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Old April 2nd, 2005, 07:32 PM   #1
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Giant Squid vs Audio Technica Lav Test!

A few folks have been discovering the awesome Giant Squid homemade lav's and based on a recommendation I picked a couple up....here's the results:

I have the Giant Squid Mono Omni lav and the Audio Technica AT830mW, both set up equidistant from a glass (about 2 1/2 inches) with the ATPro88W VHF transmitter/recievers into the DVX XLR inputs with a mic (as opposed to line) signal set to -60db (as opposed to the -50db default) in camera with the DVX preamps set to 50% recorded straight into Vegas Capture via firewire. Loosely modeled after a test that was also posted here a while back involving a shotgun mic.

The difference is pretty amazing, to say the least. On the Giant Squid, you can even hear the booming of my 3 year old and friend running through the house. And let me tell you, dammit Jim, I'm a videographer....not a singer, but what would a lav test be without some vocals! The Giant Squid SMOKES the AT in every way....clarity, fullness, and signal strenght. This is the NON battery powered mic. For anyone who would find it interesting, Darren of GS says that a battery powered lav gives you a signal 15 decibals LOWER than a non battery powered. Defies all logic, I know, but a test I did a couple of days ago between the AT and a battery powered Radio Shack lav does indeed point to this being true. The RS lav was promptly returned.

I will definately be contacting Darren for more of these awesomely priced and performing little beauties!They're pretty weighty too...when you pick em up, you feel like you've got something thats made to do some serious business!

Test Clips: (Right click Save As, please!)

http://runyon.cinemaelectronica.com/audiotechnica.mp3


http://runyon.cinemaelectronica.com/giantsquid.mp3


Giant Squid Audio Labs:

http://www.giant-squid-audio-lab.com/

I have zero relation to GS, aside from being a very impressed customer.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 07:50 PM   #2
 
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To make a clickable link, just add [url] to the front of the link and [/url/ to the end of the link with no spaces.

I'd like to hear this where you hadn't processed it in any way. In other words, the AT feeding one input, and the GS feeding the other, so we're getting one stereo file, that we can pan back/forth on. In Forge, it appears that the GS has been pumped up, or it's on a different surface than the AT.
It's definitely louder, no doubt. If it's that much louder on it's own, it's impressive, even though it's a little honkier.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 08:04 PM   #3
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Greets DSE, you must have looked before I got the link stuff figured out, thank you though Mr. Spot!

There is no post work done on these, outside splitting left and right and encoding to mp3. They were recorded into Vegas, but not edited or pumped up in any way. One was going into channel one of the DVX, and the other was into channel two, recorded simultaneous under completely identical setup. I swear this on my very manhood, this is as pure of a test I am capable of performing with the equipment I have in that I dont own any fancy meters or whatnot. In other words, DSE, this test is EXACTLY what you're asking for!


Wait a minute, I see what youre wanting with the single panable stereo file.....I'll make that right now!

Also, in regard to surface, there is no difference whatsoever. I had the glass centered on my desk in front of me, with each lav propped up at equal height, pointing directly to the glass at the same angle and distance, about 2 1/2 inches away and 1 1/2 inches high....actually, both were propped on a seperate battery cover from the back of the AT transmitters.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 08:35 PM   #4
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Ok, here's the stereo file...as requested!

http://runyon.cinemaelectronica.com/...eftATright.mp3

GS on the left, AT on the right...

Edit...
I think I must not be doing this right..they sound identical from both sides. DSE, I have Vegas set to NOT normalize, and I have channels set to both, yet it sounds like it blended them to me. ???

If you look at the peaks on the audio track though, it very clearly shows a significant amount more activity going on for the left (GS) channel.

Edit again:
Just opened the raw file in Sound Forge, and rendered to mp3 untouched again....and still cant tell a lick of difference in the files when I open it in Vegas and pan Land R. But if I go to the audio track and set it to either L or R, as oppoesed to both, the difference is clearly there. What am I getting wrong here?
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 09:33 PM   #5
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Thanks for taking the time to setup the test. I bought squid today for my iRiver!

Jon
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 10:24 PM   #6
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Your most welcom, sir East.

Ok, I dont really understand this at all, but when I pull the stereo mp3 up in any audio ap, the levels for the left channel are clearly hotter, but when I pan, I can't really discern a difference, unless I absolutely turn off one or the other.....then, it is super clear.....but, me no Spot!
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Old April 3rd, 2005, 11:24 PM   #7
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Okie Dokie...
Today, I used the Giant Squid in a real world situation, and there is no doubt....these are amazing microphones!

