Saramonic VMIC Recorder Review / Test

Today we are looking at a product that's a bit different than usual. We are looking at the Saramonic VMIC Recorder. I do need to note that this microphone was provided to me by Saramonic so i was able to review it.

This is a camera top shotgun microphone that can be placed into the camera shoe on your DSLR/Video Camera, or mounted to a 1/4" tripod mount. What really sets this microphone apart is the fact that it not only has an output to connect the microphone to your camera, but it also allows you to record directly to an internal SD card.

If you are interested in this microphone, it will set you back $200 on Amazon

What's In the Box

  1. Microphone
  2. Pop Shield
  3. 3.5mm to 3.5mm Cable
  4. Documentation
  5. Warranty Card

Performance / Features

The construction of this microphone feels very good. The main casing for the recorder is metal, and the front/back plates are a firm plastic. The windscreen is pretty thick and should also provide adequate protection from wind/pops. The display on the back of the mic is bright enough that you should not have any issue seeing it while in direct sunlight. The 3 control buttons under the screen also feel well constructed.

On the front of the microphone, there are two 3.5mm jacks. The top jack is the output that you will use to connect to your camera's microphone input. The bottom 3.5mm jack is an output to connect your headphones to for live monitoring. Directly below these jacks there is the battery compartment/SD slot. The microphone takes (2) AA batteries that will provide you with 8 hours of recording time. As far as the SD card, it takes a micro SD card, and according to the documentation, the mic can handle up to a 32gb card.

The back of the microphone has an LCD screen that shows you battery life, level monitoring, as well as recording time. Directly beneath the screen there are three buttons. The left button is your power button, the right button is your record button, and the center button is a d-pad that allows you to select between input volume, headphone volume, and low cut as well as navigate menus. 

The bottom of the camera has a standard camera shoe mount and also allows you to mount it onto a 1/4" tripod screw.

The frequency response is listed as 50Hz - 20kHz which is adequate for a camera top shotgun microphone. The mic records 16-bit 48kHz WAV files, and takes (2) AA batteries which will give you 8 hours of record time.

The polar pattern is listed as super cardioid. When directly in front of the mic it sounds pretty good. As you move off axis you start to witness a large drop off of high frequencies, but it does still pick up a bit of noise. As I moved around the sides and behind the microphone, I felt that it picked up a little too much sound as well.

Pros

  • Records to SD Card & Camera
  • Compact
  • Headphone port for live monitoring!
  • LCD Screen to monitor levels & battery life
  • Good build quality
  • Mounts to camera shoe or tripod

Cons

  • Seemed to have a wider polar pattern than expected
  • Somewhat compressed sound/tone

Conclusion

Similar to other camera top microphones, I found this microphone to have a similar compressed sound and tone to it, which gives away that it is an ultra compact shotgun microphone. I also thought that the polar pattern allowed for a bit too much noise to make it to the microphone.

Other than that, I think that this thing is a great deal. I love the fact that it is so small and portable. I also like that it provides a screen to monitor the battery life and levels to ensure you're not clipping as well as a headphone port for live monitoring! Another great feature is the ability to mount the mic to your camera or a tripod. My favorite feature on this microphone is the fact that it allows you to record to an SD card as well as output to your camera. This will give you the added security of an audio backup if the camera input is clipping, or the mic input causes too much line noise.

I would recommend this for vloggers who are out and about a lot and require a camera top microphone. It will give you all the functionality you need with additional features to ensure you are getting the best sound possible. If you are recording in a studio setting, I would suggest looking into a full size condenser shotgun microphone because those will provide you with a better sound quality.

If you have any additional questions about this microphone, leave them in the comments on this site or on the youtube channel, and I will try to reply ASAP. 

Buy it on Amazon
US: http://amzn.to/2c05NkF
UK: http://amzn.to/2bPxRs7

BSP-031: I'm Never Live Streaming on YouTube Again!!!

00:00 - Intro
00:52 - Live Streaming my Podcast on Facebook
02:00 - Beats Headphones Have Ruined the Headphone Market!!!
05:55 - Conspiracy: YouTube Drama
07:43 - Top 7 YouTubers
10:38 - New Resident Evil Film
11:35 - New Bad Santa 2 Trailer
13:20 - New X-Files!?
14:23 - Soylent & Coffee Drink
14:55 - Hulu Ending Free Service
15:51 - Comcast is Getting SUED!!!
16:24 - Rush A Farewell to Kings
16:43 - Plans for Future of this Podcast
17:50 - Why I Will Never Live Stream on YouTube Again!!!
23:40 - Throwback Clip (Warning: Explicit Content)
29:29 - Outro

On episode 31 of The BSP, I talk at length about my search for bluetooth headphones in order to be prepared for the iPhone 7 and how this search ultimately led me to the realization that Beats Headphones have absolutely RUINED the headphone marketplace.

