A few accessories include X/Y Mic & Mid-Side Mic..
The back of the box shows optional accessories..
Comes with it's own travel case..
Now it's time to fire her up and see how she performs. With the additional XLR inputs, I will already be satisfied if it sounds exactly the same as the Zoom H4n. Of course if it sounds better, that's just more of a bonus.
The B-Grip Camera Belt Holster is a nice little solution for a belt mounted audio recorder, but it's a system that can run over $50 dollars. If this is something you might want to tackle on a budget, there are other belt clip systems that might be modified to work in a similar manner for less than $7 dollars via eBay (found below)
If you're looking for a good LAV Mic, go for the Rode LAV which runs $249 dollars. Doesn't require very much gain, and sounds very clean. The Rode allows you to use an exclusive MiCon adapter that can be swapped to support basic 3.5mm, XLR, and more.
Ok so $250 for a LAV is a hike for many, so on the other end of the spectrum is a few inexpensive LAV mics. One you might have heard about is the Audio Technica ATR3350. The sound is not to be compared to a $250 lav mic, but as long as you have a decent portable audio recorder with enough gain, it works in a pinch. We use this $17 dollar LAV mic quite a bit mainly because of the very very long cord that can be run from the the talent all the way back to the Camera Operator without using a wireless setup.
Another budget LAV mic shared by J Hanna in the comments is the Olympus ME-15. This one does not require batteries like the other two above, and comes with a 3.3ft short cable. You can find this for just over $20 bucks (click here)
Olympus ME-15-LAV Microphone
[Updated Entry 2014]
Recently my new favorite affordable LAV Mic is the Aspen Mic series. These LAV mics require very little gain from your recorder so the sound quality is very comparable to high end lav mics. Priced under $45 dollars, it's by far the best of this lineup if you can't afford the $250 Rode LAV. Check out the Aspen Mics website for their products (click here).
Disclaimer: I help to design products for PhotographyandCinema.com. The article below is information about the new P&C GearBox. There are many other great DSLR style cages available within articles of this blog that you may also want to consider.
There are many High End, Super Heavy, Robust video cages available for the Professional market, but we found a lack of more affordable options for smaller style video cameras such as the Sony NEX-7 or Popular GH2. The P&C GearBox is designed to be simple, lightweight, modular, and of course - affordable.
The GearBox has a solid metal bottom and top bracket with several 1/4-20 mounting options for your accessories such as an LED video light, Portable Recorder, HDMI LCD Monitor, Microphone, Wireless Receivers, etc. To take up minimal space in a bag when packing up or traveling, the GearBox can easily be disassembled with a single Hex driver.
The GearBox will support a quick release plate underneath if you want to mount the rig onto a Tripod. Extension adapters are provided to support taller cameras, or if you want to add a quick release system into the cage unit allowing you easy removal of your camera body. The rubber coated side handles provide a non-slip comfortable grip and are spaced further apart to add stability for hand-held shooting styles. Interested in a Rail System? Soon to be released is the 15mm Rod adapter (sneak peek here).
Looking for the most simplest way to mount a Rode VideoMic, LED Light, and Zoom H1 to your camera - all at one time? There's nothing more simple than this Triple Hotshoe Accessory Bracket. Under the bracket's mount is a 1/4-20 thread so you can also use this on a lightstand. Great for stacking several small LED lights to a single stand for a larger light source.
Even the basic Vello Triple bracket can run for about $30 bucks (seen here), but right now this other Triple Bracket has recently been reduced in price to about $12 dollars and ships free for Amazon Prime members too check it out (Click Here).
Triple Mount Hot Shoe V Mount Bracket for Video Lights, Microphones or Monitors VBrack3
I was shooting this for my own journal and didn't think I would actually publish the video, as i'm pretty private about certain things I work on. Then again, I was pretty happy with the results and wanted to share what my treatment was.
Keep in mind that this is not for Sound Isolation. This is not a Sound Booth that will block out all ambient noise. This setup is merely just 'treatment' of a small space to make the vocals sound better (get rid of echo and deflection).
