What is the best external mic for my Panasonic X920

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by James R, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. James R

    James R
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    Having recently bought this camera and been delighted with it so far, can anyone recommend a good value for money external mic to put on it? The onboard mic does well but if there is an external that can fitted that improves this further would be keen to hear about it! Also, if anyone can then tell me the best settings to then set it up with would be much appreciated.....
     
  2. Terfyn

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    First and most important. The camera needs to be away from the scene and the mic needs to be close to. So IMO a mic mounted on a camera is no better than the internal mics.
    Rode are the best and quite pricey. I use Yoga from Maplins. First the Stereo Condenser Mic L92AA and Second The Stereo Tie Clip Mic L36AL. Both are decent mics and reasonably priced. You will need a windmuff (deadcat) for outside use. I made my own from aquarium filter foam and some teddy bear faux fur. Plus a 3.5mm socket to 3.5mm plug extension lead
     
  3. James R

    James R
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    Thanks I'll shoot onto the Maplin website right now to have a look!
     
  4. PhilipL

    PhilipL
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    Hi

    Another option is something like Zoom H1. It is battery operated (lasts a long time on one AA battery) and can be positioned close to the action.

    Of course it depends on the type of footage you are shooting if this is practical or not.

    When you edit later you just add the audio files from the Zoom and line them up. It isn't too difficult to do and gives you a lot more flexibility in positioning the microphone.

    Regards

    Phil
     
  5. James R

    James R
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    Thank you Philip. The work I tend to do is Amateur operatics and weddings. For the operatics I am right at the back of the auditorium and there is a professional sound set up with 2 speakers hung from the ceiling at the front (so the internal mic can still pic up some resemblance of stereo). For Weddings would be great to have eg a remote mic where the couple are saying there vows though nowadays most churches have a good sound system. However depending on the angle I am filming this can sound un natural because if I am to the side using a tripod the sound being picked up by the vicars mic is amplified and pushed out to the audience, so it can sometimes appear a much stronger sound on the eg left part of the internal mic compared to the right and therefore not balanced. Is the Zoom H1 stereo because I think for situations like this and maybe also the operatics a mono mic would be fine, but then eg the guests arriving at the wedding, bells ringing etc stereo would be better, so a mic that can switch between the 2 would be ideal.
     
  6. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    The zoom is stereo but in the H2 (which I have) you can mix the signal to give mono. You can usually add an external mic to a Zoom as well.
    To use an independent recorder as PhilipL is suggesting you will need an editor with independent audio tracks (Example - Corel VideoStudio)
    The Yoga tie clip has the option of a mono switch even though the set up is stereo.

    A Zoom is useful but IMO a mic sync'd to the video track is easier to handle. I tend to use my Zoom for unsync'd and background sound rather than lip sync.
     
  7. 12harry

    12harry
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    It's true camera-audio is easier to handle . . . =zero sync issues.
    Also it's possible for OP to get a radio ( Wireless) mic and a receiver plugged into the camcorder . . . but it is a good idea to monitor the recording, using headphones that cut out the ambient sound (ie Large muffs).

    Your two recording situations appear very different; so I suggest you try to fix them separately . . . Later, you may find some similarities but it will remove much confusion if you concentrate on one at a time...er, IMHO.

    Being able to record from the Operatic stage Sound system is likely to be good, the only problems I sense would be the audience being rather near the mic (at the rear) - unless you can get a radio-mic right against the speaker (Attach with Velcro, perhaps?). There are direct-wiring methods, but you'd need permission to achieve this.

    The recording in the Church, is more problematic. Principally because to levels are not controllable prior to recording. Some churches have mixers and I wonder that you can't take a feed from the mixed output. This will normally be a good option. However, the skill of the operator may vary and this will affect your recording quality.

    Hope that helps.
     
  8. James R

    James R
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    That's great thank you. The X920 only has min-jack mic input but the mixing desk at the operatics has an output but its the full professional type - can I buy a converter that interfaces the two?
     
