com_accesstie_commanderg3fieldBroadband IP codecs from leading manufacturers like Comrex and Tieline, have made wireless remote broadcasts much easier and more reliable.

The most common method of using wireless IP to manage a remote broadcast is to use a rack-mounted codec at the station, and a portable codec (often with a built-in mixer) at the remote location. The remote codec has circuitry inside that makes it behave like a regular  “smartphone”, complete with its own SIM card and phone number. The codec uses this circuitry to make a broadband internet connection, which then links to the codec back at the station.

Apps exist that allow you to use an ordinary smartphone, and make the same broadband IP connection to a Comrex or Tieline codec. Tieline offers their REPORT-IT software. Comrex mentions (but does not sell) several apps.

Using these apps, any smartphone can be used to do a quick “drop-in” news report, using the phone’s built-in mic. The sound will be significantly better than an ordinary cell call, but the phone’s mic is not fully “broadcast quality”. You wouldn’t want to do a long remote, or a ball game, with just the phone’s mic.

tieline_micadapter_1To address this situation, Tieline developed the MIC-ADAPTER, which allows connection of a professional mic and headphone. But it works only with iphone 4 and 4S.

I hear you ask “why can’t I just get an adapter cable, and connect a regular handheld reporter’s mic, and headphones to my phone?” Good question. Here’s the answer:
– most handheld “reporter’s mics” are dynamic, which requires much more preamp gain than is provided by the phone. It won’t be nearly loud enough. And by the time the guys back at the station turn up the volume enough to hear you, the background noise will be offensive.

OK, so why not use a handheld condensor mic?
– if the condensor requires phantom power to operate (most do), it will need between 12 and 48 volts, which the phone can’t supply.

A few condensor mics are available that have their own internal battery supply. Those would work, except for the usual reasons we don’t use condensor mics for field reporting:
– easy to overload when yelling your way through a sports broadcast.
– if used in wet weather, the mic can fail completely (until dried out for several hours.)

I have been testing several headsets, looking for one that will give professional results when connected directly to a smartphone or ipad. All those tested thus far have severely limited frequency response on the microphone elements. Little or no fullness to the lower registers of the voice. The search goes on…

So, as it stands right now, for a full remote broadcast, use a remote codec system made for this purpose. For occasional quick reports, a smartphone’s internal mic will do OK.

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