External Camcorder Mic vs. Portable Audio Field Recorder

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    • #42981


      I’m a videographer shooting with a Panasonic PV-GS 70, I shoot mostly live bands and loud music concerts. I want to improve the audio quality of my recordings (right now using built in camera mic) but have a dilemma and need your help. I’ve been researching the different options I have and wanted to know which one you think would be best considreing a budget of $200.

      1. Buy an External Mic for Camcorder: Like the Rode SVM or Sennheiser MKE400

      Pro’s: Would Probably improve my recordings and have shoe mount to go directly on camera. Also I wouldn’t need to synch the audio to the video in post-production when editing and that would save me a lot of time (also sometimes it’s hard to synch the drums precisely with all the cymbols etc…)

      Con’s: My camera doesn’t have a manual audio control and I’m scared that at high volumes the sound will clip. I can’t afford to buy also a beachtek adaptor to regulate the levels going in the camera.
      Also I saw some youtube clips of concerts shot with the rode svm and I wasn’t too impressed with the sound quality. Also wondering if less expensive mics would do the job?

      2. Other option is to buy a Portable Audio Field Recorder like the Zoom H2

      Pro’s: I can control the levels and adapt depending on the venue size etc…Reviews and audio quality are pretty good. Also have option to record in wav or mp3 format.

      Con’s: Wouldn’t know where to put it (doesn’t have shoe mount to go on camera). Not sure if I can connect the output of the zoom H2 to my camera mic in (that would save me the editing process of synching audio to video). If it can’t be connected to the camera mic in, I would have to edit and synch the audio to video.

      I know that many of you would suggest that the best audio for concerts would be by getting it from the sound guy mixer. Problem with that is that sometimes the mixer is far from the stage and would be dangerous to get a really long cable to connect. I could connect it via wireless but very expensive. Other problem with that is that some sound guys are not very nice and don’t want to help you unless you pay them!

      Please let me know what you guys think I appreciate your help!

    • #180026

      I also found this microphone which is less expensive:

      Sony ECMHGZ1 Electret Condenser Zoom Microphone

    • #180027

      i would suggest that you get a digital recorder that you can plug into the soundboard at the concert to get the best audio. You could then use the cameras audio as a background track.


    • #180028

      hi john,

      doy uo have any recommendations on which digital recorder?

    • #180029

      there’s a couple out there made by marantz, but I have no specific recommendations. Shop around, you’ll need to find something that will give you balanced inputs and has the storage capacity you’ll need for a show.

    • #180030

      Just a few things to think about. I wouldn’t judge any microphone solely by what you hear on youtube or any other site for that matter unless it was done in a controlled environment by an experienced sound professional. For all we know the person shooting didn’t know what they were doing. And I would say that tapping the board is a good idea, but far from ideal. The sound tech will be mixing the sound for the room, not the output on the board. So what you get may or may not be usable. I did a show last weekend and the only thing running through the board were the vocals and acoustic guitars. There were no mics on the drums and all of the electric guitars had their own amps and speakers. The board is good to tap in case, but never count on it for your only source. I can use the board tap to mix with what I got from my own microphones so it will be useful. But if I had relied on the board only I would have garbage.On your budget your best bet might be to use the H2 or another recorder with built in stereo microphones and keep it near the mixing board. I believe that is the sweet spot since that is the point of reference for the board operator. Other spots in the club might be hit or miss. The last I looked the H2 was going for $299. You may find one used for close to $200. I understand restricted budgets but just be realistic on the quality of sound you expect to capture based on a $200 budget. Good luck!


    • #180031


      yes what you said about not being able to depend on the board is true…

      i really wanted to get the rode svm but if i go that way i might have to get the beachtek adapter also to control the levels to make sure it doesn’t distort..and that would be another $200…the mici has a -10db level that allows to reduce the volume for really loud situations, maybe i can try it out and if it distorts i can allways return it.

      the zoom h2 i can find even for $150 and it’s a good device because but then you have to worry about where to put it and someone can take it if it’s not close to you…

    • #180032

      I have recorded musical performances and lectures with my Audio-Technica ATR-25 stereo electret mic ($35) plugged into my Canon GL-1 and also to my Panasonic PV-GS350. The quality is clean. I use a shielded stereo extension cable going into a right-angle adapting cable, actually a headphone volume control adapting cable from Radio Shack. As with any low-priced mic, low frequencyextension will be limited, but you can hear what you are getting, monitoring with headphones, and the quality may even exceed your expectations. If you can place your mic on a stand near a sound reinforcement speaker, you will probably get more direct sound and less crowd noise. Of course, if that area is a mosh pit, it would not be a safe location. And, the SPL may cause distortion in cheaper mics.

    • #180033

      Hi! Read the post and just had to register to get into this forum.

      With a similar budget problem I bought a H2 a year ago. Unfortunately my camcorders external mic input only works in editing mode, not when recording video (! yeah, silly!) hence I can’t test if I can use it as an external mic on that device, but the H2 has a active line/earphone output making it probably possible to use in conjunction with a suitable camcorder as external mic while recoding on the H2s SD-card. The benefit is that the audio quality is probably much higher on the sound recorded in the H2 and also you have the soundtrack at the vide recording to chose from.

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