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Old August 18th, 2005, 02:35 PM   #1
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Lav Mics?

I'm looking to get into the iRiver and lav mic method. I'm also new to the whole Wedding Videography aspect anyway, so I don't really know the standards for lav mics. I see that some are quite expensive, but how about the other end. What's the minimum that would be accepted for lav->iRiver. I'm looking to go cheap so I can afford a couple of them. Thanks!

Matt
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Old August 18th, 2005, 04:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Matt Browning
I'm looking to get into the iRiver and lav mic method. I'm also new to the whole Wedding Videography aspect anyway, so I don't really know the standards for lav mics. I see that some are quite expensive, but how about the other end. What's the minimum that would be accepted for lav->iRiver. I'm looking to go cheap so I can afford a couple of them. Thanks!

Matt
There are a number of excellent lav mics - the Countryman's have a very good reputation though they might not be iRiver compatible. Before buying the iRiver, take a look at the new m-Audio MicroTrack2496 flash-disk recorder. It looks very promising as a fully professional recorder (as opposed to iRiver which is decidedly consumer gear) and might still be in your budget.

Rmember you can buy cheap, or you can buy quality, but it's hard to get both at once. My experience in buying technology is trying to cut costs at the sacrifice of quality ends up being much more expensive in the long run as you never can recover the money you first spent on the cheaper gear when you're forced to upgrade to the pro gear to get the quality of results you're looking for. It's actually far less expensive just to bite the budget bullet and get the right tools for the job from the get-go.
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Old August 18th, 2005, 04:41 PM   #3
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There is at least one option that is both good and cheap. Giant Squid - iRiver mono mic:
http://www.giant-squid-audio-lab.com/gs/gs-mono1.htm
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Old August 18th, 2005, 08:00 PM   #4
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I just got home from wrangling with my new iriver 795 (uses Giant Squid mono mic mentioned earlier). Last week I used it for the first time at a wedding. Thank goodness it was a third source, because I didn't do very well with it.

Right now, I think the iriver is kind of a PITA. Not only is it aggravating to use (admittedly, once you finally get used to it, I'm sure it's much easier), but it's just what Steve said---consumer gear.

It cost $125 w/shipping, the little mic (which is darn impressive for the price) $25.

Here's what my friend and I have found at this point:

If you're good with a dehisser or noise reduction in post you can get rid of some of the hiss that comes from using it with the external mic and AGC.

If you don't use the AGC (DON'T USE THE AGC!) and do use the external mic In it appears that you have no mic level control. We only found level control on the Line In, and when we turned it all the way down and recorded, using the external mic In, the levels were the same. It sounds pretty clean (just as good as a lower end wireless lav--maybe better) but mic placement is your only level of control.

Now, if someone out there can come along and completely re-educate me on this thing, I would really, really appreciate it, because right now I'm sure I still barely have a clue. :) So don't take my word for it because these are early findings. Just thought maybe you'd like to hear from a new user.

Kind of a tough call, Matt, as it depends on your threshold where quality is concerned. I have no doubt that the recorder Steve mentioned ($500) is superior.

If you do some searching here you can find lots of info on the iriver. Someone around here even posted links to his comparison between an iriver and another source (sorry, I don't remember where). :)
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Old August 18th, 2005, 11:41 PM   #5
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Lorinda, the AGC is not operational with external mic.
Sounds like you may be inadvertantly using the internal( very poor)mic on voice recording
The problem in many cases is terminology.
The iRiver has a "line in" port.It uses this port for both "line LEVEL" and "mic LEVEL".You can choose which in the menu.
To access the menu you would hold the "joystick" button in for a couple of seconds then "joystick" to the right 3 times ,to "control"
Press "in" the "joystick" you should see
fast skip
scan speed
voice recording mode( dont use this)
voice auto detect
tuner recording mode
line-in recording mode---- where you set mono/stereo and kbps
line-in recording volume-----this sets the recording level try 40
line-in auto sync
line-in/ext mic---- press "in" "joystick" and set to ext. mic
press stereo button until you exit all menus(or let it time out)
press and hold the mode button(red dot) until the mode options appear
they are MP3 fm radio voice line-in
"joystick" left or right to line-in then press "in" "joystick"
you should be able to record using the external mic
Hope this works out for you as I have been very pleased with this unit
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Old August 19th, 2005, 12:30 AM   #6
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Jack to the rescue!

Really!!?! How cool is that??? And how cool are you???? :)

I was missing that last step with the mode button. In our bungling way we somehow were recording (in our tests) with the external mic because we "isolated" the unit to make sure, but at this wedding I'll bet what you are saying about the internal mic is exactly what I did.

It's sure a good thing you came along to correct my "findings," Jack.

One question: How on earth did you learn this? If you tell me it's in the manual I'll just be floored.

