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Getting Riggy with it: Juicedlink expands their range of audio adapters

By site editor Dan Chung:

Juicedlink audio adapters have become quite popular amongst DSLR shooters over the past few years and the company has just released four new pre-amps in its Riggy line. They all feature dual XLR audio inputs and are designed to sit on top of or under your camera when shooting. They connect directly to the minijack connection of compatible cameras and use the internal audio recording rather than sending sound to a separate audio recorder. This is better than using a microphone directly into the camera because the Juicedlink has better low noise pre-amps than those in most DSLRs or cheaper video cameras. The internal audio gain (recording level) of the camera can be kept to a minimum, leaving the Juicedlink’s high quality pre-amps to do the hard work. In technical terms this means the audio will have a better signal-to-noise ratio, meaning a cleaner recording with less hiss.

The Juicedlink RA222 with optional RB401 mounting bracket for mics

The RA222 adapter is essentially a two-channel variant of the existing two-channel RA333, with two high quality phantom powered XLR inputs, headphone jack (for cameras without integrated headphone monitoring), audio level meters and AGC disable functions. This is best suited to cameras like the Panasonic GH2, Canon 5D mkII and EOS-1D X which don’t have headphone jacks built in.

The Juicedlink Riggy-Micro 222

The smaller RM222 is similar to the RA222 but dispenses with the headphone jack, audio meters and AGC disable – so is designed more for cameras which already have a headphone jack and on-screen audio level meters, like the Nikon D800, Canon 5D mkIII and Sony NEX VG-20 and 30. Because there is no headphone monitoring or meters the RM222 is more power efficient and therefore has longer battery life than the RA222.

The RM202 and RA202 are similar to the 222 models but without the phantom power option. This saves some money for users who already have battery-powered mics or radio mics and don’t need to use phantom power.

Robert Rozak of juicedLink reckons the Riggy-Micro range will prove popular with news shooters using DSLRs or camcorders without internal XLR solutions.

“The juicedLink Riggy-Micro preamps are the perfect tools for the video journalist, who is continuously on the go, on a deadline, shooting mission critical work, and needs to submit work with excellent audio quality.”

I’ve been using the RM333 on the Canon C300 when I need a lower profile for run and gun. It is more discreet than Canon’s own Monitor/XLR jackpack and I can’t tell the difference in sound quality, even though the juicedLink is connecting through the minijack.

According to juicedLink these are the main advantages for news and documentary production:

- ON THE GO:  Travel light with a preamp that’s small (much smaller than a Zoom H4n audio recorder), lightweight, power efficient (so you don’t need to bring more batteries than necessary).  Easily mounts to camera or rig.  ’Riggy’ so you can take advantage of the valuable real-estate mounted next to your camera, and mount mics and wireless receivers, etc using juicedLink’s custom brackets.
- ON A DEADLINE:  Save time not having to sync audio in post.
- MISSION CRITICAL WORK:  Better mission critical production flow than external recorder: 1) Boot time is instant 2) You won’t forget to record audio by neglecting to hit ‘record’ separately on a recorder 3) The audio output bracketing feature offers camera overload protection by recording the same signal at different levels on left and right audio channels.
- EXCELLENT AUDIO QUALITY:  Easily and quickly dial in signal levels with front panel potentiometers (instead of going into the firmware of the camera).  Better signal-to-noise than handheld external recorders like H4n.

For more info head over to the juicedLink website.

Posted on September 29th, 2012 by admin | Category: Audio |

8 responses to "Getting Riggy with it: Juicedlink expands their range of audio adapters"

  1. keenast Says:
    September 29th, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    My experience re ‘sound quality’ have not been so exciting, especially the headphone amp is thin sounding and quite hissy. I compared with a simple Sound Devices 302 and the difference was very obvious: quite a difference unfortunately.

    • Dan Chung Says:
      September 29th, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      Which juicedLink are you comparing to? the ones have only just come out? Given that the ‘simple’ Sound Devices 302 costs $1295 and the RA222 is $399 I am not surprised that it has a better quality headphone output.

      I have a Sound Devices MixPre-D which also has a great sounding headphone out, definitely better than my RA333, but again the price difference is large.

  2. Joe Sheffer Says:
    September 30th, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Christ…more bizaare bolt on, fragile bits and pieces. More batteries. This kind of setup is a real recipe for disaster for run and gun news gathering.

