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Old July 19th, 2004, 10:28 AM   #1
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I have to get rid of my ME66!

I love the mic- it's absolutly great for picking up sit-down interviews and speech. It doesn't, however, fend well in loud environments like wedding receptions. It seems to work great as a back up to my wireless at the ceremony but during receptions where I'm around large crowds that tend to scream and applaud loudly the mic overloads. I originally had this problem and sent it back to Senheisser to have the red-dot modification done- in other words replacing a transistor to make the mike less sensitive to overloading. Got it back and definitly seems to be less suceptable to overload and clip/distort. I thought I was good to go till I shot with it this weekend at a reception. Anytime the crowd would cheer our scream the mic would just go to cr*p and begin clipping. Oddly enough the audio meters on my cam weren't even spiking- there was plenty of headroom.

I actually believe the stock mic would fend better- granted it's not as sensitive and doesn't have as much fidelity but wouldn't OVERLOAD so easily.

Does anyone have a suggestion on what kind of shotgun I can use that will be both sensitive and clear yet won't overload as soon as the db get loud? Is it even a possible combination- a sensitive mic...that doesn't overload? Any and all input will greatly be appreciated.
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Old July 19th, 2004, 12:24 PM   #2
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Even though you've had the mod done, I would at least test with some additional attenuation between the mic and the camera. (Which camera by the way?)
This is the only way to know for sure whether the mic itself is overloading or whether you're still overloading the input even with the red dot modification.
If you provide more attenuation and the distortion stops, even after bringing up the input level control to compensate for the attenuation, then you were overdriving the camera input.
If the distortion stays even though the sound is lower, then it's the mic.
I honestly think it's the shotgun pattern being overwhelmed by the indoor crowd. Even though a crowd can be very loud I don't think they'd be purely exceding the mic's max SPL. I think it's the sound coming from all sides.
The AT4073a is even hotter than the ME66, so you'd still have to make sure you didn't overdrive the camera inputs. But it has much less reputation for distorting the mic itself under these conditions.
There are other less expensive choices that can clearly handle high SPL's and provide a more "regular" mic level signal. Many of these are also very good as to self-noise and clarity, but they won't be as directional in their pickup for quiet situations.
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Old July 19th, 2004, 12:29 PM   #3
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You need limiters. What camera?
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Old July 20th, 2004, 09:49 AM   #4
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It's a PD-170. It's definitly the mic- I turned down the inputs to like two notches above completly muted and I still heard clipping.
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Old July 20th, 2004, 10:24 AM   #5
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Did you engage the MIC ATT switch on the camera? This will attenuate the input and is more appropriate for the ME66.
If a hot mic overdrives the camera input, then the level controls and metereing won't be effective at controlling or judging the problem. You're running out of headroom at the mic input and this occurs before the level controls or metering.
It still could be the mic, but using the MIC ATT switch will help considerably and will tell you for sure where the problem lies.
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Old July 20th, 2004, 11:29 AM   #6
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Like I said I know it's overloading at the mic not cam. My manual settings for the mic input were abnormally low- barely even registering a half a bar- yet alone approaching red. All the while the distortion/clipping still existed.
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Old July 20th, 2004, 01:31 PM   #7
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You didn't read my post. What I'm saying is that the symptoms you describe point exactly to overloading the camera input. It still could be the mic, but if you aren't engaging the MIC ATT switch, then it's much more likely that it's the camera and not the mic. It's still possible that it could be the mic, especially since you already had the red dot modification, but you can't say this for certain until you add some additional attenuation (either externally or with the camera's MIC ATT switch) and see what happens.

The input itself is the first thing the mic signal enters. If you overload this with a hot mic, then everything that follows will be ineffective.

The level controls and the metering come next. They only indicate how the digitized signal will be layed to tape. If your input ran out of headroom and the digital peaks are clipped, then it won't matter how low you set the levels.

If you add additional attenuation between the mic and the camera input and you still get distortion, then you can say with much more certainty that it's the mic.
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Old July 20th, 2004, 01:39 PM   #8
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I understand what your trying to explain but how can it be overloading the input if my audio bars are nowhere near red-lining? If the cam's mic input was getting overloaded wouldn't it be apparent in the audio bars?
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Old July 20th, 2004, 02:39 PM   #9
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This was my issue Glen with the AT835ST. The attenuators fixed it (but I need to use a lower setting). Too much energy before it hit the amplifiers. Even though I was not hitting 0dB, I was getting a crackle. The signal from the mic is too much and the attenuators seem to have fixed it. See my thread on the AT835ST Roll off.
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Old July 20th, 2004, 04:12 PM   #10
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Exactly, by the time your signal gets to the level controls and the meters, the damage is already done because the camera's input couldn't handle what it is being fed.
Think of it this way- The first thing the signal hits is an opening with only 3 sizes (Mic, Mic ATT, Line) and no metering. If the signal is too big to get through the "Mic" opening and you don't engage the "Mic ATT" switch to handle it, then the signal will be damaged. The damaged signal will then go to the level controls which determine how much of the damaged signal to record on tape. Your meters give you a visual representation of how much signal you're recording to tape. Even though the meters are showing you have room left before overload to tape, the initial overload at the input has already occured.
As I said, it still could be the mic itself, but using additional attenuation will point you to the culprit so you'll know for sure.

One other thing, are you running the mic on phantom or battery?
Running on phantom gives the mic greater ability to handle loud sounds, but it also makes the signal slightly hotter.
If you're running the mic on its internal battery, make sure you have a fresh one in place and that all the contacts are clean. Even a fingerprint on the end of your battery can defeat 1.5 volts after it oxidizes for awhile.
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 04:22 PM   #11
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Glen, you should listen to Jay. I have the same cam/mics
and have had the exact same symptoms. The mic
is not overloading. *The input* is overloading.
Switch to MIC ATT on the cam. That'll take care of it.
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 06:35 PM   #12
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Glen
It can't hurt to try it. It will do the job.
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Old July 23rd, 2004, 07:27 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the input- I'll give it a shot.
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Old July 24th, 2004, 11:42 PM   #14
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Glenn, please let us know how you make out. The ideas involved are intriguing.
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Old July 25th, 2004, 09:50 AM   #15
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I just did an extensive test of the me66 against the At4073a and I was really surprised at how little off axis rejection and downright poor rear rejection the me66 has. In a situation with sound coming from all directions I'm not surprised that the me66 overloads so much faster then the 4073a... even though the 4073a is actually much more sensitive.

The me66 is hearing every sound that's coming at it and the 4073a is mainly hearing what's straight ahead.

If you want to hear it for yourself then go to the 4073a thread.
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