A client who purchased a Panasonic HDX900 Camera from us noticed a problem when importing footage from his camera through firewire. He used a FireStore to capture footage on set and then brought it into Final Cut Pro. The problem was that his audio levels seemed completely off. In the field he had set his levels to around -18db and when he brought them into FCP they were significantly lower. He called me wondering what the problem could be and I wasn’t sure either. So I tested the same setup here and had the same problem. My levels were consistently lower despite setting Channels 1 and 2 to a signal generator. After turning off a couple audio channels I discovered the source of the confusion.
Final Cut Pro is defaulted to downmix all audio channels for Stereo playback. The audio monitor in FCP reflects the levels of the downmixed signal, not the level of the individual channels. However you can change this setting in your Sequence Settings menu.
In the audio options tab you can set the output to “Dual Mono” instead of Stereo and then adjust the downmix to 0 db for each channel. This will set the audio output to playback exactly as it was captured (without any downmix that is). Also the FCP audio monitor will now reflect the levels set in the camera.