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Old May 16th, 2009, 01:32 PM   #16
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Ok - I know when I'm beaten. Holy is the 416, anything else is the spawn of the devil, and I'll keep my reality to myself.
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Old May 17th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #17
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not at all. I HATE the 416. I have had found this mic to generally be thin sounding, except when moved in too close. then it has proximity effect kick the bass in, making for lots of cussing when trying to level and match different takes together. maybe one might argue that the boom / mixer needs to be more consistent with placement, but that just isn't always practical between wide and CU shots. if you don't do the post side of things with this mic, you just may not be aware of it.... I am :(

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Old May 24th, 2009, 12:18 AM   #18
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In the end analysis, Dan Brockett's intro to his online mic comparison (http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage..._brockett.html) was about as well stated as I have seen the argument in this thread put.

In my limited experience, I have found that due to a need to save money, I have often purchased cheap mics, only to move up quickly as my appreciation and skill improved.

Still, I think it is fair to point out that top end mics will give excellent results. But what is not said is what kind of results will you get using something less? (with a hint the results are a significant compromise in quality) Stated another way, if you resort to using something like say, a modified Oktava MK-012 (hyper) and an AT875r (shotgun) and a SONY ECM-44b (lavalier) is your sound quality damned to h*ll, as a matter of course?

I think the answer may vary depending on who you ask, but in my mind, is that with proper care in use and capture, and in 90%+ of the circumstances, 98% of the people listening to your work will find it perfectly acceptable, if not downright good.

That said, if I had a financial ability to buy/use and pay for it, I'd probably want a Schoeps CMT641, A Schoeps shotgun, and a better lavalier (another great comparison piece Dan Brockett did on lavalier mics)

I don't see this as a black and white issue. Is Ford a better car company than GM? Can either make a car that is as good as a BMW or Volvo or Subaru? (I know THATwill invite some obvious comment about finances). The argument here is somewhat similar in tone.

I debated posting in this thread as it was heavily posted by folks whose experience dwarfs mine, but thought better as I realized that relative newbies would read this and I asked myself what they would take way from it, and how I might offer something of value for them. I hope this post did.

Chris Swanberg

ps. Paul's video on Vimeo is a good watch/listen. Thanks Paul.

Last edited by Chris Swanberg; May 24th, 2009 at 10:36 PM.
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Old May 24th, 2009, 12:10 PM   #19
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Paul,

Nice comparison video. I ended up riding the levels to normalize them. Often, loud tends to win, so I tried to take that out of the equation. And I'd agree, only the AT55, with no bottom end at all, was useless.

One problem with mic evaluations is the people view mics as wines. If a wine is tart, it's just tart. You don't add sugar to balance it. But with mics, we can easily EQ down a peak and add a small amount of smooth boost to improve the overall balance. That said, you can't EQ in something that doesn't exist, and you don't want to add sharp, high-Q boosts.

So when people shop between two mics, and dislike one because it has a bit too much high end, they're missing the point. If the price or packaging are superior, it might be worth the few seconds to shelf the HFs - and with some dull voices that HF sensitivity might be the right medicine.

Things to avoid would be 1) holes in the response (like the AT55), 2) a sharp peak in the response (a resonance point can distort early), 3) a bumpy response (hard to tune out), and 4) crunchiness or distortion.

With directional mics, it's important to check that the off-axis response falls away smoothly. It's possible to get frequency or directional bumps that can cause resonances in the off-axis (and unwanted) sound.

As more of a post guy than a production guy, I'm concerned about 1) distortion, 2) noise, 3) missing information (where are the consonants?!), and 4) EQ - in that order. The first three items can ruin a take and/or cost hours in post work that never quite fixes the problems. EQ? That's part of the fun of mixing!
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Old May 25th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #20
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Paul,
So when people shop between two mics, and dislike one because it has a bit too much high end, they're missing the point. If the price or packaging are superior, it might be worth the few seconds to shelf the HFs - and with some dull voices that HF sensitivity might be the right medicine.

As more of a post guy than a production guy, I'm concerned about 1) distortion, 2) noise, 3) missing information (where are the consonants?!), and 4) EQ - in that order. The first three items can ruin a take and/or cost hours in post work that never quite fixes the problems. EQ? That's part of the fun of mixing!
Great post and reinforcement of the basics for an audio newbie like me. I don't think it is said enough that the audio capture you get from any mic is just the base audio. You still have to spend a lot of time in post to get it right. I spend at least as much time on the audio as the video in post. I have noticed for me that the better (or more appropriate) the mic, the easier the edit.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 12:17 PM   #21
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...I have noticed for me that the better (or more appropriate) the mic, the easier the edit.
For me too. Also, the closer to the subject, the better the sound - assuming no clipping.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 07:39 PM   #22
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Things to avoid would be 1) holes in the response (like the AT55), 2) a sharp peak in the response (a resonance point can distort early), 3) a bumpy response (hard to tune out), and 4) crunchiness or distortion.

As more of a post guy than a production guy, I'm concerned about 1) distortion, 2) noise, 3) missing information (where are the consonants?!), and 4) EQ - in that order. The first three items can ruin a take and/or cost hours in post work that never quite fixes the problems. EQ? That's part of the fun of mixing!

Well stated, John. It will make a good hand-out for a class:-)

All too often, mics are selected based on myopic EQ - "I sound great with this mic!" When in reality, the mic is muddy on the bottom and lacks brilliance. But the mic sounds "right" because myopic EQ doesn't account for bone conduction of one's own voice or other acoustic instruments for that matter.

