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Old August 18th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #1
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Mic for multipurpose use (XH-A1)

I'm looking for suggestions for a mic that could be used for high school events such as concerts (indoors and outdoors), nature videography, and general vacation travel.
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Old August 18th, 2007, 07:19 PM   #2
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Mics are designed for specific environments, so picking any one mic will be a compromise. But a hyper or cardioid condensor can be a good all purpose mic. Personally, I like the Audio Technica mics: AT4053, AT3031, or stereo AT822/AT825.

Also the Oktava MC012, Rode NT5, Rode NT55, and Rode Stereo Videomic.
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Old August 18th, 2007, 09:26 PM   #3
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Some of the Audio Technicas and lower end Sennheisers seem to be mics of choice for people to stick on cameras. I'm seeing quite a number of mentions of one or two Røde models too. They seem to be cheaper than the equivalents in the other brands. Regardless of what mic you get, if you put it on the camera, you're not going to bet much in the way of good sound. It's OK for home movies if that's what you're doing, and for picking up ambient sounds, but so is the mic that's built-in to the camera.
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Old August 19th, 2007, 07:35 AM   #4
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What's the best solution for NOT putting it on the camcorder?
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Old August 19th, 2007, 12:22 PM   #5
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The best solution is to have a second person dedicated to recording the audio, while you focus on the video. Otherwise, do everything you can to get the mic as close as you can to the sound. Use a boom, mic stand, wireless, clip on adapter, your best friend, anything, just get it closer.
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Old August 19th, 2007, 12:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Stephen Sobel View Post
What's the best solution for NOT putting it on the camcorder?
The Sennheiser G2 might be worth looking at:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...00_Series.html

It's lighteweight and very easy to use.

You can put it on someone and have them wander around in a crowd and pick up the sounds.

Or they can do commentary, or talk as they appear in the video.

You can wear it yourself and do your own commentary.

The wireless into one input and a mic on the camera for the second input would give you about the best you can get without a sound person carrying around a mic.

(You could use the sound from either mic when editing.)
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Old August 19th, 2007, 12:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
Some of the Audio Technicas and lower end Sennheisers seem to be mics of choice for people to stick on cameras. I'm seeing quite a number of mentions of one or two Røde models too. They seem to be cheaper than the equivalents in the other brands. Regardless of what mic you get, if you put it on the camera, you're not going to bet much in the way of good sound. It's OK for home movies if that's what you're doing, and for picking up ambient sounds, but so is the mic that's built-in to the camera.
One mic about which I've seen a variety of posts is the Sennheiser ME66 (and less occasionally the ME67). Are you saying it is not really an improvement over the build-in mic on the XH-A1 camcorder?
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Old August 19th, 2007, 10:38 PM   #8
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I use an AT822 for general ambient sound recordings, seeems to work well enough but how much better than the built-in mic is really hard to say.
I also would recommend the Sennheiser G2 for events where wireless is an option. It just cannot be beat at that price.
Concert recordings would be best served by off-cam mics and attending audio setup. If you cannot do that, I have used the 822 to good efect at my daughters schoolplays and it did a fine job.
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Old August 20th, 2007, 01:21 AM   #9
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One mic about which I've seen a variety of posts is the Sennheiser ME66 (and less occasionally the ME67). Are you saying it is not really an improvement over the build-in mic on the XH-A1 camcorder?
The ME66 and the onboard mic are designed for different things. Which one is "better" depends more on your environment and subject than the quality of the mic.

A camera mounted ME66 is "better" if you have a single subject in a noisy environment. Generally a shotgun like the ME66 works better outdoors. In comparison, the onboard mic can be "better" in a quieter environment, especially close up, indoors, with several subjects at the same time. The onboard mic is also "better" at recording ambient sound.

If you want a general purpose mic that can do a little bit of everything then a hyper-cardioid can be a good compromise (AT4053/Octava MC012). It's a little bit directional like the ME66 shotgun, and also has a slightly wider recording pattern like a cardioid (onboard mic).

Whichever way you go, getting the mic off the camera and closer to the subject is always "better".
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Old August 20th, 2007, 08:27 AM   #10
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As noted by others, mics are designed/optimized for specific applications. There is no such thing as one mic that is a best fits for all seasons/purposes. And each of your listed applications may well call for a different type of mic depedning on details of the venue.

