Mike Kobal

April 21, 2010

Manual Sound Recording with the Canon 5D mark II, AT897 and Sound Devices MixPre Field Mixer

Kudos to Canon for giving us manual sound control for the

5D2 in their latest firmware, we can finally turn or AGC and set the levels manually. There is only one glitch, we cannot see or change the levels while recording, it has to be done beforehand. Nonetheless very practical in controlled situations, I use the AT897 microphone to record directly into the camera and the result is very good (during assignment I have a professional sound guy record sound to a separate device) but there are times and situations when you need to do it yourself. ( I also use the Marantz 661 as a stand alone device, I prefer the level control over the Zoom H4N) Now I was curious what would happen if I plugged a small field mixer directly into the 5D2. Got my hands on the Sound Devices MixPre and was immediately impressed with the built quality and the clean signal it produces. Ideally, I would have liked the the Beachtech DXA 5DA but could not get it on time for this test. I think this would be a really good combination, for now check out the video and see/hear for yourself.If you find this information helpful, please consider helping me maintaining this blog by purchasing your gear through my product links to B&H. It will cost you nothing and allows me to keep adding! Or consider making a direct donation using PayPal

Thank you.

Filed under: Gear Reviews — mike.kobal @ 9:11 pm


  1. Thank you for your test
    I’m in boat can’t make decision where to go with, I’m also a poor filmmaker..

    So I got the canon 60D and I got the mixpre which I was use with HVX200
    My question is it worth to buy the padcable and connect the mixpre with 60D ( according noise level )
    Building self is not a option

    Or is it better to save 50 dollars and buy directly something like external rec zoom h4n or tascam dr-100 with all sync problems.

    I mean why would I buy a external rec while I can rec with mixpre directly to the camera if the NOISE LEVEL IS OK ……

    Comment by cengiz özgök — November 19, 2010 @ 11:49 am

  2. I would give the mixpre

    Comment by mike.kobal — November 19, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

  3. Thank you very much for the good video. I have the Canon 5D Mark II and the mixpre. The camera does not record the micro sound but through its own sound device. Do I have to use a special software or cable. I have the miniJack adapter connected to the Canon and on the other extreme to the mixpre with XLR.
    I don’t know what to do. I tried everything!! Could you please give me your comment.
    Thank you.

    Comment by Aitor — January 21, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

  4. Sorry to hear that, it could be a defective cable between the mixpre and the camera. Or there is a problem with the camera, the minijack is quite delicate and could be damaged, the only reason I think of this is because the moment you plug something in -the internal microphone should be disabled. I can’t think of anything else. No special software is needed. Hope you can figure it out. Good luck.

    Comment by mike.kobal — January 21, 2013 @ 6:22 pm

  5. Thank you very much for your comments, it was very helpful for me.
    I just went to Canon’s service and they corroborated that the minijack was damaged.
    They repair it very quickly and its working!
    Best regards

    Comment by Aitor — January 23, 2013 @ 1:37 am

  6. glad you could get it fixed!

    Comment by mike.kobal — January 23, 2013 @ 1:38 am

  7. hello im a sound engineer , and i think that the direction of the microphone is far from the subject

    second , the sound is a littlebit saturated with the sound devices premix “but in post production they can re make it nice ”

    and third , u have a mono cable inserted in the L or R so i think you need a mini jack with two XLR heads one for the R and the other for the L

    but i like the idea :)
    cheers ;)

    Comment by raouf — September 3, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

  8. if I would have a sound engineer like yourself around, things would be much, much, much better :) agree, with everything you said.

    Comment by mike.kobal — September 3, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

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