How to Monitor Audio on Cameras Without Headphone Jack

In this episode of cinema5D Essentials, Li-Lian and Johnnie discuss how to monitor audio if you have a camera with no headphone jack. Bear in mind that you still need a microphone input in order to be able to use this tip. 

Saramonic SmartRig+

What can you learn in this episode?

Some of the recent small, video-capable mirrorless cameras like the Sony a6500/a6300 and the FUJIFILM X-T20 are equipped with a microphone input but lack a headphone output. This is a major concern when needing to monitor audio during shooting interviews, or when wanting to control audio in general. One of our solutions is to use the modestly-priced Saramonic SmartRig+ 2-Channel XLR Microphone Audio Mixer. In this episode we take a closer look at this device.

Saramonic Smart Rig+ Pros:

  • 2 professional XLR inputs
  • Separate gain control knobs for each audio channel
  • Can be used with a smartphone or a DSLR/Mirrorless camera
  • It provides a standard 48V phantom power
  • Better pre-amps then most DSLRs
  • Offers a headphone jack to monitor audio

Saramonic Smart Rig+ Cons:

  • No headphone volume adjustment, which can get quiet at times
  • No battery level indicator
  • You monitor the sound that comes into the Saramonic, which is not necessarily what makes the camera is recording.

Love this new episode and looking for previous ones? Look no further. Click here to see all our previous episodes.

Music was kindly provided by Art List.

What solution do you use when monitoring sound with your camera?  Do you have any special tricks to help combat the absence of a monitor jack ? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Joachim Richter
Member

After thinking a lot about this topic I use an external monitor with headphone output.

 Erkki Juurus
Member
Erkki Juurus

I’ve got one solution similar to that Saramonic, namely Tascam DR60D Mk2, which has all the same pros plus some, like a slate function and both mic and line level outputs. It also takes care of two of those cons. The third con is trickier to solve, unless you’re using a field recorder for both video and audio.
The cons, the DR60D is slightly larger than the Saramonic, and you need six AA batteries to run it. Which are often the easiest to find out in the ‘wild,’ though.

My favourite solution is simply to go old school. I just do dual audio and sync the audio tracks in post.
That way you can either keep the recorder attached to the camera or somewhere closer to the source when not moving, and you can keep on capturing audio even between takes if you want to. Like you wrote, most smaller cameras have crappy audio, anyway, so you might as well bypass it completely.
The only major con, more work in post.

Member
Matthew Hartman

Simple. Watch your dB meter.

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