Aputure Takes on RØDElink, Teradek and More?

by Hugh Brownstone4 Comments

Ted Sim is the wild man (translation: abundantly enthusiastic marketing guy) of Aputure, an up-and-coming company whose enthusiast-priced gear I often like very much (they send me stuff to evaluate now and again). Unique in my experience, they also have an active if small Facebook community page where they solicit feedback from their users. When I stopped by their booth at Photo Plus Expo (PPE) last week, Ted was so excited about their $30 wired A-lav lavalier mic that he jumped at the chance to compare its sound quality to my kit, two sets of RØDElink wireless lavs [B&H|Amazon]  running through a TASCAM DR-70D [B&H|Amazon]. How can you say “no” to that? But he was just warming up.

Last time we caught up with Aputure was at NAB in April, and when we connected last week in New York City, it became clear that they’ve made progress on multiple fronts with their high-function, lower-priced audio, lighting and wireless products.

First, Ted was all about their new $30 A-lav mic.

I’ve written before that a $30 wired mic can sound fantastic when plugged into the excellent TASCAM DR70-D audio recorder [B&H|Amazon], so I expected the A-lav would probably work well. You can check it out in the video below. Personally, what I hear is my own lack of skill in setting the levels appropriately — I should have turned up the preamp on channel 3 to compensate for the A-Lav's lower output.  See and hear for yourself in the video, though I'll be impressed if by the end (as I began to fiddle more) you can tell which is which beginning at 2:51. Let us know what you think.

Of course, this was just the warm-up. Ted also showcased new light modifiers for their Amaran series of LED panels [B&H|Amazon], and most impressive of all, their ArrayTrans wireless HDMI streaming unit, coming soon.

PhotoPlus Expo 2015: Aputure takes on the big boys in audio, lighting, and wireless transmission

The light modifiers for their Amaran series of LED panels [B&H|Amazon]are a very economical way for filmmakers new to lighting to learn through osmosis and up the production value of their work. I’m looking forward to seeing their final production versions.

Their ARRAY TRANS  takes aim squarely at near-zero latency, uncompressed wireless transmission products like those from Teradek and Paralinx, with astute compromises to get the price down to enthusiast and small production house levels of affordability. It was impressive at the booth, so again I’m looking forward to seeing a production unit in the circuit-board and plastic.

As I’ve written before, the Aputure folks are smart, ambitious and genuinely nice. I like them, and wish them continued success.

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. Impossible to evaluate the A Lav vs. the RodeLink if the levels aren’t mastered the same.  I know this wasn’t a serious test of the two, but I don’t get any useful information based on this.  My takeaway – based solely on the impression I got of this video is that the A Lav provides a very weak signal that when boosted will introduce a lot of noise that I don’t want.  I suspect that impression may be faulty, but I just don’t know.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t try to imply a head-to-head comparison if it’s not a serious effort to actually provide a head-to-head comparison.

  2. Over here, even given lower level, clarity significantly less with A-lav. Although..I was confused in your description. Is this Rode lav into wireless chain vs A-lav wired? That would make it apples vs oranges.

  3. RichReilly Yep: each RODE lav mic was connected to a RODElink transmitter; the RODElink receivers were plugged into a TASCAM DR70-D via XLR adapters; and the A-lav was also connected to the TASCAM via XLR adapters. On one level, it’s easy for me to agree with you that this is an apples to oranges comparison. Yet at another level, I see it as more of a trade-off preference: if you’re willing to contend with wires and budget-constrained,, do you get close enough to the sound of the wireless system that you’re OK with it? For some people the answer is likely to be yes (I found this to be especially true when comparing the RODElink to an audio-technica ATR3350is wired lav).  YMMV.

  4. GregLetiecq Honestly, it was a well-intentioned but time- and skill-constrained effort (my lack of skill). What would you do precisely to make it better (really open to your answer)?  I’m not sure what “mastered the same” would look like, as what I did do was boost the signal on the A-lav into the TASCAM so that it read about the same level during monitoring as the RODElink, and then in the timeline boosted or lowered the volume to get the same peak readings. But with this written, Ted and I have different voices and tend to speak at different levels. I’m the first to admit I still suck at audio [see: http://blog.planet5d.com/2015/09/battle-of-the-microphones-5-micrecorder-walk-off/]

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