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Old December 13th, 2008, 05:57 PM   #1
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Please help me choose LOW budget mic

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
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Old December 13th, 2008, 06:19 PM   #2
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I hear the ATR55 is good for normal distance...but if you are trying to pick up something further away, the noise level gets a little high. As of now, this is the mic I will be purchasing. You can find plenty of info by doing a search.

JS
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Old December 13th, 2008, 06:29 PM   #3
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What scared me about the atr55 were the reviews on the b&h photo site.
It didn't fare so well compared to the Azdens.
The $55 ecz-990 did pretty well in user reviews.

Audio-Technica | ATR55 Dual-Pattern Shotgun Microphone | ATR55

Azden | ECZ-990 - Super-Cardioid Shotgun Mic | ECZ-990 | B&H

Azden | SMX-10 Stereo Microphone | SMX-10 | B&H Photo Video
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Old December 13th, 2008, 06:55 PM   #4
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Røde VideoMic. I had one back when I had my GS70, and I loved it. It's a larger mic, but it comes with its own shock mount. It can be mounted to a boom, tripod, or video camera's shoe.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 07:17 PM   #5
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These kinds of requests always concern me. Exactly how do you plan to use the new mic? If you place it on top of the camera, it won't do much more than what you already have. If you place it near the people speaking, how will you keep it still and out of the frame? You'll need a mic stand. And if you plan on having the people moving while you film, you're going to be SOL without a boom pole and and assistant. Not to mention the cabling to get it back to the camera.

There is no free lunch in this business. So my suggestion is to keep the money in your pocket or spend it on beer for you and your buddies. Or wait until you can actually afford a decent mic ssystem (not the same as a decent mic) and buy it.

I'm not trying to discourage you here, just trying to keep you from tossing money down a hole.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 10:11 PM   #6
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Azden's reputation is less than sterling, B&H's reviews not withstanding. Smart money looks elsewhere.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 11:02 PM   #7
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Yep the RODE Videomic. It's the worlds biggest selling mic in its class.

Cheers.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 06:26 AM   #8
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Another vote for the Rode Video Mic. Try and get the newer model that has the attenuation switch within the battery compartment. Mine is the original model (that lacks this feature - a result of customer feedback to Rode to make the VM work better with a wider range of cameras I believe). My VM still works amazingly well with my old Sony HC1. I also have the Stereo Video Mic for the same camera and that's really excellent too, wonderfull "open" sound. Both "punch above their weight".

If you want an off camera mic solution the Zoom H2 is a good LOW budget start point. However, once you get serious about sound you'd be looking to trade that in for something better. I still use mine occassionally but the Fostex tends to come out more now! The Rode VM will cost a lot less than the Zoom H2 so I still think that fits your request best. Go for it.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 06:28 AM   #9
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Ditto from me for the Rode.

And a big no-no for the ATR55, which is frankly not very good at all.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 06:37 AM   #10
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Why Alan?

I don't think I've reviewed that particular AT mic yet , so I can't speak to what it can do. I can comment on the "reviews."

The one from the guy who bought ten for students to use was pretty funny. Most school gear I've seen is pretty ripped up because students don't have enough experience to take care of something. He goes on to suggest Azden. I have yet to see an Azden mic I've liked. Something fishy about this "review."

The post from the guy who said, "it recordsin stereo but 1 channel." I don't know, expecting, stereo from a mono mic....um, I'm speechless.

The review that says, "The mic itself is very likely to actually give off a whine or drone depending on how it feels. The length is long for a microphone with such a short range of pick-up. Anything over 10' is going to be drowned out by the ambient noise."

Mics don't give off a whine or drone. They may pickup camera noise. Lots of cameras are physically noisy. A mic will pick that up, especially if it's mounted on the camera. "Anything over ten feet......." Well that depends on the ambient noise level and the acoustics of the space, but, DUH!, if you're using any small, camera-mounted mic to record audio at ten feet, you're doing it wrong.

Regards,

Ty Ford



Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old December 14th, 2008, 06:28 PM   #11
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You don't have to spend 1500-$2000 for a top of the line mic to get decent sound . However spending 250 or so for a decent mic is about the minimum, even looking for something used. You'll still need a boom, maybe $150 or so,plus shockmount, and cables. Maybe a beachtek or juice link as preamp to camera.

No free lunch here. Buy it cheap then buy it right which costs more then just buying right the first time. Maybe a cheap pair of used lavs hardwired will work better. Ecm44's on eBay go for under 150 da plus adater to camera.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 09:32 PM   #12
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Gents...................

I get the distinct impression people aren't listening to the patient here, could be wrong, it's been known to happen.

Adams budget is seriously under $100, which, as we are all aware, is rediculous for a "real" mic.

OK, his stated use is for "silly short films" which, from what I can make out, he's using the on - board mic(s) for.

Again, as we all know, this is audio "death".

My suggestion, Adam, for what little it's worth, is to go for whatever is within your budget that you have the best feel for.

Few, if any of the shooters here would even consider a mic at the level you are looking at, as such, the input they can provide will invariably be to push you further up the pay scales, something you have already said is a non starter.

Go for what you can get and just accept the sound you record is going to miss Hollywood (or even Bollywood) standards by a couple of light years.

Given your budgetry restraints, there's nothing else to be done.


CS
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Old December 14th, 2008, 10:26 PM   #13
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Exactly Chris. Which is why I said what I did. Guy says not to steer him to a $150 mic, and gets numerous recommendations for a Rode...

No mic under $100, placed on-cam, is going to help much. As we all know, a decent windscreen would cost more. Nevermind a stand and cable.

Just be honest with the guy and help him save a few bucks. Times are tight.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 10:33 PM   #14
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buy a used ECM44 and tape it to the end of a painter's pole. you could do that for $150.... actually a ECM55 will work even better, about the same price used. its a great plant / podium mic and more sensitive.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 10:38 PM   #15
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Here is the guy's DIRECT quote

Quote:
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.
And you just recommended him a $150 solution.
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