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Old October 5th, 2007, 12:44 PM   #1
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Cheap Handheld Mic?

Can anyone recommend a cheap handheld video mic for use with "On The Street" interviews? I was thinking ATR-20 - but that might be a little TOO cheap. There's the Sennheiser MD46 for $175.00 - but that might be a little too expensive...

$115 on an Electro-voice RE 50/b - which is a fair price - but that's from a random Amazon.com seller. From Amazon directly it'll be $170 also.

Anything in the middle?

-- Brian.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 01:08 PM   #2
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Can anyone recommend a cheap handheld video mic for use with "On The Street" interviews? I was thinking ATR-20 - but that might be a little TOO cheap.
ElectroVoice RE635a (~$125) or RE50 (~$175) dynamics are a couple of very rugged and solid performers designed for handheld use that won't break the bank. BH Photo carries both
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Old October 5th, 2007, 01:09 PM   #3
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Electrovoice RE635a (~$100) or RE50 (~$200) dynamics are a couple of very rugged and solid performers designed for handheld use that won't break the bank.
Either of them 1/8" or will I need an XLR adapter?
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Old October 5th, 2007, 01:17 PM   #4
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I'm also going to need a cable, aren't I?
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Old October 5th, 2007, 01:17 PM   #5
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Either of them 1/8" or will I need an XLR adapter?
You'll need a cable and adapter. Are you sending them to your camera or to the recorder you were discussing in the other thread?
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Old October 5th, 2007, 01:27 PM   #6
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You'll need a cable and adapter. Are you sending them to your camera or to the recorder you were discussing in the other thread?
To the camera.

Perhaps I should tell you what I'm doing first.

As a "trial run" for all this equipment I'm getting, I wanted to do a short subject doco at the Maker Faire in Austin in two weeks. Basic idea is a face-to-face interview with a handheld microphone for interviews, and for recording events, using a Rode Videomic shotgun mounted on-cam. Recording in 1080i/60 using the HV20.

Keep in mind, I have no doubt that the Maker Faire will be a high-noise environment, so I'm pretty sure the ATR-20 just isn't going to cut it.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 02:34 PM   #7
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To the camera.

Perhaps I should tell you what I'm doing first.

As a "trial run" for all this equipment I'm getting, I wanted to do a short subject doco at the Maker Faire in Austin in two weeks. Basic idea is a face-to-face interview with a handheld microphone for interviews, and for recording events, using a Rode Videomic shotgun mounted on-cam. Recording in 1080i/60 using the HV20.

