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Thread: mp3 recording

  1. Default mp3 recording

    I have a mini DV camera which unfortunately does not have an external mic socket, so I was thinking of using an mp3 recorder as an stop-gap alternative to the horrendous built-in mic. I was wondering what the sound quality is like compared to say an external shotgun mic or such and also, whether it is better to connect a mike to the recorder. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Bracknell, Berkshire, UK


    As with most things in life, you will get what you pay for.

    The MP3 format is compressed and so by definition you will not get as good results from it as you might from an uncompressed format. However, for a lot of stuff it will certainly do.

    What MP3 recorder are you thinking of using? An MP3 player in record mode? You'll get better results from your camera's internal mic I suspect.

    To record properly off camera will likley cost you more than a new (entry level) camera that has an external mic socket.

    Of course, if you have one you could use a mini disk recorder. That might be better than a cheapo MP3 player with record option.

    Just my first thoughts on this. There's better audio-philes here who might correct me though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
    Blog Entries


    If you have a decnt mike and a decent mp3 recorder with a mic in I should think it will work ok. It will be fine if you are not too fussy or want audiophile quality.

    What mic and recorder are you going to use. As alan says buying the stuff may cost more than a new camera with mic in, and assuming it does wk it is a load more hassle.

  4. Default

    thanks guys, by the sound of it I might be better off selling my old camera and getting a new one with external mic (kicking myself now). I was trying to find a cheaper way around it cos I don't have loads of cash to spend (okay, none). I'm guessing the mp3 or mini disc option would also be trickier to sync?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    Recording sound is a chain and the final quality of the sound is dependent on the weakest link in that chain.

    The main links are:

    Microphone (and how it's used)
    Pre-amp/Audio to Digital converter
    Recording medium

    The microphone's obvious. A cheap microphone sounds rubbish (most on-camera microphones tend to quite poor). An external microphone can be also positioned nearer to the subject, or in a better position and thus sounds better than the on-camera mic.
    All microphones produce a weak anologue signal which needs to be boosted and converted to a digital signal to be recorded (on modern equipment). In some MP3 players this hardware is quite poor since most people play pre-recorded music and only use the MP3 as a recorder in "emergencies" or for fun.
    MP3 compresses the data by only recording stuff which we can actually hear. The quality is usually quite good... until you start editing it. In order to work with it, the sound has to be de-compressed and then re-compressed. This can show up any "gaps" and weaknesses.
    Finally the reproduction: Unless you're presenting the film, you have no control over how the viewer listens to the recording.

    In my opinion... using an MP3 player/recorder is okay for recording speech in a "documentary". It is not good enough for "drama" or where the speech is the most important part (ie a voice-over) and not good enough for recording music.

    As Alan points out: Mini-disc is cheaper and better quality than MP3, but is also a compressed recording. The problems of syncing in post aren't that bad once you get the hang of it but I personally think you'd be better off spending your money on getting a camcorder with a "mic in" socket.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 10-24-2006 at 07:51 AM.

  6. Default

    thanks so much for that, I will bite the bullet and go for another camera with a mic socket

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Bracknell, Berkshire, UK


    Quote Originally Posted by owen652 View Post
    thanks so much for that, I will bite the bullet and go for another camera with a mic socket
    Don't forget, you still need the best microphone you can afford....

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