Microphones & stage recording - any audio pros around here?

Question for anybody with some A/V experience…

I need to record a video of me presenting in front of a group of people. I already have multiple ways to get the video at good enough quality, but I need good-quality audio as well.

What I’m pretty sure I need is a good lavalier microphone to pick up the sound, and some way to record it.

The room is small enough that I don’t need to route the audio into a sound board or audio system, but that’s a useful consideration for the future.

I’ve been doing some looking into things, and it looks like there are a couple of basic options.

(a) I get a portable mini digital recorder and a lav that plugs into it, and have all the gear physically on my person during recording. This would be easy, and possibly cheaper, but if I need to plug into a sound board at any point all the gear would be pretty much useless.

(b) I get a wireless lav setup, and figure out a way to get the XLR output that would typically go into a sound board to hook into my MacBook Air so I can record. This would be a little more complicated and error-prone, but it seems more future-proof.

Anybody have any advice to give me some direction here? Specific equipment recommendations would be super-helpful if you have a setup that works well for you. :slight_smile:

For our church services I just bought a lavalier mic specific for the phone and use ferrite to capture the audio (but I suppose you could use voice memos or something). It works well. The pros use a wireless lavalier with the receiver plugged directly into the camera. Wireless is the most expensive and it gets so quick. I think zoom just came out with a belt pack size recorder this year.

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Depending on the size of the room, I’ve had success with the Shure MV88. However, if you’re looking for more inputs or something with XLR, I’ve used both the Behringer U-Phoria UM2 and the iConnectivity Audio4+. The benefit of the iConnectivity is that it has a USB B to Lightning cable.

EDIT: There’s also this lavalier system from Samson.

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I’m pretty sure I don’t want something like the MV88. I’m hoping for a mic that I can actually speak into (or in the case of a lav, that’s at least mounted to my body).

If you use those interfaces, what lav would you use?

That Samson looks interesting. It looks like I’d have to scrap it if I needed to plug into a board, but it’s cheap enough that it might be workable for the short term. :slight_smile:

I’d say do this route and use a handheld mic (preferably wireless) for the sound system. The lav mic is relatively invisible and the recorder can easily be placed in a jacket pocket or on a belt non-obstructively.

Then you would use the camera audio to line up the audio track you recorded and eliminate the camera track.

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You’ll get a much better signal from an earset microphone like a countryman compared to a lav microphone. But those are pricey.

We’ve got a wireless rode setup that transmits and feeds audio into a video camera. That could possibly help.

But going low tech and just recording to your iPhone in your pocket using the EarPods as a microphone might just work as well too. You could sync video and audio in final cut.

zoom recorder

This is the product I was talking about in my first post (sweetwater link).

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Once you have the interface, the wireless system you pick is entirely up to you. As it relates to microphones, I personally prefer a double ear head worn microphone to a lav. I picked up this cheap Samson, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s pretty noisy, even at low gain.

For a good balance of cost and ease of use, I’d vote for your first option (a), a small recorder and wired lav.

I don’t have experience with the new Zoom field recorder that @Jeremy mentioned but I have used their original H2 with a Giant Squid Audio Lab lav mic and have achieved good results syncing w/ video. That new Zoom rig looks like a good option to try.

Of course, audio equipment at this price point tends to have a bit higher noise floor than more expensive gear, but I have found that it is all relative and most people won’t notice in the context of a video.

A couple tips I have learned the hard way:

  • lav mics are really sensitive to their environment and you’ll want to make sure their placement will minimize any rustling of your clothing.

  • It never hurts to slide your iPhone in your pocket (or put on a nearby table) and hit record on an audio app, just in case…

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