September 14, 2011

Mitra 3D Mic Pro Review

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NOTE: If you listen to the audio/video samples linked to from this page, please do so with headphones on. If you do not, you will not hear the difference and are wasting your time.

If you record video with your DSLR you have probably started to figure out that the audio can be as important as the video. I’ve never heard on-camera micas that sound good so it stands to reason that an external mic will be required if you want good quality audio.

I’ve tested and owned many microphones. I’ve specifically tested more than one dozen mics specifically for use with DSLRs that record video. None of them can hold a candle to the Mitra 3D Mic Pro. Yep – that’s right I said 3D.

More on that in a minute. First – let’s talk about the basics. Whether or not you are interested in truly immersive sound, you still want as good a mic as you can afford. In general, the specs I consider to be important include having multiple interfaces. In the case of the Mitra 3D Mic Pro it supports devices that have a Mic, Line or XLR input. I want phantom-powered mics and this unit not only has phantom power, but has protection against power surges. I also expect low noise, low distortion, clean sound. I also want the unit to be rugged. Again, the 3D Mic Pro meets or exceeds my expectations on all counts.

The 3D side of this unit comes from the company’s patent-pending technology. It uses an audio signal modifier SHEM, which simulates human hearing by capturing the pshychoaccoustics, and records it in any audio recorder or a video camera. Standard stereo mics can’t record 3D sound. This mic can. It sounds like a gimmick but put some headphones on and listen to the playback after you record something with this mic. You’ll hear the immersive experience. Most of you will never need to actually make a 3D movie, but there is no doubt that this technology helps make any recording sound more realistic – 3D or not.

In the accompanying clips, my pal Rich Harrington and his crew from Rhed Pixel followed me to the famed Las Vegas Motor Speedway. I had the fun job (no make that fantastic job) of driving my supercharged 2011 Corvette Grand Sport around the Super Speedway Oval while they recorded the event on video. Rich and crew used fairly high-quality on-camera mics to record the audio and then tried the Mitra 3D Mic Pro. You can hear for yourself. The difference is purely amazing. In fact, I was floored by the difference.

On Camera Mic Sample – (Again use headphones if you really care about this) Note this is over modulated and distorted and the bass is too thick. You may prefer this sound to real life, but in the kind of work I do with video, I need ACCURATE sound and this muddy rumble is cool – but not accurate.

Mitra 3D Mic Sample – (Again use headphones if you really care about this) This sample is accurate and allows you to hear what we heard on the track. The subtle sound of the supercharger (a sort of high-pitched whine) is completely gone using the on-camera mic but you can hear it if you listen carefully (particularly with headphones) in the 3D sample. The presence is more accurate and meaningful and much cleaner.

The phrase “game changer” is used to often in our industry – in fact it’s over used – but in this case, it is appropriate. I was shocked, surprised, and thrilled with the output from this mic. (I might run out of adjectives here but am still working on them.) The localization, immersive quality and clean sound you get from the 3D Mic Pro will change the way you think about audio for video forever. For those who are serious about recording video on a DSLR, and who want pro-audio, you cannot go wrong with this mic.

The one down side of this mic is its price. At just under $1000, it’s on the spendy side. But you get what you pay for. And spendy is relative. $1000 will seem high to some of you. In the pro audio world it’s not expensive at all. It’s chicken feed if it works and it does.

Very Highly Recommended.

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