recommendations: camera mount mic & voiceover on computer at

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Old February 26th, 2005, 10:43 PM   #1
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recommendations: camera mount mic & voiceover on computer

Hello all,
Wondering if you can help me.

I'm looking for a camera mounted mic for my XL2. I have the Me66, but it sounds echoy and hollow when I shoot in a corporate conference room.

I hear the MKH50 and MKH60 are some good mics. Does anyone have any experience with them in a corporate shoot? If so, can you post some samples?

I am also looking for a setup to do voiceover on my Dual G4 Quicksilver PowerMac, and my G4 Powerbook.

I hear that I need a good soundcard, pre-amp, Analog to Digital converter, and mic. My max budget for this setup is $1,600.

Any suggestions?

Thanks for your help.
Mel Williams
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Old February 27th, 2005, 12:08 AM   #2
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1- The camera is usually the worst place to put the mic, as it is the farthest position from the sound source and also close to the camera (which makes some noise).

Getting a boom to move the microphone closer would be a good idea (you can use a mic stand, or C-stand and boompole to do this... there may be better ways of holding a microphone too). Or you can use wired/wireless lavs.

2- Shotguns sound weird indoors. I might describe it as "hollow". This is because shotguns color sounds that hit it off-axis (not from the front). Indoors, you will have all sorts of echo and reverb hitting the mic off-axis.

High-end shotguns (i.e. Sennheiser MKH 416) have (a bit) less off-axis coloration, but you would be much better off using a non-shotgun microphone. Only shotguns exhibit extreme off-axis coloration... hypercardioid/cardioid/omni microphones have much less off-axis coloration. A hypercardioid microphone would be a better idea, unless you need a wider pickup pattern.

Article on microphone pickup patterns and off-axis coloration:;jse...questid=922494 (registration required)

3- You can cut down reverb (the echo-ey sound) a few ways:
A- Move the microphone closer. This is by far the best thing you can do! A wireless microphone or a boom mic 2-3 feet away will give you good sound.
B- Choose a less echo-ey room.
C- You can also hang up sound blankets to control the amount of reverb in the room.

4- Voice-over:
Best bang-for-the-buck setup would be:
Mixer: Behringer UB-series mixer. This gives you a pre-amp and headphone monitoring and basic metering. A 1-input mixer is cheapest. If you have a mixer with more inputs, you can simplify your studio wiring by routing things into your mixer.
Analog-digital convertor: You could use your XL2, which is free. If you're unhappy with the amount of noise the XL2's A-D converters have, then you can get an audio interface/sound card. Probably get a USB/firewire interface so you can use it on your power book too. There are many manufacturers that make these cards... you could probably do a search or other people can give recommendations.
I'd worry about this last. I have no idea how good the XL2's analog-digital convertors are... they could very well be good enough for your needs.

Room: Find a quiet room in your studio with as little reverb as possible. Closets are good candidates.

Get long cables to move your mic to the right place, and/or to move noisy equipment (i.e. computers) to another room or into a well-ventilated closet. For long cables that carry analog signals, it's a good idea to use balanced signals.

You can also deaden a room by adding sound absorption. Jay Rose's book has information on making these tiles yourself at a fraction of the price it costs to buy them.

The ME66 you already have can be good if the room is not echo-ey. If you buy a hypercardioid mic, that can also be good for voice-over.

If you something a little better, you can buy a different mic. I'd focus on everything above first, and also focus on getting good talent and good copy (that's like 95% of how good your voice-overs are going to be). If you've got that stuff down then you can look at getting another microphone to get the right sound. The right sound might vary from project to project, but a very popular sound is the "voice of god" narrator.

Dynamic microphones like the Electrovoice RE-20 and Sennheiser MD421 are good. (These are popular in radio.)
Large-diaphragm condensors are also good. These add varying degrees of their own sound depending on the model.

Counter-point: The VO recording studio where I used to work used audio technica large diaphragm condensors mics because they were pretty accurate to the original sound and didn't impart much of their own character. There were a bunch of other great (and more expensive) microphones around the studio which never got much use. Maybe that puts things into perspective... the talent's delivery is much more important to the sound you get (as is their voice).

Jay Rose's books "Great Sound for Digital Video" and "Audio Postproduction" are excellents books with (nearly) everything you need to know about field and voice-over recording. You can visit to see how to get em for $30USD apiece. It'll probably be the best investment you make. It'll tell you some of the other stuff you will need (copy stand, headphones, microphone stand).
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Old February 27th, 2005, 01:22 PM   #3
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As Glen said, even the best of mics (and the MKH-50 hypercardioid and the MKH-60 short shotgun are among that class at the top for field recording) will be handicapped unless it is placed properly. Do you have to keep the mic mounted on the camera?
Another excellent mic I can add to the voice-over list is the Rode NT1000.
Remember that if you have only a poor space to record in, sometimes backing down in mic quality and placing it correctly can improve your results.
Again, the space you're in and the placement of the mics are of equal importance to the mics you use.
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Old February 27th, 2005, 04:01 PM   #4
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I'd also throw in a $10-15 pop filter - with a clip on/goose neck.
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Old February 27th, 2005, 04:44 PM   #5
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I'll add the 4060 or the 4033 to the list for great v/o mikes, and if you use a pop filter (you should) then I'll add a second mike stand to mount it to for best results.
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
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Old February 27th, 2005, 06:08 PM   #6
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thanks for all the great suggestions

I think it's easier to mount my mic to the camera. I tried the boom with a non-cooperating helper. It turned out awful.

I think I'll try a mic stand with the boom and the Me66. If that doesn't work, I'll try switching the Me66 with the MKH-50.

How do you use the XL2 as the Analog to Digital Converter?

Do you go from mic -> XL2 -> mixer ->computer?

I thought you go from mic -> mixer -> A/D converter -> computer?

I see you're from Toronto. Great city. I used to live on Wellesley and Yonge.

Mel Williams
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Old February 27th, 2005, 10:15 PM   #7
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Hey Mel,
To use your XL2 as an analog-digital converter, you go:
microphone --> mixer -->
line out / RCA jacks --> XL2 (The line in on the XL1 gives the least noise according to an article over at; presumably the XL2 might be the same???);jse...uestid=1089588

Then firewire into your computer.

Ideally you would get a program that lets you record audio without the video too. Final Cut's voice-over tool might or might not do this.

Otherwise record into Final Cut via firewire capture (set device control to none and capture now without a time limit; set your XL2 to convert the right direction, not from firewire --> analog out).
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Old February 28th, 2005, 07:25 AM   #8
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And if you want to keep a timecoded archive copy of the raw recordings, simply record to tape in the camera and then capture the audio only.
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