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Lav mic will not work


Patrick Cooper

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This is the second time that Ive bought a lavalier mic. And just like the first one, this one won't work either. I tried the first lav mic with an iPhone and a Samsung tablet and it wouldn't work with either device.

This second one is a Purple Panda mic. As I'm now using a later iPhone, it won't connect directly. I need an adapter which I don't have. So I was only able to plug it into my tablet. I made a few test recordings with an audio recording app which shows the audio peaking etc with a graphic display. During my testing with me talking, I moved the mic close to my face and further away (and also behind my back.) The graphic display looked pretty much the same regardless. When I played the recordings back, the loudness of my voice sounded generally the same no matter how far or how close the mic was to my mouth.

This mic also comes with a TRS (two ring) adapter which supposedly plugs into a camera. According to online sources, my Panasonic G7 has a 3.5mm input socket (which is also the remote socket.) I tried to plug the Purple Panda mic in there via the adapter but it looks like it's not physically compatible. It feels like the plug on the adapter is too large to fit in.

Any idea why this mic is not working with the Samsung tablet? I admit I'm not an audio expert so there might be something obvious that I'm missing out on. Batteries shouldn't be an issue because this mic doesn't have any. This is crazy bad luck that Ive purchased two lav mics and neither of them will work. Ive never used lav mics before so I have no experience with them.

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I just did have another recording test with the Purple Panda lav mic and my Samsung tablet. Once again, I moved the mic closer and further away as I talked. The tablet was the same distance to my face and it sounded pretty much the same. Though I also performed a test where I kept the lav mic close to my mouth but moved the tablet further away - and back again - and further away. My voice definitely sounded more distant when the tablet was moved away and the lav mic held close. This is pretty conclusive that the tablet is making use of the internal microphone instead of the lav mic. 

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Hi!

I also had problems attaching microphones to smartphones/tablets. That’s because they are usually mono (one ring - as in the first image). But the smartphones/tablets have/had a combined „stereo headphones out + mono microphones in“ socket that would require the microphone to have a plug with three rings like in the second image. Hence, using a mono microphone resulted in short circuits or strange noises (hisses,…). Therefore I simply used them with a minidisc recorder and everything was fine.

As your adapter has two rings, I would expect that it’s for attaching two mono microphones to a stereo recorder.

 

B2C46AA2-4581-4117-8B86-917098F312DD.jpeg

8955D8FA-1EA3-4088-B4C5-E9998B5BCC0C.jpeg

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To sum it up: there are special adapters needed to connect a „standard“ microphone to a smartphone/tablet. Take a look at the position of the „ground“ in these images and you’ll know why. (No, I have not tried them. That‘s because my current smartphone does not have a 3.5mm socket anymore.)

A5CDA29A-62E3-4896-AAB6-A4EF17DAD187.png

4CE3FC8E-7011-40FE-8414-1A91F22E2391.png

CFAF3B5A-EC25-48A1-99B5-BBDD2EFAF668.png

46635BD5-B103-49AE-8F0A-B78C55A1A9AF.jpeg

584D787D-B106-4EEE-BA43-37A2D2795FB1.png

0BA96A58-4350-400C-933A-7BE19C8C1EA2.jpeg

Edited by Joerg Polzfusz
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9 hours ago, Joerg Polzfusz said:

Hi!

I also had problems attaching microphones to smartphones/tablets. That’s because they are usually mono (one ring - as in the first image). But the smartphones/tablets have/had a combined „stereo headphones out + mono microphones in“ socket that would require the microphone to have a plug with three rings like in the second image. Hence, using a mono microphone resulted in short circuits or strange noises (hisses,…). Therefore I simply used them with a minidisc recorder and everything was fine.

As your adapter has two rings, I would expect that it’s for attaching two mono microphones to a stereo recorder.

 

B2C46AA2-4581-4117-8B86-917098F312DD.jpeg

8955D8FA-1EA3-4088-B4C5-E9998B5BCC0C.jpeg

My plug has three rings and it's still won't work. And yes, mine looks pretty much like the second picture.

