A Great Audio Hack for Smartphones

Posted 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Everyone uderstands how to shoot video with a smartphone, more or less.

You pick it up, you point it at what you want, and you hit record.

Simple

When it comes to audio, however, it is not so simple.

In the world of video, audio is often a bit neglected, and that is a mistake.  Audio carries more 'weight' in a way than does video.  A viewer will tolerate bad video longer than they will tolerate bad audio.

This point was driven home to me the other night. Lisa and I were watching British TV on YouTube - which is very much a mixed bag of quality. In this case, we were watching Escape to the Country, which I highly recommend (if you are contemplating buying a second home in the British countryside).

At any rate.. the first iteration we found was filled with dodgy audio, although the video was fine.  We switched off after about 30 seconds. You just can't follow bad audio.  The second iteration had clean audio but the video track kept freezing and unfreezing. Did not bother us in the least.

Now... how do you get great audio with a smartphone?

There are a lot of schools of thought on this, and a lot of cheap, snap on microphones that plug direcltly into your smartphone - and they deliver about the kind of audio you would expect from a cheap, snap on phone.

So I was delgithed to find a work-around hack by Australian video journalist Charles Hodgson in which he has found clever way to append a Sennheiser shotgun (the best there is) to a smartphonw with minimal interference.

I will allow him to explain in his own words:

Another @rodemic #rodewirelessgo hack. The shortest possible XLR to 3.5mm cable (pin 2 hot) together with your favourite XLR mic. Adjust for the right gain on the receiver and your away, boom it, media scrum it. Very versatile. I’ve found best results if the mic is self powered. @ Sunshine Coast, Queensland

And his own photos: