F5 and F55 Audio Module

Some additional information on audio for Sony’s new F5 and F55 cameras. Audio recording is Linear PCM, 2 channel, 24-bit, 48 khz.

The module will have two standard 3-pin XLR female connectors, switchable from Analog to Digital:

  • Analog: CH 1 and CH2 for  Line/Mic/Mic +48 V (phantom power)
  • Digital: 4 channels AES/EBU (Audio Engineering Society/European Broadcast Union)
“How can you get 4 channels of digital audio into two XLR connectors?” A single 3-pin XLR AES/EBU connector can handle 2 channels simultaneously (multiplexing).

Audio output on the camera is via a phone jack (CH1/CH2), with a monaural speaker output and a stereo headphone mini jack.

Peter Crithary provided the two pictures of the removable audio input module for Sony F5 and F55.

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4 Responses:

  1. As usual Sound was an afterthought. Really a screw on “sound module”? Like we’d shoot MOS? And why can’t the sound cables come off the back like all the other cables on this camera.

    • Oliver Schietinger:

      If you recall the F35 days, we had a ridiculous amount of master quality audio channels going to the SRW1 as well as the top handle Interface Box. If you long for those days, I am happy to sell an F35 to you. Otherwise, I’d rather the camera design be focused on image acquisition and form factor, which i think they did well. Otherwise, I do agree.

  2. Look at it this way, they are leaps and bounds ahead of what another offers in terms of sound.

  3. Thomas Holman:

    Just did an 8 day job with the new F5. Sound difficulties. Sony, after 25 years of doing a good and consistent job with sound, has dropped the ball. They completely abandoned their classic audio protocol. The problem list is too long for this space, but:

    Hopefully some of the faults can be addressed by firmware upgrades. The optional audio module is a total after-thought. It’s as if they copied the Red camera audio approach which is totally useless. The good thing is everyone knows the Red is an MOS camera and we all do double system sound. Which is much better for all. The same is recommended with the F5 at this point. All Parties (director, dp, ac, dit, steady cam) quickly realized this on our shoot. We sent mono sound on a radio link as a guide track.

    So what are some of the issues?
    1. The “Audio Module” is oriented in the incorrect direction. This could be corrected by a new module putting the XLR’s on top of the module facing up. Which would be very cool. The female input chassis XLR’s are upside down, forcing most right angle XLR to point down (even worse than out). I was able to modify an older Neutrix right angle to face up on an angle – so you can still get to the release button.

    2. No monitor return out?

    3. The only monitor is the headphone jack located right next to the operator’s eye at the view finder?

    4.The headphone gain & small internal speaker (why do we need a speaker in a pro camera?) are controlled by same volume control which is 3 levels down in an audio menu.

    5. Takes way too long to turn it on and off for a quick confidence check. Should be on an “Assign” playback button to cut the speaker on & off, etc.

    6. When going to high speed for that quick B roll slowmo grab shot and back to sync speed (23.976) the TC switches to “record run” & looses the jamed code. Sony is now aware of this glitch & is working on a patch.

    7. The Audio & TC menus are mislabeled and are in some cases opposite meaning of what has been used in the past.The Menu & LCD panel audio meters are not scaled (hash marks at -20, etc.)

    8. There are a bunch more.

    Bottom line: No doubt this is a super camera. These days editors do not want to sync dailies (but it’s pretty easy). At this point it is best to treat it as a film camera.Which in my humble opinion is a much better way shoot anyway… :)
    Best,
    Thomas Holman
    Sound Ideas Company