Audio Adapters

Instructional Video Production 4(1+3)

Lesson 09: Camera Accessories

Audio Adapters

If the video camera does not have built-in XLR connectors, an audio adapter that sits on the bottom of the camera lets to connect an XLR cable from a microphone into the adapter.
Without the adapter, you either have to purchase:

  • a microphone with an 1/8th inch mini-jack cable that will plug right into the camera. But these microphones are usually of lower quality than a microphone with an XLR connector.
  • an XLR to mini-jack adapter cable to connect a more expensive microphone into the 1/8th inch mini-jack plug in the camera. But the adapter cable is thick and tends to put a lot of stress on the plug in the camera, often producing electrical shorts in the plug.

An audio adapter avoids these problems because it is a box-like unit that screws onto the underside of the camera. An 1/8th inch mini-jack cable on the adapter then plugs into the camera's mini-jack mic plug.
The adapter has two XLR plugs that can be used to connect to two different microphones with XLR cables.
Here's what an audio adapter we use, made by Beachtek, looks like:


This adapter has a screw that attaches it to the bottom of the camera.
The 1/8th inch mini-jack cable protruding from the adapter is plugged into the mini-jack plug on the camera.


Caution - once the audio adapter cable is plugged into the camera, it will disable the built-in microphone in the camera.
So if you're using an external mic with the audio adapter during a shoot and you decide to use the camera's built-in microphone for some footage, be sure to unplug the cable from the audio adapter so the built-in mic will function.
This is a very common problem and easy to overlook! Use your headphones to double check that you have sound before shooting - it's easy to make a mistake and come back from a shoot with no sound.
On the side of the adapter are the two XLR connectors for XLR cables that you can use to connect to one or two microphones to the camera.


Audio Volume Controls
On the back of the adapter are separate volume controls for each of the XLR microphone plugs. These dials control the recording volume for each microphone.

Finally there are switches for each XLR plug that toggle between mic and line.
Flip the switch to mic for recording with a microphone.
The line setting is used when you are getting a direct audio feed from an audio mixer, such as what might be provided at a press conference or a public event.
You'll also see a switch for toggling between Mono and Stereo. Leave this on the Stereo
setting, so if you plug in two microphones the audio will be recorded on separate tracks (if you only have one microphone plugged in, it will record to a single track even if it's set at Stereo).


Last modified: Monday, 23 April 2012, 8:09 AM