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Old December 18th, 2004, 11:00 PM   #16
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<<<-- Originally posted by Tim Polster : I am looking at two Earthworks omni mics mounted on large booms to act as overheads for the whole group.

I will still have the stereo pair in the audience.

Any opinions?

Thanks -->>>

Ok, how's this...

If you're talking about the pointy Earthworks omnis, you'll have selfnoise problems unless you get VERY CLOSE, because the diaphragms in those mics are VERY small. They simply can't generate enough voltage when used at a distance unless the sound source is VERY, VERY LOUD.

How many performers?
How big is the stage?
How low can you get to them overhead?
Can you cover the action with two overhead omnis, or will you need three?

I'd go with small diameter mics (that's technically 1/2" diaphragms) suspended from above. I really like the gefell M296 omnis. The Schoeps are also exceptional. Provided the performers are making nice balanced sound and your mics were in the right places (and pointed straight down at the stage), you could get some exceptional recordings. Angle them out a bit towards the house and you might also grab quite enough of the audience so you wouldn't need the audience mics.

No money? Try it with two or three EV 635 dynamics.

Now the OTHER issue. How good is the audio section of your camcorder? You may well be able to get technically better recordings than on your camcorder.


Ty Ford
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Old December 18th, 2004, 11:09 PM   #17
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A couple of quick things...

1) Who is the audience of the final product? Are they going to hear the difference between a $300 mic and a $2000 mic?

2) How good is the mixing engineer (be it you or someone else)? A good mixing engineer using a recording w/ $200 mics can make the final product sound WAY better than an amateur mixer using $2000 mics! Better mics give you a better starting point, but it's where you go from there in the mixing that really matters the most. Its easy to make a recording made with great mics sound like crap with the wrong twist of a compressors knob!

3) When you are getting into mics in the $2000 (or less) range, the Mackie 1202 VLZ's mic pre-amps are going to be the weak link in the chain here, sound wise. You've gpot some pretty nice mics already, why not look into investing in an Allen & Heath or some other mixing board that is a step up from the mackie? Or using outboard mic-pres rather than the meckies pres. Its hard to know for sure unless you A/B it, but switching mic pres might be better than investing in better mics.

Like you said, the mics could be outperforming the system.

Just some thoughts...

Alex F
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Old December 19th, 2004, 07:00 AM   #18
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Thanks for the great replies.

1) The stage size, number of performers, venue, style will all change. This will be a mobile, location type setup. I wanted to find a way to get some close sound as well as a stereo type sound and combine the two for each place I shoot.

2) The overhead mics could be pretty low, but still over the musicians heads. I think I still need some mics in front of the stage due to some instruments projecting forward - trumpet...

3) I tested the audio from the camera (from the Mackie) compared to an M-audio Firewire 410 (mic directly in the unit) and did not hear a reason to stay away from the camera setup. (DVC-200)

4) I will be mixing this. I have a degree in music and have been a musician long before I got into video. The clients will mostly be the musicians I am recording, so they will have trained ears.

5) About the Mackie Pre-amps, at what price point do they reach their quality limit? I was thinking an earthworks pair would be at the top end, but still effective.

In the end, I only own two NT5's and a shotgun, so I need to buy to more mics for this setup.

Upgrading the mixer is a thought, but then I would need to buy some lower priced mics to offset the money spent.

This is a voluntary quality move by me and I don't want to spend too much until the work is there.

Thanks for your input!

Any other replies would be appreciated!
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Old December 19th, 2004, 02:02 PM   #19
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Sometimes you don't need big toys to get a decent is a clip from a Christmas concert I recorded a few weeks ago...the audio feed is from the house's sound board to feed to a iRiver mp3 recorder. (hehe $150)
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Old December 19th, 2004, 06:10 PM   #20
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For classical music, you can get excellent results from a single microphone pair, set up as described by Bartlett.

I would guess that the NT5, Mackie mixer, and on camera audio are well matched. I used to use the NT5, and Mackie directly into a Panasonic DVX100, and I thought the results were pretty good.

So you wouldn't see the real benefit of changing the NT5 to a much better microphone, unless you started recording to computer, and, ultimately, upgraded the pre-amps.

The more you spend (wisely), the better the sound gets, but it comes expensive.

I started my upgrade sequence, with an M Audio USB Duo, to record onto a laptop, at 24bit, 64k. Then I got a Schoeps MS pair (CMC6 + MK4 and MK8). These showed up the limitations of the USB duo. Also the Duo could not maintain accurate time sync with the video, for extended recording. So I upgraded to a Lynx L22. I have just replaced the Mackie with a DAV BG1 pre-amp. I do feel I can do justice to the performers now.

Total cost of all this audio equipment would be about the same as your camera. The difference in sound quality, for the extra money, is as audible as the difference in picture quality is visible, when you compare a $6,000 camera and a $2,000 camera.

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Old December 19th, 2004, 06:29 PM   #21
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I am looking to augment the mic setup by still using the NT5's in a stereo pair and adding some stage mics on booms for a closer sound to mix in with the stereo pair.

I am confused about overbuying the mackie pre-amps and don't really know where the quality line is drawn while still getting great sounding mics.

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Old December 23rd, 2004, 09:20 PM   #22
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Dinosaur Sighting...

I am completely sold on S-VHS and BetaCam SP for what you are doing. Since I bought my gear new and have kept it in good shape, I don't hesitate to use it whenever possible.

Of course I still enjoy the ease of the digital compact camcorders when I'm allowed to have a free moving camera, but I find the classic ENG style of camcorder with XLR inputs and an S-VHS back the best way to go when my camera position is locked down.

When I A/B Roll edit directly to BetaCam SP via an MX-50 switcher the MX-50 allows me to optimize my clip and black set-up levels and in combination with the JVC-BRS series of Video decks with proc-amp, sharpeness and YC adjustments AND Digital Noise reduction (plus video phase) I get stunningly good looking BetaCam SP masters from which I make my VHS and DVD copies.

I've been told by one of my clients who's kids go to a different school than the one she runs that the VHS copies I give her from her shows have always been better than anything she's ever seen done for her own kids in their own school, and she's been my client for the last 7 years.
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