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Old February 20th, 2014, 01:24 PM   #1
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Recorder and lav mic advice

I am really just getting into shooting small videos (no feature films) with the goal of getting into corporate videos within the next year or two. I am wanting to upgrade my current audio set up and I have been advised to get a recorder and a nice lav mic as I do a decent amount of interviews.

I don't want to spend over $500 on both (combined) and I want the best "bang for my buck" so to speak.

I am currently shooting on a Canon T3i

I want a recorder that can get nice ambient sound (church choir, nature sounds, festivals, etc)

Any suggestions?
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Old February 20th, 2014, 02:38 PM   #2
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

I can add that we've been discussing things in the Single Person Crew area, which narrowed things down to audio, which led to the thread here.

Got $500 to spend....

The wired lav covers single-person, seated (or standing in one place) interviews and the XY mics on the recorder cover ambient sound recording.

The AT899 and H4n look like valid choices to me. Is there anything newer/better/cheaper that he hasn't yet considered?
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Old February 20th, 2014, 03:43 PM   #3
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

Anyone have any experience with the Samson Airline Series? I saw it listed as a nice SMALL rig, and at only $200, pretty inexpensive... but I'd worry it's cheap junk.

Samson Airline Series Camera | B&H Photo Video
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Old February 20th, 2014, 04:51 PM   #4
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

I would avoid any inexpensive wireless audio system. Unless your interviewee needs to roam, go with a wire.

We have a Shure SLX system here, which is marginal for live events and poor for video. At work, we have a Sennheiser EW 100 setup, which is entry level, IMO. It's way out of budget. We now use a Lectrosonics system for live events, which sounds great.

For most corporate work, I recommend using an XLR cable. You can't beat its sound quality, reliability, and lack of batteries! For special projects where the talent needs to move freely, rent a good wireless setup.

On the cheap, one can pre-set the levels and hook the audio recorder on the back of the talent's belt. The downside is that you can't monitor, so you won't know if there is a problem and you can't adjust levels on the fly.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 05:41 PM   #5
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
Anyone have any experience with the Samson Airline Series? I saw it listed as a nice SMALL rig, and at only $200, pretty inexpensive... but I'd worry it's cheap junk.
Samson Airline Series Camera | B&H Photo Video
"I'd worry it's cheap junk"?
You get what you pay for. See the below link.
The $500 Wireless Question, or, "What cheap system should I get?"

Last edited by Rick Reineke; February 20th, 2014 at 06:21 PM.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 06:42 PM   #6
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

Here are some resources:

Chad Johnson compares the Sennheiser Me-2, Tram TR50, Sanken COS11D, and RØDE Lavalier. The Tram always sounds a bit dead to me. The Me-2 has a limited frequency range and lower output. I love the open sound and strong signal from the Sanken. The RODE Lavalier sounds like a solid competitor. It's not quite as open or strong as the Sanken, but it's close. Add the modularity and lower price and it could be a winner.


This review includes the AT899, an H4n, and a RODE Videomic Pro. He's in a small, live room, so the Rode isn't far away, but you can hear the additional reverb and ambient sounds. Unfortunately, the AT899 sounds a bit dull to me, like the Tram.


And here is the mother of all lav comparisons. This is a bit dated, using the COS-11x, rather than the newer COS-11D, but this should give you lots to consider.

Audio In Close Up - Which Lavalier Should I Use?" #1

The RODE lavalier is about $100 more than the AT899. It sounds more lively to me, has a stronger output for lower noise, and offers the ability to adapt the mic to various transmitters without requiring surgery. (On my COS-11Ds, I spliced in a small male/female connector pair so I can connect custom adapters. It's nice that Rode offers this feature as standard.) I'd probably choose the Rode today, mainly based on my (apparent - I haven't tried it) preference for its sound. Then again, it's not my $100. :)
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Old February 21st, 2014, 07:45 AM   #7
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

I would suggest, if you need one for good ambience sound, get Zoom h2n (not h2). It has surround microphones pick up sound on front and back, not on top like the h4.

If you need something smaller h1 is good. It is still small to fit in someone's pocket when connected with a lav mic.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 09:25 AM   #8
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

A friend has the Samson Airline Series, to answer you question yes it's cheap junk, they just lay in the closet now. I recently ordered OST lav's for my Zoom H1 which come highly recommended will do a comparison once they arrive.

Oscar SoundTech Website

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Old February 21st, 2014, 09:50 PM   #9
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas de Kock View Post
A friend has the Samson Airline Series, to answer you question yes it's cheap junk, they just lay in the closet now. I recently ordered OST lav's for my Zoom H1 which come highly recommended will do a comparison once they arrive.
plus one for Oscar Sound Tech. I know professional sound mixers that uses OST as a backup for COS11

For the OP, if you have the fund, save up for Sennheiser G3 wireless so you have the options of running it straight into your camera. If not then a portable recorder like Zoom H1 can work.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 10:34 PM   #10
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

I put together this demo showing RODE PinMic Lav mic on 3 voice recorder

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Old March 2nd, 2014, 03:59 PM   #11
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Here are some resources:

Chad Johnson compares the Sennheiser Me-2, Tram TR50, Sanken COS11D, and RØDE Lavalier. The Tram always sounds a bit dead to me. The Me-2 has a limited frequency range and lower output. I love the open sound and strong signal from the Sanken. The RODE Lavalier sounds like a solid competitor. It's not quite as open or strong as the Sanken, but it's close. Add the modularity and lower price and it could be a winner.
Would the Rode Lavalier include the correct adapter to plug directly into a small audio recorder like the Zoom H1?
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Old March 2nd, 2014, 04:56 PM   #12
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

I'm not an expert on the Rode Lavalier Microphone, but it appears the $18.00 (USD) Micon-2 adapter/plug would be need to be ordered as well.
Rode Lavalier Microphone LAVALIER B&H Photo Video
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 12:38 AM   #13
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

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Originally Posted by Geoffrey Chandler View Post
Would the Rode Lavalier include the correct adapter to plug directly into a small audio recorder like the Zoom H1?
No, the Rode Lav comes with no MICON adaptors. It's really a pretty cool system although you have to make sure you've tightened everything up before shooting.

I use a MICON-1 to connect to my Sennheiser wireless kit but sounds like you probably want the MICON-5 XLR adaptor. I don't have a H1 but I have just received a H6 and that's what I wished I had instead of going through the wireless kit.
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 09:11 AM   #14
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

AFAIK, the Zoom H1 only has a 3.5mm stereo mini-plug input which supplies the needed 'plug-in power'
No XLRs (or Phantom Pwr.)
In the future if Geoffrey does get a device with XLRs, only the XLR Phantom Power adapter would be needed. Same with a wireless mic system.. only the mic's adapter/plug would need to be changed,.
That's the good part of the Micon connector system.
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 11:40 AM   #15
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Re: Recorder and lav mic advice

Micon-2 is for the standard 3.5mm plug.

RODE MiCon-2 Connector for Rode Microphones | L.A. Color Pros
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