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Old July 6th, 2004, 07:52 PM   #1
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Sennheiser mic questions

I just bought a used MKH415 ($450) which is supposed to be like the 416 but older. I can't find much information online about the mic so I was wondering if anyone can tell me the differences between the two mics.

I'm making an hour movie with several fishing guides. I will be filming in all cases from a bass boat (20ft long.) In some cases I will be in a different boat next to the boat where the guides will be fishing and in some cases from the back of the same boat they are on. What is the best way to capture their voices as they fish and as they interview each other? In all cases will the mic I've bought do the trick or do I need something that is wireless? What is the range on these mics?

I will be plugging the mic into a Panasonic DVX100a. Will I need any adapters for compatability or should this do the trick (ebay description):

"Phantom power adapter included so it works like an MKH416P48! Little or no visible wear, see photos, no dents, works perfectly. No case or clip.
Features Include:
Pressure gradient receiver with short interference tube
Hypercardioid at low and medium frequency
Above 2kHz approaches lobar pattern
Requires 12V external power supply or phantom power(phantom power adapter included)
Tuchel* connector, XLR adapter cable included.
*Tuchel is a brand name, like Neutrik or RCA. Tuchel was the premier supplier of connectors for German mic companies like Neumann, Sennheiser, Telefunken, Beyer, Schoeps, AKG (OK, AKG is Austrian, but it's all one Europe now, right?), etc., from the '50s to the '80s, until these connectors were phased out as XLR became the worldwide standard. "

Last I expect to have some wind while on the water and was wondering what a good low cost wind cover is for the 415/416...

Thanks alot!
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Old July 7th, 2004, 03:13 PM   #2
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I wouldn't be upset if you guys just addressed one of my questions ...

pretty please?
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Old July 7th, 2004, 10:29 PM   #3
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Johnathan,
I have a 416 but, like you, could not find anything on an "MKH415" although I did find some sellers.

I've never tried to shoot fishing footage (but have watched more than a few fishing shows). Personally, I would be inclined to use wireless mics for that coverage. The MKH416 is a fairly narrow-pattern shotgun mic with good off-axis rejection. It will pick up sharply wherever it's pointed...and beyond where it's pointed.

So, in practical terms, I think you'll find it impractical to have your sound field linked directly to the direction of the camera's nose. You'll get great sound coverage of the bass splashing in the water but perhaps poor coverage of the anglers' "Looka dat, willya!".

[Adddendum]
I think you'll be able to plug the 415 directly into the DVX100A's XLR ports with no problem. Of course you'll need an XLR cable. But that's it. Just switch the camera's port over to phantom power and you'll be in business.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 01:01 AM   #4
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The 415 requires the"T" power module. It
's an earlier version of phantom. I did a search on RAMPs and came up with several informative threads. i'll give you the link and you can do the leg work.

RAMPs link to the 415
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Old July 8th, 2004, 01:39 AM   #5
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Ah, "Tuchel". I know my Sound Devices preamp has a "T Power" switch setting...which is always off in my case.

Thanks for that, Bryan.
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Old July 8th, 2004, 08:20 AM   #6
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Re: Sennheiser mic questions

<<<-- Originally posted by Jonathan Gentry : I just bought a used MKH415 ($450) which is supposed to be like the 416 but older. I can't find much information online about the mic so I was wondering if anyone can tell me the differences between the two mics.>>>

I am not familiar with the 415, but I'll try to help out with the other Qs.

<<<I'm making an hour movie with several fishing guides. I will be filming in all cases from a bass boat (20ft long.) In some cases I will be in a different boat next to the boat where the guides will be fishing and in some cases from the back of the same boat they are on. What is the best way to capture their voices as they fish and as they interview each other? In all cases will the mic I've bought do the trick or do I need something that is wireless? What is the range on these mics?>>>

IF the 415 is similar to the 416, you should be able to be 10-15 feet away and
still get decent audio, but never forget the inverse square law . . . the closer
you can get the mic to the source the better. To do this shoot the right way,
you should have wireless mics on all the guides AND have the 415 as your
safety. You will also have to deal with ambient sound of other boats, cars,
planes, etc. so close counts big time.

<<<I will be plugging the mic into a Panasonic DVX100a. Will I need any adapters for compatibility or should this do the trick >>>

I've used the DVX100 with a Schoep MK41 and it worked fine. I foresee
no problems with a 415 or 416.
Tuchel is the connector that schoeps still uses between the capsule and
the amp body.

