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Old January 28th, 2009, 12:59 AM   #1
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Time to move to XLR

The Videomic is great, but I think it's time for me to move on to an XLR solution.

I'm thinking of picking up this solution to use (primarily) with my Canon HG20.

Juicedlink CX231 - $300 (2XLR inputs + Preamp + Phantom Power.)

(I'm going with the Phantom Power route because I'll be able to buy phantom-powered mics for use recording video at Coldtowne Theatre... which is a seperate project.)

AudioTechnica AT875 - $200

I'm already out $500 - and I'm going to need:

1) An XLR Cable
2) A shockmount for the camera.

These, I will need to get immediately.

I'd also like a way to split the audio coming in from the Juicedlink so that it's the same audio, but the left channel is about 5db less than the right channel. That way, if the audio clips (or is too soft) I have another audio source right with the video.

Eventually, I'm going to want

3) A boompole

and since I do one-man-army 99.9% of the time

4) A boomstand

I have this rule that X dollars I spent on "toys" (I don't make any money from video yet) must be matched by 2X dollars paying off my student loans. Seems to be the only way I can get the hole in my pocket working for me rather than against me.

That said, - here's the deal. It's a really, really crappy economy. My job, I think, is secure. Then again, who knows?

I'm on a budget, sure, but if the economy does cost me my job, I want to be able to hit the ground running with things like wedding and event videography - and it'll be easier to do that if my equip looks professional. (If I'm getting paid for the work, I'll rent a more impressive camera for the day - but I really want the audio to be available all the time for my own pet projects, which is why the ownership route makes sense for the audio equip.)

Point is, it might be time to move up. At the very least, I want to get better quality audio - which will probably happen merely by moving from camera-mounted to overhead shotguns; the RodeVideomic, however, I think, creaks too much to be used in that way, and besides, you simply can't use unbalanced cables on boompoles and expect good results.

Anyway, that's the deal. It's something I've been putting off, but about 5 of my friends so far have lost their jobs. Working as second-person on-staff on occasion might help me make ends meet if I do lose my job. And having my own audio equipment - and learning with it - will probably help me greatly.

So - what do you guys recommend?
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Old January 28th, 2009, 01:52 AM   #2
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At897

Brian,

Last year I moved from the Rode Videomic to the AudioTechnica AT897. Even though the Videomic was good, the AT897 is noticably better. More sensitive, less noise. And I think it's a bit more directional. I got the mic with a B&H kit which included a Rode shock mount. BTW the Rode DEADCAT wind muff works fine on the AT897. Also, the AT897 gives you the option of phantom power or internal AA battery.

BTW, I'm not familiar with the Juicedlink CX231 XLR adapter, but I have heard many people praise Beachtek XLR adapters (although I think only some models have phantom power).

Ken
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Old January 28th, 2009, 02:53 AM   #3
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Have you considered going with battery powered mics with a basic XLR adapter? It might be a more comfortable setup for your budget & gear. For example, a Rode NTG-2 or a Senn ME66 going to a Beachtek DXA-2s.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 03:00 AM   #4
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If you're trying to save some money, you can always use the microphone on battery power instead of phantom power, and then run an XLR to 1/8" cable. That would save you $200 on the XLR adapter.

That solution, however, would probably not get you the -5dB "safety net."

If you do happen to get a separate camera-mounted XLR adapter (ala Beachtek Adapters), then I would assume (if they make them) that you can just get an XLR splitter and run that between the camera and the microphone. That would provide you with two outputs from the splitter that can run into your adapter. On your adapter, all you would have to do is adjust the gain to be lower on one channel than the other. Just remember not to leave the audio that way when you deliver a final product!

Best of luck to you.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 10:50 AM   #5
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Hmm... it's an idea - I can go with the AT897 with the XLR-to-1/8th adapter for right now, and get a Juicedlink or Beachtek when I need it.

Weirdly, the theatre where I do a lot of filming already HAS a mixer for the theatre; I could just run an XLR output to the camera... hmmm....

I think I'll go this route. Thanks!
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Old January 28th, 2009, 11:21 AM   #6
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I'm of the school that unless you are going to go top end, I don't see much reason to buy a preamp. I don't think you are going to see much, if any, improved performance. For a great single channel solution, there's the SoundDevices MM1. When I was starting out, it turned out to be the most useful single piece of gear, dollar for dollar, that I ever bought, but it is single channel and designed to be worn by the boom-op.

mm1 | B&H Photo Video

If all you want is phantom power, then why not just get a good quality phantom power box?

Denecke | PS-2 - Portable Dual 48V Phantom Power Supply | PS-2

Remember that one of the biggest reasons for using a preamp is that you can run a line level signal (which is much, much more resistant to RF interference) from the boom-op to the camera. Since the Juicedlink appears to be designed to be used at the camera operator end, and outputs an unbalanced 3.5mm mic level signal, you lose that advantage. It appears to be designed to compensate for mics with low output levels, and could be useful for that. It would depend on the mic I guess. I'd much rather put the preamp much earlier in the chain and use a passive XLR adapter at the camera end.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 01:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt View Post
Remember that one of the biggest reasons for using a preamp is that you can run a line level signal (which is much, much more resistant to RF interference)
HG20 = mic level only. No advantage here except for when you buy a more pro camera.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 01:52 PM   #8
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Yes, but you run a line level signal from the boom-op to the camera and then use an XLR adapter with a line/mic switch to attenuate the signal to mic level. You can still gain up and down at the pre-amp end to minimize the gain settings at the camera, which should be set to about a third of the way up.
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