I have been working on a documentary (for lack of better description) that has had me following my subject around at speakings, and some private interviewing. The first time out, I used a shotgun, as he was speaking while sitting at a table, and it was great audio. Another time, he was pacing as he spoke and I put the AT lav on him....got decent results, but was deeply disatisfied in the pit of my soul....dreaded having to ever use the lavs. But today, with fairly great confidence, I wired him up with the Giant Squid, and when I got home and imported the footage.....I was filled with joy at the beautiful, full, clear signal! I just ordered up three more for my iRivers, and feel as if I can now handle most situations with great confidence...with a $25 mic made in a guys house! Audio Technica should be ashamed, with their muti million dollar developement and manufacturing churning out such disappointing performers as the AT830mW lavs. Now, the Pro88W transmitter and reciever....good stuff, but the mics are not fit for use, in my opinion.
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Old April 3rd, 2005, 11:33 PM   #8
 
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Daniel, the very mic that you are beating up on has helped me earn a couple Grammy's...so, I'd have to heavily dispute your comment that "the mics are not fit for use, in my opinion." I've also used the 831 as my main flute mic for 10 years, ever since it came out.

You can submit that the AT mic is older, and that there are perhaps better materials out there, I'd likely accept that. There is also a substance with AT, Shure, Shoeps, etc. They are not potentially fly by night companies that could go out of business tomorrow, nor are they only having to foot the bill for one guy.

Independent shops often make far better, or at least better products than the big boys. John Hardy hand makes each pre-amp he sells. I have a couple of them. IMO, they're the best sounding pre-amp in the world. And I can pick up the phone and call him.
But I'd never suggest that the Presonus or M-Audio, or other reasonably priced pre's are not fit for use.
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Old April 3rd, 2005, 11:40 PM   #9
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Understood, DSE, but this is the 830mW, which is only available with the Pro88W VHF kit, so there must be a world of difference in the 831. If you heard the disapointing audio I got at the speaking engagement with it, I would sincerely hope you'd deem it unusable, as much of a professional ear as you would have! You have indeed heard the two clips above, and the quality difference is night and day (despite the fact that I cant figure out a way to make a proper stereo clip!).

If you would wish (though I'm sure you dont concern yourself enough with this) I'd be happy to send you both mics (the AT and GS) to test yourself and see what you think. The actual real world results mirror directly the first test clips I posted!

I do appreciate you taking time to interact, sir Spot!

Daniel
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Old April 3rd, 2005, 11:58 PM   #10
 
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I've written to Darren, I'd like to test out his mics. I also don't know the 830mW mic, so can't comment much on it. The 831 is in the 830 series....

That said, the film that we placed in the Berlin Film fest a few years back used a 6.00 stick on mic from Walmart or CompUSA, I forget which.

In other words, a lot of the deal is knowing how to use the mic.

I'm not trying to bust your butt over this, it's just that I *try* (and often fail) to keep things in perspective. It happens when you get old. However, if you've tried them side by side in a real world situation, and the Squid is THAT much better, i've no reason to doubt you.
The sample you uploaded is clearly a better sound. Do keep in mind that the Squid is half the cost of the entire AT wireless system.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 12:15 AM   #11
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Cool, DSE! If you wish, I'll send you the AT's to test with em, and you wont even have to send em back!

I can completely understand trying to keep a perspective, no doubt I would not want people contributing to the abundance of bad info that flows in the world...but I am 100% positive of these results, and I really do hope people will get a useful chunk of info from it:

1) Giant Squid non-battery powered mono omni's rock.

2) Audio Technica 830mW lavs produce very disappointing results (in my opinion).

3) Audio Technica Pro88W VHF wireless kits (transmitter and reciever sans mic) are super fine dirt cheap wireless performers! WELL worth the $169, even if they came micless!

Again, thank you sir, for taking the time to interact...I have serious respect for you...especially your butt saving Vegas 5 Editing Workshop, that has enabled me to become a pretty dang decent editor!

Daniel
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Old April 4th, 2005, 12:21 AM   #12
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well, hurry, cause I posted this on RAMPS, and I'd like to know more about these lav's for dialogue usage on motion pictures and what they are comparable to. *smile*

I wouild need to wire TA5 connectors for wireless use and/or extended cables with XLR connectors on them for discreet plant mics.

- ShannonRawls.com
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Old April 4th, 2005, 12:39 AM   #13
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I'm grabbing a couple of these - thanks Daniel !
The iRiver mics are specially configured to operate the iRiver in mono, thus doubling the length of recording and higher highest quality -if I'm not mistaken. Nice!
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Old April 4th, 2005, 01:04 AM   #14
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You're quite welcome, and you're not mistaken! As it turns out, even though other mics were mono, they had stereo mini plugs and the iRiver was recognizing them as stereo...recording mono to two tracks no matter what you set the firmware to. According the Darren and others (over at VU) these new iRiver lavs from GS are recognized by the firmware as such and record to a single track.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 09:10 AM   #15
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You should repeat the test but run it in two phases.
Use the same setup as before and record one sequence. Then attach each mic to the opposite transmitter and record again without making any other changes. See if you get the same results.
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