DSLR Camera Audio Balun PA911

Energy Transformation Systems, Inc. Introduces DSLR Audio Camera Balun

by planetMitch3 Comments

Energy Transformation Systems, Inc. Introduces DSLR Audio Camera Balun – o.k., so what is it? From their materials:

“The PA911 Audio Camera Balun from ETS is designed to easily connect the Canon 5D or 7D DSLR camera audio port to a professional-grade microphone.

The device preserves the balanced line, allowing full noise reduction for any length of microphone cable.”

Joe Rosenberger from ETS sent us all this info and this additional tidbit: “The reports from our Beta testers in the field have been universally positive. Well-known director Mike Caporale in Ohio put it simply: “You have a great product.” We are now awaiting reports from the other Beta evaluators.”

So, if you've ever wanted to connect your XLR mic directly into your Canon EOS 5D Mark II (reviews) or Canon EOS 7D (reviews), now you can! It will be priced at $69.95.

Redrock Micro

DSLR Camera Audio Balun PA911

DSLR Camera Audio Balun PA911


Energy Transformation Systems, Inc. Introduces DSLR Audio Camera Balun

FREMONT, California (May 23, 2011) – ETS, the Silicon Valley-based designer and manufacturer of adapters, baluns, panels, and related devices for audio, video and data has announced a new audio accessory for the highly popular Canon© 5D and 7D Series of DSLR cameras.

The lightweight device, Model PA911, is housed in what appears to be a typical XLR connector and enables users to quickly connect professional-grade microphones equipped with XLR connectors directly to the Canon’s existing 3.5mm mini-plug jack. More than a simple adapter, the ETS DSLR Audio Camera Balun has a flexible 18” cord and contains a miniature transformer and internal circuitry that matches the impedance of high-end professional microphones to that of the camera.

The initial mono version will shortly be supplanted by a two-channel model for the Canon© Mark II Series, which includes stereo capability.

Despite the huge popularity of Canon’s cameras with millions of videographers around the world, many users have reported the shortcomings of the on-board audio circuitry. The ETS device resolves this challenge with a simple plug-in device at a very modest price.
Company CEO Trudy Andresen stated, “For decades, ETS has pushed the technical limits in the audio/video business, and with this new miniature balun, we’ve employed our expertise to design and manufacture a tech product designed for the broad range of users who employ these highly popular Canon© DSLR cameras.”

The ETS device has successfully passed Beta testing and will soon be available on the company’s website, www.etslan.com as well as through select dealers and distributors.

Contact: Joe Rosenberger, VP Marketing & Sales [email protected] 800-752-8208

ETS DSLR Audio Camera Balun

ETS DSLR Audio Camera Balun


FAQS: THE ETS PA911 DSLR Audio Camera Balun
Q&A: Using the ETS PA911 with the Canon© 5D and 7D Series of DSLR cameras

Q: How do I get audio into a 5D, 7D etc?
A. The audio input on this camera is a 3.5mm stereo jack (also called a 1/8″ jack) built into the left side of the camera under the protective rubber insert. This jack gives you access to two channels (stereo).

Q: What kind of audio input is the jack on a 5D, 7D etc.?
A. This audio input is an unbalanced stereo. Because it is not a balanced input, many regard it as “non- professional.” Nonetheless, it can be used as a guide track for editing, or as a back-up track to a separate audio recording device such as the Zoom h3C.

Q: Can I use the audio input of a 5D, 7D etc. with professional balanced line microphones?
A: Yes. You can convert this input to a balanced line using a balun transformer such as the ETS PA911 (www.etslan.com). This is a passive balun (no external power is required) that puts the same mic audio on both tracks. It converts the balanced audio from the mic to unbalanced audio required by the camera. There is a precision transformer built into the XLR connector to accomplish this. You can also special order from ETS a balun that gives you two inputs so you can record stereo microphones. The only thing this arrangement won't support is phantom-powered condenser microphones, but dynamic microphones (or condenser microphones with external power supplies or internal batteries) will work just fine. Beware of adaptors that simply attach the 3.5mm plug to an XLR. That style of adaptor actually unbalances the mic to which it is attached, which reduces the ability of the mic and wiring to reject noise and interference.

Q: Do I HAVE to use balanced microphones?
A: No. They're simply of higher quality than most mics with unbalanced outputs. There are many varieties of shotgun and other styles of microphone with the same 3.5mm plug used in the 5D and 7D. Some of these are of adequate quality, but there are far more suitable choices available when you employ a true 3-pin XLR balanced line.

Q: What if I want to run a long cable to an external microphone?
A: You can purchase any number of wireless systems that have the 3.5mm output you need. Alternatively, you can use the ETS PA911 (www.etslan.com) to adapt a professional wireless receiver.

But you can combine higher quality with lower cost by simply using an appropriate length of balanced line mic cable, such as Belden 1800F. The cable would plug into the ETS PA911 balun on one end and the balanced-line mic on the other end. There is essentially no reasonable limit to distance (at least up to 2000 ft.) with this arrangement. But bear in mind that if you use a simple XLR-to-3.5mm-plug adaptor, it will unbalance the entire mic cable, as well as the mic at the other end, and thereby greatly reduce the ability of the cable to reject noise and interference.

Q: How can I maximize the audio quality in my 5D and 7D?
A: Consult the Owner's Manual and disable the “automatic gain control” on the audio in the camera. Of course, you will then have to set the audio level manually.

Q: How do I attach an outboard video monitor to the 5D and 7D cameras?
A: There is a mini-HDMI output on the same side of the camera as the audio jack. Use a cable of the appropriate length that adapts from min-HDMI to standard HDMI. External self-powered monitors are available from a number of manufacturers. But please note that these HDMI cables are typically fragile, so you might want to take a few backup units with you on a shoot.

For more information, please see their site

(cover photo credit: snap from Energy Transformation Systems)

Zeiss Cinema Lenses


  1. ….a ‘professional’ microphone usually runs on 48V phantom power which this ‘solution’ does not provide. Besides that for a guide track it’s easier and cheaper to just make a cable adapter and plug an xlr mike into the camera. This here is a solution for a non existing problem.
    If you really run sound you’ll be running it through a small mixer anyway.

  2. I really don’t get it. So it has a transformer to match the impedance? Well, my diy adapter does not, and works fine.
    “The device preserves the balanced line”. Well, unless they managed to shrink that transformer into the 3.5mm mini-plug, I don’t think it preserves anything. Besides, for connecting a mike near the camera, it would hardly make any difference – the input is unbalanced, anyway.
    The audio issue we have (at least those without magic lantern) remains – no monitoring, no manual level.

  3. I think the two comments on the ETS balun don’t understand what it is or what it can do. Most adaptors from XLR to mini-plug unbalance the XLR (pin 2 to mini tip+ring, pin 1+3 to mini-ground.) This means that the mic itself is now unbalanced. It also means any balanced mic cable you plug into this adaptor is also unbalanced, with no inherent noise rejection offered by a balanced line (especially bad on long runs). The transformer inside the XLR changes it from unbalanced to balanced line, and reduces the output impedance to 100 ohms. This means that the distance you can go on a balanced line cable is greatly extended (1000 ft. ++) compared to 30 ft. if you stay high-impedance unbalanced. No, it doesn’t carry phantom power (but there’s no phantom power in a 5D or 7D). That leaves you with dynamic mics, or battery-powered or external power supply condenser mics. Still a lot of choices there. Sure, there are other issues to be solved, but this little balun at least keeps the maximum signal quality and maximum noise reduction.

Leave a Comment