Inexpensive Audio Equipment for Recording Interviews/Lectures etc.

March 4, 2011 | By | 2 Replies More

You’ve recorded an interview using your consumer camcorder.  Looks fine, but the audio sounds awful….in fact it’s unusable…you can’t hear anything your interviewee is saying.  Whats the answer?  Connect a “proper” microphone to your Camcorder and record the audio using that.

There’s a catch, though.  Most microphones hook up to recording equipment using a balanced “XLR” audio cable.  BUT… your camcorder doesn’t have any of those (XLR balanced audio inputs).  It only has one of those little 3.5mm audio inputs (the same type you use to plug your headphones into your iPod).  That’s OK, read on and you’ll find out how it IS possible to connect those XLR cabled microphones to your little camcorder.

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Low End Audio Devices for Consumer Camcorders:


1.  Audio Technica Pro 88W Wireless System  $149

A commonly used type of microphone for interviewing someone is a wireless lavalier  Microphone.  It will come in two parts:  A transmitter and a receiver.  You hook up the Mic (transmitter) to your interviewee and the receiver to your camcorder. This is a Basic Wireless Lav system with Cam mountable receiver.  No level indicators, but sounds good for the money.  Need to jump to $400+ setup to better this model IMO.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/89728-REG/Audio_Technica_W88_TV_830_Pro_88W_Camera.html

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2.  Beachtec DXA-2T Camcorder Audio Adapter  $189

This is the magic device that allows you to hook up Microphones to your little camcorder.  The Beachtech DXA-2T is an adapter that allows 2 independent XLR Mic inputs to connect to a consumer camcorder via it’s 3.5mm unbalanced Audio Input.  Hooks up to base of camcorder, and has tripod socket on base.  No level indicators, but does include independent volume pots.  Super handy. Don’t leave home without one!

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/672719-REG/Beachtek_DXA_2T_DXA_2T_Universal_Compact_Camcorder.html

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Low End Audio Recording Equipment:


Tascam DR-100 Portable Digital Audio Recorder  $305

2 Real XLR Inputs for 300 bucks. Does the job.  Not much else to say.  Use this if you don’t need to capture video, it’s a standalone Audio Recorder.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/599285-REG/Tascam_DR_100_DR_100_Professional_Portable_Digital.htm

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Shure MX391/O Omnidirectional Boundary Microphone $146.50

Sit this microphone on your conference table and capture audio from sources around the room.  That’s what Boundary Microphones are used for.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/145201-REG/Shure_MX391_O_MX391_O_Omni_Directional_Condenser.html

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Rolls MX124 Portable 4 Channel Sub Mixer  $159

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/294571-REG/Rolls_MX124_MX124_Portable_4_Channel.html

Hook up to 4 XLR inputs and mix down to stereo.  Battery powered and small.  And VERY inexpensive. Example Setup:  4 Speakers in a panel at a conference, all have independent Mics – feed 4 Mics into the Rolls, the Rolls outputs 2 channels of audio into the BeachTec / Tascam.  Of course for Post Production, you will not be able to independently edit those 4 tracks, so careful field recording is a necessity here.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  If you want those 4 independent tracks to edit, get one of these:

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M-Audio Fast Track Ultra USB 2.0 Audio Interface for Mac / PC with 8 Channels of I/O  $279

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/532252-REG/M_Audio_9900_52729_00_Fast_Track_Ultra.html

Hook this up to Mac or PC Laptop and use with your favorite DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).  Back to that 4 member panel with 4 mics – using this you can now record each channel independently and thus edit independently if you need to do that.  If used in conjunction with video recording, you will need to import those audio tracks into Final Cut (or whatever editing program you are using) and synchronize the audio with video.  Not as hard as it sounds.  Suggest capturing audio on internal mic on camcorder at same time just to make this process a little easier when lining up waveforms.

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Miscellaneous:


Pearstone Microphone Adapter for Sony Hot Shoe  $40

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/564249-REG/Pearstone_9011300_Microphone_Adapter_for_Sony.html

What on earth is that?  Sony in their infinite wisdom includes a proprietary “Hot Shoe” interface to hook up microphones etc to many of their consumer camcorders.  NO regular 3.5mm (or otherwise) audio inputs.  Daft.  We happen to have a bunch of Sony Camcorders at FIT that need this thing.  Plugs into the top of the camcorder (into the Hot Shoe interface) which one could then hook up to the Beacktek device etc.

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Category: Audio / Visual, TDT PROJECTS, TECH BYTES, Training, Tutorials

Comments (2)

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  1. I know the problem with the bad audio recording very good. The adapter from Sony looks promising and $ 40 for it are also in order. Thanks for the advice.

  2. Jay Preston says:

    The Beachtech DXA 2T gets my vote. Finally decent audio from an inexpensive camcorder. You would have to pay upwards of $1000 to get this as a standard feature. With consumer camcorders doing full hd the only drawback was audio. Not anymore.

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