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Old August 9th, 2008, 10:59 AM   #1
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mic advice

I have a Canon XH-A1. So far I've been using the on-board mic, but I'm looking to upgrade a bit.

For now, my primary use is outside, in small crowds, video-taping people talking who are between 3 and 10 feet away. I also intend on using the mic attached to the camcorder.

At this point, my budget is in the $200 - $700 range. Given this, I've been looking at the AT-89y and Rode NTG-2 at the low end, and the AT-4073A versus the Rode NTG-3 and the higher end (of my budget, not of what's out there - I know these aren't "highend").

Any advice?
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Old August 10th, 2008, 09:04 PM   #2
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3-10 feet is pretty far for good audio in a chatty club. I think your pushing it if you want really good sound. Outside is better, unless there are walls (as in outside in downtown city areas) but you really have to be careful of noise to the sides and rear. Shotguns mics are relatively omni at mid and low frequencies.

A boom op, bringing you a lot closer, would allow you to use a hypercardioid, but you'd STILL have to get close. It could be (ambient noise depending) that a handheld or e6 would provide better sound.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Last edited by Ty Ford; August 10th, 2008 at 10:53 PM. Reason: clarify content
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Old August 10th, 2008, 10:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
3-10 feet is pretty far for good audio in a chatty club. I think your pushing it if you want really good sound.

A boom op, bringing you a lot closer, would allow you to use a hypercardioid, but you'd STILL have to get close. It could be (ambient noise depending) that a handheld or e6 would provide better sound.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old August 11th, 2008, 06:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
3-10 feet is pretty far for good audio in a chatty club. I think your pushing it if you want really good sound. Outside is better, unless there are walls (as in outside in downtown city areas) but you really have to be careful of noise to the sides and rear. Shotguns mics are relatively omni at mid and low frequencies.

A boom op, bringing you a lot closer, would allow you to use a hypercardioid, but you'd STILL have to get close. It could be (ambient noise depending) that a handheld or e6 would provide better sound.

Regards,

Ty Ford
What is an e6?

If I am outside, 6 to 8 feet away, what mic in my price range would you suggest?

By the way, I meant the AT897 above.
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Old August 11th, 2008, 07:14 PM   #5
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I think Ty is referring to a Countryman lavalier model.

You might want to consider a lavalier, in addition to or in place of a shotgun.

I have experience with the AT4073 and NTG-2. The AT4073 is "hotter" and more sensitive in my observation. Great on a boom for "on location" audio. The NTG-2 is a good all around shotgun... I like it. As Ty noted, shotguns are not as directional at lower frequencies. Isolating a voice in a sightly noisy environment is probably better suited to a lavalier than a shotgun.

My 2 cents.

ps. Indoors, shotguns are prone to pick up room echoes, and you are better off with a hypercardiod. I know Ty will recommend the Schoeps CM641 - it IS the gold standard and WAY past your price range. I have a modified Russian hyper that I like very much..... that IS within your budget.

pps. (Wireless) I have used the AT Pro 88 VHF wireless microphones, and find them a good value for the money and reliable performers at short (under 30-40 foot) distances. The AT-U101 is their (Audio Technica's) old pro line (now replaced by the AT1800 series) and those can be found at good prices used. It is a solid UHF wireless performer. The Sennheiser G2 is another mic I have used, and while I not extensive experience, it is a nice setup and has a lot of nice user features. All three are within your budget.

ppps. Best of all in my estimation for your needs would a Rode NTG-2 and a Pro-88. Should set you back about $400. If you have a friend, get a boom pole and boom the shotgun over your speaker. Ty has a great little book about location audio I recommend that will be very useful. You can get it on his website.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 12:19 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chris Swanberg View Post
[...] Ty has a great little book about location audio I recommend that will be very useful. You can get it on his website.
I want to underscore this and add... microphone placement is a large component of the audio challenge. A microphone mounted on the camera is a last resort strategy and rarely results in good sound. Before you spend money on microphones, read Ty Ford's "Audio Bootcamp" twice. It's a short read and concentrated wisdom. Peruse the many interesting audio threads on this forum. Try to get some recording experience under your belt before buying gear, borrow stuff or help a friend on a shoot in order to get experience recording and listening, this way you can figure out what it is you really need. If you want to read more, Jay Rose's "Producing Great Sound for Digital Video" provides an excellent treatment on the topic.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 12:47 AM   #7
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I almost added Jay's book.... but figured it was over the top in this thread. Probably a bad call on my part. I agree with you. IT... is the "gold standard" for instructional "on location" audio books...... and I could add a few other excellent audio books as well ... though the reading time and book exposure could get daunting for a newbie audio recordist. Your mention of it is appropriate however. Thanks for adding it.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 04:11 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Stephen Sobel View Post
What is an e6?

If I am outside, 6 to 8 feet away, what mic in my price range would you suggest?

By the way, I meant the AT897 above.

As others have noted, at 6 to 8 feet away it's going to be very difficult, if not impossible, to get clean, tight sound with any mic on the market, whether you spend $250 or $2500. On the closer side, at 3 to 4 feet you have a fighting chance with the 4073 and the NTG-2 or NTG-3. Starts the get iffy at 4 feet with most reasonable mics - long shotguns can be used farther out, up to about 8 feet under good conditions but they're very unwieldly to mount on the camera. At the long side of the range you mentioned, 8-10 feet, fugedaboutit. It's not the mic, it's the physics of the way sound propagates and the way mics work.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 07:30 AM   #9
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Chris, David,

Thanks for your kind words.

Regards,

Ty
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Old August 12th, 2008, 07:45 AM   #10
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Chris, David,
Thanks for your kind words.
Regards,
Ty
OT: Alright Ty, I couldn't resist anymore, PayPal'd you with $27 ;)

Cheers
T
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