By technical editor Matt Allard:
TheRiggy-Micro is a low noise primarily designed for use with the latest video capable DSLRs that feature built-in headphone output and manual audio controls. It allows you to hook up professional XLR microphones with or without phantom power to your camera – recording audio direct to the camera and not a separate external recorder.
Why not just hook up your mic direct to the camera? because the audiocircuits in pretty much all DSLRs are not the highest quality and tend to give noisy results when you apply gain in camera (turning up the recording levels). In technical terms the DSLR audio circuits have a bad signal-to-noise ratio.
Theaims to solve this by using higher quality pre-amps to amplify the signal instead of using the DSLRs. The name of the game is to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio by using cleaner amplification in the . This allows you to set the camera’s internal gain to a minimum – hence reducing the amount of amplification the camera’s own electronics has to do.
There are several other DSLR pre-amps on the market but the things that I think are really cool and unique about the
- It is small and lighter than previous DSLR s. That’s because it rips out the stuff that modern cameras like the and don’t need anymore like meters, AGC Disable and headphones. Both these camera have all these functions already in the body.
- Super long battery life, since you don’t need to power a meter or headphones output. Thealso has features to help extend battery life: a selective power down (when not using all the XLR inputs) and finer granularity in the low battery indicator with the Alkaline/LithiumPolymer threshold switch. A single 9v alkaline battery will run the device for 12 hours, a rechargeable battery for about 18 hours.
- Camera overload protection with Audio Output Bracketing – you can have the same signal go at two different levels into the left and right channels in case of audio peaking.
- For the videojournalist, the Riggy-Micro really helps lighten your load with a small/light preamp and you won’t need to carry more spare batteries than necessary. It is so small and light it can mount straight onto the camera’s hot shoe.
- With the RB200 accessory kit you can add cold-shoe mounts to the preamp box itself. This way you can add mics or wireless receivers while the preamp is mounted in the hot shoe. Set up this way with the preamp no longer on the bottom of the camera, you can actually cradle the DSLR for run-n-gun like a traditional DSLR, in the palm of your left hand with your fingers manipulating the focus and zoom of the lens.
- Thehas three XLR audio inputs which can be down-mixed to two for recording in camera.
More details on the here.
There are more tips in the RM333 user manual online here.
As a point of reference for what you can achieve in terms of signal-to-noise, here’s a link to two sample MP3 files.
If you have an older DSLR without a headphone output then there are several other options from Juicedlink website.such as the DT454. For more details check out the
I do not have any commercial agreement with JuicedLink or Canon. The opinions and thoughts are those of my own and not of any company or organization.
About Matthew Allard, Aljazeera Senior Field Cameraman, Kuala Lumpur:
Matt has been a Camera/Editor in TV news for more 20 years, previously working for both Channel 9 and Channel 10 in Australia. Twice Network Ten Australia’s cameraman of the year as well as being a Walkley Finalist for outstanding camerawork in 2006 (for coverage of the Cronulla Race Riots) and a Logie Finalist for outstanding news coverage 2006 (Bali 9). He is a multiple ACS (Australian Cinematographers Society) award winner. His Sword Maker story that was shot on a won the prestigious Neil Davis International News Golden Tripod at the 2011 ACS Awards. He has covered news events in more than 35 countries, from major sporting events to terrorist bombings. Based out of the Kuala Lumpur broadcast centre in Malaysia he is an avid user and follower of new technology, shooting stories on HD broadcast cameras, the as well as new Canon DSLRs.