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External audio recorders

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Casey Petersen
External audio recorders
on Oct 19, 2011 at 6:24:21 pm

I am looking for something extremely simple and basic, and I need help.

I currently have the Sony UWP wireless (lav) mic system...seen here: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/553686-REG/Sony_UWP_V6_3032_UWP_V6_Wi...

Since moving to DSLRs, I am no longer taking a wireless mic (typically placed on a groom or a wedding officiant) directly into the camera, but now I am taking it into a Marantz PMD660 digital audio recorder.

I am thinking...why am I futzing around with transmitting a wireless signal to an external recorder...especially since I already have to sync the audio to my video in post. I say, let's combine it into one unit.

So what I am looking for is a digital audio recorder that will do this one function. Instead of plugging the lav mic into a wireless transmitter, I would like to use the same lav mic and plug it into a digital recorder of some type, that is also roughly the same size as the wireless transmitter (about the size of a pack of cigarettes), that the groom or officiant can simply put in their pocket (or clip to their belt). Furthermore, we would not have to worry about interference from wireless frequencies.

Years ago, iRiver had a product...the 795t...which was an MP3 player, but could also be used as a recorder with a lav mic. That product has long been discontinued.

Is there a product out there that fits my description?

Thanks in advance!
Casey


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Alex Campbell
Re: External audio recorders
on Oct 19, 2011 at 9:48:50 pm

I would look at a Zoom H1 or an H4N. The H4N has xlr inputs and records amazing audio. What I have done is take this a step further and I run a wireless or shotgun mic into my zoom h4n and then use a splitter on the output so that I can both monitor and feed into my 5D. This way, I have such a strong signal I do not have to worry about the gain control as the volume on the 5D is only about 5 notches above the bottom. The audio it records is absolutely flawless and I have used it in many different places with different mics.

One trick I use is to take a headphone volume control and use it inline with my feed into my camera so that the signal out from the headphone jack on the zoom is loud enough to hear, but I can drop it enough to have a clean audio signal


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Casey Petersen
Re: External audio recorders
on Oct 19, 2011 at 10:13:22 pm

Thanks Alex, I can see using a trick like that in different situations I am in, rather than the scenario I'm looking into...I will give it a try using my Marantz PMD660 and Canon 60D or 7D.

Kind of what I'm trying to accomplish is also in regard to being extremely quick, easy, and lightweight.

I am already running the wirelesses into my Marantz, which works fine, but I'm trying to go one step lighter, so that I can get decent results with no more equipment than just the lav wire and a small box. Maybe there are even some decent voice recorders at Best Buy that might be able to use the same lav mics I have, however I have tried plugging into other devices with no success...maybe it's powered?

I'm looking for fast lightweight setup, as well as the ability to be able to run-and-gun with the camera, while being discreet.

Thanks!
Casey



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Brent Dunn
Re: External audio recorders
on Oct 20, 2011 at 3:11:59 pm

You can us a portable recorder such as the zoom H1 or H4n.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/699403-REG/Zoom_H1_H1_Ultra_Portable_...

Plug in the lav and insert into pocket.

I know many people who do this successfully, but I'm a bit old school when it comes to monitoring audio. I NEED to hear what I'm capturing in case issues arrise. I'm not comfortable just using a portable recorder that I HOPE is still working and capturing audio.

I have an EX1 for my main camera that I can use to capture with the wireless Lav while monitoring my audio levels. I use the other DSLR's with an on camera mic for not so critical audio capture.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Casey Petersen
Re: External audio recorders
on Oct 20, 2011 at 3:23:34 pm

Saw B&H's demo of the Zoom H1 and I am intrigued.

Do you have one of these that you've used successfully?

Thanks!
Casey



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Colin McQuillan
Re: External audio recorders
on Oct 20, 2011 at 3:48:42 pm

I'm with Brent on this. I wouldn't leave a recorder in someone's pocket. You are leaving much to chance if you do. If for some reason the levels aren't right you could be screwed - they could accidentally push a button and stop the recording. Also, I would be reluctant to strap anything more than a lav transmitter to a groom or JP. Some are smaller than others, but I wouldn't want an H4N or the like in my pocket if I was standing at the alter!

Colin McQuillan
Vancouver, B.C.


"Live, love, laugh and be happy."


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Casey Petersen
Re: External audio recorders
on Oct 20, 2011 at 3:57:49 pm

That's kind of what I'm wondering about...is there the ability to "lock" the buttons on it? I'm concerned with the H1 with all the switches on it...it would be nice if there were something a bit more foolproof...which is kind of why I'm asking this question in the first place. Even with my wireless lav, the power could get switched off, so there's always a risk.

Also, in addition to putting on a groom, this could also be used to tape a lav mic to a podium, for instance. I'm also thinking of other situations besides weddings as well, but for this application, I'm really just looking for a one-trick pony...I'm not looking for a built in mic, or other extra features...just a lav mic and a box, hit record and that's it.

Budget is also a consideration...our Sony wirelesses are $600 each, whereas a setup with a Zoom H1 would be a fraction of that.

I'm considering all options and appreciate all feedback!!



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Colin McQuillan
Re: External audio recorders
on Oct 20, 2011 at 9:31:21 pm

I don't know about the H1, but the H4N has a hold button. Even still I wouldn't recommend the setup you are thinking of. The hold button 'might' prevent the person from switching it off, but they still could if they were rummaging in their pocket for what ever reason or sitting down in tight fitting pants... Set up at a podium, OK but still what if the batteries you thought were fresh aren't fresh. You wont know until it is too late and you have no audio instead of some if you were able to see the issue as it happened and react.

Also, if there is any other issue with the mic, like clipping/over modulation, fabric rub, or some other type of interference you will have no way of knowing until it is too late. At least if you are monitoring you will know about any issues as they happen and can act accordingly IE switching to a shotgun mic quick so you can at least get some usable sound or waiting for an opportune moment to quickly address the problem...

Bottom line, if you are not actively monitoring you are taking a risk that personally I would not take.

Colin McQuillan
Vancouver, B.C.


"Live, love, laugh and be happy."


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Casey Petersen
Re: External audio recorders
on Oct 20, 2011 at 9:41:34 pm

I understand there's always risk. You take a chance getting up in the morning, crossing the street or sticking your face in the fan.

If I do achieve this power, I promise to use it only for good and never for evil. :)

Thanks!
Casey



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Colin McQuillan
Re: External audio recorders
on Oct 20, 2011 at 10:43:40 pm

If only we all lived a little more like Lt. Drebin. (well, actually... )

Good luck! I hope you find a solution that works well for you.

The Zoom series of recorders should do what you are after. The batteries last long and with a 32 gig card you'll be recording all day. Being detached from the ability to monitor the record just leaves more room for error than I would be comfortable with.

Best,
C

Colin McQuillan
Vancouver, B.C.


"Live, love, laugh and be happy."


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