Hi to all! I am a teacher and I make short films every year with my students. I have a camera which unfortunately has no external microphone port. To get better sound in my movies, I decided to buy the rode videomic microphone this year and pair it with my android smartphone to get the sound and sync it at video editing. The extension cable I use with the microphone is the official that RODE sent me with the microphone. I also bought RODE's Sc4 trs to trrs adapter. Yesterday I took the microphone in my hands, did the “rode videomic + extension cable + sc4 + smartphone (xiaomi redmi note 5)” connection, did some testing and found a very serious problem. During the recording, the sound from the actors' conversations is fine, during the time, however, that there are no speeches in the recording - eg. ambient sound or when actors are walking - the mobile application causes distortion in the sound. Instant breaks. I tried with three android apps (Easy Voice Recorder, Hi-Q MP3 Recorder, RecForge II) and all the same problem. In all three applications I choose to get the sound from the main mobile microphone. How can I fix the problem? I begin to think that I paid the money for the microphone in vain. Thanks in advance.
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The mic is probably not the mic I would recommend when used with a phone, but it's workable.
Not completely clear about your description, but get the impression your recording app is doing both auto-gain and saving in lossy compression. Those are a recipe for disaster in live/location sound recording.
Use a better app - I use ASR Pro when I am doing Android phone recording (unless I use my external A/D to USB convertor, then I use USB Audio Recorder Pro).
Turn OFF auto-gain, and manually set the level for 0dB peaks only at the very loudest of expected sounds.
Then record saving in uncompressed lpcm (WAV) format.
1. Try a simple recorder.
Test internal mic, then rode.
2. If so, problems with
B. Which rode?
Eg. Notice it only mentions iPhone connectivity.
E.g. Notice the many bad reviews saying it has static, doesn't work etc https://www.amazon.com/Rode-VideoMic-Cardioid-Mini-Shotgun-Microphone/dp/B018KIJGU8#aw...ws_feature_div
Otherwise, xlr to usb-c with standard xlr jack mic.
Or teac xlr plug mic
To keep it easy for you and the kids.
Phone has a bit to do with it, too.
LG G6/V30 and higher have high res audio mics and recording software with manual gain, limiter, etc with compatibility with external usb-c connected mics, but at some point, even a $100 used h4n on a boom pole will get you there faster with less tweaking and headaches.
For these recording seconds, I am in an empty room of my house -with the door opened- and the microphone is just recording some conversations that take place 2 rooms away. If I record the conversations of two actors who is in front of the mic, their sound will be ok. I begin to loose my hope...
Last edited by Kasidokostas; 1st Mar 2020 at 10:59.
2. A. All my cables are RODE officials (the extension and the sc4). So, I guess the external microphone is not compatible with android smartphones.
2. B. My external microphone is this: https://www.rode.com/microphones/videomic and in its box there was a boom pole as well.
Unfortunately, according to my budget, I will not be able to buy something else. Did I really drop 160€ in the trush?
Besides adjusting the pad, check the 9v battery. Mic won't work with a low or dead battery.
Plug it into any pc/Mac input jack, do a test record using the computer sound card to see if there's a problem with the Mic or cables while adjusting the pad if needed.
Are you saying your mic is not within about 3M/10ft of the actors?
If you're seriously putting the microphone 2 rooms distant, good luck.
Sound fall-off quickly occurs as you can hear in this video, and the signal may fall too low for the smartphone input (you'll need a preamp).
Test with a laptop - is there a faint sound of the voices? Anything?
You should be able to test the recording with a laptop like this video and see at what maximum distance you can be.
Normally at that distance, you'd have a sound guy with a portable recorder connected to a mic held above / near the actors in the same room.
If you had to record from 2 rooms away, a sound recordist would be thinking of either a wireless mic clipped to the actors, or a very long shotgun mic $$$ with excellent directionality (making it only picks up in front, ignoring all sounds from the other directions)., Connected to a high quality sound recorder with low noise floor.
But, before all that.
1. Test the Mic with a laptop up close.
Does it even pickup and record nice, like you speaking right into it?
Could be fake or broken. Lots of both on the market.
2. Test distance.
Laptop, mic. Test 2,4,6,8...meters away. Speak normally, say the distance, say a sentence, walk farther away, repeat.
Once you know the capabilities, test with phone.
