Can I Connect an External USB Mic to a DSLR Camera?

One of the most important things to look for in a DSLR camera, in addition to being able to take great photos and videos, is the ability to record great sound. Most professional and amateur filmmakers, vloggers, and content creators have been very unhappy with the camera’s built-in mono microphone. I like to be able to use an external stereo microphone to record sound that is clear and clean.

Most people don’t know that you can connect a USB mic like the Blue Yeti to a DSLR camera like the Canon EOS Rebel SL3. An external USB mic is meant to be connected to a computer via USB.

If you want to connect a USB microphone to a DSLR camera, you will need to do what is described below. First, make sure that both your USB microphone and your DSLR camera have a 3.5mm headphone output and a 3.5mm mic input. The USB cable that came with your microphone, a computer, and a 3.5mm male-to-male stereo audio cable are the next things you’ll need.

How to Get a USB Mic to Work with a DSLR

Now that you’ve put together all of your hardware, you need to connect the audio cables and give the microphone power.

  1. Connect one end of the male-to-male 3.5mm audio cable to the 3.5mm headphone output on the microphone.
  2. Connect the other end of the male-to-male 3.5mm audio cable to the mic jack on your camera.
  3. Plug the USB cable that came with your microphone into a computer to power it.

How to Keep from Getting Digital Distortion

A USB microphone has everything that a regular microphone has. Still, it is different because it has a built-in preamplifier and an analog-to-digital converter that lets the recording software on a computer understand the sound. Since we’re not using the computer as the recording device, the mic’s built-in preamp could send out a very high signal and cause digital distortion in your recording. We need to change the audio levels inside the camera so that doesn’t happen.

  1. Click the Menu button on your camera. As you might have guessed, this is where you can change a lot of your camera’s settings, but if you’re in auto mode, you might not be able to use some of them.
  2. Choose “Sound Recording” from the menu on the screen. This lets you choose between Auto, Manual, and Disabled for the sound recording. Change the recording of sounds from “Auto” to “Manual.”

If you leave the camera on Auto, the Automatic Gain Control (AGC) can automatically turn up the volume of the sound, which can cause a lot of buzzing and noise in your recordings.

How to Set the Levels of Your Recording

If you record sound in your camera at the wrong levels, you might get bad sound. Here’s how to change the levels for recording.

  1. Select “Rec. level”.
  2. Move the slider all the way to the left using the D-pad or the touch screen. How far away the subject is from the camera will affect how far left the slider needs to be moved. To save, click “Set.”

Now we can change the amount of gain or volume on your microphone. Get the microphone ready.

  1. Talk to the camera and keep an eye on the Left and Right decibel levels (dB).
  2. The gain can be changed right on your microphone.

The best place for the sound to peak is around -12, just below the green bar. Once that step is done, you can use a DSLR camera and an external USB microphone to record audio with no lag.

Are USB microphones all the same?

Before you can choose a USB microphone, you need to know how you’ll be using it. USB mics are not all the same. Some are made for live streaming games, while others are better for recording music or podcasts.

Here are the three most common ways to use a USB microphone.

  1. Gaming/Live Streaming
  2. Podcasting
  3. Music Recording

There are a lot of different things you can do with USB microphones. For example, the Blue Yeti USB Microphone lets you choose from different polar patterns (cardioid, stereo, omnidirectional, bidirectional).

How they use digital signal processing is the main difference (DSP). DSP can fix a signal’s problems with the way it sounds in a number of ways. Some microphones use DSP a little bit, while others use it a lot, and some don’t use it at all. So, knowing what you want to use a USB mic for will help you figure out which one will work best for you.

Dynamic mics vs. condenser mics

Dynamic and condenser microphones are the two most common kinds. Both are mostly used to record music, but they have become very popular in home studios as well. You can get them with XLR, 3.5mm, or USB connections. Depending on what you need to record, each one has its own pros and cons.

Dynamic Mics

Without getting too technical, dynamic microphones are long-lasting mics that use a diaphragm and a moving wire coil system to pick up vibrations from sound waves sensitively. These mics don’t need any power from outside. The best thing about these microphones is that they can pick up loud sounds (SPL). This makes them perfect for musicians who need to record from loud sound sources like amplifiers in outdoor or live recording situations where distortion is not an issue.

Best Dynamic Microphones

  • Shure SM7B
  • Shure SM58
  • Shure SM57
  • Sennheiser E 845-S
  • Audio-Technica AE6100
  • Sennheiser MD-421
  • Blue Microphones enCORE 100
  • Electrovoice RE20
  • MXL BCD-1
  • GLS Audio ES-58-S

Condenser mics

Condenser microphones are sensitive and responsive. They pick up vibrations from sound waves using a diaphragm and an electrically charged backplate. Condenser mics have either a small or a big diaphragm, and they need a power supply. Since these mics don’t have moving coils, they can respond better to changes in frequency and volume. There is no need for a preamp because the sound quality is very clear and strong. They work well for recording vocals in a home studio or with stringed instruments.

Best Condenser Microphones

  • Rode NT1-A
  • Blue Yeti USB Microphone
  • Rode NTK
  • AKG Pro C214
  • Neumann TLM-102
  • Blue Spark
  • Shure SM27-SC
  • Audio-Technica AT2020USB
  • MXL 770
  • Blue Snowball

Conclusion

Using the right audio cables and a USB cable for power, you can connect an external USB mic to a DSLR camera. If your camera doesn’t have a 3.5mm mic input, you might need an adapter cable. If your mic has digital distortion, set your recording levels and adjust the gain.

Remember that not every USB microphone is the same. There are a lot of similarities and differences between dynamic and condenser microphones. They have different features and options, so you should think about what you need before buying a new one. By doing these things, you can record great audio with your DSLR camera and USB microphone. Good luck!