Sorry fellas, I have to warn you that the video (below) even gave me a bit of motion sickness. If you're not interested in building out a room for voice recording, maybe you should just skip this one. At about 3:50 into the video, you'll hear a before and after comparison (turn up your volume).
There are low budget options to sound absorption, but I wasn't very happy with those results (I tried). When it comes to covering the most amount of square footage on the walls, the AudiMute stuff was my best bet.
I tried the heavy moving blankets to absorb sound, but going with the more expensive AudiMute Sound Absorption Sheets was worth the difference (and look much better). You can get a pack of (5) 4x8 sheets for $230 dollars.
AudiMute Sound Absorption Sheets
I also tried a variety of cheap foam, but in the end, a box of Auralex foam wedgies solved all the deflection issues. I used about 12 on the ceiling and another 12 to make a Reflexion filter behind the Rode ProCaster microphone. A box of 24 Auralex Wedges will run you $99 bucks. You don't need to cover every square inch with this stuff, just a few will treat a room very well.
For the floor we just added some thick padding. So for about $330 dollars, I feel we got some really good results in a fairly professional looking voice recording room. Hard to tell from the audio of the point and shoot camera I was shooting on, but through a high quality vocal microphone it's a world of difference.
New Opteka VM-200 microphone. Claims an metal body, directional XY stereo, shock mount suspension, PAD switch, high pass noise filter, and windscreen filter included. Sounds like a decent build on the outside.
Is it effective? Well, we all know If the guts are cheap, it will sound cheap. It also looks a bit beastly compared to some of the smaller microphones on the market, or maybe even just a Zoom H1 portable recorder. More than likely it's still better than trying to use the in-camera microphone. No additional information or reviews I could find right now, but curious minds can find additional specs and pictures of the sub $140 dollar Opteka VM-200 Stereo Condenser Microphone on eBay (click here).
For those that don't want to sync audio in post you may attempt to plug a microphone (like a Rode VideoMic, LAV mic, or Wireless Mic Receiver) directly to the camera's 3.5mm mic input, and then adjust levels from within the camera (unless you're stuck with AGC). One problem is that the camera's internal preamp is known to be fairly noisy if you have to boost the signal. The solution for better audio is to use an external preamp before feeding the signal back in to the camera and turn the camera's internal levels down to almost zero. The new Canon 5D Mark III now has a headphone monitoring port, but does it still suffer from internal preamp noise?
So here's an interesting question that comes in that might get your wheels spinning. Can you use something like the Fiio E11 portable Headphone Amp to boost and adjust your microphone levels? Unlike the other Fiio headphone amp options, the E11 has a 10 hour rechargeable battery and volume (gain) control. It's not going to offer phantom power to a microphone, but if you're already using a self powered mic, then there's no need for phantom power. The E11 has standard 3.5mm input and output connections.
We've seen a workflow where some people feed the headphone output of a Zoom recorder (for dual audio and because the preamp is better in the Zoom) back into the camera with a Sescom cable. Considering that option it sounds like a Fiio E11 could work out as an inexpensive external preamp for DSLR video (assuming the output signal is better than the DSLR). Anyone attempt something like this before? The E11 has some interesting specs, and you can take a look at the Product Description (click here).
Fiio E11 Portable HeadPhone Preamp - via Amazon
You can also find these Fiio E11 Headphone Amps via eBay (click here)
Fiio E11 Portable Rechargeable HeadPhone Amp - via eBay
The Alesis TwoTrack portable digital audio recorder sees a small price drop. Yup, looks like a Zoom H1 with X/Y stereo mics, 3.5mm Mic Input, headphone monitoring, adjustable Gain, and built in Auto levels if you're lazy. A steel threaded insert for tripod mount, and no web articles about battery drain issues. Audio can be recorded as 16-bit, 44.1 stereo wav file, or an MP3 at up to 192kbps, and stores them on the 128MB of internal memory, or to widely-available SD/SDHC (not microSD) cards with capacities up to 8GB. Operates on a single AA battery. Don't be fooled by the TwoTrack name, it just means Left/Right Channel from the stereo mics. Audio as good as the Zoom H1? Hmm..maybe not.