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Pj Heller
Getting started with audio
on Nov 5, 2012 at 5:32:39 pm

I’m a longtime stills photographer and, like many here, am interested in getting started with doing more video. I’m attempting to put together an audio kit and am looking for some advice. I’ve been reading posts here and elsewhere, watching videos about equipment, etc, etc. Because I’m just getting started with this, I’m trying to hold down the budget. Here’s some of the things I’m trying to decide:

Recorder: I like the Tascam DR-40 and the less expensive DR-05. The DR-40 has the XLR inputs which everyone says are important; I have a Rode VMP and could get an miniplug>XLR adapter for it. I’d also like to get a (wired) lav, but everything I’ve seen with an XLR connector is beyond my budget. And I’m wondering if the DR-40 may be a little complicated, compared to using the DR-05. So I’m leaning to the DR-05 with the Rode and then adding a lav such as the Audio-Technica ATR-3350 or the Giant Squid Omni. (I’m not keen on the Zoom H4n and not sure I want to spend that much on a recorder at this stage).

Mics: As mentioned, I already have the Rode VMP. The ATR-3350 and Giant Squid lavs I know often get slammed, but for the price I’m thinking they may be OK just to get started.

Windscreens for the Rode and maybe the Tascam.

Suggestions/comments welcomed.

Cheers.


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Peter Burger
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 6, 2012 at 7:51:52 am

I had the Zoom-H1 because I thought I won't need XLR-inputs, but after a year or so, I realized that if you want high quality audio and versatility you'll definitly need XLR inputs.

So I bought the Tascam DR-40 some time ago and I'm really, really happy with it. At first sight (especially if you - just like me - don't know too much about audio) the DR-40 seems so be a bit complicated but it definitly isn't.
After playing around with it a couple of hours I found this recorder extremely easy to use. On the quality-side, I don't think you can get a better recorder in that price-range. The Zoom H4N has about the same sound-quality, but it's more expensive.

With adaptors (which don't cost a fortune) you can plug in all sorts of microphones into the DR-40. So if you don't have the budget now to get XLR-mics, you can still update later. That's what I did, and it really makes a huge difference.

Of course it depends a lot on what you're about to do and what your expectations are. I definitly would never get a recorder without XLR-inputs.

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
http://twitter.com/FastFoodVideo


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Pj Heller
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 6, 2012 at 8:42:38 am

Peter:

Thanks for the message.

As far as mics without XLR connectors for the DR-40, can you give me a few suggestions that might work, especially lav mics. And any suggestions on adapters to use.

Cheers.


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Peter Burger
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 6, 2012 at 10:58:30 am

Any mic (including lavs) will work. You can not only plug in XLR but also 1/4'' TRS. If you have mics with a mini jack, just try an adapter to a 1/4'' should work just fine.

I got no real first-hand experience with lav mics other than the Sennheiser EW wireless series. Once had a very cheap cable lav which worked just fine. Don't know which brand it was...
Read a lot about the Audio Technica ATR 3350 being very affordable and producing decent quality.

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
http://twitter.com/FastFoodVideo


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Pj Heller
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 6, 2012 at 8:36:00 pm

What about simply plugging a mini-plug into a Rode XLR adapter (the Rode VXLR Adapter for VideoMic Mini-Jack Female to XLR Male). Will that work with any mic? One mic manufacturer said that the voltage from the XLRs would fry their mics . . . Is this an issue with all non-XLR mics?


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Peter Burger
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 6, 2012 at 10:30:30 pm

I'm not familiar with the Rode adaptor.

I assume the guy meant phantom power when he talked about XLR voltage. Phantom power won't harm your non-XLR mics. My english is too weak to explain why... but I could in german though ;)

When not in need of phantom power I'd switch it off anyway, because it drains the batteries very quickly.
By the way: This is one of the advantages of the DR-40. You can switch between Mic/Line/Phantom and even change the phantom power between 24 and 48 volts (although I've never saw a mic with 24V phantom power).
This means you can plug in mics that need phantom power, mics that don't need phantom power and even get signals from a mixer (line). Was of great use to me when I had ro record a live event recently. Got the mixed signals from the sound guy directly into my Tascam.

For my mini-jack mics I have a simple TRS to XLR adaptor (cost me about 8 Euro) and it works perfectly, when plugging it into my Sony Camcorder or DR-40

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
http://twitter.com/FastFoodVideo


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Peter Burger
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 7, 2012 at 9:07:12 am

[Pj Heller] "Rode XLR adapter (the Rode VXLR Adapter for VideoMic Mini-Jack Female to XLR Male)"

OK, now I read your post again and I'm pretty sure, the Rode adapter is quite the same I have... So, it'll work... Female Mini Jack to male XLR... Was quite tired yesterday. Sorry!

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton

Me on Twitter (english/german)
http://twitter.com/FastFoodVideo


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 7, 2012 at 2:01:30 pm

PJ -

Here's a good place to increase your knowledge of audio - the B&H website, of all places. There are some very good "pocket" tutorials:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/indepth/category/tags/microphones

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Pj Heller
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 7, 2012 at 6:08:14 pm

Thanks for all the information. My hair hurts from dealing with all of this.

Still trying to make the right decision on the recorder and mics, while keeping the budget down to make sure I want to continue with all this. So the options remain:

Tascam DR-05, with Rode VMP and inexpensive GS Omni mic.

Tascam DR-40, with Rode VMP (plugged into the Rode XLR adapter) and possibly a Oscar SoundTech lav, which I recently discovered and which may be a good choice, both price-wise and quality-wise plus it can be ordered with an XLR connector. I’m still not sure if the GS Omni mic can be used with the DR-40 if it is plugged into one of the Rode XLR adapters.

I’m leaning toward the DR-40 option, based not only on the comments here but from fellow photographers (who like the somewhat similar H4n).

Any other comments/suggestions.


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charles meadows
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 8, 2012 at 4:00:54 pm

Spend the extra money and go the Azden FMX-DSLR Portable Audio Mixer. Easy to set up, stays on the camera and no hassles. You'll thank me!

"There's no point in filming in you don't have fun"
Charles Meadows
Creative Director
Incubate Productions South Africa
http://www.incubatevideo.co.za


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Rick Diamond
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 8, 2012 at 8:39:27 pm

You should also consider getting the Juiced Link Riggy. Super clean audio and allows you to record directly to the DSLR. No need for dual system sound.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/857043-REG/juicedLink_RM333_RM333_Rig...

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/893485-REG/juicedLink_rm202_Riggy_Mic...

Rick


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Jason Jenkins
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 9, 2012 at 9:22:30 pm

I second the suggestion for the JuicedLink preamps. I've had great success using mine; and no syncing audio!

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Brent Dunn
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 9, 2012 at 3:25:01 pm

If you want to do it right the first time, you have to spend a little money. Roland has the best Pre-amp out of the portable recorders, but you pay for it. The R 26 has the same pre-amp as their more expensive units. It's all about the pre-amp!

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/821260-REG/Roland_R_26_R_26_6_Channel...

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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Arne Barnard
Re: Getting started with audio
on Nov 30, 2012 at 9:03:55 pm

I won't knock pre-amps, but for those of us who has been previously ignorant of the concept, "post-amping" worked just as well, imho:

http://apps.facebook.com/crashthesuperbowl/?page=watch&video=832.

I would still go with dual-system sound because at the end of the day, you want the extra peace of mind that DSS can afford....


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