Record your choice of Lavalier or Condenser Microphones with 32-bit float clarity with built-in timecode in the smallest package.
SPOILER FIRST: If you’re looking for the best audio recording quality in the smallest package, this is the way.
Before we get to the review, full disclosure: I paid for all four of my Tentacle Sync Track E’s but was sent the Xvive P1 without charge, but without strings attached too. Xvive actually reached out to ask me to review another product in their catalogue, but I asked for the P1 instead, as I’ve had my eye on it since seeing DSLR Video Shooter mention it in this video (but warning: make sure to purchase the right XLR to 3.5mm adapter! Details below). But as always, I’ll be sharing my honest thoughts – both good and bad – and giving you the details so you can make your own informed decision. As always, you’ll find links in the description
WHY THE XVIVE P1 IS SO AWESOME:
Because condenser mics are more sensitive and can have better “reach” than dynamic mics (hyper-cardioid or super-cardioid pickup patterns), they are the choice of Hollywood and documentary filmmakers for recording great dialogue. The Xvive P1 allows anyone to connect a condenser mic to their camera, mixer or recorder that lacks phantom power, allowing you to use the best microphones to record dialogue for films, voiceovers, and youtube.
The problem with Lav mics
Micing lavs to talent is simple when you don’t mind having the mic showing. But when you start hiding lavs, noise is tough to combat, whether it comes from the talent’s clothes or hair. When I need to record the best audio possible, my first choice is an overhead boomed microphone – a hyper-cardioid condenser indoors and a super-cardioid condenser outdoors.
Sadly most pocketable lav recorders can’t supply the phantom power required by great condenser mics. So while the Tentacle Sync Track E is a great self-contained recorder for lav mics, it needs the help of the Xvive P1 to add portable Phantom Power, unleashing it to record any condenser mic of choice.
TIP: BUY THIS FIRST.
Though I own a Zoom F6 audio recorder, I recommend investing in a set of small, 32-bit float audio lavalier recorders. Not only are these great as lavalier mic recorders, but with the help of the Xvive P1, they can record condenser microphones for the best audio possible in the tiniest of packages.
Until now, I’ve only used my condenser mics on larger productions when I have more space and time to setup my Zoom F6. But this new minimalist dialogue recording kit is a small, self-contained package that can travel mostly assembled and ready to deploy to record the best dialogue possible in less time than ever.
I use and highly recommend the Tentacle Sync Track E which not only records 32-bit float audio, but also has built-in industry-standard timecode. If you don’t need timecode, another popular 32-bit float small audio recorder is the Zoom F2. But if you can, get the Tentacle Sync Track E to future-proof yourself so you can effortlessly sync multiple recorders and cameras.
WHY 32-BIT FLOAT?
32-bit float audio recording is like shooting RAW photos vs JPEG – it essentially means as long as you’re recording, you don’t have to set the recording levels and you’ll still get the best audio your mics can give. Using compatible 32-bit float software (like RX Audio Elements) you can increase too-quite audio and decrease clipped audio with little consequence. I should note you can still distort or clip audio when you go past the limits of your microphone’s maximum SPL. But these tiny 32-bit float recorders are game-changers for not only one-man crews like me but anyone who wants to record great audio.
WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST ME?
I’m a full-time commercial and documentary filmmaker and recovering gear addict. Still, in my past life, I was a musician and wanna-be-recording engineer, so audio fidelity is near and dear to my heart (and ears).
Xvive P1 Overview
Look past the plasticy power and 12V/48V switches and LED lights, and the Xvive P1’s all-metal body inspired confidence. Male and female XLR I/O, micro-USB powering input and two rubber feet complete the simple exterior.
- Audio quality – it provides 12V or 48V of phantom power without adding noise
- build quality and ease of use. Plug in your mic, recorder and turn it on and go!
- battery life – lasts 14-40 hours – plenty for even the longest of recording sessions
- convenient internal lithium battery – charges from empty in 2.5-3 hours and can be used while plugged into USB power
- compact size – travel-worthy when every ounce and inch count
- battery-powered so does not introduce ground hums or interference
- No mounting connections – would love to see 1/4-20 camera thread at the bottom to allow for easy rigging. But I can’t fault them because their initial target for the Xvive P1 was musicians – not filmmakers.
- Charges via a micro-USB charging port. I’d prefer to see a more robust and powerful USB-C charging port, but really, it’s not a deal breaker
- Not the fault of the Xvive P1, but due to US patents, the US version of the Tentacle Sync Track E cuts the headphone output when recording, meaning you can’t monitor audio while you’re recording. I love B&H but if you can buy locally outside of the USA, your Track E might allow you to monitor via headphones while recording.
Recommended Minimalist Interview Audio Kit
Here is a list of gear I use to record my interview audio and highly recommend. I know the mics are expensive, but buy once, cry once, and you’ll have an audio kit that will serve you well years beyond your current camera setup.
32-Bit Float Pocket Audio Recorder:
32-Bit Float Audio Recorder with Timecode: Tentacle Track E. Bonus: this tiny audio recorder not only records in 32-bit float, but also includes built-in timecode and
The Best Indoor Interview Mic: Sennheiser MKH8050
- tiny and incredibly sensitive and detailed rendition with little off-axis colouration. The only negatives are its handling and wind noise. So be sure to use a decent wind screen (even when shooting indoors) and a shockmount.
The Best Outdoor Mic: Sennheiser MKH416
An industry standard in Hollywood and beyond for a reason: it sounds great and works in challenging conditions. Some will say other mics sound subjectively better, but the 416 is made to work in conditions (like high humidity) the others can’t.
XLR to 3.5mm cable
WARNING: Not every adapter that fits the connections will work well. I tried 2 different versions which reduced the volume while also attenuating low frequencies and adding noise. Sadly most of the adapters I found on Amazon didn’t mention their pin wiring configuration. Make sure to search for unbalanced XLR female to 3.5mm adapter and cables and reference the pin configuration below and your audio should be the best it can be.
Shockmount for the Xvive P1:
In the future I hope camera manufacturers integrate 32-bit float audio recording with phantom powering options right in the cameras we use. Until then, the Xvive P1 portable phantom power supply makes my beloved set of Tentacle Sync Track E’s even more valuable – not only can they be used to record lav mics, but with the addition of the Xvive P1, I can record my favourite condenser mics into these tiny, ultra-portable 32-bit float recorders. I used to just travel with a couple of DPA 6060 lavs, but with the addition of the Xvive P1 can now add my favourite condenser mic and get the best audio quality in the world with this minimalist audio recording kit.
If you want to record the best dialogue audio in the smallest package, this is it.