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Old August 15th, 2007, 12:56 PM   #1
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Stereo vs. Mono Mic ?

Okay, I've finally decided I really need to get an external mic(s) for the HV20. So I was curious to know, since most cameras record stereo tracks - how many of you use a stereo mic as opposed to a mono mic? I really like the sound of hearing the stereo audio from the HV20 since you have all the individual sound sources spread across the stereo listening field, so having a stereo mic (or two mono mics for L/R) would seem to make sense.

But if you were only going to get one mic - would it be a stereo mic or mono? And I'm talking about XLR mics.

In addition, how many of you use the Beachtek audio adapters? And if you do - did you get a passive unit or one that provides phantom power?
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Old August 15th, 2007, 03:03 PM   #2
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Most will recommend a shotgun as they are trying to isolate a source. For my type of "reality", unstaged shooting that includes room or audience ambience, I really love the sound of the stereo Audio Technica AT825/822 . The sound field just wraps around you.
For my cameras with unbalanced inputs, I didn't find an XLR adapter unit necessary for my purposes. You'll have to mount the microphone on your camera with a shockmount, and I'm partial to the metal Sennheiser shockmounts for camcorders as their longer mount prevents the microphone from bouncing around. On the other hand, the shockmount allows the stereo microphone to twist during operation, so mark the top and monitor its drift.

MZS-CAM Camera Mounted Shotgun Microphone Shockmount

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...hockmount.html
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Old August 15th, 2007, 04:08 PM   #3
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Depends on what your subject is. Are you going for general ambience, just the "natural sound?" The RODE SVM is pretty cool for that - and in an unobtrusive form factor, which is perfect for such a small camera. You can also attach it to a boom pole and get surprisingly good results with the RODE 10' extension cable. Here are some samples I shot with the Canon GL-2

http://link.brightcove.com/services/...bctid192875619
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Old August 15th, 2007, 06:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Guy Cochran View Post
Depends on what your subject is. Are you going for general ambience, just the "natural sound?" The RODE SVM is pretty cool for that - and in an unobtrusive form factor, which is perfect for such a small camera. You can also attach it to a boom pole and get surprisingly good results with the RODE 10' extension cable. Here are some samples I shot with the Canon GL-2

http://link.brightcove.com/services/...bctid192875619
Hey Guy, I'll say this - I really like your "technical" thinking in how you showcased the mic being used in multiple scenerios. Much better way to show the mic's true abilities rather than just saying here's a good mic - go buy it. I guess my concern may be using the 10' extension cable - since another user posting on this forum talked about using the mono RodeVM and picking up all kinds of cable interference since it's an unbalanced mic. And obviously the StereoVM is unbalanced as well, but being stereo may offer some sonic advantages over the mono.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 02:16 AM   #5
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I was already considering this Rode SVM and Guy's demo above was all I needed to "push" me over the top.

That was almost a year ago and I have been extremely pleased with the results. I use it most of the time on a lightstand (leftover from my portrait studio days) usually placed just out the frame, but sometimes suspended right over and in front of the talent using a boom that used to hold a hairlight.

The extension cable is a 16' from Radio Shack and I've not had any trouble so far with picking up any hum or interference.

I find this mic to be a very versatile location microphone.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 08:13 AM   #6
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I was already considering this Rode SVM and Guy's demo above was all I needed to "push" me over the top. That was almost a year ago and I have been extremely pleased with the results. I use it most of the time on a lightstand (leftover from my portrait studio days) usually placed just out the frame, but sometimes suspended right over and in front of the talent using a boom that used to hold a hairlight. The extension cable is a 16' from Radio Shack and I've not had any trouble so far with picking up any hum or interference. I find this mic to be a very versatile location microphone.
Thanks for your comments Bruce - like yourself, Guy's video also pushed me over the top to wanting to get the SVM now. I'm not jumping on it just yet and still researching the other mic possibilities. But it's not a bad thing to own more than one mic, it's just bad to buy a mic you really dislike and will never use. Your comment about using a 16' extension cable is encouraging too. At this point, my thoughts are leaning towards still getting a "refurbished" Beachtek DXA-2s (which is only $115.00 compared to $189.00 new) directly from Beachtek. And then I would still have the option to use other balanced mics in the future as well as the Rode SVM. I think the SVM would also make for a good voice-over mic too.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 09:35 PM   #7
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Guy's collection of instructional videos are just awesome. I've been through his library many times and have learned a lot. Keep in mind that they are also product placements. Other high quality and equally convincing videos are found on the VASST Audio "Now Hear This" DVD by Douglas Spotted Eagle. After watching that, you'll want to load up on Audio-Technica microphones.

