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Old July 12th, 2003, 11:24 PM   #1
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Working the kinks out/what do i really need?

If I can get a discussion going on this vein then I can mix common sense with my natural greed for good stuff and hopefully make an informed decision.

My basic needs are a better sound system. I have a VX2K with a sennheiser evolution 102 lav, a senn ME66 and a Sony ECN44 lav. My only sound tool is a beach. All (I can do at this point is attenuate into a camera that would really like a better signal.

I would like to expand my kit, but would like to do it making the least amount of expensive mistakes possible

My scope of work (hobby)is location historical , (hands on documentary so to speak). There may only be two mics in this situation. There is also a sit down, informal discusion on the topic, which will involve 2, 3 or even 4 people all exchanging dialogue. That would be 3 on camera and myself occasionally. I never appear but usually keep the discussions on track, host and moderate , so to speak.
My thrill is capturing that gleam in the eye and the excitement in the voice, that someone gets when they talk about something they love. Sound is a major part of that equation.

Examples would be a visual tour of a Century Farm and museum with commentary from the group as assembled later at another location. (some are too old to walk around)

An historical re enactment with visual touring and then detailed discusions amongst several people. The supporting discusions could be on location or casually seated at a later date.

I had looked at the marenius 3 channel mono for $340 and hadn't thought much about off camera at that point.

I made the mistake of looking at the sound devices stuff. more moneybut drop dead gorgeous and super functional.

My feelings are.

To buy anything less than 3 channels would be a mistake.

The control on the Sound device 3 channel is so much better than the 2 channel mix pre.

I've also thought that a decent Mini Disk or flash memorey recorder might also round out the kit nicely.

I had looked at the Sony NZN707, but there's no way to directly transfer the files in their digital format. Also when all is said and done , I may as well as spend the money on a recorder with balanced inputs and outputs right at the onset.

Saving money and doing a half assed job isn't where I want to go.

I had thought of every combo Mix Pre with Marantz flash recorder, Mix Pre with USB Mix Pre and finally, what I really want, the 302 and the marantz 670.

I'm quit capable of producing acceptable video, the sound needs improvement. The beach just doesn't cut it, especially with the weak pre on the VX2K.

To quote Joan Rivers , "let's talk!"
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Old July 13th, 2003, 11:23 AM   #2
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Well Brian, I don't know if this will be of any help... but I'll try:

I bought a HD recorder - not for video purposes... for live two track recordings of purely an audio nature. I have not yet used it on a video shoot, but I will when I need critical audio.

The unit is built by Samson under the name Zoom. The unit I bought (I've posted a link to the base unit elsewhere on this bbs) has a 40 gig HD, allowing me to record 120 hours of CD quality audio... as well as a built-in CD burner.

It is intended to be portable, but not a field unit. It doesn't run on batteries.

You can pick one of these units up for less than $1000 (I think I paid $850 for mine) and the audio is quite good.

I use mine with a Mackie 1202 VLZ Pro mixer and an RNC stereo compressor with very good results... but there is no reason why you couldn't plug two mics straight into the unit, as the unit will provide phantom power.

Here's the unit on Samson's website:

http://www.samsontech.com/products/p...fm?prodID=1595

It might not be the right one for you... but it will give you yet another option to consider.
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Old August 2nd, 2003, 10:30 PM   #3
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I bought the 302

I picked up my Sound Devices 302 (3 channel stereo mixer) on friday. What an instrument!

Now I'm unfettered by mic output level ( I use a VX2K). I'd really like to get a "soup to nuts" discussion going on the various option open for mics, now that I have phantom and amplification.

Has anyone had experience with any of the AKG or Rode products. It would be nice to get some idea of comparison to the ME66. I'm not totally happy with the indoor sound of the senn me66.

Better doesn't always have to be more expensive. With my luck it will be though. That's beasleigh's law of 3's.




