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Missing info about Rode lav mic.

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Nikos Papadopoulos
Missing info about Rode lav mic.
on Apr 4, 2014 at 5:07:56 pm
Last Edited By Nikos Papadopoulos on Apr 4, 2014 at 5:28:08 pm

I am deciding between the Audio Technica AT899 lavalier and the Rode lavalier (not the smartphones one).
Do you have any strong suggestions for one of these two?

Also I cannot seem to find complete information about the Rode lav. More concretely I have the following questions:

A) Is the micon cable balanced? If not, does it make any sense to use the micon 5 adapter in order to plug an xlr cable to my dr60d?
B) Should I phantom power it?
C) Is there any reason why I should prefer a micon cable extension instead of a proper xlr cable? Rode says that " Like all MiConTM cables, this 3m (10) length is heavy-duty, shielded and Kevlar reinforced".
D) My dr60d xas 2 xlr inputs and one mini-jack (which is NOT phantom powered). Would it be possible to connect the lav with an adaptor to the minijack if the other two xlr inputs are used?


I am not writing to Rode because after searching the forums I see many people have some of these questions too.


Many thanks


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Ty Ford
Re: Missing info about Rode lav mic.
on Apr 4, 2014 at 7:49:35 pm

Hello Nikos,

A) Is the micon cable balanced? If not, does it make any sense to use the micon 5 adapter in order to plug an xlr cable to my dr60d?

>>Not all lavs are balanced. Yes you need their adapter.

B) Should I phantom power it?

>> Yes, using their adapter.

C) Is there any reason why I should prefer a micon cable extension instead of a proper xlr cable? Rode says that " Like all MiConTM cables, this 3m (10) length is heavy-duty, shielded and Kevlar reinforced".

>> The best approach is to get the signal balanced as soon as possible. If this is the cable between the mic and power supply, then, by all means use it.

D) My dr60d xas 2 xlr inputs and one mini-jack (which is NOT phantom powered). Would it be possible to connect the lav with an adaptor to the minijack if the other two xlr inputs are used?

>> On its own, the Rode Lav requires 2-5 VDC. I don't know if the DR-60D provides that at its unbalanced input, but the bigger problem would be that that unbalanced input is stereo, not mono. Therefore, plugging a mono mic into it will likely not produce the desired effect.

I am not writing to Rode because after searching the forums I see many people have some of these questions too.

>>So why not contact them and tell us what they said?

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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Nikos Papadopoulos
Re: Missing info about Rode lav mic.
on Apr 4, 2014 at 8:17:01 pm

Thanks Ty,

You are absolutely right. I just wrote them.

I read once, that if a signal is unbalanced at its source, doesn't matter if you connect xlr's since it will stay unbalanced. (At the time I was thinking of pluging xlr cables to a rode videomic in order to run longer cables.) But I guess this adapter converts the signal from unbalanced to balanced.

Any thoughts regarding this and the AT899?


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Ty Ford
Re: Missing info about Rode lav mic.
on Apr 4, 2014 at 11:36:45 pm

Hey Nikos,

Any unbalanced circuit can become balanced simply by using a transformer or an active circuit.

I haven't heard the AT899, but AT is very good at what they do.

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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Richard Crowley
Re: Missing info about Rode lav mic.
on Apr 6, 2014 at 6:14:40 am
Last Edited By Richard Crowley on Apr 6, 2014 at 6:31:49 am

A) Is the micon cable balanced?

No, the Micon cable is NOT balanced. But then I don't know of ANY lav cables that ARE balanced. TO be sure, SOME of them are shielded pair (because that is how they implemented their circuit), but that does NOT make it "balanced" because it is simply not. So the fact that the Micon cable is not balanced should make absolutely no difference in selecting a product because it makes the Rode neither better or worse than any other competitor. It is a total wash.

If not, does it make any sense to use the micon 5 adapter in order to plug an xlr cable to my dr60d?

Using a MiCon-5 doesn't just "make sense", it is the ONLY way to plug a Rode Lav into an XLR input with phantom power.

