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Old October 16th, 2007, 09:45 AM   #1
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Which Mic......

will be better for my work. I need a unidirectional mic as my Canon XL2 mic is a omnidirectional & it records ambience as well as wind. My work is mainly on Birds, so I have to record bird call in true tone.
How about Canon DM-50, anybody used this & what's your view. My budget is arround $450. what all accesories required for better Bird voice recording.

Ashok

These are some of the choices I have made; Audio-Technica AT875R & AT897,
Sennheiser ME66+ K6,
Azden SGM-1000 & SGM 2X.

Last edited by Ashok Mansur; October 16th, 2007 at 10:32 AM.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #2
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Hi Ashok.........

Fancy meeting you here!

All of your choices are good, as far as it goes. However, one of the things I've discovered with getting bird song is that the best mic in the world isn't much good if you can't get to within 6 - 10 feet of the subject (less, unless it's one very loud bird).

I've tried my ME67/ K6P rig with both a huge Rode boom (ok, but even the dumbest bird doesn't like that being waved in it's direction) and a static mic stand (better if you can place it and retreat to a distance which won't put the bird(s) off, and know, for certain, the bird(s) will definately roost/ perch within earshot of the mic - ie you have some sort of bait/ food).

I've also used my Sennheiser EW100 G2 system with lav, strapped strategically right next to where I have bait, works a treat, but only, again, if you can guarantee the birds will roost/ perch practically on top of it.

A better option (if something of a hassle) would be to look at getting a reflector system - a parabolic dish with a mic holder placed at the "focus" point, usually for a lav. The bigger the dish, the more "reach" it has. The down side is the hassle factor - they're big, heavy (enough), really need a stand in their own right (too big/ heavy to mount on the camera) and yet more stuff to carry about.

The major advantage is that the "reach" can be as much as 300 yards (depending) and they can easily be re - directed, which a static mic can't.

Finding one can be a problem. I believe there's a company in Sweden who turns a couple out (can't recall the name) and there's a company in the States (Crystal Partners) that makes the "Big Ears" & "Little Ears" units. They sell entire kits, reflector, stands, mics, line amps with headphone monitoring, bags/ cases, the whole box of dice.

BUT - they ain't cheap. I seriously looked at getting the "Little Ears" unit a year or so ago, but just couldn't persuade my credit card out of my wallet to face an eye watering $2KUS plus + shipping + duty + NZ sales tax etc etc.

I'm sure there are more reasonably priced units out there, but just haven't tracked any down. Maybe someone will chime in and nominate a couple.


Hope this has been of some use.


CS


PS. The "wind" problem you mentioned can only really be solved with a decent windproofing system. The Rycote Softie is good for general day to day use outside, but if it gets blustery you really need the full blown Windjammer zeppelin with outer dead cat - the "full Monty" for a ME67 will set you back about $1000 NZ or thereabouts - not cheap. A reflector using a lav is far easier and cheaper to protect (purely due to size).

Last edited by Chris Soucy; October 16th, 2007 at 06:49 PM. Reason: Addition/ Error
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Old October 16th, 2007, 08:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashok Mansur View Post
will be better for my work. I need a unidirectional mic as my Canon XL2 mic is a omnidirectional
Actually, the mic that comes with the Canon XL2 is a stereo directional mic.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old October 18th, 2007, 04:14 AM   #4
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Thanks........

Chris,
Do you meant to say the shotgun mics are not effiecient at 25', then if that the case can we make parabolic system by our-self.
Can you tell which mic would be better for parabolic system.
Ty, are you sure it's unidirectional b'cos I get lot of ambience from it. Where I can get your book in India

Ashok
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Old October 18th, 2007, 07:32 AM   #5
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Well, it's a stereo mic; two directional capsules aimed to the front. (I have one).

You can look in your mailbox for my book. You can order it online and I will mail it to you.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old October 18th, 2007, 01:35 PM   #6
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25 Feet!

Not unless it's a Bull elephant charging in your direction - no.

At that range and over, a parabolic system is just about your only hope.

It should be quite within your ability to construct a system yourself providing that the necessary materials are to hand - the parabolic reflector is usually the biggest hurdle. I have stumbled across tutorials for constructing such units on the web, tho' quite a bit of trawling may be required to find them.

As for a mic, well, from memory, the Crystal Partners units use an Omni lavalier (I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm mistaken).


