Zoom H4n


YouTube member LJtutorials gives a run down on the new BeachTek DXA-SLR Pro. These audio adapters are used to adapt your higher end XLR Microphones to DSLR cameras and provide features like headphone monitoring, Phantom power, Cleaner Pre-amp, Manual Levels adjustment (during recording), and AGC disable. If you're already enjoying a workflow of separate audio recorders with the Zoom H4n, then this might not be interesting to you. [Thanks LJ]

If you want to capture best audio directly into the camera so that you don't have to sync in post, then these types of adapters are a must have. There are several different models of BeachTek and Juicedlink Preamps that offer different feature sets at a variety of prices. For instance, you don't need headphone monitoring or AGC disable with a Canon 5D Mark III, and you may not require XLR and Phantom power if you're using Self Powered Microphones. This review is based on the the DXA-SLR Pro version which will run you over $400 dollars (found here).

find-price-button Beachtek DXA-SLR Pro HDSLR XLR Audio Adapter


Fiio Headphone Preamp DSLR Amp Pre-amp

For those that don't want to sync audio in post you may attempt to plug a microphone (like a Rode VideoMic, LAV mic, or Wireless Mic Receiver) directly to the camera's 3.5mm mic input, and then adjust levels from within the camera (unless you're stuck with AGC). One problem is that the camera's internal preamp is known to be fairly noisy if you have to boost the signal. The solution for better audio is to use an external preamp before feeding the signal back in to the camera and turn the camera's internal levels down to almost zero. The new Canon 5D Mark III now has a headphone monitoring port, but does it still suffer from internal preamp noise?

So here's an interesting question that comes in that might get your wheels spinning. Can you use something like the Fiio E11 portable Headphone Amp to boost and adjust your microphone levels? Unlike the other Fiio headphone amp options, the E11 has a 10 hour rechargeable battery and volume (gain) control. It's not going to offer phantom power to a microphone, but if you're already using a self powered mic, then there's no need for phantom power. The E11 has standard 3.5mm input and output connections.

We've seen a workflow where some people feed the headphone output of a Zoom recorder (for dual audio and because the preamp is better in the Zoom) back into the camera with a Sescom cable. Considering that option it sounds like a Fiio E11 could work out as an inexpensive external preamp for DSLR video (assuming the output signal is better than the DSLR). Anyone attempt something like this before? The E11 has some interesting specs, and you can take a look at the Product Description (click here).

Fiio Headphone AmpFiio Headphone Amp Boost Gain Levels
find-price-button Fiio E11 Portable HeadPhone Preamp - via Amazon

You can also find these Fiio E11 Headphone Amps via eBay (click here)

Fiio E11 Battery Amp
find-price-button Fiio E11 Portable Rechargeable HeadPhone Amp - via eBay


Did Tascam just drop a bomb on the Zoom H4n? The more affordable Tascam DR-40 is a great little recorder, but fell short when people realized you didn't have the same independent audio track levels like a Zoom H4n. The new firmware released today (found here), now adds that functionality to the Tascam DR-40. It still may not be as full featured as the Zoom H4n, but it has enough features for the average shooter, and this little recorder is $100 dollars cheaper than the Zoom H4n.

find-price-button Tascam DR-40 4 Track Digital Portable Audio Recorder

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B&H published a few articles in their Learning Library around popular gear in 2011. Check out a few of their articles that get in-depth with Fast Glass, Voice-Over equipment, Shotgun Microphones, On camera monitors, and Portable Audio Recorders. These articles are great reading materials for a more in depth look at at tips, tricks, and technical information.



Opteka releases a dual cold shoe bracket that mounts to your camera's hotshoe. It's a simple way and inexpensive way to mount two accessories directly to your camera such as an LED light, microphone, or audio recorder.

Opteka-Cold-Shoe-BracketDual Cold Shoe Bracket
find-price-button Opteka Dual Cold Shoe V Bracket

The Opteka looks to have a shorter profile, but it is very similar to the Dual Light and Sound type bracket found below.
find-price-button Photo Video Dual V Bracket for Video Lights & Microphone

If you really want to load up on your hotshoe, another slightly more expensive option is the Alzo Multi Mount. This includes a microphone / portable audio recorder shock mount, 4 cold shoes, and 1/4-20 holes for even more accessories. It can be used on the camera, but we often use this type of mount on a light stand config (seen below).

