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External XLR Dynamic Microphone & Adapter / Cable For iPhone 4

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George Jones
External XLR Dynamic Microphone & Adapter / Cable For iPhone 4
on Sep 1, 2010 at 8:01:56 pm

The budget is < $1000. Is the following $825 Mobile Journalist Kit sufficient to produce Live medium to high quality broadcast level field audio? What other field audio hardware / software can be suggested by audio pros to stay under budget given the following applications?

Application 1: Journalist Doing Live Audio Interview With One or Two Interviewees.
Software App 1: $249 Report-It Live Pro http://www.tieline.com/products/G5/Report-IT-Live
Professional Personnel 1: One Journalist.
Hardware Equipment 1: $299 iPhone 4 32GB Specs: http://www.apple.com/iphone/specs.html
Hardware Equipment 2: $199 Sennheiser MD 46 Handheld Dynamic Cardiod XLR Microphone Specs: http://www.sennheiserusa.com/media/productDownloads/productSheets/MD46_Prod...
Hardware Equipment 3: $29 KV Connection Custom iPhone 4 Y-Adapter / Cable - 15 FOOT. 3.5mm TRRS Male to 3.5mm TRS Male heaphone jack and XLR female microphone jack. Specs: http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/009-541.htm This adapter / cable incorporates impedance matching circuitry.
Hardware Equipment 4: $49 Zipshot Tripod if Video Needed. Specs: http://www.zipshottripod.com/product.cfm


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Ty Ford
Re: External XLR Dynamic Microphone & Adapter / Cable For iPhone 4
on Sep 2, 2010 at 11:58:01 am

Hello George and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

The thing that catches my eye is the 24kbps flow and the claim of 15 kHz bandwidth over wifi. you can't get 15 kHz bandwidth at 24kbps without a lot of data compression. A single mono CD channel weighs in at over 700kbps.

If the compression is as good as or better than skype's (don't know what their data rate is) then it will probably sound OK, but it isn't linear PCM.

Is it lossy data compression? Does it reconstitute on the receive end? Does it require an app on the receive side or is it a one-way thing?

There's a studio app that works within Pro Tools or as a stand alone. It also compresses the audio, as do most ISDN audio links. So there is precedence for compressed audio in broadcast. On the other end, we all know how cell phone audio fidelity has decreased since cell phones went digital.

And while radio and TV news usually sacrifice fidelity for immediacy, I'd be very cautious about using the technology in video production where good sound is expected.

It's a slippery slope. Be careful out there.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Sam Mallery
Re: External XLR Dynamic Microphone & Adapter / Cable For iPhone 4
on Sep 2, 2010 at 3:03:45 pm

It's kind of hard to suggest hardware for such a new technology like this. The whole operation you're putting together is solely dependent on a consumer mobile phone, so outfitting it with pro audio gear is kind of sketchy.

A microphone's three-pin XLR output has a different impedance than a 3.5mm mini-plug jack. An impedance transformer is needed to correct the signal flow between these two connections, and I didn't get the impression that the Y-cable you're looking at has this. Also, it's going to be cumbersome for the journalist to have a 15 foot cable between their headphones and mic and the iPhone. That cable shouldn't be longer than 6 feet tops.

http://www.sam-mallery.com


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George Jones
Re: External XLR Dynamic Microphone & Adapter / Cable For iPhone 4
on Sep 2, 2010 at 5:33:52 pm

Hi Sam,

The $299 5OZ Apple iPhone 4 Mobile Phone is a well designed - well manufactured - high quality small device that has Live and Recorded HD 720P Video & HD 150Hz-15000Hz Audio capabilities for users at various levels: consumers - prosumers - professionals.

As we know, there is only one iPhone 4 model versus 3 model levels for different users such as "iPhone 4 Consumer", "iPhone 4 Prosumer", "iPhone 4 Professional"

In this case the iPhone 4 is used by a one-man-band Professional Journalist who needs to travel lite and may not be accompanied at times by a professional videographer, professional soundman, professional director, professional audio/video editor and associated professional and heavier gear.

I hope you are not getting into a distinction where "consumer" equates to low quality or low performance equipment. There is low quality audio equipment and audio software at all levels out there including consumer - prosumer - professional levels.

The audio equipment and software I described in my post is for professional level use by a Working Professional Journalist.

