You may have noticed that I’ve started making a few videos for YouTube recently. It’s been a fun creative challenge and break from my writing day job. I’ve also hoped to share some lessons with Christians and Church’s as I’ve progressed and learned. Today, I’m testing the Rode Smartlav vs Rode VideoMicro vs iPhone to see which is the best audio for phone videos.
Why Audio Quality Matters to Videos
Audio quality is more important than video quality when it comes to videos, particularly for YouTube. Some people don’t even watch videos but listen to audio (Shout out to all my fellow YouTube premium subscribers), and many more will put up with (or not even notice) low quality video but low quality audio turns them away immediately.
Yesterday I was watching a camera review and after the flashy entrance, I heard this distant audio and immediately stopped watching. I didn’t want to have to strain my ears to listen.
Admittedly, content is even more important but no one will understand your content if they can’t hear it.
Is the default phone audio good enough for videos?
Out of the box, most smartphones have a lot that help them create better audio. They are designed to cut out background noise for phone calls.
If you can remember the early days of the smartphone 20 years ago, I’m sure you’ll agree modern phones do a much better job. This technology is applied to videos but there are limits to what a computer can do to overcome physics.
The closer a microphone is to the source of audio, the easier it’s job is.
So you can just use your smartphone (and it’s better to just get started than worry endlessly about finding the right gear) but a shotgun microphone or lav microphone will give you better audio.
Warning! Be careful of TRS and TRRS connectors and cables
I recorded the whole video twice because I mixed up my cables. I had an extension cable and the rode VideoMicro’s cable came in TRS no TRRS. The iPhone didn’t accept these cables and so defaulted to its normal microphone, leading to no difference in audio quality.
After identifying the problem, I repeated the experiment and this time there was a clear difference. So make sure you have the right cable or adaptor for your phone or camera.
Which smartphone audio is best? The VideoMicro, Smartlav or iPhone?
In my opinion, the VideoMicro and Smartlav have very little between them and so I can’t really say which is the best smartphone audio for videos. However, I can use the Smartlav easily with my phone, so I’ll continue to use that one. I’m really interested in testing a set up with the VideoMicro on a boom stand to compare that audio, but I need to get a stand and adapter first!
Which audio sounds best to you? The Rode VideoMicro, the Rode SmartLav or the iPhone?