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Thread: Canon XM2 - Wireless Lavalier Mic Question

  1. #1

    Default Canon XM2 - Wireless Lavalier Mic Question

    I have recently purchased a Trantex S4.4 Wireless Lavalier Microphone system for recording selected audio at wedding events.

    I can't afford a 400+ Sennheiser kit at the moment, but this cheaper model comes with recommendations.

    To my dismay, the receiver appears to be mains operated only - DC11-18v IN/100A. So the first issue is finding a plug socket near the camera on the day.

    My main concern however, is plugging this receiver into my camera [Canon XM2/GL2]. I am assuming it is safe to do so?

    It doesn't say anything about video cameras in the instruction manual [it mentions amplifiers], but I am assuming such a piece of audio equipment is designed for video camera mic input as one possible use?

    I often plug in my external shotgun microphone into my XM2, which is itself powered by a battery. This wireless lavalier is mains, however, and I want to be 100% sure before I connect the electric-powered receiver to my camera via the external mic jack.

    I vaguely remember learning about 'phantom power' and '+xx volts' for plugging in differently powered microphone systems, but I'm currently rather unsure about this area [the XM2 has one simple external mic jack, described as 'MIC terminal input 3.5mm stereo mini-jack -35 dBV (with 600 ohm mic)/5.6 kohms', and there is nothing about plugging in various mic types in the manual].

    Any technical types able to offer me some advice here, or videographers etc?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    The phantom power shouldn't be an issue as the power goes "against" the direction of the sound, if you understand what I mean. So it shouldn't be going towards your camcorder. In other words, there's no reason for the receiver unit to have phantom power and I can't imagine why it would have.
    (Notice the cowardly use of the word "shouldn't", I'm covering my options here as I don't know the unit personally)

    Your main issue will be: Does the unit deliver a "mic" output or "line". The mic output is minimal and will not damage anything as it needs to be amplified to be of any use to anyone. "Line output" on the other hand... Won't damage 99% of audio equipment, even if you plug it accidentally into a "mic" input but (notice that I'm covering my ass again! Sorry) a high line level signal into a domestic/consumer might be a bit much for the circuit to handle.

    I appreciate that the XM2 is on the upper end of the consumer market but, before plugging anything into the mic socket, check that it's not a "line" signal. If in doubt, set the camera to accept a "line" signal (if you can) and then, if the sound's too faint, change it to "mic". Rather than the other way around.

    For your info, the output from radio mic receivers is normally "mic" level but, since your unit is mains powered I wouldn't take that for granted. The manufacturer's website should tell you what it outputs.

    Edit: Further to the above, it seems that the unit "Can be plugged into an amplifier, mixer or any device that accepts line level audio inputs" to quote from the website (assuming that I've got the right receiver). So you'll have to set your camcorder to "line" or use a "line" input (if it has one). If you plug it into a mic-level input it will distort badly and might damage your circuitry.

    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 05-29-2009 at 07:45 AM.

  3. #3


    Hi Guru, thank you for your informative reply.

    This is the wireless mic I have, lavalier version:-

    Trantec | wireless systems | radio microphones | guitar systems

    I have asked my questions on several forums, with similar answers - though I am concerned about the 'mic or line' issues you raised.

    Further research and information I have gathered today:-

    - According to the retail supplier of my wireless mic, the plug in receiver "will be line level output"

    - My Canon XM2 is apparently mic level input. It is 3.5mm jack [not XLR so no danger of phantom power from camera].

    I understand 'line level' = 'plug in power'?

    Tests I have done:-

    - Plugged receiver into my old JVC palmcorder - the mic input on this says 'plug in power' [i.e. line level]. Results: mic works, though output from camera seems very loud. However this old palmcorder has no manual audio level controls

    - Plugged receiver into my XM2 - the mic input is apparently 'mic level'. Results: mic works, with output from camera rather loud but clear - I have audio level controls on this camera so when I have it turned down to the lower end, with the lavalier mic attached just below chest level, I get good speech sound

    So... I have a mains-powered apparently 'line level' mic receiver working through both a 'plug in powered' external mic jack, and a different 'mic powered' mic jack, with the results sounding better through the 'mic powered' jack.

    But isn't this at odds with how it should be, based on what you are saying? If anything, I would guess that if the mic receiver is actually working more correctly through the 'mic level' XM2 than it is through the 'line level' JVC. It is difficult to say if there is 'too much' loudness through either camera, since both seem very sensitive machines to sound with audio recording levels on the XM2 rarely needing to approach halfway from past experience with my external shotgun.

    I'm tempted to throw caution to the wind and just go for it tomorrow by plugging the receiver into the XM2, but I am concerned about what you say about possibly damaging circuitry by plugging a 'line level' into the 'mic level'.

    I can say that my XM2 test did not 'distort badly' mind you - it seemed loud and clear through my headphones.

    I really need to get to the bottom of this today, so would be extremely grateful for any further help and information.

    Some info I found about the XM2 mic jack: XM2 Audio Line Input while filming - The Digital Video Information Network
    Last edited by Acid5; 05-29-2009 at 01:51 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    Okay, it's looking good for you.

    To make matters even more confusing, there are two main types of "line" level. A consumer level and a pro level with a 4db difference between the two. Your unit seems to be working on the lower level which is why you can work with it on a mic input with the volume set very low.

    This is fine, the only problem which can arise is that getting the sound level can be fiddly down at that end of the scale. ie turning the knob a little bit results in a huge change in levels. A bit like filming in sunlight without an ND filter and the lens shut right the way down.

    So, start with the sound level turned right the way down and then open it up until you have the level you want. I tend to be a bit overcautious, so it may well be that your camcorder will accept the full blast of line level without doing any damage at all but why take the risk. It's only if lots of red lights come on, and stay on, that you need to get worried. I personally have never experienced line signal damaging any of my gear but I'm sure that a friend of a friend had a cousin who's boyfriend once got his camcorder damaged... you get my drift.

    Edit: I see in the manual that your receiver's output can be adjusted, so I would adjust that down as well. It does mean that you end up amplifying, reducing and then amplifying again but it will work and should still give acceptable sound. (in the manual, page 8 ) It seems as though you're going to have to do a bit of testing to see which combination of settings work the best.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 05-29-2009 at 02:06 PM.

  5. #5


    Thank you, I undersand why you don't want to say everything will be fine 100%

    OK I've just hooked the mic receiver up to the XM2 again, and realised the GAIN control on the receiver was up high - factory settings?

    This explains why my first test sounded loud through the headphones, and meant the camera audio level had to be kept so low.

    I've turned down the mic receiver gain, and I can now have higher camera audio recording levels.

    What I have noticed straight away, is that by having the mic receiver gain low and camera audio rec level higher VS mic receiver gain high and camera audio rec level lower is a difference in background noise. At the moment in my tests it seems preferable to have the receiver gain down and camera audio rec level higher - both options have their share of background noise but this method seems less intrusive.

    I've decided from the info I've received today that I am not going to damage any of my equipment by connecting up this mic and camera, and because it seems to work so well with the XM2 in terms of sound quality then surely there must be a harmony between the two - despite the apparent conflict between 'line level out' of the mic and 'mic level in' of the camera.

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