Marshall Electronics Targets Pro Portable Audio

Marshall Electronics LogoSmartphones, and in particular the iPhone, are beginning to replace the video camera for on-the-spot interviews especially when it’s a one person gig. While the video side of the recording is well covered by the iPhone, the audio isn’t, mainly because the camera has to be six feet away from the subject rather than the the six inches preferred by a microphone. Marshall Electronics have been thinking about this problem and Don gets a world exclusive on their newest product from Perry Golstein.

Marshall have been working on a set of portable accessories for the iPhone which connects pro gear for high quality audio recordings. Brand new is a battery-powered pocket-mixer with four audio inputs, headphone monitor and an analogue output. In addition, the mixer has a digital out over USB: connect the mixer to the iPhone via Apple’s camera connector and the audio can be recorded digitally. The mixer will be available later in the year with a target price of $249. Very neat.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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Samson’s Go Mic Direct Gives Crystal Clear Communication

Samson Go Mic DirectSamson’s Go Mic Direct is an ideal portable audio solution for Skype, FaceTime and voice recognition software. It can also be used for recording audio for YouTube videos, lectures, podcasts, and webinars.

The Go Mic Direct features the Samson Sound Deck Noise Cancellation Software (Mac OS X/Windows) allowing you to capture pristine, accurate vocal communications and recordings in any environment. Sound Deck uses patented noise cancellation algorithms to minimize recurring background noise such as fans and hiss, ensuring only clean, high-integrity audio reaches your computer applications.

It also has a custom, ultra-compact design that features a built-in USB connector which allows the mic to be plugged directly into your Mac or PC without blocking surrounding ports. The connector is retractable for maximum portability and safe transport when not in use. Comparable with both Mac and PC, Go Mic Direct offers convenient plug-and-play operation with no driver installation required.

Samson Meteorite Falls Into CES

Samson LogoAudio specialists Samson today announced the new Meteorite, a USB condenser microphone for capturing high-quality recordings on a laptop or desktop. Meteorite is perfect for podcasting, creating audio for YouTube videos and recording music on your favourite software or apps, and to top it all, looks great.

Samson Meteorite

The Meteorite will be better than any computer’s internal microphone and soundcard, which is often provided at the minimum possible cost. The Meteorite’s studio-quality 14 mm capsule and dedicated audio conversion path provides a smooth, flat frequency response to capture the natural characteristics and dynamics of speech.

The Meteorite mounts to a magnetic base that lets you tilt and swivel the microphone to customise its positioning to your exact preferences. You can even take the microphone off its base and speak directly into it for recording or communicating in crowded noisy environments, and when combined with the iPad using Apple’s Lightning USB Camera Adapter or Camera Connection Kit (for 30-pin), the Meteorite is a great for recording on the go too.

The Metorite is priced at only $39.99 and to find out more visit Samson at CES South Hall 1, booth 21935.

I want one purely because it looks cool!

Marshall Electronics Launches Family of Broadcast-Ready Products

Marshall ElectronicsMarshall Electronics, is a privately owned American company. They recently released a family of products for broadcasters. Many were demonstrated at NAB 2014. They include a new encoder/decoder, some new hybrid broadcast cameras, a professional monitor with 4K display, and the Micro Studio.

The do-it-yourself Micro Studio allows anyone to record HD videos with high quality sound from their homes or businesses. It consists of the Marshall CV500-MB 2.2 Megapixel HD-SDI 1080i/59.94 Miniature Camera and CV340-CSB 2.2 Megapixel HD-SDI 1080i/59.94 Compact CS Tube Camera, MXL CR77 Dynamic and FR-355K Lavalier Microphones, an audio/video switcher, Marshall V-MD173 monitor, and PS-102-HDSI encoder (which is powered by the StreamVu content distribution network).

The V-4K 3110 is Marshall Electronics’ first true 4K professional display. This monitor is designed for cinema and broadcast professionals to provide an accurate and repeatable viewing experience. It has a true 4K IPS panel with a native resolution of 4096 x 2160. It also supports 3840 x 2160 (UHD), 1080p, 1080i and 720p.

The V-4K 3110 has a true 10-bit panel that eliminated “banding” and scaling artifacts. It also has 178 degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles. The monitor has an 850 cd/m2 maximum brightness, 450:1 contrast ratio, and a wide color gamut within 2% of DCI P3 specification. It has four modular 3G-SDI inputs.

The VS-104-3GSDI encodes and decodes all the popular HD resolutions up to 1080p 60fps and 1080/23.98PsF with embedded audio. This allows HD content to be sent and received as a real time IP stream. It is an all-in-one solution for broadcasters. Marshall’s VS-104-3GSDI Encoder/Decoder has configurable inputs and outputs: CVBS, HDMI, SDI, HDSDI, and 3GSDI. Unicast, multicast, push and pull streaming are supported and controlled by a common, easy-to-use browser interface that now features 4:2:2 Color Space.

