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Old October 27th, 2003, 03:13 PM   #1
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Sound and Sennheiser

A couple of audio related questions.....

I think I know the answer to this one, but I'm still interested in any ideas generated by asking:
Are there any sub$500 microphones that do reasonably well at long range, say, 20 feet, indoors, wireless lavs aside? I'm still holding on to the idea of a shotgun producing somewhat "normal" results, but an intuitive reality check tells me, "too thin with room reverb!". I need something more maneuverable than a boundary mic. The idea is to potentially rely on the shotgun to fill in for moments of wireless interference, but that, for what I'm doing these days, sometimes I can't get any closer than 20 feet.

What are the most common sources of wireless interference, if any?

What might the ideal application of the ME67 look like? It's more directional than the ME66, yes?

I read recently something about an inherent problem in the clip used for the directional Sennheiser lavs commonly used with the 100series, that the clip is designed to rotate or swivel, and what a bad combo that is with a directional lav (too many more opportunities to be shifted away from mouth). Is this an oft cited problem, should I be prepared to replace it, etc?

I have other Sennheiser equipment specific questions, and I intend to call Sennheiser about what exactly I'll need from a 100series kit, so if I have questions here that you think they can easily answer, just tell me so and I'll simply do that. Many thanks in advance!
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Old October 27th, 2003, 04:16 PM   #2
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There really isn't a 'shotgun' that's going to be too good at 20 feet. Shotgun mics are meant to be close to the subject about 6 feet is ideal. Of course if its amplied music for example you can get away with being further out but spoken word you need to be close, even if it is amplified.
As for interference with a wireless, in the 2 years I've been using my Azden systems (UDR500's with Sony lav's) I have had interference a total of 1 time. The systems have been used in churches,synagouges,hotels,banquet halls,outside at fires,inside at fire houses, even inside at a fire department burndown with the FD radios going. You might need to find a frequency that has less traffic on it than what you're using.
Interference can be caused by any number of things even on a UHF system DEPENDING on whats aound you and the freq you're working on.
Yes the ME67 is more directional than than the ME66 but that may not solve the problem.
Perhaps a Parabolic mic would work depending on the shooting situation. Watch MNF and listen to the sound they get from the parabolics scattered around the field.
Sorry I can't be more help,
Good Luck
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Old October 28th, 2003, 11:09 PM   #3
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I use the Sennheiser e100 kit for weddings and whenever I've had a problem (It's always been my error), I've called Sennheiser and they've totally helped me out. If your are trying to record an amplified subject, which I do all the time, I use the sennheiser sending unit plugged directly into the sound board. That gives me a line level signal directly into the camera. If you are unable to access the sound board, you can put a wireless mic right in front of the speaker and send a wireless signal straight into the camera that way.
Again, if you're unable to do that for whatever reason, hide the lav up on stage somewhere near the subject. Weddings and preformances are never the same way twice and I like the Sennheiser kit for versitility.

For questions, call Sennheiser at 860-434-9190 and ask them about B-stock. Save a couple of bucks!

No, I don't work for Sennheiser, I just LOVE them.

ps, I also keep a shotgun on the camera. It's the MKE300 and it's a good cheap mic. Comes in handy for audience response.
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Old October 29th, 2003, 01:10 AM   #4
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There are no amp systems. The shoot scenario is speaker in classroom setting seminars. The first half is "lecture", with me at the back and on the sides of the classroom, running two cameras on tripods, periodically moving them around, quietly! These are teacher/tutor training seminars. The second half is hands-on work with graphic materials, with with everyone working in pairs, all talking amongst themselves at once, during which I move from cluster to cluster, picking up the said materials in "real life" action, with said speaker/trainer periodically introducing new pages aloud, correcting mistakes in technique as he sees it while cruising the room, reiterating underlying philosophical points, etc. I/we are filmming these teacher training seminars until we feel that we have The Method in action sufficiently covered well, and then we're going to edit all of it into training dvds and vhs videos to be sent with the books of The Method to schools that want to buy them.
So. All indoors shooting of sometimes noisy situations, and, most importantly, often semi-distant single person talking. The audio of speaker may end up as narration to other related images. Hence the 100series. The microphone used in the noisy situations should be able to pick up a single person from several feet away intelligibly well, if possible. That's why I thought of the ME67. Perhaps the ME66 would do just as well. Since starting this thread I've read several times that the 67 is a really bad idea indoors. Perhaps in the noiseiness it would be ok. But I was also hoping the shotgun could act as emergency fill in the event of some bad interference in the wireless, primarily where the single speaker is concerned. Other external audio source running is out. It would be just way too much on my plate to keep up with. Booming is out, for a variety of reasons I'll not go into.
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Old October 29th, 2003, 01:58 AM   #5
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I have little to add Don and Kyle's remarks. Since you don't have control of room acoustics and don't have a boom operator you're in a bit of a compromising situation. Passively mounting the mic on a camera with a horizontal trajectory can pose some fundamental problems, particularly at a distance, which you likely already know too well.

Given your description, I would select the ME67. It's a lobar design and has a narrower, more selective field than the ME66. At 20' it will do a pretty respectable job given your budget and reasonable physical conditions. (Yes, I own both the 66 and 67, as well as a 416.) Note that you will also need a K6 power module for the ME67. Also note that the 67 is a rather long mic so you'll have to be careful about how you mount it on the camera if that's your plan. Also note that highly directional lobars like the 67 are quite sensitive to slight changes in aiming. Pointing at a subject's chest can produce a slightly different sound quality than pointing at his mouth, for example. So consistency of aim is important.

A better choice would be the MKH416 which is a veritable tractor beam for directional sound. It's also a lobar design and does a really remarkable job of sifting off-axis noise. But at $1,000 it's out of your stated range. (They may be rentable in your area.)

Good luck with your project.
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Old October 29th, 2003, 01:27 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input, fellas. Deciding on these sorts of details is mental tennis. Interesting, and sometimes maddening.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 06:21 PM   #7
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Hey! That 860-434- number would place them in Old Lyme CT, about 15 miles from my house. I wonder if they have a factory outlet I could go to.
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Old November 13th, 2003, 04:50 AM   #8
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I would be concerned with using an me67, or almost any shotgun inside. The problem you face is you are still going to pick up unwanted sounds and because of the uneveness of off-axis sounds on most shotguns, those sounds are going to be hollow and the the reflected sound of your subject will also be distorted.

Your price range of $500 dollars puts you very close to a couple of microphones that have more even attenuation of off-axis sounds. First on my list would be the Neumann km185. This mic is priced much lower than a schoeps mic and has very even attentuation throughout its frequency range. Many people rave about the Octava 012, but I haven't used one and can't find complete specs for it. A shure Beta 87a, might also be a good alternative and is much less expensive.

If at all possible hanging a microphone from the ceiling or placing it on a mic stand, as far above the class as possible, pointed at the subject will be your best bet. But keep in mind, you are still investing a bit of money into a solution that will never sound great.
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