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Old February 17th, 2005, 09:19 PM   #1
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Mic for ambient sound?

Hi all. I'm doing a personal project over this next year, a creative treatment of the city I now live in. It will consist of a montage of aesthetically interesting shots (abstracts, landscape, video portraiture) reinforced in interesting ways by FIELD AUDIO (traffic, interiors both private and public, street sound in general, Interviews, incidental music, etc.). I'm a one man band, which suits me fine, because of the nature of the project and because I intend on disembodying sound and image, so that the image of traffic, for example, does not have it's correspondiing traffic sound but...something else...a museum, or an emergency room, you get the idea...
I intend on recording audio at separate times from the shooting of the video, and I also intend on using one of my cameras as my field audio recording device.

My one and only (good) microphone right now is the Senn ME64. It's been fine for shooting plays and weddings and interviews, but for all of the environmental sounds I want to get, I'm thinking I will also want something less directional and, well, something else, something other than a hot, directional mic. Am I right or wrong here? If right, what might that other microphone be? It can and probably will be handheld and not camera mounted...An omni? An ME62?

Sorry if this is too much info for such a simple question, just thought I'd share my context (I'm also excited about this project...!). I searched 20 pages back in this audio forum, but it seems like the bias here is human voice/dialogue driven interests and corresponding mic.s.
I am going to go out with the me64 to experiment, to see and hear if it isn't good enough for my needs...

Budget is $500, maximum.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Shawn
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Old February 17th, 2005, 10:55 PM   #2
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Here are two omni mics that look good to me:

Sennheiser ME62/K6:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=WishList.jsp&A=details&Q=&sku=73086&is=REG

AKG Blue Line Series with CK92 Omni Capsule:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=WishList.jsp&A=details&Q=&sku=349108&is=REG

Anyone work with either of these and/or prefer another? Am I headed in the right direction with these two mics, given my application?

Thanks again,

Shawn
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Old February 17th, 2005, 11:14 PM   #3
 
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If you're looking for ambiences, is there a reason you're not looking for stereo, particularly if you're not going to be capturing audio along with video?
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Old February 17th, 2005, 11:56 PM   #4
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Um, no. What did you have in mind?
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Old February 18th, 2005, 12:21 AM   #5
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A good budget stereo microphone is the MS907/908. You can likely go to a Sony store and check it out for yourself. It sounds pretty good, and should be more than good enough for your project.

Some other people recommend more expensive stereo mics like the AT ?822ST? and the Rode stereo mic.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 01:04 AM   #6
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The AT825?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=68195&is=REG
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Old February 18th, 2005, 01:08 AM   #7
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What's the rule about not capturing stereo sound with video, or vice versa?

Perhaps the Sony would be ok, Glenn, but I'm not afraid to spend a little more for better, unless you're willing to argue that there is hardly a difference between the $80 Sony and the $350 AT mic...
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Old February 18th, 2005, 01:25 AM   #8
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Are these Rycote softie and pistol grip systems worthwhile?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=201750&is=REG

I'd be willing to trade in stereo for a more total field recording set-up...
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Old February 18th, 2005, 01:49 AM   #9
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Perhaps the Sony would be ok, Glenn, but I'm not afraid to spend a little more for better, unless you're willing to argue that there is hardly a difference between the $80 Sony and the $350 AT mic...
I haven't heard the AT mic so I wouldn't be able to comment. From what I remember of the Sony mic, it sounded really good (but my memory might be bad). The question you should ask yourself is: Will it be good enough?

Consider your target audience and what system they will be using to listen. A lot (?the majority?) of home audiences will not get stereo sound (incorrect wiring, or the speakers are too close together). But there are people who do get stereo sound, so stereo can be worth it as is higher quality audio for people with good sound setups.

For a personal project, I would personally get the Sony mic and save money for other goodies. Of course, listen to the microphone first before buying it (possibly from someplace cheaper). Some of the Sony microphones are lemons.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 02:43 AM   #10
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It's hard for me to know who my audience might be. I would like to see this piece played on the tv channel local to the city area from which all materials will be recorded. Who knows? The stereo may not be terribly important to me, although if it's a way to bring an interesting and enlivening colour to the audio and to the piece in general, I might be all for it. This will be montage, not story driven, but detail, aesthetics, and theme motivated. I recently saw Vertov's The Man With The Movie Camera for the third or fourth time and suddenly got up and said "Yes! Anti-narrative films about places! The local world we live in! Explore it! Question it! Share it!", and so on. And so here I am. Is stereo a good way to go? Will it make a difference to the greater population that MIGHT hear and see this thing? Probably not, eh? I believe that. I could just get an ME62 capsule for $150 and a decent pistol grip system and get the job done very well indeed. I try to get the best I can, but this is low budget, and my talent, intention, feelings and ideas will probably shine through even just a mono signal, right? At any rate, I'll put more thought into intended audience. Thank you for bringing that up, Glenn. I might get the cheapy Sony just to do initial stereo experiments, to determine if it's The Way...After all, I'm giving myself a year+ to shoot/record this thing.

Anyone working with omnis and stereo mics, past present and future, please feel free to toss one out!

Shawn
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Old February 18th, 2005, 09:25 AM   #11
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I would vote for the Rode NT4 stereo mic. It's quieter than the less expensive AT825, which would be my second choice in this price range. Both can run on an internal battery.
Both require better wind protection than comes standard.
The AT825 is smaller and lighter. The Rode has overall better sound quality.
You could go mono, even with the ME64. Cardioid really isn't that directional. An ME62 would work also.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 09:45 AM   #12
 
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I should toss in here that the Rode is a great stereo mic, I should have mentioned it in my post above. The only thing I don't like about the Rode is the weight. It is a great sounding mic though. Scary how good it sounds for its price class.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 09:54 AM   #13
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If you are going to record ambient sound, I also think you should go for a stereo mic. I was looking for AT822/AT825 samples recently and found this one of the AT822:

http://www.quietamerican.org/download/other/Brooklyn_subway.mp3

Now, I am having trouble accessing it this morning but it may be my Internet connection. Hopefully, you’ll be able to hear it, because it really shows what stereo recording/separation sounds like (listen to it on good, well-separated speakers).

I think even the unbalanced AT822 sounds pretty good. It is even lighter than the AT825, but it cannot be used with phantom power.
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Old February 18th, 2005, 12:48 PM   #14
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My PDX10 delivers phantom power, and I would rather not use batteries, if can be helped.

The ME64 sure seems directional to me! It has rear axis cancellation, which makes it prettty great as an on-camera mic, and perhaps too as a field mic. It may be the same for the ME62. I just know that I would love to get rid of off axis coloration as much as possible.

And yet stereo is still an excellent idea. Will have a look at the Rode NT4, thanks.

Pop curiosity: anyone made their own stereo by spacing two omnis?
Are there pistol grip-type configurations that would accomodate such a set up?

Shawn
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Old February 18th, 2005, 12:58 PM   #15
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<<<-- Pop curiosity: anyone made their own stereo by spacing two omnis? -->>>

I think the pros favor the use of two mics when possible.

The following article explains different methods using cardioids and omnis.

http://www.tape.com/Bartlett_Articles/stereo_microphone_techniques.html
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