Apple Pro Speakers – Diy conversion

The Apple Pro speakers – Harmon Kardon, look great and give out an awesome sound. Unfortunately they use a proprietary connector (2.5mm).
Some folks have attempted a DIY conversion to include an amp, in order to use these.
More details :-

Using music in films

Sound is half the film experience. Unfortunately, most indie filmmakers do not plan the audio portion very well. A part of the film audio is background music.

Background music is any music that plays in the background (Duh!). It adds flavor to a film. Royalty-free or production music has been produced specifically for background music. Most production music is low quality and not worth using.

An option is to use popular tracks that are over 75 years old. A specific recording made by an artist cannot be used in a film, but the music can be re-recorded and used as the songs/music are out of copyright.

Here are some resources for quality music that can be cheaply used for a quality production.

Top 100 Classical

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons,

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

Royalty free songs – Hits from 1901-1920

Music Alley – Free submissions from song artists

Another option is to use popular songs by artists. The best option is to have a choice of songs. Look at the Billboard ratings for your songs. The price of the songs can be approximately ranked by the Billboard rating and the age. The licenses that should be researched are Sync, Master and Mechanical Licenses.

Further reading,

How to License Music: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

Fees for song usage range from $1,500-$15,000, with superstar tracks
reaching up to $20,000-$25,000.

HBO routinely pay per-use licensing fees of anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000
 to feature prestigious musicians in their original programming.

Equipment List – Audio

1x Rode Videomic (uses 9V battery)
2x iRiver ifp-890 mp3 players with IMS firmware set at mono, 160kbps mp3 recording with the Giant Squid mono lav mics
2x iRiver H320 with Rockbox firmware recording to PCM wave – using Giant Squid mics
1x Sony Hi-MD MZ-NH700 recorders using the Giant Squid mics

1. Rode VM – No issues. Just remember to swap out the 9v battery every couple of years or when you find a problem with sound. These batteries are usually rated for upto 10 years, but no harm in being careful.

2. iRiver ifp series. This series includes the 790, 795, 799, 890, 895 and 899 products (256MB, 512MB and 1GB respect.) Some of these are noisy and were recalled in Korea. If you get these, return them ASAP. Otherwise these are the best bargain mics in recording sound. Use medical tape to affix a lav mic to the talent’s chest, route the lav to the line-in, set the recording to use the port as a mic, mono 160 kbps with AGC off. Perfect! And these take NiMH batteries. The 256MB versions cost about 25/- on ebay nowadays. Buy the special Giant Squid mic as it has a high sensitivity element, correct mono wiring and a choice of a straight or right angled connector to fit either the 7xx or 8xx series.

These are 2 versions of the firmware, UMS and MTP. The UMS firmware is limited to 192kbps stereo or 96kbps mono but reads as an external FAT file on any computer. The MTP firmware uses a proprietary filesystem that needs the iRiver Music Manager to read the files, however it allows 320kbps in stereo or 160kbps in mono. Sonycman at misticriver modded a UMS firmware to offer higher bitrate recording. I dont want to use it as its high bitrate recording is not stable.
Modifyed UMS 1.28 firmware for IFP-79x

3. iRiver H320 – I bought 2x of these form ebay for 75/- each. The high capacity battery is 10/- I bought a 1.8″ to CF adapter for less than 5/- Coupled with a CF card (use one that supports UDMA) this becomes an All-In-One device. This also has a USB host feature that allows you to backup your photo/video files on a job. However, Rockbox has disabled the OTG feature due to battery issues.
Rockbox on iRiver H320 – Battery Problems Solved
At this moment, I am debating selling this off to obtain an H120/140, since the only difference is the smaller size of the H1xx, lack of color screen and lack of OTG (which Rockbox cannot use anyway).

4. Sony Hi-MD NH700 or NHF800 – These are identical models with minor differences. The A/D converter on the MD recorders is excellent as well as the mic pre-amp. A test done at UWM found less noise in the MD recorders than many pro recorders.

Hi-MD & low noise mics

So I am keeping my NH700 and will probably buy a NHF800 if I can get a good price. Buying a NetMD or MD recorder makes no sense as Sony does not let you upload your recordings. And other Hi-MD models use a Li-on battery that is hard to replace. I use these with lav mics and use the PCM recording feature. As the lav ensures separation from the MD unit, the noise of the tape is not picked up ensuring pristine quality. Its hard to describe the clean quality of the sound, the silence is just that – silence! Great bargain.

Also, it turns out that the MZ-RH1 and MZ-M200 Hi-MD units can playback and transfer to PC any files recorded via the older MD units. The MD units that have the mic-in are MZ-N1, MZ-N10, MZ-R37, MZ-R55.

Our setup

We are using the camera onboard audio at all times. Besides this, we have a Rode Videomic for documentary type shoot. For film shoots, ALL the audio will be done in post as its very hard to get usable audio outdoors.

For this purpose, the talent will carry 2x iRiver ifp-890 recorders with 2x Lav Mics attached to them. Remember that the placement is at a right angle i.e. the mic has to be attached to the side of the recorder for a L-shape.
The mic will be setup for recording previously.
To record
a. Turn the lock switch to unlock position
b. Press the Stop/Play button to turn on the recorder
c. Press the Record button to start recording.
d. Turn the Lock switch to lock position.

To stop recording.
a. Turn the Lock switch to unlock position
b. Press the Record button.
c. When it stops saving (after 5 seconds), press the Stop/Play switch until the iRiver turns off.
d. Press the Lock switch to lock position.


At some point in time, I could be recording a conversation between more than 2 people. For this purpose,  a portable option for recording audio would be an aggregate mic setup in Audacity. The best option would be the singstar usb dual mic adapters. I can attach any number of these to a portable dual core tablet and record an entire crowd if I wanted to.

This needs testing at this moment.

USB Microphone Converter

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