September 1, 2015 at 4:07PM, Edited September 1, 4:09PM

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What is your favorite set-up for clean audio on a budget?

*Hello, I got some money that I would like to spend on some new audio gear. (>$200) I have been using the RODE VideoMic (lyre) for half a year. I've been hating myself for choosing it over the Pro version. It's hissy and it's big. (size is not really a problem)
I understand that audio gear is a pretty future-proof investment. But I don't want to spend a fortune on it.
I just want some clean audio!

*something about me:
I make videos to entertain myself, my family and friends. I like documentaries and just recording things around me and than making the big story in edit. Without actors, big scripts and things like that. I like the whole process of video making. I would like to learn more about it. I would like to invest more time into it, but the hissy/silent audio really bugs me. :(
I'm not saying that it is in the way, but it is definitely slowing the process down.

*From what I have looked at, I think that a nice hand-held recorder would be the best for me. (feel free to prove me wrong) I like the fact that I would be able to record sound separately, without having to have my camera on me and be able to monitor the sound with headphones.
Zoom H4N is a bit too expensive.

*I've been looking at the Tascam DR-40-V2. It looks like a nice price while still having an option to add a better mic in the future.
But I don't know if the pre-amps are good enough to get rid of the hissiness of the RODE VideoMic. And it has only one audio out-put, can I split it without loosing quality?

*There are so many things I need to learn about audio. And I think I should start. By recording more of it.

*(Please don't send me any links on discounts in the US, I live in Slovakia, EU.)

10 Comments

What camera are you shooting with ?

September 1, 2015 at 7:11PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31001

70D - totally happy about the picture quality. Low light could be better, headphone jack would save a lot of time.

September 1, 2015 at 11:54PM

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I was asking because it might be worth buying a recorder like the Tascam DR-60 Mk2 recorder. It has better preamps than the Tascam DR-40 and it's convenient to have it mounted underneath your camera when you shoot. You can also make dual recordings, where you record audio on the Tascam DR-60 Mk2 and on your Canon 70D at the same time. ( you feed the DR-60 signal to your 70D while you shoot )

In North America the DR-60 Mk2 costs less than $200.

September 2, 2015 at 12:04AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31001

I know. I was really thinking about buying it. It is the most professional audio thing that I could own. But, it means that I would HAVE to take my mic always with me. I'm not sure if it is something I would like to do.
Do you know how good/bad are those build in mics on the DR-40? I think I would like the flexibility of having stereo and directional and a recorder in a one box.

DR-60 mkii is super professional and everything, but I'm not sure if it something for me.
I don't have a real workflow yet, since my content varies so much.

Don't you think that I could split the line-out cable from the DR-40 and feed it both into my camera and to headphones at the same time?

Man, I hate deciding :D
I burned my self on the videomic, and I'm afraid I will on this too :D

September 2, 2015 at 11:25AM

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Basically the question is what audio is going to be better: DR-40 (internal mics) or DR-60 (with RODE VideoMic (not pro))?

September 2, 2015 at 3:18PM

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The DR-40 can be stereo, which is very nice to have. ( I like using stereo for interviews when I can )

The DR-60 with the RODE VideoMic is going to be better at isolating your subject from the ambient noise in the room, but it's going to be mono.

For long term use, I personally would go for the DR-60 Mk2, and try and find a good used condenser mic like the discontinued Audio Technica AT3031 mic which can be found for about $100. ( I kept looking and eventually found two of these AT3031 mics that I now use with my more expensive AT4053b mic on bigger shoots. ) The AT3031 is a great sounding cardioid mic that has since been replaced with the more expensive AT4021 mic.

September 3, 2015 at 5:48PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31001

The mics on the DR-40 are pretty good as long as the audio source is loud or the mics are within 3 feet of the person speaking, which is the same for all mics. ( I use my DR-40 for quick talking head interviews by mounting it just above / below / to the side of the person I am shooting. The recorder is just outside my shooting frame )

I own a Sescom cable that splits the LINE out signal but I've never been able to get good results with it when recording. ( signal is always too weak )

September 2, 2015 at 11:58AM, Edited September 2, 12:02PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31001

hm, I see. I don't why don't they add a second line out. I know, that you should go for a more professional recorder if you want two lines out. But this is more of a size problem than a money problem :D

September 2, 2015 at 3:17PM

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( duplicate )

September 2, 2015 at 12:00PM, Edited September 2, 12:03PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31001

In my experience it doesn't matter what kind of mic you use; they all suck if they're too far away. I've gotten pretty great audio from my Rode Videomic by getting the microphone very close to the person speaking—like 30 to 40cm away.

So before you go spending a bunch of money on recorders and new mics, try putting your Rode on a monopod or pole of some kind (even if it's just a broomstick) and holding it within 30 cm of the mouth of the person who is talking.

Hold it over your head so that the front is pointing toward their mouth and the back is pointing at the sky. Keep it out of frame, of course. This will allow you to turn your input level way down and should take care of the hiss. If you want to get farther from the subject, you'll have to spend a LOT more money on a microphone. Like $1500 US or more.

The other alternative is lavaliers. I use AT3350s plugged into my DSLR, or you can get dedicated smart phones lavs and conceal them on the person. Lavs are much better for getting sound into a DSLR, in my experience.

September 4, 2015 at 2:41PM

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Richard Swearinger
Freelancer
133

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