Streaming Media

Streaming Media on Facebook Streaming Media on Twitter Streaming Media on LinkedIn

Review: Beachtek MCC-2 and Kamkit DSLR Accessory Mounting and Control Brackets

The Beachtek MCC-2 and Kamkit allow users to mount, control, and connect various accessories to their DSLR with ease.

The MCC-2

For audio, the MCC-2 does things that I've not found elsewhere. It's like the palm pilot of DSLR accessories, especially audio accessories. While so many devices try to do everything you could possibly need, the MCC-2 does what little it does very simply and very well. Beachtek makes other more complex, powered adapters to do everything else.

A lot of audio gear has been developed specifically for DSLRs and small camcorders with 1/8" (3.5mm) audio inputs. Trying to use a bigger audio mixer with more features, such as phantom powered XLRs, is not really a great solution. You don't need the size and weight of XLRs and you don't need phantom power.

The MCC-2 mounts in the hot shoe of your camera and gives you three new cold shoes on the top, left, and right. These can slide an accessory through from front to back, and the metal is smoother than I expected, so unless you tighten your attached accessory well, it can slide around when bumped.

I arrange the MCC-2 to have the two potentiometers (pots) facing me so I can adjust the audio levels while viewing the audio meters on the camera's LCD screen (Figure 4, below). This means that the MCC's four 3.5mm jacks face forward (Figure 1). There's a jack for left input, a jack for right input, a stereo input, and a stereo output.

Figure 4. Keep the potentiometers on the MCC-2 facing you (behind the lens) so you can adjust levels as needed. Also note the mono/stereo switch. Click the image to see it at full size.

Let me be clear here: The MCC-2 has two attenuating pots. There is no amplification. There is no phantom power. But the general practice with consumer gear--DSLRs included--is to turn the camera's internal audio amplification as low as possible and feed it a hot signal. This might mean a +10dB signal from your mono shotgun mic and a line-level output from your wireless mic. Not only will these two signals not match--they'd likely both be too hot for the input stage of your DSLR.

The MCC-2 allows you to dial down each input separately, so that they match each other, and so that they don't distort the camera's audio preamps. Both of these are critical aspects. No DSLR I've seen yet allows for individual audio channel level adjustment. It has to be done with external accessories. And then once you even the two channels out, you need to make sure the audio doesn't clip going into the camera. The MCC-2 does both of these things.

It also has a mono-stereo switch in between the two pots (Figure 4). This allows you to take one source and spread it across both channels, which is useful if you need to deliver your media "as shot," right from the camera. And there's no "post" stage to take that left channel mono source and put it on both the left and right channels. The MCC-2 also has a stereo input which allows you to adjust each side of a stereo mic separately. Easy to match, or you can deliberately set one side lower to leave headroom in case things get unexpectedly louder.