I then talk about a conspiracy I came up with regarding all the youtube drama that has been plaguing the site over the last year, and how I think that it’s fake and essentially a new form of collaboration to help boost watch time/ad revenue.

Immediately following this, I share my top 7 youtube channels and why I subscribe and watch their videos. Then we go into a LOT of news.

For the last two section so the podcast, I talk about why I will never live stream on youtube again, and lastly for the throwback clip/analysis, I share a very interesting story from college.

Follow BSP on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bandrewsayspodcast
Follow BSP on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bandrewsays

http://www.geeksrising.com

The Shrieker Podcast 010: Freeman Faust

Public defense attorney Freeman Faust joins us to talk about something we have all dealt with, whether we’ve thought about it or not: Social Contract. The agreements, whether explicit or implicit, define what behaviors are expected and acceptable in a group of any size. When these contracts are breached, when expectations do not line up, people tend to get upset. By talking together and clearly establishing a contract before playing, the group will hopefully be able endure for longer  and keep players happier. Episode #156 of the Misdirected Mark Podcast does a good job of breaking down a gaming social contract into the logistics of getting a group together and the campaign framework, which guides the story and playstyle of the game.

For your downloading pleasure, Freeman drafted an actual social contract, containing many of the topics that your tables social contract might include that you can force your players to sign. Remember, it’s not legally binding unless you have it stamped by a notary.

The Free RPG Society: Rewind: Temporal Tales is a pay-what-you-want RPG that handles time looping stories like Groundhogs Day. It’s written primarily for one player and one GM and works very well for that. It also has suggesting for using an oracle mechanic for solo play, though I didn’t find that very satisfying. Look for a full a review on the Geeks Rising blog.

Rate and Review our show on itunes, join our Facebook  and G+ communities, comment on our website, or email me. We’d love to hear from you.

The Shrieker Podcast 009: Nicholas Hopkins

After making things awkward with baby chickens, Nicholas Hopkins returns to The Shrieker to talk to us about the development of his first game.

Cyclopean Stars is a lovecraftian (not to be confused with cthulhuian) Powered by the Apocalypse game. Nick felt driven to write this game because other games in the genre just don’t do what he wants. Call of Cthulhu, the first mythos game, introduced a sanity mechanic to RPGs. Trail of Cthulhu, using the Gumshoe system, created a more flexible investigation system. Tremulustries really hard to emulate Call of Cthulhu, which was a misstep in Nick’s estimation. In Cyclopean Stars Nick wants to make a modern, narrative driven, long term game that is low prep (with a procedurally generated mysteries) that lets players quickly get wrapped up in a messy, corrupting world where you can’t help but get isolated from your past live. Nick’s game is still pretty early in it’s development but he’s hoping to playtest it as much as possible at Origins. You can follow or get involved in the development of Cyclopean Stars on the game’s G+ community.

This month you can download a Lovecraft inspired Apocalypse World style front, ready to drop squamulous horrors into your game.

The Free RPG Society: Quill is a pay-what-you-want, solo RPG based on letter writing. It’s fun but might not actually be an RPG. Look for a full a review on the Geeks Rising blog.

Rate and Review our show on itunes, join our Facebook  and G+ communities, comment on our website, or email me. We’d love to hear from you.

The Shrieker Podcast 008: Josh Van Laningham

After plugging the new Shrieker Facebook and G+ groups, Josh Van Laningham talks to us about his work as an Art Director and Graphic Designer at Level 99 Games.

Level 99 produces 2 player head-to-head board games influenced by fighting video games. As a graphic designer, Josh takes all the art and game elements and assembles them into beautiful, usable, informative rule books, boxes and other items. He started work first on Mystic Empyrean, Level 99’s only RPG, which is now out of print but has a demo still available on DriveThruRPG. His favorite game is Sellswords, a card drafting, tile placement game. Their games are available directly from the Level 99 website and locally at the Empire Board Game Library.

This month you can download The Shrieker, a playable character for Level 99’s BattleCon. Unleash fungoid might to bring down your enemies!

The Free RPG Society: I got to try out Nighttime Guardians, the game we talked about last month. The good news is that the game’s cute setting and simple mechanics are just as charming in play as I expected. Unfortunately it has some serious balance issues that need to be addressed. Look for a full a review on the Geeks Rising blog.