  9. Terfyn

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    Please don't presume it is as simple as changing a plug. The mixing desk will have line outputs designed to drive either another amplifier or, in some cases, the speakers themselves. You will need an attenuator to MATCH the output to the camera mic socket - a very different input.

    For example:- Proleads Camcorder Microphone Audio Interface at £92.04 from Amazon
    This unit allows 2 balanced professional microphones to be connected to camcorders with 3.5mm stereo socket microphone input, this interface features individual level control pots, stereo/Mono switch and Neutrik XLR/Jack Combos allowing microphones with both XLRs and jacks to be used, it also has an attenuator allowing line audio level equipment such as CD players to be connected via gold plated phono sockets. MP3 players may also be connected using a 3.5mm socket . Connection to the camcorder is made using the gold plated 3.5mm plug. The item uses Neutrik professional audio transformers for high quality low noise performance and is housed in a folded steel enclosure with flanges at either ends for easy mounting if required.

    Get it wrong and you land up with 920 toast!

    Radio mics. You will need to pay out for a decent set, preferably digital. The cheaper analogue ones can be prone to interference Plus they are often mono so an adaptor will be required.

    In short unless you or a good friend know what you are doing electronically speaking, stick with your own equipment, mics etc. The audio interface I suggested would cope with a range of systems but is costly and would still need connecting cabling.
    A stand alone recorder such as a Zoom or Olympus is IMO a better bet than tapping into the local sound system. Or get a decent card based recorder plus two quality mics (plus stands cabling etc.) and set up your own system. A Fostex MR8 would be a good example of this type of system. Again syncing up in your video editor would be required.
    The easiest route would still be to locate your own mic and connect to the camera using an extension cable rather than connecting to third party sound systems. To protect the cabling, I use white tape to cover the cable and show others where it is.
    In my youth my hobby was recording theatre organs in their home cinemas. This required power supplies, microphones plus their stands and a very decent reel to reel recorder. Everything had cabling associated with it but, with a bit of thought, I could produce a very discreet and safe system.
     
  10. rogs

    rogs
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  11. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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  12. rogs

    rogs
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    Not a cheap option, that's true.....and a bit more expensive than the Proleads unit you mentioned ..... (whether that unit is any good or not, I'm not sure ... I haven't been able to find a detailed technical spec on it... even on the Proleads website??..)

    I suppose it depends on how seriously you need to take the audio part of your video project?........and it will also depend on whether this particular camcorder gives you the option to defeat the in built mic preamp AGC. If it doesn't, then the high quality adaptor box option is probably over the top. (EDIT: according to page 81 of the manual you can defeat the AGC...)

    A simpler cable converter, between the mixer desk output and the line input of an external audio recorder may well be a better option - although you are left with the task of 'syncing' audio in post (actually not that difficult, in practice..)

    But here again, you need to look for an external recorder with a 'proper' (separate) line input - and not just an attenuated input to the mic pre-amp - for best results....
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  13. Mark Skinner

    Mark Skinner
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    I used a Panasonic X920 all last year to film mainly wildlife fitted with a Rode Stereo Voideomic Pro and Rode Dead Kitten muff which gave extremely clean audio. Engaging the Rode mic's +20db switch and setting the X920 to -12 db produces a better sound. The mic is very sensitive to all audio with a good left and right separation. The dead kitten muff enables good recordings to be made in quite windy situations and the rubber suspension cuts out any camera handling sound.

    I would say that the truly professional quality of the recording makes it a worthwhile investment. The Duracell battery lasted all year and I only replaced it as a matter of course. The bright red ON light shows up well in bright sunlight.

    The packing is as good a high quality as the microphone. You probably gather that I am impressed with this instrument!

    all the best, Mark
     
  14. chrishull3

    chrishull3
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    Yes i had the heavy metal RSVM for a long while,now i use generaly smaller cameras and camcorders i sold that mic and bought The New Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro Hands-On Review | BH inDepth its replacement the one you have i think,the new mic ergonomically
    is a lot better,but for me the old mic wins for overall sound quality.
     
