Budget Lav Mic Recording Solution

Wireless audio is great and works well most of the time. I have on occasion run into static when operating in saturated areas but other than that it’s my go to solution for recording dialog from a lav mic. That being said it isn’t the cheapest option, a good Sennheiser set will cost you well over $500.

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The other problem is when you can’t run it straight into your camera like the Sony A6000 (I really wish they would have just included a mic input) so you have to sync up audio later in post. These days syncing audio doesn’t take too much time especially with tools like Premiere Pro’s Merge Clip or you could always sync audio using waveform. Now how could I spend as little as possible and still get good quality audio? You can pick up a Zoom H1 for about $100 which has awesome recording features for the price but that was even out of my price range I had set. I realized I already had a great recorder on me all the time, my Galaxy S5. Ding! Money saved! As for a Mic solution I found a lav mic from Miracle Sound for $20. The only thing left was to find a decent sound recording app. After some brief research it seems like all of the best sound apps for on iOS but after some more digging I found this great app on Android called Field Recorder. The interface needs a bit of love but overall it’s the best recording app that I have seen on Android. The downside is it’s not free but for someone who only buys a few apps a year I can firmly say that it was worth the $4.69.

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The main screen on the Field Recorder app.

The app itself is quite easy to use. Simply plug in the mic into the headphone jack and off you go. One of the nice features I do like about this app is the lock screen option after you hit the record button. This makes a lot of sense as you would probably be placing the device in a pocket and you don’t want to risk the chance of hitting any unwanted buttons. The one thing I really wish this setup had is a way to monitor audio. Obviously since you are using the headphone jack that isn’t an option. I did consider seeing if a pair of bluetooth headphones but I don’t think that is a feature in the app. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring a pair of headphones though. I always do a quick test record so I can hear any problems I’m going to have in post and I triple check the levels to ensure they aren’t going to clip.

Now I’m not saying you should skimp on audio quality but if you are on a budget think before you invest in a brand new wireless audio setup. You might be able to use that smartphone for more then just sending tweets and invest in other necessary equipment for your production.