Thank you!!!
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Old August 19th, 2005, 05:13 AM   #7
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I did the same thing the first couple of tries with my iRiver and Giant Squid mic. I though "man, this thing sound like crap" but then I started wondering did some tests. (I covered the mic on the iRiver and put the GS mic close to my mouth and found that it wasn't working). So I looked at the manual and found I had some settings wrong. Don't get me wrong, the manual IS kind of confusing. So don't worry too much about that :)
-Brett
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Old August 19th, 2005, 06:31 AM   #8
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I agree manual is tuff. I just fiddled with it until I figured it out. Then reread manual and it made sense. And iRivers are a nuisance, but sometimes they are also a great solution. It will find lots of uses. One of coolest I have seen is videog who uses it to voice record timecodes during ceremony so he knows what to grab for his SDE. Someone hid one in an eyeglass case with lav sticking out on the speakers podium, when he was told "no mics on the podium", They can save the day when backing up a wireless set on groom that goes whacky at the wrong time. And I get very clean audio (with some hiss) when using the Giant Squid mic. But it is surprisingly sensitive, just get the levels right!!!
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Old August 19th, 2005, 01:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorinda Norton
I just got home from wrangling with my new iriver 795 (uses Giant Squid mono mic mentioned earlier). Last week I used it for the first time at a wedding. Thank goodness it was a third source, because I didn't do very well with it.

Right now, I think the iriver is kind of a PITA. Not only is it aggravating to use (admittedly, once you finally get used to it, I'm sure it's much easier), but it's just what Steve said---consumer gear.

....

:)
A lot of people like the iRiver and get what they feel are acceptable results with it and I say more power to them. But I'm thinking that in terms of reliability, ease of setup, ease of moving the files to the computer, ease of syncing the sound files to video, and recording at the maximum audio quality from the system, something like hiding a Countryman B3 or B6 in the talent's clothing and feeding it to a Sennheisser wireless bodypack or sending it into the new m-Audio 2496 micro recorder and capturing the sound natively in 48kHz 16 or 24 bit native wav files ready for the NLE without conversion is taking the process to higher level of professionalism than obtainable with the iRiver/Squid combination and it's not all THAT much greater investment of $$. Yes, it's several hundreds of dollars more - off the top of my head about $500 more. But that one-time cost is amortized out over a number of shoots and compared to the overall costs of one's equipment package or the cost of a blown assignment, the cost difference between consumer-level gear and professional level gear is not much money at all.

While the list on the m-Audio is $499, I've seen it at $399 on several web sites. The Countryman B3 is ~$200 and the B6 is ~$290 on the B&H web site. (Not that there aren't other great lav mics, but these two are so TINY you've gotta see them to believe it!) So we're looking at about $650 total compared to $150 for the iRiver/Squid combo you have. Other iRiver products are higher so it could run up to, say, $250. Now I'll admit that while the $400-$500 difference is a signifigant sum, as I said before, in the overall scheme of things it's not all that much.
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Old August 19th, 2005, 03:40 PM   #10
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Steve, your comments should help Matt and anyone else who is making a similar decision. (Wish I'd seen them before I made mine.) Thanks.

I need to amend my earlier remark:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorinda Norton
Right now, I think the iriver is kind of a PITA.
Take out the words "kind of" and it's a more accurate sentiment. :) HOWEVER, my friend and fellow DV Info-er Hugh DiMauro told me something today like, "These kids have grown up using stuff like that. You didn't." LOL! He's right. For me the iriver is more frustrating than a Rubik's cube, but then I'm 46 and not known for my prowess with small gadgets. So really, my opinion shouldn't count for much.

I started a thread earlier about "iriver for dummies." I'll head back there next time I have something to say! :)
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Old August 19th, 2005, 04:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lorinda Norton
Steve, your comments should help Matt and anyone else who is making a similar decision. (Wish I'd seen them before I made mine.) Thanks.

I need to amend my earlier remark:

Take out the words "kind of" and it's a more accurate sentiment. :) HOWEVER, my friend and fellow DV Info-er Hugh DiMauro told me something today like, "These kids have grown up using stuff like that. You didn't." LOL! He's right. For me the iriver is more frustrating than a Rubik's cube, but then I'm 46 and not known for my prowess with small gadgets. So really, my opinion shouldn't count for much.

I started a thread earlier about "iriver for dummies." I'll head back there next time I have something to say! :)
LOL - we're in the same boat, a 60YO geezer here. Though for me, it's not the size that's an issue but the robustness. Another major issue to my thinking is the hiss that a number of users report. Call me old fashioned, but if you can avoid it you don't create problems early in the chain that have to be corrected later - far better to choose recording hardware that doesn't introduce it in the first place. And a biggie, IMHO, is recording directly in 16bit/48 kHz or better rather than a (unknown spec) .rec file that needs to be converted to 44.1 kHz mp3 then to 44.1kHz wav and finally resampled to 48kHz wav to get it into the NLE ready to sync up to your video. Digital transfers are error free but digital conversions aren't.
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Old August 21st, 2005, 07:11 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Steve House
And a biggie, IMHO, is recording directly in 16bit/48 kHz or better rather than a (unknown spec) .rec file that needs to be converted to 44.1 kHz mp3 then to 44.1kHz wav and finally resampled to 48kHz wav to get it into the NLE ready to sync up to your video. Digital transfers are error free but digital conversions aren't.

????iriver records to mp3??

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Old August 21st, 2005, 09:57 AM   #13
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????iriver records to mp3??

Ty Ford
I haven't used one but I understand it records in a proprietary .rec format which the bundled software can then convert to mp3 after it's been transfered to the PC.
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Old August 21st, 2005, 10:26 AM   #14
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Ick!

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