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Guest post: DIY sound monitoring for the Nikon D7000

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Today's guest post is about adding audio monitoring to the Nikon D7000 by Pierre Capoue: 

The Nikon D7000 lacks an output for connecting headphones to monitor the sound level during video recording. With the D7000, Nikon supplies the AV EG-D2 cable that has a stereo 3.5mm male jack input on one side and two RCA male outputs on the other side, one for video (yellow) and one for mono audio (white):

Nikon AV EG-D2 cable

Nikon AV EG-D2 cable

It is possible to manufacture a cable with a stereo male jack on one side and a female mono jack on the other side that can be used to connect headphones to the camera in order to extract the audio signal. To achieve this, you will need:

  • male 3.5 mm stereo jack
  • 3.5 mm or 6.5 mm female mono jack (depending on your headphones)
  • audio cable thin enough to make the welds (I personally used a cable with a twisted mass around the central core)
  • soldering iron and some solder
  • electrical tester to check the quality of the welds and connections

The Nikon A/V jack has the video signal connector on top and the audio portion on the bottom (ground is used for both signals - it's the big plate in the middle). In order to extract the audio signal, you must solder the cable only to the bottom and ground connectors of the stereo jack:

Then you must solder the other side of the cable to the sockets of the female mono jack:

The final patch should look like this:

This assembly makes it possible to get a mono signal out and monitor the sound level during video recording. Unfortunately, the final audio signal remains relatively low because it is originally designed to be amplified. You can also run the signal to any sound amplification system via the input line in. In addition, once we have identified and separated the video and audio signal on the original Nikon D7000 A/V connector, we can imagine other assembly to distribute, retrieve and use those signals.

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  • scottd800

    looks like something i would mess up

  • http://eleventhphotograph.com elph

    Nice! I would have probably done something like this about a year ago. Now with my D800 just around the corner though…

  • George

    not input but output!!!!

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      right, missed that

  • http://www.geneinman.com Gene

    I thought I did some ugly field repairs… but that viewfinder looks like its waterproofed with juicyfruit .

    • http://jaysonknight.com Jayson Knight

      Obviously is a chamois so the author can keep his camera buffed and shined to perfection! Cuz clean cameras take better pictures ;-)

    • Mock Kenwell

      ROFL!

  • binarycodes

    Admin, do you see any possibility of a D400 or a D7000 replacement coming in before May,2012?

    I’m holding on purchase of the D7000 because of this. :P

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      The D7000 should be replaced in August, not sure about the D400 – some say end of March but I have no reliable info yet.

      • Andrew

        Thank you. This gives us something to look forward to. My wife wants the D7000, but I decided to wait for the next version. And as far as the D400 is concerned, the release will end the speculation on whether it has a full frame sensor or not (we know you will put the speculation to rest soon in one of your rumor posts). My thinking is that it will not have a full frame sensor. With the release of the D400, if it does not have a full frame sensor, it will heighten the speculation on when the D700 replacement will be announced. My thinking is that the D700 replacement will ship in February 2013.

        • WoutK89

          What does it matter if the D400 has a fullframe sensor or not? What matters is, if there will be another DX camera above the D7000 or not! I am tired of people saying the D400 will be fullframe or DX, because it is just a name. Even if Nikon names it bleepbloop it would still sell if the specs are right.

          • BartyL

            Will Bleepbloop be DX or FX? I only ask because a lot of people seem to think the D800 is not a real replacement for the D700. If the D700 ceases production, Nikon will no longer have an entry-level Bleepbloop. On the other hand, a lot of people enjoy the 1.5 crop of the current Bleepbloop for bird & wildlife photography, and some would like more ‘pro’ features than those offered by the D7000.

            So, Bleepbloop: DX or FX?

            • Yoan

              Even Nikon recently said the D800 is not a D700 replacement (that’s why the latter is still being produced).

          • Royster

            Of course it matters if it is DX or FX
            It will depend if people will buy it or not.Maybe it will even be the replacement for the D7000

      • binarycodes

        thanks a lot :)

  • Frank

    wtf at the viewfinder? That camera is a mess.

    • jk

      I’d be embarrassed for people to see me in public with that viewfinder let alone post a picture of it for the internet world to see and critique.

      I guess my next question is what does this persons face look like?

  • Sound junkie

    Great post! Merck beau coup!

  • http://galleries.gorji.com gorji

    Is that putty in the eye piece /viewfinder??