CS
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Old October 18th, 2007, 01:39 PM   #7
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Not unless it's a Bull elephant charging in your direction - no.

At that range and over, a parabolic system is just about your only hope.
And don't expect much in the way of audio quality.

And if there's something behind the object you want to capture, don't be surprised if you hear it as well.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old October 18th, 2007, 05:41 PM   #8
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This may be of interest.....

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/macaula...pParabola.html


OR this:

http://www.amazing1.com/accoustics.htm

OR this:

http://www.mineroff.com/nature/parabolic.htm

Similar situation to when I was looking last year, plenty of entries but not many actual manufacturers/ suppliers.


CS
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Old October 19th, 2007, 04:24 AM   #9
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Chris........

The first site is definitely a good information & real helper. Are there any books, which gives basics of audio recording & the fundamentals of it. Frankly speaking I'm totally new to this field, canít understand super-cardioids, lobar pickup pattern so on.
When we go through the ads of the manufacturers, shotguns are definitely good for birdcall. But in practice if we are within 7' distance it's good or else the results are bad, these things can be understand only after using it, but the investment has been made no turn back. In India it's difficult to get what we want. There is neither exchange nor trial runs. Which are the features to be observed while purchasing, depending upon the need-based features is essential.
How to connect lavalieres to my XL2 cam XLR.

Ashok
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Old October 20th, 2007, 12:18 AM   #10
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Hi................

Well, guess the answer to the first question is already sorted if you've ordered Ty's book. Never read it myself, but am sure from the rave reviews I keep seeing here, it must be pretty good.

The answer to the last question is pretty straightforward as well (I think). A simple (?) stereo 3.5 mm socket to XLR connector should do the job if the connector on the Lavalier is identical to my Senheiser lav.

Quite what pin needs to be connected to what pin is a mystery (shouldn't be, seen it enough times here on DVinfo) but, if I don't need it, I simply don't remember it. Perhaps someone can chime in here?

Quite what the answer to the bit in the middle is has me stumped.

I can only really use my "big" mic's up to about 7 - 8 feet supermax before "issues" make them impossible for bird song. Getting that close means either having the patience of a cat or a tethered bait.

Luckily, the main songbirds here are all nectar eaters, and during the winter when natural sources are practically non existant, it's like shooting fish in a barrel at home, as we hang out bird feeders which dispense sugarwater in vast quantities (averageing 40 plus litres PER DAY!)

The birds are so keen I can get to within a foot or so, if need be.

I don't think you are going to be nearly so lucky.

If you can't predict where the bird(s) are going to be, the radio lav and fixed remote mic are out.

You end up right back at the Parabolic, with all the hassles that go with it.

How to test this beforehand? In your situation, I don't think you can.

If you go for the big shotgun, you'll find it magic for heaps of outdoor stuff where your on - camera mics keep picking up all sorts of unwanted garbage (assuming you can get the mic close enough to the action). BUT, for anything distant they're useless (well, better than on - board but still won't get you what you want).

I personaly think that if you're determined to "do" bird song at more than 10 feet from the mic (at random, without tethered bait and subjects), you have no choice but to go the Parab route, and the best you can get.

The only saving grace of a parab is that the "low frequency cut" due to the small dish diameter should not affect bird song (greatly) unless you're local variety sing baritone, in which case you have a serious problem. To get the lower frequencies requires a dish big enough to adequately reflect them - that's some dish below about 500 Hz.

I would suggest you try (having read the book) knocking up a parab of your own and seeing how it goes with a super el - cheapo lav before deciding what to do further.

Sorry if I can't be any more help at this point.


CS
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Old October 20th, 2007, 03:01 AM   #11
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As has already been said, shotguns are not the panacea for distant recording that many people hope and believe they are. With the exception of the parabolic setup, there simply is no such thing as the sonic equivalent of a telephoto lens. Shotguns get their directionality by being less sensitive to sound arriving from off axis than they are to sounds arriving from in front but they DO NOT do it by magnifying the desired sounds in any way - sound from the sides is supressed but sound from the front is just the same as it is with any other microphone. Less noise coming from the sides does sometimes let you turn up the recording gain but that also turns up the noise as well as the desired sound so that doesn't do anything to further make what you're trying to record any clearer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
The answer to the last question is pretty straightforward as well (I think). A simple (?) stereo 3.5 mm socket to XLR connector should do the job if the connector on the Lavalier is identical to my Senheiser lav.

