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What types of microphones are compatible with the Canon VIXIA HF R700 camcorder? All Canon's documentation states is Microphone Terminal 3.5mm diameter stereo mini-jack... which lead me to believe that I wouldn't have any trouble. Ideally, I need a conference table mic, like this one:

enter image description here

In fact, this is the first one that I tried... an Audio-Technica PRO 44 Cardioid Condenser Boundary Microphone. We've used this mic with another camera in the office with no problems (we use it with an XLR to 3.5mm plug adapter). Its product page states This versatile boundary mic’s self-contained electronics eliminate the need for external power modules. Which is one of the reasons I bought it; it requires no external power.

I've tried another similar mic... nothing. Then, just for kicks, I plugged in a Heil Sound PR 20 handheld mic (using the same XLR to 3.5mm adapter as mentioned above) and it worked! And sounded great!

But, sadly, that doesn't solve my problem. It does prove the mic input on the camera is working though.

So what's the deal here? I assumed any unpowered mic would work fine. What kind of mic should I be looking for to ensure compatibility with this camera?

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The Sound Tech CM-1000 is a special unit made ONLY as an extension to the master unit CM-1000USB. The CM-1000 is NOT an ordinary microphone and will not work with ANYTHING except the CM-1000USB.

Your camcorder has a typical 3.5mm stereo unbalanced mic-level audio input. However, unlike most similar microphone input connectors, most of the Canon camcorders DO NOT provide "plug-in power" so they MUST be used with either microphones that do not require power (like dynamic mics) or with self-powered microphones.

As for the Audio-Technica PRO 44, we don't have enough details to know exactly why it doesn't work with your Canon VIXIA HF R700. You are correct that it SHOULD work, but there is possibly some issue with that XLR to 3.5mm adapter cable.

There are many variations here between the microphone and the camcorder and any one of them can cause complete or partial failure. Do you know exactly how your XLR to 3.5mm adapter is wired? Unless it it wired like this, it is unlikely to work with your Canon VIXIA HF R700.

Hosa XVM-100F

Ref: http://hosatech.com/product/xvm-100f/

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I'm not convinced that your similar mic works without power unless they are stretching the truth regarding "Built-in echo cancellation, noise reduction [...]". Those things can be approximated acoustically, but not fully implemented and "active".

The description also says "when used with any of our conference recorders" about other features, so there my be some proprietary element to their "non-powered" usage.

I would stick to using standard "dynamic" mics and steer away from any-thing marketed for conference calls (things just get non-standard in that sphere).

  • Thanks, @DoritoStyle. Sorry for the late reply (I've been traveling). Do you have any mic suggestions... specific or a category? Basically, I need to know what to look/search for to get a compatible mic for this camera. Should I look for some kind of preamp or power supply? – Sam Oct 24 '16 at 17:04
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You have to have a mic that has a battery in it, probably a AA battery. The mic has to provide it's own power. This is true with many camera/mic combinations. You can try a non-battery mic until your heart is content and it will not work. Unfortunately, many of these mics cost much more than the camera. BHPhoto has one for about $95, which is the cheapest one I have seen. I think the problem you will have with a dynamic mic, is that it will not have enough Oooomph to it. You will get to much noise to signal ratio.

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