<<<Last I expect to have some wind while on the water and was wondering what a good low cost wind cover is for the 415/416...>>>

Get ready for sticker shock. Rycote makes the industry standard suspension,
blimp and windjammer (dead cat). I think B&H sells the "kit" for $650!
OTOH, if you have to shoot on a windy lake (and what lake isn't?) you are
definitely going to need the whole kit. Oh, did I forget to mention the boom pole
you may want to buy so you can get even closer?
Lightwave and Gitzo make a cheap boom poles, but the 'nice ride'
is van den Bergh (VdB) carbon fibre. Expect to spend several more hundreds more at least.

Check out www.locationsound.com for the goodies.
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Old July 10th, 2004, 03:00 PM   #7
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Wow guys. I didn't have my email notification turned on so I missed your great replys.

So if I wanted to put the mic on the camera to catch the splashing bass and put wireless mics on the guides to catch the "looky dar at de size o dat bass!" what would happen when the mic is pointing at the guides? Would the overlap of the two mics cause a problem? The DVX100a has two XLR inputs, do they record as two seperate tracks that can be split out in post production or are they meshed together?

I'm looking for the best sound for my money but money is an issue and I've already spend near $5000 on equipment. What mic setup for the guides would you recomment as best for the money? Are there any less expensive stand-outs? I though this 415 would be able to do all the audio chores, could I sell it and just pick up the wireless mics instead or do I really need both?

I won't have a free person to work the boom pole so I don't think that's an option.

I bought what may be junk, I need your opinions. It's called the Lightwave MS-106 Miniscreen as a windscreen. How will this do?

Thanks so much for all your help so far!
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Old July 10th, 2004, 03:02 PM   #8
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I hate to bomb you guys with so many questions but here's another one... If I wanted to place the 415 off-camera pointing up at the guides from the floor of the boat (out of camera view) what would be a good additional mic to place on the boat to pick up the surrounding sounds like splashing bass or am I thinking of this the wrong way?

Thanks again...
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Old July 10th, 2004, 03:08 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bryan Beasleigh : The 415 requires the"T" power module. It
's an earlier version of phantom. I did a search on RAMPs and came up with several informative threads. i'll give you the link and you can do the leg work.

RAMPs link to the 415 -->>>

So from what you read on my quoted ebay posting does it seem that they included what I need to run XLR with Phantom or do I have to buy additional parts? Any ideas of where I might get them for a good price?
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Old July 11th, 2004, 08:43 AM   #10
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I read the ebay posting for the 415 which included the t-power to xlr adapter... I'm guessing that was yours? If so then you should have everything you need.

The dvx ch1 and ch2 are totally seperate. You can run two mics independently or as a stereo pair. 99% of dialog is mono... whether it be feature films or fishing shows. The normal procedure when you have 2 channels of audio available is to use 2 different systems to get the sound... one into each channel... and then you can select whichever one came out right at a particular time... then go to the other channel if needed, or AS needed... all in post. No active mixing of only 2 channels on set.

For a fishing show with 2 guys I'd expect you really need 3 channels... 1 wireless on each of the 2 guys... and then a nice on-cam mic to get the natural sounds. That would be ideal if you can manage 3 channels somehow. Booming really requires a sound guy.

A lot depends on the budget of this project and what you're getting out of it... and what they expect.

It's pretty hard to run 3 seperate channels as a 1 man band.

I think for a 1 man deal you're best bet is probably going to be using 2 wireless mics of TOP quality... You may have to rent 'em. With good lavs like a Sennheiser mke2 (not mk2) or similar. A really good lav like that can sound full, for a lav, and get acceptable natural sound in addition to dialog.

This certainly isn't the BEST way... but I can't think of how you're going to be able to handle a dynamic shoot where everything's moving, changing positions, and unstaged... with 3 channels and trying to actively mix them... all by yourself... all while being the camera man too!

Also if your tape is going to somebody else for post work then ask them what they want... I did some shooting for a local place and did sound for -12db.... just as the reds start to light up in your dvx... though I normally go for -6db... half the reds lighting up to the end of the scale... (end of scale is 0db... clipping unless you have ALC on... which I'd suggest you LEAVE ON all the time)... anyway, the local place didn't like the -12db levels. They thought I recorded too quiet... even though a professional house can deal with -20db... I should have just shot the way I always do. If YOU are doing the post then I'd highly recommend you stick with the -6db...
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Old July 11th, 2004, 10:27 AM   #11
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I don't know why Panasonic implemented the DVX100 level meters the way they did. I've's seen a lot of DVX operators recording at -12db. I guess the psychological component of "not hitting the red" is strong. The DVX should really allow users to set the cutpoint where the level bars start turning red. Also, instead of a razor thin vertical segment representing levels over 0 db--how about a big red star, or something more noticeable?
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Old July 11th, 2004, 11:21 AM   #12
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Matt, you said what I didn't have time to. Good advice IMO.
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Old July 11th, 2004, 11:47 AM   #13
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I thought you may want an idea of what you can expect if you rent a couple Lectro systems and go with the MKE2 I suggested.

