Are you looking to connect your Rodecaster Pro to your video camera? In this article, you’ll discover how to connect the mixer to a camera.
Quick Answer: It’s a simple process that involves connecting the two through either unbalanced cables or an audio interface. The unbalanced connections are the most straightforward and work fine for close-quarter setups. An audio interface with a balanced XLR connection allows for greater control and longer distances.
Equipment Set Up
Start with your microphone already connected to the Rodecaster Pro. Your audio input level should hover within the green ‘sweet spot’ range indicated on the mixer’s display.
Getting your microphone input levels right will be essential for maintaining that balance as we go about feeding the signal into the camera.
Before we dive in, there’s three useful concepts worth brushing on:
Camera Preamp Quality
Preamps are responsible for strengthening audio signals. Your camera mic preamps simply aren’t up to the task here, so leave the heavy lifting to the Rodecaster Pro. Go ahead and turn down the recording level on your camera mic to the lowest active level.
Line level vs mic level
These terms refer to the voltage generated by microphones as they process sound. In essence, line levels are much stronger than mic levels. If your signal is clipping and distorting, it’s because you’re sending too much audio from your mixer’s line level output to your camera’s mic input.
Balanced vs unbalanced signals
Balanced cables use two signal wires to send the audio, which minimizes noise. Unbalanced signals will result in interference and low-quality signal at distances of over 15ft. If your setup is within that range, you can explore options 1 or 2. If you’re looking to stretch the connection beyond 15ft, jump to option 3.
With that covered, here’s how we connect the Rodecaster Pro Mixer to a video camera:
Option 1 – Connect Headphone Output to Camera (Unbalanced)
Rodecaster Headphone Output > ¼” TRS to ⅛” TRS cable > Camera Mic Input (up to 15ft)
Find the headphone output port on the back of the Rodecaster Pro and plug in the ¼” jack. Then take the ⅛” end and connect it to your camera’s mic input.
Target your level to fluctuate somewhere between the scale of -20db and -3db. Keeping your loudest level at around -6db is encouraged. That should leave you enough headroom in case your voices spike in volume throughout recording.
Turning the speaking knob on the top right of the mixer will increase the gain. If levels exceed -3db, you’ll likely be left with a distorted signal. In that case, that information is lost and the audio quality simply can’t be saved.
Option 2 – Connect Stereo Output To Camera (Unbalanced)
Rodecaster Left/Right Output > Dual ¼” TS to ⅛” TRS Cable > Camera Mic Input
This route is pretty much the same as the last but with a slightly different cable. On the back of the Rodecater Pro, you’ll find the left and right stereo outputs. Take the split cable and plug the black jack into the left and the red jack into the right. Then, insert the other ⅛” into the camera’s mic input, just like before.
You can expect to find a small signal level bobbing on the mixer’s display again, so you can go ahead and crank up the gain a little again, making sure you maintain that headroom.
Reminder: this cable is also unbalanced, and will suffer a drop in quality beyond 15 feet.
Option 3 – Connect Stereo Output To Camera Interface (Balanced)
Rodecaster Pro > ¼” TRS to XLR Balanced Cable > Audio Interface > ⅛” TRS cable > Camera Mic Input
Specialized camera audio interfaces offer the best way to send balanced audio inputs into your camera for recording. While it is an additional cost for your setup, you can pick one up for around $50. The Beachtek -DXA-2T is a solid entry-level pick. You can mount it to your camera or on a tripod.
Camera audio interfaces feature balanced XLR inputs, meaning you can transfer the audio signal up to 1000ft with little interference. This makes them ideal for long distances.
You can also control the audio levels from the interface, giving your camera operator more control.
If your camera tells you the signal is clipping, you can toggle the audio interface to line level. This will let it know where the signal is coming from so that it can bring it down to a healthy level.
Generally, keeping the audio interface on mic-level input is fine if you prefer to keep things controlled from the mixer rather than the camera. Mic level sends the smallest possible signal from the Rodecaster to the audio interface. That lets us keep the output from the Rodecaster as low as possible, avoiding any unwanted hissing.
So let’s go ahead and hook these up.
First, take your ¼” TRS to XLR cable and connect the TRS jacks to the left / right output of the Rodecaster, just like above. This is what’s known as a converter cable. You can keep your set-up tidy by opting for shorter ones of around 1ft in length.
You’ll then connect the corresponding XLR connection to the audio interface. Finally, connect the audio interface to the camera using an ⅛” TRS cable.
You can experiment with the levels to find the right balance. Typically, turning the Rodecaster output to about 70% and the interface to around 60% should be plenty.
Note: if your set-up spans over 15ft, this is the only way to go to maintain a clean, high-quality audio signal. But If you’re just sharing a table in a small studio then options 1 and 2 are just as workable.
Connect Rodecaster Pro To Video Camera
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- Kopul CMX2: http://currentprice.io/kopul_cmx2
- Tascam DR60D MKII: http://currentprice.io/dr60d
- Sound Devices MixPre-3: http://currentprice.io/mixpre3
PRICING FOR EQUIPMENT FEATURED IN THIS TUTORIAL:
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- SSL2+ Audio Interface: https://currentprice.io/ssl2_plus
- Audio Interface For Camera: http://currentprice.io/kopul_cmx2
- 1/4″ TRS to 1/8″ TRS Cable: https://currentprice.io/14trs_18trs
- Dual 1/4″ TS to 1/8″ TRS Cable: http://currentprice.io/14_to_dual_18
- RCA to 1/8″ TRS Cable: https://currentprice.io/18_rca
- TRS To XLR Cable: https://currentprice.io/trs_xlr
- Camera Interface: http://currentprice.io/kopul_cmx2
- Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro Headphones: https://currentprice.io/beyer_dt_990
- XLR Cable: https://currentprice.io/xlr_cable
- Mic Stand: https://currentprice.io/desk_stand
- Rode PSA1+ Boom Arm: http://currentprice.io/psa1_plus
Connect Rodecaster Pro To Video Camera Topics
- 0:00 – Introduction
- 0:29 – Equipment Setup
- 1:25 – Camera Preamp Quality
- 2:21 – Line Level vs Mic Level
- 3:20 – Balanced vs Unbalanced Signal
- 5:36 – Option 1 – Connect Headphone Output to Camera (Unbalanced)
- 8:24 – Option 2 – Connect Stereo Output To Camera (Unbalanced)
- 10:08 – Option 3 – Connect Stereo Output To Camera (Balanced)
- 14:44 – Summary
- 15:09 – Final Thoughts