MKE 300d or ATR 55 or Beyer - MCE87vs at DVinfo.net

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Old March 24th, 2004, 07:24 AM   #1
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MKE 300d or ATR 55 or Beyer - MCE87vs

Simple one for you guys....

I have a Canon XM2 and want a shotgun for it....

My choices are:

Sennheiser MKE 300d
ATR 55
MCE87vs


Anyone have experience with these....which would you go for?!!

Thanks
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Old March 24th, 2004, 07:35 AM   #2
 
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Huge range there, price and performance related. If you can afford to spend the cash for the Beyer, I'd look at the AT 897. Less money, much better performance. The ATR 55 is the budget shotgun of the lot, and the Sennheiser sits in the middle of all those. I've never worked with the 300D, but in reading reports from around the web, it's not all it's cracked up to be. It's right at the borderline price point of a good and not so good shotgun.
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Old March 24th, 2004, 01:28 PM   #3
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The AT897 is a truly professional piece of gear and will compliment your camera. For $30 more it's no doubt the best option.

I know nothing about the Beyer except what I've read. If you have no XLR adapter it may be worth a shot. it seems to take power from a LANC jack (if i'm not mistaken)

The signal to noise specs are not great but it looks better than the rest of the group.

It also includes a shck mount which is a plus. If you ever want to move up to balanced mics or go with a camera with XLR's you'd be SOL.

So to be safe. The AT897 is a great professional quality mic. You'll need the minimum of an adapter cable (XLR to mini stereo) ($10) and a shock mount (At least $50)

The Beyer seemingly includes everything, BUT try before you buy. make sure Beyer's mic power scheme is compatible with your camera.
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Old March 24th, 2004, 08:31 PM   #4
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I saw another thread about the atr55 and since the whole spirit of the thread was praise for the mic I didn't want to rain on anybody's parade.

But now seeing another thread where other choices are questioned... all I have to say is: If you can't listen to them before purchasing I'd be really hesitant to get the atr55.

A few years ago Best Buy was closing those out. Right when I was at the stage of, "I must have a shotgun mic", which is a stage that most DV guys go through. Anyway, I bought TWO of them... thinking stereo recording. I used 'em for about 9 months before I felt compelled to get a real mic. An me66.

To say I was shocked at what I was missing would be the understatment of the millenia... there's a reason why Audio Technica doesn't show the same spec detail on their site for the atr55 that they show for the more advanced models.

The atr55 is worth no more then it costs... and the difference isn't exponential either. With high end gear an extra 10% in performance doubles the cost... the atr55 mic is a fraction of the price of the others 'cause it's a fraction of the quality.

From my experience, if you get an atr55, you will only improve your camera audio by: 1) getting the mic away from the camera noises/handling. 2) getting the mic closer to the talent. And that's it... in post you'll be pumping your recordings up 200% to get adequate signal and even then the sound will be very UN-detailed.

If you can't buy a Beachtek then your choices get pretty limited to non-xlr mics... From what I've read all over the net you may want to listen to the Sennheiser first.

If you are considering an 897 in the company of the other two then it's like asking, "Which of these girls should I take? Rosie, Rosanne, or Pam Anderson?"
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Old March 27th, 2004, 11:18 PM   #5
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I just bought an atr55, it sucks. Its noisy with static and you have to have the mic right next to the subject to get anything. Its going to be on ebay soon if you want it. :)
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Old March 28th, 2004, 05:00 AM   #6
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So far I know you may rerturn it witiin 7 days.
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Old March 28th, 2004, 05:32 PM   #7
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I have an MKE 300. You get what you pay for, sometimes less. Never been impressed with the sound quality, I don't think it is better than the stock XL1 mic, but at least it is directional if you need that.
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Old March 28th, 2004, 09:15 PM   #8
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I hate to repeat this point, but for anybody who remembers members by topic... I would expect to be remembered as the guy who doesn't like shotguns.

From my experience, at prices of $600 and below, the shotgun is an inferior sounding choice to other types of mics.

