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Old July 26th, 2005, 02:07 PM   #1
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What Would Your Ultimate Guerilla Audio Kit Be?

Alright all you audio-technofiles, I'm creating a new thread that should provide ample ground for spouting off about your favorite audio toys. :)

But seriously, I'm starting to build out a guerilla-filming kit, and I'm moving from video gear to audio gear after about six months of primping and priming my video setup. My goal here is to build out an a/v kit that can fit in a single backpack (albeit a large backpack) and no more (the goal is to be able to fit EVERYTHING audio and video into one backpack). Without digressing into the video side of things, I'm specifically interested in what the audiofiles here might recommend in the way of building out a guerilla audio kit.

My goal would be to have a small set of mics to draw from (shotgun, stereo, and lavs), an XLR adapter/mixer (my Gs400 requires mini-jack mic level audio input), and a bunch of cables/connectors/etc. Furthermore, I don't just want to be able to handle my own mics, but I want a setup that is flexible enough to jack into almost any audio gear I might have access to at the moment, like other mics, soundboards, and mixers that are already on location. And now for the kicker, I'd like not to break the bank in building out this kit, so I'm trying to stay somewhere under $1K for everything.

So, I'm challenging this forum, the audio topic specifically, and all of its power-users to create the "Ultimate Guerilla Audio Kit." The kit needs to be somewhat small, not crazy expensive, include some mics, an XLR adapter/mixer (2 channels max of audio is my requirement), and a bunch of cables/connectors that would allow someone to go onsite (any site) and jack into nearly anything a venue could throw at you. The kit doesn't have to be perfect, and it doesn't have to reach "pro" standards, and it needs to be somewhat "bare bones," but it also has to produce decent quality sound and be able to tap into most standard audio equipment (from mini, phono, and XLR cables, to mic and line-level inputs, to phantom-powered mics, and from mono to stero sources).

Anyone game for this challenge? Maybe we could call it the "Essential DVInfo Guerilla Audio Kit," and as we collect suggestions, I can keep a full list of equipment, cables, etc. up to date here at the top of the thread?

Also, if anyone could point me in the right direction to any web articles on this topic, I'd be much appreciative. And, yes, I've already searched and read a ton of posts on this forum already.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions and ideas...

Last edited by Bill Binder; July 26th, 2005 at 09:36 PM.
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Old July 26th, 2005, 08:26 PM   #2
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Here is my audio kit right now:

AT897
AT825
COuntryman B3 lav mic
Giant Squid lav mic
Sennheiser G2100ENG kit, includes lav mic and XLR buttplug
iRiver 799T
Cables for everything to XLR (DVX100) or 1/8 (iRiver)
25 ft XLR extension for booming.
EXtra cable for 1/4 stereo to 1/8
Extra cable for dual RCA to 1/8

Best is it all packs in my location kit
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Old July 26th, 2005, 08:35 PM   #3
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Hey Bill,

My first question is what you are shooting? This will help determine what you need.

And secondly, do you work one man band or have a sound man?

Sure you will then get lots of intelligent feedback from the forum based on your particular situation. I appreciate that you posted a very detailed request originally, but I think that answers to the above would be helpful.

Sinceres,

Stephanie
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Old July 26th, 2005, 08:42 PM   #4
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What I would love to have, is something like the Korg D12. It has to have a decent 4 hour battery, one that can be switched like a cam. Most importantly, it needs to be well under $1,000.
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Old July 26th, 2005, 09:43 PM   #5
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I agree that it's impossible to say without knowing what you will be shooting. There really is no point in trying to come up with kit for every conceivable situation because you will be carting around a lot of unnessary stuff. Also, if that is your goal, your price ceiling is completely unrealistic. Seriously -- $1,000 is nothing. That's barely one mic, boompole, shockmout, windscreen, and headphones.
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Old July 26th, 2005, 09:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephanie Wilson
Hey Bill, My first question is what you are shooting? This will help determine what you need. And secondly, do you work one man band or have a sound man?
Yeah, the idea is it's just me and my backpack. Now, I may actually own more than I can put in the backpack at any one time, and I may do a/v work with other people at times too of course, and I surely go places to video where I can drive and bring extra loads and loads of gear, but for the sake of discussion, the idea is to own a small set of audio equipment myself that I can draw on for a given shoot, event, or whatever. And, this is the challenge really, because what I'm looking for is a very flexible set of audio tools to draw on when needed, things that can cover the greatest range of audio situations, but still be small enough to drag along with me in my backpack and not break the bank. I'm talking about a pro-sumer grade (or slightly lower) guerrilla audio toolkit for the lack of a better way to say it.

I'm thinking about things like having one shotgun mic that can be mounted on my cam, maybe one wired or wireless lav mic, an XLR/Preamp/PhantomPwr/Mixer/etc adapter, and a bunch of cables and connectors (XLR, RCA, Mini, Phone, etc). The idea is to own "just enough variety" of "just the right" audio gear, that you can pick out something that'll give you decent audio quality for whatever you end up shooting that day.

Day one might be a low-key friend's wedding, day two a trip into the city run 'n gun style, day three might be a serious interview of a relative, and so on. I don't need total pro quality audio, I'm NOT a pro <SMILE>, but I want better audio than the onboard mic can provide, and I want the flexibility to interoperate with soundboards, mics, or other audio equiment that I might come across in my day-to-day adventures. Like day five's recording of niece's recital at the music school that has a mixer I can tap into.

