Head to Head: Wireless Camera Headphones

On this video, Caleb Pike from DSLR Video Shooter looked at a number of wireless BT dongles to try and find the perfect one for monitoring audio wirelessly when shooting video.

If you are shooting your videos and want a solution for wirelessly monitoring the sound you might be looking for some sort of system that can connect directly to your camera or alternatively – intro your audio recorder.

The main issue is that nighter of that current support wireless audio streaming out of the box (even audio recorders like the MixPre series which has built-in BT do not support using it for wireless headphones monitoring (what a shame…).

There are some objective challenges here of course, besides things like extra cost and battery life, the biggest issue is latency. When you monitor audio on the go (for example say that you are recording an interview and monitoring the sound while shooting), if you happen to use wireless headphones you might hear the sound in the headphones with a short lag after you actually see the talents lips moving or hear him/her in the room – this is very disorienting and very hard for the mind to get over.

So in order to get around this Pike ordered a bunch of BT adaptors that advertise as being low latency (at least some of them do) and tested them both directly to his camera and to his recorder to see if any are actually good enough that they can be used on a real shoot without giving the person monitoring a headache.

The result is that all but two seem to fail the latency test (you can still use them if you want to turn regular (3.5mm) headphones into wireless ones and that can be useful in some situations, but they are not ideal for real-world video/sound monitoring.

The two that seem to have very low latency are made by Avantree – one is the aptX Low Latency Wireless Transmitter and Receiver Set (just two small units that communicate with each other over BT and connect to any 3.5mm equipped device. The second is Avantree HT4189 Transmitter and Receiver Kit with Headphones – this unit is a little bit more expensive and it comes with headphones (which includes a built-in receiver so you can’t use just any headphones you might have like the aptX).

We ordered a set of the aptX and we shall give them a try ourselves and see how they work with our setup – if they do we shall let you know and it is certainly something that can be helpful in our video productions (especially for doing interviews).

You can check out more of videos from our photography gear guides section here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of LensVid.com. He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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