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3.5 mm TRRS Plugs

A TRRS or Tip Ring Ring Sleeve plug has four conductors and is very popular with 3.5mm, and can be used with stereo unbalanced audio with video… or with stereo unbalanced audio plus a mono microphone conductor. The TRRS connector is extremely popular with smartphones and tablets, and to some degree with computers, including Chromebooks and Macs. Unfortunately, there are two conflicting standards associated with its use with stereo unbalanced audio plus a mono microphone conductor.
I know of two professional audio manufacturers who have manufactured device for use in audio/video production with smartphones and tablets. Those are the original iRig Pre and several microphones from MXL which I’ll review soon.
The older OMTP wiring standard calls for Tip to be used for left audio, Ring 1 to be used for right audio, ring 2 to be used for microphone, and the sleeve to be used for ground. According to my research, this older OMTP standard is found in old Nokia (and also Lumia starting from the 2nd generation), old Samsung (2012 Chromebooks), old Sony Ericsson (2010 and 2011 Xperias), Sony (PlayStation Vita) and the OnePlus One I used to own before migrating to a Nexus 6 for use with Project Fi.
The newer CTIA/AHJ wiring standard reverses the last two mentioned, so it calls for Tip to be used for left audio, Ring 1 to be used for right audio, ring 2 to be used for ground, and the sleeve to be used for microphone. According to my research, this newer CTIA/AHJ wiring standard is used in products from Apple, HTC, latest Nokia, latest Samsung, Jolla, Sony (Dualshock 4), Microsoft (including Surface, Lumia, and XboxOne controller with chat adapter) and most Android phones.
ctia compatibility

 To that I will add that if you use an MXL microphone with TRRS with a supported Mac, in some cases you absolutely must connect a TRS stereo headphone into the TRS stereo jack which is part of the MXL microphone. Otherwise, the supported Mac will not realize that there is a mic connected. Apparently, with some of the supported Macs, it does not detect the presence of a TRRS plug, but also the impedance of the stereo headset plugged connectemm

What Free Player Will Play AVCHD (MTS) Video Files on Windows PC?

Users who have AVCHD clips recorded on a HD Panasonic AVCCAM lineup product can play them in free open source Media Player Classic - Home Cinema (MPC-HC). Quicktime does not play them...
VLC does not either.
 MPC-HC is an extremely light-weight, open source media player for Windows®. It supports all common video and audio file formats available for playback. Media Player Classic - Home Cinema (MPC-HC) spyware free, there are no advertisements or toolbars.

Read Sourceforge editors review of Media Player Classic - Home Cinema (MPC-HC).

Download Page

MPC-HC is the only Free Player that Will Play AVCHD (MTS) Video Files on Windows PC.

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Pretty cool for free.

Now please enter your email address. there I said please.

What is a USB Audio Interface

An audio interface connects your standard large condenser cardioid microphone to your computer and provides phantom power for the mic. Phantom power must be switched off for other microphones. A digital audio signal is sent to your computer USB or Firewire connection. At the same time a signal is sent back with audio for monitoring headphones, the goal being zero latency.
There are a couple of other connection scenarios that we won't get into here, because they go with much more expensive equipment, usually. We can get great results without that expense.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface
Includes two microphone preamps. If you are new to this you may be wondering about phantom power. Large diaphragm condenser mic's require phantom power to operate which is provided by this interface.

 Most PC and Mac computers come equipped with USB ports and FireWire is a Mac invention. The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface uses USB output

 Bit depth and sample rate.
 Bit depth has a huge impact on your sound.  if you work at 16-bit, the quieter sections of your audio will tend to be noisy.

With 144dB of range, 24-bit audio is considered the professional standard

Sample rate. Each sample is a digital snapshot of the captured audio. the 44.1kHz sample rate is theoretically capable of reproducing frequencies as high as 22.05kHz.  Most audio is done at 48kHz, 96kHz, or even 176.4 or 192kHz.

Working at 24-bit/44.1kHz can be done, and some USB mic's use that output. Better is 24-bit/96kHz.  Higher sample rates and bit depths use more disc space.

Under $100.00USD- Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB 2.0 Audio Interface, 2-in/2-out, 24-bit/192kHz, with 1 Mic Preamp, 1 Instrument Input, USB Bus Power, and Bundled Software - Mac/PC

 Or the Focusrite ITrack solo,USB / iOS Lightning Audio Interface compatible with firewire connections to Mac and Ipad.

Rode NT1-A Recording Studio Kit with USB / iOS Lightning Audio Interface, Desktop Stand, and Headphones  $379.95

Condenser Microphone w/ 1" Diaphragm

Cardioid Polar Pattern

Transformerless Output Stage

USB / Lightning Audio Interface


Rode NT1-A Complete Recording Solution $229

What Are Electret Condenser Microphones?

We see many very cheap microphones listed as condenser microphones. Sometime the description includes the term "electret". What does that mean?

Studio microphones are often advertised as “true condensers”. What does that mean, and is there such a thing as “false” condenser microphones?

microphone electronics can only sense this capacitance change, if the condenser capsule is charged or “polarized” with a voltage. For good sensitivity, this polarization voltage must be fairly high.

There are two ways to apply this electric charge. The traditional way is to polarize the capsule with an external voltage. In studio applications, that’s no problem. The standard powering system is P48 Phantom power, which delivers 48 volts – enough to polarize the capsule, although many modern condenser mics contain voltage converters for even higher voltages (usually 60-80 volts)

Another polarization method is to “freeze” an electric charge permanently in the capsule. This is done by applying a special substance called “electret”. The term “electret” was coined, because it is the electrostatic equivalent of a permanent magnet. Usually, the electret film is applied to the capsule’s backplat
The fact that electret condenser capsules are more likely to be found in lower end products gave this technology a questionable reputation. Also, some early electret condensers went dead after a few years, because they lost their electric charge.

As a reaction, the term “true condenser” was coined for externally polarized capsules to differentiate them from presumably lower quality electret condensers. But that’s a marketing term. Technically, there is no such thing as a “false” or “untrue” condenser capsule
Electret condenser capsules don’t have to sound bad; nor do modern specimens lose their electric charge like some of their ancestors of the 1970s did. A number of reputable manufacturers are convinced enough of electret condenser technology to employ it in their top-of-the-line microphones, some of which costing more than $ 2000
Good sound is not simply the result of a particular polarization scheme. Superior sound quality comes with great engineering and high attention to detail in manufacture.
Just in case you’re wondering: All Neumann condenser microphones use externally polarized “true condenser” capsules.

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