Anyway, you get the idea... And THANKS for asking!
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Old July 26th, 2005, 09:57 PM   #7
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Hi Marcos,

AGAIN, are you shooting one man band? The reason for the question is that you will need a sound person to run the boom mic and mixer. If you DON'T plan on having one then you really won't need the boom or the mixer.
Pretty difficult to operate a camera, a mixer and a boom mic all by your lonesome.

Just trying to help you out man.

Stephanie
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Old July 26th, 2005, 10:06 PM   #8
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At the minimum, have a good wireless lav. The Sennheiser Evolution G2 100 series should do you right for $500. Get a decent, lower-end shotgun mic (Audio Technica AT897) for $300 or a better one used for the same price range. Get a collapsable boom pole and pair of headphones with the remaining money. Just my quick thoughts with little specific info. You can do a lot with just this equipment, but no it will not cover you for every situation.

KW
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Old July 26th, 2005, 10:56 PM   #9
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I didn't mention headphones. I love my Etymotics, if you have to lug something why not these? The noise isolation capabilty really rocks!! I can stuff them in my pocket too. But you gotta have decent headphones.

And while I don't use my mic on a boom, I have recorded things where I wanted a "stationary boom". Like stage performances. I used my three-legged monopod with a mic adapter on it.

Event videographers just don't always know ahead of time what challenges will be offered. So it is very reasonable to be prepared for the widest variety you can. Many events you will really want MORE than one of something, but one is better than using the wrong tool.

I think having the iRiver gives you great flexibility, You can drop it in the speaker's pocket with a lav mic on him. You can leave it attached ot a sound board while you wander around. I have even used it attached to a shotgun as a remote mic, and plan to test my stereo AT825 with the iRiver for recording live music. With the self-contained nature of it, I can bungee-tie it to something (shelf, roof strut) well above the audience. It's all about mic placement anyway. It also provides an independent backup for critical audio, like wedding vows. Double mic the groom, with an iRiver and a wireless, and you are good to go even if the wireless wigs out.

I pack everything in a Pelican with my camera, portable light, backup batteries, remote, filters, and more. That way I can see what is missing at a glance and I am totally prepared when at a client with less possibility of having the wrong mic cable or dead batteries.
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Old July 26th, 2005, 11:04 PM   #10
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Oh yeah, prices.

Etymotics Phones $100
AT897 $200 used
Senn Wireless $600 new
Countryman B3 Lav $150
Giant Squid lav $25.
iRiver $100 - $150

So that is $1200 plus you still need cables & a stereo mic. IMHO, cheaping this down from there (like buying a cheaper wireless system or $15 headphones) is a foolish waste of money. But there are lots of things to argue about for each choice too.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 06:31 AM   #11
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So what type/brand of lav mic do you guys use for your iRivers? Does it come with one? Or do you have to buy a nice lav mic?
Thanks
-Brett
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Old July 27th, 2005, 09:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Costa
Oh yeah, prices.

Etymotics Phones $100
AT897 $200 used
Senn Wireless $600 new
Countryman B3 Lav $150
Giant Squid lav $25.
iRiver $100 - $150

So that is $1200 plus you still need cables & a stereo mic. IMHO, cheaping this down from there (like buying a cheaper wireless system or $15 headphones) is a foolish waste of money. But there are lots of things to argue about for each choice too.
Bob, you didn't mention an XLR adapter, which he will need with his Panny.
I'd agree on leaving out the stereo mic for now in favor of going for quality on the other stuff. For situations where you would want stereo the built in mics on higher end cams often do fine.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 09:34 AM   #13
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My dream set up for Audio

36 channel tube amp mic spliter, 3 Alesis Hard drive recorders, 36 track mixer, 2 shot gun mics, two ambinet mics, cables and extension cords with about 25% spares, walkie talkies X4, road cases with wheels, spare mics for the band hot and ready, 3 senhiser head phones, cable link to provide sound to wide shot camera, Trailer w/ AC, and a garage to put it all into.

Not under 1K$, but what I dream for!
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Old July 27th, 2005, 10:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett Whited
So what type/brand of lav mic do you guys use for your iRivers? Does it come with one? Or do you have to buy a nice lav mic?
Thanks
-Brett
On board mic is fairly useless. Get a Giant Squid mic, tell them it is for iRiver and they will give you a better wiring pattern. If you get the 800 series (Best Buy) model, get a right angle plug too.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 12:10 PM   #15
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All this talk of iRiver makes me think about the two MP3 players I have. My 40 gig player is really old, pre-iPod generation, and doesn't have a line or mic-in capability. But interestingly, I just bought a Creative 1 Gig "Nano" flash player (really small) for my wife that can encode to 160 kpbs MP3 on-the-fly through a line in connection. Makes me wonder if I could hook up a mic to it, and how good/bad it might sound? You could record a fairly long time with 1 gig at 160 kps couldn't you? Thing is, how would I step-up mic level audio to line level? Could I use one of those Squid units with the 9v battery box? Might be worth a try? Also, I don't think the player has any way to set the levels? It must have some sort of AGC built-in or something, and the documentation is non-existant for the unit.
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