Every year. I redo this video. I want to find out what it takes in 2019 to connect your professional wireless microphone pack like the Sennheiser to your smart phone.
When I recorded the first part of this video, I didn't even know that the second cable that I will be talking about existed, so if it feels a little bit disjointed, that's why, but it all comes together in the edit and I will do a recap at the end, so stick around. It's worth it.
It is so noisy on the show floor here at NAB, but fortunately this company Vocal Booth has just let me step into one of their sound booths for quick little recording. The whole thing with getting a wireless microphone onto the iPhone is it's actually really hard to do. If you just plug it in, it doesn't work. You might get a mic to work, but in general it just doesn't. The impedance is wrong. There's a whole electrical problem that makes it not function normally, so you have to adapt; you have to go through a series of adapters to make it work.
Now historically, what I've had do is use this right here. This is the USB Camera Kit Adapter for the Apple iPhone and this goes from Lightning to USB, and then I take this little guy, a tiny USB audio interface, and plug that in. This gives me line level in, so this has been so far the cleanest and best way to connect any wireless microphone; the Sennheiser or Comica, just about anything you want, into this and you're getting a line level into the phone and you're going to have perfect audio. But it does require a couple of pieces and this thing here hanging off of your camera means that you can't really hang it off of a gimbal very easily. There's a lot of, kind of limitations when you're working with this.
But there's a new cable on the market from a company called Edutig… Edu-tige?…Tiget? Edutige… t's a new cable that's designed to go straight from the wireless receiver pack into your smartphone. Now if your smart phone has a headphone jack, it goes straight in. If it doesn't, then like the iPhone, you have to go through a Lightning adapter, but you don't need a USB adapter. You don't need a USB audio interface. It's just this one cable.
Excuse the interruption. I recorded this whole video to talk about this new cable, this new one from Edutige and we're still going to do that. However, on the way out the door from NAB, Saramonic handed their new cable and while I didn't get to put it through the same tests that I did this one, I still want to talk about it, so I'm gonna put that at the end because this is a very interesting cable. So we're going to be talking about both, but let's start with this one. Let's get back to it.
The cable does work with at least a couple of different microphone packs. Since I'm at NAB, I'm going to walk around and see if I can get some companies to let me plug their microphone pack into this cable and we'll find out what happens.
We are now at the Deity microphone booth. Deity makes some pretty high end mics and I'm playing with the new Deity Duo-RX. This is a digital 2.4 hertz spectrum mic and this is currently outputting into our fancy little cable on output A there, and it is working as far as I can tell them. This sounds pretty good.
We're from Quantum5X, Q5X for short, and we specialize in five types of unique transmitters that each have an ability that's not seen anywhere else. What we're most known for is our player mic, which is the thinnest profile on the market, flexible, used in sports.
We're talking right now through the new Wisycom MTH410 and we're going to the NPR 51.
Now let's talk about the the Saramonic adapter. This is what they gave me when I left NAB. This cable may well be the holy grail for what we're trying to do. All you need is this. It is an analog to digital converter. There's the converter in the middle. It converts any standard microphone output into whatever you need to plug into your phone; USB-C or Lightning.
You can take a standard microphone receiver, this is my wireless lav receiver from Comica, a generic mono receiver. Plug this into here, plug this end into your smartphone, fire up your Lav, and you're good to go. This is everything that you need.
However, this cable is actually stereo and you might think, well that's cool, right? I mean, that that could be. On a mic like this, it works just fine. This microphone sends out a mono signal along both the left and right channels so you get effectively dual mono. Great.
If you have a receiver like this one here, a stereo receiver that actually receives from two separate microphones, this is fantastic. This way with your smartphone, you can get a channel left and channel right for the mic one and mic two. That's not something you can do with the Edutige. But if you go up to a Sennheiser, you're going to have a little bit of a problem.