Marshall’s VS-577-3GSI dome camera and VS-547-3GSDI box camera are true broadcast cameras with the hybrid function of live streaming. Each hybrid broadcast IP camera has an ultra low latency 3GSDI output together with four H.264 HD streams up to 1080p/59.94. Each can utilize the optional VS-TKC-100 Joystick/Keyboard control that can follow PTZ (Pan, Tilt & Zoom) action across the set. The cameras internally run at 120 frames, which allows them to offer Flickerless WDR (Wide Dynamic Range).

Sennheiser has Unveiled its New MK 8 Microphone

Sennheiser MK8Sennheiser unveiled its new MK 8, large-diaphragm, condenser studio microphone at NAB 2014. The new microphone features five selectable polar patterns. They are: omni-directional, wide cardioid, cardioid, super-cardioid, and figure-of-eight. The MK 8 also has a low cut/roll-off filter and selectable pad.

The MK 8 was designed and manufactured in Germany. It echos the sleek design of the MK 4 studio microphone. The fixed cardioid MK 4 was designed for plug-and-play simplicity. The multi-pattern MK 8 offers additional control for the refined recording engineer.

The new microphone has a one-inch, dual-diaphragm capsule, precisely spattered with 24-carat gold and elastically mounted to reduce structure-borne noise. It also has a three-position filter that allows the user to either eliminate low-frequency noise below 60 Hz (-18 dB/octave, low-cut position) or introduce a softer roll-off effect from 100 Hz down to compensate for the proximity effect in close miking (-6 dB/octave, roll-off position).

The MK 8 is encased in a sturdy metal housing. This gives it relatively low sensitivity to humidity, as the impedance conversion is done within the capsule. It is packaged with a microphone clip and protective pouch. Optional accessories include an elastic suspension, a foam windshield, a pop filter, and a hard case. The new MK 8 microphone will be available in late summer of 2014.

Mogees Makes Music at The Gadget Show

The Gadget Show has all kinds of tech on display, from mainstream suppliers with latest tablets to niche fun products that bring a smile to your face and Mogees is definitely in the latter camp. Many of us will have seen those vibration speakers that turn any surface into a speaker….Mogees does the reverse, converting any surface or object into a musical instrument. Here’s a Mogees on a bicycle.

Mogees Microphone

Mogees on a Bicycle

Developed on the back of Kickstarter funding, the Mogees microphone connects into an iPhone running a Mogees app that converts the vibrations into musical tones and with a bit of skill, a tune. The app does a great deal of audio processing to help produce the music in a tuneful way so learning to play your chosen object is fairly easy, however bizarre the instrument is.

The Mogees will be available towards the end of the year and I interview Bruno about the development of Mogees: there’s a demonstration of the instrument in the audio too.

iRig Mic Cast Review

irigmicastAfter reviewing the iRig Mic which includes a full sized microphone. I really did not know what to expect in Audio quality from the iRig Mic Cast for the iPhone/iPod/iPad & most Android Devices. But knowing what the IK Multimedia folks had accomplished with the iRig Mic my expectations where high.

I attend a lot of conferences where  like to record the speakers, the biggest challenge when recording with the iPhone is to eliminate background noise or actually for the recording to be loud enough to hear it on playback. So this is where I really wanted to see if the iRig iMic Cast can help out.`

The iRig Mic Cast comes with a stand & microphone. The Microphone has two settings Low and High you can also plug in a headset to the microphone to get real time monitoring.

I did a test recording with the iPhone then connected the iRig Mic Cast and repeated, the iRig sound quality was cleaner, and 2 to 3 times louder. I ran the mic on the high setting and would only likely go to the low setting during one to one interviews.

I did offset testing as well, where I was about 10-15 feet away from the rig and it picked my voice up fine. The mic records equally well on both sides of the mic. The included stand makes it easy to have it set on a desk or table and will come in handy during panel recordings.

This setup is perfect for conferences, training, and one on one interviews. In a interview situation I would hold the iPhone and position the mic appropriately. I have tested other similar mics for the iPhone, and it works as well as others I have reviewed. The $39.99 price point is perfect for a solution that you can literally carry around in your pocket.

iRig Mic / iRecorder Review

irigOver the past 10 years I have reviewed over 50 microphones across all price points. So when Don Baine and I stumbled across the iRig® Mic for iPhone, iPad & compatible with most Android phones at CES I really wanted to put the microphone to the test..

The true beauty of this setup is that you can have a podcast studio that you carry around in your backpack for $59.99 be up and running in literally a minute or less.