    • Scottd800

      Pretty sure it’s C4, and following the directions makes some kind of explosive. Makes way for the d7000 replacement! :)

      • rich in tx

        I KNOW! It does look like C4 or bubble gum around the eyepiece. And with all the wires sticking everywhere… can you imagine TSA agents seeing that at the airport! they would have you on the ground spread eagle in no time (with their flashlights and walkie talkies pointed at you)

  • http://blog.niagaraweddingphotographer.ca David G.

    Aren’t you supposed to use an external audio recorder with DSLR’s?

  • prjkt

    I’ve made a few custom cables like this for different purposes, might give it a whirl

  • born_again2510

    Its a pretty simple setup. you can just get a 3.5mm male to 3.5mm female cord from eBay, and they sell them at your local Radio Shack. and you can use a small amplified pair of ear-buds.

    can’t wait to get my D7000 back from Nikon’s repair facility. It had the back focusing issue, and oil splatter on the sensor from the mirror slapping (all under warranty). hopefully it will come back working flawlessly.

    Seriously?? What’s up with the Play-Dough around the eyepiece?

    • tifkat

      Of course those tend to bridge the ‘left’ and ‘right’ channels, so you’d be listenting to the video and the audio together if you bought one of those cables. This is the reason for the custom made cable.

  • http://takacsgabor.com Gabor Takacs

    This is NOT DIY… this is SIY (screw it up yourself).

    Even if he did not, you will probably mess up your camera because:

    - I am sure the audio output is NOT designed for commercial headphones’ low impedance. If the audio out signal comes directly from an expensive IC, and the service is not changing ICs, but complete boards, you will receive “camera repair is not affordable” statement from Nikon.
    - You are connecting paralell TWO low impedance headphones to ONE output. That means the final impedance will be the half of the headphone’s already low impedance.
    - If you can’t live without one, at least you must use a high impedance headphone (600 Ohm). But if you want to be really precise, you connect the two sides serial by cutting the headphone’s wire, and make sure you did not connected them anti-phase.*
    - Those 3.5mm jacks sooo tiny that only guys experienced in soldering can do the job properly.
    - What about reliability? That cable is going to move all the time, then… it will break or short the circuit…

    Is it worth it?

    If you need real audio quality (and if you can shoot full HD video using pro lenses, you definitely should) buy a pocket-size stereo pro audio recorder for a few hundred bucks… and you can put that any place you want, it won’t record the AF sound, etc. etc…

    Btw. do you really would like to listen to a guy who puts some weird chewing gum on the viewfinder? :-)

    ——————————

    * The correct solderings are:

    (1) Nikon 3.5mm jack TIP -> Headphone Left (+)

    (2) Headphone Left (-) -> Headphone Right (+)

    (3) Headphone Right (-) -> Nikon 3.5mm Jack Ground (MASSE).

    • BartyL

      There’s no easy way to say this – oh wait, there is: you’re full of shit.

      • http://takacsgabor.com Gabor Takacs

        Your reasoning is very convincing. I hope you did not get too tired of it.

    • El Creppo

      +1

      Never read some much disinformation in a single post (Gabor Takacs’s post)

      Absolute garbage…

      • http://takacsgabor.com Gabor Takacs

        Oh my God… You are the second one flying sooo high mentally… (+1… Congratulations.) Or maybe you are just BartyL renamed… Can you pleaseee describe more what do you mean as ‘disinformation’? I think posts like ‘this is bullshit’ are the real bullshit… Without real thoughts all these just empty whining.

        You know, discussion needs basic intelligence.

    • Joseph

      There’s no way you can screw up the camera with a simple signal re-route, especially not with the pitifully small electrical signals in a sound signal.

      • http://takacsgabor.com Gabor Takacs

        You are absolutely right. But I see every day how people soldering at home, and if the output does not have any protection against short circuit, this can be seriously dangerous. To be absolutely honest I do NOT know any Nikon camera’s internal structure, but would you believe that about 50-70% of audio outputs are direct IC pinout without any protection nowadays? This camera is not a $50 portable CD player.

        • enesunkie

          A long time ago, before I went to college for electronics, I wired two sets of speakers (f/r , l/r) to the single set of outputs of my car stereo. It worked for a while … till I had to take it in to a repair shop to replace the output amps. You are right. This can be done, but most people I know would be dangerous with a live soldering iron. :)

    • double e

      guess i have to do some impedance matching huh. Time to review my z-miller theory.

