iPhone Microphone vs. Rode SmartLav and VideoMic Pro

I received a comment on one of my YouTube videos about “hiss” coming from the microphone. I put together this quick video in my office to compare the regular iPhone 5 microphone to the Rode SmartLav [aff] and the Rode VideoMic Pro [aff]. I’ll let you listen to the differences.

Each microphone has it’s own unique sound. It’s important to remember that web video isn’t about perfection. It’s about connection. The key is for our audio to enhance our message so we’re clearly heard without being a distraction. It just needs to be good enough.

There are ways to remove hiss and line noise from audio. I’ll save that for another post. But in the meantime, you can listen to these 3 examples and decide which one you like best.

Shotgun Microphone Comparison

Hey everyone. Sorry it’s been so long between posts. Work has had me slammed.

I’m upgrading my camera from the Canon T4i to the Canon XA-20 video camera. I’ll save the reasons for upgrading for another post but it put me in a position to get another microphone. In this quick video, I compare 3 different microphones with the new Canon XA-20. The microphones in this video include the Audio-Technica 875R short shotgun mic, the Rode VideoMic Pro, and the Sony UWP-V1 lav mic.

This may not be a fair comparison because lets face it, placing a lav mic 6-inches from your mouth with always give better audio than a shotgun mic 6-feet away. But it’s important to do it as a benchmark.

Here’s a follow-up video of the mics outside so we can remove room acoustics from the equation too. You’ll have to let me know your preferences in the comments.

Rode smartLav review

I’m quite impressed with the new Rode smartLav microphone [aff]. The build and sound quality are quite good. While I did a couple of other quick videos on it, I wanted to take a little more time to share some of my thoughts on this unit.

The first thing that caught me was that the cord is just over 3-feet long. That means it’s ideal for recording while it’s in your pocket but not so much for video where you’ll be speaking in front of it. To make it more useful, I added an extension cord to it. Now these cords are TRRS extension cords and not just a regular mic extension cord. Here’s the one I ordered from Amazon [aff].

This combination makes it much easier to be on camera and still pick up really good audio. As you can see in the video below, I’m about 9 feet from the camera but I’m getting really good audio.

I also noticed the build quality of the mic is quite good. I like the rubber bottom on the pop filter. This holds it in place. And the metal clip keeps the wire organized. It also comes with a little storage pouch.

If you’re looking for a good microphone for your iPhone, iTouch, or Android device, I think the Rode smartLav is worth a shot.

Rode smartLav microphone comparision

Rode just introduced a wired lavalier microphone specifically for mobile devices. The Rode smartLav is a wired TRRS microphone. This means it works with cell phones, tablets, and other portable devices that use a single headset jack for audio and microphone features. It is NOT designed to be plugged into a video camera. Those require regular microphones.

The microphone is well made and comes with a windscreen, carrying bag, and metal clip. It retails for $60 and can be found on Amazon [aff].

The real test of any mic is how it sounds. In this video I compare the internal iPhone 5 microphone to the Rode smartLav and the Sony UWP-V1 wireless mic. Now obviously wireless lav mic’s have a lot of advantages. They’re also a pretty substantial cost difference between these two microphones too. But, do you notice that much of an audio difference? Take a listen below.

The smartLav is ideal for remote audio recording where you’re going to sync it to your video in post-production. In the below video, I let you listen to the difference between the built-in iPhone 5 microphone and the Rode smartLav while it’s recording to my iPad. I used the Rode recording app to record it to my iPad and then uploaded it to Dropbox. I sync’d the video and audio together in ScreenFlow during editing.

I really like the Rode smartLav. Look for a complete review when my extension cord arrives later this week.

6 Different iPhone 4S microphones compared

The best way to improve your video right off the bat is to improve your audio. This video compares 6 different microphone solutions you can hear them being used in an iPhone video.

The 6 different microphones I compare are:
1. iPhone 4S built-in mic
2. Audio Technica ATR-3350
3. Audio Technica ATR55
4. Zoom H1
5. Sony ECM-AW3
6. Sony UWP-V1

I’ll let you be the judge on the different mics. The price range is free (for the built-in mic) to around $500 for the high-end Sony UWP-V1. All the links above are affiliate links to Amazon where you can read and learn more about each mic. But I wanted to provide a video so you could HEAR the difference between all of them.

Hope this helps. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

The iPhone and Sony UWP Wireless Microphone

The iPhone accepts wireless microphones if you use a kVConnection cable. In this video, I demonstrate the iPhone 4 along with the Sony UWP-V1[aff] wireless microphone. I think you’ll notice exceptional voice quality.

Now that I’ve been using this mic setup for a few months, I’m really impressed with it. I use it in my home office and outside and get perfect results every time. The mic has 2 parts. The transmitter has a small wired lav microphone that clips to your shirt. You can run the wire underneath your shirt and plug it into the transmitter. I clip the transmitter onto my back pocket or belt. The receiver is a tad larger and attaches to a camera cold shoe connector. If I use with my iPhone, I just attach it to the tripod. I plug the receivers audio out to the kVConnection cable and that plugs into my iPhone.

I will say though, the UWP-V1[aff] isn’t cheap. It’s around $500 on Amazon. But if you’re looking for a great mic, I highly recommend it. The demonstration speaks for itself.

