How to Get Great Audio for Your DSLR Videos

If you're starting to film video with your DSLR, the quality of your audio plays a key role in whether or not your audience will want to watch your videos.

In this video, I'll review the microphones I use to create my videos and to get great sound while doing almost no sound editing work in post-production software like Final Cut, Adobe Premiere or Sony Vegas.

You'll also learn how you can increase the gain on your microphone so you can turn down the microphone input gain on your DSLR, which will result in higher quality audio with less distortion and white noise.

Problems with Cheaper Microphones & Wireless Systems

In the past, I chose to pinch my pennies and I bought cheaper microphones and wireless microphone systems, including lavalier microphones like the Audio Technica AR3350, but what I saved in money I paid for in time, stress and frustration at least 10 times over.

After flying all the way to Thailand to record some testimonials following an event, only to discover that the audio was unusable after the participants had had already left, I was fed up and finally pulled the trigger on quality audio gear.

You Get What You Pay For

When it comes to audio gear, the old adage, "You get what you pay for." holds true. When I upgraded my gear, it seemed costly at the time.  To lessen the financial hit, I financed the gear on Amazon and spread the payments out over 12 months interest free.

It was one of the best decisions I've made because I've never had another issue with losing video footage due to poor audio quality.

In this video, I talk about using the Sennheiser EW 100 G3 system that I use in noisy environments or in environments with an echo, and the Rode shotgun microphones I use in quieter environments or environment that absorb more sound.

Sennheiser EW100 G3 Review

Invest In the Best Audio Gear You Can Afford

Although it can seem like a bit of hit, I highly recommend you get the best quality audio equipment for your DSLR that you can afford, because like a good high-quality tripod, a high-quality wireless microphone system will last for years (as compared to cheaper systems that either go bad or make you so angry that you'll feel like throwing them away - at least that's how I felt after spending hours in post-production trying to clean up all the hisses, pops, static and other noise).

Filming Multiple People at the Same Time

If you're going to be filming multiple people or a group and the environment isn't too loud, check out the Rode VideoMic Pro, which is a great little microphone that allows you to adjust the gain from -10 to 10 decibels.

In the video, I mention that if you're going to use multiple wireless lavalier microphones, you'll need a way to mix the audio outputs from the mic into a single input into the camera.

There are a couple of ways to do this, and the same general rule of thumb applies - use the best quality sound recorder / mixer that you can reasonably afford because everything that your audio goes through will affect the sound quality to some degree.

Rode VideoMic Pro Review

The Tascam DR60D-Mark II Recorder

In the past, I've used the Tascam 60D which has recently been upgraded to the Tascam DR60D-Mark II

The Mark II  is nice because it is also a recorder that will record both of your audio signals, giving you a backup of your audio in case anything happens to the audio on the DLSR.

You can mount it to your tripod, then mount  your DSLR to the top of the unit, which keeps everything together nicely.

If you're on a tight budget, this is a great option.

Tascam 60D Mark 2

The Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder

I'm currently using the Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder, which is working really well in a variety of situations.  I purchased it after doing a shoot with a professional video production company where I noticed they were using it for run-and-gun filming.

You can use it with the included microphones as a recorder, use the four XLR inputs (up to six with an accessory), or the 1/4" input.  

It records a safety track (in case your main track levels are too "hot"), and it comes in a handy carrying case.

I've used it to film audio for DSLR videos as well as iPhone X videos and so far, it has functioned flawlessly. 

Monitoring The Audio

Once you've solved the challenge of recording your audio tracks, either directly into your DSLR for a single audio source, or into a mixer/recorder for multiple sources, you'll need to monitor the audio channels.

This will prevent you from recording audio that is too quiet, too loud, or that has some kind of interference that needs to be dealt with.

After doing ridiculous amounts of research, I settled on the Sony MDR-7506 dynamic stereo headphones.  They are reference headphones, meaning they don't dial up the bass like regular consumer headphones do and the quality is really good for the price.


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