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Red Giant Color Suite, with Magic Bullet Looks 2.5 and Colorista II

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    by Stu Maschwitz

RØDE smartLav

Perhaps one of the most controversial posts I’ve ever made here was Production Audio is Ripe for Revolution. I admitted that I’ve always found production audio confusing and asked gear makers to take my money in exchange for making my life easier.

It seems that RØDE Microphones was way ahead of me, as they have since announced two very interesting products, the iXY stereo microphone, and—of much greater interest to filmmakers—the smartLav lavaliere mic. Both attach to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch and use the RØDE Rec iOS app.

Are we done? Not even close. There’s ample room for further innovation, but this is a great step. The terrific news is that now, with these hardware devices, RØDE can continue to develop the app and add new features, such as (who knows?) remote monitoring and control, integration with a slate app. And a shotgun model would be a welcome addition to this line.

No pricing or specific release dates (beyond “early 2013”) are available yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

Reader Comments (18)

Good thing is the Rode's app work with any lav microphone, I try with a audio-technica mic and it work.

February 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterVincent Follézou

Looks a lot like Fire.

February 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterDavid Ackerman

Please explain what's new about this (expensive) combination of the smartLav + Rode Rec + iPhone then just a cheap memo recorder and a lav microphone? I would be impressed if I could (wirelessly) monitor the audiostream. Maybe I'm missing something?

I still totally agree with the original post; audio recording needs a revolution!

February 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterDorus Oerlemans

Ha! Nice find Stu.

February 3, 2013 | Registered CommenterJason Brown

Um but the connection is not balanced? No XLR input means you could get some interferance and buzz couldn't you not?

I don't think anything is really going to change with audio. The principles are pretty simple and it can be more of a complex beast than video hence the reason there hans't been much simplification in terms of technology. But I looking forward to any new advancements. This gimmik by Rhodes frankly isn't.

February 4, 2013 | Registered Commentergian carlo

Another tool I thought was interesting is the Alesis iO mix. Although I'm not sure it really simplifies the process of audio, it's pretty cool that it interfaces with your iPad, and gives you 4 channels of audio. I do worry about some of the poor reviews I've read about their previous release of a similar device called the iO Dock, and I can't say I have any personal experience with the iO Mix myself, so it's hard to tell just how handy these devices are.

They do look cool though.

February 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterKarl Spencer

There wont be any more chance of interference than on any other wireless lav system. Is the Sennheiser G3 system XLR no. XLR is more for longer cable runs really and the cable on the smartlav is no longer than any other wireless or wired lav system. yes there are cheap ebay lav mics that work with the iPhone but this is the first from a trusted manufacturer. Its not designed to replace existing gear or sound recordists, just to help out or be a backup solution for jobs where sound recordists were never going to be.

February 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterJason Wingrove

I hope my Android Nexus 7 is going to get a little love from Rode ....

February 4, 2013 | Registered CommenterRob Hunt

The g3 Series is XLR...the receiver plugs into your camera via XLR.

Balanced cables are not just for long cable runs. They reduce noise in all audio applications and the design has a strong noise reduction advantage.

Majority and if not all audio professional audio gear uses XLR.

February 5, 2013 | Registered Commentergian carlo

Obviously i'm referring to the mic cable of a Senn G3 kit, which terminates with a 3.5mm plug. In this instance which is less likely to catch interference? a direct to recorder setup, or wirelessly transmitting to a receiver, its cables, then recorder?

Regardless, did you see any of Rødes videos? No one is saying this is a replacement for a professional setup, constant monitoring or on set workflow, It just offers an alternative for those who have to do it all and don't want to carry a whole sound dept on their back, for Vimeo spec delivery and made by a company you've heard of.

February 5, 2013 | Registered CommenterJason Wingrove

How is this any simpler than connecting a wired lav with xlr connector to a Zoom H4N? Admitedly the Zoom is much larger than an iphone, but it's also half the cost. Plus there are no Apps to fiddle around with. You take the SD card and transfer the files to your computer.

An interesting idea, but it still looks more complicated than it needs to be.

February 8, 2013 | Registered CommenterKent Wiley

I guess its designed to be the recorder you always have with you?. With a separate recorder you need to remember memory cards, the recorder itself and its proprietary batteries, an iphone has int memory and (hopefully) already charged. its also the recorder where everyone on set potentially turns up with a backup Its easy to get the data off the phone via wifi to iTunes and the rec app has the ability to process, filter, edit and upload to your cloud of choice.. Last i checked most recorders cant do that. XLR also sometimes requires phantom power which for many recorders ive used has you checking the battery level every 10 seconds and changing them over after half an hour.

This is also a solution you can slip into any subjects pocket without them being conscious of it, try that with a H4N.

i dont think this is designed to replace an external recorder in all applications, if you think recorders are bulky & power hungry with mind boggling menus this is for you, but if you have a neat effective workflow already, need to monitor the audio and have plenty of space in your bags and people to help with them then clearly your sorted. But for some one man band, or field reporter setups this will really suit.

Oh and lastly... the app is dead intuitive and the H4N's menu sucks balls :-)

February 8, 2013 | Registered CommenterJason Wingrove

Downside is using a smartphone as the computer. I am not going to spend $300 for an iPhone and another $360 a year for the mandatory data plan from the telco to use a microphone. I understand the attraction to developers who can create new apps with very little effort, not unlike all the Visual Basic stuff that polluted the Wintel computer space for decades.

I dislike all in one approaches as it becomes a situation of jack of all trades and master of none. If I have a problem with a phone I do not want it to affect anything other than my ability to call someone.

February 8, 2013 | Registered CommenterBruce Stenman

An iPod touch is less than $200 and requires no data plan. That plus the smartLav is cheaper than many bulky multi-purpose recorders on their own, before buying any kind of lav kit.

February 8, 2013 | Registered CommenterStu

A device disguised as a $60 audio accessory with the power to coerce the human psyche into buying unnecessary data plans and smartphones they may already own? Cunning stuff Røde!

February 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterJason Wingrove


February 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterStu

Ha, Jason, yes I own the Zoom and tend to agree! Any chance we can get a good audio comparison using same lav but different devices? I'm still skeptical of the quality...

February 12, 2013 | Registered Commenterjim bachalo

Hi Stu, and all...this is actually pretty sweet...I'll need to take it on a test run.
I agree it would be interesting to see a shotgun...

I'm wondering about the mics dynamic range and ability to take wind and intensities.
Wish there was even a wireless version using the phone as the recorder.

Now the lav states it will work on Android phones as well...but their app is iOS only...I hope they come out with an Android version as well...

Think about could iso record low budget for each actor then mix down in post... Stu as usual I agree with your perspective that audio is an area ripe for needed change.

February 16, 2013 | Registered CommenterRaymond Adams
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Sorry, comments are disabled temporarily while I tweak some stuff.
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