The Best Audio Solution for the ARRI Alexa Mini
The ARRI Alexa Mini was built to be as streamlined and lightweight as possible - but stripping off every extra ounce of weight means that there are a few compromises that have been made. Chief among them is the lack of true audio inputs. The Alexa Mini accepts only 2 channels of audio, through one single 5-pin Lemo connector on the front of the camera. There are no gain controls, no pre-amps, no phantom power, no nothing. But hey - that’s why we accessorize.
There are a few solutions on the market today. Wooden Camera sells the “A-Box”, a simple XLR-to-Lemo adapter that gives you two 3-pin XLR inputs in a simple, tiny unit. But that still doesn’t have pre-amps and so cannot boost the audio coming from your mic at all. For that, we turn to the Beachtek DXA-ALEXA.
The Beachtek DXA-ALEXA takes a mic level input and converts it to the line level audio that the Alexa Mini requires. In the process, it also gives you sturdy physical controls with which to manipulate your levels. Like the A-Box, it features two balanced XLR inputs, as well as a loopback for monitoring. It can be mounted on the top, side, or rear of the camera with custom brackets, and it is designed to match the size and feel of the Alexa Mini.
Once it is mounted, operation is quite simple. It accepts power via a standard 2-pin Lemo connector, and has a large, light-up power button on the side. You simply run your mic cables into one of the balanced XLR inputs, and run a short XLR to 5-pin cable into the camera. Headphones go into a mini plug at the top, and you’re off to the races. Even without headphones (not recommended), you can still roughly monitor your audio with the tri-color LEDs below each knob. Green is good, yellow is questionable, and red means you are peaking out. Very intuitive stuff.
While there are many products offering solutions to the audio issues of the ARRI Alexa Mini, the Beachtek DXA-Alexa is one of the best available. It provides all of the professional audio features we would expect from a more ENG-focused camera in a sleek and simple package. This is a must-have for any single-system shoots with the ARRI Alexa Mini.