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Old December 12th, 2003, 08:57 PM   #1
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General Mic Questions

When I finally feel somewhat confident in my knowledge of video, I realize my complete ignorance in the field of audio. I'm upgrading my system to a PD150, the XLR ports were a plus, now I'm wondering about audio. I am liking the Azden SGM-2x, the length shouldn't be a problem, or maybe the AT 835. I have read many reviews on many mics, but there are some basic concepts I'm missing. I'd like to have a general idea of what is required to run a shotgun mic. I am running mixer-less, just mic right into PD-150's XLR ports, or maybe extended on a boom. The power issue confuses me. If I am running the mic from the camera power or mixer power, is this termed Phantom power? Do the AA powered mics give lower sound quality? For a shotgun like the ME66, is a seperate "K6" module required, and the sole device that will power the camera? Also, do most shotgun mics come with a cord containing an XLR end? I looked at the Sony ECM-672, which reads "cable not included." So how do you hook this mic up? How much do cables cost? I just want to have my nice little camera, a cheap/good quality mic for general use, plug it right into the XLR on camera, and shoot some nice stuff.
Sorry about the outpouring of questions, I feel bad when I read so many answers from others posts and have little knowledge of my own to contribute. Thank you for your time!
Fenn Jacob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 12th, 2003, 09:15 PM   #2
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Hello Fenn,
What you are looking for represents a basic tutorial on audio production. All of your questions have been covered quite a bit here. But for a much more convenient and thorough basic primer I highly recommend getting Jay Rose's "Producing Great Sound for Digital Video".
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Ken Tanaka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 13th, 2003, 01:01 AM   #3
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XLR Microphone cables start around $10. If you are afraid you could be running across power lines, that can cause noise on the line, it's probably worth it to spend a few extra bucks for good cables.

The phantom power from the 150 will power just about any condenser microphone. Which is probably what your going to be using most. If you go with a ME66 you will still need the K6. The capsules aren't designed to be used without one. There are many "capsule" mic systems like that.

The AT835 and the ME66 are a good mics. (I'm sure the sony is too, but I'm not familiar with it.) The only problem with these and any "shotgun" microphone is that they can be difficult to use indoors. The downside of a more directional* microphone, is that they often distort off axis sounds. So a room with an echo, or extraneous noise, can sound distorted, colored is probably a better discription. Usually shotgun mics do a better job of rejecting higher frequencies from off-axis than low frequencies. So any sound not in front of the mic sounds overly bassy or boomy. If you're always shooting outside, these mics are ideal. Outside a shotgun works welll to boom dialogue or mount on camera for nat sound.

The best option for both indoor and outdoor uses with good off axis rejection is a short hypercardioid. These can be very expensive. Audio technica makes a relatively affordable one, Oktava's 012 comes highly recommended and is less than $200. If it weren't for cost the Neumann KM-185 or the Schoeps mk41 would be the best choices. The km-185 is the less expensive of the two at around $600.

I wouldn't entirely rule out a cardioid microphone. The mic I use the most often(I don't own a km-185) is an AKG Blueline with a cardioid capsule. Since they reject directly behind, a good cardioid mic will help hide camera noise if mounted on camera. I also use mine boomed right in front of me (about eye level) for voice overs.

The beauty of the me66 or 64 is that it puts out a loud signal. This lets you keep the volume control on your camera low and will make the camera's preamps quieter. It is also means that really loud sounds will distort inside the microphone. But it is why the k6/me series is so widely used with DV cameras.

I agree with Ken, Jay Rose's books are excellent. There are also many microphone discussions both on this forum and on's** forum.

*Directional is a bit misleading. These mics attentuate some off-axis sounds, by anywhere for 5-25db, depending on the mic and the angle off-axis

**Not nearly as well run as this forum, but several great resources are known to reply to questions there.
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