  3. Dan Chung Says:
    September 30th, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Joe, yes I don’t really like bolt-on’s either, but for small cameras there isn’t really a choice at the moment. We are yet to see the large sensor equivalent of the XF105 form factor with XLR audio. The Sony VG30 comes closest but lacks the XLRs. The C100 is close but bigger. IMHO the Juicedlink RM333 is not that fragile – I prefer it for rough environments to the C300 jackpack (which I think is more vunerable to connector damage). Yes the battery is not ideal – but until camera makers give us what we want there is little alternative. For run and gun I find the juicedLink is pretty OK actually.

  4. keenast Says:
    September 30th, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Dan, i compare it to all Juicedlink products I came about, but not this ‘new’ RM333. I’m somewhat extrapolating that it’s the same inside – somebody prove me wrong.
    I understand this item is way cheaper than a SD mixer – BUT you know, with all this PR going on here people might think this is the biggest audio revelation coming along since BC. they should know that most everything comes with a price. If the headphone amp is as bad (terrible actually – and why is this never mentioned in all them (paid?) write-ups – how is one going to judge the audio one is recording.

    How long and how often did you use the RM333. Would you personally buy it? I suppose the one you use (or used) was given to you….?

    • Dan Chung Says:
      September 30th, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      To take your points one by one:

      “Dan, i compare it to all Juicedlink products I came about, but not this ‘new’ RM333. I’m somewhat extrapolating that it’s the same inside – somebody prove me wrong. “

      The RM333 that I am using does not have a headphone jack – it is designed for newer cameras like the D800 and 5D mkIII that have a headphone jack already. I would always recommend going for a camera with a headphone output these days. I believe the pre-amp section of the RM333 to be similar to the previous models – it is high quality and I have no problem using it when I want compact solution.

      “I understand this item is way cheaper than a SD mixer – BUT you know, with all this PR going on here people might think this is the biggest audio revelation coming along since BC. they should know that most everything comes with a price. If the headphone amp is as bad (terrible actually – and why is this never mentioned in all them (paid?) write-ups – how is one going to judge the audio one is recording.”

      I really do not believe that our readers would think this is the “biggest audio revelation coming along since BC”. This article certainly doesn’t claim that and is written using the same journalistic standards we usually apply. The manufacturer has launched interesting (to me at least) new products and has made claims about quality which we have quoted directly. It is not a review and it is not intended to be, nor does it imply that I have tested any of these new products myself.

      Of course quality comes at a price and no-one is suggesting otherwise. I can’t comment on the headphone jack quality on the Riggy Assist range as I haven’t used one. As I said in the blog post I am using a RM333, which has no headphone output. Whilst we try to review many products here we can’t possibly look at every single model in the range.

      For the record this is not an paid writeup, we don’t do paid writeups. JuiceLink have never been a site sponsor or an affiliate. There is no commercial agreement between us. I use many audio products and have personally paid for and own Beachtek, Sound Devices, juicedLink, Tascam, Zoom, Sony and Edirol audio devices.

      “How long and how often did you use the RM333. Would you personally buy it? I suppose the one you use (or used) was given to you….?”

      I’ve actually use the RM333 on my C300 quite a lot when I need a low profile audio solution that works – to me it is smaller, more robust and less vunerable than the Canon original jackpack. If the Canon jackpack had a more robust connection to the camera and was smaller (like the one on the new C100), then I would not need to use the RM333. I have also started testing the RM333 on the Nikon D800 and it seems to work well – I hope to use this combination more in future.

      I own a Sound Devices Mix-Pre D and choose to use the juicedLink instead for solo news work without a sound recordist – it is the form factor of the RM333 that makes me choose it, not the price.

      The RM333 is a review unit on loan from juicedLink and I have not had it for long – we accept review units from manufacturers in order to evaluate them, just as almost every other trade publication and news organisation. You will note that when we do actual reviews we try to state when this is the case. Hopefully we will get a chance to review these newly launched products in due course. In fact we are always looking for help in reviewing products so if you wish to constructively contribute something I would be very happy to look at it.
      And yes I would personally buy a RA333.

  5. Robert Rozak Says:
    September 30th, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks, everybody, for taking a moment to read about the 4 new preamps we just released …

    I just wanted to provide some answers to some of the comments.

