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 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!

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.

Wireless 600 Mhz Spectrum Auction Impeding on Wireless Microphones

wirelessA couple months ago I was at a conference recording interviews. I stopped and talked with another independent broadcaster to compare rigs. I noticed he had a wireless unit that was in the illegal wireless range. I told him about the spectrum auctions and how devices in that range interfere with the Emergency band. A week later, he notified me to say he got a new wireless to comply.

Hopefully its not in the 600 Mhz range…

The FCC opened up new spectrums for Auction. The 600 Mhz range (Channel 38 – 606 to 614 Mhz) is a spectrum that T-Mobile and Sprint are vying for simply because they only have a high-frequency ranges (in the 1900-2100 Mhz range). These low frequencies can push signals much farther, therefore, better call quality.

However, this new spectrum auction could affect those people who use wireless devices. Broadcasters, musicians or anybody that uses a wireless device might have to turn around and buy new equipment — if the wireless device is in the 600 Mhz range. Wireless devices affected could include microphones, instrument body packs and other high quality wireless devices. 

 

While no mention of emergency bands are going to be on the 600 Mhz spectrum, your device might see signal interference if used. Similar to hearing a TV or radio signal in a speaker when it shouldn’t be there (this was a running joke in the movie Spinal Tap as the amps would get interference all the time). If a caller was trying to contact emergency services, their call could be hampered because of other signals around them.

Sennheiser Asks for Compensation

Audio specialist Sennheiser has put together a petition to the FCC to compensate those people who own microphones using the 600 Mhz range. They stated the 700 Mhz spectrum change of 2010 forced people to buy new equipment and it is not fair to ask them to do it again only three years later.

These wireless devices can cost anywhere from $600-$2000. A TV station for example, can have several wireless devices to use so they can report the news. This could mean a replacement cost of $5,000 or more (more toward the $20,000 range), if all devices are on this 600 Mhz spectrum.

“Wireless microphones are an essential ingredient of content creation in the United States,” commented Joe Ciaudelli, spectrum affairs, Sennheiser Electronic Corp. “Currently, the United States is the number one content creator in the world when it comes to broadcasting, film production and live events. The A/V professionals that produce this content, which is enjoyed by both domestic and international consumers, depend on the 600 MHz frequency spectrum each day.”

Does My Equipment Use 600 Mhz?

So far from what I have reviewed, Sennheiser, Shure, AKG, Kam and some Sony wireless systems use the 606-614 Mhz range. These are mostly UK-based electronics, too. Other US based wireless UHF microphones use a lower channel (30-32) range.

If you do have equipment that meets the 606-614 Mhz range, it might be best to plan for a changeout. Talk with your representative about replacement options.

Griffin MicConnect for iOS at CES 2013

Griffin MicConnectJeffrey Powers goes all Pop Idol when he chats to Jackie from Griffin Technology about the newly announced MicConnect, which connects iOS devices to XLR mics with phantom power.

The Griffin MicConnect is a small brick adaptor with an XLR socket (input) on one side for the microphone and a 3.5 mm jack on the other to connect into an iPhone, iPod or iPad. A 3.5 mm socket provides for headphone monitoring of the sound source and for condenser mics, the unit takes two AA batteries to provide phantom power (48V).

(As an aside, I’m not 100% clear if this is iOS only – the 3.5 mm jack looks pretty standard and there’s no reference to special apps being required so if Android is your OS of choice, it might be worth contacting Griffin directly.)

Included in the interview is Griffin’s updated Mic Stand Mount, which is now compatible with all iPad models (not Mini), and unsurprisingly holds an iPad on a mic stand. Jeffrey reckons the MicConnect and the Mount are a great combo for the mobile podcaster. Pricing-wise, both the MicConnect and the Mount are $39.99 but the MicConnect won’t be available until June.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine for the TechPodcast Network.

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Shure PG48 Microphone Review

Shure PG48I do a small non-tech related podcast and this month I decided I needed to upgrade my equipment. I had previously been using the headphones that I use with my android phone and after 10 episodes I decided it was time to do an upgrade. I have been following and listening to the Podcast Answer Man, Cliff Ravenscraft for several years now, and he recommends getting a dynamic XLR microphone for office recording. Although he does love the Heil PR40 it is a little steep for my bank account. I ended up getting the Shure PG48 Vocal Cardioid Dynamic Microphone. The microphone comes with a Mic clip, a 15 foot XLR cable and a carrying pouch. I also purchased a XLR female to 1/4 Male adapter separately. The Shure PG48-XLR list price is $49.00, but was on sale for $39.00 through Amazon. This is a dynamic microphone so it is built to pick up sound from the front while filtering out most sound from the side and back. It is supposed to be able to handle extreme volume level without distortion. It has a frequency response of 70 to 15,000 Hz. The microphone itself feels good and sturdy. It has an on/off switch which I love. I have done a short test of the Shure PG48-XLR which I have enclosed here.