  15. James R

    James R
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    Where is the best place to buy the Rode Stereo Voideomic Pro from and did you attach it to the camera using the supplied side mount? I presume you had no issue when lens out wide the end of the mic coming into shot?
    As I am very new to the Panasonic X920 and previously used Sony, can I ask which editing software you use and do you record in 1080p/50 or interlaced? Sorry this is off topic, but also do you use the supplied Panasonic software to import your footage?
     
  16. Mark Skinner

    Mark Skinner
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    James, Amazon was competitive place to buy the RSVM last year.

    Attaches to X920 via the supplied bracket with no issues at all.

    I always use 1080 50p 28mb because it smooths the movement

    I always copy and paste footage from the SD Card to my PC's hard drive and edit with Cyberlink Powerdirector Ultra 12. A 60 minute production takes about 123 minutes to render to 1080 50p on Sony i7 laptop with 8Gb ram to another SD Card. If the production is more than 4Gb then you have to render to SDXC SD Card (64Gb) using EXFAT filing system. Amazingly you can view a 60 minute 22Gb SD Card on the X920!

    good luck, Mark
     
  17. James R

    James R
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    Thanks Mark, would be great to discuss this more. I have a Dell from 2010 with the first i7 chip, 8gb of RAM and graphics card. I use Sony Vegas Movie Studio 12. So far I have used the included Panasonic softward HDWriter to import the files and then downscale render to SD DVD quality save file and then use this file to burn DVD's. I know the quality drops a lot but the majority of my customers own DVD players and not Blue Ray players. how do you get on with Powerdirector Ultra when rendering, I presume the final output is strong!? Oh I used a 64GB SDXC card and recorded continually a first and second half of the local operatics production and when I transferred to laptop in the MyViceos file it split each half of the production into several files....someone said this is because on SD Cards after approx. 4-5 GB even though I am continually recording it stops and starts a new file!?!? Is this normal, or do you think I should just use a 32GB card or would I have the same issues?
     
  18. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    I think MarkE19 explained why you cannot get files larger than 4Gb with FAT32 formatting. As your system expects FAT32 formatted cards then you will have to live with the 4Gb limit and tie the files together in editing.
    The recommendation about microphone placement still applies even with a Rode mic. A mic on a camera will pick up all the surrounding noise and, in the case of a wedding, this will include all the noise made by the congregation as well as the couple + priest. You need to locate the mic where it will pick up the sound you require and this normally is directly by the couple.
     
  19. chrishull3

    chrishull3
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    James R is asking about an external mic that is better than the onboard, for general camcorder use i thought,such as wildlife,events, families Etc the RSVMP is fine fitted to the camera and well insulated against handling noise,one thing a Rode Dead Kitten Wind Shield gclid=CJ6cl8GZ7rwCFWjpwgod0RYAPA

    a muff is needed in wind,the one shown is like i have and shown on the previous RSM but mine fitts the new RSM as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
  20. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    I did not consider a wedding as wildlife - on the other hand you may be right.;) The Rode may be the best mic ever but it will still pick up any outside noise, including congregation coughing, talking etc. The location of the mic, any mic, is all important.

    I made my own deadcat from aquarium filter foam and some teddybear faux fur. very effective and very cheap.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
  21. chrishull3

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    Oh yes i did not read post 5,and thought it was for general use,i will still stick with mic on cam personaly though,i even have at the few weddings i have done,i like to hear it as it is ,even the occasional fart [​IMG]
    Ps the windmuff shown is cheap imo,i never was into leggo,and although wedding pros as a rule may not use onboard sound mics, but unless he has changed strategy an online acquaintance of mine films with onboard mics and what footage i have seen and heard of his was fine,but sound is secondry to picture for me important though it is and should be.
    fhttp://Wedding Videography & Photography Cheshire Liverpool | Capture Your Moments Weddings | Home
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014
  22. Mark Skinner

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    Hi James, my laptop is also 2010 and I expect your graphics card, like mine is 1Gb.

    Vegas 12 sounds like a pretty good editing software.

    I understand why you convert to SD format - editing will be considerably easier than 1080 50p.