*** Updated 1/11/12 with transcript ***

Hey, everybody. This is Scott. If you’ve followed my stuff for any length of time, you know I’m always on the lookout for that perfect audio solution. We all know that if we’re going to have the best possible video we have to have good audio. The way we make audio work with our iPhone 4 is with the KV connection cable so you can plug in an external microphone.

I think I’ve finally found that perfect external microphone. I’m using a professional Sony system right now. This is the Lavalier mike. It’s all metal, it’s high quality, great frequencies, UHF wireless mike. I think you’d have to agree that the audio quality is exquisite. It’s perfect. It sounds really, really good. You know how far away I’ve been from the camera. I’ve got to tell you, I really think this is it.

If you’re looking for a great solution to your iPhone 4 video, I found it. I think you will, too. Definitely check out the Sony set-up.

Do me a favor. If you like this stuff, subscribe up above if we’re on YouTube, or feel free to share this with your friends. Make a comment below if we’re on YouTube. I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what you think.

Until next time, I’m Scott. Take care. Bye-bye.

Improve iPhone Audio with Fostex AR-4i Microphone

Improve your iPhone videos by improving your audio quality. The Fostex AR-4i helps you capture better audio while shooting video with your iPhone 4.

I like to shoot a lot of iPhone 4 video and I think it can be the perfect way to create to create small business videos. One thing lacking, and it’ll ruin your credibility, is the poor audio quality of your videos because you’re using the on-board mic of the iPhone. You can improve the quality and credibility of your videos simply by improving your audio quality. The new Fostex AR-4i helps you capture that better audio.

The AR-4i is a sled you slide your iPhone 4 into. It has 2, directional microphones attached to it. More importantly, it has a gain control so you can increase the sensitivity of the mics. An added touch are the level LED lights so you can visually monitor the audio strength. The sled makes your iPhone feel like a quality point-and-shoot camera. This heft actually helps you hold and keep your camera still.

In addition, the sled adds a cold shoe for a battery operated light, a headphone jack with volume control so you can monitor the audio, and screw holes compatible with tripod heads.

In the above video, you’ll definitely notice that the Fostex AR-4i improved the original audio quality. I think this setup would be great for doing interviews, customer testimonials, or quick self-videos. Remember though, as you place the mic further way from your subject, you’ll pick-up what’s called “white noise” or “room noise.” Like I show in the video, this light hiss can be quickly corrected while editing your video if your editor has a noise filter.

I find the Fostex AR-4i to be an interesting accessory and it’ll definitely improve your audio quality. The Fostex AR-4i is available from Amazon for $149. [aff]

iMovie ’11 Audio Enhancements for iPhone Videos

Note: This post originally appeared on MacScreencasting at http://www.macscreencasting.com/imovie-11-audio-enhancements-for-iphone-videos on 10.22.2010. Due to recent hacking activity, I’m consolidating my sites and moving the MacScreencasting posts into SkillCasting. I’ll then be shutting down MacScreencasting.

The new iLife ’11 just came out yesterday and I wanted to see the changes in iMovie. As you know, I use iMovie quite a bit for my video editing. I find it faster than Final Cut Express and well, good enough. One of the major improvements Steve Jobs touted was the improved audio. Did he deliver?

This video takes a quick iPhone 4 video, with the raw audio, and shows you 5 key enhancements iMovie brings to the table. They include:

  • Turn on audio waveforms
  • Adjust the volume
  • Add audio effects
  • Reduce background noise
  • And, adjust the equalizer

[View iPhone version]

The new iMovie brings lots of improved audio control to your videos. If you’re shooting with the iPhone, I still recommend using a microphone with the kVConnection cable for the best possible audio. But if you need to make adjustments to your raw audio, the new iMovie ’11 definitely does the trick.

Improve iPhone Video with kVConnection Cable

Note: This post originally appeared on MacScreencasting at http://www.macscreencasting.com/improve-iphone-4-audio-with-kvconnection-cable on 10.6.2010. Due to recent hacking activity, I’m consolidating my sites and moving the MacScreencasting posts into SkillCasting. I’ll then be shutting down MacScreencasting.

On my previous posts regarding an iPhone 4 microphone, I wasn’t able to test out the kVConnection audio cable because I didn’t have one. Well I ordered one and here are the results.

[View iPhone version]

This simple adapter plugs into the headphone jack of your iPhone 4. You can then add one of your microphones to the other end. For this test I used one of my favorites, the Audio Technica ATR-3350 [aff].

I’m very pleased with the results. It makes iPhone 4 video sound as good as it looks. I highly recommend it.

Screencasting Microphone Comparison

Note: This post originally appeared at http://www.macscreencasting.com/audio-and-microphone-comparison-for-screencasting on 6.21.2010. Due to recent WordPress hacks, I’m consolidating my sites and I’ll be moving the MacScreencasting posts over to SkillCasting. Then I’ll shut down MacScreencasting.

The quality of your audio is an important consideration for your screencasts. In fact, poor audio can ruin an otherwise great screencast. But which microphone is best?

This tutorial compares 5 different microphones so you can hear the difference between them. Now these preferences may be subjective. The different microphones compared are:
•    The built-in Mac microphone
•    Andrea NC-61 USB headset microphone
•    Audio-Technica lapel microphone
•    Samson CO3U desktop USB microphone
•    Griffin SmartTalk iPhone microphone

These range from free to about $120. Which one do you prefer?

[View iPhone version]