Alzo Multi Mount
(above) Our Alzo Multi Mount Config

Screen shot 2011-09-23 at 11.56.51 AMzoom-h4n-h1-shock-mount
find-price-button ALZO DSLR Shock Multi-Mount Accessory Bracket


Screen shot 2011-09-23 at 11.56.37 AM

Alzo's latest Multi-Mount serves the same purpose to hold accessories like a DSLR cage, and at the same time provides a shock mount for your Microphones / Portable Recorders. Looks like there's no need to buy silly homemade shock mounts just for your Zoom H1 or a separate bracket to mount your JuicedLink DS214, this bracket does it all (and then some).

Screen shot 2011-09-23 at 11.56.51 AMzoom-h4n-h1-shock-mount

As a shock mount it can support thin shotgun microphones, as a Zoom H1 shock mount adapter, all the way up to the large Zoom H4n, and heck maybe even the Shure SM58 for handheld interviews. At the same time it provides (4) shoe mounts & (5) 1/4" holes for mounting other additional accessories like a small monitor, LED light, Juicedlink DS214, wireless mic receivers, etc. Now available via Amazon (click here).

alzo shockmount bracket
find-price-button ALZO DSLR Shock Multi-Mount Accessory Bracket


Tascam-DR-40-ReviewScreen shot 2011-09-15 at 9.10.51 AM

When it comes to portable recorders with DSLR video, there's two names that are sure to come up - Tascam and Samson (a.k.a Zoom). Here's an interesting new product pointed out to me [Thanks Anthony] that could shake things up for Samson's Zoom H4n product line. The H4n has been a long mainstay when it comes to an affordable 4 track portable recorder with XLR inputs, but Tascam has got something new (and cheaper).

Screen shot 2011-09-15 at 9.10.00 AM

The new Tascam DR-40 is playing in the same recording space offering just about as much features as the Zoom H4n, but the kicker is that it's coming in at about $100 dollars cheaper than the Zoom H4n (found here). Yeah that's quite a bit of savings. No reviews I could pull down just yet since it's a new product. Says it's available for Pre-order via B&H, but there are just a few sellers carrying this new product via eBay (click here).

Screen shot 2011-09-15 at 9.10.18 AM  Screen shot 2011-09-15 at 9.10.24 AM
find-price-button Tascam DR-40 4 Track Portable Recorder XLR

[Update] Now available via Amazon below

Screen shot 2011-09-15 at 9.10.24 AM
find-price-button TASCAM DR-40 4 Channel Portable Digital Recorder


This won't eliminate all ambient noise like a true sealed sound proof room, but when you can control or eliminate sound deflections that can reach your microphone, it takes your audio to another level. An excellent tool when doing voice over or narrative work to your videos. Here's another cool looking portable DIY sound booth for microphones. The walls break down using Eyelets and Hooks when not in use. [Thanks Joel]




$109 Auralex ... Box of 24 Studiofoam Wedgies (enough for audio walls, plus a back wall that I built to put behind speaker. Use Liquid Nails to glue the Wedgies to the particle board walls).

$10.75 1/4" 4x4 sheet of Particle Board @ Home Depot (probably need 2 sheets)

$1.18 Metal Eyes @ Home Depot (pack of 8)
$1.18 Metal Hooks @ Home Depot (pack of 4)
$2.29 2x2x8 Wood @ Home Depot (use for reinforcement on walls. The amount depends upon how much you want to reinforce, but you will definitely need these to anchor the Metal Hooks and Eyes for attaching the side walls to the back wall - and for the ceiling to prevent sagging)

Ceiling: 35" wide x 28" Deep (it simply sits on the two walls with a bit of overhang)
Side Walls: 24" tall x 28" Deep (walls connect to the back with the eye hooks
Back Wall: 24" tall x 36" long

Clip on Ikea desk lamp for $5.99 (see photo).

For the not-so-diyers there are a number of these Portable / Collapsible Traveling Sound Booths available on both eBay (click here) and on Amazon (click here).

find-price-button Portable Sound Booth


dual-bracket (1 of 1)

If you've seen a post I did a while back on a double Light and Sound bracket, there's now one available for half the price. Perfect for mounting a Shotgun to one side and an LED light on the other. Or heck, why not mount two LED lights. A simple way of mounting several accessories without getting into DSLR Cages. With the hot shoe adapter built in it can be quickly mounted to your camera, or to a light stand using the available 1/4 x 20 thread under the shoe. Now available via Amazon (click here).

find-price-button Photo Video Dual V Bracket for Video Lights & Microphone