When I began using my Canon T3i to shoot video last spring I quickly discovered that the onboard microphone was terrible. It did not capture good audio and, even worse, you could hear the autofocus motor when it was doing its thing. I ultimately solved this by using a Marshall Electronics MXL FR-310 Hot Shoe Shotgun Microphone (read the review) and a firmware hack that gave me more control over the camera’s operating system. It worked well but the Canon T3i and even the Sony NEX-6 I am now using, are a bit on the large side. It makes sense to use the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad mini to shoot video since one or more of them are always with me and they do a decent job when it comes to the visual quality of videos. Unfortunately the audio leaves something to be desired. Thankfully the inexpensive Satechi Professional DV Stereo Microphone lets you capture good audio with your iOS device. But there is a catch.
The Satechi Professional DV Stereo Microphone is a simple affair. It measures 5″ x 1″ x 3″ and weighs in at just 8 oz. At $75 it is not exactly inexpensive. Right now, however, it is about 1/3 the price. That makes it a bargain.
The packaging is completely uninspiring. That’s okay by me since I would prefer companies not waste resources on something that is thrown away. Inside are the Condenser Microphone, a Wind Screen, a CR2 battery, a bag and a Manual Instruction. The microphone is light. Made of plastic, until the included battery is inserted, it feels more than a bit cheap. The battery adds just enough weight to make it feel substantial enough. A thin cord runs from the microphone and ends in a 3.5mm jack.
On one side you will find a three position switch: Off, 90 degrees and 120 degree. 90 degrees is good for straight on filming while the 120 degree setting it better for capturing audio from a wider perspective.
A small light sites just above it. It flashes briefly when the switch is moved but does no stay on in order to avoid distracting the video subjects. And while having the light turn off makes sense, I did find myself wondering if the microphone was on or not more than once. (I even shot a video without the microphone turned on. What a waste of time.)
Satechi describes the product this way:
It is delicate and light, 2 built-in cartridges which are vertical to each other. The MIC-1 enables a natural sound pick-up. And it is with low voltage alarm indication, wide frequency, high sensitivity, and strong direction, long distance sound pick up, natural, clear and sweet.
The Satechi Professional DV Stereo Microphone is compatible with the Canon 7D 5D Mark II Rebel T3i T2i 60D, Nikon D300S D3S D7000 D5100 Coolpix P7000 and many more. That would be great if I was looking for a microphone for my Canon T3i but my goal was to do better video using my iOS devices. That’s where the problem entered in. You see, while the Satechi Professional DV Stereo Microphone does have a 3.5mm plug it is just different enough from the one that works with iOS devices and, as a result, you are not able to directly plug the microphone into an iOS device. To accomplish that you need something like KVConnection’s “iPhone 1/8 inch microphone adapter – 3.5mm 4 conductor TRRS Male to 3.5mm Microphone Input Jack”.
It looks like a simple 3.5mm extension but it does magic and lets the microphone work with all of my iOS devices. It is certainly worth the extra $25 it cost. The combination of the Satechi Professional DV Stereo Microphone and the adapter from KVConnection does its magic and, as a result, audio on iOS videos is much better. How much better? Check this out.
The Satechi Professional DV Stereo Microphone and the adapter from KVConnection now have a permanent place in my gear bag. The normal price of the microphone is $79.99. Add in the $25 for the adapter and this isn’t inexpensive but it does the job. Moreover, the microphone is currently available for just $24.99. That means you can get much better audio on your iOS videos for just about $50. To my mind that is a bargain. Check out the microphone here.
MSRP: $79.99 but currently listed on the site for $24.99; KVConnection adapter is $24.99
What I Like: Discounted price makes it quite inexpensive; Light and made of plastic but does not feel flimsy; When used with the adapter lets you get much better audio from your iOS device
What Needs Improvement: Power
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample