Tests of different microphones and materials used when recording the sound of the reports

This test (or rather, these tests) is somewhat special . It will indeed be on the material, but for making sounds and combine several objects.
Firstly, the recorder: there will be 2 Zoom H4n and Canon EOS 550D . In 2 cases, the recording quality is pushed up ( 96kHz/24-bit for H4n 1920x1280 @ 25fps and the 550D ) . H4n settings for mic input is: preamp 80 The 550D does not allow for manual adjustment of the sound , it will be the preamp and software that will make the settings box . .

Then the various microphones used :

- XY stereo mics Zoom H4n
- The micro ''shotgun'' Rode VideoMic Pro
- The interviews's mic that I use during my interviews
- Stereo mics that I made myself (see here )
- The integrated micro 550D.

Before going further into the testing and results, here are the details of the various materials.

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Sound features of the Canon EOS 550D
Parameters Values
Audio rate 48 kHz - 16bits
Strings 2 (stereo linear PCM)
Bitsrate 1'600 Kbits/s (200ko/s)
Type of microphone Mono - 6mm capsule Electret condenser microphone

The integrated microphone records 550D many things: the wind, the noise handling of the device, but also what you want to record (thankfully). The sound volume is unfortunately not adjustable like the 5DII (for example).

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Sound features of the Zoom H4n
Parameters Values
Audio rate 44.1/48/96 kHz - 16/24bits
Strings 2/4 (linear PCM, 2 stereo / 1 stereo + 2 mono)
Bitsrate 4'610 Kbits/s (576ko/s)
Type of microphone Stereo - 9.7mm capsule Unidirectionals condenser microphones

The Zoom H4n has a stereo microphone XY fairly good quality but recording handling noise. In addition to its microphones, it can take as 1 microphone jack 3.5 and 2 microphones XLR / Jack 6.35. adjustment is continuous with a very significant sound return in helmet (and appreciated, for me anyway). You can register it in mono, stereo or 4 tracks (4 microphones), which is not bad for recording musical instruments for example. There is also the MTR mode, which allows you to record over an existing track. Thus making a sort of karaoke. Portable, not too heavy, this recorder works on two LR6 batteries and keep for about 6 hours (11 hours ''Stamina'' mode).

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Sound features of the RØDE VideoMic Pro
Parameters Values
Audio rate 30Hz --> 20kHz
Strings 1 (mono)
Bitsrate Ø
Type of microphone Mono - 0.50'' capsule JFET impedance converter

This microphone is mounted on a mobile structure, to cancel handling noise and impact on the support (but not on the microphone body). There is the possibility of adjusting the gain -10db to +20 db and activate a low-cut (for example noise breakdowns) filter. With a battery life of 70 hours with a 9V battery, it is quiet for a moment. The only downside I found him at the moment is to have put the knobs on the body of the microphone (so handling noise) and not on the lower part of the structure (to avoid vibrations). This is a directional microphone to record it currently face while significantly reducing noise around (not bad for record voice or song of a bird, for example).

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Sound features of the hand made interviews's mic
Parameters Values
Audio rate 100Hz --> 10kHz
Strings 1 (mono)
Bitsrate Ø
Type of microphone Mono - 4mm capsule Electret condenser microphone

A small interviews's mic I tinkered, basic, takes the wind, sounds more acute than they should be, it means tremendous handling noise. There is still much to improve, but for construction 4-5 €, we will not say much.

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Sound features of the hand made stereo mic
Parameters Values
Audio rate 100Hz --> 10kHz
Strings 2 (stereo)
Bitsrate Ø
Type of microphone Mono - 5mm capsule Electret condenser microphone

Omitting the fact that microphones or death, homemade stereo microphone is like micro interview, but stereo version and a lower uptake. Handling noise we hear the wind (less than the interviews's mic), and the sounds are more acute.

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Equipment which has been presented here are the audio / video tests. First, the recording took place in a closed and cut the maximum external sound room. In the second case, the recording took place from the rear balcony overlooking a relatively quiet park (birds, a school course work in the background, a road background and planes passing from time to time quite low (near airport)). In order microphones: integrated H4n, the RØDE, interviews's mic, stereo microphone, integrated 550D. The preams the H4n are 80 managed by the 550D in his own case adjustment (no manual).

As you can see ( hear ) in the video, the first thing that pops in your ears, it's huge blast generated by the 550D . Indeed, we hear the loudest sounds on the samples made ​​in 550D , but breath degrades gain. Even with excellent microphones, preamps it comes from the 550D (which are already not adjustable ) that are too violent .
On microphones, those of H4n base are good, although a little weak for distant or faint sounds. The RØDE VideoMic Pro works very well, the sound is directed and allows, for example, to save a bird that sings without hearing the noise of car behind or on the sides. However, the reverberation against the environment is still heard loud noises. The 3€ interviews's mic has a little more acute than other microphones without windshield or Deadcat sounds we hear very well wind. It is, as the RØDE a unidirectional microphone with a few tweaks / improvements, particularly about the realization of a windscreen, it would have a micro interview not bad for not too expensive. The stereo microphone handmade ... with a microphone that does not work (the left ), it will be good to go in and repair as micro stereo sound relief is low and not generate a lot of breath . Finally : the integrated micro 550D ... not catastrophic , but not the best either. it is the level of the interviews's mic : a little acute and easily takes the wind. Except that not make him a windscreen and a Deadcat . However, this microphone is enough if you are not too fussed at the sound quality. For those who are a little more interested in the sound of their videos, it can still serve as micro synchronization between the video recorder and remote (unless the recorder is connected directly to the 550D , but at this time, no sound return in helmet! ) .

Why bother with a remote recorder and microphones in the end? You should know that in a movie or a video, the sound is as important as the filmed images: if the quality is poor, rendering shook bad too. A good microphone is important, even by simply (at the beginning) of the recorder of the 550D. Would do to remove wind noise! If you have the opportunity, make the tests taken between the 550D and a recording made with a good quality microphone. it already greatly improve the sound quality. If you want even higher quality, to resolve any... go to remote recorder. it's not worth a studio but it is portable and excellent nonetheless.

This little test of the sound material is now complete and I hope it will have been useful.

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