I wind up spending 3 times more than I planned.
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Old August 3rd, 2003, 07:37 AM   #4
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If you're unhappy with the Sennheiser ME66 you might want to consider the Audio-Technica 4073a shotgun microphone, a true condenser microphone as opposed to an electret condenser like the ME66. Additionally, it is smaller, lighter and more durable than the ME66 but it does cost more.

The 4073a is a superior microphone than the ME66 with better off-axis rejection, a higher SPL rating, and greater sensitivity. I found that the 4073a picked up audio at further distances than my ME66, for example, while rejecting ambient noise just as well (I had to bring the ME66 in a lot closer for the same level of audio than with the 4073a). If you do sell your ME66 however, you will lose the module capabilities of the Sennheiser but I think its worth it anyway.
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Old August 3rd, 2003, 09:13 AM   #5
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Hi Bryan,

my most heart felt advice is for you to buy a Sennheiser 416.

I would sell the ME66. The 416 IS the shotgun mic choice of professionals.
They use them on the Olympics, the world cup, film shoots, etc. etc.
(Look for the "416 help needed" thread for more info and even better mics)

For around a grand, you will be amazed at the sonic quality when
compared to the ME66/K6 combo. Not only the sound quality, but
it's reach.

The 416 is very light weight and when combined with a Rycote blimp
system ( which should include pistol grip)
and Van den Berg (VdB) graphite boom pole, you'll have a pro rig
that is feather light.

Actually, we use the 416 with a beachtek DXA-6 (two channel phantom)
and a VX2K and the sound rocks imo.
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Old August 3rd, 2003, 09:15 AM   #6
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Oh, imo, AVOID Rode. (Sorry Rode owners ;)
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Old August 3rd, 2003, 09:56 AM   #7
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If around $1000 is your budget then I would opt for the Sennheiser MKH416 too! The 4073a is about half that.
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Old August 3rd, 2003, 12:24 PM   #8
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I 've realized that i need a better shotgun but i'll also need other mics for a recorder and for the myriad of situations I have described. I realize that it's going to be a learn as I go project .

The 416 is $1400 Canadian, a tad more than i wanted to spend. The AT 4073 is doeable. I don't want one super mic surounded by crap.

While the 416/4073 might be great for wide open spaces , what about close confines?

What would be a good ambient mic?

What would really help, is if a few had the time to list their mics and what they think of them. That would be a super sesource.

Like I said before there will be one big garage sale when I kick the bucket. I should leave a note for the wife and tell her not to sell my gear for what she thinks I paid for it :)
When I got my Marzpak (my favorite piece of gear) my wife picked it up and paid the $90 tax and duty bill. She thought that was pretty reasonable that I could buya rig like that for $90 :)
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Old August 3rd, 2003, 04:35 PM   #9
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>>When I got my Marzpak (my favorite piece of gear) my wife
>>picked it up and paid the $90 tax and duty bill. She thought that
>>was pretty reasonable that I could buya rig like that for $90 :)

Hi Bryan,

you may not know that Christi, owner of Marztech.com, is my wife & partner
so I smile at your kind words :)

>>The 416 is $1400 Canadian, a tad more than i wanted to spend.
>>The AT 4073 is doeable. I don't want one super mic surounded by crap.

You can find deals on 416s on ebay now and then.
I think Charles Papert said he got one for $700.
Fullcompass.com had a bunch used once on the grammies for
$900.

The thing is, once you buy a 416, you need not think
about upgrading again and a good mic like this will hold its value.
I don't think the same could be said for the AT. There just aren't a lot
of people prowling the net looking for them like there are for the 416.

I am not sure what other mics you have in your quill or still need to purchase,
but good wired/wireless lavs are _way down_ in price these days.

The 416 is great for many situations and you get every cent you pay for imo.
Prowl the net for a week or two and see what you find. Lot's of companies
and independents are dropping like flies, so you might get lucky.

