RODE NT1-A Microphone & SignVideo ENG44 Field Mixer into Panasonic HPX170

Hey. Guy Cochran here today and what you’re
listening to is a pair of road NT1-A condenser microphones. These are large
diaphragm condenser microphones. They’re studio quality. This
is one of the quietest microphones in the world. We happen to have
a pair, a matched pair, they’re consecutive serial numbers one after the other.
Doesn’t get any closer then this. So the question that we want to know the answer
to today is what sounds better? Can I just take one of these microphones
and feed it directly into my camera or do I gain anything by using a
SignVideo or sub $1,000 mixer. So if you get one of these audio mixers you
want to know that you’re spending some money on something that’s going
to be of value. So this particular audio mixer has pretty
decent pre-amps compared to some of the other guys out there. Sure, Sound devices
at over $1,000 is going to give you better sound, there’s no doubt about
it, but we want to help the guy that’s looking for something that’s under
$1,000. Is it the Azden? Is it the Rolls? Is it the PSC? What is it that
you can buy? What is the best value for your money? So what we’re going
to find out today is is there any better sound by just using direct-to-camera
versus using the mixer? So I’m talking directly into these microphones
and I’m trying to project my voice and really make it sound like something
that sounds great. So here’s my lip smacking. Here’s my lip smacking. Let’s
listen to just the room. Let’s listen to just the room. Can you hear
my shirt? Can you hear my shirt? Now I’m going to throw in a little
bit of music. Let’s listen to what The Dave Matthews Band sounds like. (music) All right. So once again that was The Dave
Matthews Band with Crash and what we’re listening for is how good do these
microphones sound? So here was the mic directly into the camera. All
right so once again that was The Dave Matthews band with Crash and what we’re
listening for is how good do these microphones sound? So here was the mic
directly into the camera. And here’s the mic that’s going into the mixer
and then line level into the camera. Now this may not be a fair test because this
camera is one of the better ones out there. This is the Panasonic HPX
170. It’s no slouch so we may need to do this test with a not-so-great camera.
We may need something in the $1,000 or $2,000 range to really hear
what the difference is here. We might have quality pre-amps inside of the
HPX 170 that rival the sub $1,000 mixers. So, again, I hope that this has been valuable.
I hope that we hear a difference here that lets us know that there
is money well spent in getting one of these audio mixers. I mean you’re going
to need one if you want to do four channels into a two-channel camera
anyways. But you might also need it for your boom op so that he can actually
see audio levels on his little mixer as he’s dialing in those levels. It’s
not always nice to see the VUs. So there’s a lot of value to having one anyways
because sometimes you get people that get a lot louder and the person
who’s running the camera wants to run the camera, he doesn’t want to be looking
at the audio levels and it’s nice to have a boom operator that’s able
to mix at the same time and get those levels out in without the camera
operator having to worry about it. A lot of us are one man bands so you have
to do it all. But in this case what we want to hear is there any difference
between these two? And I hope we hear the difference and I hope you guys
enjoyed watching this session. Stop by our website We have
the Rode NT1-As. We also have the SignVideo mixer. We have any of these lights
that you see the results of. We’ve got some Lowels. We’ve got some Litepanels,
1 x 1s. Again, thanks for watching and I’ll catch you next time.

19 thoughts on “RODE NT1-A Microphone & SignVideo ENG44 Field Mixer into Panasonic HPX170

  • This may not be a very critical test, and I'm speaking of how YouTube encodes and handles audio. I don't really hear any significant difference.

  • Thank you for commenting. We really wanted to hear a significant improvement to justify the expense, that was why we made the video, to help people understand. In this case, a mixer is not worth the money. Now if you were running around chasing someone with a boom mic, you would want the mixers fine adjustments to closely control those levels and avoid overloading the signal and clipping. See more in the show notes, you might want to watch the version which is less compressed.

  • A Manfrotto C-Stand with arm holds a spud with male 3/8" threaded into the included NT1-A shockmount. A simple XLR cable is plugged in directly to the camera. On the 2nd NT1A is the same scenario only plugged into the ENG-44 mixer with the same kind of XLR cable. You'll want to listen with headphones and experiment as to the placement with your source.

  • The C-Stand you can see in the right side of the frame. Google "C-Stand Arm" and you'll see what one looks like. I'm using two heads on one stand. Each head holds a spud which screws into the mic's included shockmount. The positioning of the mics was just to get them close to picking up the same sound. The PCM-D50 can do an X/Y stereo pattern, we're only doing mono here. You only hear one mic at any one time. Hope this helps.

  • Like mentioned before, YouTube does kind of mess with the audio, but if you watch it in HD you get 128kbps MP3 in Stereo.. Not amazing, but decent!

    The bass was the biggest difference on my speaker system.

    Direct hit harder, but lacked depth. It was just a sharp hit. The mixer version the bass seemed to have context.

    Prolly not worth the cost, agreed. But I do like having those extra controls..

  • Guy – a better way to compare with a song playing is to just let it roll, and switch between them without going back and playing the same segment. You'll immediately hear the change in the ambiance without a jarring cut that goes back to a place where the instruments are doing something different.

    That being said – the voice sounds pretty similar on both. I think the music sounded a little fuller with the mixer.

  • @woodlanduk thanks for asking take a look at a few of my other videos, there are plenty of examples of using mics outdoors. The RODE NTG-2 and NTG-3 and RODE SVM all have outdoor examples. Best of luck in your recordings.

  • Honestly, I am not sure why the manufacturers charge $1K or more for 4-channel field mixers. I mean, they're all analog (sans the Sony DMX), and I got two 16-channel Behringers for $100 each. Is adding battery power to a mixer making it worth like it's been made out of gold? I just don't get it… I mean, don't get me wrong, I got the Sony DMX-P01, and Edirol R-44, and I am salivating over the Fostex FM-4. But why the price curve is so steep for a batter powered analog mixer?

  • @dvamateur Thanks for your comment. I'm betting that the price difference is because Field mixers take a beating. The cases need to be built tough and the internals need to be able withstand a blow – not to mention a bit of weather proofing. There are certain laptops and cell phones that are also built "military grade" to hold up in rugged conditions. Check eBay for used Shure FP33's and look at the condition that they're in, the Behringer wouldn't last out in extreme environments.

  • Hey man i really hope you respond to this! Im looking into getting the new Rode Microphone bundle so what Phantom Power should I buy? Please respond ASAP!

  • Just a quick comment from an objective third party, if you will, I'm just researching the mic, but I thought the mixer sounded better than direct. Just a TIIIINY bit more open and dynamic, if you ask me… which no one did… but just sayin:)

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