    After research I chose Powerdirector Ultra purely because it of its comparatively fast rendering in the AVCHD 1080 50p format (about 2.1 times real time to SD Card or hard drive). I render my productions to SD Card so that I can play via a relatively new PVR (which supports the latest AVCHD) onto the TV in 1080 50p glory! I must admit that the laptop does struggle a bit when 250 video clips, 100 various audio clips and 150 narration clips are loaded into the production. In fact I carry out the narration process (clip on mic) in a separate production then simply copy and past into the main production.

    I hate to sound like an anorak but the handling capacity of the SD Card depends on the file system:-
    FAT32 - maximum file size is 4Gb.
    exFAT - originally optimised for flash drives. I only know that it handles atleast 11Gb which is all I need for 60 minutes AVCHD. (records faster than FAT32 to SD Card).
    NTFS - is limited by the grade of operating system but more than enough for our use. Not usually used on flash drives.

    I can't explain why your 4Gb plus files are splitting with NTFS system unless your laptop HDD is only formatted FAT32!

    Hope this is of some use to you, Mark
     
  23. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    The output from a mixing desk will be at line level, but the camcorder is expecting a mic level input. So you need an adapter to correct the levels - and these are not too expensive.
    SAA25 Stereo Audio Attenuator 25dB line to mic level | eBay

    Mark.
     
  24. rogs

    rogs
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    These look to be very reasonably priced Mark... They may not be very good for a long cable run (they have HI impedance unbalanced inputs) but for short runs look to be ideal. At that price, it's probably worth a try anyway!
    I think the adjustable 40dB version is probably worth the extra cash......AAS40ASCRCA 40dB Adjustable Stereo attenuator with RCA phono connectors | eBay
     
  25. 12harry

    12harry
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    I agree, if OP cannot make such a (variable), attenuator device, then it is a simple way to get mixed-audio into a camcorder.

    - but this is very similar to another Thread, so I suggest OP reads that too.
    +Make sure you know the limits for the camcorder input, as level meters may not be entirely accurate - and then it's too late. ( And difficult to read during a performance...).
    Also OP will have to check if AGC is "on" or off - relying on the sound-technician to make the output "right". The AGC/Manual should be in the camcorder Menu.
     
  26. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Agree and would only use this type of connection for short cable runs - and hopefully keeping the cable away from other cables. So as you say they are cheap enough to give a try, even with all the connection cables you should be able to do it for under £20

    Mark.
     
  27. James R

    James R
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    Hey thanks for your advice on this. It does pose quite a serious problem for me though......When I film the Operatics or other amateur shows each side is "1 take" with no pauses, so it causes several files to be created which have to be stitched together.......ideally prefer not to have these slight gaps! Same if videoing a wedding, imagine X920 on tripod and filming the vows at the altar........and after 4GB (1080P) which doesn't take all that long to fill, just at the critical time of "I do..." the 4GB limit is reached and then splits and starts recording the next file......Not professional! Is there any way around this? Can I connect the camera even to an external hard drive and record to that.....?
     
  28. James R

    James R
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    Thanks for this, I wil ldefinitely look into Powerdirector Ultra!

    If anyone technical out there can tell me how I can find out if my laptops HDD is formatted to FAT32....I am sure it is NTFS. When IU imported the files from the camera using HDWriter it does show up as 2 separate files in the HDWriter software.....however on My Videos, the files are split....!?!?! I am sure easy to sort out once I get some assistance......Maybe I should uninstall HDWriter, takes all the files off and then start again putting the 2 files back onto the laptop?
     
  29. James R

    James R
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    Mark
    Thank you for all your help and assistance.. I still have the files on my SDXC SD Card in my camera so am thinking of starting again, uninstalling HDWriter and uninstalling the files on the laptop. Would you then recommend just slotting the SD Card directly into my laptop then drag and drop the files into my own folder?

    Thanks for advice on the Rhode, saving up for one now!

    Finally, when you say you use 1080 50p 28mb, is that the media format on the menu options of the camera that just says 1080p 50, ie the very highest setting, I can't see any choices on there that say 28mb etc?
     
  30. James R

    James R
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