Rate and Review our show on itunes, join our Facebook  and G+ communities, comment on our website, or email me. We’d love to hear from you.

The Shrieker Podcast 005: Nicholas Hopkins

Nicholas Hopkins talks with us this month about organizing the Albuquerque Area RPG Meetup group. Tabletop gaming, which is a social activity, creates a funny, antisocial community structure of isolated gaming groups. The Meetup group provides a centralized place for gamers from across the city and surrounding areas to find new games and players. This is particularly useful for gamers interested in games besides D&D and Pathfinder, which are usually pretty well supported in the gaming stores, but anyone is welcome to use the Meetup group to organize gaming events of all kinds. The majority of the events on the site are LARP related but that doesn’t necessarily reflect what most of the members are interested in. Nick’s monthly game night’s (UPDATE: now held weekly at Tradesmart) offer a buffet of interesting new game experiences. Hopefully the Meetup will continue to grow in member count and activity level.

This month you can download The Dream Doll, a magic item that allows players to explore a “What If” scenario in which their character achieves their fondest dreams.

Rate and Review our show on itunes, comment on our website, or email me. We’d love to hear from you.

Bandrew's Top 5 Films of 2015

This was another great year for film. Lucky for me, and you, there was a tremendous amount of great Science Fiction. Before we get into it I want to include the disclaimer that this is based on the films that I have seen. I know that there are some amazing films out there that I simply did not have time to catch. With that being said, let's go ahead and look at my Top 5 films of 2015.

5. Chappie

This is the latest film from Neill Blomkamp, and it was amazing. It seems that a lot of critics were not fans of it, but I found almost all aspects of this film to be excellent. There is some very strong social commentary about being forced to adopt traits to survive depending on your socioeconomic surroundings. On top of this important message, I found the acting to be superb. Die Antwoord did a great job in this film (although I wasn't surprised because their roles in Umshimi Wam were flawless) and the VFX department did amazing work with Chappie. The only thing that left me wanting more was Hugh Jackman's character. I felt like his story line was a bit rushed, but over all, this film has a really great story with an important message, and it is an all around a fun movie to watch.

4. Jurassic World

Come on. Of course this film is going to make it on my list. This is another film that I have heard people say some bad things about. I think that those negative nellys just missed the point. If you watch this film and realize that the entire film is a self satire, and that it is just making fun of itself and the executives that green lit this project, then you will walk away with a newfound appreciation and love for this film. On top of the fact that the writers were able to get away with this premise, Chris Pratt nails it. That dude is way too charming. But seriously, if you did not enjoy this movie the first time, re-watch it now and realize that they're just talking shit about the film that they're making. It's so meta that it's like a Dan Harmon script. 

3. The Martian

What an ambitious film. If you read the book, you know that it was a tremendous undertaking to try and adapt this source material. Somehow they did it...oh yeah...they did it by getting Ridley FREAKING Scott (although some people would say his stock has lost value following prometheus, I would tell them to shut their stupid cake holes and enjoy the hell out of this movie). I'm going to go ahead and say it, Matt Damon is not the star of this film. The star of this film is Mars, and it is awesome. The shots of Mars (yes I know it's not really mars) are some of the most gorgeous pieces of film that I have ever seen. I legitimately thought that I was there for a second while I was watching this in the theater. All around this film is great, but I would recommend reading the book first. 

2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I finally am able to understand what it was like to be alive and attending the premiers of the original trilogy. I experienced the feeling of walking out of the theater with your jaw on the floor, and wanting to turn right around and see it again, and again and again. But I digress. Yes. I know that a lot of the tropes are borrowed from previous Star Wars episodes, but that's not what's important in this film. What's important is first off, the characters, and secondly, restoring our faith that Star Wars films can be good. And guess what, they nailed both of those important factors. The new characters in this film are just amazing and I cannot wait to see how they grow over the next few films. There is also some really interesting points that we can speculate about which is great because we can talk about it for the next two years while we wait. Regarding the second factor, I don't think many people can walk out of that film and say "yeah...Star Wars is still dead to me", and if they do, then we know that they are secretly a heartless Robot. If you have not seen this film yet. GET ON IT AND GO WATCH IT!