That's interesting to know about the two ring adapter being used for connecting mono mics to a stereo recorder. From the reading I did online, I got the impression that it was for a camera. Though it feels like it won't fit in the socket of my M4/3 camera. It would be handy to plug a mic into my camera and be able to use the manual levels adjustment for audio. Would you happen to know what kind of plug would be compatible with a camera's 3.5mm port? I gather that it's not a two ring plug (despite what online sources indicate.) 

 

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8 hours ago, Joerg Polzfusz said:

To sum it up: there are special adapters needed to connect a „standard“ microphone to a smartphone/tablet. Take a look at the position of the „ground“ in these images and you’ll know why. (No, I have not tried them. That‘s because my current smartphone does not have a 3.5mm socket anymore.)

A5CDA29A-62E3-4896-AAB6-A4EF17DAD187.png

4CE3FC8E-7011-40FE-8414-1A91F22E2391.png

CFAF3B5A-EC25-48A1-99B5-BBDD2EFAF668.png

46635BD5-B103-49AE-8F0A-B78C55A1A9AF.jpeg

584D787D-B106-4EEE-BA43-37A2D2795FB1.png

0BA96A58-4350-400C-933A-7BE19C8C1EA2.jpeg

Thank you for providing these detailed diagrams. According to the specs, the mic's own plug is a TRRS. And I do see the three rings. I admit though that I find it very difficult to tell the Apple version apart from the Nokia version. They both have three rings so they look identical to me. My mic also came with another adapter that also has three rings (which looks the same as the main plug.) Perhaps I could try this three ring adapter with the Samsung tablet and see if that makes a difference. 

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Posted (edited)

I tried the adapter that also has three rings but it won't plug into the port of the Samsung tablet. It doesn't seem to be physically compatible. I also tried some more recording tests with the original 3 ring plug but it still sounds like the internal mic in the tablet is still being used. 

Edited by Patrick Cooper
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Hi!

When connecting a smartphone headset (headphones plus microphone), does the recorder app automatically use the headset? Or are there some „preferences“/„settings“ where you have to manually switch the used microphone? (Only to eliminate potential obstacles on the software side.)

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3 hours ago, Joerg Polzfusz said:

Hi!

When connecting a smartphone headset (headphones plus microphone), does the recorder app automatically use the headset? Or are there some „preferences“/„settings“ where you have to manually switch the used microphone? (Only to eliminate potential obstacles on the software side.)

Unfortunately, I don't have headphones for this tablet. Though yea - there could be a chance that this port on the tablet is designed for headphones rather than a mic. 

I would prefer to use my Panasonic G7 with the mic because this camera allows manual levels adjustment for audio. 

 

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The audio section of the Panasonic G7 manual is quite brief. And the manual doesn't even have a picture of the camera with names of the different parts or inputs. Though I did discover the mic input and it accepts the (two ring) TRS adapter plug just fine. Though just like the tablet, the camera is ignoring the external mic and using the internal mic instead (this is pretty clear from my tests.) 

There is a shotgun microphone available for the G7 and you have to select the Special Mic option in the camera's menu. Though this Special Mic option is not selectable with the lav mic plugged in (I suspected that would be the case.) I did set the Mic Level Limiter to 'off' (within the menu) and the Mic Level Disp. is 'on.' And the Mic Level Adjustment is available. There aren't many other audio options in the menu other than Wind Noise Canceller. 

You can see the levels peak and go into the red on the camera's LCD screen when the camera and lav mic are both close to my face and I'm talking. With the camera further away at arm's length and the lav mic is close to my face, the levels are nowhere near peaking and far from red (when I'm talking.) The levels will also peak when I talk close to the camera and position the external mic far away at arm's length.

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The other videos are basically showing the same fixes, except for these hints:

When using a case for your phone/tablet, then try without the case (as the case might prevent the microphone‘s plug to go deep enough into the socket).

At least when using the „sound recorder“ app, then sometimes an external microphone is only recognized when starting the app before attaching the microphone. 
 

Do your tests without any other electronic devices or cables nearby. On the panda, they might cause distortions and other strange effects.

 

Not sure if any of these hints will solve your problems. Good luck!

