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Old May 9th, 2005, 02:04 PM   #1
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High-end microphones Questions

Hello,

I have few questions about Professional microphones (shotgun and others)

I just bought an Azden sgm-2x (thinking i would be able to save $$ without compromise..) and i'm very disapointed.

First question: Let's say i'll buy a better mic (Sennheiser MKH416 per exemple), what difference will i HEAR ? I mean besides specs... What difference will i observe on the field ?

Second question: With a shotgun, is the mic's quality is the only part of good lenght sound capture, or other facts are involved in how-far the mic can get accurate-good-clean sound ?

Third question: What mic (indoor and outdoor) major productions (Hollywood) are using ? In other words: let's say there is no budget limit; what microphone set-up/recording method should we use for maximum quality/efficiency ?


Thank you

Jon
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Old May 9th, 2005, 03:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Let's say i'll buy a better mic (Sennheiser MKH416 per exemple), what difference will i HEAR ? I mean besides specs... What difference will i observe on the field ?
Here's what I hear:
Off-axis coloration is a lot less. If you talk into the shotgun mic and rotate it so your voice hits off-axis, you will hear your voice change in character. Detail on the MKH416 will be much improved over the Azden.

In interiors, the Azden will probably sound weird/artificial/hollow (because of echoes hitting the mic off-axis) unless you get it close to the sound source. The MKH416 will exhibit this to a much lesser degree.

In exteriors I don't think the difference is quite as much, although the Azden will lack detail. They both will still pickup wind noise (a lot more than other microphone types).

Quote:
Second question: With a shotgun, is the mic's quality is the only part of good lenght sound capture, or other facts are involved in how-far the mic can get accurate-good-clean sound ?
With shotguns, off-axis coloration and detail will improve as you move up in price. I'm not sure if they will also have extended frequency response, although that isn't a big deal for dialogue (it's common for people to roll off the low bass frequencies anyways; there's no voice frequencies there and it gets rid of some rumble).

With all microphones, the closer you get to the sound source the less background noise you will pickup. More directional mics will exhibit the proximity effect (more bass as you get closer), but that isn't a big deal. This means a camcorder-mounted microphone will generally pickup the most background noise, even if you use a shotgun. A boom mic or lav would get substantially less background noise.

Reach/directionality is related to the type of microphone and not really related to price.

Quote:
Third question: What mic (indoor and outdoor) major productions (Hollywood) are using ? In other words: let's say there is no budget limit; what microphone set-up/recording method should we use for maximum quality/efficiency ?
They use microphones like the Sennheiser MKH416 and Schoeps CMC6/MK41. They also use things that can get really expensive such as:
field mixers (i.e. sonosax is over $20k), multitrack recorders (i.e. deva, roughly 20k [I forget the price]), and wireless systems (i.e. lectrosonics, zaxcom, etc.) which can be a few thousand each. Sometimes the audio guys spend so much on gear because they have a lot of money. There are much cheaper ways to get some of that gear with a minimal difference in quality (i.e. use a laptop to record multitrack).

For your uses, what you should get depends on what you shoot (weddings, documentaries, narrative/drama, studio, etc.).
The equipment you already own (i.e. what camera) and your budget would make a difference too.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 02:52 AM   #3
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Great, and informative answer, Glen.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 01:56 AM   #4
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Thank you Glen, very helpful. I'm very picky regarding sound and i must get the most information possible.

I talked yesterday with a guy involved in movies sound recording who recommends me NEUMANN mic's (warmth)

I will probably find a way to listen it by myself, but i want to hear several models. Anyway, for what i understand, there is a mic for every situation and even for every type of voice/sound source.

I shot tonight for the first time with a Canon XL2 in 24p 16x9 and the image is very near of the "film look" that i want, but the sound is a major problem that i must resolve.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 07:03 PM   #5
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Hey Jon,

This is going to sound snide, but that's what may happen when you talk
with a crusty old burned out audio guy like me ;0

First, Azden mics, as far as pro audio snobs think, are crap. Their shotguns
are some of the worst mics ever made that sell over $100.

What will you hear when you hook up a Sennheiser 416 or Schoeps MK41?

#1) You'll immediately notice just how much 'reach' these mics have.
Either will sound better 10' away from talent than that azden does rammed
down his/her throat.

#2) The sound is CLEAN from lows to highs; not muffled, mushy, boxey
tinny or filled with hiss. (How does Azden accomplish all of this at once ;)

#3) The sound is full range and fairly flat in freq. response when compared
to an Azden. The lows are clear, have depth and are solid. The highs are crisp and brilliant. The mids are rich and transparent. The overall sound
is open and natural.

#4) Your recorded dialog will sound like it does in the movies and on TV.
The reason is these are the mics the pros use. The Azden will forever
delegate you to "Uncle Elmer's" production values.

And yes, Neumann makes great mics. You almost cannot go wrong
with a Neumann. They have a couple of flavors of shotgun if that is what you are looking to purchase.

My best to you Sir!!!
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Old May 11th, 2005, 08:16 PM   #6
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While the Azden is not a very good microphone, the Azden at 1 foot will probably give useable sound where any other microphone 10ft away will not. Having quality gear is not always as important as using it right (i.e. avoid putting the microphone on a camcorder). Distance makes a huge difference in the amount of background noise you get.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 04:38 PM   #7
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Why would you even use a shotgun mic at a wedding? I normally use 2 wireless mics, 1 minidisc recorder, 2 camera mics, and 99% of the time I'm able to plug my Marantz pmd670 right into the Church or Dj's sound system. So how would the shotgun mic benefit me?

Thanks,
Eric
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Old May 27th, 2005, 06:40 PM   #8
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Shotgun mic.

There's nothing wrong with having a good shotgun mic on any wedding job. There will be situations where a videogrpaher will get great moments with the wedding party between the ceremony and reception and a good shotgun mic will capture the fun dialogue between everyone without being obtrusive.

Besides...

Having a good shotgun mic will make your overall video production package that much better, especially if you buy a Sennheiser MKH416, Schoeps CMC6/MK41, or a Neumann MKH 60.
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