With a good mic, you sweeten the audio. With a bad mic, you only get to fix it.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 08:18 PM   #23
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With a good mic, you sweeten the audio. With a bad mic, you only get to fix it.
Great quote!
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Old May 26th, 2009, 12:30 PM   #24
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Great quote!
A lucid moment. Maybe I should save it for my signature line;-)
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Old May 28th, 2009, 06:34 PM   #25
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not at all. I HATE the 416. I have had found this mic to generally be thin sounding, except when moved in too close. then it has proximity effect kick the bass in, making for lots of cussing when trying to level and match different takes together. maybe one might argue that the boom / mixer needs to be more consistent with placement, but that just isn't always practical between wide and CU shots. if you don't do the post side of things with this mic, you just may not be aware of it.... I am :(

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Steve,

If you think the 416 is thin what mic do you use?

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Ty Ford
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Old May 29th, 2009, 03:05 AM   #26
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At the risk of being hung, drawn and quartered I too must confess to being less than overwhelmed with the 416. maybe it's in my imagination but, to my ears, the 416 concentrates too much on the high tones and then very noticiable proximity effect with the bass colours.
Having said that, the MKH60 is simply luverly, okay it cost about 20% more but is well worth it in my (limited value but not so humble) opinion.

Sound recording seems to be a very delicate area when it comes to opinions. Some forums seem to be dominated by those who say that only those with Neumanns should be allowed anywhere near a recording deck, others dictate that a cheap chinese mic is just as good as a top marque. Both are too extreme for me and my opinion is that a Behringer is better than nothing (but only just).

There's nothing wrong with using cost-effective equipment but, even for my musically challenged ears, the difference between a cheap USB mic and a Neumann is so massive that to compare one with the other is just silly.

As for Doug's "With a good mic, you sweeten the audio. With a bad mic, you only get to fix it." - Quote of the year!
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Old May 29th, 2009, 05:01 AM   #27
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I don't think it is smart to judge an equipment by its price. There're certainly a lot of good microphones, and there're even more bad microphones. But the problems are: 1.) A lot of cases, good microphones were used for the wrong applications. 2.) Buyer don't know how to judge the quality of a microphone, so, bad microphones were ncouraged to be made. Not necessary to be low price, also some pricer products. Some focus on the exaggerate appearance.
Pick the right tool for the purpose, not the price. I'll certainly use my Schoeps for most applications, but I also use low price China made microphones for some instances where these miniature clip-on or dynamics are more appropriate.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 05:51 AM   #28
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At the risk of being hung, drawn and quartered I too must confess to being less than overwhelmed with the 416. maybe it's in my imagination but, to my ears, the 416 concentrates too much on the high tones and then very noticiable proximity effect with the bass colours.
Having said that, the MKH60 is simply luverly, okay it cost about 20% more but is well worth it in my (limited value but not so humble) opinion.
Robin,

The 416 survives today by doing the job well. Yes, it has a peak that captures dialog really well. Yes, most of the time unless used on a sound stage, you need to roll off the bottom some. It is also extremely rugged and very resistant to RF problems due to its design. And, yes, the MKH60 is a great piece of kit. Not as exaggerated on the top. Smoother.

I was just on a shoot to doing some additional footage for a project where the job was to shoot inside a small chapel. My job was to match the audio done by the previous sound professional. When I asked what he had used, I was shocked to find it was a 416. In a hard walled slappy environment, there's no way I would have used my 416. Regardless, that what I had to use to match the audio.

Regards,

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Old May 30th, 2009, 01:58 AM   #29
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The 416 is probably the most used microphone for film productions, ever - and used to this day. It's competition in films are mostly the Neumann 81, and rather recently the Sanken CS3. There's also the Schoeps Cmit (or so) - manufactured after untold years of telling the public that Schoeps will never produce a 'shotgun mike - because they sound bad by design'. They painted theirs blue and put some funny LEDs on it to overcome their own scruples ;-)

I once heard, could never really confirm that though, that the 416 was tuned specifically to work with Nagra tape machines. Would make sense as it sounds awesome when used with one. On the other hand, Nagras being for so long the only game in town, Neumann too must have had some thinking in this direction.

I've used (and am using) the 416 daily. It really has this ability to pick up voices nicely. Folks who find it sounding 'thin' just don't know how many great sounding movies they're watching that were recorded mostly with a 416. Regarding the love of EQ: my experience with top Hollywood post houses is that they adhere to the notion: less is more and don't fix it if it ain't broken.

A year ago I was sitting in watching 'audio sweetening' (what a word) as well as final mix of all audio of a movie I was production sound mixer on. Again, besides using some light compression (nice Manley equipment there) and usage of a (hardware) CEDAR unit for background - mostly camera - noise, nothing was done to 'sweeten' the original tracks.

The final mix was done in quite a huge theater setup and hell, them 416 sounded anything but 'thin'.

The usual wisdoms: how to use a mike really is more important than which one is using. A tool one can depend on even if it's sounding 'thin' is worth gazillions more, than one that's temperamental. You strictly can't afford that on a movie set (or any other paid job). My 416s went through super super hot sets (talking about fahrenheits here) to extreme humidity, or cold outdoors. Never stopped working, never. For every Schoeps I use, I carry 2 (two!) backups.
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Old June 25th, 2009, 04:52 PM   #30
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Getting off shotguns for a moment to handhelds. Thinking of spending roughly $200 bucks on something decent, Showed my audio guy whos been in the biz for 10 years the different choices I had and said recommend me one. He flipped my Mics and showed me the work horse of our industry, that beautifully captures the voice of people. Without skipping a beat he said get the Shure SM58. Same Mic that Bono sings into and all the other stars. Best thing about this mic, cost me a whopping $70 new!

So with the spirit of what you're saying, buying something less can sometimes be possible. It's all about the art in which you use your product, that many members here continually mention.
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