Has anyone done the ME66 "red dot" mod? at DVinfo.net

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Old December 25th, 2003, 12:43 AM   #1
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Has anyone done the ME66 "red dot" mod?

I know that MOST people love their me66 mics. I loved mine when I ran it through a Beachtek into a TRV900. When I got a DVX the me66 lost some of it's luster for me. That mic and that cam don't seem to mate really well. I did receive some EXCELLENT advice from this board and it bears repeating... If you have a cam where you can set BOTH channels to ONE mic input then do that and set the two inputs at different levels. That way you can pan from one channel to the other (in post) thereby getting clear whispers as well as clarity on loud passages. The problem I was having was that the me66 was blowing the inputs when something loud happened.

Sennheiser offers a solution to this. You can send in your K6 and have a capacitor replaced which makes the mic "less hot". Think Red Dot.

I have a Sennheiser lav that's a Red Dot and the mod's a good thing... I'm wondering if any of you ever did it to the me66?

I was talking to Glenn on here about the mod... waiting to see if he would do it and what the results were... Well, I got impatient and just sold my me66 in favor of an AT4073a... as soon as I get some time in with it I'll give you guys my report.

I know that there are a few of you who have been in the same quandary as I've been... trying to figure out the best shotgun around $500 and under...

Just to prime your pump... I sold my me66 for $330 within 1 HOUR of listing it! I guess it must be a pretty darn good mic to dissappear so fast! Now I'm nervous hoping the AT4073a is a significant improvement...

If you're reading this and you modded your me66 then PLEASE reply! These threads are very valuable to people trying to make a decision... I'll give an unbiased opinion on the AT4073a after I use it for a few days... The me66 is SO fresh in my experience that I really can give an unbiased comparison of the two. Stay tuned.
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Old December 25th, 2003, 02:01 AM   #2
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Matt,
I think you'll find quite a bit of info in this thread and in the one it references.
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Old December 25th, 2003, 11:30 AM   #3
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Thanks Ken! I just read both of those threads entirely and I guess my post is at least 50% redundant.

If you think this is pointlessly taking up space I'll delete the thread, but this will turn into a "why I traded my me66 up for an at4073a and here are the results" thread.

I'm really hoping to be pleasantly surprised by the AT.

From the other threads I summarize:

1.) All the Denver News Agencies use me66's and they are very happy with them.

2.) Most, but not all, users of the me66 have experienced overload which distorted the audio on a shoot.

3.) The "Red Dot" mod can be done by Sennheiser for $17.95 if your me66 is older then a year, and FREE if it's newer.

4.) The mod attenuates ALL the output of the mic. So if you liked how you can point an me66 into the trees and get a PERFECT ambient recording of birds and outdoor sounds... DON'T do it!

5.) The me66 may sound "dry" to some people. Personally I had mixed feelings about that statement. I found the me66 to be supremely intelligible, which is a lot of the appeal. It is very crisp and clear... Ok, I also think it's just a little dry.

Now from other posts, from ALL over the internet I've found the following opinions and comments on the mic pecking order:

1.) Schoeps mk41 seems to take the cake, but not much is said about it except that it's "the best".

2.) MKH416 and MKH60. There seems to be somewhat of a tie between the mkh416 and the mkh60, which was supposed to be the improved replacement for the 416, but demand won't let the 416 die! People get teary-eyed about the 416 for good reason.

3.) Neumann's kmr81i doesn't get a whole lot of mention, but I wonder why? Maybe it just SEEMS like it should be a great mic?

4.) Sanken CS1 is a VERY short shotgun that appears to be a mid-step between an AT4073a and an mkh416/mkh60. A LOT of people really like this mic, but a few said they would choose one of the other two I just mentioned. On-camera, 7" length? Sweet.

5.) Sony ECM-672. I hardly found any info on this mic. The few posts I did find are very favorable. It seems like it's about the same level as the AT4073a?

6.) AT4073a is the mic I'm currently "auditioning". Fortunately at this price level and DOWN you can buy a mic, use it for 6 months. Then sell it for within $50 of what you paid! I say to hell with renting! If you take care of your gear you'll never lose that much.

7.) ME66 was my last mic. I was really happy with this mic when I ran it through a Beachtek, which I used as a passive attenuater. MOST of the time I had it "wide open" but occassionally I'd pot it down for success. The me66 is the first step off of true condensers, but it's fantastically crisp. Probably the most common shotgun used in professional circles, but I could be wrong?

