BeachTek DXA-SLR Setup guide

BeachTek DXA-SLR Setup guide
Operating Manual
Professional XLR Adapter for DSLR Cameras
This operating manual explains the adapter function settings
and how to use the adapter to record audio into the camera.
©Beachtek Inc. 2014
Thank You for Purchasing a BeachTek Product
Congratulations on purchasing the DXA-SLR ULTRA from the makers of
the world’s most popular audio adapters for DSLR cameras. This
adapter is packed with features to enable you to record professional
audio directly to your camera.
 Before using this high quality device, please read this guide
thoroughly to obtain the highest performance.
 Please contact us if you have any problems or questions.
The BeachTek DXA-SLR ULTRA is a two-channel, active XLR adapter
with built-in preamplifiers for attaching external microphones and other
audio gear to any DSLR camera that has a built-in mic jack. It can also
be used with any camcorder or other audio recording device that has a
mic jack.
The DXA-SLR ULTRA uses exceptionally low noise, wide bandwidth
preamplifiers for superb audio. This allows you to record high quality
audio directly to the camera which will always be in sync with the video.
Direct audio recording eliminates the need to have a separate audio
recording device and syncing the audio in post editing.
The DXA-SLR ULTRA is very easy to set up and use. It allows you to
connect a wide variety of audio devices including wireless systems,
mixers, sound boards and professional condenser microphones that
require phantom power to operate.
The inputs are transformer balanced for isolation and enhanced circuit
protection. Built-in VU meters makes it easy to verify the proper input
levels at a glance, while the level controls allow you to adjust the output
signal for optimum recording. Built-in fast acting limiters prevent
distortion from overly hot inputs for worry free operation. The phone jack
lets you monitor the audio from the adapter during recording, or camera
during playback.
A unique feature of the DXA-SLR ULTRA is the detachable rod support
base to easily attach a matte box, follow focus and other gear to a rod
support rig.
The adapter mounts to the bottom of the camera and can also be
mounted to any standard tripod.
Ensure that the VOLUME control is set low to avoid excessively loud
audio from damaging your hearing.
Always do a test recording and play back the audio to ensure it is
DO NOT activate phantom power for dynamic microphones, condenser
microphones that do not operate on phantom power, wireless receivers,
mixing boards or any unbalanced device as it may cause damage to
both the adapter and connecting device.
Turn off power to adapter before plugging or unplugging any
microphones or equipment to or from the adapter.
Before You Begin………………………………………………………..
Supplied Accessories…………………………………………………...
Quick Setup Guide………………………………………………………
Adapter Connectors and Controls……………………………………..
Setup Guide……………………………………………………………...
Basic Operation………………………………………………………….
Playback Monitoring…………………………………………………….
Advanced Operation…………………………………………………….
Warranty Information……………………………………………………
Before You Begin
1) These instructions refer to the use of this adapter with Canon
DSLR cameras unless otherwise noted.
2) Do a few test recordings and check playback on the camera to
ensure that the audio is captured as expected. Most cameras do
not have a headphone jack to monitor what is being recorded.
3) Some early model Nikon cameras have a very sensitive
microphone input and require a special 25dB padded output cable
from the adapter. Please contact us for details.
4) Panasonic Lumix GH1 and GH2 require a special 2.5mm mic
cable which is available from us.
Supplied Accessories
 3.5mm to 3.5mm output cable
 AV Cable for playback monitoring
 Rod support base
 Two 3” threaded rods
Quick Setup Guide
Ensure the POWER switch is set to OFF before you begin.
Install a fresh alkaline or lithium battery in the adapter.
Mount the DXA-SLR ULTRA adapter to the camera.
Connect the supplied output cable from the OUT jack on the
adapter to the MIC input jack on the camera.
Connect your microphones or other audio sources to the adapter
XLR inputs.
Set the GAIN switches to HI.
Set the LIMITER switches to ON.
Set the MONITOR switch to REC.
Set the LIN/MIC/PH switches to:
a) MIC for self powered microphones or wireless systems
b) PH for microphones that require phantom power
c) LIN for mixers
DO NOT activate phantom power when attaching wireless
10) Set the PH VOLTAGE switch as follows:
OFF if phantom power is not required on either channel
48V if mics on either channel require 48 volt phantom power
12V if the mics can operate on 12 volts to save on battery
11) Set the M/S switch to M for mono when using one channel or to S
for stereo when using two channels.
12) Turn the adapter PWR switch on. The power LED should indicate
13) Adjust the LEFT and RIGHT level controls for each channel to get
an average reading of between 0 and -12dB on the VU Meter. The
LIMITER LEDs will flash red when the audio signals exceed 0dB.
14) Plug your headphones into the PHONE jack on the adapter and
adjust the VOLUME control to a comfortable level. Ensure that you
hear audio on both channels from the connected devices.
15) See Advanced Operation on how to setup the camera gain.
16) Do a test recording and playback on the camera to ensure that the
captured audio is satisfactory.