Quite what pin needs to be connected to what pin is a mystery (shouldn't be, seen it enough times here on DVinfo) but, if I don't need it, I simply don't remember it. Perhaps someone can chime in here?
Unbalanced TS to XLR is TS tip to XLR pin 2, TS sleeve to XLR pin 3, XLR pin 1 left unconnected or jumpered to pin 3. HOWEVER, lav mics might be a different issue because it depends on exactly what we're talking about doing and there's the whole issue of mic powering. Do you want to send the output of a wireless lav's receiver to the camera or are you talking about cutting out the transmitter and receiver from the chain altogether and just using the mic element by itself, plugging it directly into the camera? When I think "lav mic" I'm just thinking of the mic element itself and it may or may not be wireless but a lot of other people would mean an entire mic/trans/rcvr wireless getup when they say "lav."
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Old October 20th, 2007, 06:27 AM   #12
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Funny story:

Shortly after I bought my Senneheiser 816 (used) I was trying it out on the front lawn.

There was a gal more than half a block away (maybe 100 feet or more) getting into her car. I aimed at her, cranked up the gain and was delighted to hear the jingle of her car keys.

Seconds later a car drove between us and because I had the gain cranked up it almost deafened me. :)

A shotgun CAN be useful at distances in exteriors, if the ambient noise is low enough.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old October 20th, 2007, 08:19 AM   #13
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Funny story:

Shortly after I bought my Senneheiser 816 (used) I was trying it out on the front lawn.

There was a gal more than half a block away (maybe 100 feet or more) getting into her car. I aimed at her, cranked up the gain and was delighted to hear the jingle of her car keys.

Seconds later a car drove between us and because I had the gain cranked up it almost deafened me. :)

A shotgun CAN be useful at distances in exteriors, if the ambient noise is low enough.

Regards,

Ty Ford
LOL That'll learn ya not to eavesdrop! Thing is, a lot of people think shotguns are somehow magnifying the distant sounds or are somehow more sensitive to them than other mics might be. Of course, we both know that's not true and any benefits you get such as you describe are due to the reduced levels of the undesired ambient sounds compared to the desired sounds letting you turn up the overall gain more. When I was a kid in the stone age, a friend of mine and I put together a parabolic mic from an old plastic Snow Saucer, a cheap mic we found somewhere, and an amp salvaged from a broken record player - amazing that we could listen to normal conversations several blocks away with perfect clarity.
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Old October 20th, 2007, 11:27 AM   #14
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Thanks........

Yes Steve I wanted to connect Lav directly to the cam XLR, is it possible or do I have to attach some other gadgets to it. Can you people tell me which mic would be better for parabolic & can it be attached to XLR.
The focal point is imaginary centre of the sphere/circle/half dome, where the mic has to be installed?
Ashok
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Old October 20th, 2007, 12:19 PM   #15
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Yes Steve I wanted to connect Lav directly to the cam XLR, is it possible or do I have to attach some other gadgets to it. Can you people tell me which mic would be better for parabolic & can it be attached to XLR.
The focal point is imaginary centre of the sphere/circle/half dome, where the mic has to be installed?
Ashok
We don't have enough information to really answer your question about how to connect the lav to the camera since you haven't said exactly what mic you're considering. Lav mic heads often come with a variety of configuration options - some have one of several types of connector intended to plug into a wireless transmitter and draw their power from it. Others may have a connector for a conventional XLR cable and an internal battery in the connector to supply their power. Others might have a conventional XLR and draw power from the phantom supply on the camera or mixer. In many cases, professional mics such as Countryman, Tram, Sanken, etc can be ordered with your choice of connector for your particular application and some have interchangeable connectors.

In a parabolic mic the mic head is positioned at the focus of the reflector in much the same location as the feed horn on a satellite dish. A parabolic shape focuses better than a hemisphere - a spherical section doesn't really have a single focal point but instead forms kind of a diffuse blob. To minimize the interference from sounds coming from the sides, use a cardioid mic head and aim it pointing toward the centre of the dish so it's the back side of the lav that is actually pointed toward the sound source of interest. You'll thus be picking up sound from straight ahead after it's been focussed by the reflector and less of other sounds in the environment arriving from other directions. A search of google on "parabolic microphone" will turn up lots of pictures to give you ideas.
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