The following article outlines the use of the Sony PMW-EX1 with an external sound recording device such as the Sound Devices 552 or 788T.

Camera Overview

The PMW-EX1 is a widely used HD camera with a pair of standard XLRs connector for external sound input. The camera supports signal routing, MIC and LINE level inputs and phantom power (+48v) for mounted shotgun microphone use. The camera also has on-board stereo microphones.1-IMG_9382

Line up Procedure

Configure the camera to accept LINE level input on both channels using the switches positioned right below the XLR input connectors. Note that CH-1 input is on the left and CH-2 input is on the right. (Also note a very deep sigh when you realise that on some cameras the input connector positioning is reversed.)

EX3 XLR Inputs

Slide switches for both channels across to the left.

EX3 Switch

Configure the AUDIO SELECT switches for both channels to MANUAL
Configure the AUDIO IN switches for both channels to EXT


Press the MENU button and scroll to the AUDIO SET menu using the SEL/SET button. Access the AUDIO INPUT menu and configure EXT CH Select to read CH-1/CH-2. This will ensure that the camera accepts input from both external channels.

(NOTE – a value of CH-1 here will cause the camera to route CH-1 input to both recording tracks. You generally DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS when recording “separate sound”. Also note that this configuration element appears on other cameras however the function can sometimes be different which can lead to substantial confusion.)

Other settings to check while in the AUDIO SET/AUDIO INPUT menu page are:

  1. AGC Link – Separated
  2. 1KHz Tone – Off
  3. Wind Filter CH-1 – Off
  4. Wind Filter CH-2 – Off

EX3 Audio Menu

Set your external mixer or recording device to output LINE level audio and connect the output of your mixer to the camera audio inputs.

Configure your external mixer or recording device to output a 1kHz test tone at a level of 0dBu. It is usual that a level of 0dBu will result in a meter display reading of –20dBFS. Ideally you will output a “stutter” tone that helps confirm which channel is the LEFT channel by periodically interrupting the tone level.

Access the “AUDIO” page on the viewfinder status display by pressing the STATUS button twice or until the correct page is displayed.


Adjust the AUDIO LEVEL (camera left/rear panel) until each channel indicates -20 on the camera audio level meter as per the picture above. In tests, the value indicated on the AUDIO LEVEL rotary control ended up being approximately at the “7” position.


Once the levels have been correctly aligned, turn off the tone source and check that audio is being correctly routed from the external mixer to the camera.