AT897 or AT815B shotgun mics? at DVinfo.net

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Old December 2nd, 2008, 01:40 PM   #1
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AT897 or AT815B shotgun mics?

I am looking for a decent shotgun mic under $300 for a boom mic for short films. This mic will be used on a boom pole.
Browsing B+H, I am seeing the Audio Technica AT897, and then the AT815B for $20 more. The 815 is much longer, and i feel like that would be more helpful with picking up dialogue, but then again I am not an audio person.
Does anybody have any experience with these shotgun mics or are there any recommendations for a different mic for my purposes?
Thanks
-Jeff
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 02:49 PM   #2
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I have not used the 897, and as a consequence cannot offer a comparison for you. I do have the 815b and have been satisfied with it. It is not as "hot" as say the 4073 but does an adequate job of isolating sounds. It may just be me, but I think it has more back end pickup than some other shotguns I have used. (notably ME-66, 4073a and the NTG-2).

If you have not visited Dan Brockett's comparison of shotgun mics you might want to do that. You might end up looking at the AT 875 after you do.

You might also look at the NTG-2. It is a good mic for the price.

Chris Swanberg
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 03:39 PM   #3
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The Audio Technica AT897 is a nice shotgun mic for the money. I like it, and it seems to have its following. It kind of depends on if you're feeding it directly into the camera or through a mixer though. I found that with the Canon XL2, there was a noticeable hiss compared to other similar mics, such as the Sennheiser ME66/K6 and the RODE NTG-1 (same as NTG-2, just adds length and the ability to self power with an AA battery). You can listen to the samples we recorded of the 897 here DV eStore Theatre - Shotgun Examples
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 12:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Cochran View Post
The Audio Technica AT897 is a nice shotgun mic for the money. I like it, and it seems to have its following. It kind of depends on if you're feeding it directly into the camera or through a mixer though. I found that with the Canon XL2, there was a noticeable hiss compared to other similar mics, such as the Sennheiser ME66/K6 and the RODE NTG-1 (same as NTG-2, just adds length and the ability to self power with an AA battery). You can listen to the samples we recorded of the 897 here DV eStore Theatre - Shotgun Examples
Is there a reason why the AT897 sounds a bit more "hot"? I can hear more of a notable background hiss compared to the NTG-2 like you mentioned. Makes me wish I opted for the NTG-2 rather than the AT897 :/. From my laptop speakers, both videos sound the same volume wise. I hope it's due to the XL2, I'll be using it on an XH-A1.

Please let me know your thoughts, thanks Guy.
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 04:44 PM   #5
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Shotgun mikes

We're XHa1 users here, one of our team has an at897, one a Rode, I have an at815 and a Sennheiser ME66/k6, so fwiw here's what we've noticed: The Sennheiser has more sensitivity and a good "reach" that we think exceeds the others. I love my 815 but: it needs more gain on the XHa1 to equal the Sennheiser and lacks the battery switch that the Sennheiser has (minor convenience, but you can just switch off the battery on the Senn when you are on phantom and the AT's need to install a battery when you're off phantom or it will sooner or later run down if you leave it in). My collegue who owns the Rode believes it tops out in high sound levels earlier than the Sennheiser, no info on how the AT's do in that situation. I have caught some pretty remarkably distant audio with the Sennheiser and recommend it highly...but I would not be bashful to use my AT regularly, it's a nice mike. Hope this is some kind of help.... Battle Vaughan / Miami Herald video team
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 04:51 PM   #6
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I have the AT897, ME66 and ME64. The AT897 is a really good mic the Sennheisers are more sensitive and the me66 has more reach but they also pickup more handling noise. If I have tons of prep time I will use my Sennheisers but if I just want to hurry up and shoot I will go with the AT897; it has very good sound and is more forgiving of ambient noise (neighbors dishwasher etc).
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Old December 3rd, 2008, 06:08 PM   #7
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At/Sennheiser

Ken makes a good point re Sennheiser sensitivity, I cobbled up my own shock mount for the XHa1 and ME66 using a Rode shockmount and some pvc pipe to (a) eliminate any shock noise and (b) bring the mike back away from the lens. (I use the wa adapter most of the time) One of our team has his AT897 with some gaffer tape wrapped around it to make it fit better, and just sticks it in the a1's external mike holder and has no problems. I use my AT815 primarily on an external recorder and Ken is right, handling noise is much less of a problem with it. // Battle Vaughan
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