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Recording Quality of XLR Digital Recorder vs 3.5mm for a DSLR

  • Question from a customer:
    While recording with a separate DSLR camera, there are two options, either connecting the 3Dio mic to a digital recorder with XLR cables and recording the video separately with DSLR OR connecting the 3Dio mic directly to the DSLR 3.5mm stereo mic input without needing to worry about syncing the audio and video. Do you think the quality of audio recording is going to be different for these two approaches? If yes, which one would you recommend?

    This is a great question. Both are good options and what's best for you depends on your workflow and the available equipment. Personally, I record the audio into a digital recorder separate from the DSLR for a few reasons:
    1) The recorder (we typically use a Zoom H1 or H4n in the 3Dio lab, depending on the situation) is specifically designed to capture audio and therefore uses higher quality preamps and A/D converters than a DSLR camera does. The feature of recording stereo audio on a DSLR is secondary to the video quality. A DSLR is designed to capture video/photography first and foremost with the audio capturing as an added feature. Conversely, a digital recorder is first and foremost an audio capturing device and therefore utilizes better components for that purpose.
    2) Recording audio directly into a DSLR may introduce noise of the camera itself into the signal. Most DSLR camera are mini computers with a noise output and/or mechanical noise output of the internal motors and moving parts that may get picked up by the microphone. Keeping the audio and video devices completely separate from one another will decrease the likelihood of capturing those extraneous sounds.
    If you’re capturing via the XLR outputs of the 3Dio into a camera that has XLR inputs, then these concerns can be ignored as these types of cameras ARE designed to capture both video and audio and the quality of audio components are comparable to a separate digital recorder.
    That being said, recording directly into a DSLR’s 3.5mm input is a great option that reduces the need for another device in the signal flow. Just be aware of the placement of the mic, the length of the cable (the shorter, the better), and the gain settings on the camera to ensure the audio capturing is optimized.
    3Dio Customer Care

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