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Old January 6th, 2008, 11:34 PM   #1
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If you are in the market for a shotgun/cardioid...

Hi all:

If you are in the market for a shotgun/cardioid mic, we just posted an article that you might find helpful http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage..._brockett.html

Take a look. I hope that you find it to be an informative read. Let me know if you found the article to be a good resource.

Dan Brockett
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Old January 7th, 2008, 01:34 AM   #2
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Outstanding article. The clearest comparison of mic qualities (with explanations of what the qualities are) that I have read.

Very good to have the low-priced Audio-Technica and Octava mics included.

The detailed descriptions are very helpful. The comments on male/female voices and on handling noise were especially helpful. For example, I have an AT4073a and the descriptions point out what mic would be good to add to this.

I am looking forward to your review of the lavaliers. (And if possible, it would be nice to have a review of the PSC milimic. It seems this mic has some characteristics that are very good for certain situations, and it would be nice to see it compared to the others.)

Last edited by Jack Walker; January 7th, 2008 at 01:40 PM.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 12:37 PM   #3
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Dan,

Outstanding article! Thanks for taking the time to evaluate all these models. And thanks for doing it in a "real world" sort of way and comparing them to each other. This is an excellent resource for new and experienced shooters/audio people alike.

THANKS!

Rob
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Old January 7th, 2008, 02:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Walker View Post
Outstanding article. The clearest comparison of mic qualities (with explanations of what the qualities are) that I have read.

Very good to have the low-priced Audio-Technica and Octava mics included.

The detailed descriptions are very helpful. The comments on male/female voices and on handling noise were especially helpful. For example, I have an AT4073a and the descriptions point out what mic would be good to add to this.

I am looking forward to your review of the lavaliers. (And if possible, it would be nice to have a review of the PSC milimic. It seems this mic has some characteristics that are very good for certain situations, and it would be nice to see it compared to the others.)
Hi Jack:

Glad you found the article to be helpful! I have sent a request to to PSC to obtain a review copy of the Millimic. Hopefully they can supply me with one to test.

So far, the lavaliere article will consist of:

Tram TR-50B (Have it ready to go)
Sonotrim (receiving end of January)
Countryman B6 (Have it ready to go, also requested the EMW and B3 from Countryman)
Sanken COS11X (Receiving next week)
Sanken COS22 (Receiving next week)
DPA 4060 (Request has been sent)
Voice Technologies VT400 and VT500 (Request has been sent)
Sony ECM77/88 (Request has been sent)
Audio-Technica AT899 (Receiving next week)
Sennheiser MKE2Gold (Receiving next week)

So far, this is my lineup. Of course, I am at the mercy of the manufacturers and as I learned during the shotgun/cardioid tests, not all of the manufacturers will always come through with review copies. Sometimes it's politics, sometimes is availability versus schedule and sometimes it's non-responsiveness on their part.

If there are any other lavs not on this list that you want to see included, let me know. I am looking forward to testing all of these, it's always an ear opening experience.

All my best,

Dan
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Old January 7th, 2008, 02:14 PM   #5
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Hey, great review

couple of thoughts - could you take all the sample files and put them into one big ZIP file, with each section in its own folder. I don't know why you zipped each individual file, because it made listening to everything much harder. If they were MP3 files the browser would play them making for easier access.

Oktavamod version of the mic would of been interesting to hear as these are supposed to be more open and cleaner sounding due to upgraded mic electronics.

I'd been looking at a MKH50 and I'm glad I got to hear it because now I know I don't want it... unless its little kids doing dialog.

Would of been nice to hear a Audix SCX1 in the mix, a KM184, and a AKG blue line which I think would of rounded this out even better as those are also popular (hyper) cardoids.... P2 right ;)

thanks for the hard work & great review samples

no sony mic's ?
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Old January 7th, 2008, 02:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rob Neidig View Post
Dan,

Outstanding article! Thanks for taking the time to evaluate all these models. And thanks for doing it in a "real world" sort of way and comparing them to each other. This is an excellent resource for new and experienced shooters/audio people alike.

THANKS!

