Tip: Cheap Audio Sweetening

Since I seem to keep recommending inexpensive lav mics (most notably the Audio Technica ATR-3350), I thought I'd do a little piece on what we can do to make these mics sound better. Some of these things are obvious, while others you may not have thought of.

If you have any other ideas, please comment below.

Zoom H1 Handy Recorder

FiiO E5 Headphone Amplifier


sam said…
Scott, I have been using the AudioTechnica and Zoom H1 combo for my last few videos and it is AWESOME. I audio sync with a clap and just match the waveform in FinalCut Express (yeah, I know. Super old). If you watch music retailers closely, you can pick up the ZoomH1 for anywhere from 25-40% off. It's totally worth it.
James DeRuvo said…
EXCELLENT! Well done, Scott!
Thanks a ton for all your work to put these together Scott! I'm going to experiment with running a 1/8th cable from my Zoom H4N to my Canon HFG10's mic input to see if it's good enough to use that way.

That will save a step of syncing up the external audio with the camera and the H4N then will become not only a stereo mic input but a mixer for 2 other mics as well.
XSportSeeker said…
Nice tips there Scott!
Not shure if worth mentioning, but to all those with Canon dSLRs (at least some models) you can always go through the Magic Lantern route, to turn off AGC and manually monitor/adjust volume levels.
Of course it's always better to have both internal and external audio recording, but not always possible.
I recently got a Tascam DR-07MkII and an Audio-Technica AT897 condenser mic... can't vouch for them just yet because I didn't test enough, but seems like a good solution for some situations.
Getting a lav soon.
Anonymous said…
Great tips. One thing, though. You got some distortion because you turned down the camera input volume and boosted the H1 output, overdriving the camera input. The preamp should always be lower than the amp that follows it (the one in the camera) for maximum clarity.
DIYFilmSchool.net said…
Using the H1 as a preamp is a good idea. I worked on an indie film where we had the sound recorded into the H4n via XLR and also sent back out to the camera for in camera sound/dual system redundancy.

If you're not able to do that and choose not to install Magic Lantern on your DSLR, just being able to adjust the levels in the H1 will give you a better sound output.

By the way, is it just me or is there no discernible difference in quality between the methods shown in the video?

I noticed that the EQ'd audio sounded more muffled, but aside from that I didn't notice any real changes.
Unknown said…
I had no idea there was such a cheap and easy way to have audio. This definitely will help with my film that I've been planning. We keep wanting to do these great scenes but the audio issue was a really big stumbling block that we couldn't get over. Thank you for taking the time to share this information. http://www.theanchoragefilm.com/content.html