October 19, 2015 at 7:50AM, Edited October 19, 8:02AM


Roland R-05 built-in mic vs CS-15S/R

Hi Nofilm Schoolers. my first question here I hope someone can shed some light. I need to up my audio capture for a new project. So far I've been using a Nikon ME-1 on various Nikon bodies but I have a Roland R-05 and imagine I can get better audio out of it. But what I can't figure out is if I am better off using the R-05's built in mic or an external CS-15S/R which I already have?

Most of my recordings would be ambient nature, but at a moderate to high volume, think flocks of noisy birds, waterfalls etc... occasionally interviews but I understand I need a mic close to a person and I don;t really care as much about the audio quality for speech as for the natural settings.

Roland's web site says the external mic is for 'serious field recording' with the R-05 but that's about as much info as I can find. When I monitor the audio it sounds much richer with the built-in mics through headphones.

The specs say:
Frequency Response: 200–17,000 Hz
Open Circuit Sensitivity: -41.5±4 dB
Impedance: 1,300 Ω (at battery use)
Maximum Input S.P.L: 119 dB SPL (at 1kHz, 3% THD)

and for the R-05
Frequency Response: 20–40,000 Hz
Nominal Input Level (Variable)
Recommended Load Impedance 16 ohms or greater
Mic Input: -33 dBu (MIC GAIN is H)
Mic Input: -15 dBu (MIC GAIN is L)

If the Frequency Response is the measure I'm looking for then the built-in mic seems to beat the external CS-15 by 23kHz

But in practice of course the external mic is more versatile in placement. I do have a hot shoe adapter that allows the R-05 to mount above the camera.

Any feedback appreciated as to what combination I could expect the best results from appreciated.


Since you already own all the gear, the best thing to do is to record your own samples, then check the results with your audio editor. Trust your own ears, and make sure you turn OFF all auto-gain settings which are generally a disaster when trying to record good audio.

The Nikon ME-1 stereo mic is an omni-directional mic so it's only really useful when you want to record good ambient sound. ( make sure you aren't picking up any camera noise when recording, or use it with your Roland R-05 recorder )

Based upon the gear you own, the Roland CS-15 mic will probably produce the best quality sound when recording interviews, but keep in mind that you won't get good sound quality if your mic is more than 3 feet from the person speaking. ( this is why many people use either boom-mics just out of the frame, or LAV mics connected to a recorder like your Roland R-05 when recording interviews )

October 19, 2015 at 11:54AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Thanks for the advice Guy,

So I recorded a few clips both on the camera and on the R-05 using all combinations of R-05 built-in mic, Nikon ME-1 mic, Roland CS-15 mic, on both camera audio, R-05 audio and compared them.

First thing I noticed is that the R-05 records in 32-bit and the Nikon D600 16-bit.
Looking at the waveform in Audacity there was no doubt that the built-in mic on the R-05 recorded a much wider range and I could easily hear it in playback.

The ME-1 sounded next best and had the middle range waveform. The CS-15 has the lowest waveform and has audibly duller sound - although in close it improves dramatically. So I think I'm going to stick with the ME-1 on the camera and record to the R-05 with the built in mic, keep the CS-15 for interview/close-in and see how that goes for a bit.

October 22, 2015 at 1:09PM


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