Zoom revolutionized audio for indie filmmakers and run-and-gun on-location shoots with the H4n recorder. Now they're looking to do it again with the new Q2HD Handy Video Recorder. The multi-function audio and video recorder has a slew of useful features. On the audio front, the Q2HD is the first handheld device of its kind to offer mid-side stereo recording. Mid-side recording combines a unidirectional mid mic that captures sound directly in front of you and a bidirectional side mic that captures sound from your left and right. By increasing or decreasing the level of the side mic, you can control the width of the stereo field, which gives you incredible flexibility over your recordings. With its condenser microphones in 30- to 150-degree mid-side stereo configuration, the Q2HD gives you natural depth and accurate imaging. The stereo audio captured by the mid-side mics can be recorded to linear PCM WAV files. In addition to being able to record 24-bit/96 kHz PCM files, the unit can record AAC (m4a format) files that have smaller sizes, as well. The Q2HD also features an internal reference speaker so you can check recordings without earphones.
On the video side, the Q2HD is a fully functional HD video camcorder that can shoot video up to 1920x1080 resolution and record in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format. The built-in 4X digital zoom gives you shooting flexibility. The video capabilities aren't going to make you throw away your RED or ARRI camera, nor even your Canon EOS 5D Mark II or Mark III, but it gives you an excellent way to make the visual version of a scratch track, and if you're in a pinch at a live event, it gives you an alternative to pulling out your cell phone as a video camera. You can make basic cuts and edits right on the device to save memory space and to be more efficient in post.
The Q2HD is powered by two AA batteries and records to SD/SDHC/SDXC cards. Estimated Street Price: $199. Contact: Zoom, www.samsontech.com.
The new micKing 2200 Big Foot boom stand from Latch Lake gives you stability and security. The two-section boom extends from 45.5 inches to 94 inches, and it features patented built-in cord clips. Your mic can be held in a sideways configuration because the Latch Lake Lever Lock can be tensioned high enough to hold the position. The 29-pound base is 16 inches in diameter, but it's highly stable, even on thick carpeting, because the weight is mostly contained in the perimeter. The micKing 2200 Big Foot is available in chrome or black. Estimated Street Price: $500. Contact: Latch Lake, www.latchlakemusic.com.
Among the new PreSonus USB 2.0 audio/MIDI interfaces, the AudioBox 1818VSL represents the top of the line. Integrating hardware and software, the AudioBox 1818VSL gives you a powerful package without a bulky hardware mixer or outboard effects rack and with minimal wiring. Using your computer and PreSonus Virtual StudioLive (VSL) software, AudioBox VSL interfaces provide reverb and delay effects and the same Fat Channel compression, limiting, semi-parametric EQ and high-pass filter as the PreSonus StudioLive 16.0.2 digital mixer with inaudible latency. The AudioBox 1818VSL is a professional-caliber product. It has high-end 24-bit, 96 kHz converters, Class A XMAX preamps, ADAT optical I/O, S/PDIF coaxial I/O, word-clock output and MIDI I/O, all housed in a heavy-duty, rack-mount metal chassis. With VSL, the AudioBox 1818VSL includes a 26x8 software mixer. You can connect to your laptop or desktop computer and mix a project while monitoring and recording either with or without real-time effects. And one of the coolest aspects of the AudioBox 1818VSL is the ability to control almost all of the software features via your iPad with the free PreSonus remote app. The new app provides multiple views of the key AudioBox VSL mixer and processing controls. The Overview displays the most used parameters, such as channel levels, mutes, panning, EQ curves and more for multiple channels at once. Tap a microview to zoom in on the Fat Channel processing, then navigate between the processors with the flick of a fingertip. Estimated Street Price $499. Contact: PreSonus, www.presonus.com.
The Que Audio Mini Shotgun PRO has a new condenser capsule for high-output/low-noise audio, a wider and longer solid brass barrel for improved performance, and a hypercardioid polar pattern for excellent on/off axis rejection, and utilizes Que Audio's Compact Connection System. The all-new electronics circuit allows for three stages of selectable gain at 0 dB, +10 dB and +20 dB. On Canon DSLRs, selecting the +20 setting on the Q Mini Shotgun PRO, and on the camera's manual input level control, setting to one click above off, maximizes the signal-to-noise ratio. On Canon DSLRs with auto gain only, select +10 on the Mini Shotgun PRO. On a Nikon D800, select +20 on the Mini Shotgun PRO and a setting of 5 on the D800 manual input level control as a starting point. On a Panasonic GH2, selecting the 0 dB setting on the Q Mini Shotgun PRO and either of the two lowest (least gain) settings on the camera, depending on the source material, delivers pro results. Estimated Street Price: $329 (DSLR-Video PRO Microphone Kit); $499 (Sniper PRO Microphone Kit). Contact: Que Audio, www.queaudiousa.com.