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On-camera podcast mic recommendations #3004848 08/24/19 06:59 PM
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matthew mcglynn Offline OP
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I fielded a question today that was a bit outside my experience, so I'm pitching it to you in hopes of improving the answer.

The request was for a mic that records two people facing each other in a room with ambient noise. The twist is that it needs to record to an iPhone, which is shooting the video.

The ambient noise issue means a single Omni mic won't work.

A single Fig-8 condenser mic would work, plugged into an iOS audio adaptor. I've never used an XLR-to-Lightning adaptor; are they noisy?

There are several lav mic options for the iPhone, but they're mono only. We'd need two. If there is a stereo XLR adaptor for iOS, then using 2 lav mics would work.

There are stereo mics with Lightning interfaces, but I don't believe they'd work well here. The Rode iXY sounds good, but IME doesn't work with video -- that is, if the camera is pointed at the people who are speaking, the microphones do not. The Shure MV-88 and Zoom iQ7 are Mid-side external mics for iOS/Lightning; these might work, although mid-side for two people who are facing each other seems like it might be noisy. If the apps allow you to just use the side channels, that might work, but again, if the camera is across the room to show two people, then the mic isn't between them, and you're recording the whole room.

My other idea was a Zoom H4N Pro or H5, which could stand between the two people speaking. I think those would do fine on the audio, at the cost of having to synch audio to video in post. I don't know if this particular podcaster is set up for editing and post-production.

What's the killer app for in-camera audio in this situation?


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Re: On-camera podcast mic recommendations [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3004881 08/24/19 11:53 PM
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davedoerfler Offline
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tough one, and I don't have an answer but agree with you on the Zoom products. IMO, anyone shooting video needs to be able to do editing, no shoot ever goes perfectly. Gonna leave in when someone sneezes? idk


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Re: On-camera podcast mic recommendations [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3004925 08/25/19 11:17 AM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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This sounds like it's really asking for two lavs, one on each person. You'd have to get a handheld recorder in pretty close in order to get good left/right separation and also keep the ambient noise out of the way. Those things are great for capturing a sound field, but most of the "stereo" comes from the room.

There are a number of two channel or more interfaces for the iPhone - or at least there were in the relatively short period where Apple was using Lightning. How about the Rode SC6-L Mobile Interview Kit? It's $200 including a pair of mics, and they're Rode, so they can't be too bad. Or for more input flexibility, there's the IK Multimedia iRig Pro Duo, $200 without mics. I have one of these that I use with USB to my laptop or Android phone (though I only used it with the phone to prove that it works), and since it comes with a Lightning cable, I assume that works with an iPhone. It sounds excellent and has a reasonable amount of gain with pretty low noise.

There are desktop interfaces that can take a Lightning input, but I assume he wants something compact.

Re: On-camera podcast mic recommendations [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3004990 08/25/19 10:38 PM
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Dr Mike Metlay Online Content
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Hi Matt, some followup data...

Often the best solution is in fact to use a pro mic and an iOS-friendly interface. I do agree with Mike R about the dual lavs, they'll eliminate a lot of grief.

The iRig Pro Duo is a nice box, but it doesn't keep your iOS device charged, and I don't know how good its phantom power is, assuming you need it. I haven't used the SC6-L, but the fact that it's now working over Lightning rather than TRRS is a big damn deal... a lot of iOS's terrible reputation for audio comes from the years and years when otherwise sensible companies were building supposedly professional iOS recording interfaces that connected via TRRS rather than 30-pin or Lightning.

However, if you really want to slash the Gordian Knot and have a single USB figure-8 mic on the table between the two speakers, the Blue Yeti does that, boom, done.

mike


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Re: On-camera podcast mic recommendations [Re: Mike Rivers] #3004996 08/25/19 11:25 PM
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matthew mcglynn Offline OP
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Originally Posted by davedoerfler
IMO, anyone shooting video needs to be able to do editing,


Yes, I agree completely.


Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
for more input flexibility, there's the IK Multimedia iRig Pro Duo


Mike, thanks for that suggestion. That might just be the winner.

