There are a slew of benefits to using a low noise preamp when recording audio directly into your DSLR. Not only do most preamps (like a JuicedLink) provide phantom power and automatic gain control (AGC) disable, they also accept XLR microphones and cut down the post production process of having to sync audio. The basic function of a preamp is to improve the signal coming in from the microphone and reduce the noise. A preamplifier will throttle back the noisy amplifier in your camera and replace the noisy gain with clean gain- ultimately improving the signal to noise ratio for optimal sound.
In light of the fact that not everyone can afford a preamp or for those who simply want to keep their production to a bare bones setup, we decided to test out a less versatile, yet inexpensive, alternative to both a preamp and double system shooting with an external digital recorder. The FiiO Headphone Amplifier does not have the ability to connect XLR mics, monitor via headphones, provide phantom power or ACG disable, HOWEVER, we hoped it would reduce the noisy hiss while amplifying the signal coming into the microphone.
We paired the cheapest lavalier microphone we have in our studio, the Audio Technica ATR-3350, with the FiiO E11 Headphone Amplifier. We wanted to test out whether or not the FiiO would render the audio results we were hoping for. The video speaks for itself. What do you guys think?
FiiO E11 Quick Specs