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Old December 14th, 2008, 11:20 PM   #16
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Adam.............

if it's any consolation, I started about where you are now.

Lashed out practically every available dollar (pound actually) on the camera and tripod and little, no - no, zero, nada left over for "off camera" sound.

I went to a place renowned in London, called Henry's, in the Edgeware Rd, and bought a couple of super el - cheapo, no name dynamics with mounts and cable for the grand total of about 30 quid from memory, could even have been less.

Mounted them under the outside garden table (plastic) with the leads running in throught the window, connected to my XL1s.

Not balanced, so on wet nights, hum to make you cringe.

On good nights, the sound of our "dogs" (urban London foxes) going about their business was to die for.

The mic's were only a foot above their heads when they were feeding (we put a bowl of food directly under said table every night) and they captured pretty well everything else going on in the garden to boot.

Not bloody bad for 30 quid, and those tapes (now nearly 8 years old) as as good to watch now as they were when they were new.

You'd be suprised what you can capture with gear the pro's would label "absolute rubbish".

Go for it.


CS
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Old December 15th, 2008, 02:23 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam VanScoyoc View Post
Hi all,
I plan on getting an external directional microphone for myself for Christmas.
I use a Panasonic Dv852 and make silly short films and am beginning to make a sitcom with a group of guys that I work with for the main purpose of putting on our webpage and youtube.

I want to spend as little as possible and have narrowed it down to these three...

Audio Technica ATR55
Azden ECZ-990
Azden SMX-10
I would recommend the Audio Technica ATR55.

I have a number of AT mics and they pretty much sound better than what they cost, and they are very suitable for the purposes they are designed for.

The ATR55 is made for video cameras, has settings for different distances that might make the mic a bit more versatile, comes with the necessary accessories, and it will improve on the sound coming through the camera's built in mic.

As Ty says, Azden is probably not your best choice.

And while a $50-100 condenser mic is not likely to satisfy many if any professionals, Audio Technica does make professional quality products at a reasonable price, and I would trust5 their low-end more than a company that only has low-end.

Here's the AT page for the ATR55:
Audio-Technica - Microphones, headphones, wireless microphone systems, noise-cancelling headphones & more : ATR55 Cardioid Condenser Shotgun Microphone
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Old December 15th, 2008, 08:56 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
You'd be suprised what you can capture with gear the pro's would label "absolute rubbish".

Go for it.


CS
Not really. BUT, as I said in my first post, you HAVE TO GET THE MICS NEAR THE SUBJECT. As soon as you mount that cheap mic in the same place as the on-camera mic, the advantage is gone. So yes, if he wants to mic his buds with the mic on a boom 3ft away, then he's going to see improvement. Howevver, if he mounts a $50 or $250 mic on the camera, he might as well save the money and go drinking.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 01:00 PM   #19
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Adam, save your money. Buying a sub-$100 mic for on-camera use won't do much of anything to improve your situation. Even $1000 and up mics are dicey at best when mounted at the camera position. If you spend the $100 now, you'll simply be throwing it away because when you go to buy something that WILL help, you'll have no trade in value on whatever you bought with the hundred - it'll just sit on the shelf gathering dust. Save your cash until you can add a bit more to it for something like the aforementioned Videomic and pole. The upshot is if you spend the hundred now, when you eventually get something you can actually use, you'll have spent a total of $350-$400 instead of $250-$300.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 01:11 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam VanScoyoc View Post
Hi all,
I plan on getting an external directional microphone for myself for Christmas.
I use a Panasonic Dv852 and make silly short films and am beginning to make a sitcom with a group of guys that I work with for the main purpose of putting on our webpage and youtube.

I want to spend as little as possible and have narrowed it down to these three...

Audio Technica ATR55
Azden ECZ-990
Azden SMX-10

I would love to hear your opinions of these mics or recommendations of other microphones in this price range.

Please don't try to talk me into $150 mics because my wife won't give me the greenlight for it since things are a little tight this time of year.

Thanks,
Adam
Adam:

I tried quite a few of the inexpensive mics a few years ago before I found they usually don't produce good results.

The SMX-10 is a newer and even less expensive version of the SGM-X. Don't waste your money on that one. Very flat sounding and has a low output level. However, the low output level may be to prevent pumping on audio AGC on some camcorders.

If you want a like new SGM-X in the box to experiment with, Paypal me $25. Report back here later what you think.

Jeff
jeff9329@aol.com
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Old December 15th, 2008, 01:12 PM   #21
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Guys.............

Even if Adam had said anything about mounting the new mic "on camera" (which he hasn't) I think he's probably got the message, and is sorting out that broom handle even as I type.

Bit of duct tape and ingenuity and he's good to go.

BTW, those el - cheapo extending handles found in hardware stores for either paint rollers or window washing brushes make super boom poles, I've got one here that extends to about 13 feet and the screw thread on the end actually fits a standard mic holder to boot.

Not as flash as my Rode boom but got the job done till the Rode arrived.


CS
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Old December 15th, 2008, 05:51 PM   #22
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I've got an atr-55, and i also have a gold colored i think"phonix" shotgun and a radio shack "realistic" shotgun that are all basically identical apart from color. They look like they came out of the same mold. They have the same switch that lets you choose between lots of hiss and even more hiss. The ONLY good thing i can say about the these mics is that they are not permanently mounted on your camcorder. If you buy a long 1/8" extender cable and are careful about positioning the mic within like 24" of the talents mouth, you will get a better sound than if the mic is on camera.

If you are on the path to creating good video like lots of us, then eventually you'll outgrow crappy mics and wish you had all that money back to apply towards a nice mic instead. My only suggestion then is to spend as little as possible on your mic. Seriously. The difference between a $40 and a $100 "shotgun" is minimal. They all sound hollow and unnatural, but when put in the right place will produce "legible" sound, which is the first goal of having ANY mic. The lesson you'll learn (or not) will be the same. "hey, this mic is crap! I want a nicer sound that is easier to listen to and rejects more off axis crap". (or "that sounds fine to me!" in which case you probably cant tell the difference between a $20 and $200 shotgun)

This is all pretty much stuff said by others already. My big revelation is that you should buy the absolute dirt cheapest shotgun you can find, especially used. (atr55 do NOT hold their value). If you can find a shotgun so cheap that its pocket change and you dont mind the cost at all, then you can figure out exactly what you like/dont like out of cheap mics and know what to save up towards. (or you'll be happy and have saved money towards beer and steadicams)
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Old December 15th, 2008, 10:12 PM   #23
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I don't know how or where you plan on using this mic but the the Apex 191 pencil condenser is a very nice sounding mic for the money. Batt or phantom power. They can be picked up used for well under $100.($50-$65) Not a shotgun, but great LOW budget mic.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 03:13 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Kellam View Post
Adam:

I tried quite a few of the inexpensive mics a few years ago before I found they usually don't produce good results.

The SMX-10 is a newer and even less expensive version of the SGM-X. Don't waste your money on that one. Very flat sounding and has a low output level. However, the low output level may be to prevent pumping on audio AGC on some camcorders.

If you want a like new SGM-X in the box to experiment with, Paypal me $25. Report back here later what you think.

Jeff
jeff9329@aol.com

I'm looking for a mic and would take up your offer!
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