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Old August 3rd, 2007, 01:30 PM   #1
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Boom, Mic combo - under $1200

Ok so I guess I`ve decided to try the boom road since it will be used for many projects in the future as well. I would like a mic that would be good both indoors and outdoors. My budget is $1200 for the mic AND boom pole and any wires etc needed to run it into an XLR jack on my Canon A1. I read something yesterday about mics that can be switched to different coverages for indoor/outdoor use...but lost where I read it. All feedback is helpful. Thanks.

*side question* Would running the boom through a mixer and then into the camera affect the quality at all? Or should I forget the mixer for now?
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 04:36 PM   #2
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A good mixer will give you better sound quality because it will have significantly better pre-amps than your camera and it will give you additional control over your audio. The problem is that even a modest unit like a Sound Device MixPre will eat up half of your budget, so I'd be inclined to wait on the mixer. Don't forget a decent shock mount for the end of that boom.
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 05:26 PM   #3
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Hi Nathan,

I'm in the process of doing the same thing myself. Since I can't afford to buy a shotgun that will work well both inside and outside ( like the Sanken CS-3E ), I'm going with a good hypercardioid mic that should be great indoors, and good outdoors provided I can get close enough. Here's what I've selected for my shopping list:

Gitzo GB3650 13ft Carbon Fiber Boompole : $270
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...on_Carbon.html

Audio-Technica AT4053a Hypercardioid Mic : $400
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...icrophone.html

Rycote Baby Ball Gag Windshield : $139
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...indshield.html

Rycote Windjammer for Baby Ball Gag Windshield : $70
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Baby_Ball.html

K-Tek K-SSM - Shock Mount : $120
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ock_Mount.html

Sound Devices MM-1 Mic Preamp with Headphone Monitor : $350
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...e_Channel.html

TC-Industries TONE-PLUG : $50
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ion_Audio.html

( About $1400 in total )

I don't think the Sound Devices MM-1 has a tone switch, so I'm going to use the GTC Tone-plug to set my -12 dB sound level on the camera. The MM-1 has a headphone jack, so the boom operator can hear what they're recording. ( I'll have my headphones into the camera, so I can monitor what it's receiving )

...Later on, when I can afford to buy a half-decent shotgun mic, I'll probably buy the AT 4073a and a blimp to go with it. ( $818 just for these two items )

Audio-Technica AT4073A Shotgun Mic : $550
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...icrophone.html

K-Tek Zeppelin with K-GPS Suspension (Medium) : $368
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...sion_Med_.html

I could also go used, but I would feel safer getting everything new for now.


- Guy
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 06:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Guy McLoughlin View Post
...Sound Devices MM-1 Mic Preamp with Headphone Monitor...

TC-Industries TONE-PLUG : $50...
Don't know that the tone-plug will do anything for you. Since the MM-1 doesn't have VU meters, you (the camera op) will be riding levels, not the boom op.

The point of sending tone is to provide alignment of the mixer VU with the camera VU, so that the mixer op can mix with his/her meters in confidence that they aren't overmodulating at the camera.

Since your boomer will have no meters to watch on the MM-1, that will leave it to you, on the cam, to adjust recording level.
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Old August 3rd, 2007, 08:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
Don't know that the tone-plug will do anything for you. Since the MM-1 doesn't have VU meters, you (the camera op) will be riding levels, not the boom op.
Yes, you're right. I forgot that the MM-1 doesn't have a level indicators.

...What about using the tone-plug to check the maximum level for the camera?

So the boom op would know not to go beyond the maximum level for the camera ( judging by the MM-1 preamp switch markings, there are 11 mechanical clicks on the MM-1 gain switch ) which would just raise the noise floor, and possibly over modulate the signal.


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Old August 3rd, 2007, 10:22 PM   #6
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Hi Seth,

I was thinking about the tone-plug thing on the way home tonight, here is my train of thought...

1- The SD MM-1 outputs at line level, so if you set the MM-1 gain to 0 dB, then connect the tone-plug to set the correct pre-amp level on the camera for 0 dB tone.

2- With the camera's pre-amp level unchanged from step 1, you plug in your boom mic and sample the loudest sound you expect to record. You adjust the gain on the MM-1 so that the loudest sound you expect to record is peaking at the right level on the camera.

