Studio 1 XLR-MIX Pro, Guy Graphics GG-14 and Audio Technica AT8410a Review

Shooting and editing great video is almost as much about the tools as it is about the techniques. In this month’s issue of Videomaker, we?ll take a look at three of the tools that can help you grab the best sound around.

Want to look and sound like the Big Guys?
Guy Graphics GG-14 Boom Pole

The Guy Graphics GG-14 is a microphone fishpole designed for budget conscious filmmakers or commercial video producers who want to improve their audio. It allows the user to get a mic close to the subject, from below or above the camera frame, without having to fiddle with lavaliers and their sometimes less than professional audio quality.

The four-section pole comes in a deceivingly compact 46-inch collapsed length and extends to an impressive 14-feet. Like all fishpoles, it is preferable if the operator can legitimately
call California?s Governor a girly-man.

The pole only weighs 1.5 pounds, but once you add a microphone and 14 feet of cable, it?s gonna get heavy. Some operators affix a small counterbalance to the operator end of the handle to reduce the arm fatigue, but there isn?t an attachment for this on the pole itself.

The pole flexes quite a bit for shots that require walking. A mic and shock mount weighing 16.3 oz deformed the boom eight and a half inches, a little above mid-span. Keeping the microphone out of the frame can be challenging, but with some practice it is possible to work in phase with the flex, keeping the microphone nearly motionless. First-time operators may make the mistake of not “barber-polling” the cable around the fishpole. Any cable slack transmits significant noise through the hollow shaft by allowing it to slap the pole when moved to follow the subject. We also used an Audio Technica shock mount (also reviewed here) while reviewing the GG-14, which helped, but did not eliminate this problem. The grip area does features two spring clips that lock-off the audio cable.

The GG-14 is an affordable, light, strong and compact fishpole. It expands and collapses easily, has a foam filled base handle (to prevent a jarring collapse) and its flexibility can be managed with some practice. Overall, a great value that can help you get professional quality audio.

Good Vibrations
Audio Technica AT8410a Shock Mount

Getting the sound you want is often easier than avoiding the sound you don?t. The Audio Technica AT8410a professional shock mount is one solution that will help keep minor bumps, knocks and noise from ruining a good take.

Getting the sound you want is often easier than avoiding the sound you don?t. The Audio Technica AT8410a professional shock mount is one solution that will help keep minor bumps, knocks and noise from ruining a good take.

Audio Technica says it will attenuate 8-10 dB. In our tests using an Electro Voice PL77b mounted on a three-foot boom mounted on a mic stand, we found it reduced an average of nearly 20 dB. Your results will vary depending on the type of noise and mic sensitivity.

Lightweight with a Punch

We ran into a problem here at Videomaker: we needed to mix a couple of microphones with a line source and output a mic-level signal to our camcorder. A couple of microphones and one line source. We find that a 10-channel mixer is overkill and way to big for our camera bag, not to mention that we?d rather not have to power the device. This seems like a simple problem, but we couldn?t find any particularly simple solutions.

At least not until we found the new Studio 1 XLR-Mix Pro. This mobile mixer is no bigger than a soda can and is capable of mixing up to three sources down to one XLR output and requires no power. It even comes with a belt clip.

During our tests the Studio 1 XLR-Mix Pro did not introduce any perceptible noise and there was no audible drop in signal power or quality. Unlike a full-featured powered mixer, the XLR-Mix Pro avoids introducing noise by not including any amplification. The three audio level adjusting knobs are only attenuators and they will not increase the level of a signal. The mixer is fully shielded from EMI and RFI and critical components are further wrapped in shielding material.

This little box was designed with us (or event videographers, we suppose) in mind. The locking balanced Neutrik XLR input jacks are top quality. The two Auxiliary 1/8-inch jacks let you plug in other sources, such as a wireless microphone system or line-level source. Channels one and two have independent mic/line level toggles and the box has a handy ground lift switch to deal with electrical hum from AC powered equipment in your mix. Finally, three audio level control knobs let you perform some basic mixing.

While there are 4 input jacks, only three can be used at one time. The XLR-Mix Pro can be a shoot-saving solution in other applications as well. If you put on solo presentations at conferences or trade shows, you?ll find the combination of inputs, level selectors and attenuators can be just the solution to get your microphone and the output from a laptop to the house?s sound. Studio 1?s XLR-Mix Pro is an affordable well-designed mobile mixer in a robust small package.


TECH SPECS

Guy Graphics GG-14 Boom Pole

Collapsed Length: 46 inches

Extended Length: 14 feet

Number of Sections: 4

Weight: 1.5 pounds

Material: Carbon Fiber

Other Features: “Easy Grip” Handle, cable attachments, foam core

Audio Technica AT8410a Shock Mount

Input Connections: 2 XLR (locking), 2 1/8-in.

Output Connection: male XLR jack (mic level)

Gain Controls: 3x

Input Impedance Range: 150-600 Ohms

Line Level Attenuation: 54db (varies with camera input)

Input Voltage Max: 900mv mic; 10v line

Frequency Response: 15 Hz to 25k Hz

Dimensions (inches): 5 x 2.5 x 1.5

Weight: 8.2 ounces

Studio 1 XLR-Mix Pro

Weight: 6.3 oz

Microphone Diameter: 0.66 to 1.13-in.

Clamping system: Spring-loaded “clothes-pin” style

Suspension system: Elastic shock cord

Swivel rotation: 180

Attenuation: – 8 dB to 10 dB broadband

Brian Peterson is a Communications Director with the American Lung Association and has more than 14 years of broadcast video production experience.

$75

Audio Technica AT8410a Shock Mount

www.audiotechnica.com

$150

Guy Graphics GG-14 Boom Pole

www.guygraphics.com

$220

Studio 1 XLR-Mix Pro XLR Audio Adapter

www.studio1productions.com

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