A shotgun serves a purpose. It's for getting the absolute maximum isolation on the subject at which it's pointed... and for pulling sound in (reach) from longer distances. If I have to buy another shotgun to serve that purpose I wouldn't get anything less then a 4073a and I'd try my best to get an mkh416.

Often times a hyper cardioid or another mic can be employed in such a way to save you the use of a shotgun... and in those cases the sound is usually fuller, more natural, and just simply better.
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Old March 29th, 2004, 12:04 AM   #9
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Matt is right on. The only time people should resort to a shotgun is if there is no other way to get a usable clip.

In ENG it has become a habit simply because people arm themselves for the worst possible scenario. The old , better to be safe than sorry analagy. I was as guilty as the next man with my camera mounted ME66

Very reasonable microphones like the Oktava MC012, the Rode NT3 ($152) will often sound better than shotguns many times there price.

When you do have to isolate a voice out of a noisy crowd, a shotgun is necessary, but how often does that happen.

Here's some very interesting reading
http://www.schoeps.de/E/overview-mic-types.html#shotgun

The whole site is an interesting read, especially the Mic Selection Guideline
http://www.schoeps.de/E/select-guideline.html

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Old March 29th, 2004, 03:13 PM   #10
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I bought an ATR55 recently to use when flying my DV852. Normally, I've been using a pair of Oktavas. I just did some test with the ATR55 and here a report.

First, the specs of the ATR 55 are

Condenser element (1.5v bias)
Polar patter selectable
Normal = Cardioid
"Tele" = Hypercardioid (fairly tight)
Freq. 70-18,000Hz
Impedance
Normal = 1kohm
"Tele" - 2.2 kohm
Weight 4oz.

The Oktavas sound better, and have less backgrouund hiss. The Oktavas have much more extended bass response. The Oktavas would easily record acoustic guitar, string bass, big horns, etc. The ATR55? Forget it, the low end response is rolled off too far.

In "Normal" mode the ATR55 isn' that bad, with a sensitivity of -56dBm and a fairly full response, with tolerable hiss levels (but not as good as the Oktavas).

In "Tele" mode, the ATR55 bass is rolled off more, giving a pronounced boost to the mid range. Hiss comes up with the increased sensitiviy of -45 dBm (11dB boost). My guess is that the hiss comes up nearly 11dB. But, spoken word has good intelligibility.

I heard no static or other noises, just hiss.

The polar pattern change is quite noticable, at "normal" is is very much a cardioid pattern. In "Tele" it seems to be a tight hyper pattern. 90 off axis is way down and remaiins so all the way to 180. Even at 45 there is a good drop in the signal.

The ATR is meant to be used on camera and for spoken word. For what it is, it works. A camera mounted mic, when that is the only solution available. Using the cardioid pattern is not something I will do often, preferring my Oktavas for that job. But, for voice, on-camera, the "Tele" mode with its boost in the mid-range and rolled bass, the mic will do fairly well out of doors with moderate wind conditions. Again, we're talking intelligible voice in real world gun and run style videography.

I don't propose that folks with higher end AT's and Senns even look at this mic, but for $60 to my door, it will serve some utility in grabbing voice when the camera is mounted on a Stabilizer, and I can't get a wireless set-up in place for the shot.

The real price is increased hiss, most noticable during quiet passages in the "Tele" mode.

HTH...

Cheers.
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Old April 5th, 2004, 04:27 PM   #11
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Ok...thanks for all the help guys....

I've narrowed down the choice to the Sennheiser MKE300D or the Audio Technica AT-897.

There seems to be only about 30 ($50) in it.....and I get the impression you guys would go for the AT897.

I shoot mainly weddings and event stuff, and I think the 897 would be better suited to this as well....

thanks for the help

Nick
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Old April 5th, 2004, 05:28 PM   #12
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It's no contest. A plastic consumer mic against a pro piece of gear that will last years. You'll feel good about yourself if you buy the AT897
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