My Lectros are both older VHF models, but they work pretty good... in this sound clip I'm walking away from my camera as it sits on a tripod... I'm in an open area of a state park. When I say, "I'm expecting to get 300' range"... I'm actually close to 300' away at that moment... you can hear some sizzle coming in then. By the end of this clip I'm about 450-500' away from the camera. Since this is clearly not an area congested with RF I don't know that it really says so much about the Lectro range... but for your purposes you can get an idea of how much surrounding natural sound you can get from just one wireless lav. My buddy's dog is a weiner dog and he's wearing a choker-style collar and you can hear his tag jingling... also you can clearly hear the frogs and insects...

After giving this a listen I think you can get acceptable sound from 2 wireless sets and forget the rest. But if you do that you better make sure you don't have a problem with clothing noise and WIND...

Click HERE to listen to a Lectro VHF and MKE2 lav!
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Old July 11th, 2004, 04:38 PM   #14
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You guys rule with all the info! I'm learning fast. Of course there will need to be some compromise or I will be broke on this project so I appreciate all the great ideas.

I'm doing post myself with Vegas 5 + DVD. It (Vegas software) has levels for sound that can be cranked up or down to compensate but here are a few more questions...

1. Should the level on the wireless receiver be at max and then use the levels on the camera to adjust overall sound level or the other way around? I would assume the first option would give me the cleanest sound and least buzz.

2. I'll stick with lighting up half the reds at -6db. How many red lights are there total if you know off the top?

3. Does anyone know if Vegas 5 will allow me to equalize the sound to pull out certain parts of the voices and cancel out unwanted buzzing etc? Matt, I thought the attached recording sounded a little buzzy and high pitched (maybe that was due to the distance.)

4. Most important question... What steps do you take to get a good level or mic check to set levels? Obviously if you cough into the mic it will be much louder than if you just speak loudly so what type of action do you want to take to set the level?

5. Can I get a device that will mix the channels of the two lavs into a single channel that would plug into the camera?

Thanks!
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Old July 11th, 2004, 06:49 PM   #15
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Vegas is a good program... you can do a lot with it and it works seemlessly with Sound Forge and Acid Pro... so audio shouldn't be an issue. Just like with any NLE you can "rubber band" the voices up and down if you need to. You don't want to rely on that though... make sure you get the best sound and proper levels on the shoot, otherwise you'll have natural sounds ramping up and down as the voices ramp up and down...

Now to answer your questions in order:

1. I say NO... maybe somebody else will say otherwise, but I usually have my level at a little past 12 o'clock. The Lectro puts out some pretty serious voltage so maybe somebody will tell me I'm missing out by not cranking it up and lowering my camera. Also if you crank the transmitter all the way up then the mic pops too easy... that usually also hovers around 12 o'clock... higher for insensitive mics and lower for touchy ones.

2. On the DVX there are 6 reds that light up to the end. Each represents 2db closer to 0db... or clipping distortion.

3. I think I answered part of this one at the top of this reply. It's a bummer that my Lectros aren't actually PERFECT, but they're pretty good. Realize that in that clip I'm close to a hundred feet away at the very start. It isn't until nearly 300' away that you get any significant sizzle, and at that range you couldn't even read lips on full zoom. Unfortunately, unless you get a Zaxcom digital... you get companding... which means the wireless set raises and lowers the circuitry for voice... so you get this raising and lowering noise-floor. As I said you can either accept that or get Zaxcom... $4K a set.

4. "Check... Check... 1 2 1 2... CHECK... CHECK..." and talk to a pretty loud level. Get it close like this and plan to ride the levels a bit at the camera during the shoot. Get everything right at a normal volume and your dials at 12 o'clock on the DVX. Get a pair of Sony 7506 headphones!

5. You DON'T want to mix the two lavs before going into the camera! Then if one of them has offending audio you've lost BOTH your channels. Odds are throughout the day one mic or the other will get pretty good sound from BOTH guys AND the natural sound... but you have 2 in case you need to mix the vocals and just in case Bubba jumps to the front of the boat and the lav gets pulled into a flannel shirt love fest...


I'm hoping one of the other guys with a pricey wireless will chime in on this and tell me if these clips sound good for wireless or not... Remember, the first 20 seconds is me going from 100' to 300' away... after that I continue to about 450' away... also if you rent a 201 or something state of the art it will outperform mine.
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