The Best Shotgun mic for $300-400 (ME66/AT897/other?) - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

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Old September 20th, 2004, 04:24 PM   #16
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Forget the 4073a if you want to disqualify it due to it's phantom requirements. You've chosen to narrow your focus to battery powered mics and that's fine... I thought we were talking about mics in the $300-$500 price range. My point in bringing up the 4073a is that even though it's $530... that's only $80 more then the me66... and since the 4073a effectively competes with professional mics such as the Mkh416, which sells for $1K... the debate about the value of the 4073a ends there.

The me66 is a fine mic... it's an entry level mic at the very top of the entry level price range... in fact it's only $80 cheaper then an actual Hollywood production mic... and that's where I have the problem with it.

Are you seriously planning to limit yourself to battery powered mics for as long as you do video? NO MIC in the professional range is battery powered... accepting phantom requirements is the FIRST thing you must do when you want to jump in the deep end of the pool. A single channel phantom box is only $55... or a Beachtek can dish out phantom with variable levels (for 2 mics) for $250... If it were me I wouldn't consider a mic ONLY based on whether or not it can run on an AA battery. I care about sound, not batteries.

BUT if you want to ONLY look at the battery issue then take a look at my earlier post which clearly shows the superior frequency response of the 897... which uses a battery AND it's $170 (one hundred and seventy!) dollars cheaper then the Sennheiser. A better mic for LESS money? Maybe, maybe not... you see I don't care so I can be FAIR about all of this... and here's my dose of reality for the 897 vs. me66:

For this argument there are only 2 bits of data which matter in determining the best choice between the battery powered 897 or the battery powered me66... SENSITIVITY and FREQUENCY RESPONSE. Now even though I think there's WAY more to choosing a mic then ONLY these two factors, we're going to keep this as simple as possible so there's NO confusion.

The me66 trumps the 897 on sensitivity... 50 mV/Pa versus the 897's sensitivity of 10 mV/Pa... and that's why you need that pad for your me66... it's a hot mic. If you've got a VX2000-2001, PD150-170, XL1-XL2 then you will benefit from this HOT output... what that means is that the mic is louder and creates a stronger signal with the camera pre-amps set at lower levels which results in a lower noise floor. Follow me? So if you've got a cam WHICH BENEFITS from a HOT mic then the me66 will ultimately yield better results then the 897. All clear on that?

The 897 trumps the me66 on frequency response... virtually flat versus the me66's steady drop from 600hz on down... and that's why the me66 sounds thinner and less natural then other mics, such as the 897 and it also accounts for the fairly marginal rejection of sounds that were engineered into this mic... often times traffic and other bass heavy noises are the ones you want to reject... and if you're not proficient enough or resourceful enough to correct those problems... you can pick a mic which handles some of that for you... but AT THE EXPENSE OF WARM AND NATURAL SOUND... and MORE IMPORTANTLY there have been newer designs, such as the 897, which have come along offering SUPERIOR off-axis and rear rejection AND warmer and more natural sound. THE ONLY DECIDING FACTOR BETWEEN THE ME66 AND 897 IS WHETHER OR NOT YOU NEED A HOT MIC... if you've got to pad your me66 down, then you chose the wrong mic.

Finally... since I really do like the 4073a so much... let me add that the 4073a is BOTH more sensitive then ALL of these mics AND it sounds the best AND it's got the best frequency response AND even though it's by far the hottest at 70 mV/Pa... due to it's incredible off-axis and rear rejection... overloading is no where NEAR the problem that it is with the me66.

So if you're in a situation where you aren't even benefiting from the me66's hot output AND you have to pad it down anyway... then you're getting the worst of all worlds.

The me66 does NOT drop off faster then the other mics AND it's got a fat tail which will always be in your face... hearing EVERYTHING behind the mic. You can try to spin that into some kind of benefit, but it's detriment, not a plus.

If you'd said that ALL you do with the me66 is ENG... I'd have no real problem with your preferrence anyway... why should I care? The ONLY reason I'm arguing this point AT ALL is 'cause I care about the REAL FACTS showing up for the countless browsers who will stumble across these words.

Stating that you use the me66 for VO and OPERA really says a lot about your mic experience... the me66 is NOT flattering to voice of any kind... it's original purpose was for capturing intelligible sound... which is NOT the same as detailed or natural sound... and the other issue is that the me66 is one of the worst mics for a reverberrant space... If you try out some other mics for your opera recordings you'll be mashing potatos with that me66 by Friday.

All I'm trying to say is that I do know something about mics and sound... all thanks to Beas, Dave, Ken, and the few other people who don't just spout opinions, but back up what they say.

