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Old September 20th, 2003, 09:04 PM   #1
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Difference between line-in and mic-in

I am in a desperate situation as I am shooting an event next weekend and need to decide on an audio recorder/lav combo (a wireless XLR based LAV is too expensive at this point). I purchased a flash based iRiver player today that has a line-in port. I tried it with an audio-tech. lav and it sounds horrible. Very hissy. I am also considering a mini-disc player/recorder as everyone here seems to brag about them but noticed on Sony's site that of the available models, only the higher end NF810 and the MZ-N10 have mic inputs. All of the others except the cheapest only have line-in. Is there a difference between line-in and mic-in?

Please reply asap as I need to place an order. I obviously will have to have it shipped overnight so that I can learn how to setup the player beforehand. Thank you all VERY MUCH!!!
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Old September 20th, 2003, 09:40 PM   #2
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Hi Matt,

What camera will you be shooting the footage on?

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Old September 20th, 2003, 10:36 PM   #3
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Yes there is a difference...
I donīt know the exact terms but a Mic signal is different in "level" than that of a Line signal...

So if you are using a microphone directly to a MiniDisc.. it has to have MIC-IN to get the sound level right...

Line-in works if you are recording from a CD player or even a Mix board with line-out...

You could search Sharpīs site... as Iīve heard they offer better Mic Input...

Iīd reccomend to visit www.minidisco.com is a good reference point for Minidisc... it has a lot of models and info to check out and compare...

Of course, there is also a possibility to plug the mic to the cam right?
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Old September 20th, 2003, 10:54 PM   #4
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What model mic and what model recorder do you have. It's pretty well a moot point as line is a lot hotter signal than mic in by about 30-40 DB. Line level in consummer gear is around -10 DB, a senheiser ME66 which is a very hot mice is around -35 db. A dynamic is around -52 to -58. The higher the number the hotter the output. -50 is 40 BD less than -10 or consumer line in. Pro is approx 0 DB.

You could buy a single chanel mic preamp.

If you go with a mini disk player you can use a 3.5mm stereo to XLR adapter to your mic. the problem with the mini disk, consumer models is there is no gigital out, only analog. That's why the pro stuff is so pricey.

The marantz mini disk is $870 and the HHB over $1000. The marantz flash is $900 with a 1 gig card.

The difference is balanced as well as digital and line inputsinputs, separate right and left mic pre amp and limiters. Built in attenuation, line , digital and USB outputs. They're basically a stereo mixer and recorder in one.

From what I hear, the consumer mini disks are Ok and so long as you transfer through a decent sound card (DA converter) you'll be OK.

Of course , I'm a gear slut and bought the Marantz flash recorder.
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Old September 20th, 2003, 11:01 PM   #5
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Thank you for the responses!!!

I just purchased and will be using the Panny DVX100 for this event. I thought it would be better to get two recorders with mics plugged in and get better audio from two sources as opposed to settling on getting one wireless LAV that doesn't take advantage of XLR (which my cam has) for the same price. Although I have heard lots of good stuff on Sennheiser's 100 series even though it is based on a mini-jack.

Now I know why the iRiver recorder I purchased has rave reviews for recording from an audio source such as a CD player, and my test with a mic sounds horrible. I'll definetely have to look at the higher end Sony mini-discs unless anyone knows of another player/recorder in the $200-$400 range that has a mic-in jack.

BTW: I am on a Mac using OSX.
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Old September 20th, 2003, 11:25 PM   #6
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Matt,

Sounds to me like you are making things more difficult for yourself than is necessary. No offense, but that iRiver thingy is a consumer device and not a tool to rely on. Simply put, that iRiver device does not have a robust enough mic preamp or levelling control to properly handle the chaotic audio levels which you will most likely encounter. I didn't look too closely at the iRiver specs, but without getting too technical, I would say it was designed to record one of two things: -10db line level audio signals from consumer audio devices -or- from a built-in microphone. If it does actually have a mic preamp built in, I am sure that it sounds "crappy-at-best'. Don't use it. You are best off focusing on what your client actually needs, keeping things simple (since it sounds like you are a one-man band) and using what is known to work best.

Before we go any further, I have a few more questions for you.: Exactly what type of 'event' will you be shooting? Exactly how long will the event last? Exactly how long are you expected to cover the event? Will there be any breaks? Where will you and your camera be positioned in relation to where the microphone(s) will be? Will you be powering your equipment with AC (from wall outlet), batteries only, or both? Will you be on a static tripod or moving around handheld or both?

