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Beginning Audio

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Tom Smith
Beginning Audio
on Feb 27, 2013 at 7:33:46 am

I am just getting started in making videos in Youtube, and I want to have clear, crisp audio on a budget. (around $200)

I will be getting a compact dslr camera (Pentax K-01), and using an external microphone. I don't know anything about sound, what is something I can good I can start out with?
-I just want the video to have the clearest sound possible at this budget for Youtube, so it doesn't need to be professional enough for a DVD or something, just pushing youtube to the max on getting clear sound.
-I will probably do outdoor shots, so it should run on batteries. My videos will be mainly 1 or 2 people talking, about 6-12 feet away from the camera. (like how-to videos)
-I prefer to have it in sync with the video, but if the best solution is to have to sync afterwards that is ok.


$220
Zoom H4N digital audio recorder, used as modified lapel mic (stick it in my jacket or attach it to my leg pointing up haa) until I get more money and add better shotgun + lapel mic to the zoom.

http://www.amazon.com/Zoom-Handy-Portable-Digital-Recorder/dp/B001QWBM62/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1361877052&sr =1-1&keywords=h4


Or would one of these be better? There aren't as many reviews on them. I believe both are powered with batteries, but I don't know about their battery life.

ART USB Dual Pre
http://www.amazon.com/Art-ART-USB-Dual-Pre/dp/B002KEAT78/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
ART Phantom II Pro
http://www.amazon.com/ART-PHANTOMIIPRO-Phantom-II-Pro/dp/B003S7LTI4/ref=pd_luc_sbs_04_04_t_lh?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The first one appears better, and a little bit more expensive, 1/3 and 1/4 of the cost of h4n respectively for phantom power sources. Then I could use the saved money to buy another mic, like this Shure, which sounds good on Youtube, and then upgrade the ART to beachtek or some better preamp when I get more cash.

shure sm 83
http://www.amazon.com/Shure-SM93-Lavalier-Microphone/dp/B0002JETWE/ref=sr_1_6?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1361858515&sr=1-6

How do devices like the ART work? Do I just plug in a microphone to it and plug the ART into the Camera and start shooting, or is their another device that I need to record the sound?

Maybe there are other alternatives I missed? I just read something about having a miniature audio recorder clipped on to shirt instead of lapel mic which could be an option, but it is not really something I could upgrade later like the h4n with phantom plug ins.

Thanks for your help


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Ty Ford
Re: Beginning Audio
on Feb 27, 2013 at 5:06:13 pm

Hello Tom and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

You already exceeded your $200 budget with the Zoom H4n.

Still need two mics. Or a kit with a boom, mic and mixer.

Sennheiser G3 wireless mic systems cost about $630 each. I wouldn't go less quality than that.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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Tom Smith
Re: Beginning Audio
on Feb 28, 2013 at 3:40:14 am

Haha wow, what about for a starving student? I know I will need to upgrade most of the stuff I get now, I just want it to be pretty good compared to most youtube videos for now.

Can you recommend a setup around 200 dollars that would sound ok? I have never done any audio or movies before. Online I was just reading about H1 connected to cheap lavalier mic, but I hear a lot of hiss with that.

Do you think a cheap pre amp would be better than h2n for phantom powering a mic like shure sm 93? I like the sound of that on Youtube.



I was wondering how the pre amp worked exactly, do I just hook the mic up to the pre amp and connect the pre amp to the dslr and play?

thanks


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Peter Groom
Re: Beginning Audio
on Feb 28, 2013 at 12:03:51 pm

Hi
I applaud your intention to make the sound as good as it can be, and appreciate that budget is a real issue, but really you should be clear. £200 isnt going to buy anything other than cheap kit etc which will not be delivering quality at any level. Decent (not pro) kit just costs more than that.
Sorry

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Tom Smith
Re: Beginning Audio
on Feb 28, 2013 at 9:53:29 pm

Ok.
What is the cheapest, even out of my budget, way to use 1 lavalier mic with a dslr to produce a good sound?


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Ty Ford
Re: Beginning Audio
on Feb 28, 2013 at 10:54:58 pm

Tom,

When the camera company site doesn't even mention the audio or audio input specs for the camera, it's not a good sign.

You could be using the best mic out there and get total c**p!

The Rode lav has a number of possible connectors. You can get the mic and continue to use it by buying the connectors you need to get into the particular device.

Contact Rode to see if the Rode Lav will work plugged into your camera.

http://www.rodemic.com/mics/lavalier

Your problem here is that you're hardwired to the camera. You can only be as far away as the cable. Wireless? Yes, but there goes your budget. Now you know why the popcorn costs so much at the movies. Movie production companies need that money to buy audio gear.

You have jumped into a deep money pit that will only break your heart and make you bitter. Please consider turning around and going back NOW. :)

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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Tom Smith
Re: Beginning Audio
on Mar 1, 2013 at 1:59:08 am

Ok, this shows it needs phantom power or wireless. What would be the best value way to supply the phantom power to it?

Later when I upgrade the camera, to a real more high end camcorder, they already have good pre-amps I've read, so I would be able to get a good sound connecting a nice microphone to the camera, or would I still need a pre-amp or separate system?

thanks


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Peter Groom
Re: Beginning Audio
on Mar 1, 2013 at 11:05:16 am

A decent camera (NOT DSLR) will have perfectly adequate audio inputs on XLR. IT should (to be decent) offer phantom power also, so yes you can then plug a 48v powered mic directly in.

To use a phantom powered mic without this "decent" camera you will need a phantom power supply (external) costsing more than your DSLR likely, or need a mixing desk that supplies phantom power.
Phantom power (48v) really is the pro domain.

