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-   -   Best Shotgun Mic for Beachtek 4p (AT897, etc) (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/40306-best-shotgun-mic-beachtek-4p-at897-etc.html)

Jason Dirks February 28th, 2005 09:14 PM

Best Shotgun Mic for Beachtek 4p (AT897, etc)
I posted on here a few days back, and I've had a chance to test out the mic that I did purchase (Azden SGM-2x) a little more extensively. I think because of the impedence being 600 ohms or so and the Beachtek at 200 it may have hampered the "hotness" of the mic. As it was I had the adapter cranked to max and the levels on my camera (optura xi) set to roughly -2db resulting in a bunch of ambient noise.

So I tested it again tonight, this time putting it directly into the camera with a mini-adaptor instead of using the Beachtek. Well the levels were better (still not as hot as I'd like, but certainly better) and not as much ambient noise. Here's my dilemma:

I really dig the convenience of the Beachtek adapter. It mounts securely to the camera. I don't have to worry about using a multitude of adapters that could fall out, blah, blah. Also, I have the ability with the Beachtek to use more than one mic and control levels using both it and the camera. As a result, I'm thinking about swapping out the mic for a different one.

The mics I'm looking at are the AT897 (which operates at 200 ohms w/ phantom power, which is great because it matches the Beachtek, but 300 ohms w/ battery power, which is realistically how I'll be using it - will this cause issues as before?) I'm also looking at the Sennheiser ME-67. This one is considerably more money, but I'm sure is worth it, however I really don't want to have to pay more than $300 brand new.

I'd love to get any info from any of you on my dilemma. I'll be using this mic for a multitude of different purposes including documentaries and shorts so I want to get the biggest bang for my buck. Thanks for your help.

Jay Massengill March 1st, 2005 09:31 AM

You would generally run the BeachTek full volume. This is the norm for any passive XLR adapter when using a medium sensitivity mic in a normal loudness setting. These devices can only bring the mic down, so running them full volume is generally correct.
You should also experiment with the controls for the channel of the BeachTek the mic isn't plugged into. If you're set for MONO on the BeachTek, then the other channel controls will also load down the mic.
I'm not familiar with your camera and its audio controls, so it's hard to give advice on that. You should probably do more testing with the BeachTek settings and your mic. Actually record some material and capture it and check levels and noise through your editing system.
An easy way to do this is to set up a CD to play through a speaker at a moderate volume. Set up your camera and mic on a fixed tripod and stand. This gives you a standard source to check your different recording settings.
Having said all that, the AT897 is a very good mic, especially at this price point. It has a moderate sensitivity, which doesn't give enough gain in some situations when using passive controls. However, it's a very clean and quiet mic, so boosting it some doesn't usually cause a problem.
The ME67 and the K6 body that you'd need to go with it are not only alot more than $300 together, but would be really limiting because of the very directional pattern. I think the AT897 would be a much better choice for general work. The ME66 (short shotgun) and the K6 would still be close to $400 new, and I'd only recommend it if you're always shooting quiet subjects with passive controls like your BeachTek.

David Ennis March 1st, 2005 10:28 AM

Jason, I'm curious as to whether you were testing the SGM-2X in omni mode or with the supercardiod extension. Azden specifies the sensitivity as being twice as high with the extension.

Jay Massengill March 1st, 2005 02:55 PM

Azden's specs on the change in sensitivity are hard for me to believe. When I tested one I didn't note any dramatic difference between the two configurations. After all, it's just adding a tube. The capsule of the mic is in the body and you can either put the small (basically cosmetic) cap on it or the long tube or you can use it bare.

Jason Dirks March 1st, 2005 06:28 PM

Hey guys,

Thanks so much for the great insight.

Fred, I did use the extension barrel when I did my testing. I've also tried the short barrel in a camera mounted scenario and it was pretty much the same . . . had to boost the camera's levels to max which wasn't ideal.

When I tested the supercardioid, I used it in a quiet environment for dialogue recording, altering the levels and such between takes. Jay, I like your idea of using a CD source to compare and contrast settings. I'll try that as well, but the more I think about I think the AT may be the way to go. It's a real bummer because I think the sound quality on the Azden is great. It just doesn't seem to be sensitive enough.

Any other suggestions on mic brands/models? Thanks again.

David Ennis March 1st, 2005 06:46 PM

Jason, my last thought on the Azden goes back to a comment Jay made in an earlier post. To the degree that its impedance contributes to the problem, loading it down by applying its mono output to both channels makes that worse. If you haven't tried it in one channel you may want to do so, then copy to the second channel in post.

No, THIS is my last thought. Although you like the Azden's sound, you may like its replacement's sound even better.

Jason Dirks March 1st, 2005 08:08 PM

True enough!

I'll try it on mono. I left it in stereo based on the Beachtek manual recommendation. Do you know anything about the Sennheiser mke300? I know it's primarily used for on-camera mounting, but I've heard some folks have adjusted it for boom-pole use. Just curious.

David Ennis March 2nd, 2005 08:20 AM

I haven't heard it, but it has been discussed in this forum. My recollection is that the overall reaction is lukewarm, but you might want to do a search on it.

Also have a listen to Ty Ford's downloadable a/v review of the Rode VideoMic: tyford.com, Online Archive, Quickies

Both the Senn and the Rode were designed by quality houses specifically as camcorder upgrades. AT has a few in that category too, ATR25 and ATR55.

Jay Massengill March 2nd, 2005 10:02 AM

Back to the BeachTek settings, which are correctly labeled but I think still misleading to most people (including me at times).
MONO on the BeachTek applies both inputs to both outputs. That would load down your mic, especially if the "off" channel control is all the way down.
STEREO keeps each input separated to the matching output. If you're using just one mic with the switch on STEREO, you'll only record one channel of audio, but it won't load your mic down. You'd have to do as Fred said and copy your track or make it a mono track, it would depend on your editing software.
The Azden and the AT897 are listed as having the same sensitivity, but I know the AT is quieter and as we've said has a lower impedence.
Rode has three new mics out. The VideoMic is like the Senn 300 in design but supposed to be much better. It doesn't require a BeachTek. The other two are XLR mics and will be out this month.

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