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12-14-2014, 09:00 PM   #1
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External stereo microphone for sound recording

Hello everyone!
I need your advice guys on the best external stereo microphone for sound recording for K-3?
Thanks!

12-14-2014, 10:20 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Can check this one out. Although I don't own it, I've heard a lot of good things about this model.

Rode Stereo VideoMic Camera-Mounted Stereo STEREO VIDEOMIC B&H
12-14-2014, 11:13 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Check the impedance of any external mic. As the K-3 manual suggests (p-38), 2.2kohm is recommended.
12-15-2014, 01:56 AM - 1 Like   #4
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The camera store recommends a microphone with a built in preamp to reduce hiss! Personally I'm looking for something that's not so expensive, that Rode is well over $200. I'm going to googe it!

---------- Post added 12-15-14 at 10:36 AM ----------

Try this link; https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=TAKSTAR+-+Shotgun+Microphone+st%C3%A9r%C3%A9o

At the price with a built in pre-amp it looks good!

12-15-2014, 05:48 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I wouldn't suggest an external mic, if you care anything about audio quality, the camera internal pres and encoding are going to be s*** anyway.

If you want cheap, buy an external recorder (Zoom H4n, Tascam DR40) and mount it on the hotshoe.
Then take the headphone out and put it into the camera just BE EXTRA CAREFUL WITH OUTPUT LEVEL (the headphone out is going to be hot, just lower the level all the way and then bring it up in increments until it's ok).
This way you have a proper stereo audio track (on the Zoom/Tascam) and a nearly-perfect match to help you sync it in post.

Also, you didn't say what kind of recordings you'll be doing. Those external recorders have a stereo-pair or XY-pair of cardioid condenser mics. If you want a shotgun you can plug it in, but that's one more thing you'll have to buy.
For shotguns I'll suggest you look at Rode, as aksha already said, but at the NTG product line instead.
12-15-2014, 06:43 AM   #6
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Thank you guys for your inputs!
Have to learn it all before a final decision.
QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
...
Also, you didn't say what kind of recordings you'll be doing ...
I need it mostly for ambient sound records.
12-15-2014, 06:54 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ceremonsen Quote
Thank you guys for your inputs!
Have to learn it all before a final decision.

I need it mostly for ambient sound records.
Then a 90° to 120° stereo pair would work better than a shotgun, i reckon...
12-15-2014, 07:03 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
Then a 90° to 120° stereo pair would work better than a shotgun, i reckon...
Do you mean an external recorder like Zoom H4n, or Tascam DR40?

12-15-2014, 07:15 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ceremonsen Quote
Do you mean an external recorder like Zoom H4n, or Tascam DR40?
A stereo pair is a mic configuration, but yes, both the Zoom and the Tascam have two cardioid condenser microphones in a stereo pair arrangment (albeit in two different ways).

Microphone practice - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
ORTF stereo technique - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
NOS stereo technique - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Only don't expect results comparable with those you can get even with, say, a matched pair of Rode NT5 and a Focusrite Scarlet 2i2: even though that is pretty low-end stuff, it's still better than a do-it-all, swiss-army-knife-type portable device.

It will, be, anyway, a massive improvement over in-camera audio, if only for the fact that you can record uncompressed WAV files at 44.1kHz 16bit (even at 96kHz and 24bit but, well, that's only marketing...) instead of the lossy AAC track of the video file.

Side note (mainly intended as a curiosity): some Android tablets/cellphones allow recording through an USB audio interface via OTG, so it is theoretically possible to attach an audio interface like the 2i2 to a tablet and record audio in real time without the need of a PC/Mac.
Just bear in mind that:
1. it's something I would call "experimental"
2. it's likely to drain the battery pretty fast, since you'll be powering the interface with the phone and probably supplying phantom power to the mics.
3. check carefully the capabilities of the SoC of the Android device you intend to use/purchase, since the ability to process and record audio in real time is not something manufacturers consider or advertise, so you'll probably want to check on the internet in places like these:
http://www.wildmountainechoes.com/equipment/audio-recording-with-a-smartphone/
http://www.extreamsd.com/USBAudioRecorderPRO/ (scroll down for a list of compatible devices)

Last edited by LensBeginner; 12-15-2014 at 07:23 AM.
12-15-2014, 09:46 AM - 1 Like   #10
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There are fine portable options available that will deliver much cleaner sound than the various Zoom and Tascam options. Personally, I especially like the Olympus PCM music models that include a center mic to pick up clean lows all the way down to 20hz. The mics are at least as good as the Rode (which has the wrong impedance match - too low for the Pentax mic inputs). My LS-7 works fine - and can be used as mic, passing through as a pre-amp quite cleanly to record directly to the K-3 mic in; obviously you have the option to record and sync between the two audio recordings in post. The LS-14 is the current equivalent. The similarly priced Sony is also good, but larger and not built as solid. Can't vouch for the mic quality, but the sound floor is known to be very good.

