March 6, 2016 at 4:28PM, Edited March 6, 4:34PM


Panasonic GH3, Audio-Technica AT875R & M-Audio Firewire Solo setup

I'm trying to work with items that I already have, which are all in the title. I'm not a filmmaker or a sound tech (obviously), just trying to make better home videos. This setup would be used for talking head interviews.
Rather than use the GH3 onboard mic, I upgraded to the AT875R. This mic requires 11-52V phantom power and its "XLRM-type connector is low impedance (Lo-Z) balanced."
I THOUGHT I could use my old M-Audio Firewire Solo for phantom power/preamp. The Firewire has a mic-level input on a balanced XLR connector, +48VDC phantom power, and mic input gain for over a range of 0dB to +40dB or greater.
I connected the mic to the xlr mic input on the solo and from the balanced line output (1/4" TRS) of the solo, I connected a shielded audio cable (1/4" stereo to 3.5mm mono) to the GH3 3.5mm audio input.
I'm recording with the GH3 using .mov/24p/50Mbps. The GH3 onboard mic is set to 1. This setups audio works and sounds much cleaner than the GH3 mic, but the signal is very low. It audio also gets distorted if I get close to the mic, though the levels don't get hot. I'm not sure if that is to be expected. I need to be at least 12" from the mic to minimize vocal distortion, but regardless of mic placement, the audio is too low. I have the gain on the M-Audio turned all the way up. By nature of the M-Audio, everything through the XLR is going to the left channel.
Questions: I'm trying to save myself $$. Can I continue with this setup? Is there a cheap product to boost my audio? Or should I just get one of these juicedlink type products that I was hoping the Solo could serve as a replacement for...?
Also, if all the audio is only going to the left channel, do most people simply use some kind of split/duplicate option in their A/V editor to make it sound stereo---or is this simply another reason I should lose the Solo from my setup?
Your assistance would be greatly appreciated! Please be kind!!
Thank you.


I am not familiar with the M-Audio Solo, but it sounds like it's putting out a MIC level ( -50 dB ) signal which is much too low for the GH3 camera which needs a signal in the -20 dB to -15 dB range to make a good recording. ( everything changed with the GH4, which actually wants a -50 dB MIC level signal )

I would consider looking for a used Tascam DR-60 recorder ( around $100 used ) or buying a Tascam DR-60 Mk2 recorder which costs about $200 brand new.

The JuicedLink preamps are very good, but you're going to want a "Riggy" unit which has 30 dB of clean audio gain and this will cost a fair bit more than a new or used Tascam DR-60 recorder. ( the earlier non-Riggy units only produce 15 dB of clean gain ) The DR-60 also gives you the ability to make two simultaneous recordings, one in the camera and a second within the DR-60 itself.

March 6, 2016 at 5:04PM, Edited March 6, 5:03PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

The cheapest and easiest way is to buy a mic that is made for that particular use, if I were you I would buy the takstar shotgun mic, it's very decent and it costs 30$. Otherwise the rode video micro is good too.

March 9, 2016 at 3:09PM


Agreed on the 'buy an audio recorder' suggestion, but I'm assuming this is something you need to solve right away with very little budget.
So, since
(1) the Solo seems to need AC power, so you're going to be tied to an outlet, and
(2) the Solo seems to be designed to feed a computer NLE

could you just bring a compatible laptop along, plug the Solo into laptop via Firewire, and get a nice dual system setup? That's assuming you have a Firewire port on a laptop, but would cost basically nothing.

March 10, 2016 at 9:53AM


Actually I've watch exactly what mic it is and I remember that I have used it once with a sony EX1 camera, quality wasn't good enough so we send it back.
Honestly it will always be an issue to power it as it need very strong preamp and the sound you will get out of it is not that great anyway, so, save yourself time and truble, sell the damn thing and buy something that has been made for the use you want (like a rode videomic or else) ;-)

March 10, 2016 at 12:41PM


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