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Old August 5th, 2005, 03:34 PM   #1
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Using the Rode VideoMic on a boom or mic stand

I am planning to buy a Rode VideoMic and I am wondering about using it on a boom or a mic stand. I am skeptical about the reliability of the 10 foot extension cable sold by Rode because it is an unbalanced mini-plug cable, and unbalanced cables are known to pick up interference.

The other solution that I am wondering about is to buy the 3.5mm-F to XLR-M adapter that Rode sells, use a balanced XLR cable I already have, then also buy an XLR-F to 3.5mm-M adapter (Hosa makes one that is 1 foot long) to connect to my Optura Xi. Would this cause any loss of mic performance due to the two adapters, and if so, am I better off just getting the 10' Rode extension cable? Any help would be great.
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Old August 5th, 2005, 04:11 PM   #2
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Corey - I'll leave it to someone more knowledgeable than I to explain, but I'm pretty sure that because each end is unbalanced (camera and mic), you don't gain anything by using a balanced cable in the middle. I think the magic of the balanced connection occurs because of the balanced input and output.
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Old August 5th, 2005, 04:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corey Ulrich
I am planning to buy a Rode VideoMic and I am wondering about using it on a boom or a mic stand. I am skeptical about the reliability of the 10 foot extension cable sold by Rode because it is an unbalanced mini-plug cable, and unbalanced cables are known to pick up interference.

The other solution that I am wondering about is to buy the 3.5mm-F to XLR-M adapter that Rode sells, use a balanced XLR cable I already have, then also buy an XLR-F to 3.5mm-M adapter (Hosa makes one that is 1 foot long) to connect to my Optura Xi. Would this cause any loss of mic performance due to the two adapters, and if so, am I better off just getting the 10' Rode extension cable? Any help would be great.
Brian is correct - if any part of the line from mic to camera is unbalanced (through the use of simple adapters) the whole kit'n'kaboodle is. To get the advantage of a balanced cable in the middle you'd have to put balancing / unbalancing transformers at each end. Balanced cables use three conductors a signal hot, signal cold, and a ground shield, with the two signal conductors being fed identical signal 180 degrees out of phase with each other. You can think of it as when the "hot" line is at +1 volt with respect to the ground, the "cold" side is at -1 volt. But if there's noise encountered along the way, it will be picked up equally by both lines so it would show up at, say, +1/2 volt in each of them with respect to ground. Now at the destination, whatever is on the "cold" line is phase inverted and added to the "hot." This means that the desired signal is now +2 volts. But the NOISE that came in at + 1/2 volt on each side is also phase inverted by the same process and ends up + 1/2 on one side and - 1/2 on the other. Combining equal but opposite volts cancels them out, so the end result is the signal comes though nice and strong at + 2 volts but the noise disappears. It's this phase reversal that happens in a transformer but doesn't happen in a simple adapter - the adapter either simply doesn't connect the "cold" wire at all or shorts it to ground. If the same situation as I described above was encountered, the receiving end would see +1 volt signal and + 1/2 volt noise.
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Old August 6th, 2005, 02:24 PM   #4
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Thanks Brian and Steve, I guess there is no way to create a balanced situation with the VideoMic, I'll probably end up getting the 10' extension cord if necessary.
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Old August 7th, 2005, 03:36 PM   #5
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The day before yesterday, I went over to a friend's house to see the equipment he is putting together for a production audio job on a low budget movie.

I brought my Sennheiser ME66, my Rode Videomic, and some Sennheiser cardiod laveliers that I bought from microphonemadness.com. He had just bought a T-powered Sennheiser 415 from someone on ebay. A 415 is a predecessor to the 416 and as far as we know, very close sonicly.

Well as can be expected the 415 sounded much better than the ME66. Better ambient noise rejection, better full frequency response, more natural high end, great sensitivity etc.

What surprised the heck out of both of us is the Rode Videomic actually sounded pretty close to the 415! It obviously didn't sound quite as good: there was a noticable subtle difference, but it was in the same ballpark. Both the 415 and the Videomic blew the ME66 out of the water sound quality wise, but the difference between the 415 and Videomic was much subtler. We also were using about a ten foot Radioshack 1/8 inch to 1/8 inch extension by the way.

In fact, the difference was so great, that I'm going to shelve the ME66 in favour of the Videomic for the time being when I need to boom an interview. It just sounds so much better. I would never have believed it if I hadn't done the test myself.

So here's my conclusion: in the world of low budget audio with a prosumer camera like a VX2000: Audio quality wise, you are better off with a Rode Videomic and a a 20 foot eight inch extension than you are with the typical ME66 / Beachtek setup that so many of us (myself included) are currently using!

Now I understand why the Videomic has that boom pole threading on it's underside. It really is a viable boom mic!
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