Rob
Rob:

Thanks for your positive feedback. I have been wanting to write this article for years but it takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to actually complete it. My thanks to Ken Stone for his support and numerous requests to get me off of my rear to actually write it ;-)

Looking forward to this becoming a go to article for video/film people who are always looking for a good, open-minded resource.

All my best,

Dan
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Old January 7th, 2008, 02:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
Hey, great review

couple of thoughts - could you take all the sample files and put them into one big ZIP file, with each section in its own folder. I don't know why you zipped each individual file, because it made listening to everything much harder. If they were MP3 files the browser would play them making for easier access.
I am not really the web guy as far as the technology behind the HTML but my understanding was that we thought many readers would only want to hear one or two mic samples and it kind of kills us on bandwidth and server allocation if everyone downloads all of the samples. But I hear you and agree, perhaps we can make this as an option to just download everything if you want to (give a choice of a "download all files link" in addition to the individual files?)

I will see if this is possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
Oktavamod version of the mic would of been interesting to hear as these are supposed to be more open and cleaner sounding due to upgraded mic electronics.
Agreed but I had to cut it off at some point. The most difficult thing about these reviews are that it takes a tremendous amount of phone calls, e-mails, letters, conversations, negotiation and begging to obtain review copies. Don't forget, I am not a magazine or huge website, it's just me, I have to do everything myself. I have no staff or even a PA so at some point I have to say, "okay, this it, these are the units I have been able to get my hands on, these are the ones we will test" I haven't even heard of the Oktavamod, who does the mod, what does it sell for? Sounds interesting but in my dealing with Okatava USA and Paul from The Sound Room, I had never even heard of this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
I'd been looking at a MKH50 and I'm glad I got to hear it because now I know I don't want it... unless its little kids doing dialog.
Just keep in mind that I did one set of tests with two voices only. I definitely do not claim to be the be-all oracle on mic testing. Personally, I kind of liked the sound of the MKH50 but I do agree that it has a somewhat colored sound style that works well with certain parameters and not so well with others. There are lots of professional sound mixers who regularly use the MKH50 and record great sound with it though so I wouldn't write it off. I think it's probably just not your cup of tea. That was my main goal was to give the readers a way to decide for themselves which mic would best suit their needs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
Would of been nice to hear a Audix SCX1 in the mix, a KM184, and a AKG blue line which I think would of rounded this out even better as those are also popular (hyper) cardoids.... P2 right ;)
I unfortunately heard about the Audix from Ty Ford but I was already completed on the testing and had sent all of the mics back. It became a matter of, "do I want to delay the article another month or two to include the Audix?" and my thought was "no, it's not worth it".

AKG refused to supply a copy of the Blue Line or ULS series mics to me, we actually had several conversations and in the end, I don't think that they wanted their mics included in the test. They just told me, "sorry, we have none available" even after I asked them several times over two months. Case closed, if AKG doesn't want to include their mics in the test, so be it, it's their choice. It's a shame because I have heard a lot of good things about the Blue Line and ULS.

Not saying it is never done but I have never seen a sound mixer on a film or television shoot use a KM184. Great mic, I have used it for recording music many times but I don't think that mic is on the radar of very many sound for picture users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
thanks for the hard work & great review samples

no sony mic's ?
Thank you for taking the time to check it out.

All I can say about the Sonys are I have VERY rarely ever seen film/video professionals use them. My experience with the Sony ECM shotguns, from way back in the 80s and 90s has always been that I think they make them because they are expected to. I think that they make them as a Sony branded mic you can hang off of your broadcast camcorder.

All my best,

Dan
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Old January 7th, 2008, 04:55 PM   #8
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Dan,

thanks so much for all of your work. It will really help me make an informed decision. I found your 2001 low cost shotgun article very useful many years ago, but I am ready to move on to better equipment, and this new article is just amazingly useful.

One playful thing you might consider for the lavalier article is to give the sound files with a letter key, but not the identity of the mics. That way readers could listen to the tests "blind" so to speak, before looking up the letter key. Transom did this at their site, and I found it useful. That way readers can judge the mic based on its sound quality, instead of its name or cost.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 06:08 PM   #9
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Cool

Hi David:

Thanks for your feedback, I am glad that you recall the older article as well.