Unlike the K-01 and other Pentax audio implementations, the K-3 can be pretty good in terms of audio response (but not up to the low noise floor quality of the recorder). Not only has sample rate jumped from the stifling 32k (roll off starting at 11k) up to 48k (better than CD quality), but the aggressive AGC isn't there if you set the mic-in to manual. An advantage to using a good portable recorder as your preamp is that you can tune the input just right; the best sound comes in the upper middle of the range from about 13 to 16 (20 is max). At least for most casual video work, the direct recording can be used. This is even helpful for paid work because you have a fallback in case your main recording doesn't work out for some reason.
12-15-2014, 10:23 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
There are fine portable options available that will deliver much cleaner sound than the various Zoom and Tascam options. Personally, I especially like the Olympus PCM music models that include a center mic to pick up clean lows all the way down to 20hz. The mics are at least as good as the Rode (which has the wrong impedance match - too low for the Pentax mic inputs). My LS-7 works fine - and can be used as mic, passing through as a pre-amp quite cleanly to record directly to the K-3 mic in; obviously you have the option to record and sync between the two audio recordings in post. The LS-14 is the current equivalent. The similarly priced Sony is also good, but larger and not built as solid. Can't vouch for the mic quality, but the sound floor is known to be very good.

*snip*
Also a good suggestion.
Keep in mind that they serve two different purposes: one (the Olympus) is a recorder with two integrated mics and that's it, the other also offers two inputs with phantom power, and 4-track recording.
You would prefer something like the Olympus if you were to handheld the K-3 the whole day (it's lighter), but you'd go with the Zoom if you wanted more flexibility (for instance, you could hook up an omnidirectional mic and have both a good stereo image and ambient sound; or you could want to have an accent mic to record the soloists in a concert, plus the stereo image of the orchestra etc.).
Also, you could use the Zoom as an audio interface for true, limitless multitrack recording on a PC/Mac and/or with a guitar (it even has effects).
Some of its features are gimmicks (metronome? tuner? why would I want that, I already have my smartphone), granted, but it would be wise to know exactly what the one you buy can or cannot do.
12-15-2014, 12:17 PM - 1 Like   #12
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No doubt about it, you can go quite complex with higher-end units and mixers. My comfort zone requirements are to go small with no need to go for more than stereo. If you want to limit your spending to around $250 or less, I suspect the best quality is going to come from Olympus. My LS-7 has been stellar - and is used for a lot of work other than video sync. Buying the Zoom with XLR inputs in that price range would give you a ton of flexibility, but the noise floor and overall build are a huge compromise. The question is whether most of us will need that flexibility.

The Olympus allows you to zoom or wide field the mic direction in many steps and very effectively (not available at PCM but at MP3 320kps - so an adequate rate), and the various low cut and limiter functions work pretty well.
12-15-2014, 12:25 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
No doubt about it, you can go quite complex with higher-end units and mixers. My comfort zone requirements are to go small with no need to go for more than stereo. If you want to limit your spending to around $250 or less, I suspect the best quality is going to come from Olympus. My LS-7 has been stellar - and is used for a lot of work other than video sync. Buying the Zoom with XLR inputs in that price range would give you a ton of flexibility, but the noise floor and overall build are a huge compromise. The question is whether most of us will need that flexibility.

The Olympus allows you to zoom or wide field the mic direction in many steps and very effectively (not available at PCM but at MP3 320kps - so an adequate rate), and the various low cut and limiter functions work pretty well.
Sounds like an interesting piece of gear.
I don't have many complaints for the Zoom, build quality is ok (except for the plastic battery door - that one just sucks), XLR cables lock positively in place, display is well readable, the exterior has a grippy, rubbery feel to it, there's a nice fabric tab to pull out the batteries, buttons are nice to press and and backlighting is ok, the control wheel for the menu is practical and easy to use... so not too much of a compromise IMHO.
12-16-2014, 04:17 AM   #14
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Wow! Very useful info. Thanks folks!

As for me all of them (Olympus LS-14, Zoom H4n, Tascam DR-40) look pretty the same with little differences. Yeah, Zoom and Tascam look more advanced, more extendable/flexible, but Olympus already has built-in Omni microphone. Price is the same for all - $199 at BH. Couldn't find in Olypmpus description whether it had Preamp, though.

I didn't get how this kind of recorder has to be connected to still camera. Is "take the headphone out and put it into the camera" the only way here? Does it work as preamp in this configuration?

Thank you!

Last edited by Ceremonsen; 12-17-2014 at 12:29 AM.
12-16-2014, 09:40 AM - 2 Likes   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ceremonsen Quote
Wow! Very useful info. Thanks folks!

As for me all of them (Olympus LS-14, Zoom H4n, Tascam DR-40) look pretty the same with little differences. Yeah, Zoom and Tascam look more advanced, more extendable/flexible, but Olympus already has built-in Omni microphone. Price is the same for all - $199 at BH. Couldn't find in Olypmpus description whether it had Preamp, though.

I didn't get how this kind of recorder has to be connected to still camera. Is "take the headphone out and put it into the camera" the only way here? Does it work as preamp in this configuration?

Thank you!
I believe it has an integrated preamp for the built-in mics. Be careful, since the camera input is a mic input, not a line level input, so the signal will be very "hot"... you'll have to lower the output gain to 0 and raise it step by step, carefully, or you risk damaging the camera.
I'd buy a 10dB inline pad for 1/8" jack just to be sure...
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