The MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7 (ARRI Sonosax AEM-1, Dual Mini XLR Female) is one of the first new products from a brand-new accessory company.
MID49 is a brand-new camera accessory company that was formed earlier this year and it is headed up by Ryan Schorman along with his wife Elizabeth, who were the co-founders of Wooden Camera. After a two-year hiatus, they decided to form a brand new company. Mid49 basically stands for mid-life crisis.
MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7 (ARRI Sonosax AEM-1, Dual Mini XLR Female)
The MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7 (ARRI Sonosax AEM-1, Dual Mini XLR Female) is a passive adapter that converts the ARRI Alexa 35’s Sonosax AEM-1 dual mini XLRs to two standard, full-size XLRs. If you own an Alexa 35 and the AEM-1 this is certainly an accessory you should be looking very carefully at.
So why would you need this MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7? Well, to understand why there is a need for it, first we need to look at the product it was designed to work with.
If you are not familiar with the ARRI Sonosax AEM-1 it is made specifically for ARRI by Sonosax and it adds a lot more audio capabilities to the ALEXA 35. It is a streamlined module that is internally powered so it requires no cables or extra brackets to use.
It features the following:
- 2x Mini-XLR for analog MIC/LINE in with optional 48 V Phantom power for MIC in, and Phase reversal, adjustable low-cut filter, gain and limiter
- 1x Mini-XLR for AES stereo digital audio in
- 1x Headphones
- 1x Regulated 12V accessory power
- 1x Regulated 24V accessory power
- Dynamic range: 129 dB (MIC), 135 dB (LINE)
- Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): < 0.001%
- Best studio audio quality to match the best image quality
To use the AEM-1 Audio Extension Module you will need to find some cables because it doesn’t come with any. The AEM-1 requires female mini XLR to female XLR cables which are not the easiest to come by. ARRI should really include a set with the AEM-1, or at the very least, sell them.
They are relatively difficult to find and you can come across some options on Amazon, although they tend to come in lengths that are too long to use with the ALEXA 35.
The best option I have seen is the Cable Techniques 12″ LPS Low-Profile TA3F to LPXLR-3M cables.
Arguably it would have been nice to have seen an audio module with full-size XLR inputs, but I think because ARRI’s design brief was to keep component size to a minimum, mini XLR was the only real viable option.
So, let’s get back to the MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7 now that we have some background about the AEM-1 and its requirement for using Mini XLR connectors.
The reason the MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7 was created was to solve the problem of having to use mini XLR to female XLR cables directly. By coming up with a solution where you only have to think about plugging in full-sized XLR cables, you at least in my opinion, simplify things greatly.
The MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7 attaches through the use of a captive 1/4-20 screw and rubber pad to ARRI’s camera cage components.
Two M4 threaded holes in 20mm ARRI spacing are also available if you want to add the optional Breakout Box Side Mounting Bracket (ARRI 3/8-16), which allows AB-7 to attach using a 3/8-16 screw with ARRI locating pins.
The MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7 has a 12″ / 30.5cm cable length with two 3-pin female mini XLR connectors. Now, if you want to have shorter or longer cables you can contact MID49 directly ([email protected]) to request a custom length.
The MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7 is solidly made and constructed. There is nothing I came across that concerned me in any way.
MID49 is using REAN audio connectors on the Audio Breakout AB-7. If you are not familiar with REAN, they are a global brand from the Neutrik Group.
My only small complaint is that I would have liked to have seen MID49 use angled, or lower profile Mini XLR connectors as I do find that the connectors stick out a long way from the AEM-1.
Size & Weight
The key to making an interface like this is that you don’t want to create something that is huge and cumbersome. You want to create the smallest possible footprint you can.
If you remember the original Wooden Camera A-Box, while it was reasonably small, it is significantly bigger than MID49’s new Audio Breakout boxes.
The MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7 weighs just 1.50oz / 42g and it is literally tiny. I also like that the cables are nice and thin.
I think it would be almost impossible to make something smaller than this.
Real World Use
The design and ability to also use the optional Breakout Box Side Mounting Bracket allow you to mount the MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7 in a variety of different places depending on your requirements.
While I think most people are likely to mount it on one of the side plates, I also found that placing it on the top plate under the handle also worked well.
This stops you from having cables sticking out of the side of your camera.
It certainly works as advertised and it is well made and constructed.
Price & Availability
The MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7 is a great little audio adapter that makes working with the AEM-1 a lot easier. Its small size and mounting flexibility allow you to place it in a variety of spots on your camera depending on your needs. Once it has been mounted you almost forget that it was there because it is so small. It allows you to just attach full-sized XLR cables directly without having to find and use mini XLR to full-sized cables.
It is the little things that are often the best when it comes to camera accessories and the MID49 Audio Breakout AB-7 comes highly recommended if you own an Alexa 35 and the AEM-1.