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Old December 15th, 2003, 09:24 PM   #1
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Growing with sound/ making purchases count

I started in DV 2 years ago and in short order went from a TRV20 to a VX2000. i didn't like my onboard mic so I took the same route many have and tried a "reasonablely priced shotgun". This went back within 24 hours and I was the proud owner of a Sennheiser ME66.

I needed mobility so went fpr the Senn evolution 100 transmitter receiver and lav, I also bought the plug in mic transmitter.

I've made a few mistakes but nothing yet that I haven't recovered from.

MY BIGGEST MISTAKES HAVE BEEN PUTTING COST BEFORE QUALITY AND NOT FULLY AUDITIONING THE MICS
Case in point: 2 weeks ago i bought a Rode NT1A, I was going to use it as an interview mic. I tried it with an NT5, NT3 and a AKG C1000.

After testing the mic by recording as many voices as i can, i'm not happy. I knew i wasn't happy a week and a half ago. The mic may be good for vocals but not my deep voice. It gets very raspy at the high end. The mids are muddy. But i reasoned it was very inexpensive and look at the specs, the mic has the lowest self noise in any mic below $1000.

I trotted all my mics out and went through each one of them. they all had a purpose and I liked them all except the NT1A.


I MADE A BIG MISTAKE, I listen to a very good mic, an Oktava. On friday, last week, I tried the Oktava 012 kit. That's omni, cardoid as well as hypercardoid, even a 10 db pad. Every capsule shone, it was though someone opened the window. I ordered the matched kit and will try it tomorrow. I will also return the NT1A at the same time.

The Oktava isn't expensive, but it has expensive friends. I'm paying about $415 US for a stereo pair with 6 capsules and the 10 db pads. The NT1A isn't good enough to hang out with these guys , but I know just what is.

I'm looking at the neumanns, the AKG 480 line, the sanken short shotgun and the T. H. E. line. They're not the most expensive but they're a far cry from the TRV20.

Why am i doing this, well it beats hanging around street corners and I've fallen in love with good video. To capture someones passion you have to hear the excitement and purpose in their voice.
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Old December 15th, 2003, 10:31 PM   #2
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Bryan, that really made some sense what you said
in that last sentence about capturing someone's
passion. I've never heard it put that way. Thanks.
Gives me something to think about. Maybe it'll help
me get some insight into my own "problem with mics".
See, I'm not an audiophile, though I think good audio
is important in a video. But it seems like everyone in
my circle is pretty much satisfied with any mic where
you can hear the words -- they're way more interested
in the video quality.
Recently I was complaining to Jay Massengill about how
flat my Senn ME64 sounds. (Seems I'm the only one in my
circle who can hear it.) Jay mentioned that it's *suppose*
to be that way. I received some suggestions about
EQing. Maybe that'll make it better.
I agree, though, the best thing to do if possible
is listen to a mic before you settle on it. This evening
I've been taking a look at the Samson Airline wireless
system. The mic that comes with it is an Audio Technica.
The Tx and Rx are both light and small -- about 1/3
the size of the next ones up. They do seem rather
plasticey and consumerish but I must say I was
surprised to hear that the mic doesn't sound too bad.
The system itself is very quiet. The Tx gain makes a big
difference. For example, with the gain set at 50% and
with the mic a half foot away, I get -15db at normal
speech level. With gain set to 100% I can get the
same volume output with the mic held an arm's length
away. It's quite omnidirectional and if you can get it
in the sweet spot it sounds fuller than I would've
expected. The sweet spot is not very large, though.
With the gain at 100%, from 1" - 3" from the mouth
there's slight distortion. From 4" - 5" you get good
proximity effect with no distortion. At 6" you're
losing proximity and at 8" and beyond it's gone to
the point it sounds like you're standing across the
room.
Are all lavs this touchy?
I'm going to be auditioning the DPA 4060 lav later
this week. And also the Senn EW100 ENG. Though
not the both of these together.
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Old December 15th, 2003, 10:49 PM   #3
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David
You and I seem to be moving in the same direction. As we discussed , when we get through this crap and corruption we should somehow make our mic demos available so people may benifit.

I'm of the opinion that if a mic doesn't bite me in the butt then i don't really want it. I listened to that Oktava and i knew i wanted it. I then knew i wanted to at least try the THE mics. They apparently have a whole lot more head room than the Oktava.

So far as your experience with Lavs. The mics I use seem to have alot more range than 8-12". I've never used them as a plant mic. i'll have to try them. i have a senn 102, Sony ECM44 and an AT899
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Old December 16th, 2003, 12:08 AM   #4
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I've never heard of T.H.E. mics. Are they new?
What was it about the Oktava that you liked? What's so good about them? Do you
know these aren't the ones that were going out
the back door? I think I've heard that some
distributors have a way of checking/authenticating
the good ones.
Regarding that lav I was auditioning, it has a
range beyond the 12" that you can hear what's
being said -- it's just that it loses the bass and
sounds as if the person is quite distant. I'm hoping
to compare the Airline's AT up against the Senn
102 later this week. Then I'll put the Senn up
against the DPA. Should be interesting!
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Old December 16th, 2003, 09:11 PM   #5
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Well , I drove into TO today and stopped by AVR Communications, my Oktava's aren't in yet. Since I was there we set an AT3528, Rode NT2000, a Rode Broadcaster, an AKG 4500B and the Nt1A I was returning. In a blind test I picked the NT2000 and Broadcaster with the AT close behind. The AKG went right out the door (far too nasal) as did the NT1A with the jagged highs.