Here's a description of the High Quality $26.50 KV Connection Cable:
Custom iPhone 4 Y-Cable with a (A.) 3.5mm TRRS male right-angle plug to a (B.) 3.5mm TRS Male headphone jack with 3 inches of cable, to a second branch with 15ft of cable to (C.) XLR female microphone jack. This cable incorporates impedance matching circuitry specifically to match the Sennhiser MD46 low impedance microphone to the iPhone 4.
Connector A: 3.5mm TRRS Male
Connector B: 3.5mm TRS Female
connector C: XLR Female
Cable Type: Premium Mogami Shielded Audio Cable
Cable Color: Black
Cable Length: 3 inches to connector-B and 15ft to connector-C

So, yes the above eliminates the need for a traditional Matching Transforner made by Shure, Hosa and others as well as the associated cables. The cable I use is 15FT needed for 2 person standup interviews. KV Connection also has a 5FT Version.

The Tieline RePort-IT Audio Software is Professional Grade as is the $300 Sennheiser MD 46 Mic.

Thanks,
George


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Ty Ford
Re: External XLR Dynamic Microphone & Adapter / Cable For iPhone 4
on Sep 2, 2010 at 6:10:26 pm

George,

I wish you all the best, but I'm leaning toward Sam's concerns here. My own comments concerning the consumer-like construction have to do with things like drop test survivability and the fragility of 3.5mm jacks relative to beefier connections.

I've never seen a 3.5mm plug or jack that has the long-term reliability of an XLR connector. Similarly, the Sony TCD D7 DAT machines COULD be used for pro work, but their tape drawers were extremely fragile. One hasty move and pfft! you're done.

If Apple went to the 3.5 mm connectors and cables that have a screw on collar as the Sennheiser G2 and G3 wireless xmitters and receivers I'd feel better.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Mark Bayly
Re: External XLR Dynamic Microphone & Adapter / Cable For iPhone 4
on May 5, 2011 at 6:06:38 pm

Gentlemen,

I am wondering if technology has advanced sufficiently since your comments last September to the point where a recommendation concerning the "best" accessories for filming with an iPhone4 are more unanimous?

My intention is to film a morning show with a co-host, as well as interviews at social events and stream them live to my website. No editing, just live and raw. I don't require better picture quality than the iPhone delivers, as that will be part of the appeal, but I would like excellent sound quality.

I appreciate any advice.

Best,
Mark


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George Jones
The Best Field Audio Recorder & Pro Live Audio Broadcast System Is the Phone You Have With You
on Sep 2, 2010 at 5:59:34 pm

Sam,

http://www.sam-mallery.com/archives/415 I saw the link on your site titled "The Best Camera is the Phone You Have With You".

In my 1st Post I am saying: "The Best Field Audio Recorder & Pro Live Audio Broadcast System Is the Phone You Have With You" ... in this case the iPhone 4.

You said on 6/3/10:
** "But there’s an old saying that I’ve heard a lot over the years at B&H: The best camera is the one that you have with you.”
** "The D90 was awesome, and I recommend it as a good choice for a DSLR, but any camera like that with a real lens on it is large, and you can’t just throw it in you backpack every morning to have it at all times. So even though I had that nice camera last week, the best photo I took came from my trusty old iPhone 3Gs"

I hope your appreciate my perspective somewhat better with the above example. We all have to learn about this new technology and the sum of the pieces I outlined in my 1st Post makes this setup a under $1K Professional level one.

The average consumer is not going to go out and purchase a $300 Mic and nearly $300 in Pro Level Audio apps (Tieline Report-It) to be able to do Live Audio Field Broadcasting via 3G or WiFi with a frequency range of 150Hz to 15000 Hz. Instead they are going to do a cellphone call and use the low fidelity <3000 Hz audio via the internal iPhone 4 mic.

George


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Sam Mallery
Re: The Best Field Audio Recorder & Pro Live Audio Broadcast System Is the Phone You Have With You
on Sep 2, 2010 at 7:47:07 pm

:) Thanks for the link & pull quotes, George!

It's good to hear that there is impedance matching going on there, but it's still hard to make equipment suggestions for such a bare bones broadcasting rig. I mean, if they specifically matched the impedance in that cable for the Sennheiser MD46, it sounds like you're better off not seeking second opinions and just buying exactly what they tell you to buy.

http://www.sam-mallery.com


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George Jones
Re: The Best Field Audio Recorder & Pro Live Audio Broadcast System Is the Phone You Have With You
on Sep 2, 2010 at 8:56:59 pm

Sam,

Thanks for the feedback.

One would think the Apple Store would carry an audio adapter cable to go from the 3.5mm iPhone 4 4 Conductor Female Mic/Earbuds Jack to an XLR connector so a better quality mic can be used ... but they don't!

