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Canon 60D Low Sound Issue All Mics


Hello everyone,

Thanks for reading, I've posted this to two other boards (Creative COW and Magic Lantern) in the hope of getting to the bottom of it as it seems to be a big issue with a lot of Canon DSLR users.


I have a big problem with my Canon 60D in video mode - the sound recordings are absolutely awful. The camera relies heavily on digital gain, which introduces a constant 'hiss'. I have tried with and without the hack 'Magic Lantern' ( with no difference (thus eliminating the hack as the culprit), so I am using Magic Lantern to try and get to the bottom of the problem as I can manually adjust analogue and digital gain with it enabled.

Now, before people jump on my back and start hitting me on the head with a monopod, repeating over and over 'it's the AGC', 'all DSLR's on-board sound is awful - record externally' etc, may I direct you to this video by the wonderful Dave Dugdale -

It's exactly 3 years old at time of writing, ML was in very early stages of development yet using an external mic with 0db of digital gain, the sound is clean and very useable. He puts the analogue gain up, takes off the digital gain and, well, that's it. Great sound.

I've made a short video to demonstrate the problem, emulating Dave's settings for direct comparison -

I ramble on, especially at the start, but to a layman like me it seems that the power to the mic is too low (yes, I have mic power 'on' in ML and of course the problem is the same with or without ML anyway), which is why I have to massively boost digital gain for you to even be able to hear me. I then speak with the same settings as Dave in his video, with both the on-board and an external mic. I've added subtitles so you have a clue what I'm saying - if you turn volume up and are using headphones at this point, there is a warning to turn volume down again.

For me, this clearly isn't just a case of 'bad DSLR sound capability' and is a problem that keeps cropping up on the 'net. However, posters get confused responses from people trying to help that suspect their idea of bad sound isn't actually that bad, or that it's the age-old AGC on the Canon rearing it's head. I think it would be helpful for everyone to have a definitive thread that finally nails this problem for future reference.

If I had to guess at a solution, I'd suggest that there's a firmware issue in there somewhere - I personally think the camera isn't powering the internal mic sufficiently (in fact hardly at all). But I'm no sound engineer or firmware programming genius and don't have a clue how to solve this problem. Which is why I'm asking you lovely people!

Once again, thank you all in advance for any help or advice you guys can offer.


I've sen your post here and on youtube. Just to clairify, the poor sound you are getting is from the 60D internal mic as well as an external mic? This poor sound started before you installed Magic Lantern? I have a 60D as well, and using the internal mic the sound is ok. Using my Rode videomic pro, set at +20 and the camer audio set to 10 clicks above 0.. manual audio, the sound is very good, talking at a norman level and about 5ft from the camera. I've been toying with the idea of installing ML on my camera but if your problem was a result of ML, I may just wait to see if ML can resolve this issue. So if the problem was there before ML, it would seem there is a problem with your copy of the 60D. I saw another youtube video of someone with issues of poor audio with his Nikon 5200. He went through 4 external mics; 3 of which were Rode videomic pro's. After a friend let him use his Canon 60D he discovered the sound was much much better! The problem....his copy of Nikon 5200. So you never know.



Hi there, thank you for replying here and on YouTube.  Answers below -


Just to clairify, the poor sound you are getting is from the 60D internal mic as well as an external mic?

Yes, absolutely.  The same issue either way - very high hiss at useable levels.


This poor sound started before you installed Magic Lantern?

Unfortunately, I have no way of knowing.  I had read about ML before buying the camera (second-hand) and installed it after a cursory test that the camera worked.  I didn't notice a hiss when I played back the footage, but ML seems to be so solid for everyone else it's hard to believe they're at fault.


I have a 60D as well, and using the internal mic the sound is ok.

Indeed.  I'm now pretty sure that what I'm experiencing is a physical fault with the camera.


I've been toying with the idea of installing ML on my camera but if your problem was a result of ML, I may just wait to see if ML can resolve this issue.

Magic Lantern are quite transparent and open about the risks involved - however after seeing (and hearing) samples of 60D's with their firmware though I believed the risk to be minimal.  There is a post from someone on their forum complaining that their sound is messed-up in the same way as mine after using ML but there hasn't been any movement on there since the initial post.  Basically I can't prove that it was the ML install that screwed up the sound and I honestly wouldn't like to guess either way.  I should also say that there were significant advantages to having it installed, particularly involving not only sound levels / gain but focus and exposure information while shooting, so if it weren't for this problem that's potentially from the ML firmware, I'd recommend it. 


One more thing about ML - I posted this issue on their forum and there has been a grand total of zero responses, not even from administrators which is dissappointing and you should bear that experience in mind before installing - you might be like me and out on your own if there's an issue.


Of course, if Canon had even the basic features Magic Lantern has - focus confirmation, zebras, full sound level / gain control etc - we wouldn't have to gamble on ML in the first place.


I intend to buy another camera in a few months and use the 60D as a spare or second camera, at which point I'll send the 60D to Canon for a service and get to the bottom of the problem.  With so few people able to help that looks like pretty much my only option.


Thanks again for the reply!

FYI, I bit the bullet and installed ML his morning and have been playing with the audio. With ML set at 26db anolalog gain my Rode videomic pro set at +20 db gain the audio is excellent! AGC is turned off so no more low level hiss from AGC. This ML
is quite the firmware. It's going to take some time with practice to use many of the features. Glad I installed it!


There are many reasons that could cause audio to not be recorded when making a video. One of the easiest solutions is to make sure your fingers are not blocking the microphones which are located underneath the camera lens. You also have the option to plug in an external microphone if sound is still not being recorded. The other thing you might look into is to see if by any chance your camera's menu options give you the ability to turn of AGC (Automatic Gain Control) or to reduce the gain on the camera's built in audio. Also check Canon 500d Manual for more audio fixes. [Corrected link to point directly to manual.  For the camera discussed in this thread, visit the EOS 60D manual HERE.]

click here to view the press release