This is, of course, a mono receiver. It is outputting a true mono signal. Now, this is outputting mono as well, but it's outputting dual mono, sending the same mono signal out both the left and the right channels. This however, is not. Mono is not meant to be on both channels. Mono is a single channel, hence the name. It should go out to the left channel only and that's exactly what this does, so it's doing it right. But if you've ever used one of these and plugged it into your camera, then you'll know that that's not what you get. You usually get the signal on both channels, a dual mono single.
It turns out that this little cable that comes with your Sennheiser is not a standard TRS cable. Standard TRS – tip, ring, sleeve – is going to be left, right, and ground. So you got left, right going in one end, left, right coming out the other. However, this cable is left, left, ground. This cable takes the same signal and duplicates it out both sides over here.
This is a proprietary, unique cable, which is great. That's exactly what you want when you plug this into your camera. However, because this is only outputting on the left channel, when you take your Saramonic adapter, plug it into here, plug this end into your iPhone, you're only going to get audio on the left channel. Now that's not a problem if you're recording it to edit later. You can easily just convert that to mono, duplicate it to the right track, there's different ways to handle it and that's going to be fine.
It is going to be a problem, though, if you want to broadcast live. If you want to go live, you can't use this combination because you're only going to get the audio out one channel.
But there's a work around. Again, we're talking workarounds here, so we're back to that. But there is a workaround. There's one that I've tested, one that I haven't. The one that I've tested is using their cable, their proprietary cable, and you plug this end into here so now you've got dual mono coming out this side. Then take a simple little gender bender here, female to there, female end on that, plug this into your smartphone and now you've got dual mono and that'll work great. But of course we're talking about another adapter here.
What should also work, although I haven't tested it, is a simple mono to stereo adapter. They cost between five and $10, they're little tiny things that will sit on the end of this. And that should work, but again, that's theoretical.
This on its own is fantastic. It is giving you a very high quality signal. The cable does cost more than the Edutige solution, but not a whole lot more, and it does make things a whole lot easier.
All right, now let's take a look at the entire landscape of everything that we've been talking about here in the whole lineup.
All right, let's wrap this thing up, shall we? The microphones that I had to test with in-house include the generic Comica transmitter receiver, it is a very standard, very inexpensive Lavalier set. The stereo or dual microphone pack Comica transmitter receiver, so you've got two transmitters and a single receiver. And then the Sennheiser ew 100, a totally standard industry-used microphone set. Let's get this out of the way.
So what are the advantages and disadvantages of each one of these setups? Well, starting with the Lightning to USB adapter, it is definitely the most cumbersome one. Not only is it this big gangly thing that's hanging off of your phone, it can get in the way of a gimbal or just general use. You also have to combine it with a USB audio interface. The one advantage of this however, is that you do get true line level in, which means you can connect essentially anything to it, plus you do have a spare Lightning port here, meaning that you can charge the device while you use it. That can be very useful.
The Edutige cable is certainly a convenient option, especially if you're not going to an iPhone and you don't need this adapter. This is a single cable that will handle pretty much all of your needs. If you're using an iPhone, you will of course need this adapter. One of the things that I do like about this solution is this is a nice long cable, meaning that you can easily have this end plugged into your phone while you have your mic receiver pack on your belt or somewhere else. It certainly makes it ideal and probably one of the best solutions if you're using a gimbal.
The Saramonic is a great solution because it is truly all that you need. Granted, if you shooting with both iPhone and Android, you might need both, but regardless, this is an all-in-one solution. The stereo problem could be a problem if you are working with a Sennheiser or another mic that outputs motto on one channel and you're broadcasting live, but outside of that unique situation, this is probably going to work for basically everybody. It's small, it's light, it's not going to get away of a gimbal, and overall I think this is a great, great product to be using, but it's also the most expensive of the bunch.
There you have it. Three great solutions, which is precisely two more solutions than we just a year ago. No matter your configuration, you're likely to find a set up here that will work for you, and if you decide to buy any of these cables, I'd certainly appreciate it if you use my affiliate links down below.
I'll do this video again in a year. We'll find out what another year brings us. So for now, this is what we've got, and we'll see you again in 2020.