I have a phantom powered condenser mic that also uses 1 AA battery. I am debating whether to buy h1 or h4n, I am skipping the pre-amp for now, I will wait to get a beach or something later.
I could get a cable that connects xlr to 3.5 and put it in an h1 which I like a lot more because of the size and price, I can also use it for other on the go videos if I need to. Or an h4n, connecting xlr to xlr.
Is there a noticeable difference between the two? Would making xlr to 3.5 take the quality down a lot? I read something about balanced and unbalanced but I didn't know if it would be very noticeable to tell. If it does take it down, would a xlr to balanced 3.5 make it the same as xlr to xlr or would it still be noticeably worse?
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XLR to 3.5mm adapter cable changes the physical format of the jacks, but it doesn't correctly do the change from Balanced to Unbalanced, adjust levels nor adjust LoZ to whatever is expected in the H1. Don't know offhand HOW much that would affect it, but those factors are involved. Unbalanced cabling allows EMI/RFI leakage to interfere with the signal (adding "hum/buzz"). How much, again depends on a lot of factors (environment, length of cable, etc).
Using a battery is good in a pinch, but if I had the choice, I would NEVER rely on that for powering. In fact, I'd use Phantom + battery.
Logistically, if you also intend to use this mike for connecting to a camcorder that only accepts the 3.5mm connection, that already limits your field of how to use things. At that point, I would seriously consider active devices like the beachtek as the professional "go-between" for these 2 setups.
Of course, if you went with the H4N, you could just plug the pro XLR cable straight into the box, set the 48v phantom on and go. And for video, you could still do that, going "double system".
Or not. That's just my preference (with priority for quality above price and/or size).
Ok, thanks. So, if I got a balanced, short wire that just ran up from my pocket to around my neck, and always had a fresh battery, do you think theoretically that it would have near the same sound as xlr to xlr in h4n, or there would still be "hum/buzz"?
Well, it's clear what you WANT to do. So why don't you just do it?
Is there a difference? Yes.
Will it be noticeable? Probably not in most instances, but depending upont the environment, oh yeah. Sometimes you don't even need a long segment for things to "leak in", just a break in the continuous balanced & shielded connection (but that would likely be in worse environments).
Think about unshielded & unbalanced setups in PCs, with soundcard outputing to PC speakers using standard 3.5mm stereo plugs. Bring a CELL PHONE nearby, then get a phone call. Guess what, you're probably able to hear the "galloping horses" sound of the ringing phone.
And that's with a much stronger, SPEAKER LEVEL signal. The S/N r is even worse when you're dealing with a mike level signal that is 1/100th the strength to begin with.
But I'm not going to convince you to go one way or the other. Why don't you go to a MI or Recording Electronics dealer and try out your combinations IN PERSON? Then you'll know whether or not it's acceptable for your intended setup. Most sales people at places like that have no problem with people trying things out in the showroom.
Ok, thanks, I will go with the dr-40 then. I prefer the smaller 1, but I guess I would probably get a condenser mic in the future that can't be powered by a battery, and xlr to xlr there is less sound.
So if I get an xlr to xlr cable, does length play much effect? what about unbalanced or balanced?
"XLR to XLR there is less sound"? Don't know what you mean here. A cable that goes XLR to XLR is basically a straight wire: where nothing is different from start to finish. Less sound that WHAT? Something with an active amplifier? - Yes. Something with just an adapter cable to another type of connection? - No.
If you get a condenser, not counting CRAPPY "electret" condensers, you will ALWAYS need phantom power. It's in the nature of how they work.
If you have a standard XLR (to XLR) low-Z, professional (and correctly-shielded), balanced cable, you should be able to go up to ~100 meters without much degredation. Unbalanced would NOT have this ability - it is part of the "balanced" technique that removes the buildup of interfering noise signal. Using unbalanced cannot remove that, and so the longer you have, the more (probable) interference.
Look, there are honest-to-God clearcut & sensible reasons why professionals use the cabling & equipment that they do: because they prevent or correct problems that would normally occur during casual or consumer use! Avoiding them (and yes, because of the extra requirements - and the smaller demand - they would be costlier), puts you at higher risk of losing quality, speed & efficiency, etc. But it's your wallet, so pick what works for your setup.
Cornucopia, I like the way you frame it: Do it however you like, but it's worth understanding why the pros do it the way they do.
Any deviation from the ideal will usually lead to deteriorating quality...and it depends how much difference your own solution will make...and whether you're willing to accept that.
I've done plenty of kludge solutions in order to accomplish things, with varying results. I've learned enough to ... well, to start above the cheapest way...know what the most expensive way is....and make do with something in the middle.