B) Should I phantom power it?

ALL lav microphones (except antique giant dynamic things as big as sausage) require power. Phantom power, "plug-in power", and internal batteries are the three most common ways of powering a modern electret lav mic. So the short answer is: You MUST power it. There is no option here (except HOW to power it).

C) Is there any reason why I should prefer a micon cable extension instead of a proper xlr cable? Rode says that " Like all MiConTM cables, this 3m (10) length is heavy-duty, shielded and Kevlar reinforced".

Sure there is. If you are trying to hide a mic in someone's costume, or even wire up someone for a casual sit-down interview, a big heavy mic cable is NOT what you want hanging from the subject's shirt. Note that, as with the other responses, this applies to ALL lav mics, not just the Rode.

D) My dr60d xas 2 xlr inputs and one mini-jack (which is NOT phantom powered). Would it be possible to connect the lav with an adaptor to the minijack if the other two xlr inputs are used?

According to page 46 of the Tascam DR-60D manual: "The plug-in power function can be turned on when an external mic that requires it is connected to the 3-4 jack." Ref: http://www.tascam.eu/en/docs/DR-60D_Manual.pdf

So I don't understand the premise of your question?

It appears from the information provided by Rode and by Tascam that you can use a Rode MiCon-2 to plug in a Rode Lav to the 3-4 jack of the Tascam DR-60D.

"The MICON-2 is designed to connect to a standard 3.5mm stereo minijack, with a power supply of 1V minimum." Ref: http://www.rodemic.com/accessories/micon-2

I read once, that if a signal is unbalanced at its source, doesn't matter if you connect xlr's since it will stay unbalanced.

Yes and no. Simply connecting XLR connectors to an unbalanced line does not "balance" it. But converting unbalanced to balanced (and vice-versa) is a very common thing and we typically take it for granted because it is trivial with either transformers or active circuits as Mr. Ford said.

(At the time I was thinking of plugging xlr cables to a rode videomic in order to run longer cables.) But I guess this adapter converts the signal from unbalanced to balanced.

There are ways of making the output of an unbalanced gadget (such as the Rode Videomic) into a proper balanced signal, but simply soldering an XLR connector onto it (or using a simple adapter) will NOT make it balanced. Perhaps if you need to go longer distances you should be looking at something more professional than that little plastic thing.


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Nikos Papadopoulos
Re: Missing info about Rode lav mic.
on Apr 6, 2014 at 2:45:37 pm

[Richard Crowley] "C) Is there any reason why I should prefer a micon cable extension instead of a proper xlr cable? Rode says that " Like all MiConTM cables, this 3m (10) length is heavy-duty, shielded and Kevlar reinforced".

Sure there is. If you are trying to hide a mic in someone's costume, or even wire up someone for a casual sit-down interview, a big heavy mic cable is NOT what you want hanging from the subject's shirt. Note that, as with the other responses, this applies to ALL lav mics, not just the Rode."


Thank you Richard, but my question was regarding if it is a good practice to use a micon cable instead of an xlr to connect to the power source. From what I understand there is enough length between the lav and the xlr adapter, so that it can be hidden in any costume. But after that point I would think an xlr cable to the recorder/mixer would be preferred quality-wise as the micon is a non balanced cable. I am interested in using the mic for talking head interviews at about 4 meters distance and would like to eliminate any noise.


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Richard Crowley
Re: Missing info about Rode lav mic.
on Apr 6, 2014 at 6:03:55 pm

It is always best to minimize any unbalanced part of the circuit. So you should use the shortest Micon cable that is practical for your situation. The Rode Lav comes with a 1.2m (4 ft) cable which is more than adequate for normal applications.


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Richard Crowley
Re: Missing info about Rode lav mic.
on Apr 6, 2014 at 6:40:24 pm

It is always best to minimize any unbalanced part of the circuit. So you should use the shortest Micon cable practical for your situation. The Rode Lav comes with a 1.2m (4 ft) cable which is more than adequate for normal applications.


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