Dr. Mike's point about occupying the Lightning port with an audio interface is actually pretty important. The iRig Pro Duo has internal batteries, and doesn't draw power from the phone. It won't *charge* the phone, but at least the audio interface isn't draining the phone's battery faster. The SC6-L is described in its datasheet as "bus powered," without specifying details.

My searches had found the iRig Pro, but weirdly not the Duo. That's a pretty cool little box. Thanks, all!


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Re: On-camera podcast mic recommendations [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3005068 08/26/19 12:00 PM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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Originally Posted by Dr(!)Mike Metlay


Often the best solution is in fact to use a pro mic and an iOS-friendly interface. I do agree with Mike R about the dual lavs, they'll eliminate a lot of grief.


On re-reading the original post, I'm not sure I agree with me about the dual lavs.

When I read "two people facing each other" my brain immediately translated that to "two people side by side talking to each other but facing the camera," because that's what made (visual) sense to me. But I don't make videos, so what do I know?

You need to keep a fair amount of distance between the two mics to avoid comb filtering. Most clip-on lavs are omni, and that's where the three-to-one rule about mic placement works best. Since the distance between a speaker's mouth and a reasonable place to clip on a mic isn't very much closer than the distance between two people talking to each other, Cardioids can help here, but proximity effect can make placement tricky.

A single bi-directional mic between them is indeed the best way to do the job, but that doesn't provide any left-to-right separation, which might be important in a video. Or maybe not.

Re: On-camera podcast mic recommendations [Re: Mike Rivers] #3005166 08/26/19 07:21 PM
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matthew mcglynn Offline OP
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I don't know how far apart the two hosts are. The thin description I've received makes it seem a bit amateurish -- e.g. shooting both audio and video with a single phone?

What I loved best about the iRig Duo is that you could use two standard broadcast mics. Pick your flavor -- SM7B, RE-20, Beyerdynamic M-99 (my personal favorite), MD-421, PR-40, etc. Throw in a 2-channel Cloudlifter if the iRig's preamps aren't capable of high gain without noise. I think that looks good, and I'm sure it would sound great.


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Re: On-camera podcast mic recommendations [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3005210 08/26/19 11:19 PM
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Mike Rivers Offline
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Originally Posted by matthew mcglynn
I don't know how far apart the two hosts are. The thin description I've received makes it seem a bit amateurish -- e.g. shooting both audio and video with a single phone?


It's pretty amazing what an amateur can do with a mic and a phone these days, but in order to make a good recommendation, it sounds like you need a better description of the project.

Quote
What I loved best about the iRig Duo is that you could use two standard broadcast mics. Pick your flavor -- SM7B, RE-20, Beyerdynamic M-99 (my personal favorite), MD-421, PR-40, etc. Throw in a 2-channel Cloudlifter if the iRig's preamps aren't capable of high gain without noise. I think that looks good, and I'm sure it would sound great.


Another thing about the iRig Duo is that it has a headphone output (a mini jack, but many decent headphones have that as their native plug and come with a 1/4" adapter) and a switch for input monitoring. You an actually hear what you're recording, and know when you have it right before you shoot the whole project, then have to shoot it again. I have a few pages of notes on it and I ran across a spectrum plot showing how low the harmonic distortion, and which harmonics, is. That's the kind of stuff that I like to put in a review, and explain how to read the chart, rather than just write "low distortion." I thought I had written a review, but I guess I never got around to it. I should do that one of these days.

Re: On-camera podcast mic recommendations [Re: matthew mcglynn] #3005406 08/27/19 10:16 PM
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Dr Mike Metlay Online Content
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Originally Posted by matthew mcglynn

Dr. Mike's point about occupying the Lightning port with an audio interface is actually pretty important. The iRig Pro Duo has internal batteries, and doesn't draw power from the phone. It won't *charge* the phone, but at least the audio interface isn't draining the phone's battery faster. The SC6-L is described in its datasheet as "bus powered," without specifying details.

Matt, try before you buy, or at least have a return policy. It's one of the bizarre vagaries of some iOS devices that even with a battery-powered interface, you'll still get a "not enough power, won't talk to it" message from the iOS device. Thankfully, that particular FUBAR is very rare these days, but there's an outside chance it could still happen, so test first!

mike


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