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Old April 26th, 2008, 07:13 PM   #1
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Microphone Recommendations

I will be taping my wife's Cabaret performance using my Sony TRV-900 and Beachtek DXA-4.

According to the sound guy I have one feed from the sound board (from the singers microphone). He suggests a second microphone to get the room and more of the piano.

The internal microphone will shut-off once I connect the Beachtek.

Any suggestion for a second, moderately priced microphone ?

It must be an XLR and I'd like it to sit on the top of the camera.

Thanks in advance.

Pat De Marco
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Old April 26th, 2008, 07:27 PM   #2
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for $20-$40 you can pretty much rent anything that would work for this. ask the sound company what they have. better to rent a high quality mic for one time use, then buy something mediocre and it sits on a shelf after this. schoeps CMC64, or any other quality cardoid would work fine. I'd place it about 1/3 of the way back from the stage. closer would also be ok since this isn't your main sound source. the closer you get the more you'll pick up the stage performance.... within reason. being a bit further back will be a better mix. its all depends. every space is a little bit different.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 10:03 PM   #3
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If you are putting it on the camera, especially a small one, and you want to buy a mic, the AT875R could be right.

It was recently reviewed in Dan Brockett's article on shotguns:

I bought one and it works well. It's small with minimal handling noise. Dan Brockett said recently he is using one on a documentary.

If you are trying to pickup more of the piano and the only audio you have otherwise is directly off the singer's mic, I'm not sure putting the mic on the camera will give you what you want. It could be better to put a mic on a stand nearer the piano and run a cable back to your camera. The theater probably has runs from the stage to the control panel so you would only have to run from the mic to the input on the stage on back stage. Then you would pick it up near the sound panel, without going into the control.

Is the performance coming out of the sound system speakers in the room? Is only the singer miced? A mic in the audience will mostly pic up the sound system and nearby audience members coughing.

Perhaps the best placement is 4-10 feet from the piano situated so that it pics up quite a bit more piano than the sound system. You would still pic audience reactions and would have enough piano to mic with the vocal track.

I agree with Steve Oakley that unless you get a mic such as the small and good quality AT875R that you could continue to use for many purposes, both on and off the camera, you'd be better off renting than buying an inexpensive, dedicated use larger mic.

Here is the $200 AT875R at B&H:
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Old April 26th, 2008, 10:58 PM   #4
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I agree with Jack. If you buy a mic, make sure it works for you in the long term (if fits on your camera), but for this project, set the mic up at a fixed distance from the piano. If it's on the camera, your sound will change every time you pan. Avoid that.

Mic placement will be an artistic choice. Mic the piano close (say, above the strings of an open grand), and you'll get a cleaner, studio-like result. Mic it further away, and you'll get more reverb and more crowd noise for a live sound.

Two mics on the piano and a third channel for your wife would be best. It would be nice to get a stereo spread for the room/piano with your wife's voice in the center. With a single mic on the piano, you might try a faux stereo effect on it in post.

Try not to get the mic too close to any one audience member, or too close to the sound system. You don't want to hear somebody's conversation, and you don't want phase problems when mixing with your wife's mic.
Jon Fairhurst
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Old April 26th, 2008, 11:03 PM   #5
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Remember that the Beachtek does not output phantom power, so we are limited to looking at battery powered mics in his setup, unless he adds to his system.
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Old April 27th, 2008, 12:30 AM   #6
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Another possibility is to look at this not as a video event, but as a "fixed location" event. You can bring your whole computer, soundcard, mixing board, etc. Record into Vegas, ACID, Sonar, or whatever you use for audio. You don't need to record into the camera, or use battery powered gear.

In this case the investment angle is also different. Rather than buying something for your camera, you're buying for your home studio. You can use it for recording your wife sing at home. Even if you plan to go to a studio for serious recordings, its nice to have the gear at home to record demos and to work out what you would do in a studio.

This is a great case for 24-bits. Set up the recording with lots of headroom and let it roll. Worry about levels in post. (Assuming a clean signal chain.)

If you have a soundcard with multiple inputs that would allow more (rental) mics. And if your mixer/preamps support phantom power, you're set.

Of course, if you don't have any home studio gear to start with, this probably makes no sense, but we recorded a recent concert this way with good success, leaving video to the cameras and sound to the PC.

It's good to think out of the box. Maybe you have a friend with home studio gear...
Jon Fairhurst
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Old April 29th, 2008, 08:49 AM   #7
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Thanks for the ideas.

Chris, thanks for the reminder that I need a battery powered microphone.

Sounds like I should forget putting the microphone on the camera and put it on a stand.

My one issue wth placing the microphone by the piano is that I will be in the back of the room so the audience will have to step over the cord.

Pat De Marco
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