The Broadcaster (Rode) made everyone sound really good but the NT2000 sounded totally natural. The AT 3528 made everyone sound almost as good as the Broadcaster. The NT2000 has an infinitly adjustable field from omni through hypercardoid to figure 8. It also has an infinitely adjustable low cut filter and a pad.

We then trotted out the single Oktava that I had tried last week.
It was almost as good as the NT2000 up close. it didn't have the depth and bottom end of a 1" capsule. back a few feet it took over the lead quite easily.

Dave, so long as the set i ordered sound the same I don't care where they came from :)))

The NT2000 really has some possibilities as it has a similar sound to the Oktava. I can buy 2 Oktava's and a mike stand for what the NT2000 costs though. The Rode NT2000 does come with a kick a$$ shock mount and a plastic eqipment case (briefcase style)

Prices in Canadian for the lineup
AKG4500B - ????
Rode NT2000 - $615
Rode Broadcaster - $550
Rode NT1A - $276
AT 3528 - $228
Oktava kit with 3 caps and a pad $270

He has some Sanken shotguns due in..........Oh joy!!!!!!!!
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Old December 16th, 2003, 10:21 PM   #6
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Hey guys!

How exactly do you test these mics? Are you taking your camera in with you and hooking it up to these different mics, or are you just recording to a DAT or minidisc to hear the input? Would like to know how you guys do the tests and blind tests. Thanks...

Clay
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Old December 16th, 2003, 10:30 PM   #7
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Yeah I'm interested in hearing some samples if you guys ever get around to it. I too would also like to know how you are testing the mics.What type of pres are you using during the tests? Some mics may sound flat but hook them up to some tube pres and a nice opto compressor you can come out with some booming voices. Are you testing these mics for on camera use or voice overs etc.?

thanks
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Old December 16th, 2003, 11:54 PM   #8
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I use 2 methods of audio recording, PMD670 flash recorder and through a Sound Devices 302 mixer to VX2000. I don't test using the camera. Both the Marantz and Sound Device are pretty good qualityl preamps. I use the best quality MP2 files . (192KBPS mono)

For tests it's nothing fancy because I don't want to pi$$ the nice folks off that let me do it. For the most part everything is recorded flat, or A?B'd through my channel stereo Sound Dynamics, it serves no purpose to get fancy and introduce tube pre amps , compressors or anything else. We want to test the mics and not the other assorted sound gear. Everything is set on manual. All mics are set identically and everything is on 48volt phantom..

If I don't know the people that well i use my marantz flash recorder and always reference the test to a mic that I own and know. My buddies at AVR Communications let me hook as many mics as I want to a fairly large multi input mixer (flat) and they help by switching the mics while someone reads a script aloud (usually a brochure). We change voice types (male baritone, tenor, female, etc) and play a game of elimination. We use Sony 7506 headphones.

When I get done with this I will take the time to record a test but i feel it's asking too much of the people to do it now.

None of these mics will be used on camera, the pencils will be boomed or on stands. The side address will be used for voice over and close interview, depending on the voice quality desired. they may even be boomed. I don't really know, I'm an amateur having fun and learning.

It appears that quality , small condenser mics can be used for most anything, where as the large diaphram are pretty well limited to close mic'ing
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Old December 17th, 2003, 12:03 AM   #9
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Slightly off topic

Bryan,

When you record into your pmd670 do you use the 302 or use the built in preamps? Can you tell a difference between the two preamps, as far as noise and amount of gain are concerned?


Thanks,
Martin
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Old December 17th, 2003, 12:11 AM   #10
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If you A/B mics it doesn't really matter, it's a level playing field. every outing is different, different people doing the talking, different ambient, different mic lineup. That's why i like playing arount at the place i buy it all at. I use the same mixer and we have 4 stands set up . The 302 is by far the best but they're both pretty good. They're both field units by the way. No EQ just amps, filters and limiters and pretty good metering and control.
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Old December 17th, 2003, 12:44 AM   #11
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Thanks for the info. Its cool that you get to play with all those wonderful toys at the shop.
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Old December 17th, 2003, 01:20 AM   #12
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I'm a half crippled arthritic old f**** with CHF, but I've been a tech all of my life and I'm in my element playing. In my own field i've pretty well done it all and need something new. As a matter of fact i was having a scotch or five and thinking how can i get a new set of monitors, the NT2000, a new set of AKG271 headphones and still get a THE mic in the new year. (without the wife Gelding me :eek.gif:

For giggles read this site from cover to cover.
http://www.theaudio.com/

the Rode site has some good stuff.
http://www.rode.com.au

I travel constantly, across North America as a troubleshooter for refrigeration systems and control. My only fun in life seems to be DV and the associated audio.

When you walk in ready and loaded for bear, the suppliers are mighty nice. (S'pecially to old F*****)
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Old December 17th, 2003, 02:03 AM   #13
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Beaser,

I think you should say, "f*** it", and trade in your other mics for a Schoeps mk41. You're not going to be satisfied until you do.
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Old December 17th, 2003, 06:04 PM   #14
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Audio

Hi Bryan,

Somewhat off topic, I was wondering if you or someone else can answer this question. If I am not mistaken, the me66 without battery requires 48v phantom. I own a mixpad 4 which I think only supplies 18v. Will the mixpad be able to run the me66, or any mic for that matter if they require 48v?

Thanks,
Bob
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Old December 18th, 2003, 08:52 AM   #15
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Sennheiser states that the K6 will run with 12 to 48 volt phantom, so you should be perfectly fine as long as your cables are good and there's no problem with the mic or mixer.
If a manufacturor states that it really needs 48v, then your mixer may run it, but at noticeably poor performance levels.
This voltage requirement varies from model to model within the same manufacturor, so always try to check the manual or the company website to be sure for your specific mic.
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