3- When shooting, the gain on the MM-1 stays the same as established in step 2, and the levels are ridden on the camera.

...Does this make any sense?

I know that a proper mixer would be a much better setup, but the MM-1 fits my current budget.


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Old August 4th, 2007, 01:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Guy McLoughlin View Post
1- The SD MM-1 outputs at line level, so if you set the MM-1 gain to 0 dB, then connect the tone-plug to set the correct pre-amp level on the camera for 0 dB tone.
Guy, this isn't quite right. 0db gain on the preamp does not equal 0db on a vu meter in the slightest. Assuming some normally sensitive mic, you'll have your preamp gain set somewhere between 30 and 50db, to bring the mic level up to line level. Again, "0db tone" would refer to 0db on a vu meter, which is referenced to a specific voltage level. 0db gain is quite a different thing, if you set it on the preamp you'd expect the preamp to pass mic level along to the camera with no gain.

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Originally Posted by Guy McLoughlin View Post
2- With the camera's pre-amp level unchanged from step 1, you plug in your boom mic and sample the loudest sound you expect to record. You adjust the gain on the MM-1 so that the loudest sound you expect to record is peaking at the right level on the camera.

3- When shooting, the gain on the MM-1 stays the same as established in step 2, and the levels are ridden on the camera.
I think you'd want to start with a modified step 2.

2- turn on the preamp limiter, plug in the boom mic and sample the loudest sound you expect to record. Adjust preamp gain to where the limiter LED is blinking on the loud peaks (performance is almost always louder than rehearsal).

2a- Adjust the (manual) camera input level to where the VU meter is peaking at perhaps -12db on the loud peaks.

3- Same as what you wrote above.

I've not used the MM-1, but, with Sound Devices rep for quality I'd expect what you've speced to be a reasonable approach to quality sound from a boom. Your boom op gets a good headphone amp, your camera gets a good line-level signal, with some limiting. And, you'll have a piece of gear that will still be useful (with a larger crew) when you finally do buy a mixer.

It's not conventional, but, if you're good with monitoring levels at the camera it should work just fine.

But, don't let me talk you out of buying a tone plug. I have one and I use it, it's a handy little tool to have. It just won't help you much with level setting out of the MM-1. It could help you establish how the limiter behaves.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 08:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nathan Quattrini View Post
Ok so I guess I`ve decided to try the boom road since it will be used for many projects in the future as well. I would like a mic that would be good both indoors and outdoors. My budget is $1200 for the mic AND boom pole and any wires etc needed to run it into an XLR jack on my Canon A1. I read something yesterday about mics that can be switched to different coverages for indoor/outdoor use...but lost where I read it. All feedback is helpful. Thanks.

*side question* Would running the boom through a mixer and then into the camera affect the quality at all? Or should I forget the mixer for now?
Hi Nathan,

Your $1200 won't really get you what you want. I don't know where you read about indoor/outdoor switches. It's an intersting idea, but I haven't heard of one yet....and I do a lot of listening. :)

What you need is, maybe, a Sanken CS-3e, Sound Devices 302 mixer cables and K-tek boom and a good mixer/camer cable...suspension gear for the mic to be mounted on the boom and probably wind protection for outside work....Oh, and headphones. I only spec Sony MDR7506 for headphones.

I think the CS-3e can work indoors and out, but has a very tight pattern. That's good, but you need to have a really god boom op to stay on target. This is Pro gear and will provide you with very good sound when operated correctly.

You could try and replace the Sanken CS-3e with an Audix SCX-1, but it won't have the reach of the CS-3e.

Unlike most video gear, good pro audio gear can last a career.

Regards,

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Old August 4th, 2007, 09:54 AM   #9
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I fear the Audio_Technica mic.

I can tell you from years of experience that mics are very important, and I am terribly sure that I have never seen a pro audio man ever work with Audio-Technica mics. Ever. Be very, very shure about that mic. Ask around some more before purchasing.

Think Sennheiser, Shure, and Sony. I know there is a lot of talk about other mics, but I like Sony and I LOOOOVE Sennheisers. They're hard to beat.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 02:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
Guy, this isn't quite right. 0db gain on the preamp does not equal 0db on a vu meter in the slightest.
Thanks for setting me straight Seth. I didn't realize that the limiter could be used to set the proper gain level on the MM-1 unit.



