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Old May 26th, 2005, 02:06 PM   #1
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Replacing stock Sony PD150 mic

This is for use in reverberant interiors.
Right now I'm considering either the Oktava 012
(with hyper cap) or the AT4053a. The AT mic
costs more than twice as much and I'm
wondering if it's worth the price difference.
Any thoughts on any of this?
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Old May 26th, 2005, 04:13 PM   #2
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If this mic doesn't need to have critically low self-noise, you should consider an AT873r. Generally costs less than a tested Oktava, has hotter output and is much less susceptible to wind and handling noise. (Although like any mic it must be protected from wind and handling noise, it's just much easier and cheaper to accomplish with this mic.) It has more self-noise than the Oktava, the AT3031, 4053a, or the Rode NT3, but I continue to be impressed when using the ones I have for camera-mounted run and gun or interior booming in reverberent locations. As long as there is some natural ambient noise and you aren't trying to catch purposely quiet dialogue, then the weak point would probably be the PD-150 and not the AT873r. It does a good job of sounding "on-mic" in situations that tend to sound hollow or distant with many other mics.
Another choice in the higher price category is the AKG SE300b body with the CK93 hyper capsule.
The AT4053a is a good mic, and its price has recently come down some, but mine picks up substantial bass frequencies even with the bass roll-off activated when used for interiors. I was pleased, but not blown away, considering the extra money paid at that time. As long as the self-noise isn't an issue, I usually go for the AT873r instead.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 04:22 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Largent
This is for use in reverberant interiors.
Right now I'm considering either the Oktava 012
(with hyper cap) or the AT4053a. The AT mic
costs more than twice as much and I'm
wondering if it's worth the price difference.
Any thoughts on any of this?
Answer: YES

ANSWER: and the Schoeps cmc641 is twice as expensive as the AT and is also worth every penny.

But here's the thing. Both the 4073 and Schoeps are boom mics. While you CAN mount them on a PD150, the issue of you being too far away will cause big problems. If you're doing dialog you need to get a LOT closer; just out of frame and on a boom.

I have A/B'd the PD150 on camera mic with a Sennheiser 416. The difference is jaw dropping. If you're shooting in an area with very few reflective surfaces, you might get away with a camera mounted shotgun, but they suck for interiors on a boom because shotgun mics are much more omni directional at mid and low frequencies. Sounds like your work is taking you into boom territory though.

There's more about this in my little book.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old May 26th, 2005, 06:24 PM   #4
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Ty, do you have any comparisons between the two? (oktava and at4053a)

2- On a certain website, there's a bunch of clips comparing a wide range of condenser microphones one of which is an expensive Neuman TLM103 (>$1000). In blind listening, it usually gets put in the middle of the pack. That's one case where expensive isn't necessarily better. Although in music, you can get away with a $100 shure sm58 or subwoofer as a microphone. In video, shotgun microphones definitely get better with price and it doesn't boil down to subjective taste as much.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 06:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
Ty, do you have any comparisons between the two? (oktava and at4053a)

2- On a certain website, there's a bunch of clips comparing a wide range of condenser microphones one of which is an expensive Neuman TLM103 (>$1000). In blind listening, it usually gets put in the middle of the pack. That's one case where expensive isn't necessarily better. Although in music, you can get away with a $100 shure sm58 or subwoofer as a microphone. In video, shotgun microphones definitely get better with price and it doesn't boil down to subjective taste as much.
Sorry Glenn,

You'll have to take my word on this one.

As for the TLM 103, a LOT depends on what you plug it into. I own two TLM 103s. They sound pretty much like crap through a Focusrite RED 2, but through my GML (and many other preamps) they sound very nice.

Regards,

Ty
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Old May 26th, 2005, 07:29 PM   #6
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Ty, I was talking about the 4053, not the 4073.

Also, what diference would I notice between the
Oktava and the 4053, that you think would make
the 4053 worth the extra money?

Thanks.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 07:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Largent
Ty, I was talking about the 4053, not the 4073.

Also, what diference would I notice between the
Oktava and the 4053, that you think would make
the 4053 worth the extra money?

