camera (video or stills) primarily for (quality) audio

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Luke, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Hey all,
    I'm guessing it will be more of a video camera than a still camera, but I figure you gear heads can point me in the right direction faster than an afternoon of Googling.

    still photo or video quality is almost of no importance whatsoever. I will use this almost exclusively for capturing audio direct from my stereo. But it just seems like the internet is more geared to sharing videos than sharing sound files.

    Often in my business (selling rare records on the internet) I will need to give potential buyers an idea of what some surface noise sounds like (or even what a rare track sounds like musically....believe it or not, there are still some songs so rare that people can't find them on the internet).

    Here's a photo of the "testing station" in my home office. I am thinking that a tabletop tripod could be positioned such that the camera shows the record I'm selling while some RCA plugs (or balanced XLR connectors, but I'd prefer to leave out those big, connections.....the last few ounces of sonic quality are not that important).

    20545083338_b4c5d7397c_b. P8200001 by Luke, on Flickr

    Adjustable sound input levels would be nice (maybe mandatory?), and I'd like to just be able to use stereo RCA cords rather than get an adapter to go in with a 1/8 inch stereo plug. But if there are better options that don't have RCA and only use 1/8" stereo jack, I guess that's OK, too.

    Also, this is strictly for business, so it doesn't need to be the latest and greatest of anything. Really just the best rig that is simple to use and is fairly flexible for audio.

    And maybe something older is better if the files sizes are smaller that would be a bonus.....as long as the sound quality wouldn't be compromised. Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Also, if any of you have an old rig lying around that is well suited to the task and you're not using it anymore, shoot me a pm.

    Here's an LP with a REALLY ugly mark, but that mark does NOT make a sound. A mint copy of this LP is worth over $1,000. Other than this mark (that doesn't sound), this record is perfect. So you can see why it might be helpful for someone to be able to hear what this record sounds like.

    20545418958_5befa9e1ef_b. IMGP0039 by Luke, on Flickr
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  2. Kin Lau

    Kin Lau SC Regular

    57
    Oct 23, 2012
    There's nothing out there currently that will do this without going way out of your budget. Older pro video cameras have what you want in audio, but they don't record directly to flash memory. Older DV camcorders would be at the top of the list, but they will require that you capture the video/audio via i1394 or FireWire.

    You'll want to look for a small mixer like a juicelink or beachtek that will cleanly boost your audio into the camera and already have the required RCA or XLR connectors.

    Alternatively, something like an iRig adapter for your smartphone would be the simplest.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    A few years back I recorded sound only direct to computer via the tape out on the amp - there are a few programs which help in this & I avoided recording to mp3 then

    all you need is a cable
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 SC Top Veteran

    540
    Feb 6, 2015
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I would use one of your existing cameras to grab the images, and buy a Zoom H1 audio recorder.
    $100
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/699403-REG/Zoom_H1_H1_Ultra_Portable_Digital_Audio.html

    If you don't have it, get Adobe Premiere Elements 13 and sync the audio with the video or still slide show.

    You can get away with this setup all in for $170 (Premiere elements is on sale right now) and you'll get a better audio recording device than you will find on any camera anywhere near that price.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Thanks, Roger. I already have an interface for recording LPs to a computer, but I'm not interested in learning new software to try to figure out how to get an mp3 and attach it to a video file. Same goes for Andrew's suggestion.

    I can't believe with all the bazillions of cameras and camcorders out there that NONE of them have a mic input jack and allow me to set a volume level.
     
  7. Kin Lau

    Kin Lau SC Regular

    57
    Oct 23, 2012
    Plenty of them do, except you didn't want 1\8 input, and they're all 2.5 or 3.5mm plugs. Every Panasonic GH series has it, as does my FZ1000, FZ200 etc. All of my video capable Canon DSLRs also have it.

    But none of them have RCA or XLR plugs.
     
  8. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    OK, if I need an adapater to the small plug, then I guess I gotta do what I gotta do. I'm fairly sure the FZ series cameras don't allow you to set a volume level manually. And I'm guessing I'd need to go pretty far up the GH tree to get that function. The GH4 (and likely even the old 3) are out of my price range.

    Do any of the cheapo video recorder things allow that?
     
  9. Richard

    Richard SC Top Veteran

    564
    Feb 1, 2013
    Marlow, UK
    I believe 1/8 inch and 3.5mm plugs are the same thing. Actually I believe that the true dimension is 3.5mm but 1/8 inch is a close enough approximation for those who think in inches.

    1/4 inch is the larger size plug one normally comes across.

    -R
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Kin Lau

    Kin Lau SC Regular

    57
    Oct 23, 2012
    The older models such as the GH1 or GH2 would work just fine for this. The GH1 even came with an AC adapter and records to MP4.

    My old Canon HF100 camcorder has a mic input, but records to AVCHD, as do many similar camcorders, so that's not a good solution either.
     
  11. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Thanks for your responses, Kin Lau. Do you think this unit might be a good solution? Looks like it does mp4. It's definitely around the right price. http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/vixia-hf-r500-black-refurbished
     
  12. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 SC Top Veteran

    540
    Feb 6, 2015
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    Well, they do, but the internal amps are pretty garbage.

    If you went with the Zoom recorder option, you could use it's in built pre-amp. Or the other option is to get a pre-amp unit to go between the audio source and the camera input.

    The zoom has a 3.5mm input and output jack. That should do what you want with any camera and then you'll have to learn no new software at all.
     
  13. Kin Lau

    Kin Lau SC Regular

    57
    Oct 23, 2012
  14. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Thanks all for your help.
     
  15. Crsnydertx

    Crsnydertx SC Top Veteran

    758
    Jan 21, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    +1 for Zoom recorder. I opted for the Zoom H2n. Excellent sound quality, lots of flexibility.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Crsnydertx

    Crsnydertx SC Top Veteran

    758
    Jan 21, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Panasonic GH2 has a 2.5mm mic input. Found a 3.5 to 2.5 adapter on Amazon.com.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  17. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Thanks for your input, Chuck. Haven't seen you around in awhile. Hope all is well.
     
  18. Crsnydertx

    Crsnydertx SC Top Veteran

    758
    Jan 21, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    Hi, Luke. All's well. Retirement keeping me very busy!
     
    • Like Like x 1