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Which remote preamp in front of audio inputs for dSLR video?

I need advice on a remote 2-4 channel preamp for documentary sound for dSLR video (EOS 5D mark II, EOS 7D). I'd like to do it cheap, but still very high S/N and sound quality. I expect to use an AKG C451EB-shotgun capsule combination (or some other shotgun recommended here if there are compelling reasons to NOT use CK8 or CK9) and a lavalier mic, or two lav mics with it.

The ART Dual Pre USB looks good, though I'm a little concerned about having just two channels. Maybe it doesn't matter, but I'd like as much control as possible, and maybe a third channel for a room ambience mic.

Any suggestions?



Paul999 Wed, 02/24/2021 - 11:12

Hi Lecycliste,
This is where a field recorder may be the best option. The zoom options are surprisingly good and have served me well. No matter what you'll be dealing with the Canon preamps if you get something in front of them. For my documentary work I am typically doing interviews in a "more controlled setting" and I use lav's for these. I may use a shotgun if they come in to my production house. For "in the field" audio I often clip a wireless lav onto the lens hood of my camera and carry around a portable zoom recorder for any foley I will need for later. You will definitely want to capture an "ambient" track of every space you record in. If you can share a little more about what you are doing I may be able to help further.

paulears Fri, 03/19/2021 - 02:52

Recording audio on cameras for me is always a last resort unless they have balanced mic level audio, with manual record level and decent metering. Most fall down badly - my Pentax DSLR audio is really poor. I don't use it for video, just stills, but I only recently discovered the thin and noisy audio it captures - and even dirt cheap condenser capsules can do so much better. Zoom works for me.

ronmac Fri, 03/19/2021 - 08:56

As has been said, the only solution to high quality recordings is to use a field recorder. Cheap and high quality can rarely be used in the same sentence.

I also do docu work, and use a Sound Devices MixPre 6ii for sound capture. This guarantees I never have to apologize for the sound quality, and spend a lot less time in post, performing simple cuts rather than rescuing sub-optimum captures.

Even a less expensive mixer/recorder (I used a Tascam DR-70 prior to investing in the MixPre 6ii) will be better than a preamp using your camera inputs to record audio. Given your investment in respectable cameras, lenses and microphones, the purchase of a mixer/recorder is a small upcharge for reaching a comparable level of audio performance.

My opinion, informed by my personal experience....

bouldersound Fri, 03/19/2021 - 10:53

When I'm not in a studio capturing audio on a pro recording system, I use my Zoom H5. It's super versatile, with an onboard XY mic (removable and replaceable with different modules) and two mic/line inputs. It records all inputs to separate tracks. The module can be removed and connected by a special cable for remote placement, and you can get shotgun, mid-side and XLR-input modules.

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