Audio remains an underdeveloped feature on most DSLRs -- DSLR shooters must resort to independent recorders or pre-amp devices plugged into their cameras. However, with each new model we see (small) steps in the right direction. We have yet to see a DSLR (even at the high end) that provides direct XLR inputs, but we do now have some basic control over gain levels along with headphone monitoring. While providing a comparison of the the 5DmkIII and D800's audio features, juicedLink's Robert Rozak presents his latest pre-amp device, the RM333, and how it builds off of these new features:
Here's his comparison of the two units along with his intro to the juicedLink RM333 pre-amp:
If you're new to DSLR shooting, and wondering what the purpose of a pre-amp device is, check out the audio section in the DSLR Cinematography Guide. These devices allow you to use XLR inputs along with higher quality pre-amps to record solid audio directly into your camera(rather than recording separately and synching afterwards). As pointed out in that chapter, when trying to record sound directly into older DSLR models like the 5DmkII, you sometimes had to find ways to disable built in camera features like automatic gain control. With these newer models that offer direct control over gain, you no longer have to worry about it, and with the ability to monitor on camera, it really frees up the pre-amp device to offer the basic necessary features (and thus be as small and unobtrusive as possible).
Ideally we would be able to have these controls and inputs directly in-camera, but for now we can be moderately satisfied that things are moving in the right direction and making these accessories more and more streamlined.
Have you tried recording sound on the new 5DmkII and D800? Are you more likely to use a pre-amp or simply record to a separate audio device? Let us know!
This holiday season is ramping up to be the perfect moment for filmmakers. Not only do we have some amazing camera equipment to choose from this year, we have also seen some incredible releases from Sennheiser.
From podcast audio tools to on-camera microphones, Sennheiser has taken the next step to ensure content creators, documentaries, and narrative filmmakers have the high-end tools necessary to create fantastic work.
Here are some of our favorite holiday gift ideas to get you professional quality audio, either for the creative in your life or as a gift to yourself.
Sennheiser Profile USB Mic
A good desk mic is worth is weight in gold. Not only is it a great asset in the post-pandemic zoom world, but it's perfect for podcasts where space is at a premium.
The Sennhesier Profile USB Microphone is designed exactly for that. It's a simple plug and play workflow that will get you up and running without worrying about drivers or audio interface units. The on-board controls include gain, mix, and volume, as well as a hand mute button.
With fully featured onboard controls and a rugged metal housing, the Profile USB Microphone Base Set from Sennheiser will elevate your podcasting, gaming, streaming, conferencing, and home recording experience. This all-in-one collection bundles the versatile Profile USB condenser Microphone with a durable metal table stand and a USB-C cable.
While the stand version of the Sennheiser Profile USB Mic is great for the desk, the streaming set includes all the features you need for a studio setup. This is the unit NFS has been using for our podcast for the last few months, and it's been a game changer.
The microphone is the same Profile model but includes a boom arm with integrated cable management. The inclusion of the arm makes the microphone feel like it's defying gravity. Wherever you place the Profile, it'll stay put until you move it yourself.
If you have your own podcast, or maybe just a bit more room on your desk, this is our recommendation. It's been an asset to our team beyond the podcast and deserves a spot in your audio toolkit.
With fully featured onboard controls and a rugged metal housing, the Profile USB Microphone Streaming Set from Sennheiser elevates podcasts, gaming, streaming, conferencing, and home recording experience. This all-in-one collection bundles the versatile Profile USB condenser microphone with a flexible 3-point self-locking boom arm and a USB-C cable.
The Sennheiser EW-DP ME 2 SET is another great tool to have at your disposal. This wireless microphone system includes the ME 2 lavalier and a camera-mountable receiver that uses professional UHF transmission to deliver clean audio no matter how much interference you face.
During our coverage at NAB 2023, Sennheiser was kind enough to loan us this system, but with a handheld 835 mic. The NFS team on the show floor had spent the most of our coverage using a wired mic due to all of the interference, but with the EW-DP 835 SET, our team captured clean audio without any issues. It was like the microphone was wired all along.
The EW-DP ME 2 SET is the exact same thing, but with a lav mic for added versatility. If you're doing interviews, narrative work, or speaking engagements, this wireless mic system is a must.
