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Old April 10th, 2005, 03:56 AM   #1
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The Best General Mic?

What's the best all-around mic, for outdoors and in?

A mic some where along the lines of 500$ and down. I heard shotgun mics are excellent for outdoors, but might not be so good for indoors because of possible Indoor random noises such as the A/C, or the flickering sound from fluorescent lights...plus the fact that because it is indoors keeps all that noise together and compressed which makes it easier for the shotgun mic to pick it up.

I only know a lil about DV and audio equipment, so i'm not quite in-tune with all the DV lingo and slang, so try and be a lil more descriptive, please. Thx a lot.
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Old April 10th, 2005, 09:28 AM   #2
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People ask this same question almost every month... everyone has a little different way of explaining it, but the gist is that they're looking for a do-it-all mic.

The easy answer is that there isn't such a thing. If I were to be just slightly more helpful then I'd say you can get close to that with a Sanken CS-1, Sanken CS-3e, Sennheiser mkh416, or Sennheiser mkh60. I had a 416 and it worked great indoors and out... I rarely encountered the typical problems of using a shotgun indoors. The Sanken CS-3e is supposed to be the absolute best shotgun for this quality... and the CS-1 is right there with the CS-3e... but it's notably thinner sounding then it's bigger brother. The mkh60 is my top pick of the four I mentioned... for a lot of reasons.

But then you may ask, "If the mkh60 will do all around work, then why does Sennheiser make the mkh40 and 50... which are cardioid and hypercardioid?"

And then I'd say, "Read the first sentence of the second paragraph." There is no such thing as an all-around mic, but if you had a $1K budget you could get reasonably close.

That advice probably won't help you much so let me give you something you can use. Since your budget is limited I'd suggest that you get a decent hypercardioid and GOOD support gear... and then you'll have a mic that's excellent for interiors... and is PASSABLE for exteriors. I've used an Oktava mk012 hyper ($193 www.sound-room.com) for a couple years now and this mic has served me very well for interiors and it's been okay for short distances on exteriors. Since shortened distance is the KEY to good sound anyway... why not accept that fact at the same time you force a reasonable mic to do a job that it can just barely do? What I mean is that, if you BOOM that hyper... or get it close some other way... that it will still sound good... even though it's not the same as using the ideal outdoor mic.

Anytime I offer this up as a suggestion I ALWAYS add this caveat. If you think you can get away with this mic outdoors and you DON'T get good support gear you're going to be dissappointed. I use my Oktavas with a Rycote BBG and Jammer... and because they're sensitive to handling noise I mount each in a K-Tek KSSM with SOFT bands. These support items, plus the $193 mic, will almost exactly spend your $500.

For a new guy to audio it's very hard to swallow the fact that proper support gear often costs as much or more then the mic you're supporting... but the sooner you accept that fact the better off you are*.

*The above advice may seem totally hypocritical if you read one of my threads on DIY crap... but those threads aren't intended to be ALTERNATIVES to professional gear... they are intended to help somebody who CAN'T buy professional gear and hopefully they'll get pro stuff when funds allow.
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Old April 10th, 2005, 01:27 PM   #3
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Matt is right on. So if you want us to give you some further guidance, tell us more details such as the camera that you routinely use and the support equipment or people you have access to already.
Also, most people's "general" activities still have a bit of focus. Tell us the kind of projects you shoot most.
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Old April 10th, 2005, 05:18 PM   #4
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If you're like me, don't have a pile of cash for a different mic for every situation, I started off with a pair of Shure VP64A, (omni directional dynamic microphone about $77 each) and hooked them to the camera through a wireless system. With careful placement they work out pretty well. The wireless system (Sennhieser ENG 100 G2) also gives me lavaliers to use too.
I'm happy with them.

I'm not an expert, but that's my two cents...
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Old April 10th, 2005, 06:27 PM   #5
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<<<-- Originally posted by Matt Gettemeier : For a new guy to audio it's very hard to swallow the fact that proper support gear often costs as much or more then the mic you're supporting... but the sooner you accept that fact the better off you are*.
-->>>

Oh, I Totally understand that. Believe me i do. It's kinda like comparing an SLR camera and its lens. The lens is usually equal if not more expensive than the camera sometimes.

But anyways...To answer Jay Massengill's question, I use a Sony DCR-VX2100. Most of the work i do is for my club and we pull off this HUGE show every year where we host about 900 people. I mean, at least it's pretty big for 50 high school students to pull off. Well between each Suite, we play commercials (My Part), so the performers have time to change and what not. Well the commercials are basically Spoofs of Actual Real Commercials/Shows/Movies that we make fun of or give a slight twist to relate to our club. Anyways with all that said, where I film is at my friends house where it is high in foothills so it is usually quiet windy and i pick up alot of that nasty wind sound. Most of the film I shoot is just one-on-one dialogue, so i did some research and found out a lil about Shutguns and Booms and the advantages of these tools. After my research I was thinking of getting the Sennheiser MKH60, a Boom, and other support and expected to spend around $2000 and down.

What I want to know is that....Will this set-up: A Sennheiser MKH60, a Boom, and other support, completely let me down indoors or will it be just fine for indoors and outstanding outdoors? All I'm afraid of is that this mic will be COMPLETELY horrible indoors. But if this set-up will do just fine indoors and Really good Outdoors...well here's my $2000 check. lol.

Well thx ALOT again guys for helping-out a new guy like me.
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Old April 10th, 2005, 08:20 PM   #6
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I think you could go with either an mkh60 or a CS3e and you'll confidently have a world class mic that can "pretty well" do anything you want... and do SOME things PERFECTLY.

Realize that there will constantly be non-ideal situations that may be handled some measure better by a different mic... and this part can't be answered EXACTLY... there's too many variables.

The CS3e and mkh60 have a rear pickup that's very similar. You'll hear a lot of people claim that the CS3e has NO rear tail and that the mkh60 DOES have a tail... but looking at the .pdf files from both companies shows a very similar pattern and so I'll bet that if you put BOTH mics together... that their rear rejection is very similar. (Rear/Side rejection is VERY desireable... in case you need a reminder.)

I was told by a few people that the 416 wasn't any good indoors and then I saw on SOME sites that it's actually SOLD as an indoor mic that also works outdoors! Also after buying one for myself I found that in many interiors the 416 does just as good of job as my hypers. So by extension the mkh60 should get you all of that PLUS variable bass cut... hence my agreement that the 60 would be an excellent choice.

Finally, since you mention the Sony you're using... are you familiar with phantom power? All these mics need it.
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Old April 11th, 2005, 12:04 AM   #7
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Yes, I am familiar with phantom power. I'm planning on buying some kind of BeachTek product. And the CS3e is made by who? Thx alot Matt. That was alot of help.
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Old April 11th, 2005, 08:14 PM   #8
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Sanken... click here.

As far as the higher end mics go, I really like the sound of the Sennheisers... but I admire the Sanken as an audio tool. If I were trying to decide between the two today I'd have a tough time deciding... even though I think the 60 sounds better.

I expect my next high-end mic to be the CS3e... but who knows how long I'll keep it... I'll probably own a 60 at some point as well... even though it's very similar to the 416 I had...

The moral of the story is that you can't go wrong with either of these mics... I don't use the term "world class" lightly and both of these mics are about as good as shotguns get.
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Old April 12th, 2005, 03:47 PM   #9
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what about the Rode Videomic, it's supposed to be pretty good for an "on camera" mic and it comes with a shockmount. I think you can get them for $150 at b and h. Mark
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