I should add that I first met Dave by popping into one of the tests Beas and Dave were doing... I jumped in and said, "I think you'd be surprised at how good my m58 sounds!"... and they said, "Bad news Matt... that m58 is one of the worst sounding newsmics out there." Rather then argue, I investigated what they said and ya' know what? They were right! I did the easy thing and tried another mic out... sold the m58... and NOW I have a better ENG stick mic which sounds LOADS better. If I'd have argued that they were wrong... and NOT listened... I'd still have the worst sounding ENG mic out there AND I wouldn't be getting the wonderful sound I'm getting.

So defend the me66 all you want... I have nothing against YOU or the me66. If you like it then use it... I'm just trying my best to give some prospective buyers a little insight before spending a significant chunk of cash on a mic that's got better alternatives at both a higher AND lower price.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 05:16 PM   #17
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Since Carlos has phantom and a very good preamp in his dvx, battery power is a moot point. Any of the mic comparisons that Matt or I have done have been using phantom power anyway. Have a listen.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 05:37 PM   #18
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I was going to respond point by point, but it's a daunting task.

Here's what I'm getting from your viewpoints, The ME-66 ALWAYS comes in second place no matter what the situation.

My point is that means the microphone is pretty darn flexible and can work in a myriad of situations and is never dependent on phantom power. One microphone with the utility to perform well in many situations and is independent of different Phantom Power requirements is quite a good and flexible thing.

I don't see how using a pad is a bad thing. Many creative industry processes "overexpose" their product to get a thicker negative, or record a hot signal to get a better signal to noise, (this is true in digital as well). The key is to "develop" recorded medium properly and not overexpose or overmodulate the signal.

When one talks about how "good" a microphone is, the context needs to be fully explained. Generally, I like that I have a pair of ME-66's that I can use for either run and gun interviews OR use as a stereo pair for opera OR use in my studio for voice over.

In each scenario you can come up with a microphone that is better, but when you factor in ALL THREE TYPES OF ENVIRONMENTS mentioned above AND being completely free of phantom power requirements that are everchanging depending on what recording device one is using, the ME-66 gains in a decathlon type of comparison. The ME-66 may not finish first in any one category, but it CAN be used in so many categories with very good results and with no dependence on phantom power.

a pure sound guy would probably never want to settle for just an ME-66, but a video run and gun, ENG, low budget, no crew kind of situation excells with an ME-66.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 06:58 PM   #19
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Dude, this is great comedy... really I'm loving you. The environment DOES matter and any environment beyond outdoor use in close proximity will KILL the me66's sound.

I'm not saying it comes in 2nd with ANY mics... only between the 897 and me66... and even then if you NEED the hot output then it ACTUALLY COMES IN FIRST! Yippee! If you're padding it down then you didn't need the hot output.

Another point which I need to clarify just in case it snares a newbie is the PHANTOM POWER IS UNIVERSAL... it's 48v... It don't matter if you're using a tiny lav or a large diaphragm studio mic... if it says "phantom power" that means 48v. If you got the phantom box I mentioned for $55 it will put out 48v... if you get a Sound Devices 302 for $1300 it will put out 48v. Any time you see a mic which gives a range of phantom voltages that will work that's only to tell you that mic will still work if there's a problem which causes voltage fluctuations... or if you've got a plug-on or something that can't muster the 48v. Otherwise PHANTOM = 48V.

Hey Alessandro, if you like the me66 that's fine. If you don't want to go to Coffey or Location Sound and here this for yourself that's fine too.

The crux of my arguments is always bittersweet, because I enjoy hearing when somebody discovers a new world of sound with a simple mic purchase... but for every person who graduates from the me66 my productions sound just a little less omnipotent.

Coming in second in a race of 2 is finishing last... and that says nothing about the margin of victory.

More importantly then that... if you were using the proper selection of mics for the uses you listed... the me66 wouldn't even be in the race.

ENG? Yes... 2nd or 3rd in a race of either 2 or 3.

VO? No!

Opera? No!

I want to give you the last word on this... but not if you end on a statement that isn't true.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 07:14 PM   #20
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No comedy here.

You haven't listed one microphone alone that is better than an ME-66 in all scenarios, you have mentioned a few microphones. So if one wants to invest in several shotgun microphones, then your way makes sense.

And 12 volt is another phantom power setting that one can come across, it's not all 48 volt.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 10:08 PM   #21
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How 'bout this... simple enough that the slowest among us can comprehend it.

The At4073a is WAY better then the me66, me67, AND me64. So your way costs more for inferior results IN ALL scenarios.

One mic beats a whole SYSTEM of mics... believe it.

The 4073a is more sensitive then ANY of the Sennheiser k6 mics.

