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A Shure Bet for Great DSLR Audio

Is this the perfect solution for DSLR audio?

Shure VP83FForget about the legendary Shure quality construction.

Forget about the all metal case.

Here's what's great about this –

Shure has topped everyone by including a digital recorder inside their new VP83F shotgun microphone.

Mount it on your DSLR, plug in your headphones, tap the output and feed it to your camera, and you're ready to create great audio. 

Here's a link to the Shure site with more info.

How much it will cost?

Good question. The Shure VP83F will be available the summer of 2013 but the price point has not been announced.

Consider this:

  • The RODE Videomic with a Rykote Lyre suspension system costs $170 USD
  • A Zoom H1 costs $100 USD
  • A Sescom 3.5mm Splitter to feed phones and camera costs $35 USD
  • Total costs – $305 USD

The Shure VP83F will likely perform as well as these devices plus it has a metal case. If you can get the VP83F for less than $350 it's a great deal. You replace two devices in your kit with one integrated device. That's fewer batteries, fewer cables and fewer headaches.

Speaking of batteries, Shure says you'll get about 10 hours of recording from a pair of AA batteries. The recorder specs are decent. It captures WAV files to a microSD card at 24 bit/48kHz. Plenty good enough for voice.

If you already have a recorder you can get the Shure VP83

Shure VP83

The VP83 is the same mic without the recorder.

They've add a low cut switch for knocking down wind and air conditioning rumble.

And it has a three position level switch for boosting quiet sounds or trimming back loud ones.

It has the same construction, same Rykote support and should sound exactly the same as the Shure VP83F. Plus Shure says it will get 125 hours from a single AA battery.

How will they sound?

Both of these mics are short shotgun mics – meaning they are hypercardiod. Shure says they have a pick up pattern about 75 degrees wide.

You'll get decent rejection of sounds from the back and sides of the mic. And they should have a decently wide sweet spot so the audio level and quality will hold even if the talent moves around a little.

One of the issues with shotgun mics is capturing good low end audio. With the mic several feet away from the sound source you don't always get a warm rich sound. Some of the camera mounted mini-shotguns mics on the market these days are very thin sounding as a result.

I haven't heard these mics but when Shure says they have a warm low end I trust they know what they're talking about.

Accessories

At the same time, a warm low end can be deadly in the wind. Shure includes a foam windscreen that should take care of light breeze. You should be okay with the air movement from a vent above a desk in an office.

For anything outside I'd recommend picking up the optional Rykote fuzzy "dead cat" wind muff. Otherwise you're likely to get bad audio with even a light breeze. That's true for all mics and especially true for shot guns.

If you plan to mount the mic on a stand to get it closer to your talent you'll also need a 3.5mm male to female extension cable. If you're using the VP83F you'll need a couple so you can monitor the signal with your headphones.

The Downside

One thing to consider with integrated devices is what happens when one element breaks. If the mic is good but the recorder isn't working you'll need another recorder and some way to get audio into it. If the recorder works but the mic has an issue you can't plug another mic in.

A wise person will always have a backup system and integrated equipment demands it.

Check out this video

The Bottom Line

If you need a camera mounted short shotgun mic with a recorder built in, headphone output and a feed for your camera, this could be the perfect solution.

I've used Shure mics for years and they always perform. I trust this new mic will continue the Shure tradition of high quality, reliable microphones.

As soon as possible we'll do a one-on-one comparison with the RODE Videomic pro so you can hear for yourself.

What do you think? Leave a comment or ask a question below.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Billy Haynes says:

    The Zoom H-6 may have some use for somebody. Not me. I would buy the Sure VP83F in a New York miniute and not look back. The Zoom H6 is far too complicated in comparison…following the endless anal retentive problems and solutions to good audio. I must have bad ears that aren't near as critical as they're supposed to be. Huh? 

    • adriel says:

      Whenever I see a commercial on TV that leaves me shaking my head, wondering who they are talking to and who buys that I just say, “Obviously, I am not the target market.”

      That covers a lot of ground these days as I’m clearly not the target market for most of the stuff being advertised. And you are clearly not the target market for the Zoom H6. I don’t think I am either but for different reasons.

      I don’t mind the complexity. But I’m not a fan of plug-in modules for microphones. Maybe their mics work great, maybe they are just okay.

      For me, the choice of which mic to use is a key decision in the sound you’ll get. I like having the whole world of mics to choose from to get the sound I want. I don’t want them to plug into a custom slot on the recorder, I want them to use standard connectors and cables.

      Of course, you can do that with this recorder and go for six mics at the same time! So, I know this will be a good choice for some people.

       -a-

  • Dave Dugdale says:

    Thanks for posting this, I totally missed the Shure booth this year.

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