Electric Ears Get Smaller

on November 23, 2015

The video shooters amongst us - and there are more every year - are a versatile lot. We see them come into the shop for a variety of equipment and accessories that were frankly unheard-of a decade ago. Apart from odd tapes, monitors, and aluminium Jungle Gyms...also known as video rigs...they need microphones.

We've had some beauties - big things from Sennheiser and Røde. Stereo, mono, shotgun, cardioid, powered, non-powered, and a variety of sizes. Many were intended to go on top of quite large DSLR cameras and featured complex suspension mechanisms. Some were quite daunting.

Well, mirror-less cameras are here and mobile phones and tablets with recorders have become quite fashionable. And they are capable of quite decent sound recording...but they are sometimes let down by their in-built microphones. It's not surprising, really - the internal mics are close to all the noisemaking electronics and mechanicals in the camera and close to the noisy hands and fingers that are operating it. A stray puff of wind can make a roar like an express train*.

Mirror-less in most cases means a smaller camera. This in turn may make a larger microphone hard to handle - or maybe it is the other way around - the whole rig becomes quite clumsy. Røde have now introduced two solutions:

1. The Røde Video Micro is intended for mirror-less cameras with a hot shoe, Rycote Lyre suspension mount , and a jack plug feed off the rear of the unit into the side port of the camera. A furry windshield is included in the package for increased wind resistance. The whole thing is less than half the size of other Røde microphones and sits well within the profile of the smaller cameras. At $ 79 it is not a bank breaker.

2. The Røde VideoMic Me is what I suspect to be the same basic capsule and body of microphone as the previous item, but with a dedicated mount for the Apple iPhone and iPad. The fact that it plugs into the side of the smart device while pointing forward means that there is a spare socket at the rear of the unit like the Video Micro. In this case it is plugged for a headphone play-through jack. Furry blob windshield is also included in the box. Again only $ 79.

If you'd like to hear the microphones in operation please go to the Røde site:

rode.com/videomicme or rode.com/videomicro

They're in stock at Camera Electronic right now.

*Do any of the children know what an express train is...?