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Old December 29th, 2008, 05:32 PM   #1
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Oh great and wise audio overlords..

I need your advice on an audio kit for my new production package. This is what I'm looking at:

The ATW-1821D from B&H:
Audio-Technica | ATW-1821D Deluxe Kit | B&H Photo Video

And The AT-897 kit:
Audio-Technica | AT-897 - Shotgun Microphone Basic Kit | AT897BK

Is there something better for cheaper, the same, or slightly more? I like the fact that it's a dual channel system, so when I'm doing run and gun interviews, the host can have a lapel, and either a wireless hand-held or overhead boom for the subject.

This audio kit will accompany an HPX170 (most likely) for HD broadcast (cable & maybe some network), along with various other projects.

Thanks for the advice, audio is one of my weaker areas I'm more of a shooter/editor I want to make sure I get the best audio for my buck.

Last edited by Trey Thompson; December 29th, 2008 at 06:15 PM.
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Old December 29th, 2008, 07:26 PM   #2
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I have found this very useful so many times, take a look and listen here, DVeStore’s Shotgun Shootout at DVcreators.net I finally went with the Rode NTG-2.
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Old December 29th, 2008, 07:29 PM   #3
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That's not a bad start.Folks will quibble with you on the AT897 versus other mics... but you can sample them yourself with a comparison done by Dan Brockett (search you will find the link).

I'd suggest you consider a field mixer to feed thoses through, and a decent boompole and set of cans (I love my SONY 3506's).

In terms of a mixer, I'd suggest three, If you have the budget, get the Sound Design 302. If money is tight you might go with their lower model, the Mix-Pre. Cheaper but still decent and a good priced alterbative is the Sign Video ENG44.

ps. the above post appeared after I started to write mine. I second the Rode NTG-2. I like mine.
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Old December 29th, 2008, 07:34 PM   #4
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wow! that's a great resource. the NTG-2 does have a really nice sound to it. i'm for sure not going with the AT-897 because of the noise.
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Old December 29th, 2008, 07:37 PM   #5
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since the camera has two channels along with a dual receiver, what advantage would I get by running the signals through a mixer. i've used the sound devices before, but I don't think I noticed much of a difference (could have been using it wrong).
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Old December 29th, 2008, 07:43 PM   #6
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I'll admit my unfamiliarity with the camera you are using or its audio controls, but my experience with on camera audio controls is that they are about useless while shooting. With a mixer you can do both... or either "set it and forget it" or have someone else monitor the sound. There may be times you want one mic turned off or down during shoot or for certain portions, for example.

It also gives you the advantage of more than two mics in use at the same time.

Finally... depending on your need, you can mix in the mixer and record in the camera in mono on two separate tracks, varying the levels to provide one "hot" track and one set a little more conservatively as a safety against clipping. That has proven a valuable tool for me.
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Old December 29th, 2008, 07:44 PM   #7
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If this is on any pro level or even close to being used for a paid job, you are all ways gonna want to double mic your talent. The last thing you want is to get back ??? and find out your audio is bad or missing because of some type of failure. A field mixer is not a necessity but an excellent tool to have if you can afford it.

Not sure about some of the above mixers but would seriously consider something with firewire or USB, in that way it could serve double duty when you get to doing other stuff.
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Old December 29th, 2008, 07:57 PM   #8
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I think Jeff is confusing a field mixer with a field recorder. I don't know of any field mixer with USB or firewire outputs at the present time.Maybe something new has popped up I am unaware of. The three I gave you will probably win hands down acclaim from the audio folks on this board. (Ok some will disagree with the ENG44 - but I have used it and I think it is a pretty decent little mixer). The SD302 is about as good as it gets in 3 channels.

I'm not in agreement with the need to double mic. Monitor sound at the camera and you will not experience any "missing" sound embarassment.
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Old December 29th, 2008, 08:00 PM   #9
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nope its me and yes I did :-( oops !!

check out these as an alternative, Marantz PMD recorders
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Old December 31st, 2008, 10:08 AM   #10
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You might look at similar offerings from Sennheiser -- the G2, soon to be G3 wireless kits are workhorses; we have a bunch of them and are very happy with them. We use Tram50 mikes with them.

Likewise, the Sennheiser ME66K6 mike has a higher sensitivity than the AT897 (ok, people throw rocks at the 897, but I have one and except for the lower output, like it just fine; but the ME66 the company provides runs circles around it in real world run-n-gun where directionality and sensitivity can save the day).

Thumbs up on the SignVideo field mixer, it's a compact and well made piece of gear (originally designed for law enforcement surveillance use, I have read). At the risk of being flamed, you might look at the Azden FM42 mixer. Their consumer level stuff is crap but their pro gear, this unit included, is pretty nice---real vu meters, limiters, mike/line input and output with a separate stereo -36dB miniplug for your digital recorder, and it's compact. /Battle Vaughan / miamiherald.com video team
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Old December 31st, 2008, 11:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Swanberg View Post
but my experience with on camera audio controls is that they are about useless while shooting. With a mixer you can do both... or either "set it and forget it" or have someone else monitor the sound. There may be times you want one mic turned off or down during shoot or for certain portions, for example.
My 2 cents:
- A field mixer is great if you have an audio person with you. If it's just you, the oncamera controls will be far easier than trying to deal with the extra cabling and an extra gain stage (or two) that adding a mixer will add.

- Run both mics to separate channels and leave them both "hot" at all times. Selecting which mic to use is for post, unless you are doing live-to-air stuff.
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