Keep in mind, I have no doubt that the Maker Faire will be a high-noise environment, so I'm pretty sure the ATR-20 just isn't going to cut it.
Either one should do well as they're purpose built for broadcast interview use ... the RE50 is a bit higher output (1.8mv compared to 1.4 mv). Both are steel casings, unlike the ATR which is bound to be plastic, and both have internal shock supression to reduce handling noises. You'll need to take care to have a proper XLR to mini adapter for the cable. The HV20 external mic jack is a stereo TRS with left on the tip, right on the ring, and sleeve to ground. The problem you need to watch for is a typical music store adapter is intended to take a balanced mono XLR to a balanced mono TRS and wires pin 2 (hot) to tip, pin 3 (cold) to ring, and pin 1 (ground) to sleeve - that won't work properly to adapt a balanced mono mic to an unbalanced stereo input like the HV20's because you'll be putting the signal in positive phase on the left channel and the same signal phase inverted on the right, leading to potential headaches in post. In fact, you might not get anything at all since the voice coil in the mic isn't connected to ground and you'd have an open circuit. If you want dual channel mono they need to be in phase, not reversed. You'll want to make up or buy an adapter that puts XLR pin 2 (hot) to either tip only (records left channel only) or both tip and ring (records dual mono on both left and right channels), pin 3 (cold) goes to sleeve. Pin 1 (ground/shield) also goes to sleeve but if you're picking up noise with it connected, try lifting the connection at the TRS end, sometimes breaking the cable shield connection at the camera ground makes it better and sometimes lifting it makes it worse. You can buy one already made up or it's easy and cheap to make but you've gotta pay attention to which pin goes where. A Beachtek box will also adapt either of them to the camera as well but probably isn't necessary here.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 02:37 PM   #8
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Either one should do well as they're purpose built for broadcast interview use ... the RE50 is a bit higher output (1.8mv compared to 1.4 mv). Both are steel casings, unlike the ATR which is bound to be plastic, and both have internal shock supression to reduce handling noises. You'll need to take care to have a proper XLR to mini adapter for the cable. The HV20 external mic jack is a stereo TRS with left on the tip, right on the ring, and sleeve to ground. The problem you need to watch for is a typical music store adapter is intended to take a balanced mono XLR to a balanced mono TRS and wires pin 2 (hot) to tip, pin 3 (cold) to ring, and pin 1 (ground) to sleeve - that won't work properly to adapt a balanced mono mic to an unbalanced stereo input like the HV20's because you'll be putting the signal in positive phase on the left channel and the same signal phase inverted on the right, leading to potential headaches in post. In fact, you might not get anything at all since the voice coil in the mic isn't connected to ground and you'd have an open circuit. If you want dual channel mono they need to be in phase, not reversed. You'll want to make up or buy an adapter that puts XLR pin 2 (hot) to either tip only (records left channel only) or both tip and ring (records dual mono on both left and right channels), pin 3 (cold) goes to sleeve. Pin 1 (ground/shield) also goes to sleeve but if you're picking up noise with it connected, try breaking the connection at the TRS end, sometimes breaking the cable shield connection at the camera ground makes it better and sometimes lifting it makes it worse. Easy and cheap to make but you've gotta pay attention to which pin goes where. A Beachtek box will also adapt either of them to the camera as well but probably isn't necessary here.
Bwha?

Er... can you just give me a link to what I need to buy to get it working?

I'm not really needing dual-channel mono. Single channel mono is fine.

Would this work?

http://www.fullcompass.com/product/232693.html
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Old October 5th, 2007, 04:41 PM   #9
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the shure SM57 is a rock solid mic you can find for very cheap everywhere.
you will not need phantom power for such mic.
the sm58 is even better if you hold it very close from the mouth because the extra ball shaped grid.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 05:16 PM   #10
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Bwha?

Er... can you just give me a link to what I need to buy to get it working?

I'm not really needing dual-channel mono. Single channel mono is fine.

Would this work?

http://www.fullcompass.com/product/232693.html
No, that one won't work. The mic will have a MALE connector on its base so you need a cable with a FEMALE XLR connector to mate with it.
Try this one instead ... http://www.hosatech.com/hosa/products/XVM-100.html
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Old October 5th, 2007, 11:02 PM   #11
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Finally figured out what to get:

Went to the local music store to get a listen to one of the Shure SM85s, but when I brought my camera in, it didn't pick up. The mic really needed a pre-amp.

However, the guy at the retail audio/music store pointed me at the AudioTechnica Pro24; I plugged it in, gave it a sound test and picked it up. Price was a little more than I could have gotten online (online: $70 - in store $95) but since the guy saved me from making a mistake by ordering the XLR cables, adapter, and SM85 on Amazon or B&H, it's money well spent.

I'd like the cable to be longer, but that's a trip to Radio Shack.
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Old October 6th, 2007, 08:10 AM   #12
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Finally figured out what to get:

Went to the local music store to get a listen to one of the Shure SM85s, but when I brought my camera in, it didn't pick up. The mic really needed a pre-amp.

However, the guy at the retail audio/music store pointed me at the AudioTechnica Pro24; I plugged it in, gave it a sound test and picked it up. Price was a little more than I could have gotten online (online: $70 - in store $95) but since the guy saved me from making a mistake by ordering the XLR cables, adapter, and SM85 on Amazon or B&H, it's money well spent.