Im not going to encourage anyone to try to plug audio into a DSLR. If you read my back posts youll see Im not a fan of this technique.
DSLRs shoot nice pictures. i have one myself, and it is capable of full hd etc etc pprime lenses etc, but audio is a disaster in my opinion.
Record your audio spearately , correctly and well, and unite them in the edit.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Tom Smith
Re: Beginning Audio
on Mar 12, 2013 at 5:32:13 pm

I have a phantom powered condenser mic that also uses 1 AA battery. I am debating whether to buy h1 or h4n, I am skipping the pre-amp for now, I will wait to get a beach or something later.

I could get a cable that connects xlr to 3.5 and put it in an h1 which I like a lot more because of the size and price, I can also use it for other on the go videos if I need to. Or an h4n, connecting xlr to xlr.

Is there a noticeable difference between the two? Would making xlr to 3.5 take the quality down a lot? I read something about balanced and unbalanced but I didn't know if it would be very noticeable to tell. If it does take it down, would a xlr to balanced 3.5 make it the same as xlr to xlr or would it still be noticeably worse?


Thanks.


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Peter Groom
Re: Beginning Audio
on Mar 12, 2013 at 5:47:11 pm

HI
Are you sure its phantom powered of 1 x AA battery. Phantom is 48v.

I can only speak for the zoom h4n as thats the only one of those 2 that ive used. The zooms XLR inputs are for the mics. I dont know, and dont think you can put mic signals into the trs jack sockets (tho Im willing to be proven wrong.
Look at your mic. if its XLR then Id keep it xlr.
Bal and unbal isnt soo much a quality thing as the devices ability to remove unwanted intereference/ mains hum etc.
If you do decide to go in on a jack on the other device
1) Find out how many poles the jack socket is and make sure you match the jack. If its unbal socket then you need 2 pole jack, balanced is 3 pole.
2) If you do unbalance the cable, keep the unbal cable as short as posible to minimise the exposure to interference.

Peter

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Ty Ford
Re: Beginning Audio
on Mar 12, 2013 at 6:09:06 pm

Tom,

You may not notice the difference because the mic itself may be the main limiting factor.

Which mic?

Yes, balanced audio is better for many reasons.

If the 3.5mm connection is TRS, then it very possibly is balanced.

Beach? No, don't go there.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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Tom Smith
Re: Beginning Audio
on Mar 12, 2013 at 9:22:50 pm

The microphone is the audio technica pro 70, I picked it up for 20 bucks on ebay. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/352162-REG/Audio_Technica_PRO_70_Pro_70_Cardioid_Lavalier.html


"The provided UM3 power supply provides phantom power with a single 1.5V AA battery or external phantom power source. The UM3 provides a standard 3-pin XLR output connection to mixers, preamplifiers, cameras etc"


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Ty Ford
Re: Beginning Audio
on Mar 12, 2013 at 9:39:43 pm

Tom,

If the 3.5mm input does not engage the mic preamp, it won't won't. Why not use an XLR?

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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Tom Smith
Re: Beginning Audio
on Mar 13, 2013 at 12:23:59 am

Ok, thanks for the info, I guess I will get a dr-40 or h4n then.


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Ryan Johnson
Re: Beginning Audio
on Oct 4, 2014 at 8:31:38 pm

Hey Tom,

These guys had me laughing at their responses. They just wouldn't cut you any slack. So, disclaimer, as they have already suggested, a good audio kit really will cost 400+. I always recommend the go to wireless lav solution for DSLRs: Sennheiser ew 100-ENG series. This takes care of two problems, 1) it's a wireless solution and 2) it has a built in preamp that allows you to connect straight into your 3.5mm jack in your DSLR.

So noting that you're just starting out, I would look at one of the following solutions to get you started.

1) Look at buying an external audio recorder. Noting your budget, I would recommend the Tascam DR-40. Try to find one used or on Ebay for $125.00.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/821259-REG/Tascam_DR_40_DR_40_4_Track...

2) Buy a XLR cable on Amazon. Don't buy one from Best Buy or any other overpriced electronics store.

3) Purchase the Audio-Technica Pro 70 Lavalier microphone.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/352162-REG/Audio_Technica_PRO_70_Pro_...

Together this will hopefully cost you around $225.00. The sound quality will be better much than something cheap (ATR-3350), and when you want to upgrade your lav quality you will already have an external recorder and you can use the Pro70 as a backup mic.

Your other option is the use the ATR-3350(which costs $30) and listen for yourself and determine if this is the quality you need (it will not be professional). You could also use your iPhone as an external recorder and hook up a microphone to this:

http://www.amazon.com/IK-Multimedia-iPhone-Android-Devices/dp/B007534LFK/re...

This little preamp will allow you to use a XLR wired lav mic with your iPhone (instead of purchasing a Tascam or H4N or similar audio recorder).

A parting dislaimer: all of these solutions will require you to sync up audio after shooting (which means you'll need to clap at the beginning of an interview so you have a strong sync point in your NLE software).

Good luck. I applaud you for experimenting and trying to stay under budget. Eventually, if you stay in the business, you'll either work for someone that buys this stuff or you'll have clients that will pay you enough to improve your gear. Then you can come back to boards like this and be snobby. :)

Thanks,

Ryan


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Tom Smith
Re: Beginning Audio
on Oct 5, 2014 at 2:53:30 pm

Hey just an update, I tried buying the cheaper wireless mic systems but you guys were right, they were completely unusable, so I got the sennheiser and it works fine, I got a juicedlink preamp and it works with almost no static on my dslr but doesn't help much with my sony handycam.

Now I'm debating whether to save up for a 4k black magic or one of those larger 4k video cameras like fx100 sony or whatever.


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