Azden

Azden SGM-3500 Series Shotgun Microphones

Azden has made microphones for video production for a number of years. About five years ago, I reviewed their SGM-250 which was a decent, entry level short shotgun microphone. But now it looks like Azden is moving up market and making some higher quality shotgun microphones. Let’s take a look at and have a listen to their new SGM-3500 and SGM-3500L shotgun microphones.

If you’d like to learn how to make great dialogue audio for your film and video projects, please have a look at my courses including processing dialogue audio in Adobe Audition and DaVinci Resolve/Fairlight, recording sound, how to use the Zoom F4, F8 and, F8n, and how to get the most from the Sound Devices MixPre series of recorders.

Gear used and mentioned in this episode:

Azden SGM-3500 Shotgun Microphone - B&H

Azden SGM-3500L Shotgun Microphone - B&H

Deity S-Mic 2 Shotgun Microphone - B&H

RODE NTG4+ - B&H

D&O 180W LED Panel Light used as a key light - Amazon

Aputure COB120DII LED light used for background - Amazon

Panasonic GH5 Camera - Amazon

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - Amazon

Get a free trial of the best music for your videos at Musicbed

Copyright 2019 by Curtis Judd

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com, B&H Photo, or other affiliate links.

Azden EX-507XD Lavalier Microphone for PRO-XD Wireless System or Phone

Last year we reviewed the Azden PRO-XD digital wireless lavalier system. For its price, around $200 USD, it was surprisingly good. The only major downside we found was that the included microphone didn’t sound great. We gave Azden that feedback and now they have introduced the new EX-507XD lavalier which they pitch as the upgrade you can add to your PRO-XD system.

In this episode we give you some sample audio so you can hear it for yourself. Pricing and availability to be determined.

Azden SMX 15 and 30 Shotgun Microphones Review

If you’re looking for a shotgun microphone for your camera, there has never been a time with so many great choices. Azden recently released two more microphones in the $200 to $250 USD range called the SMX-15 and SMX-30. These are short shotgun microphones designed to mount to the cold-shoe of your rig and have a cable with a 3.5mm plug to record directly to your camera.

Both of these microphones are good for recording dialogue sound when you need to travel light. I like to boom the mic even close to the talent for even better sound. The SMX-30 also has an additional set of stereo cardioid microphones for recording detailed ambient sound making this microphone particularly versatile. Both microphones are very light weight so you don’t add a lot of heft to your camera rig. And most importantly, the SMX-15 and 30 sound quite nice for their price.

Good Budget Wireless Lavalier: Azden PRO-XD

One of the most common questions I've received from YouTubers: "I'm going to start a prank channel at YouTube. What wireless microphone should I get?"

I've never done a single prank video so I don't pretend to be a master at understanding all the nuances of quality prank videos, but Azden was kind enough to send me a copy of their PRO-XD Digital Wireless Lavalier system to review.

After working with it for about three weeks, here’s the review. Overall, this is a great budget digital wireless lavalier system priced at $200 USD. While it isn’t as robust as more expensive wireless systems, this system does have a lot going for it and is very good value for money.

Azden PRO-XD
Azden PRO-XD

The upside? Great performance in terms of keeping a signal, battery life, and producing solid, quality audio. Oh, and the price: $199 USD. This is the best sub $200 wireless lavalier system I've used.

The downside? The included lavalier microphone isn't amazing, but you can clean up the audio in post or replace it with another 3.5mm TRRS lavalier microphone.

Would I opt for this over the RODELink wireless lavalier kit? No, not if I had the budget for the RODELink (see our review here) which is twice the price. But if you're operating on a tight budget, the PRO-XD is definitely worth a look.

Azden PRO-XD Digital Wireless Lavalier Initial Test & Moving Help Sessions

Azden sent over a copy of their PRO-XD wireless lavalier system and in this episode we're doing an initial sample so that you can hear what it sounds like after routine, mild post processing (mild noise reduction, mild compression, loudness normalize to -16LUFS and true peak limit to -1.5dB true peak). We'll have a quick review later this week.

Someone already asked, do you like this or the RODELink better? If money was not a factor, of course I like RODELink more but if money is a factor, and it usually is, the PRO-XD is half the price of RODELink.

The Azden kit has a few unique features and one of the biggest is the size of the transmitter and receiver - they're tiny. They also have in-build lithium-ion batteries which can be charged via micro USB cable and the wireless works as well as RODELink and Sennheiser AVX in terms of keeping a signal in my tests so far. Audio quality is good, though not as good as AVX. It also includes an adapter so you can record to mobile devices which is a nice touch as well.

Seems like a good kit if you're on a tight budget.

And as for the help sessions, we've received feedback that it would be better if we would move those to a different channel. I agree, they're different enough (i.e., an hour in length, Q&A style instead of focused topic) that they should probably be somewhere else. So we’ll post them here.

Azden SGM-250 Shotgun Microphone Review: Great 1st Shotgun Mike

In this episode, we have a look at and listen to the Azden SGM-250 shotgun microphone. This is a good choice for a first XLR based shotgun microphone that holds up quite nicely against other microphones in this price range like the RODE NTG2. We take a rather in-depth look at the Azden’s features and let you hear how it sounds as the episode was recorded with the SGM-250. If you’re looking for your first XLR based shotgun mike, this would be a very good option.

When paired with a recorder like the Tascam DR-60DmkII, you have a very solid combination that can capture professional quality sound.

Also a quick reminder, if you're interested in learning to record great sound for your video and film projects, we have a $30 discount on our online sound course through the end of September.  You can see the details here: Production Sound Fundamentals for Film and Video.