The 4073a has more REACH then ANY of the Sennheiser k6 mics.

The 4073a works better in close proximity then the me64.

The 4073a sounds better then ANY of the k6 mics in ANY situation. Simple enough? Most importantly it isn't a case of the me66 simply taking second place... the 4073a makes the me66 sound like a cheap toy in comparison. When I got the AT I couldn't rid myself of my me66 fast enough... it was trash to me.

If you think phantom powering is a complicated matter... even though you can find other voltages then 48v... which isn't common... then you're condemned to audio mediocrity with an overpriced and under-performing mic.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 10:35 PM   #22
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There is the MKH60, 416, CK69, CS-1,CS-3 and the Schoeps MK41 , They all smoke the ME66 as well they should. The MKH60 is 3 times the price of an ME66. The MKH60 and the 416 can be used for VO, the prefered mic for VO could also include the schoeps mk41. I suppose if that's all you had, the ME66 would be better than a sharp stick in the nether region.

The ME66 is a great $400 battery powered mic, the AT mics are good as well.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 12:00 AM   #23
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<<<-- Originally posted by Matt Gettemeier :

If you think phantom powering is a complicated matter... even though you can find other voltages then 48v... which isn't common... then you're condemned to audio mediocrity with an overpriced and under-performing mic. -->>>

It can be a pain to hook up two phantom power adaptors for stereo miking when you have to also be ready for possibly doing wireless audio.

One's camera can begin to look like a Rube Goldberg device having both phantom power adapters plus a wireless mike attached to the back, plus headphones, plus variable audio pad pots. My BetaCam Sp back has phantom power, but my S-VHS back that I use for opera (the HI-FI tracks were made for Opera) has no phantom power.

The mixing and matching of several cameras and record backs that I use would become that much more complicated with phantom powered microphones. On the other hand, I purchased an after market fujinon lens that kicks butt in lowlight over the lens that comes with the camera. The lens cost more than most upper end mini-dv camcorders.

If I hadn't bought that lens, maybe I buy phantom power microphones along with the ME-66. My point all along has been as one adds options and variations to ones camera package, it becomes important to have various accessories that work on ALL the gear, and to not invest in area (audio), while ignoring the reality of a mediocre factory camera lens when compared to the aftermarket lens.

I don't believe the trade off to be as great as you state, that's why equalizers and mixers exist, to optimize the sound that microphones deliver.

I set up and run two cameras by myself, run cables to the front of the stage, every little extra thing I have to cross remember because it's different with each camera I use makes the whole process more complex.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 12:45 AM   #24
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Agreed. Complex rigs ran by one guy result in missed shots and unexpected mistakes.

Carlos stated at the outset that he'll be using a dvx... so if he gets either an 897 OR a 4073a he's done. Nothing else needed to make it work.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 08:54 AM   #25
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<<<-- Originally posted by Matt Gettemeier : Agreed. Complex rigs ran by one guy result in missed shots and unexpected mistakes.
-->>>

You're quite the condescending fellow.

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Old September 21st, 2004, 09:08 AM   #26
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You took it wrong... I meant it. I'm a one-man band 75% of the time... I make sure my rig is streamlined to minimize problems. I was trying to extend an olive branch since we're just going to disagree on the me66... and I'd rather end my replys on a respectful and positive note.
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Old September 23rd, 2004, 12:35 PM   #27
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Awesome!
Thanks so much for taking the time to do the side by sides.

I'm hoping to be able to swing a mike in a month or two and these kinds of tests are invaluable.

taking the time to do this isn't easy and I appreciate the effort.

It will so help me make a better decision.
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Old September 23rd, 2004, 12:43 PM   #28
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sorry for the shameless plug but i have a mint condition CS-1 for sale if you're interested :-D
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Old September 23rd, 2004, 12:59 PM   #29
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Hey, I'm curious about it, Dan! Email me at WG25@aol.com
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Old September 23rd, 2004, 01:13 PM   #30
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Yeah Dan... remember me asking you if you'd sell it? Wazzup wit dat? My own bro dissin' me... Okay fine I have already spent a fortune on mics this year and I guess my budget is popped... but I think you're going to find that it's easy as pie to sell a pro mic.

Why don't you throw us a bone and let us in on the price?

Hey to everybody else... did you see how long it took for Dan to say he'd be selling a PRO mic... and then how long it took somebody to inquire about it? 16 minutes total.

If you get a pro-mic, it will hold more of it's value and stay a liquid asset.

I've only seen one 4073a come up for sale once on these forums and the guy was trying to get full retail back out of the mic... if you take a reasonable (modest) loss on a pro mic you'll sell it instantly.
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