RemoteMix One: Simple, Durable, Versatile
MacGyver were a radio reporter or field engineer, he’d feel right at home with
the latest device Joe Klinger and JK Audio introduced at the 2012 NAB Show, the
RemoteMix One. It is simply called a field interview tool.
A resourceful field reporter or
engineer can solve a lot of problems with it. The RemoteMix One is not only versatile,
it’s simple for a reporter on deadline to use. That’s probably the reason Radio
World’s judges gave this item a “Cool Stuff” Award.
I was assigned to write the product evaluation, I had the perfect venue planned
for the product evaluation: the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
RemoteMix One is a wired interface for a dynamic microphone and 1/4-inch stereo
headset. It works with both 2.5 mm headset jacks for non-smartphones and 3.5 mm
four-conductor jacks for smartphones (iPhone and Android varieties) thanks to
two supplied output cords. It takes one 9 volt battery for power,
this test, I used Audio-Technica’s BPHS-1 broadcast mic and headphone
combination.Any standard dynamic
microphone and headphone (or earbud) with a 1/4-inch plug can be used. The
BPHS-1 headphones lockout background noise effectively and its dynamic boom
microphone helps isolate the voice. Both of these came in handy at the
Brickyard when cars were on the track.
The wired interface allows the
user to use Skype or other smartphone codec apps (e.g., the Comrex ARC Android
Reporter Codec for example). Using those codec apps allows voice to pass
through the phone with codec fidelity if on a robust 3G/4G cell network or on a
Remote Mix One functions as a full-featured telephone headset when not using a
smartphone app. If the reporter’s phone is of the standard variety, the 2.5 mm
standard cellphone headset jack can still be used, albeit with cellphone voice
band audio fidelity. The studio producer will still like the fact that with the
RemoteMix One, a wrap can be done in the field in real time, whether it’s live
or recorded for future use.
I used my Sprint EVO Shift
Android phone and RemoteMix One to connect with CBS’s Comrex Access codec in
New York, and used the combination as a regular cellphone headset to verify
those capabilities on Sprint’s 3G and 4G networks.
The RemoteMixOne passes better-than-acceptable
audio in codec apps and also in the standard mobile phone mode. When monitoring
non-mobile audio in the headphones, it sounded as though the user was connected
to a studio headphone amp and not a remote device.
can mix a 3.5 mm stereo line audio input with the XLR microphone input, which
gives real-time wrap capability and allows the reporter or engineer to playback
audio from a laptop, netbook or tablet.
JK Audio RemoteMix One Phone Interface
+ Small size
+ Good battery life
+ Multiple capabilities
+ Simple controls
+ Rugged construction
- Reversal of battery door and trim pot access holes
For information, contact Joe Klinger at JK Audio in Illinois at (815) 786-2929 or visit www.jkaudio.com.
The RemoteMix One’s stereo line
output is also a mix of microphone on the left channel and the return audio on
the right channel. That means the operator or reporter can patch the output
into the line input of an audio recorder. (If the recorder has no line input, an
attenuating patch cord could be used to lower the audio level to something more
mic level friendly.)
Additionally, that output jack
provides a field expedient in a situation where audio from a host and caller
must go on the air or be recorded or in the case that a classic telephone
hybrid is unavailable or won’t connect easily with the equipment that’s
dials are easy to use and have high-contrast white-on-black markings to
indicate relative levels. A user could even use the RemoteMix One with a pair
of gloves (although the thinner the better) in a cold setting. A clip LED light
reminds the reporter or engineer to back down the levels. The power LED
functions as a low battery tally light, which will dim and eventually go out
before the battery is exhausted. Battery life for the RemoteMix One is rated
for 20 hours or better with an alkaline 9 Volt cell. Lithium cells will
increase those operating hours at a bit higher cost. No tools are necessary to
a momentary mic mute switch for coughs, cussing and other sounds you don’t want
going through the microphone channel. It’s also useful if you breathe heavily while
you’re playing an actuality during a real time wrap. The headphone channel
gives the user enough level to hear even low level cues when at a race
The RemoteMix One has an
industrial-strength belt clip, which secures the device to a belt, pocket or
backpack strap. With a metal case, it’ll survive more of a fall than, perhaps,
the telephone to which it is connected.
The only minus (albeit a small
minus) might be a rotation of the battery door and trim screws is, in my
opinion, 180 degrees off. Not that it
would ... but when wearing the unit, dust might blow into the small trim pot
holes if in a dusty or snowy environment. Reversing the door to face the wind
would keep the pots away from the wind.
a suggested retail price of $315, the RemoteMix One is an investment that can
pay for itself in weeks if it’s used for those quick last minute commercial
remotes. It’s a cost-effective spend for a news department if amortized over a
typical product life cycle. Like all JK Audio products designed for field duty,
the physical construction is robust. Unlike audio interface units that are
designed to interface with only one style of phone, the RemoteMix One allows
for a backup plan. It is reliable, functional and elegant, and a device that
any field reporter and engineer would feel confident using when a situation
demands mission-critical audio — whether on the phone or through a smartphone
Paul Kaminski is the news director for the Motor Sports
Radio Network, a contributor and free-lance reporter for CBS News, Radio, and
since 1997, a Radio World contributor and columnist. His email address is email@example.com ; follow him on Twitter @MSRnet.