So I had to scout a supplier (KV Connection) that could do this. It's not only going from 3.5mm to XLR but it is also about proper impedance matching the iPhone 4 high impedance needs (> 800 ohms) to a low impedance balanced mic such as the 350 Ohm Sennheiser MD46 and other similar low impedance mics. I think KV Connection should update their web posting for this cable adapter and say: "Compatible with low impedance XLR Mics such as the 350 ohm Sennheiser MD46"

Locking Audio Connectors Like In XLR Connectors: Ty brought up an interesting point about the need to have a locking 3.5mm female connector (on iPhone 4) going to a locking screw-on 3.5mm male connector on the KV Connection adapter/cable. I agree with that need. However, Apple would have to have that locking 3.5mm female connector on their side ... and they don't and probably won't.

Thanks for your patience with this this guy afflicted with chronic AAI ... Amatuer Audio Ignorance.

George


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Ty Ford
Re: The Best Field Audio Recorder & Pro Live Audio Broadcast System Is the Phone You Have With You
on Sep 2, 2010 at 9:28:03 pm

Hey George,

Impedance matching between mics and preamps is pretty simple as long as the output impedance of the mic is less than the input impedance of the preamp.

Even the best preamps run higher impedances than mics.

The STT-1 at over 6k Ohms: http://www.mil-media.com/stt-1_ps.html

GML at 1k Ohm: http://www.massenburg.com/gml/downloads/manuals/GML2032man_040830r11.pdf

Great find for the cable from KV Connection! Looks like they take a LOT of the hassle out with that. And if they want to put a transformer in there for impedance conversion, OK. Maybe they have done some other benching that led to that choice. For example, a step up transformer provides "free gain" to a voltage circuit so low level devices like old ribbon mics and dynamic mics get a boost and don't require as much preamp gain. That can keep the preamp noise down.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Ty Ford
Re: The Best Field Audio Recorder & Pro Live Audio Broadcast System Is the Phone You Have With You
on Sep 3, 2010 at 12:19:37 pm

FYI,

From Source Elements software

http://www.sourceelements.com/products/


and from APT hardware....

http://www.aptcodecs.com/content.asp?page=300&site=1

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Bill Davis
Re: The Best Field Audio Recorder & Pro Live Audio Broadcast System Is the Phone You Have With You
on Sep 3, 2010 at 7:09:24 pm

I'm going to chime in here and add my voice of caution.

Not about the concept. I think it's a GREAT option in certain circumstances. Giving an iPhone the "capability" of being used as a field reporters link will certainly let someone, somewhere file a story that they simply would not have been able to do any other way.

But...

I absolutely agree that the iPhone - as wonderful a gadget as it is (and I've owned EVERY model since v1) is NOT constructed to anywhere NEAR a ruggedness standard necessary for long time reliable field recorder use. The right angle 3.5mm plug for some strain relief is a start, but unless you do something like religiously gaffer tape it to the phone body during use, I'd expect shorting and noise at the connection within a few weeks of use. Too back they didn't use the dock connector for this gizmo. That would have at LEAST had the enhanced reliability of spreading the strain at the point of entry over a significantly wider chassis area.

If it's a company phone - no big deal. Break it and they can replace it without blinking.

If it's YOUR phone and your contract, I'd want an employer agreement that if company use caused my phone to break - I'd get support to get it fixed.

My 2 cents worth - earned by having had at LEAST 6 interactions with iPhone service, mostly after my much loved but ham-fisted teenage son has sunk nearly every model that has been handed down for his use. Headphone jack problems leading the way slightly over broken faceplates.

YMMV.

FCP since NAB 1999
creator: muti-track movies
http://www.starteditingnow.com


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George Jones
Re: The Best Field Audio Recorder & Pro Live Audio Broadcast System Is the Phone You Have With You
on Sep 3, 2010 at 10:39:48 pm

Dave,

Thanks for your tips on a strain relief system for the 3.5mm male connector.

I agree with your concerns and have taken a couple precautionary steps.

1. I have a special iPhone 4 holder with 1/4 In threads I use in the field for audio / video applications. This small holder can easily be mounted to an in car suction cup, small desktop tripod, or a portable 11 oz unit like the ZipShot http://www.zipshottripod.com/product.cfm.

On the holder I have mounted a small male snap holder. Around the right angle 3.5mm male cable connector I have a female snap. I snap it together in a snap and this system takes most of the stain off the connector.

2. As a backup, I have the AppleCare protection Plan.

Others have done similar things with velcro ... but I like mine better. http://www.sonicstudios.com/tips.htm

I have all the pieces of this audio system and am waiting for Tieline to come out with their Enterprise Report-IT System.

George


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John Livings
Re: The Best Field Audio Recorder & Pro Live Audio Broadcast System Is the Phone You Have With You
on Sep 18, 2010 at 4:07:49 pm

That sounds cool, Now if the App. were $1.99 or Less.....

Regards, John


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