    • http://www.monteverde.org Monteverde CostaRica

      So using a cheap pair of earbuds & cutting @ the point where the cable splits to each earbud:

      - Headphone Right (-) -> Headphone Left (+), plug in the A/V output et voila!

      Or cut off completely the Left bud as it listens to the video output to listen to the playback sound via single earbud instead of the camera’s on board mini speaker.

  • http://www.tomwhitephotography.com Tom White

    I guess this would work, not sure about how accurate that audio monitoring would be though! Alternatively, you can do what I sometimes do, and use an external audio recorder with both a line out and a headphone jack, connect the line out to the cameras mic input, and monitor the audio levels with headphones connected to the external recorder itself. A bit bulkier and messier than simply plugging in a video mic to the camera, but you get better monitoring and you get a separate audio track recorded onto the audio recorder itself.

    I am so glad Nikon finally are putting headphone jacks on their cameras with the D$ and theD800. This should be standard on any camera that purports to be one that can be used for professional level video work.

  • Mel Snyder

    No need for soldering etc. Just pick up a few adapters at Radio Shack and adapt the RCA plug on the audio line from the supplied A-V cable so you can plug in a pair of headphones.

    I use a pair of $16 Sony headphones.

    One point: this system doesn’t allow one to monitor audio as it is being recorded – the jack is for playback only. And for those worried about overloading the audio output, Radio Shack sells a small headphone amp that will provide a better match. Works GREAT!

  • http://www.cpearson.me.uk Chris Pearson

    Why not just use a phono to 3.5mm stereo adaptor on the factory cable? This will cut down on the welding [sic] required and probably cost less than 2 jacks & 1m of wire, certainly cheaper then having to buy a soldering iron if you don’t have one.

    Run this to a headphone amplifier (<£20 on ebay with a charger) and you're away (for less than the cost of even a cheap soldering iron and some solder)

    • Matt Handy

      Absolutely! That’s just what I was thinking.

    • http://takacsgabor.com Gabor Takacs

      Even if my solution is correct electrically I forgot to mention above that using a high imepdance headphones on line output probably gives very low (almost unusable) volume.

      So your solution is the best deal to monitor audio correctly.

    • http://www.reallystrongphotography.com/ Bruce Works

      I tried it and the camera only outputs audio on playback and NOT during recording. Best I can tell none of this works.

  • R!

    MONO SOUND ON ONE SIDE IS NOT MONITORING IT IS EARING.

  • broxibear

    Talking of wires and cables…
    XQD, Ethernet and the Nikon D4 http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/content_page.asp?cid=7-11674-12366

    • R!

      thank you we’re in 21st century or what?…

  • Big Eater

    For those of us with a drawerful of electronic odds and ends, it seems like a neat, easy solution. I also like the idea of the cheap headphone amp. Thanks for posting.

  • Been there guy

    Congrats!

    Another successful high school sicence project! …….What? No? Not a high school sicence project?! Get a life! Buy the D800.

  • ithurtswhenipee

    I plug my Olympus LS-10′s line out into the mic in jack on the D7000. The LS-10 has a headphone jack to monitor while recording (and much higher quality and stereo mics btw). This way there is no need to sync the audio in post. Granted this is a more expensive solution, but if one is serious enough about their audio to want to monitor it, it would behoove oneself to leave the soldering iron alone and drop a ~$160 on ebay for a PCM recorder.

  • Robert Malone

    I have written back and forth to Nikon about this issue- bottom line, the line out for audio via the A/V jack on D7000 is mono as indicated by others, and the D7100 now apparently includes an audio out (stereo) jack due to this problem.

    To whit-

    “Dear Mr. Malone,
    Thank you for contacting Nikon. Unfortunately the D7000 camera does not have a headphone jack to monitor audio while recording, this feature is not built in to this model camera. We have included this feature on the D7100 camera, if interested you can verify the specifications available at our website: http://www.nikonusa.com.
    When using the A/V output jack with the supplied cable -that is used to connect to your television and view images and video clips- , audio output is monaural (mono) , meaning that it is a single channel; if your looking for stereo audio in that case we would recommend connecting the camera to the television with an HDMI cable.

    We do not recommend our customer’s any third party products or suggestions and we do not support them.

    Sincerely,
    Virnalisa U.
    Nikon Support”

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