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You might have a defective audio amp. One thing you can do is try to compare the impedances of the audio amp's left and right channel (tv off) outputs with speakers disconnected. any major inequality in (ohm) reading obviously will tell you so.
Most shotgun mikes are only going to provide a mono output. In some cases there are two internal pick ups and the output would be stereo. A good example of this would be the Audio Technica AT822 which almost looks like two mikes joined together. I have a Sennheiser MKE300 and I modified the plug in order for the signal to be fed to both channels (double mono)
I'm not familiar with your Sony mike and I would think that it would feed both channels, either as stereo or double mono, but perhaps it is not designed to do so. And being a hot shoe connection it wouldn't be possible to alter it until the editing stage.
However, having said all that, the other problems you describe indicate a faulty mike. The low signal level indicates a lack of power to the mike, which in your case should be provided by the camera (unless there is a place for a battery in the mike, but I doubt it). I don't think it should be tinny either.
I have had some issues with my Sennheiser picking up too much camera noise and handling noise but the audio of the subject is quite good.
So, if you want a suggestion ...
Take the Sony mike back - if you can.
Buy a good quality shotgun (not the Sennheiser MKE300!) that has a standard plug on it (XLR or 3.5mm).
Buy an external recording device (I use a minidisc and/or an Edirol R-1)
This will give you greater control over mike placement and provide redundancy ( I recently recorded a wedding with a broken mike cable -I didn't find out until the editing stage that the camera hadn't recorded usable audio)