There’s been a lot of interest in a recent post I made on Sescom cables, and how they help you get good audio inside a camera when working with a portable digital recorder. Well, it turns out that Sescom makes another variation of this cable which makes it possible to also monitor your audio on headphones as you record. A company called Markertek was kind enough to send me one of these cables to test out. As usual, I figured I’d share my findings with you.
The problem with using a regular Sescom cable is that it consumes the headphone output on your portable digital recorder, leaving you with no way to listen to the sound. That’s why they make special Sescom cables with a headphone tap. Instead of it just being a straight cable with a -25dB pad, it’s a Y-Cable with a female 3.5mm headphone jack. This enables you to feed the sound from your portable digital recorder directly into your camera’s mic input, while listening on headphones at the same time.
People often worry that if they split an audio signal, it will degrade the quality of the sound. This is a legitimate thing to worry about. If you’re going to split a signal, you’re much better off using a cable or a device that was custom designed for the task at hand, rather than Frankensteining together cheap Radio Shack adapter cables. These Sescom DSLR cables are perfect examples of high-quality, purpose built problem solving cables.
All in all, I found that I got a very good sound using this cable. However, I would have gotten an even better sound if I had the option to turn off the AGC (automatic gain control) in the camera I was using. Being able to listen to your audio is a very important thing. I really think if you’re considering buying a Sescom cable, getting one that has the headphone output is a must.
If you want to go ahead an outfit yourself with this cable, this is the one I used:
1) The Sescom LN2MIC-ZMH4-MON
If you’re using a Panasonic GH1 or GH2, then you want the special cable that Sescom makes with a 2.5mm male plug for the camera’s sub-mini mic input:
2) The Sescom LN2MIC-ZMGH-MON
These cables were designed with DLSR cameras in mind, but they work with other kinds of video cameras. I’m still saving up to buy a DSLR of my own (the DSLR’s I’ve used in my other videos were all borrowed), so I didn’t have one to use on this test. Instead I used my Panasonic PV-GS200 mini DV camera. I figured the HV20 crowd might be into using Sescom cables too, so I may as well go ahead and try it out.
If you liked the sound that I got in the video when using the XLR inputs on my Zoom H4n, the mics that I used were a wired Tram TR50, and an Audio Technica 4053b. And of course if you have any questions about any of this stuff, I encourage you to leave it in a Comment below.