Adapter Connectors and Controls
Front Panel
PWR Switch
Main power switch for adapter
Green indicates power on and good battery condition
Red indicates low battery voltage
Selects headphone monitoring from either the microphones during
recording, or playback audio from the camera
Headphone jack to monitor the audio from microphones or camera
Volume Control
Adjusts the headphone volume level
M/S Switch
Selects mono or stereo output mode
LIN/MIC/PH Switches
Selects LIN for line level, or MIC for microphone level for each
input. The PH setting selects microphone level input and activates
phantom power.
Selects either 12, OFF or 48 volt phantom power for condenser
microphones that require phantom power to operate
LEFT and RIGHT Controls
Individual adjustment controls to adjust output levels on each
VU Meter
Indicates the sound level in dB for each channel
Indicates limiter activation when the input signals becomes too
Gain Switch
Selects LO for unity gain or HI for +30dB boost
Front Panel
Side Panel
Two combo XLR / ¼” inputs attach to professional microphones or
other audio gear such as wireless systems or mixers and sound
Output jack for connection to the camera
Input jacks for connecting the AV cable from the camera
Rod Support System
Rod Support Base
Attaches to the bottom of the adapter
Threaded Rods
Support rails thread into Rod Support Base
Rod length can be extended by changing rods or threading
additional rods on to the ends.
Setup Guide
Battery Installation
1) The DXA-SLR ULTRA operates on one 9 volt battery. We
recommend that you use either an alkaline or lithium type battery
for the longest operating time.
2) To install the battery unlatch the drawer by pushing in and over on
the drawer front, releasing and sliding the drawer out. Insert the
battery with the “+” positive terminal lined up with the “+” indicator
on the battery compartment. Slide the battery drawer closed until it
clicks into place.
Mounting and Connecting the Adapter to the Camera
1) Ensure that the camera and adapter are both switched off.
2) Line up the mounting bolt on top of the adapter to the tripod hole
on the underside of the camera. Carefully turn the adapter
mounting knob on the front panel to the right to screw the adapter
squarely into the camera. Snug the adapter to the camera, but do
not over tighten.
3) Connect one end of the supplied output cable to the OUT of the
adapter and the other end to the MIC on the camera.
Initial Setup
1) Connect your microphones or other audio gear to the adapter via
the XLR inputs.
2) Set the LIN/MIC switch to:
 MIC when connecting self powered microphones or most
wireless receivers
 LIN when taking a line level feed from a mixer or sound
 PH if your microphones require phantom power to operate.
DO NOT activate phantom power for dynamic microphones,
condenser microphones that do not operate on phantom
power, wireless receivers, mixing boards or any unbalanced
device as it may cause damage to both the adapter and
connecting device.
3) Set the PH VOLTAGE switch to either 12 or 48 volt power for
condenser microphones that require phantom power to operate.
Many microphones will operate on the 12V setting, conserving
battery life.
4) Set the MONITOR Switch to REC to monitor the audio from the
microphones during recording.
5) Set the GAIN switch to HI. This is the normal setting for most
microphones. If you are using very sensitive condenser type
microphones, or recording very loud sounds, you may have to set
the GAIN switch to LO to prevent distortion.
6) Set the LIMITER switches for both channels to ON. This will
activate the limiters to prevent distortion from overly hot inputs.
7) Set the M/S switch to M for mono when using one microphone. Set
the unused channel level control fully counter-clockwise to 0 to
disable it to prevent noise. When using two microphones, you
should normally set the switch to S for stereo to keep each
channel separated.
8) Set the LEFT and RIGHT level controls fully counter-clockwise to 0.
9) Plug your headphones into the PHONES jack to monitor the audio.
Ensure that the VOLUME control is set low to avoid excessively
loud audio from damaging your hearing.
Basic Operation
After following the above Initial Setup, you should be ready to start
1) Turn the adapter PWR switch ON. The power LED should light
green indicating good battery voltage. Red indicates low battery
2) Adjust the LEFT and RIGHT level controls to give you an average
reading of about -12dB and 0dB on the VU Meter. This will provide
a good signal level to the camera and still offer plenty of headroom
for higher transient signals. The limiter LEDs will flash red when
the limiters are activated by excessively loud audio signals.
3) Adjust the VOLUME control for the headphones to a comfortable
listening level.
4) Turn on the camera and do a test recording and then play back the
audio from the camera to determine if the captured audio is
acceptable. Set the MONITOR switch to PLAY to hear the
playback audio from the camera.
5) The Auto Gain Control (AGC) in the camera will vary the amount of
gain depending upon the input signal level. During quiet moments,
the AGC will increase the gain, which will also increase the amount
of hiss from the camera preamplifiers. See “Using Cameras that
have Manual Audio Controls” under Advanced Operations to
reduce this problem.
