcorder feeds it decent audio. This is not a recommended method.

I am still thinking about why the "record to CD" step provides you good audio which your EasyCap process gets you crackly audio...

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No video needed

If i have a recorder that does a good job with audio, I have no use for video.

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It has never been clear why you wanted to record your playing. Was it just for personal satisfaction? Were you making a masterclass? etc.

Recording a video where the sound is critical puts constraints on you right away. A camcorder is rather poor at recording sound whereas a dedicated audio recorder is a major step forward. You will now have control over the audio in a way that your camcorder would never give you.

In similar situations, many of us would use the audio recorder to give a decent recording and then tie it into the video using a video editor. My "over the top" Tascam puts out a signal that feeds into my camcorder so, at the video editing stage, I can line up the quality audio track from the Tascam with the sound track on the video. I then switch the video sound track off and combine the quality sound track with the pictures.

But if you don't need the picture, invest in a decent audio recorder. Most come with SD cards and you can burn a CD directly from the SD card in your computer.

Hope it all works out for you.

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I have made a couple cds for my friends. I am interested in the recorders. I spoke to the manufacturer. I want to know if I record from a mic to the recorder and then pass it via the sd card will I alleviate the disturbances. What i was told was, "i think so". If i can purchase with an option to return, i will feel safer

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Our suggestions have bumped away

from the original post -that is, using the former process of "camcorder transfer to DVD recorder" provided acceptable audio, but current use of EasyCap does not".

Since you are concerned primarily with audio, that helps a lot.

What happens when you connect the camcorder's audio-out to the computer's audio-in (i.e., mic input) and record the audio from the camcorder to Audacity? This way, the EasyCap is skipped - and no video is transferred. Then, assuming your computer has a CD burner, use it for burning and use Audacity to to make MP3's too.

There is a possibility of issues from the "Mic-in" vs "Line-in"... and rather than use the computer's mic-input, you'll need an analog/digital audio interface, for example:
Not a product recommendation, just an example. I use a similar unit from Onkyo and sometimes an 8-channel Mackie mixer with USB connectivity.
In theory, this "replaces" the EasyCap and is designed for audio capture (with audio gain control which Easy cap does not have). This assumes the audio captured but the camcorder is not already oversaturated and the question of why the difference between the old vs new process audio quality remains a mystery.

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No connector

This all began because the camcorders connector to the pc does not work at all.

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Sorry if I’m sounding confused

Just want to keep up. The DCR-HC38 has 3 connections that might carry audio (we don’t care about video):
Analog video and audio. This includes composite and S-video + left and right audio.

Your original process was to connect the camcorder to a DVD recorder. This connected the camcorder’s Audio out to the DVD recorder’s Audio in. The audio level worked. The process was cumbersome enough that you got an EasyCap to import the AV to a computer.

Now, the camcorder Audio out connects to the EasyCap with RCA connectors, the EasyCap connects to the camcorder with USB... and the audio is unacceptable because it is too loud and is crackly.

If the above is not accurate, can you please copy the incorrect paragraph and correct it?

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Your original process was to connect the camcorder to a DVD recorder. This connected the camcorder’s Audio out to the DVD [DVR] recorder’s Audio in. OR ALL 3 RCA CABLES TO INCLUDE VIDEO THOUGH I KEPT THE LENS COVERED The audio level worked. The process was cumbersome enough that you got an EasyCap to import the AV to a computer.

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Thanks for the correction.

Was the camcorder purchased new buy you? Does not really matter, as we move to recorders.

Do you use an iPhone? If yes, there may be a third party add-on available for your model (i.e., like the Zoom IQ, RODE iXY)

Field recorder options:
With built-in mics; with 3.5mm stereo audio input; with XLR audio inputs.
Phantom power for external condenser mics (through XLR connectivity).
Manual audio gain control

Nice-to-have features: screw-hole for mounting to a mic stand; SD card support; wireless remote control.

Because this recorder is for music, I would suggest a stereo recorder unit with manual audio gain control.

The Tascam DR05 and Zoom H1n are probably the best, least expensive, units - and may not have everything I would need - but may meet your requirements. (I use a Zoom H5.)

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A video cable?

The video out cable is maybe some sort of a s-video cable miniaturized and with one flat side.

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Not mic input

Ezcap uses usb out.

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The last EZcap I used.

Allowed you to connect the audio to the PC's audio input jack and select that for capture.

Also, if you only need audio, why bother with Excap at all. Just audio from camcorder to the PC's input jack and Audacity.

Post was last edited on March 5, 2019 11:45 AM PST

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The computer audio inputs have Never worked without noise. I've built numerous machines with various audio cards. The outputs on the Sony are simply proprietary. At this point I'd prefer to discuss portable, low priced recorders suggested above and maybe find one I can return if needed. The rest of this is greatly appreciated but becoming overwhelming and perhaps moot. Ezcap says their device may be defective.

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Out of office.

Short answer
Try USB audio sticks. Under 9 bucks.

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