Overcoming Mic Problems in DLSR


Bamboopictures

Senior Member
I would like to condense some key points from various posts regarding working with microphones on DSLRs. The list are by no means exhaustive.

PROBLEM: My DSLR does not have a microphone input.

SOLUTION1: Unbalanced wav recorders (eg. Zoom H1, H2, H2n Edirol R9, Tascam DR-05 ). Pros: Cheap, small, can be placed very near subject. Compatible with unbalanced shotgun mic and electret lavalier mic. Cons: Hiss when recording via mic input jack. Hiss gets worse with length of mic cable. 3.5mm connection is flimsy.
SOLUTION2: Shure lenshopper VP83F. (Shotgun mic with built-in recorder) Pros: Better off-axis rejection compared to wav recorders. Con: Cannot record from other external mics. More expensive.
SOLUTION3: XLR wav recorders (eg.H4n, H6n, Tascam-40/60/100, ) Pros: quiet, balanced connectors, phantom power, works with professional mic. CONS: bulky.

PROBLEM: My DSLR has a mic input but no control over the volume.
SOLUTION1: Beachtek DXA-XLR, Juicedlink RA202 Riggy Assist. Pros: AGC disabler, VU meter, volume dials, XLR inputs. headphone jack (upstream only).Cons:
AGC disabler will take up one channel. (Mono recording only)
SOLUTION2: (for Canon) Magic Lantern Firmware. PRO: On screen VU meters, no hardware needed. CON: voids warranty.


PROBLEM: I can control volume, but my DSLR has no headphone jack.
SOLUTION1: (for CANON only) use SESCOM USB to 3.5mm female cable (http://www.sescom.com/product.asp?item=DSLR-550D-HOCF)
SOLUTION2: Use a 3.5mm Female to 2x3.5mm Male Stereo Splitter Cable http://www.amazon.com/SF-Cable-Female-Stereo-Splitter/dp/B0016LDZ36 to spilt your external mic signal into both the DSLR and any WAV recorder. Monitor from the recorder.

PROBLEM: I have want to record audio from more than one source into separate channels on my DSLR
SOLUTION1: Beachtek MCC-2 Pro: cheap, light, adds 3 cold shoe to your camera.Con: Unbalanced input, No preamp.
SOLUTION2: Azden Cam-3 http://www.amazon.com/AZDEN-CAM-3-On-Camcorder-Audio-Mixer/dp/B00006JPD1
Pro: lighter than MCC-2, Con: no mounting option except for a belt clip.
SOLUTION3:Beachtek DXA-XLR/Mini/Pro/Connect, Juicedlink Pro: Preamp, cheaper than professional field mixers. Con: Not as quiet as professional field mixers.
SOLUTION4: Professional field mixers! http://www.sounddevices.com/products/

PROBLEM: The signal from my external mic is too high for the DSLR
SOLUTION1: Sescom attenuator cable. Pro: lightweight. cheap. Con: fixed impedance.
SOLUTION2: Beachtek MCC-2, Pro: variable volume knob. Con: unbalanced

PROBLEM: The signal from my external mic is too low and my DSLR gain is too noisy.
SOLUTION1: Sound Device MP-1 Micpre. Pro: very high and clean gain. runs on 2 AA battery. Con: hard to mount on camera
SOLUTION2: Juicedlink Riggy series. Pro: clean gain, hotshoe mount. Con: 9V battery required.

PROBLEM: The headphone volume is too loud/soft.
SOLUTION: http://www.amazon.com/Fiio-E3-BK-E3-Headphone-Amp/dp/B001MPWMDA/ref=sr_1_17?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1378230917&sr=1-17

Hope this is helpful.
 

kandinsky

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Staff member
Apr 26, 2008
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beachbum

Senior Member
Jun 29, 2002
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Good info bro!

If I may add, MAgic lantern is very stable on my 5dmk2. Allows to disable AGC, has audio levels. To monitor audio via camera, use the AV out port. You can use the AV 3.5mm>RCA cable that comes with the camera, take the Red/White and and use adaptor >3.5mm stereo and plug in your headphones.
For warranty issues, when sending in for servicing, just remember to flash it back to original canon firmware and you won't face voicing of warranty.
 

Bamboopictures

Senior Member
Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to hearing more first hand experience from owners of different models of DSLR. Please keep updating this thread if you find new solutions that works with your model of camera. I do not have much experience with Canon DSLRs.
 

Last edited:

hamanoshun

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2008
668
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TS has made newbies look even more stupid if they don't look here first.

+1
 

takuya

New Member
Mar 12, 2009
28
2
3
sound@takuyakatsu.com
Good suggestions! If I may, I'll delve into a little more specifics to clarify some points.

Handy Recorders do not necessarily produce hiss via the input jack. The real reason why a hiss is present is due to the quality of mic preamps in the device. Cheaper models of the handy recorders usually do not have good preamps, hence there is an evident hiss when you record a mic level input. It doesn't really matter whether it is an XLR jack or a mini-jack (1/8th TRS), what matters most is the quality of the preamp. The Zoom products are great for their price point but even the preamp of a H6n with its XLR inputs would be hard-pressed to sound better than a Sony M10, which only has a mini jack mic input. However if you record a line level input (i.e. from an external mixer) than you won't be depending on the handy recorder's preamp and therefore shouldn't have any hissy problem.

The cheaper models of the recorders do tend to have a certain level of hiss, in essence you get what you pay for. Do also take note that sometimes you may hear a hiss from your headphone out but then in editing you realise it isn't in the recording. This is due to the cheap headphone amp being used.