1. Ex Machina

I love robots. I love beautiful scenery. I love amazing acting. I love stories so good that they can be told with only 3 actors. This film meets all those criteria. Not only did I enjoy this film so much that it made my top spot of this year; I enjoyed this film so much that it is easily one of my favorite films of all time. The premise is that a guy is brought to a CEO's secluded home to help conduct the Turing test on an AI. But there is so much more than that, and I do not want to spoil anything for you. Suffice it to say, craziness ensues. If my poor summary of this film didn't get you excited, let me use the cast to sell you on this film...it has Oscar Isaac & Dohnall Gleeson. Two characters from the new Star Wars film! So these two guys made my top list twice! I just want to tell you that if you have not watched this film, then you need to go buy it, or rent it, or borrow it right now. Once you see it, let me know what you thought of it because I'm pretty sure you're going to love it.


What do you think the top 5 movies of 2015 were? Let us know in the comments down below! And here's to another year of AWESOME films!

Logan's Top 5 Comics of 2015

Much like with television, we live in a day and age of comics where there seems to be an endless amount of quality stories being told by multiple publishers. This is a wonderful thing for us as readers/consumers but it also means that there is so much to consume. That being said, these are my top 5 comics of 2015 and the list only scratches the surface of all the amazing books being put out. Though it didnt make the top 5, shout out to Lumberjanes, a book I have loved since it launched but I wanted to focus of books that came out in 2015 or that I discover in 2015.

5. Self Obsessed- Sina Grace

The title only scratches the surface of this memoir created by Sina Grace. The book is a narrated collection of work done by Sina Grace of the past year and goes into in the personal struggles of a comic creator. While the comic revolves solely on the life of Sina and everything that he has gone through, it also connects you and lets you into the mind of an artist and provides a glimpse of what it is like to try to make comic books while maintaining a life full of mistakes, love, friends and family. As someone trying to make comics myself, I connected with the struggles of trying to be human while devoting time to telling stories.

 

 

 

4. Sandman: Overture

If you haven't read the original series (1989) by creator Neil Gaiman, I recommend you do so now. But it is not necessary to have read it before reading Overture as time is fluid and this story is a self contained mini-series by Neil Gaiman and artist J.H. Williams III. Overture follows the Sandman, the "Prince of Dreams," on a journey to save the universe from destruction. The art is beautiful and for that reason alone is worth picking up but Neil Gaiman also tells an amazing poetic story that only he can tell. I didnt read the original series until last year but I fell in love with the book and was so happy for more of Morpheus (Sandman has many names I used three).

 

 

 

3. Ms. Marvel

There are so many " Cape" books in an industry built on superheroes that it's easy to reach fatigue of super events, crossovers, reboots and relaunches, but Ms.Marvel fell into my lap and was a breath of fresh air. Created by Marvel editor, Sana Amanat, writer G. Wilow Wilson, and artist Adrian Alphona, Ms. Marvel is a beautiful book with a strong story. The main character Kamala Khan recieves her inhuman powers in a world already filled with superheroes. She, like us the readers, is a fan of these super humans and names herself after Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) whom she idolizes. I really enjoy that its a book like Spider-Man where we follow a young kid getting powers (shapeshifting and size changing) while learning to deal with them in a contemporary world. I also love the color of the book that feels light and whimsical. The book stands alone and only recently tied into big events. It's exciting to see a brand new character make an impact and looks to be sticking around in the Marvel Universe.

 

 

2. Descender

The top two spots were the hardest to decide on. There are so many great books and so many others I didn't even get to read, but there is one creator I follow religiously, and that is Jeff Lemire. His book with artist Dustin Nguyen was a book I wasnt going to pass up. Jeff Lemire is a master of capturing what the kids call "the feels" and I am a sucker for "the feels," also a sucker for scifi robot stuff. Descender takes place in a human colonized galaxy in a time where the humans have already preformed an "ethnic cleansing" on the robots and it picks up by following the awakening of a kid robot named, Tim-21 and his robot dog. The universe seems to be wiped of optimism until the young boy tries to discover what is happening. He runs into humans and other robot harvesters but there is more to Tim-21 than anyone had predicted. The story has only continued to grow and open up more paths. It captures bits of Mass Effect and a journey of a kid lost in the unknown world.

 

 

1.  Paper Girls

The number one spot goes to all time favorite writer Brian K. Vaughan for his new series Paper Girls. This spot could have easily gone to his other ongoing series, Saga which is a favorite, but I wanted to choose a book that launched this year and to be honest, they are both amazing (Read anything put out by BKV and you can't lose). There have only been five issues but it is already solid book that continues to promise a fantastic story. Paper Girls is a tale set in 1988 following a gang of girls on their predawn paper route with a Sci-Fi twist. It's been called "Stand by Me" meets " War of the Worlds." I don't want to spoil anything but BKV sets up another amazing adventure that is only further captured by the art of Cliff Chiang.

