Video review: Canon Legria Mini X

Handheld recorders

Audio recording

Legria Mini X's audio controls
The Mini X’s audio controls are on the side, or via the touch screen
Canon’s intention to position the Mini X in the audio recording market is clear, just from the front of the device.

The Mini X has a pair of mics arranged either side of the lens for stereo recording – the default mode. Canon, though, provides little detail on the mic system, calling it a “large stereo mic”. That said, it works well enough. Audio recording is in three modes: Linear PCM (the highest quality, uncompressed method), AAC-LC, and Dolby Digital. LPCM is available in AVCHD video recoding modes, and was use for our tests.

Recording modes are backed up by a range of audio scenes, designed to optimise recording for different circumstances: these are Standard, Meeting, Festival, Music, Speech, Forest and Birds, Noise Suppression and Custom. We found that Standard worked well for most tasks, although Music was the option we picked for our test band recording.

The MiniX also features a built in compressor/limiter, mic level adjustment, a headphone socket, and a 3.5mm jack for connecting up an external microphone. An external mic input is useful, but the choice of a stereo minijack cuts down the options, especially given that audio-only recorders with XLR inputs and phantom power sell for less.

And, although the mic input, and internal mic, levels can be controlled there is only one control dial, and no way to set left or right channels separately. So, even if a recordist uses a mono to stereo cable to connect up two mics, there would be no way to adjust levels separately, and there is no dual mono recording option. Nor again does Canon document how the various scene modes affect recording, so it really is a question of trial and error to see what works best.

Next: Setting up the LEGRIA Mini X