    The Riggy-Asssit headphone amps are general consumer grade headphone amps (to fit in the package). The Riggy-Assist headphone amp is improved over the old DT454, in that it has a wider dynamic range that can be adjusted via the pot. Still, yes, I would expect the SD302/mixpre to have better headphone amps.

    However, the Riggy low-noise preamps that feed your camera are excellent, using the THAT1512 preamp IC, to give you outstanding signal-to-noise for your recorded audio in the camera.

    All of that said, I strongly feel that people doing mission critical work should be transitioning over to cameras that have their own headphones and meters visible while recording. So, the appropriate preamp for those individuals would be the Riggy-Micro (which doesn’t have headphones anyhow).

    Compared to the SD302/mixpre (which are excellent multipurpose ENG mixers), I don’t think the real value to news journalists of the Riggy-Micro (designed for the specific purpose of interfacing to cameras) is that it is less expensive, but it is that users will greatly appreciate that the Riggy-Micro will be much-much smaller and lighter (big benefit for being “on the go”). Plus, it’s ‘Riggy’, so you can mount it to your camera, and take advantage of the valuable real-estate to mount other accessories to it (like mics and wireless receivers). All that, and you’ll achieve great audio. You can compare how a DSLR with a juicedLink compares to the signal-to-noise of high end audio recorders like the Sound Devices 702 in these tests:
    http://juicedlink.com/blog/2012/09/audio-recorder-shootout-sound-devices-702-dr-100-mkii-h4n-dr-680-and-more/

    For those who don’t have it in the budget to upgrade to the newer cameras with headphones and meters, then the Riggy-Assist (with meters and headphones (sufficient for determining if your subjects are adequately mic’ed up)) will serve them very well. For those users, they should add one step to their production flow, and that is to play back a clip in the camera when getting set up. This is because they will not be monitoring in the recording device, and they need to confirm that they have continuity from the preamp to the camera, in case the cable is not plugged into the camera all of the way, or something.

    Thank you for your time!

    Best regards,

    Robert from juicedLink

    If you have more questions, you can always contact me here:
    http://www.juicedlink.com/contact-support

  6. keenast Says:
    October 3rd, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Dan, thank you for your answers. I’m glad to hear that there is no money flowing between this blog and the various manufacturers. This though is a very rare thing, seriously – nowadays pretty much all blogs are paid in some form or another for ‘posting’ the news or just having an ‘opinion’. There’s quite a few names in ‘DSLR blogosphere’ who do nothing else than getting paid for exactly that. So, great to hear.

    Now, I do work professional in this field and I do expect certain qualities no matter the price point. A headphone feed that does not allow you to judge the quality of incoming audio is all but useless, cheap or not cheap. Just a few days ago I asked a producer to listen to audio via a small Sound Devices mixer compared to a (by her) proudly owned juiceLink thingamajig. It seems the folks targeted with these devices are mostly un-educated in this regards and a practical comparison comes as a quite rude awakening.

    I’d like to have these things more clearly stated in the various reviews. Just quoting the manufacturer’s selling sheet really is not enough. There is no print magazine left doing real reviews anymore – advertising and editorial are one and the same thing nowadays and nobody seems to care. Blogs for a while were much more helpful when reviewing things but that sure looks like history too – advertising does corrupt in some ways, doesn’t it. I.E. I liked provideocoalition for a while, now almost everything there is ‘sponsored’ – in other words worthless.

    Anyway, I think both the reader as well as the manufacturer would be served better in the end if the products would be held to a higher standard. Maybe then juicedLink would have decided long time ago to change their dismal headphone amps in their product line. Sorry Robert, but really.

    I do understand that juicedLink products are mostly for well meaning amateurs finding out that audio on those cameras isn’t happening. Instead of finding a better solution for all the short comings of them stills cameras they outfit them hilariously with a myriad of often enough amazingly expensive and more or less silly add-ons totally negating the one thing that makes a DSLR camera worthwhile, its small and inconspicuous form factor and its good image quality.

    To Robert, I don’t know about you ‘comparison’ – you didn’t post any relevant data and well, we don’t even know what kind of files we’re listening to on ‘youtube’. I really see that of nothing more than PR blurb. Nice try though.

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