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Old June 14th, 2009, 10:24 AM   #1
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Rode Videomic abuse?

I didn't intend to get a external microphone at this stage (new user, no allocated budget yet), but I found a used Rode Videomic with a slightly damaged shockmount holder (not a problem) for $35 (~US$20) some time ago. At that price, it was quite attractive, so I got it.

Just wanted to ask a few questions regarding it, some of them random:

- Is there any method of assessing the sound output of the microphone to see whether the microphone itself is still OK? The most obvious method would be to do a A/B with an intact Rode Videomic, but I don't have any.

- Is it a AF or RF mike? (i.e. can it withstand rain?) I did a search, but google hasn't turned up ANY mention of RF or AF, just capacitor mike. I'm new, hence the ignorance.

- What are the effects of large accumulations of saliva on microphones or foam windshields? I don't film very often, so the microphone got koped by my family for Skyping, even though it isn't meant to be handheld and is overkill compared to a webcam mic.

Thanks.
Ong Jun Jie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 14th, 2009, 10:58 AM   #2
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It's cabled, so not wireless. People in general rarely refer to mics as RF or AF, that's why you can't find out by searching. The rain thing hasn't anything to do with Af or RF either, but I suspect you may be thinking about where people have spoken about increased noise from moisture - usually condensation, not rainwater!

Condenser mics are more prone to problems because of the nature of how they produce sound. Condensation can be caused by humidity and rapid changes in tempererature, and if the microphone element has condensation on it, it's electrical properties can change, leading to excess noise. This usually rights itself, once the condensation has time to evaporate again.

Direct water entry can of course cause similar problems, but if the mic is inside a protective windscreen, then it may take a while for the rain to get through - physical noise from the rain hitting the mic is more of a problem. A shotgun in a zepplin windshield with a hairy cover offer surprising insulation from rain, before the mic starts to suffer.

re: spit. On a foam windshield, just rinse it in warm water and a bit of disinfectant. Hard basket type windshields (like on the Shure SM58) come off and can be washed. I like to use a spray kitchen mild disinfectant myself, but I see people using mouthwash to wipe over the outside - which makes them sticky, but smell nice. i suspect this has more to do with smelling fresh than actually being cleaner!

As for testing - without another to compare against, just use your own ears and the best pair of headphones you have. If it sounds good, it probably IS good.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 14th, 2009, 07:43 PM   #3
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You could also try the 10db cut and bass or high pass cut while listening on headphones. If they sound noisy, switch a few on/offs to clear them.

Inside the battery compartment on later models there's dipswitches to adjust the input level to suit the incoming sound. They're a set and forget arrangement.

If it isn't going to be used for a while, don't leave the 9V battery in it. When they go flat some tend to leak.

Cheers.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 15th, 2009, 09:06 AM   #4
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Thanks for all the advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
It's cabled, so not wireless. People in general rarely refer to mics as RF or AF, that's why you can't find out by searching. The rain thing hasn't anything to do with Af or RF either, but I suspect you may be thinking about where people have spoken about increased noise from moisture - usually condensation, not rainwater!

Condenser mics are more prone to problems because of the nature of how they produce sound. Condensation can be caused by humidity and rapid changes in tempererature, and if the microphone element has condensation on it, it's electrical properties can change, leading to excess noise. This usually rights itself, once the condensation has time to evaporate again.

As for testing - without another to compare against, just use your own ears and the best pair of headphones you have. If it sounds good, it probably IS good.
I live in a tropical country where the humidity is like 80-100% all year round. Will it significantly affect my microphone?

Apparently the rule of thumb is that an external mic is way better than any cam internal mic, particularly a unbalanced miniplug one, but in testing I don't seem to see much difference in the sound from the microphone vs my cam internal mic (Canon HG20), other than it being directional. There are 3 possible causes: (1) the Rode deteriorated, (2) the Canon mic is quite good, or (3) I haven't developed the skill of being able to tell the minor details yet. I think its the 3rd, but the other 2 could also be possible reasons.

Thanks.

Michael
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