Hope this makes sense.

I would like to condense some key points from various posts regarding working with microphones on DSLRs. The list are by no means exhaustive.

PROBLEM: My DSLR does not have a microphone input.

SOLUTION1: Unbalanced wav recorders (eg. Zoom H1, H2, H2n Edirol R9, Tascam DR-05 ). Pros: Cheap, small, can be placed very near subject. Compatible with unbalanced shotgun mic and electret lavalier mic. Cons: Hiss when recording via mic input jack. Hiss gets worse with length of mic cable. 3.5mm connection is flimsy.
SOLUTION2: Shure lenshopper VP83F. (Shotgun mic with built-in recorder) Pros: Better off-axis rejection compared to wav recorders. Con: Cannot record from other external mics. More expensive.
SOLUTION3: XLR wav recorders (eg.H4n, H6n, Tascam-40/60/100, ) Pros: quiet, balanced connectors, phantom power, works with professional mic. CONS: bulky.

PROBLEM: My DSLR has a mic input but no control over the volume.
SOLUTION1: Beachtek DXA-XLR, Juicedlink RA202 Riggy Assist. Pros: AGC disabler, VU meter, volume dials, XLR inputs. headphone jack (upstream only).Cons:
AGC disabler will take up one channel. (Mono recording only)
SOLUTION2: (for Canon) Magic Lantern Firmware. PRO: On screen VU meters, no hardware needed. CON: voids warranty.


PROBLEM: I can control volume, but my DSLR has no headphone jack.
SOLUTION1: (for CANON only) use SESCOM USB to 3.5mm female cable (http://www.sescom.com/product.asp?item=DSLR-550D-HOCF)
SOLUTION2: Use a 3.5mm Female to 2x3.5mm Male Stereo Splitter Cable http://www.amazon.com/SF-Cable-Female-Stereo-Splitter/dp/B0016LDZ36 to spilt your external mic signal into both the DSLR and any WAV recorder. Monitor from the recorder.

PROBLEM: I have want to record audio from more than one source into separate channels on my DSLR
SOLUTION1: Beachtek MCC-2 Pro: cheap, light, adds 3 cold shoe to your camera.Con: Unbalanced input, No preamp.
SOLUTION2: Azden Cam-3 http://www.amazon.com/AZDEN-CAM-3-On-Camcorder-Audio-Mixer/dp/B00006JPD1
Pro: lighter than MCC-2, Con: no mounting option except for a belt clip.
SOLUTION3:Beachtek DXA-XLR/Mini/Pro/Connect, Juicedlink Pro: Preamp, cheaper than professional field mixers. Con: Not as quiet as professional field mixers.
SOLUTION4: Professional field mixers! http://www.sounddevices.com/products/

PROBLEM: The signal from my external mic is too high for the DSLR
SOLUTION1: Sescom attenuator cable. Pro: lightweight. cheap. Con: fixed impedance.
SOLUTION2: Beachtek MCC-2, Pro: variable volume knob. Con: unbalanced

PROBLEM: The signal from my external mic is too low and my DSLR gain is too noisy.
SOLUTION1: Sound Device MP-1 Micpre. Pro: very high and clean gain. runs on 2 AA battery. Con: hard to mount on camera
SOLUTION2: Juicedlink Riggy series. Pro: clean gain, hotshoe mount. Con: 9V battery required.

PROBLEM: The headphone volume is too loud/soft.
SOLUTION: http://www.amazon.com/Fiio-E3-BK-E3-Headphone-Amp/dp/B001MPWMDA/ref=sr_1_17?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1378230917&sr=1-17

Hope this is helpful.
 

JacePhoto

Senior Member
Oct 1, 2007
6,506
13
38
New York City
www.flickr.com
Good add on. This was what I recently found out.

Any recommendations for headphones? Maybe from different price points?
 

Bamboopictures

Senior Member
Good add on. This was what I recently found out.

Any recommendations for headphones? Maybe from different price points?
This was the last headphone I used (many years ago.)
http://www.koss.com/en/products/headphones/full_size_headphones/UR20__UR20_Full_Size_Headphone
Pros: Good isolation, can be folded and fits in a small CD player case. Very long cable (8ft), less than $60!
Cons, Gets warm. (that's why I switched to inner-ear plugphones) Faux leather flakes after a while leaving you with black ears. haha.
 

takuya

New Member
Mar 12, 2009
28
2
3
sound@takuyakatsu.com
Good add on. This was what I recently found out.

Any recommendations for headphones? Maybe from different price points?
A good pair to use would be the Sony MDR-7506. It's inexpensive and widely used by professional soundies. Its's under $100usd, so would probably sell for around $150 in Singapore. Sound is flat and natural, though lacking in a little bit of bass. But recording location sound is not the same as listening to music, you want a clear sound with a flat response from the headphones and not hyped sound.

The impedance on the 7506 isn't very high, but you may find it a tad hard to drive (power) if you are using the headphones out of the DSLR. Meaning you can't turn up the volume to crazy loud volumes. You will want a pair of headphones or earphones that has low impedance.

Head over to Jaben at Adelphi, and try out a couple of headphones. Bring along your camera or mixer so that you can have a listen from the device you are monitoring from.

With regards to headphones vs earphones or in-ears, you can find a whole lot of discussion online for that. Comfort is one factor but do take note that in-ears especially, pipe sound into your ears unnaturally. Sound does not get into your ears directly, they move around and hit your ears before entering your ear canal. They also cause ear fatigue much faster then headphones. I use in-ears when I'm out recording sound in the sun for comfort, but whenever possible its back to the headphones.
 

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