Aspen Mics HQ-S Stereo Lavalier Microphone

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Aspen Mics* has a new series of lavalier microphones called HQ (High Quality). I first saw these mics tweeted out by @cheesycam who often reviews lower priced gear for DSLR video shooters. For a mic called HQ, these mics had an interesting price point around $50 but what made that attractive was their quality. Upon first listen, the mics seem to produce nice clean audio without having to run your recorders preamp at full gain.

Also great is the optional adapter to allow these mics to be used with iOS devices via the TRRS input. I purchased the HQ-S Stereo Lavalier Microphone and below is the first test.

In this test you will hear how the mic performs while I demonstrate how the room you record in can have a big affect on your audio quality. Put on some headphones and listen as I walk from room to room in my house. You’ll notice that the room I start in has much more reverb than the room I end up in. Just having a smaller room filled with furniture can increase the quality of your audio.

No processing was done to this audio. I recorded directly into an Edirol R-09HR with the Aspen Mic plugged into the mic input set to High Gain, input at 50, limiter/AGC and low pass filter all set to “off.” Recording is at 44.1kHz 16bit wav. The lav mic was clipped to my jacket and placed at mid chest approx. 6-7 inches from my mouth when looking straight forward.

Update 11/12/14

I’ve added three samples from a recent test using the Aspen Mic HQ Stereo Lav into my iPhone 6 using the Bossjock App to record. Connecting the mic to the iPhone requires the TRRS adapter made by Aspen Mics which is available for an additional $10 or included in the Stereo Lav Kit which is what I purchased. This connection kit only works with the Stereo Lav not the Mono version.

The “raw” recording came in at a lower level than I expected. For future recordings I would turn up the mic gain inside of the Bossjock App. Consequently I had to raise the overall level by 17db to reach a target loudness of -16 LUFS. This is the maximum at which I would produce my audio, you can use lower levels.

Despite the large increase of gain in post production, the audio still came out relatively clean. There are two samples which have post processing (EQ, compression and limiting) applied, one with no noise reduction and the other with the noise floor slightly reduced. Both sound good overall IMO.

I’ll use this page to post all subsquent tests including videos as I create them. Subscribe to the email list to make sure you never miss an update.

Update 11/14/14

A demo using the Aspen HQ-S with an iPhone 6 for video.

The only noticeable difference between this post processed audio and the non processed audio (see below) are the levels.

I brought up the levels, reduced the noise floor that resulted due to the level gain and took out a little of the low end. This mic seems to produce a little more low end than I want in my final audio but overall it’s really clean and sounds great.

I used the Filmic Pro app for iOS to record the video which gave me manual control over video settings and audio quality.

 

*currently I have no affiliate relationship with Aspen Mics. I purchased the Stereo Lav mic kit and was sent the Mono Lav for testing. 
About Ray Ortega

Full-time podcast producer and host of The Podcasters' Studio and Podcasters' Roundtable, I enjoy sharing my ten years of experience making podcasts to help others improve or start their own show.

Comments

  1. Great sound for the price. I'd take one of those and a cheap mic pre over a budget USB microphone any day of the week.

    In my opinion, a lav mic is the ideal solution for Hangout type webcasts. Pro broadcast mics take up too much screen real estate when you've got your webcam framed tight on your face. That is, unless you're going for that "in the studio" sort of look. But considering that most people running a Shure SM7-B or something like that are still using voice mode in their HOA broadcasts, a lavalier is more than sufficient from an audio quality standpoint.

    • Thanks David. I'll make sure to do a test with HOA and see how it comes out. I agree, that having an image that isn't dominated by a large microphone can be much more desirable for many broadcasters.

  2. Ray, do you have a suggestion for in-person, sit-down podcast interviews in someone else's office or home? I'm going to be recording some in-person interviews and I'm not sure what an easy, not-super-high-budget solution.

    • Hi Joshua, it's really just a question of quality meets price. There are many ways to accomplish the setup, it just depends on your budget and what you can spend. You could do something as simple as putting an audio recorder between you and the interviewee or get a recorder that allows you to plug in mics for each person which of course is a bigger jump in price but also in quality. Depending on your recording environment, you can get away with the recorder option if the background noise is minimal.

      I produce a show for a TV writer based in LA and she travels for all her interviews. She initially came to me for the easiest setup but we got a little more serious and went with an option that produced better audio. I have her using a couple AT2005's plugged into a Zoom H6. You can take a listen to the show at: http://witdshow.com.

  3. djosephdesign says:

    Do you have any other TRRS splitters you could try the mono mic on?

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