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Old March 29th, 2005, 07:43 PM   #1
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$1,000 - starting from scratch

I currently have *no* pro audio equipment. Well, I do have a four-channel digital mixer that I use for guitar. Perhaps that can be called into service.

Anyway, I have a budget of $1,000, and I'd like to gear up with some good mics, wireless and wired?, that will allow me to explore the full range of what my PD170 can do in these situations:

weddings
experimental films
interviews

Which equipment would you suggest? I assume -- but only assume -- that I'll need at least two mics, a boom, lavalier?

I don't know an ohm from an impedence, so I'm totally new. I figure the PD170 with its XLR thingies should not limit me, I hope.

Thanks.
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Old March 29th, 2005, 10:47 PM   #2
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Just speaking from our own experience, probably the single most useful piece of gear we picked up when we first started putting together our audio equipment is the SoundDevices MM1. It's a single channel preamp with limiter, as well as a headphone monitor for the boom-op. Having a limiter really helps a lot, especially if you don't have a dedicated person watching the levels. You'll be able to record a hotter signal and minimize the camera's gain settings.

Of course you'll need all the other stuff -- mic, boom pole, shock mount, etc. The mic is a crucial choice, but I'll let other people make recommendations on that. You haven't budgeted a lot for this. The reason I mention the MM1 is because it's a very forward thinking piece of gear that will outlast pretty much everything else you're going to buy at this stage, including the camera. Another strategy might be to spend as much as possible on the mic and make do with serviceable, but inexpensive other gear for everything else.
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Old March 30th, 2005, 07:07 AM   #3
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Thanks. I take it one needs an MM1 for each microphone?
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Old March 30th, 2005, 07:10 AM   #4
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If you're going to use the PD170 - you'll have really good audio on-camera. It's got pretty good control via the camera, so at least your final destination is solid.

Myself personally? I'd buy a Azden shotgun, 2 Azden wireless lav mics, boom pole and good cables to convert the mini-plugs to XLR's.

This setup would be around $1000, but would give you a shotgun for the Weddings and run and gun stuff. Also, the 2 wireless mics for Weddings, Interviews and other events where you need to seperate mics on people. The boom pole would be for your experimental films.

When you do a few Weddings and make some cash I'd upgrade either the shotgun or the lavs.

All my former students used Azden mics...never had any problems with them. They are the lowest cost, but decent enough to get the job done mics available. You definately want to upgrade when you start making money...it'll justify the upgrade by then. Otherwise, scrape up another $500 or so...and get the Sony lavs that everyone talks about (I forget the model #, but they're UHF lavs...not VHF and cost about $500 a piece on B&H)....also, upgrade the shotgun to the ME66.

So, either get everything you need for $1000 or so. Or scrape up a little more cash and go one step up and not have to upgrade for quite a while. It depends on how serious you are...and also, how much cash you have beyond $1000. I'd get the Azdens and make them pay for themselves quickly and then upgrade....
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Old March 30th, 2005, 02:21 PM   #5
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As far as shotguns go, the AT4073a is really good value. It is ~$80 more than the ME66 and sounds (much) better than it. The Azden shotgun does not compare to other shotguns from what I've heard of it, although its sound *may* be subjectively considered better even though its not very accurate. Anyways, you can listen to the clips yourself. Pay attention to what you're monitoring on, as better equipment will reveal more differences, but may be less practical if no one in your audience has equipment that good.
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Old March 30th, 2005, 02:45 PM   #6
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"Thanks. I take it one needs an MM1 for each microphone?"

It's single channel, but you're unlikely to need a preamp and limiter on two channels in most situations. You'd just plug the other mic straight into the camera. If you really wanted to have that kind of flexibility, you'd want a mixer instead of two MM1s. Generally, you budget about $400 a channel for good stuff.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 07:11 PM   #7
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With a $1000 budget id recommend Audio Technica. Possibly a AT897. Not a bad mic for the price. Sony wireless systems are great (UWP). Id forget about the azden stuff. it may take a little longer to make your money back with the sony lavs and AT shotgun but itll save money in the long run. That way you wont have to by an Azden setup then invest another $1500 for more stuff. just my personal thoughts.
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