The BeachTek DXA-SLR ULTRA is a new audio mixer designed for DSLR and mirrorless video cameras which has XLR inputs and manual buttons for video recordings.
I’ve always had issues using DSLRs as video cameras because the subpar audio that most DSLR video cameras produce. Most DSLR’s have a 3.5mm microphone input, but it is difficult to set the volume level and impossible for me to control levels in changing situations. Therefore when I’m shooting music, editorial or documentaries, I opt for a separate audio recorder like the Zoom H4n or H6. This creates extra step in post since recoding separate also tracks requires a post-synchronization assembly. For small productions (when I can get away with it) I prefer to use an adapter that connects directly to the DSLR to record audio and video simultaneously directly into the camera. Using the DXA-SLR ULTRA with the Blackmagicdesign Cinema Camera is a dream compared to the separate audio device solution. The BMCC creates a unique set of challenges with its screen-only menu system. Adding the manual control of the DXA-SLR ULTRA makes run & gun documentary video much, much easier.
The DXA-SLR ULTRA works great in the situations I subjected it to including shooting a documentary at a two-day music festival and shooting segments for a local television show. It was easy to set up and a breeze to use.
The mixer has two Neutrik brand combo XLR / ¼” 48V phantom powered inputs for mono mono left + right channels. These connect microphones or external audio sources and a headphone output. The inputs are transformer balanced for isolation and enhanced circuit protection: critical when shooting b-roll for broadcast television. The VU meters make it easy for me to verify the proper input levels at a glance, while the level controls allowed me to adjust the output signal for optimum recording. Built-in limiters prevent distortion from overly hot inputs – again critical when working in loud environments in the field. I was able to use the phone jack to monitor the audio from the adapter during recording, or from the camera during playback.
Other easily accessible controls include voltage buttons, a volume wheel, a mic/line selector, left/right volume pots, and the gain settings.
Unique to the DXA-SLR is its ULTRA system with 2-3 inch removable rods to add a matte box, follow focus or other accessories. The adapter is installed in the housing and can be screwed onto a tripod. The frame is made of rubber with a metal bracket and feels well made. The BeachTek DXA-SLR ULTRA can be found on Amazon for $469.