Beyond its capacity to capture exceptional images and video, one of the most crucial characteristics to look for in a DSLR camera is its ability to record superb audio. The camera's built-in monaural microphone has disappointed most professional and amateur filmmakers, vloggers, and content creators. I like having the option of using an external stereo microphone to record clean, precise sound.
Can I Connect an External USB Mic to a DSLR Camera? An external USB microphone is designed to be connected to a computer through USB, however, most users are unaware of this.
You'll need to follow these instructions if you want to connect your USB microphone to your DSLR camera. First, check sure your USB microphone has a 3.5mm headphone output and a 3.5mm mic input on your DSLR camera. The USB cable that comes with your microphone, a computer, and a 3.5mm male-to-male stereo audio cable are the next items you'll need.
The Secret to Using a USB Mic with a DSLR
After you've put your hardware together, you'll need to connect the audio wires and power the microphone.
- Connect the microphone's 3.5mm headphone output to one end of the 3.5mm male-to-male audio cable.
- Connect the opposite end of the 3.5mm male-to-male audio cable to the 3.5mm mic port on your camera.
- To power the microphone, connect it to a computer using the USB cable that came with it.
How Can You Avoid Digital Distortion?
A USB microphone has all of the features of a standard microphone. It does, however, differ in that it has a built-in preamplifier and an analog-to-digital converter that allows audio to be understood by recording software on a computer. Because we're not using the computer to record, the mic's integrated preamp may produce a very high signal, resulting in digital distortion in your recording. We need to modify the audio levels within the camera to avoid this from occurring.
- Press the Menu button on your camera. As you might expect, this is where you may modify any of your camera's settings, though some options may be unavailable if your camera is in auto mode.
- Select "Sound Recording" from the on-screen menu. This allows you to choose between Auto, Manual, and Disabled sound recording. Switch the sound recording mode from "Auto" to "Manual."
If you leave the camera on Auto, the Automatic Gain Control (AGC) will automatically raise the audio volume, causing a lot of buzzing and interference in your recordings.
How to Adjust the Levels of Your Recording
If you record audio at the wrong levels in your camera, the sound will be horrible. The Recording Levels can be adjusted as follows.
1. Select "Rec. level" from the drop-down menu.
2. Move the slider to the left using the D-pad or touch screen, but this may vary based on the distance between the subject and the camera. To save, click "Set."
We may now regulate the gain or volume level of your microphone directly. Make sure you've got your microphone in your hand.
- Talk to the camera while keeping an eye on the audio levels in decibels on the left and right sides (dB).
- You may control the gain on your microphone directly.
The sound should ideally peak around –12, just below the green bar. After that, you're ready to use your DSLR camera to capture latency-free audio with your external USB microphone.
Are all USB microphones created equal?
You must first select how you intend to use a USB microphone before making your purchase. Not all USB microphones are created equal. Some are made for live-streaming video games, while others are better for capturing music or podcasts.
The three most common applications for a USB microphone are as follows:
- Music Recording
- Gaming/Live Streaming
USB microphones come with a variety of features and settings to experiment with. The Blue Yeti USB Microphone, for example, has a variety of polar patterns to pick from (cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional, bidirectional).
The most significant distinction is in how they employ digital signal processing (DSP). DSP can address and repair a variety of sound quality concerns in a transmission. Some mics utilize DSP sparingly, while others use it heavily, and yet others don't use it at all. Knowing what a USB microphone is for can help you decide which one is right for you.
Condenser vs. Dynamic Microphones
Dynamic and condenser microphones are the two most common varieties. Both are regularly used in music recording but have recently gained popularity in home studios. They come with a choice of XLR, 3.5mm, or USB connections. Depending on your recording needs, each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
Without getting too scientific, Dynamic Microphones are long-lasting microphones that use a diaphragm and a moving wire coil mechanism to sensitively pick up sound wave vibrations. External power is not required for these microphones. High Sound Pressure Levels are best captured using these microphones (SPL). This makes them suitable for artists who need to record from loud sound sources such as amplifiers in outdoor/live recording scenarios while avoiding distortion.
Condenser microphones are sensitive and responsive microphones that pick up vibrations from sound waves using a diaphragm and an electrically charged backplate mechanism. Condenser microphones have small and large diaphragms, therefore they require electricity. These mics provide better frequency response and transient response because they don't have moving coils. Without the use of a preamp, the audio quality of these mics is exceptionally precise and robust. They're great for recording voices in a home studio or with stringed instruments.
Can I Connect an External USB Mic to a DSLR Camera? Yes, using the proper audio cables and a USB cable for power, you can connect an external USB mic to a DSLR camera. If your camera doesn't have a 3.5mm mic input, an adaptor cable may be necessary. Set your recording levels and gain control of your mic that has digital distortion.
It's important to remember that not all USB microphones are created equal. There are many parallels and distinctions between dynamic and condenser microphones. They all have different options and functions, so figure out what you need before you go out and get one. You may use your USB microphone with your DSLR camera to record amazing audio if you follow these procedures.