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I can tell you from years of experience that mics are very important, and I am terribly sure that I have never seen a pro audio man ever work with Audio-Technica mics.
Hi Alex,

Lots of smaller budget and indie films use both Audio-Technica ( AT 4053a hypercardioid and AT 4073a shotgun ) and AKG blue-line ( SE300B power module and CK93 hypercardioid capsule ) mics, because they don't have the budget for Schoeps or Sanken mics. I'm pretty sure Nathan doesn't have the budget either...

Here's a review from Electronic Musician comparing the sound quality of seven high end condenser mics. ( AKG, Audio-Technica, Josephson Engineering, Neumann, Pearl, Schoeps, Taylor Hohendahl Engineering )

Smokin' Condensers
http://emusician.com/mics/emusic_smokin_condensers/

A quote from the review about the AT 4051 ( cardioid version of the mic I mentioned above ):

"The AT4051a really impressed me when used as a close-mic on acoustic guitar. It seemed to have all the body of the warmer Neumann and Schoeps models, with the added benefit of a perfectly defined high-end sparkle. At a distance, it took on a smoother and more neutral character not unlike the Schoeps, but retained its characteristic warmth and presence."

I'd prefer an ENG/EFP related review of this mic, but I haven't found one yet.

I can't afford a Schoeps, but I think I will be happy with the AT 4053a for this year.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 04:16 PM   #11
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Yea this is all funded from my week to week paycheck, so I really need to stay under the $1,200 mark on this. The Sanken CS-3e is $1,350 itself. So I am looking for the best i can get on my budget. There are hundreds of people out there using cheaper equipment, and there must be a middle ground of sorts. I could always go with a B and H boom / mic package, but I want the best I can get for the money.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 04:35 PM   #12
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I could always go with a B and H boom / mic package, but I want the best I can get for the money.
Most of the boom/mic kits in your price range incorporate shotgun mics that are not well suited for indoor use, and they don't include a blimp to deal with wind outdoors.

This is why I am looking at hypercardioid mics ( and a Baby Ball Gag, which appears to function like a micro blimp ) that should give good sound indoors and out, as long as you can get close enough.

Eventually I'll buy a good shotgun and blimp for outdoor recording.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 05:17 PM   #13
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Ok so what is best for outdoor use?
Indoor use?
Is there a happy medium?

The more important films I am doing right now are outdoor. So i`d prefer a better outdoor 'rig' for the time being. Just thought I might be able to kill 2 birds with one stone.

I saw the Sennheiser ME 66/67...lowest of the line for Sennheiser...are they any good?
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Old August 4th, 2007, 08:00 PM   #14
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Ok so what is best for outdoor use?
Depends on what you are micing, but the consensus seems to be:

A high quality shotgun mic mounted in a blimp windshield with a faux-fur wind cover, mounted on a good quality boom pole, and an experienced boom op.

The DVeStore has a video demo showing how a mic blimp fits together, with a tiny sample of it in use at the end. ( it's near the bottom of this page ) http://dvcreators.net/sennheiser-mics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Quattrini View Post
Indoor use?
Depends on what you are micing, but again the consensus seems to be:

A high quality hypercardioid mic mounted on a good quality boom pole, with an experienced boom op.

Some of the high-end shotgun mics ( like the Sanken CS-3e or the Schoeps CMIT 5U ) will work quite well inside too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Quattrini View Post
I saw the Sennheiser ME 66/67...lowest of the line for Sennheiser...are they any good?
The DVeStore has studio comparison of the low to mid priced shotguns, including the Sennheiser ME 66. Put on a good pair of headphones and judge for yourself. http://dvestore.com/theatre/mics_guide.html

Keep in mind that this shotgun mic shootout was done in a sound studio, so this demo won't give you any idea about how good these mics would be in a normal room.

Also, don't overlook lavaliere mics, which are a different solution to consider.
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Old August 4th, 2007, 09:18 PM   #15
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Well with the price of everything it is looking ilke I have to choose either a shotgun OR lav mics....can`t do both. I figure the dialogues will be fairly close, so the boom should be able to stay close to them. Just need to decide what to get and pray for the best
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