Thanks.
Right. That's what I meant, the 4053. You'll still have to take my word on it...or not. :)

Ty
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Old May 26th, 2005, 08:32 PM   #8
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Not that Ive tried lots of mics so i cant compare but i do own the AKG se300/CK93 and use it on my VX(w/DXA8) all the time. This mic is wonderful indoors and out.Physically its very small and even though ive got a k-tek shockmount the mic by itself does not pick up much handling noise.I went from the ME66 to this and i couldnt be happier.It also gives you the ability to use an active cable which is good if you need to plant the mic say on the interior of a car etc.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 10:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill
It does a good job of sounding "on-mic" in situations that tend to sound hollow or distant with many other mics.
Another choice in the higher price category is the AKG SE300b body with the CK93 hyper capsule.
The AT4053a is a good mic, and its price has recently come down some, but mine picks up substantial bass frequencies even with the bass roll-off activated when used for interiors. I was pleased, but not blown away, considering the extra money paid at that time. As long as the self-noise isn't an issue, I usually go for the AT873r instead.
That's my problem right now:
I've got a shotgun that sounds real hollow, and a cardioid
with a big presence peak that sounds real distant.

It caught my eye that you usually go for the 873 over
the 4053. Just wondering what makes you choose the
873?

Also, I saw an 873 for sale for about 40% off
the store's regular price, listed as a "demo model".
What does demo usually mean? Do they let customers
take the mic home for awhile and see how they like it?
It sounds a bit risky buying a "demo mic" sight unseen,
without a return policy, I would think.

Last edited by Dave Largent; May 27th, 2005 at 06:36 AM.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 02:09 PM   #10
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Unfortunately, "demo" could mean anything... It's probably fine, but with a mic of this price level, I'd probably opt for a new one.
I reserve my 4053a and fairly new C480/CK63 for field situations that demand lower self-noise or a broader frequency response. Other than that, the resistance to handling noise, ease of wind-protection, the built-in frequency response that seems to me just right for dialogue, and great off-axis behavior make me reach for one of my 873r's.
It uses a very small diaphragm, I'm guessing a 1/4-inch or less, I've never found any specs. This gives it greater ability to sound clean in bad situations, but is also the source of its higher self-noise. I really wish AT would update this mic with 30 or 40 series electronics to try and improve the noise but keep everything else the same. Either that or make a hypercardioid model to go with the 897.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 02:34 PM   #11
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Microphones usually don't get damaged or suffer from wear and tear? I would feel comfortable buying a demo microphone.

One exception is an Apex microphone I rented... poor construction meant my friend had to solder a wire back together when I accidentally broke it trying to check if it had a battery inside. Apex makes cheap knock-off microphones.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 03:39 PM   #12
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I just wish some of my usual vendors (like the Info Net
sponsors) carried the 873.
I'm kind of surprised they don't. A lot of the places
that sell it have names like some of those stores
you hear about in New York that are disreputable.
Now, that 873 comes with a foam screen, right?
When you use fur with the mic, do you also use the
foam, or does the fur just go over the metal grille?

So, have you made any impressions about that
AKG 480/63? (That's another one that I haven't
seen around at many of the vendors.) How's
it seem to fair against the 4053?
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Old May 27th, 2005, 06:48 PM   #13
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I know that bayviewproaudio.com has it pretty low priced. I've never ordered anything from them, but that's one available vendor.
This mic is part of AT's Unipoint line of installation and sound contractor mics, so it's not as commonly available. Many vendors that do house of worship installations will have them.
It does come with a foam screen, but it's so small, tight, fragile and ineffective that they really shouldn't bother. I simply use a FatCat furry secured over the very small metal grill with a small black hairband for outdoors. Indoors I use a thicker generic foam screen secured with the same small hairband. The mic also has an internal foam screen. If you hold the mic up to a bright light you can see how small this inner screen is, so the diaphragm is really small.
The only characteristic I've gathered about the C480/CK63 is that it is very low noise, but it is almost too sparse in bass pickup. I really haven't had enough use to know for sure. It seems to be markedly different from the CK62 cardioid capsule, so I may have a defective hyper cap and I need to do more testing. Now that things have slowed down I can probably get to that. At the present time I'm almost wishing I had spent that same money on the CS-1, but perhaps more use will improve my outlook.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 10:18 PM   #14
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I used to have the CS-1. Past tense. Too "thin" in
the sound for my tastes.
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Old May 28th, 2005, 05:53 PM   #15
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You would like the heavy bottom end of the 4053a then, although that makes it effectively less directional. Acoustically the Oktava with hypercardioid cap is better balanced, but its greater susceptibility to handling and air current noises, as well as its lower sensitivity into a PD-150 tend to hamper it.
Again if self-noise isn't a problem, the AT873r works great.
Unless you can move up to an MKH-50 or Schoeps CMC6/Mk41, there's always one acoustic or mechanical drawback to each of the other mics we've talked about.
I'll let you know what my further use of the C480/CK63 reveals. Right now I feel mine is way thin too.
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