Bandrew's Top 5 TV Shows 2015

Currently we are in something of a golden age of television. It seems that almost every week, a new TV show comes out that is great. It's almost to the point where you get angry with someone for recommending an amazing show because who the hell has time to watch everything. So here is the necessary disclaimer, I probably saw less than 1% of new TV shows this year, and therefore this list is just the top 5 tv shows that I was lucky enough to watch.


5. Mr. Robot

This TV show took the internet by storm. Almost everywhere I looked I saw people ranting and raving about it...and rightfully so. Rami Malik nails the role of Eliot. A character who works with a hacker group to bring down Evil Corp; a really crappy evil corporation. The premise may not sound that original, and there are definitely some plot points that were borrowed from existing materials, but that does not effect the awesomeness of this show. Basically, if you have ever hated a company for seemingly being an evil group of scummy a**holes, then this is a show you need to watch!

4. Rick & Morty

If you love Dan Harmon, then you will love Justin Roiland. And lucky for you, both those guys created this show. In all honesty, there really is nothing that can be said about Rick and Morty other than it is genius and it is one of the best shows on television. It is hysterical, meta as f**k, and it will make you contemplate life. The characters were based off the really strange relationship of Doc & Marty from Back to the Future, and the premise is: a grandfather and his grandson travel through the universe and through dimensions and deal with insanity. It is some excellent science fiction that is really funny. The thing that amazes me most about this show though is the great characters and the fact that there are some very sincere moments in the show that will tug at your heart strings.

3. Halt & Catch Fire

This is a show that follows a few people who began the computer revolution. The first season is about the development of the personal computer, and season two is more about the move to the internet. Regardless of whether you are into computers or not, the characters in this show are so dynamic, that you cannot help but be pulled into this world, and almost wish that you were transported back to this time to experience the excitement of this revolution. Just like every good show, the setting doesn't really matter...it just acts as a backdrop to tell the story of these characters, and that story is f**king interesting. However, that backdrop is perfectly set and incredibly interesting as well, so this show has everything going for it! You need to watch this!

2. The Expanse

There have only been four episodes, but I am sticking it up here already. This is based of the book series of the same name, and the only way I can describe it is f**king epic! This is just a space opera done expertly. The acting on this series is amazing. The direction, amazing. The cinematography, amazing. The VFX, amazing. Every department working on this show seems to be firing on all cylinders, and I cannot wait to see how this show continues to play out. Basically what I'm saying is, if SyFy is able to keep up this level of production for the remainder of the series, then I think we may have another Battlestar Galactica on our hands.

1. Last Man on Earth

This is a comedy unlike anything I have ever seen on television before. We may never know how Will Forte got Fox to green light this show, but all we can do is thank him and fox for creating this masterpiece. I simply don't know of any other comedy that is able to consistently & successfully create cliff hangers. If you can't tell the premise of this show, it's about the last man on earth. We quickly find that he's not the last person, and that's where it gets interesting. The relationship dynamics are sometimes a bit exaggerated, but they remain grounded. That is what's so interesting about this show; the relationships and character development. I may not be able to do this show justice in a paragraph, but it is number one on my list for a reason. So here's the one line summary of this show: Last Man on Earth is a Home Run! Get it...because the trailer is in a baseball stadium. YES! I still Got it!


Honorable Mentions

Comedy Bang! Bang!

If you listen to the comedy bang! bang! podcast, you would have to be an absolute idiot to not watch this show. It is constantly funny and they aren't afraid to try new things on each episode. Let me just ask you a question. You don't want to be an idiot, do you? Then watch this show...you idiot!

Maron

Have you ever had an overwhelming sense that the world is going to end and that you're the biggest pile of crap in the world? Then you will relate to this show. Just like the WTF Podcast, this show is brutally honest and we get a look at the darkest sides of who Marc is. It's an amazing show and I highly recommend it. 

@Midnight

I. Love. This. Show. This show is a comedy nerds wet dream. You get to see a bunch of your favorite comedians go on a show and just riff for 22 minutes about all the crap that happens on the internet. It is hilarious, and it's always fun to play along on the #HashtagWars! 

Nathan for You

Let me explain why this is only an honorable mention. I just discovered this show about 3 hours before I finalized this article. I would have had this article completed much sooner had I not found this gem. I have only watched three episodes from season one, but I can tell that this is going to be an amazing show, and if the quality remains consistent, this will most likely make an appearance on next years list!