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JuicedLink video illustrates audio quality with DSLRs via RiggyAssist versus an H4n recorder

By Allan Tépper | July 11, 2012

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JuicedLink just released a new video to illustrate the quality of an audio recording to a DSLR camera (the Canon 60D) via JuicedLink’s own Riggy-Assist low-noise preamp versus the same signal recorded on the popular H4n audio recorder. The same microphone was used in both cases. Ahead you’ll see the video, hear the audio, and discover why I am inviting JuicedLink to create a slightly different comparison for us.


Clearly they both sound good and noise free, as Robert Rozak from JuicedLink wanted to prove, and I’m glad he did. However, the microphone used in both cases is the Rode NTG2, which is a condenser microphone. As I have mentioned in several articles here in ProVideo Coalition magazine and in my recent ebook, condenser microphones by nature typically have a higher output level than dynamic microphones, so preamps don’t have to work so hard when fed a signal from a condenser mic. Thanks to tests done by Brad Linder, it is fairly well known that the H4n recorder’s XLR balanced microphone input works well with condenser microphones but not nearly as well with dynamic microphones, since dynamic mics typically have a much lower output level. That’s why I am inviting Robert Rozak from JuicedLink to repeat his test using a dynamic microphone, since that way both preamps (the one in the H4n and the one in the Riggy-Assist) will need to work harder, since they’ll receive a lower level on their respective microphone input. Handheld dynamic microphones are the most popular type of microphone used to do spontaneous in-field interviews for television news, so I hope Robert will oblige me (us) and do the same test with any handheld dynamic mic that he has available, so we can hear the difference between the preamp in the H4n versus the one in his Riggy-Assist as it feeds his 60D DSLR. I don’t mind if Robert chooses a different location to do the similar test with a dynamic handheld mic, as long as it is the same location for both parts of the test. If Robert agrees, I’ll publish another article to share with our readers.



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Comments

Rob: | July, 12, 2012

This looks like a great unit.

Question: The Zoom H4n can record four tracks simultaneously, two from the XLR inputs and two from the built-in mics. It has a mini-phone plug input to replace the built-in mics with external line level mics.

Can any of your products be used to let me record from two additional external phantom-powered XLR mics by plugging your device into this mini-phone plug?

When I record video and don’t have a separate sound mixer in the field, I like to have as many separate tracks as I can get so that I have more control in post. On no-budge shoots I try to record environmental sounds to use where foley would be used in post. For example foot-falls. Even if I have to foley them later, if I have a plant mic near the floor, I can use the audio cues to know where they go.

This configuration would make many things possible beyond audio-for-video. For example it would let me record an a capella quartet with one singer per channel, something I’ve done many times. This lets me edit the four channels individually in post.

(I’ve also used this to create learning recordings for barber shop singers where you mix-down four versions, one for each singer’s part. Three parts mixed left and one right. This way the learner can listen with his/her part turned up first. Then later turn the right channel down and blend with the other three singers.)

Allan T: | July, 14, 2012

Rob,

Thanks for writing and for commenting. I am not JuicedLink, nor do I have any business connection with them. However, here is their response to your question:

You can use any of the JuicedLink low-noise preamplifiers to interface to the stereo minijack input of the H4n, to provide additional XLR inputs for each of the four recording tracks of the recorder.  In fact, using a JuicedLink low-noise preamplifier, you can even improve the signal-to-noise performance of the H4n itself.  See this old blog post:
http://juicedlink.com/blog/2010/10/improving-h4n-snr-with-juicedlink-low-noise-preamp/

The Riggy-Micro RM333 is a perfect fit for the H4n, as it will mount directly to the bottom of the H4n, and still provide access to the stereo mini jack input on the bottom of the H4n.  The other JuicedLink low-noise preamplifiers can be used, but you will be able to mount them to the bottom of the H4n.

Allan T

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