Naturally, if tweaks to the phone settings, app, etc can't get it to work, you'd simply get a sound recorder (e.g. Teac clip-on, Zoom H4N, etc) or simply a laptop on set.
1. Noise floor.
The recording device has a minimum input level required from the mic.
If the incoming audio is quieter than the noise floor, you don't hear anything - just noise in your recordings.
High quality audio recorders have noise floors under -80dB, some going well past -100dB.
My LG G6 has one somewhere around the -85dB level.
Most basic cellphones will likely be higher -60, -50, even -40dB, meaning you'll need a strong/loud input audio signal.
Depends on the quality and design of the recorder.
Better ones let you amplify a weak incoming audio signal by 10dB, 20dB, even 40dB without too much distortion and noise.
Amplification always increases noise, so if a signal is too close to the noise floor, you'll get audio + lots of noise.
3. My graphs show that to record a tv at regular volume in a living room, but from an adjacent bedroom where you can just hear the words clearly, it's a -80dB~ audio signal (very very quiet. Usually, you'll want voices around -20dB to 0dB).
About 30 feet away, and the bedroom door faces the hallway, up which you'll have to walk about six feet to open into the living room, so not even a direct path for the sound sample.
A human has great hearing, so I have no issues hearing the voices, but even a decent audio recorder on my lg g6 phone results in a 20dB gain requirement, simply to get a barely audible recording.
Simply means it's TOO FAR.
Move the Mic closer and you'll get much better audio.
Last edited by babygdav; 1st Mar 2020 at 14:59.
babygdav, I'm not going to record actors more than 1 meter away. I sent you this distressed audio sample from a distance, just to show you that the same bad sound will be created while the actors are being recorded from a close distance. In short, while recording actors from a close distance - which is a joy of quality - in the gaps between their dialogues, while the microphone is catching other environment sounds, creates these distortions/breaks. Also, my problem is not so much the noise, as these breaks in recording.
I kept testing with the ASR and everything was fine and without sound breaks. However, the output of the recording is clearly lower in intensity, and I didn't hear a difference even though I set the ASR gain to +20. So, I have to sacrifice something; loud sound with breaks or lower volume sound without breaks. Of course, I might be able to gain the sound at the post production. What can I say? The whole issue continues to leave me puzzled. If you have anything else to suggest, I'm all "ears".
Last edited by Kasidokostas; 2nd Mar 2020 at 05:30.
Noise cancellation off like you noted.
Adjust pad up to increase volume level.
Eventually I decided to have the external microphone plugged into a school laptop that a kid would keep on shooting. I'm afraid to risk with the mobile. Last two questions:
1. Do I need the trs to trrs adaptor on my laptop or do I directly insert the microphone nail into the laptop's microphone port?
2. I am thinking of taking the sound of the external microphone with audacity without changing any settings in the program. Do you have any other suggestions?
1. Look at the manual for your laptop, and the manual for your mic, and see if they're (pinouts) compatible. Ignore the adapter if they are, use the adapter if they aren't.
2. If your recording is meant for use with digital video, you should (almost) always set the sample rate to 48kHz. Only if using strictly for music, and even more strictly for CD playback, should you use 44.1kHz. Not sure if that is the default for Audacity or not (it used to be).
Not sure why your level is low, but would have to see what the nominal out level of that mic is supposed to be, plus what your system setup is, plus the settings of your recording app, etc. Lots of variables to keep track of when setting proper gain structure.
1. Usually trs is fine for most laptops.
Generally, record so that average levels for the voice sit around -12dB to -6dB, with peaks up to 0dB, but not constantly exceeding 0dB.
If you go above 0dB a lot (max), you'll crush and distort.
If you record at a level too low, like -30dB average levels, you'll be too close to the noise floor, thus mixing voice and noise.
(Professional recording gear do allow you to record voices at such a quiet level cleanly. Not most laptops.)
Save to WAV files.
At minimum, 44.1khz 16-bit.
Higher is fine, simply higher quality and bigger files.
Most laptops, I would not expect anything above 96khz, 24-bit to be meaningful because the audio chips weren't designed for great high resolution recordings.
My school laptop only has a headphone jack and the audacity read the external mic only when I put the trs to trrs adaptor on. I did some testing, with the settings of the video above, and to be honest I didn't like the result. The sound came out a bit jammed. I feel so unlucky ...
1. Adjust the pad level.
2.Adjust the windows mic level.
(Eventually, if all fails, zoom h4n. $100 used.