8.) AT835B the slightly shorter brother of the AT815B is a well regarded shotgun... I'd consider it a medium shot as opposed to a short shot though. It is just a little less $ then an ME66 but probably on the same level. More natural sounding but less crisp, with lower output. Maybe a better choice then the ME66 for some people and an inferior choice for others. Use YOUR ears to choose.

9.) Azden SGM-2X is regarded as VERY warm sounding by most people I've talked with. Some people see that as a fantastic benefit, bringing presence and power to weak voices, but muddying up recordings where bass artifacts can't be controlled. Not to offend anyone, but this mic is probably not going to see a whole lot of use in professional circles. It's capable of good things in the right hands, but for me it's too close to the price of the AT835B. It would be a nice tool for warmth and power, but I would want to be able to choose a crisper shotgun when I needed it. So as a sole shotgun, it makes the bottom of my "winners" list.

I had a couple other mics that I had to rely on a few years ago. Real cheapies that were misleadingly called "Shotguns"... If you are a TOTAL newbie reading this and you are about to buy a hundred dollar shotgun, DON'T DO IT. You will regret it and you'd be better off buying any other type of hundred dollar mic! Even a LAV! I've boomed a lav in a crunch... Yeah, laugh it up, it was funny... but it WORKED. If you are in THAT category then get a USED mic off this list. I've bought SEVERAL mics that I couldn't afford to get NEW and so far I've never been burned...

Sorry, did I get off the point? I'll post my "review" of the AT4073a vs. the Me66 once I can summarize the differences. Best Regards.
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Old December 26th, 2003, 12:57 AM   #4
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I cannot offer much guidance except for the following.

1. You may be able to simply use an in-line attenuator to cool the ME66. I have one (unmodified) and agree it can be a bit hot.

2. The MKH416 is worth getting "teary-eyed" over. I also have one and think it's a tremendous shotgun mic, particularly for slightly longer-distance booming. It's a true condenser design and a tractor beam for sound. Yes, it's expensive but worth it if you consider the time and agony it might save in post.

Good luck!
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Old December 26th, 2003, 03:16 AM   #5
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Regardless of what you read, always try it yourself. Your tastes may be different than others.
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Old December 26th, 2003, 12:00 PM   #6
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Thanks Ken. Thanks Beaser. B, I've been stalking your posts on the internet between this and the other forums. Maybe you should put yourself in your own productions... every now and then I need a dose of your gritty, pissed off attitude. (Sorry, I hope your laughing with me and not taking this the wrong way.)

As far as taste goes, we'll see. I'm waiting for the AT4073a to arrive as I type this. And this is yet another meal that I ordered based on the waiter's recommendation.

Ken I wish I could get the filet (mkh416) but that will have to wait until next year. And by "next year" I don't mean in a week.

With this food analogy maybe I should call an mkh416 on a VDB boom a "Filet Shish-Ka-Bob"?

I wish there was more regarding boom poles on this board too... "sigh"...
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Old December 26th, 2003, 01:09 PM   #7
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Boom poles:

All ya gotta do is ask the questions.
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Old December 26th, 2003, 01:11 PM   #8
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Re: Booms, I have an 8' Gitzo CF and a 12' VDB CF. Both are fine and very lightweight. The Gitzo is a very sturdy bare-bones design. It's also very compact when collapsed, and easy take-along. You must do your own wiring with the Gitzo as there is no provision for cabling.

The VDB features an internal coiled XLR cable built into the pole. That is, it has an XLR cable at the tip and a male XLR port at the butt. This is a very convenient design but it does have one disadvantage. Since the XLR connection is at the very end of the pole it's nearly impossible to set the boom down on-end while a cable is connected. It can also be a bit hard on XLR cables (plugged into the butt). It would have been a far better design if VDB had placed the XLR connection at right-angles to the pole, up from the actual pole end.
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Old December 26th, 2003, 01:24 PM   #9
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The Gitzo's are bulletproof but weigh a lot. Good student pole but if you lose the screw-on tip that adapts the thread size, you are in trouble.

I have a Light Wave Systems aluminum pole that is a constant problem with the locking ring mechanisms. Don't buy one.

The butt-connector problem can be solved by having Markertek make you an XLR cable with a 90 degree XLR connector for plugging on the end of the pole. I then glued a rubber bumper on the backside of the connector and haven't had any problems since.

I also have a PSC pole, carbon fiber, very light, good locking rings. Internal cable (I don't like these since they can slap)

And last but not least, one of the $100 fiberglass poles from Guy Graphics. Single-length, pull it out until it locks from friction between the tapered sections. But you know, it works and it is reliable and lighter than aluminum by a little bit. Good student pole.
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