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A do-it-all microphone for DSLR video shooters

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When you start getting serious about your DSLR video, two things become apparent rather quickly. You need to see better to insure focus and you need to hear better audio. I recently tested a pair that will help take care of both.

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MXL FR-500WK Wireless microphone kit

When you’ve got the perfect talent, and the perfect stage, you’ll want to make sure that your audio is just as good as your video footage. To do that, you’ll almost always want to use an external microphone. Your DSLR, no matter how expensive, was not designed for great audio.

The MXL FR-500WK wireless microphone kit may be the closest to a one-size-fits-all kit on the market. The receiver and transmitter come with enough accessories that you can accomplish just about any recording task.

On the transmitter, you’ll have the option to:

  • Record line-in audio through a 1/8 audio jack (audio cable included for 1/8” or ¼”)
  • Record ambient audio through a built-in microphone on the transmitter’s case
  • Record audio through a lavalier microphone with windscreen (included)
  • Record audio through a handheld XLR microphone (adapter included – mic not included)
  • The transmitter has a built-in belt clip to conceal it behind your talent while filming.

On the receiver:

  • Listen to the actual audio being received through the earphone jack.
  • Line out (1/8” cable supplied) goes direct to your DSLR or camcorder
  • Attach directly to a camera hot-shoe with the included adapter

Likes and dislikes:

I loved the quality of the lavalier microphone. Great, crisp audio, even outside in somewhat breezy conditions. I also loved the flexibility of the kit – being able to use it in so many different situations.

I wasn’t blown away with the useable distance however. Their website cites up to 880 feet, line of sight. I had troubles at 100 feet, outside in the park with no nearby interference. Also, remember that if your talent has the transmitter mounted to their belt behind them, that’s not line of sight. Test for yourselves and see if your mileage varies.

Overall, a great piece of gear for your video toolkit. Check it out at the MXL website.

Also, read my review of the Marshall M-CT5 monitor for off-camera viewing.

You might also like this Q&A on the topic of better audio and off-camera monitoring.

Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about interesting new photography topics across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at travel.dougbardwell@gmail.com with suggestions for future stories. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here. To see his travel photo collection, see BardwellPhotography.com.

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