Edited by Joerg Polzfusz
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Another hint from one of those YouTube videos (that I didn’t know before): To test the lav mic, attach the windshield and -while recording- rub the foam, as far away from the recording device (camera, smartphone, …) as possible. When the lav mic is used, you’ll hear some strange, loud noises in the recording. But when the internal mic was used instead, then the rubbing should be too faint to be recorded (=no sound recorded).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for your suggestions. I do have a theory as to why my devices are not detecting the lav microphone. I’m actually wondering if I’m pushing it in far enough. I admit I don’t have much experience with the 3.5mm audio port so I don’t know how much pressure to use. I don’t want to push the TRS adapter in too deep or too hard with my Panasonic G7 and cause damage. I’m not sure if I’m meant to give it an extra push or not when I insert it. It is slightly loose though when it’s in. When I remove the plug, it slides out really easily without any resistance.

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On my next attempt, I applied more pressure when inserting the TRS adapter into my Panasonic G7's 3.5mm port. I made sure it went as far in as it could go with an extra (light) push. Though it still felt slightly loose. And the mic still wasn't active. I tried a few times but no luck.

I then located the packaging of my You Mic lav microphone which I bought about a year ago. I tried the You Mic with a phone and a tablet back then but had no success. The mic itself has mysteriously disappeared but the TRS adapter that it came with was still in the packaging. I connected the You Mic TRS adapter to the Purple Panda mic and that provided a more snug fit in my G7. And it also worked. Finally, the camera detected the lav mic and I was able to use it as the primary microphone (in my testing.)

I guess the TRS adapter from the You Mic is a better quality one compared to the Panda adapter.

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Hi!

It looks like my English is lacking some proper words, but I try to explain it as good as possible:

The plug can’t get too far into the socket. There’s a standardized length combined with the plastic and a thicker metal part at the plug’s end (towards the cable, where the plastic starts) that will prevent this.

As you can see, the plug’s tip gets smaller right before the first ring. In the socket there’s a counterpart with a spring. That’s why the plug slips in easily the first mm. And then, at end, you’ll have to apply a little(!) pressure to ensure that the plug passes the „spring thing“ and goes all the way in. This „spring thing“ also ensures that you can only unplug the microphone with a little(!) pressure. Without this „spring thing“, the plug would fall out of the socket on its own.

When you can still see metal parts of the plug, then the plug isn’t far enough in the socket. The only exception might be the thicker metal part at plug’s end (towards the cable). It’s usually also covered by plastic to prevent the users accidentally touching metal that still might be connected to some electrical power. But sometimes, it’s visible for a fraction of mm.

Hope this helps

Jörg

P.S.: At least, the microphone is now working on one of your devices. 😃 Congrats!

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To make things even more confusing:

There are now connectors with four rings and hence five metal sections:

1 = ground 

2+3 = stereo microphone (or two mono microphones)

4+5 = stereo headphones

🥴


They are at least used on some Sony devices: Xperia Z3, Xperia Z2 and Xperia Tablet.

I wonder how this plug will look like for quadrophonic headphones and four mono microphones. 🤪

24EFA860-A606-4ED5-B403-2C201D10D360.jpeg

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Four rings? Gosh, this is certainly next level! Yea I'm sure that's going to introduce some more confusion to consumers!

Ive just had a go at setting the audio levels manually on my Panasonic G7 with the Purple Panda lav microphone plugged in. Ive watched some tutorial videos and two of them recommended setting the levels to around -12db (which I did.) Playing back the test recordings on my camera, my voice sounded reasonably clear but the volume was pretty quiet (despite the camera volume being all the way up.) Perhaps that's a limitation of the playback capabilities of the camera. Unfortunately, the camera battery went flat shortly after. I'm currently charging that battery and when it's ready, I'll transfer the files to my pc and check out how quiet / loud they sound through the computer speakers. 

Oh by the way, at first, I thought I was setting the levels manually but in actual fact, they were being left on auto. And the sound quality was garbage. It sounded awful. After that, I realised that I had to select 'SET' and that locks the settings in place. The audio quality improved dramatically after that. 

 

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