Notes on Getting the Best Audio Performance
The most common problem in recording professional audio on today’s
DSLR cameras is the hiss generated by the camera preamplifiers. You
will never completely eliminate all hiss, which is normal, but you can
reduce it so that it is no longer a problem.
The most important thing to remember when recording audio is to set the
audio levels correctly as explained in this manual.
Setting the levels too low will give you a poor signal to noise ratio and
lead to poor results. Also, setting the levels too high will cause clipping
and distortion. Having the proper levels will ensure that good clean audio
signals are being sent to the camera for the highest quality audio.
You should use a quality professional microphone, and proper mic
placement and techniques for optimum results.
Playback Monitoring
To monitor audio from the camera during playback you will need to use
the AV cable that came with the camera and AV cable that came with
the adapter. Be sure to keep the output cable connected between the
camera and adapter which supplies the needed ground path for the
signal through the AV cable.
1) Plug the adapter AV cable into the MONITOR IN on the DXA-SLR
2) Attach the camera AV cable to the AV output on the camera.
3) Note that the camera screen will go blank when the AV cable is
plugged into a Canon camera. To view the video while monitoring
the audio you will need to use an external monitor connected to
the yellow RCA connector of the camera AV cable.
4) Connect the red and white RCA jacks on the adapter AV cable to
the corresponding red and white plugs on the camera AV cable.
5) Set the MONITOR switch to PLAY.
6) You can now play back the clip and hear the audio through your
headphones connected to PHONE output on the adapter
Note that the playback audio may appear to have an excessive amount
of hiss. This is normal since the signal is passing through the relatively
noisy analog circuitry of the camera and headphone amplifier. This is not
representative of the actual recorded digital file.
Advanced Operation
Using Cameras that have Manual Audio Controls
If your camera allows you to disable the AGC feature we recommend
that you do so to get the best performance. Set the camera to manual
mode and the camera gain as follows:
Canon DSLR cameras
1 click above off
Nikon DSLR cameras
(With gain settings between 0 to 20)
(With gain settings LO, MED, HI)
Other DSLR cameras
Set to 5
Set to LO (note special padded
output cable may be needed)
Set the gain to between the lowest
setting and about 25% of maximum.
You will have to do some test
recordings to find the optimum
setting and to calibrate the VU meter
to the camera.
This setup will keep the gain in the camera low for the best signal to
noise ratio.
 Two Neutrik combo XLR / ¼” connectors
 Loop back for playback monitoring
 Unbalanced stereo mini-plug jack for connection to the camera
Headphone Monitor
 Built-in headphone amplifier with volume control
 3.5 mm phone jack
Phantom Power
 Switchable 12V/OFF/48V phantom power for both channels
VU Meter
 Easy to read level meters indicate proper signal level for each channel
 Fast acting limiters prevent distortion from overly hot inputs
Gain Switch
 High / Low gain setting for each channel
Level Controls
 Adjusts signal level output on each channel
MIC/LINE Switches
 Allows connections of microphones or mixers for versatility
Low Noise Preamplifiers
 Exceptionally low noise circuitry for superb audio
 Wide-bandwidth for full rich sound
Rod Support Base
 Detachable
 Includes two threaded 3” rods
Playback Monitor
 Provides an easy way to monitor audio on playback
 Easily replaceable 9 volt battery
 Low battery indicator
 Sturdy die-cast aluminum enclosure
Maximum Input Levels
MIC level (LO gain):
MIC level (HI gain):
LINE level:
Output Level
-26dBu at 0dB on the VU meter
Frequency Response
20Hz to 20kHz (+/- 0.5dB)
Less than 0.01% @ 1kHz, -30dBu input
S/N Ratio
85dB @ 1Khz, -30dBu input
Phantom Power
Dual regulated 12 or 48 volt power supplies
Current to 14mA (direct short)
VU meter
-18 to +3dB in 3dB increments
Battery Type
One 9 volt alkaline or lithium battery
Battery Duration
3 hours typical with alkaline battery (no
8 hours typical with lithium battery
(no phantom)
6” x 3.75” x 1.75” (L x W x H)
(152 mm x 95 mm x 44 mm)
Adapter 18 oz (0.51 kg)
Rod Mount 8 oz (0.23 kg)
This device complies with the FCC Rules, Part 15, Class B
Warranty Information
Limited Two Year Warranty
This warranty covers any defects or malfunction in your new BeachTek
adapter for two years from date of purchase.
BeachTek will replace or repair any defective or malfunctioning adapter,
within the warranty period, at no charge. The warranty does not cover
damage resulting from accident, alteration, misuse or abuse. The device
must be sent to our service center at your expense.
Should you require service please contact us first before returning the
unit to us. Return instructions can be found on our website at on the Support page.
Upon receiving the returned adapter it will be inspected and replaced or
repaired if found defective. The unit will be shipped back to you within
five business days at our expense.
Contact Information
Beachtek Inc.
480 Osprey Avenue
Kelowna, British Columbia
Canada V1Y 5A5
[email protected]
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