Testing the P48

I still waiting for the mic stand I ordered and my mixer before my current setup is complete. If you listen to the audio above especially with headphones, you can clearly hear the difference. With the PG48 there is very little background noise and its much clearer. I have to admit I am not an audio snob, but even to my ears the PG48 sounds much better. At this point I am glad I purchased it.

MicW Announces New Additions To Microphone Lines

Beijing microphone maker MicW added a couple of new products to its i-Series, L-Series and M-Series microphone lines at the 2102 NAB Show in Las Vegas this week.

“Our aim is to have a microphone that’s right for almost any recording application, at price points that are attractive to anyone interested in recording.” MicW CEO Qunli Wu said.

Designed specifically for mobile journalism applications, the i-Series features microphones small in size, durable and rugged in design and easy to use on the go. The ultimate goal of MicW’s new series is to create perfect sound recorded to mobile devices. The i-Series includes recording, interview, shotgun, lavalier and headworn microphones for both the iPhone and iPad, as well as other smart phones.

The two new products added to the i-Series – the i825 omni lavalier mic and i855 cardioid lavalier mic – pad out the existing i-Series line of professional class general purpose and high sensitivity microphones for mobile devices.

i825-Omni Lavalier Mic for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and other mobile devices(i Series) i855- Cardioid Lavalier Mic (the same look with i855)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MicW also featured two additions to the L-Series – a line of lavalier mics – including the L825-Omni Lavalier Mic and L855 Cardioid Mic.

L825-Omni Lavalier Mic (L Series)on the left and L855-Cardioid Lavalier Mic (L Series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The M-Series – a line of professional grade measurement microphones – now includes the M215-Professional Class 1 Measurement Mic and the M416 Professional Class 2 Measurement Mic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MicW is the recording microphone subsidiary of Beijing-based BWSA Tech Ltd, which has been manufacturing precision test and measurement microphones for the domestic Chinese market for over 14 years.

Sennheiser SKP 300 G3

SKP 300 G3You have a wired microphone, which is perfect for a studio set up, but what happens when you want something wireless that is where Sennheiser comes in. Sennheiser has been making high quality products and solutions for recording and producing sounds for over 60 years. This year at the NAB(National Association of Broadcasters) show, they are introducing the SKP 300 G3 plug on transmitter the newest addition to their EW 300 G3 series.

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This transmitter allows any XLR–3 enabled microphone to become a wireless microphone. It has its own phantom power allowing it to work even with a condenser microphone. If combined with the Installed Sound Sector application and the EM 300 G3 rank mount receiver it can create a speaker podium without visible cables or wires. It is powered by two AA batteries or the BA 2015 Accupack. The transmitter is available in eight frequency range and synchronizes with its receiver by an infrared link. It can also be used along with the EK 100 G3 camera receiver by video journalist. You can find technical specs at the Sennheiser Web site. The SKP 300 G3 will run around $529.95 and is available starting in April.

MXL Tempo Microphone for iPad and Computer

MXL joined Jeffrey powers last month at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas to talk about their new Tempo Microphones.  The new Tempo Mics work with both laptop and desktop computers, but they are also compatible with the iPad.  That last part is key because the iPad isn’t typically able to work with microphones due to power issues.  However, the Tempo works with the lower power by connecting with the camera connector kit, which requires an adapter, but that’s a cheap price to pay for this ability.

The Tempo will turn your iPad into a mobile recording station, allowing podcasters and others to travel much lighter than was previously possible.  These are condenser mics, not dynamic, so it will need power.  This will provide much better sound than the built-in microphone that Apple provides.  Of course, if you are just doing video chat then that mic will be fine, but for serious recording this is the first real option to come along.  To top it off, the MXL Tempo retails for $79.95.  You can check them out at MXLMics.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine.

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AfterShokz Bone Conducting Headphones

AfterShokz Headphones LogoBruce from AfterShokz shows off their bone-conducting headphones to Courtney at this year’s CES.

Previously the preserve of military specialists and bored long-distance swimmers, bone-conducting headphones transmit sound to the inner ear via the skull bones rather than down the ear canal. This method has several advantages over headphones and earbuds including much improved hygiene and comfort. They’re good for outdoor activities and cycling as not only do the headphones grip firmly, they allow outside sounds in so you hear that truck bearing down on you before it actually hits you.

The AfterShokz headphones are available now in three different models, Sport ($59.95), Mobile ($69.95) and Game ($69.95). The Mobile model has an in-line microphone and jack for use with mobile phones. The Game version also has an in-line mic but connects via USB.

Interview by Courtney Wallin of SDR News.

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