The iRig Mic is the first condenser mic for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. While there are plenty of dynamic mics out there this mic raises the quality bar for mobile device recording. Personally I have never been able to get the vocal range out of dynamic mics. and have always used condenser mics in my studio.

I am quit critical when it comes to microphones, and I judge a microphones performance on isolation, sound quality, low noise and build quality.

  • Let’s start with isolation, like any condenser mic you have to understand that the mic is actively amplifying what comes into the mic so using this mic in a heavy noise area will result in background noise. But for the price point they have done a great job with isolation.
  • The sound quality was much better than I expected, and comes with 3 level gain settings with the best results mid-range. On the highest amplification setting the mic was susceptible to white noise, and in my testing you will want to stay away from the highest amplification setting.
  • Noise level: Every microphone has what I call a sweet spot in the distance your mouth  should be from the mic. This mic seemed in my testing to have a sweet spot of about three inches. They appear to have some foam or other material inside the mic capsule which will help if this mic is used outdoors to reduce noise that will be picked up with wind. It will be important for the person using the mic to do a test recording and find the best configuration for the mic in position and amplification settings.
  • Build quality the mic is solid, has good weight to it. The body and capsule of the mic appear to be made of aluminum and it has a smooth finish which is very nice to the touch. My only concern was the cable I would not swing this mic by the cable like some rockers do.

It is critical that you utilize the iOS iRig Recorder software for the real time monitoring, most other iOS recording apps will work but you will not get the real time monitoring.  The iRig Recorder software was very simple to use, and great for podcasters if you are going to want to have greater control over effects you will want to download the VocalLive app versus the iRig Recorder.  

I like the iRig recorder because its just simple to use, and perfect for spoken word. It has a mini editing package to trim the media file, and some processing tools to optimize the recording. You can optimize tone, cleanup, brighten voice, smooth voice and even tools to preview what the audio will sound like before you apply it. You can even apply a pitch shift which I thought was a nice touch.

The price point of $59.99 is really hard to beat for what you get with the package. Mic, Mic Holder for a mic stand, and cable with dual mini jack.

XOEye Streaming Safety Glasses

XOEye LogoThere’s no doubt that wearables are where it’s at right now, but devices such as Google Glass or Recon goggles are very much luxury toys. XOEye Technologies have taken a more practical approach, developing safety glasses with built-in video cameras and microphones for use in business, typically manufacturing, construction and field service industry. Don and Todd talk to Aaron Salow, CEO of XOEye.

Currently in the prototype stage, the XOEye solution streams HD video and sound from the glasses across the internet to a remote viewing station, where an expert can review and discuss what the wearer is seeing, usually in an attempt to solve a problem. The wearer can hear the expert through small speakers installed on the glasses, so a conversation can take place between the wearer and the expert. Although still in the early stages of development, XOEye is exploring different materials for the glasses and a range of additional sensors, such as gyros and accelerometers, and other enhancements including a torch.

The final product is expected to come to market in June and there’s more information at www.xoeye.com.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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MXL BCD-1 Dynamic Broadcast Microphone Review

mxl-bcd-1In 2004 when I started podcasting my very first microphone was from MXL that paticular microphone I still have in my arsenal and pull it out when I have a guest in the studio.

Over the years I have owned a variety of Microphones, and have found by and large that condenser based microphones have always been better for me than a dynamic microphones. So when I received the MXL BCD-1 Dynamic Broadcast Microphone I was concerned that I would not be happy with it..

My first test with any Microphone is to see how it does plugged directly into my Mackie mixer with no per-amplifier in front of it. This will be the configuration most podcasters will use this mic in, at it’s price range of $170.00

My test at unity on the mixer with 4 inches between my mouth and the top of the mic was met with a raised eyebrow. It performed better than I expected. The sound was loud and clear straight down the middle, with great noise isolation from the sides.

The rugged build will sustain abuse in the broadcast studio and that is important as mics can last a lifetime. For a podcaster this is a great microphone that will not break the bank and perform at a professional level. I like the size, and weight best @ 1.25lbs and 6.2 inches long and 2.0 inches in diameter the mic comes with an integrated mount that fit all standard mic stands and desk risers. It is painted glossy black and very nice to the touch. The BCD-1 features a cardioid, dynamic element that features its own isolation to minimize noise and includes a windscreen

My general advise to anyone using a dynamic microphone that they consider a quality pre-amplifier between the mic and your mixer. This will keep you from having to crank the gains to high on your mixer, and introducing white noise or hiss. Those microphone amplifiers really make a big difference. Choosing the right microphone for you is like trying on shoes, y0u need to test a couple before you know what works.

This is a great addition to the MXL line and how can you go wrong at $170