Purpose-built for content creators, videographers, and newsgatherers looking for a stress-free wireless experience, the Sennheiser EW-DP ME 2 SET with ME 2 Omnidirectional Lavalier is a camera-mountable, fully digital wireless microphone system that utilizes professional UHF transmission to reliably deliver Sennheiser's pristine, broadcast-quality audio directly to your camera.
The MKE 200 is a perfect on-camera mic for content creators and vloggers, especially if you need to keep your camera package as small as possible. It features a shock mount and a built-in windscreen to get you clean audio in any situation.
One of the biggest pitfalls for vloggers to overcome is getting quality audio. The MKE 200 gives you that while also keeping your profile to a minimum, which is excellent for those moments where you don't want to draw attention to your workflow.
Comprised of everything you need to capture steady video and clear audio on a smartphone for your next vlog, video shoot, or news piece, the Sennheiser MKE 200 Mobile Kit is a comprehensive bundle that features Sennheiser's MKE 200 ultra-compact directional microphone, a Manfrotto PIXI mini tripod, a smartphone clamp, two output cables, and outdoor wind protection.
While the MKE mics are great, sometimes you only have a smartphone. While modern smartphones have excellent video, the audio can be lacking, especially if you're in a noisy location when trying to interview a subject or create a vlog.
The XS Lav is powered by a USB-C connector and provides enough cable length for any close shooting needs. If you're a vlogger, content creator, or streamer working with a smartphone, the XS Lav is a must-have in your kit.
And now that the new iPhone 15 Pro Max is out, with its array of production-level filmmaking features and USB-C port, the XS Lav feels like a perfect companion.
A high-quality setup for recording audio straight to USB-C compatible smartphones, the XS LAV USB-C Mobile Kit from Sennheiser is perfect for smartphone creators. In addition to the XS Lav lapel mic, you get a Manfrotto Pixi tabletop tripod that doubles as handheld grip support for on-the-go selfie shoots.
Everything on this list has been a great asset for content creators and filmmakers off set. But for those who need professional quality audio for a production, the MKE 600 Shotgun Mic is an incredible tool to have.
Whether you clamp it onto a C-Stand or have it attached to a boom pole, the MKE 600 is a high-directional shotgun mic that will capture amazing audio and effectively attenuate noise from the side.
The MKE 600's high sensitivity and low-noise circuitry unlock improved sound quality without extreme gain on noisy camera preamps. With a natural roll-off at 40 Hz and a selectable low-cut filter at 100 Hz, the MKE 600 can deliver clear intelligibility while attenuating low-frequency noise such as rumble. Plus, its frequency response incorporates a gentle rise in treble to enhance speech clarity.
For on-location shooting that might be a bit more damp than you're used to, the MKH 416 should be the tool you have in your kit. This moisture-resistant interference tube microphone captures broadcast-level audio in whatever demanding conditions you may be shooting it. Whether a professional film, TV, or location recording, the MKH 416 is the perfect counterpart to the MKE 600.
The MKH 416 exhibits a hypercardioid polar pattern at low to midrange frequencies and transitions to a lobar pattern in high frequencies, allowing it to attenuate 125 Hz to 2 kHz by approximately 10 dB at the 90° off-axis points. Your dialogue, foley, and sound effects can be recorded with full dynamics and clarity, thanks to the MKH 416-P48U3's wide frequency response, enhanced consonant articulation, and high SPL handling.
Finally, our last recommendation is the HD 280 PRO Monitoring Headphones. The NFS podcast team pairs these with the Profile USB for a perfect match. Not only are you getting great sound quality, but the noise isolation is excellent, and the robust build quality means they'll last through production after production.
The HD 280 Pro Circumaural Closed-Back Monitor Headphones from Sennheiser feature a collapsible design with swiveling earcups and extended low end reproduction with a frequency response of 8 Hz to 25 kHz. Rejection of outside noise is high, rated up to -32 dB. Efficient neodymium magnets contribute toward an extended dynamic range and high output. The thick, padded leatherette earcups and adjustable padded headband allow for a precise and comfortable fit during extended periods of studio recording and mixing.
Whatever your audio needs are, this list will have something you'll need. And with the holidays just around the corner, some of these audio tools are also on sale!
Check out the deals above to get any idea for what the filmmaker in your life needs. Or maybe you're just looking to treat yourself. Either way, getting good audio is the most important thing your project needs. Don't rely on something that won't get the job done.
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