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Old November 13th, 2003, 11:54 AM   #1
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Best mic for $500

I'm looking for something better than the ME66 as i've heard it wasnt as great as the hype... at least from this board. What is the next best thing? I've heard someone say the AT4073a... Is that true? Are there any others I should consider? Thanks.
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Old November 13th, 2003, 12:55 PM   #2
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At $530 at B&H (try full compass) it's the next in the climb up. The next jump is around $1000.

The ME66 is a good mic, I've never had any problems with it. There is no mic that fits every situation. you may like the AT 835b or the 815. It's all a matter of taste.

It's best to try them. I taped a demo of each one and drove my wife right around the bend for a few days.
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Old November 13th, 2003, 06:16 PM   #3
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You haven't said what you will be using the microphone for. It makes a large difference.

If you have a great ear and are very very particular about your sound then maybe an AT835B or ME66 will not be good enough for your purposes. I use both of those microphones and find them quite good for my purposes. They earn me money, they've been used on indi productions, etc.

No shotgun is my first choice for good sound reproduction. I use other microphones if I want good voice or music reproduction. Or if I'm going to be recording in noisy environments.

Don't forget that there are a lot of accessories that have to be added to any microphone before it is really useful in a broad range of situations.

Shock mounts
Wind shielding
Booms
Wiring
XLR adapter if needed
Mixer if you need one.

It is very easy to take a $250 AT shotgun and add goodies to it so that you have another $1,000 invested. In most practical environments I cannot tell any difference between the sonic performance of the AT and the Sennheiser even though the Senn is a bit quieter. I rarely have a quiet environment in which to shoot unless I'm in a studio doing voice-over. Then I want something better at voice reproduction than a shotgun.
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Old November 13th, 2003, 08:58 PM   #4
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Since im completely new to this hobby, I guess I would say that I need a good mounted all-purpose mic for now :)
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Old November 13th, 2003, 11:37 PM   #5
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I would say a small diaphragm condenser would by my one mic if I had to choose. I currently use an AKG "blue line". I got a good deal on it used. I've been very happy with it, but there are certainly better mics, for around $500.

Judging by the information that Aaron found (see the Oktava 012 thread), the Oktava 012 would be an excellent choice and you can find them for less than $150. The sound-room offers them with some extra testing, for just under $200.

Search hard and you may find a used Neumann km185 for about $500. I've used the 184s a great deal as overheads, and even to boom dialogue. The 185s are the hypercardioid version and have great lookings specs and polar diagram.

A good, flat, small diaphragm condenser will be accurate have minimal coloration off-axis sound and work well in a variety of circumstances. They work well close up for voice over, or from a few feet away as a dialogue mic (minus the proximity effect). They are flat and low noise and as such will work well on acoustic instruments.

If you need something that can take a beating, or sit right next to a guitar amp you probably want to look at dynamic mics. If you will almost always be outside, have trouble getting your mic in-close or need to deal with a noisy environment then a shotgun, like the 4073a or Sankens CS-1, or a good lavalier is probably the way to go.
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Old November 14th, 2003, 11:59 AM   #6
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I agree.

My general purpose microphones are a Shure SM81C and a Shure Beta58 followed closely by the microphone that came on my DSR-300. It is amazingly good considering what I do to it.

The next microphone I use are the lavs in my wireless systems. Then an AT4033 studio microphone then an AT835B shotgun.

I also have a cheap Sony consumer stereo microphone that sounds stunningly good with stringed instruments. I think I paid about $75 for it.

AKG makes good microphones. The Octavia's are either good or terrible from what I have heard. Their prices are interesting.. I wonder if one could ever get one repaired?

Read a review of the new M-Box large diaphram condenser in EQ magazine last night. At $250 it sounds like a real bargain.
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Old November 14th, 2003, 01:09 PM   #7
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what do you guys feel is the best mic for general indoor/outdoor usage?
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Old November 14th, 2003, 08:22 PM   #8
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Dan, there are no general purpose microphones. You have to define what you want to do with it. If you cannot, then go buy one of the cheap, less than $100 Sony consumer microphones until you have decided.

The microphone will do good work and you won't be spending too much money on the 'wrong' tool. It will be useful later on regardless of what you decide.

If I had to pick a single microphone, it would be my Shure SM81C. But it requires support tools. It is not self-powered so it does require a Phantom Power source. It is a balanced microphone with XLR connections so it has to plug into something that has an XLR connect either as a native connector or and adaptor if your camera does not have XLR connectors.

Figure slightly under $400 for that particular microphone.
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Old November 16th, 2003, 03:01 PM   #9
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Thanks for the help... Like i said, i know nothing about this topic, so you'll have to pardon all the "dumb" questions.

BTW I cant find that Shure SM81C anywhere... can you toss me a link to someone who sells it?
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Old November 16th, 2003, 06:05 PM   #10
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http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...u=68479&is=REG
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Old November 16th, 2003, 08:38 PM   #11
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Do some reading on the Audio emporium website. there are a lot of really good articles. Read the general audio write-ups and move on to the varioud mic catagories.

http://www.equipmentemporium.com/audiohi8.htm


You may want to buy an excellent book written by Jay Rose, It'll be money well spent. The following link will take you to his site and more info on the book.

http://www.dplay.com/

You also may want to browse at www.dv.com on the Audio forum (moderated by Jay Rose) and 2pop Production Audio

http://www.dv.com/forums/showTopics.jhtml?sid=1&fid=3

http://www.uemforums.com/2pop/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=ProductionAudio

Another series of articles
http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/location_sound.html#link%20two
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Old November 17th, 2003, 04:15 AM   #12
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I know some people are pretty excited about the Sanken CS-1,
but I don't know much about it. It might be able to be had in the $650 range. How would you compare the sound of those Shures to the sound of the ME66?
I think the AT4073 is widely regarded as being better than the
ME66 but I haven't heard it myself.
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Old November 17th, 2003, 11:28 AM   #13
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If, by 'those Shure's' you mean the SM81C, there is a world of difference between it and a ME66 at least to my ears. And it will work and survive in environments in which the 66 is reduced to clipped waveforms.

Understand that I'd prefer to have both microphones but if I had to chose one, it would be the Shure SM-81C

The 66 is a shotgun, the SM81C is a small diaphram condenser microphone with a Cardiod response pattern, 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz flat response range. It has low noise and handles very loud sounds (high SPL) without clipping.

It has a selectable low-frequency roll-off filter of 0, 6 or 18 dB/octave rolloff and a 0 or 10 dB locable attenuator switch.

Suggested Applications (from Shure)
Acoustic Guitar
Acoustic Bass
Strings
Piano
Woodwinds
Orchestra
Cymbals
Live Recording
Stereo Pick-up
Sampling
Ensemble Vocals

I use it for voice use in the field, recording weapon firing, and the exhaust noise of IC engines with short exhaust stacks (i.e., no muffler).

Here is the URL of the user guide: http://164.109.27.207/pdf/userguides/guides_wiredmics/sm81.pdf
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Old November 17th, 2003, 12:07 PM   #14
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What's the Beta 58 like? Is that still made?
That SM81C seems like it would have the pick up pattern more
like the Senn ME64. How's the SM81C sensitivity to low volume?
The frequency response looks great.
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Old November 17th, 2003, 01:21 PM   #15
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What would be the best way to mount/power this to the DVX100?
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