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Old February 12th, 2004, 03:12 AM   #1
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A good stereo mic for PDX10? AT825?

I'm looking for a really good *stereo* microphone to be used on my PDX10.

The microphone should be suited at least for

1) outdoor use including recording of the sounds of nature - waves, birds, grashoppers (high frequency), thunder (low frequency), talk and so on. It can get windy. It can get humid (sea, fog, rain) but obviously I'll try to keep the microphone as dry as possible.

2) indoor use for documentary work (talk, occasional music etc).

THE QUESTIONS:

- Would the Audio-Technica AT825 stereo field recording microphone be good for my purposes as it's name suggests? Or is there a better alternative available somewhere?

- The AT825 is 30-20000Hz and with optional roll-off (-6 dB / octave) at 150 Hz. Is it too good or too bad for the PDX10?

- How much water and fog does the AT825 condenser mic tolerate?

- Does it fit on the microphone holder well and does it stay out of the picture? (and what if I add a 0,7x or 0,5x wideangle?)

- Does it record any annoying handling noises when on the camera? (i.e. does it require a special shock mount? Which *on-camera* mount would you recommend?)
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Old February 12th, 2004, 07:50 AM   #2
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The AT825 is a very good stereo mic for wide ambient pickup. It does require at least a mini furry windscreen for outdoor use, the foam screen that's supplied with the mic is totally inadequate for anything above air conditioner drafts.
It will also work for music although with its very wide field you really are forced to get the whole ambient picture of everything in front of the mic and around the sides too. Because of this, it's really inadequate for even basic isolation of specific voices for interview recording, it's truly a wide-angle mic.
With any mic located on the camera, especially one with such a wide field of reception you're going to pick up camera noises and the operator's hands.
You may want to consider the AT835ST. It's a stereo mic in a shotgun-style physical body. It would probably be more suitable for on-camera mounting, but it would still be as susceptible as any camera-mounted mic to handling noise. It's also considerably more expensive than the AT825.
Both of these mics can fit the standard holder, but you'd have to add a thin layer of material around the mic for a snug fit.
You may also want to consider a more directional mono mic and then adjust for psuedo stereo when editing. This will give much better isolation of specific sounds.
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Old February 12th, 2004, 08:25 PM   #3
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Ralf, I asked some of those very questions a couple of months back and was "told" there weren't any good stereo and stereo zoom mics on the market. Now I read from Jay, "The AT825 is a very good stereo mic for wide ambient pickup;" and, "you may want to consider the AT835ST...a stereo mic in a shotgun-style physical body." Doh. Does anyone have any more to say about stereo and stereo zoom mics?
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Old February 12th, 2004, 10:50 PM   #4
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Zoom mics just aren't very useful, and there aren't any good ones.

2- Stereo mics are useful for certain applications, like recording ambience. You don't have to mess around with 2 microphones to get stereo. For a lot of video work, a mono shotgun would be more useful. But maybe not in this situation. If stereo adds something for your content, then I'd go for it.

Ralf, is the on-board stereo mic on the PDX10 any good?
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Old February 12th, 2004, 11:07 PM   #5
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Glen
The PDX is a pro camera, it doesn't come with a stereo mic.

Frank
There are "zoom" mics but they're either cheap crap or expensive . Zoom I'm assuming would be a variable polar pattern. The change in polar pattern can be accomplished by changing a capsule or having 2 capsules and mixing the output. A variable pattern usually goes from omni through cardoid to figure 8.

I know of variable polar large diaphram , side address mics but not small diaphram end address. At any rate they'd be expensive.

A mic with an omni. cardoid and hyper capsule would be a manual zoom.

No matter how many times the question is asked and the words are twisted the answer remains the same.
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Old February 13th, 2004, 01:24 AM   #6
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Actually, the PDX does have a built-in stereo mic, just beneath the lens. It also comes with the shotgun. I wouldn't say the built-in mic is good for anything but the absolute last choice, when there is no choice, or when you're putting around the house in your skivvies and you just don't care.
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Old February 13th, 2004, 03:02 AM   #7
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Built-in stereo...

Yes, the PDX10 has built-in stereo microphones (it's an upgraded consumer model with XLRs and DVCAM). They are really good instrument mics for the camera... They are located 0,3 inches from the manual zoom ring and pick upp all handling noise very well.

As the camera is slighly front heavy I have to support it at the front. My fingers will thus usually cover the front stereo mics. No external sounds, just handling noise....
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Old February 13th, 2004, 03:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
There are "zoom" mics but they're either cheap crap or expensive...No matter how many times the question is asked and the words are twisted the answer remains the same.
Okay. When you threw in the word, "expensive," I got the picture. :-))
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Old February 13th, 2004, 04:11 AM   #9
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So, what mic then?

I'm using the on-camera Sony ECM-NV1 mono shotgun at the moment, but I fear that it's frequency response will not be good enough for the planned use. I would need to record up to 20 kHz and record reasonably low (50 Hz and so) frequencies too. So the NV1 needs to get replaced.

Part of the sound will be off axis, and ambient sounds are important too. One exception though - I would perfer avoiding handling noise.

All this could be done with a good mono mic but I would prefer a stereo mic because stereo sound creates a bit more natural atmosphere: moving picture really needs moving sound (you'll know if you have heard any 5.1 sound and then switched to stereo and then to mono...). In tele zoom, of course, it's not a big deal.

I can't use two mono mics (two hands only, and a tiny 1000 g camera like the PDX10 is not the correct "platform" for two 300 g mics)

I could get a separate more directional mic If I need, but now I'm after a more life like (stereo) representation of the sound field.

The AT825 would have been just fine, but it seems to record too wide.

Have you any other suggestions besides the AT835?
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Old February 13th, 2004, 08:48 AM   #10
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I think the 835ST (remember, the "ST" is important) is probably what I'd recommend with the discussion so far. It's really a totally different mic than the original 835b, not just stereo added, but a more modern design like the 4073a.
Cost of the 835ST is in the high $600's to slightly over $700 depending on your source. The 835b mono is a little over $200.
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Old February 13th, 2004, 09:42 AM   #11
 
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BTW, an 835ST with a thin, dry lube condom over it will protect it quite well from the humidity, salt, and moisture you mention. I use the thin black rubber hair bands you see at Walmart to secure the condom to the mic. If it's tight, very little impact on the overall quality.
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Old February 13th, 2004, 10:21 AM   #12
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Rock on!
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Old February 13th, 2004, 01:58 PM   #13
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"Yes, the PDX10 has built-in stereo microphones (it's an upgraded consumer model with XLRs and DVCAM). They are really good instrument mics for the camera... They are located 0,3 inches from the manual zoom ring and pick upp all handling noise very well."

O0ps! I thought they'd have done away with that.

I had a TRV900 and the mics picked up very tic and fingertap.
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Old February 13th, 2004, 07:21 PM   #14
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Such is the nature of a beast that's trying to be pro AND consumer. It's funny to me that this cam could be more pro if certain buttons were simply DONE AWAY WITH, like "Back Light", or "Fader", or even "EditSearch". Just plain silly, not to mention perfectly obtrusive. Oh, alright, I'd be dancing in the aisles if they had installed a stepless exposure wheel.
OK, I'm done. Thanks.
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Old February 13th, 2004, 09:08 PM   #15
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Any 835ST reviews anywhere? Audio clip?
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