I'd like the cable to be longer, but that's a trip to Radio Shack.
Test things out with some mock interviews before your shoot, you may find that mic will give you headaches. I'm sure it's a decent enough inexpensive mic - AT is a good manufacturer - but IMHO it's not really a good choice for handheld interview use. Most importantly, it's a stereo mic - interviews and dialog are usually recorded mono. Aiming a stereo mic as the interviewer moves the mic around and the interviewer and subject both move about means the sound perspective is going to be continually changing, it will be difficult to prevent the voices from coming out of the left speaker in one moment and the right speaker in the next, always shifting around. As a stereo mic it has a left-to-right axis and that means the interviewer is going to have to hold it in exactly the same position in his hand every time or that L/R axis is going to be swinging all over the place. It's really intended to be used in a fixed position on a mic stand where you can aim it precisely, recording a subject such as a band that is also in a fixed position. You're likely to find it picks up a lot of handling noise when you try to hand hold it during a walk and talk. It's a condensor mic rather than a dynamic so although it has a higher output it's also more delicate and sensitive to heat, dirt, humidity, and wind noise, compared to those EVs I suggested that have the reputation of being usable to drive nails in a pinch where you can't find a hammer. 1/8 mini plugs tend to easily pull out of their jacks - make sure you loosely knot the two cables together where you join the mic cable to its extension so they don't accidently pull apart in the middle of a shot. (That's one reason pro's use XLR - they lock together.) In short, it's probably going to be quite a bit better than your built-in mic if you want to record musicians performing on-stage at the Faire but more problematic for interviews with exhibitors and guests.

FWIW, the SM85 wouldn't have been a good choice either, but are you sure it was the SM85 you were looking at and not the SM58? I don't think the 85 is still being sold. It's an older model stage vocal mic and requires a power supply, not at all a good mate to either your camera or the field interview assignment. The SM58 should have worked with your camera - if it didn't there's a good chance the problem was due to not having the correctly wired XLR/mini adapter plug that I discussed earlier.
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Old October 6th, 2007, 04:01 PM   #13
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I would agree, except that I did test it out in the store, sounded fine. I'm pretty sure that I can get rid of the stereo issues by simply putting it through left-channel-only. Right channel will be the shotgun, which I prefer except that I'm afraid the shotgun will pick up too much background noise.

Alternatively, I could simply mic both of us up with wired lavs, but I'm afraid that the wired lavs would pick up too much background noise (it's a VERY noisy environment), that they'd be a PITA to take on and off (I'll be running from one booth to the next pretty quickly.) and they don't handle situation where there's more than one interviewee. Really, I should do this with a camera operator and a sound engineer, but I don't have one. It's just me.
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Old October 6th, 2007, 04:14 PM   #14
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I would agree, except that I did test it out in the store, sounded fine. I'm pretty sure that I can get rid of the stereo issues by simply putting it through left-channel-only. Right channel will be the shotgun, which I prefer except that I'm afraid the shotgun will pick up too much background noise.

Alternatively, I could simply mic both of us up with wired lavs, but I'm afraid that the wired lavs would pick up too much background noise (it's a VERY noisy environment), that they'd be a PITA to take on and off (I'll be running from one booth to the next pretty quickly.) and they don't handle situation where there's more than one interviewee. Really, I should do this with a camera operator and a sound engineer, but I don't have one. It's just me.
Your camera has only one external mic jack. How are you going to plug a stereo mic PLUS a shotgun into it at the same time? Using a "Y" cable won't do it.
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Old October 6th, 2007, 06:31 PM   #15
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Your camera has only one external mic jack. How are you going to plug a stereo mic PLUS a shotgun into it at the same time? Using a "Y" cable won't do it.
You sure?

Let me try it.

Damn, you're right. (Works fine up until the point I plug in a second microphone.)

There's always plan B - use only the stereo microphone and downmix to Mono in post.
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