Please do write back and let us know,

- don
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Old September 21st, 2003, 12:13 AM   #7
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I have given up on the iRiver devise, and all other devises that only have a line-in thanks to the helpful responses here. It will be making a trip back to Best Buy.

Yes I am a one man band. The next event I have coming up is a wedding which obviously would require the use of a LAV. I will be mobile, but on a tri-pod for the ceremony. No cables-battery powered only. Ceremony will be approx. 30minutes, no breaks. I will likely be positioned "stage left" during the ceremony so that I will have the bride's face in full view when they face each other. Any other suggestions on angles for a one-man band for weddings? But please, not before I solve my audio! :-)

I wanted to buy two recorders with the intention to have one placed on the groom, and one hooked up to the house set-up, or the main podium where any singing and/or reading would take place. It would be either this, or getting one wireless LAV to place on the groom. I was going to do this, until I found out that the only recommended system under $450 (Sennheiser 100 series) was not XLR based which is one of the reasons why I selected my cam. So, I reasoned that if I had two minidiscs for example, then I could invest in a good wireless after a few more jobs and I'll have all three to use for the future. What do you think?

The only reason why I tried something besides the minidisc was so that I could potentially use it for something else such as a player or data backup and not just as a recorder. I also figured I could probably re-sell it easier than a wireless LAV if I wanted to upgrade.
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Old September 21st, 2003, 12:27 AM   #8
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I wanted the more inexpensive option to work as well. i wound up spending $900 on the marantz PMD670. If you look at the component parts , it was well worth the money. basically a high quality recorder plus a stereo mixer.

There is no really cheap way out.
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Old September 21st, 2003, 03:32 PM   #9
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Wouldn't a couple of minidiscs be the cheap way out? The cheapest shipping model I could find that has a mic-in is the MZ-NF810.
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Old September 21st, 2003, 08:06 PM   #10
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How about the Sony digital voice recorders that have a dedicated mic-in jack? Same quality as the minidiscs?
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Old September 22nd, 2003, 05:33 AM   #11
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Four years ago I bought a SHARP minidisc MD-722 which has MIC-IN and it costed like 300$... Pretty good quality sound.. and a lot of control over the signal-in, just like all consumer minidisc no digital out.

I guess they should still make something like that... I see that sony has taken the mic-in out of a lot of models.. I guess they want to change more to reporters musiciand and videographers? for that..

Sorry donīt know about the digital voice recorder....

Quote:
The only reason why I tried something besides the minidisc was so that I could potentially use it for something else such as a player or data backup and not just as a recorder.
Hey Minidisc are great for playing music too!!!! :)
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Old September 22nd, 2003, 11:11 AM   #12
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Yes, they are great for music, but I am on a Mac and SONY will not support the Mac with their software so it's of no use to me as a mp3 player.
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Old September 22nd, 2003, 12:23 PM   #13
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The Senn 100 has an XLR output capability. Just buy (sometimes it comes with) their cable. Works fine. It is not balanced but with the short cable run, that is not much of a problem unless you are shooting in front of a Radar dish. I've used mine around automotive ignitions and not had interference.
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Old September 22nd, 2003, 12:41 PM   #14
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Mathew, This may be a bit off topic from your first post...

But I think Minidisc canīt play Mp3 (at least that I know of)..
The NetMD software that comes with the Sony MD is just a thing that lets you record Mp3 from your PC and convert it to Normal Minidisc Audio faster and better than doing it like I do... Real Time analog out...

If I am mistaken and Minidisc CAN play Mp3.. then Iīm saving money to get one of those...
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Old September 22nd, 2003, 09:30 PM   #15
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I thought I remembered reading that it plays mp3 as well as a couple of other formats.

Anyhow, I purchased a Sony digital voice recorder today that has a dedicated mic-in jack and tried it out. Same junk. All I get is voice, along with the wonderful sound of air. Could it be that I am using an omnidirectional lapel mic and I should be using a directional? That recorder is going to be returned.

I think I'm just going to go out and get a minidisc tomorrow (810). If it also hisses with the sound of recorded air, then I know I must be doing something wrong.

Someone please advise. I am only days away now.
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