Best!
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Old August 9th, 2003, 12:54 AM   #10
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Jacques
What do you and Christi use for the nature audio?
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Old August 9th, 2003, 09:46 AM   #11
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Hi Bryan,

we took a deep plunge and bought a Neumann USM 69i. This is a true
stereo large diaphragm (2) microphone that uses the same capsules as
the Neumann 69 and 87. One capsule is fixed, the other rotates up to
270 degrees. There are also pattern switches for each capsule, so
you can do just about anything with it.

We're able to hook the USM 69i right up to a Beachtek DXA-6
and bring back really nice recordings w/ both XL1 and VX2K.

For our documentary we went
even further (into the red;) buying a MOTU 896 interface and using that
with my Mac powerbook G4 laptop. We're recording 24bit@96kHz in
the field. We also have use of a Sennheiser 416. I usually put both
mics on a stand with the neumann capsules looking left and right with
the sennheiser shotgun straight up the middle. Later on we'll do some
experiments to fill in the back two channels of the 5.1 mix I'm planning.

The whole rig with a 12v battery, inverter, the MOTU and G4 fit into a
cooler, so once the lid is closed, it is almost silent.
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Old August 9th, 2003, 11:27 AM   #12
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Jacques (and Bryan),
Well, you may be happy to know that because of you my kids won't be going to college and I will default on my mortgage! (Just kidding; I have neither.)

But this thread prompted me to take the plunge to see just how good the 416 really is. I already have a ME66 and ME67 which I use with an 8' Gitzo cf boom. So I just ordered a 416 plus a 12' VDB boom (hey, who couldn't use a longer boom? ;-) ) and even got a new Rycote shock mount/Softie for it. Will report back when I've been able to use it later this week.

That is, if I can still afford Internet access. <g>

Seriously, though, thanks for your remarks, Jacques.
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Old August 9th, 2003, 12:53 PM   #13
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Pitch for minidisk

"I had looked at the Sony NZN707, but there's no way to directly transfer the files in their digital format. Also when all is said and done , I may as well as spend the money on a recorder with balanced inputs and outputs right at the onset."

You might want to know that Sony has just released an MD deck with optical outputs for $300 -- the MXD-D400.

Between the portable and the deck, you should have a system for about $500.

Obviously, having pro equipment is going to give you better results, but you also need a separate audio person to monitor the sound, which maybe you do if you're looking at that Sound Devices mixer. I've found that just finding a boom operator is hard enough.

I've been using minidisk (Sony MZ-N10), and it's working really well. You can't beat the portability. The internal battery lasts like seven hours and recharges incredibly fast. I mount it on the camera and adjust the levels with a camera mounted Studio 1 XLR adapter. The boom operator monitors his end with a Sound Devices MM-1, which also gives the benefit of a good pre-amp and limiter. Having the pre-amp on the boom operator also lets you have really long cable runs. Working great for us. Minidiscs archive really conveniently too. I think they're more rugged than CD-Rs, which seem kind of like a hassle to me.

Still, if I had a Neumann microphone, I don't think I'd be futzing around with minidisk.
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Old August 9th, 2003, 01:05 PM   #14
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Having been a studio and live audio guy for so many years pretty much
left me out of knowing about shotgun mics. We'd been using a ME67/K6
combo, when a friend of mine, Jeff Jones of local 812 IATSE,
loaned us the 416/VdB/Rycote rig.

First, I couldn't believe how feather light the thing was, and once
we used it in windy conditions which would have ruined a "one time only"
shoot, I was super happy with the audio. In fact, amazed at how much
better the 416 was than the ME67/K6.

I'll bet you'll be amazed too Ken!
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Old August 9th, 2003, 02:56 PM   #15
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This is great information, we now have a lineage of acceptable to very good short shotguns .

Several have mentioned the use of just cardoid or super cardoid.
Could someone explain when we would want to use one of these and which mics to look at? Again from the ME66 standard to the more luxurious sounding. Jaques had mentioned a neuman KM184 as a top end. this is a $600 mic.

This is info that's unavailable even in the best of books.
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