I love your idea about the blind key, that is seriously cool. Do you think I should do that for all of the tests or id them for all of the tests then just add this blind test at the end to see of the reader has "educated" his ear by listening to all of the tests?

Of course, that is the goal with all sound gear, to buy what sounds the best to your ears for your needs. All of the brand prestige, price variance, etc. are fun but the bottom line is to buy what works best for your needs.

Thanks,

Dan
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Old January 7th, 2008, 06:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
I love your idea about the blind key, that is seriously cool. Do you think I should do that for all of the tests or id them for all of the tests then just add this blind test at the end to see of the reader has "educated" his ear by listening to all of the tests?
Maybe others will add to this, but I think it would be great to have different letter keys for each type of test (Male voice, female voice, etc.), so that listeners could make a completely blind choice (if they wanted to do so without looking at the key first) for each type of situation.
In terms of what transom did, see

http://www.transom.org/tools/recordi..._shootout.html

and

http://www.transom.org/tools/recordi..._mic_shootout/

In the first test, they used two male voices and one female voice, but used the same letter key for all three situations. I think it would be even more useful to use different letter keys for each of the three voices.

Also, I'd like to say that the photos in your article were artistically done and really added to the quality of the article.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 07:22 PM   #11
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Thank you Dan! Great to see all of these compared. Just from the way you described them I was able to get a good idea of their sound from recalling the mics I own and have used.

I've only used the Blue Line mics on one shoot but they probably do have a place in your article - too bad AKG was unhelpful. They're pretty much what I expected, overall good but not great; slight mid and lo-mid emphasis, decent clarity and rejection. They reminded me of an AKG C2000S I used in music studios, only more tuned for vocals.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 10:16 PM   #12
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Thank you Dan! Great to see all of these compared. Just from the way you described them I was able to get a good idea of their sound from recalling the mics I own and have used.

I've only used the Blue Line mics on one shoot but they probably do have a place in your article - too bad AKG was unhelpful. They're pretty much what I expected, overall good but not great; slight mid and lo-mid emphasis, decent clarity and rejection. They reminded me of an AKG C2000S I used in music studios, only more tuned for vocals.

Hi Abe:

Thanks for taking the time to check it out. It sounds as if you are my intended target as an audience.

Good to hear feedback on the Blue Line. It sure was a shame that we couldn't include them but what could I do?

I too have used the AKG large diaphragm condensers in the studio, they are nice although I like the Neumanns better ;-)

Dan
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Old January 7th, 2008, 10:17 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Hi all:

If you are in the market for a shotgun/cardioid mic, we just posted an article that you might find helpful.
Dan Brockett
Hi Dan,

As I noted elsewhere, Keep them lobars outside (in a non-reflective area) or in a tricked out interior space. Otherwise a well done piece.

Someone mentioned the Audix SCX-1 HC. I'll second that.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old January 7th, 2008, 11:09 PM   #14
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Hi Dan,

As I noted elsewhere, Keep them lobars outside (in a non-reflective area) or in a tricked out interior space. Otherwise a well done piece.

Someone mentioned the Audix SCX-1 HC. I'll second that.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Hi Ty:

Thanks for checking it out. Yes, I agree with the keeping the shotguns outdoors but you would be surprised how many pros I work with on big tv shows and features that don't adhere to these rules all of the time.

Yes, I wish I had been able to include the Audix, Rode and DPA but you can't have everything I guess. And I will say that most of the non-sound mixers or audio gearheads I speak with have never heard of any of these three brands of mic so I guess it's not too bad that they weren't included? I definitely wanted to include the name brands that most readers have heard of.

All my best,

Dan

Last edited by Dan Brockett; January 8th, 2008 at 05:19 PM.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 11:28 PM   #15
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Great article!

I wish someone would do something similar with just hypercardioids -- the Schoeps, Audix SCX-1, AT4053, Octava, AKG 483, etc...
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