Hey Guy, when are you putting out your two hour audio instructional DVD? I'm an eager customer.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 11:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nathan Shane View Post
Hey Guy, I'll say this - I really like your "technical" thinking in how you showcased the mic being used in multiple scenerios. Much better way to show the mic's true abilities rather than just saying here's a good mic - go buy it. I guess my concern may be using the 10' extension cable - since another user posting on this forum talked about using the mono RodeVM and picking up all kinds of cable interference since it's an unbalanced mic. And obviously the StereoVM is unbalanced as well, but being stereo may offer some sonic advantages over the mono.
Thanks. The RODE VC1 10' 1/8" mini extension is surprising quiet. I'm just not sure if it'd be long enough for your application. Before it came out I used a 12' "radio snak" headphone extension cable and it was humming and distorting to an unacceptable level - after that I didn't think anything over a foot was going to work, but it does with the RODE model. Give the SVM on the extension cable a shot. Then you'll know for sure. If it's not for you just return it for a full refund. You'll also be happy to know that your money goes back to forum members as we've literally given thousands of dollars in prizes to the DV Challenge.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 11:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis View Post

Hey Guy, when are you putting out your two hour audio instructional DVD? I'm an eager customer.
You'll have to call the LA office and see what they say 1-800-965-3976. I'm not sure how much I'm supposed to say :)

Actually, I think a certain forum member was helping out http://www.dvcreators.net/top-secret-first-shoot/
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Old August 16th, 2007, 11:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nathan Shane View Post
I think the Rode SVM would also make for a good voice-over mic too.
It does. I was using a cheap LabTec dynamic ($8.97 at Wal-Mart) plugged into the mic input on my sound card on the editing PC, and ran into some minor "white noise" at adequate input levels.

So I ordered a Studio Projects VTB1 mic preamp so I could boost a microphone signal to the soundcard input pulling the input gain way down, and among the mics I tested it with was my Rode which sounds quite good.

The unique thing about the preamp is it has a solid state stage and a tube stage with a dial that blends from all of one or the other or a controlled mixture of both. I purchased a Sennheiser e845 to use with it but could have saved that money and been quite happy with the sound of the Rode SVM.

The most amazing thing is that a 1980's vintage Radio Shack Stereo Dual Pattern condenser mic (runs off one AA battery) sounds almost as good as the Rode and Sennheiser with right amount of "tube blend" dialed in.

I'm about to turn 69 and the less gear I have to pack around the better off I am and that's where the Rode SVM hits a home run for me. Simple and uncomplicated, one lightweight stand and boom is all I need with it, and it gets the job done if I place it where it needs to be.
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Old August 17th, 2007, 06:38 AM   #11
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If I can add a small word of caution.

Stereo is all well and good. And for mixed music reproduction, I wouldn't have it any other way.

But probably 90 percent of all micrpohone recording is done in MONO for very good reasons. When you add a second audio channel, recorded "in sync" with another - the opportunities for phase problems and comb filtering increase exponentially.

Plus mono compatibility is a HUGE issue, and most stereo recording plans make that more challenging. Yes, there are sophisticated stereo recording techniques like M/S ((mid-side) that preserve mono compatibility - but most do not. And all it takes is a modestly delayed sound wave bounce hitting the one side of a single point stereo mic fractionally late to introduce comb filtering and other nasty artifacts into a stereo recording.

If all you're going to do is ambient camcorder recording for playback on your home TV "in stereo" - fine. Go with stereo.

But there's a reason that mono mics outsell stereo capsules probably 100 or more to one - and it's not typically cost or convenience - it's usually because a single high quality recorded signal is MUCH easier to handle in post than a pair.

So be careful. If you're goinna make a stereo mic your single "go to" mic - make sure you think about where your work is going - and don't be surprised if it hits a mono TV set someday and sounds a WHOLE lot different than you expected.

For what it's worth.
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Old August 17th, 2007, 07:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Shane View Post
Okay, I've finally decided I really need to get an external mic(s) for the HV20. So I was curious to know, since most cameras record stereo tracks - how many of you use a stereo mic as opposed to a mono mic? I really like the sound of hearing the stereo audio from the HV20 since you have all the individual sound sources spread across the stereo listening field, so having a stereo mic (or two mono mics for L/R) would seem to make sense.

But if you were only going to get one mic - would it be a stereo mic or mono? And I'm talking about XLR mics.

In addition, how many of you use the Beachtek audio adapters? And if you do - did you get a passive unit or one that provides phantom power?
Hello Nathan,

I don't like Beachteks, period.

How about an AT 835ST or Sanken CSS-5 or Sennheiser 418s. Switchable from mono to stereo.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old August 17th, 2007, 10:14 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
probably 90 percent of all microphone recording is done in MONO for very good reasons. When you add a second audio channel, recorded "in sync" with another - the opportunities for phase problems and comb filtering increase exponentially. But there's a reason that mono mics outsell stereo capsules probably 100 or more to one - and it's not typically cost or convenience - it's usually because a single high quality recorded signal is MUCH easier to handle in post than a pair.
Thanks Bill, great ideas I hadn't considered. If I really wanted to go stereo then I could always buy a pair of matched condenser mics, at least that method still leaves me with the option of using just one of the mics for mono. Thinking about it, yes, I would rather be able to capture a mono signal to just one audio track in the camera that I know would be good as opposed to having it be a stereo signal that could be hit or miss. Plus if I use an external mixer then I can still get one mic's signal to both L/R tracks. Yes, a mono mic seems much more logical now. Also because I could always add additional mics for recording stereo ambience if I put an external mixer into this equation.
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Old August 24th, 2007, 07:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Nathan Shane View Post
....if I use an external mixer then I can still get one mic's signal to both L/R tracks....
As a newbie, can someone explain how you use an external mixer to get one mic's signal to both L/R tracks?
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Old August 24th, 2007, 09:21 PM   #15
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Hello again Stephen,

Most mixers have stereo outputs. A single mic (without panning to one side) goes to both mixer outputs.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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