General vacation travel - the on-board mic is probably fine, if you are just shooting stuff and sound is a secondary consideration during the original capture. Often vacation travel is edited with final narration on post.

Concerts, depending on the type of concert, a single point stereo mic located between the audience and the performers works well for concert bands. If it is a marching band with a pit, you may want separate mics for each channel located to the left and right of the pit so that the pit sound does not dominate the sound. I have used wireless with Shure SM58 mic heads for this (due to ruggedness of the SB58).

Nature, perhaps a good shotgun

But if you can only do one type of mic, perhaps get a pair of decent shotgun mics. The Sennheiser ME66 is very popular, but you can find decent mics for a good bit less money. The Rode NGT-1/2 and AT 879 are popular shotguns as well.
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Old August 20th, 2007, 05:26 PM   #11
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Instead of looking for one all-purpose mic, I'm thinking I should look for a couple of mics to cover different purposes. At this point, I'm not looking for a wireless setup, nor an I looking for beanpoles or stuff like that. I'm looking at the on-board XH-A1 mic versus other mics that would be attached in some way to the camcorder. Here's some situations:

1. Walt Disney World/MGM Studios - shooting some stage shows where I'm sitting roughly half-way back or closer, not hooked into their sound system. I want to capture sound from the production. What mic would you want to have for this situation?

2. Walt Disney World Super Soap (a family member is a big General Hospital fan) - shooting a group of actors on an outdoor stage, where I am some distance away. Again, not hooked into their sound system. What mic would you want to have here?

3. School events, such as plays, concerts, etc., where I am not hooked into their sound system. What mic would be the best choice here?

4. Nature shooting, generally while hiking. No sound system to worry about here! What would be the best mic to bring for this?

5. Family events, including the holidays. Assuming I don't try to use a wireless mic setup - what is the best mic to use?

I'm interested in suggestions, pros and cons of different setups.
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Old August 20th, 2007, 05:50 PM   #12
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Hi Stephen...........

Looking at the sound situation in all the scenarios painted in your last post, you're a long way from the sounds you want (in mic terms, if nothing else). To my mind your only real choice in all of the above is the longest/ most directional shotgun you can lay your hands on.

Can't help much on which one, I keep an ME67 planted firmly in my Rycote CCA when not going completely off - cam. The on - boards pick up way too much "stray" sound for my purposes. I'm sure someone will know if there's a mic more directional than that.

CS
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Old August 20th, 2007, 05:54 PM   #13
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Looking at the sound situation in all the scenarios painted in your last post, you're a long way from the sounds you want (in mic terms, if nothing else). To my mind your only real choice in all of the above is the longest/ most directional shotgun you can lay your hands on.CS
What about school concerts where the sound is coming from a wide variety of instruments all at the same time?
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Old August 20th, 2007, 06:26 PM   #14
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Hi again...........

Depends on just how far you are from the sound source, where it's bouncing from etc etc.

Probably the best way to envisige this is like this: Put yourself in any uncontrolled environment, a concert is just that. You've got people all around you, shuffling their feet, playing with programs, coughing, talking on mobiles etc etc. You've got that annoying VW in the car park behind that sounds like it's in the seat next to you. There's also that blasted air con unit that sounds like a 747 revving up somewhere off to your left.You do not want all that on your sound track. The sound you want is 99.9% coming from either directly in front of you or slightly to either side (ignoring the importance of echo/ reverb/ indirect sound).

If you're 40 feet back from the sound source even an ME67 is going to encompass a good 20 foot wide corridor directly in front of it, the further back you are, the wider the corridor gets.

You've still got the problem of all the bottom shufflers, program rattlers & mobile nattering bods etc directly in the firing line but at least you've cut out most of the other 340 degrees of unwanted garbage.

In all the scenarios you outlined the sound source of interest is directly in front of the camera lens. That's where you want your primary sound to come from as well. The ability of an omni to collect "stray" sounds from everywhere should not be underestimated.

It's easy to test this - go outdoors with your A1 just about anywhere, slip on a good pair of cans and monitor what the on board mics are picking up. Now close your eyes and listen. Turn 180 degrees and repeat. You've just discovered the difference between an omni mic and your ears/ brain.

A shotgun ain't the answer in every circumstance by any means, but if you do not have control of your recording environment it's usually the best bet (IMHO).

CS
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Old August 20th, 2007, 06:34 PM   #15
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Okay - any suggestions about which shotgun mics would work best for the situations I've described?
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