audio

iPad 2 - Mobile Audio/Video Recording + External Microphones

iPad 2Apple's announcement of the iPad 2 today left me speechless in many ways, but maybe the most promising and awesome announcement was not the iPad itself, but rather iMovie and GarageBand for the iPad.

One thing that I've constantly had to do for video production is lug around my Mac, a camera, cables, etc., just because there was nothing that was as easy as iMovie to quickly hash out a video, with voiceover, etc. The iPhone's iMovie app is just not good enough for me, though it's great for a quick YouTube edit.

Luckily for me, all the work I've done in testing microphones and audio input adapters for the iPhone 4 applies directly to the iPad 2's audio input. You'll still need an adapter to get the audio into the TRRS input jack on the iPad, but being able to record to 8 tracks using GarageBand is completely amazing.

Articles on Professional Video and Audio Distribution

In the past few months, I've finally had time to post more information about two projects I've worked on in the past year or so at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis—both of them having to do with the sending and receiving of video and audio signals through a very large building.

Click one of the titles to read the article:

XLR over Cat5 - Balanced XLR Mic/Line Audio over Cat5e

In this article, I explain how we sent crystal-clear audio (used for both communication/VOX and broadcast TV) over a distance of about 300' using nothing but shielded Cat5e cable. Pictures, diagrams, etc. included.

Sending High-Definition Video over Long Distances with Cat5

In this article, I explain how we sent very sharp high definition video (up to 1080p) over about 100' using component video baluns and shielded Cat5e cable. (You can also use these baluns to send digital/coax audio).

Game-Changing DJ Scratch App for iPad

Every once in a while, I see a demo for an app that I truly believe will be a game-changing app for a certain field. This video is definitely like that, for the iPad and for DJs. Could you imagine ditching your laptop in favor of an iPad—not just out of convenience, but because the iPad actually does a primary computing function better than your laptop?

One can only hope for interesting and refreshing apps in every field (I'm personally waiting on Coda for the iPad...).

The New Blue Mikey will NOT work with iPhone 4, iPad

The new Blue Mikey (2.0) will not work with the iPhone 4 or iPad. It's a big letdown for me, as I don't really care if Blue can support previous-generation or outmoded equipment with their mics.

Blue Mikey 2.0

Their CEO, John Maier (no... not John Mayer...) said their engineers are hard at work increasing compatibility with iPhone 4 and iPad. Great. Maybe we'll see the Mikey 3.0 next year sometime. I'm not holding my breath.

I guess I'll stick to my own setup for recording audio on the iPhone 4. I was really hoping this Mikey revision would allow me to leave all my cables and mics behind, and stick with the Mikey alone, but that's not the case.

XLR over Cat5 - Balanced XLR Mic-Level & Line-Level Audio over Cat5 & Cat5e Cabling

Cat5 Cable with XLR Audio Jacks

The challenge: Run two 200' cable runs for VOX (2-way communication via headsets) and an ambient microphone. Mics and headsets to be used for broadcast of major event via satellite, web, and all major local news outlets.

Limitations: Extremely tight budget for cable + installation, two weeks to install and test, 100 year old stone/masonry building, skeleton crew of volunteers.

Solution:

  • Run readily-available Cat5e (shielded, solid) network cable to two VOX/mic locations (we had a box with a few hundred feet left inside, and we bought another 500' box (extra == always better) for $100. (Check Amazon for bulk Cat5e cable).
  • Use custom faceplates with two XLR jacks—female for VOX headsets, female for Mic input
  • Cross fingers, and hope it works.

Posts on Video and Audio Recording with iPhone and iPod Touch

If you've glanced over on my 'Articles' page lately, you'll no doubt notice my recent love affair (just kidding!) with the iPhone 4's audio and video recording capabilities. This blog post will offer a nice summary of all my blog posts and articles about A/V production on the iPhone (and, by extension, the new iPod Touch that was just announced today):

iPhone and iPod Touch - Professional Digital Audio Recorders

More info and recommendations: iPhone/iPad external microphones

Though my years as an audio recording engineer (I've worked with CBS and some local audio production groups—I even helped record an amateur rock album), I have used a wide variety of audio recording devices—8-tracks, professional reel-to-reel machines, cassette recorders, miniDisc recorders, even many current cream-of-the-crop digital audio recorders (like the Zoom H2, Zoom H4, and Marantz PMD-660 etc.).

Almost all of these recorders have one thing in common: they are inconvenient to have to lug around.

I have been experimenting with my iPhones (3G, 3Gs, and now the iPhone 4) over the years to see if I can finally find a great recording solution that will allow me to replace any need for a dedicated digital audio recorder. I think the time has finally come.

iPhone 4 portable professional audio recording setup

Portable, Professional HD Video Recording with the iPhone 4

Please read this article for background/more info: iPhone/iPad external microphones

I am now pretty confident in my portable video/audio recording solution using my iPhone 4. Everything I need to do on-the-spot interviews, B-roll filming, and even more advanced shooting, I can fit in my iPad's bag.

Portable Recording Studio with iPhone 4

Here's my basic setup - everything I need (with the exception of the iPhone 4), I put together for under $100: