Panasonic DMW-XLR1 XLR interface for GH5 quality revealed by Curtis Judd

Thanks to Curtis Judd, we now know the DMW-XLR1’s performance and limitations.

Back in January 2017, I first wrote about Panasonic’s new GH5 and its DMW-XLR1 XLR audio interface (link ahead). At that time, I covered the DMW-XLR1’s specs and features, many of which were still quite obscure: Panasonic neglected to publish the total available gain, which is especially important with dynamic microphones. Despite no response so far from Panasonic to my inquiry, fortunately Curtis Judd has now done a thorough test and video review. Ahead you’ll see and hear his video review, together with my comments.

Link to my prior GH5 articles

Curtis Judd’s complete review on the DMW-XLR1 XLR audio interface, and my comments

Kudos to Curtis for his excellent review!

I have the following comments to add, for those who desire to use (a) dynamic microphone(s) with the GH5 (Amazon link, B&H link):

  1. If you don’t already own a portable audio mixer, Beachtek or JuicedLink to pre-boost the dynamic microphone’s lower level (or otherwise prefer the simplicity of not having to carry, power and adjust another device for certain shoots), you can consider using a FetHead (Amazon link, B&H link), which is a pre-preamplifier inside an XLR barrel connector that boosts the output of the dynamic mic about 27 dB to satisfy a weaker preamp in a device like the DMW-XLR1. As covered in prior articles, the FetHead is actually powered via phantom power from the host device, so no extra power supply or power cable is required. As you probably saw and heard in Curtis’s video review above, the DMW-XLR1 XLR audio interface fortunately offers phantom power.
  2. If you do own a portable audio mixer (or Beachtek/JuiceLink) and have no objection to carrying, powering and adjusting it, you may be questioning why you should spend almost US$400 on the DMW-XLR1, considering that you could connect the output of the mixer (or Beachtek/JuiceLink) to the GH5’s 3.5 mm input. Here are 3 justifications:
  • The XLR input offers a more secure physical connection.
  • The balanced XLR input offers a much higher resistance to electromagnetic or RF (radio frequency) interference.
  • 24-bit recording. Panasonic has published that the DMW-XLR1 offers 24-bit recording, but so far, neither Panasonic nor Curtis has said anything about the GH5 being able to record 24-bit audio without the DMW-XLR1. The only portions of the GH5 operator’s manual that make reference to 24-bit audio recording are when it makes direct reference to the optional DMW-XLR1, so it appears that the DMW-XLR1 is a requirement for 24-bit audio recording in the GH5. See my 2015 article: Understanding 24-bit vs 16-bit audio production & distribution to appreciate why it’s better to record raw audio at 24-bit, even though you may not distribute 24-bit audio.

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Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is an award-winning broadcaster & podcaster, bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994,…