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Old November 11th, 2009, 01:12 PM   #1
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Selecting Hypercardiod Microphone for Film

I'm looking to purchase a hypercardiod microphone for shooting interiors for narrative and documentary films. My budget is uncertain right now; it could range from $500 to $1000. For the $500 and below price range, I've heard great reviews of the AKG CK93 the AT 4053, and the Oktava MK012. For the $1000 and below, I've haven't seen anything that stands out, though the MKH50 is supposed to amazing. Anyone ever seen it being sold used for under $1000. Does anybody recommend one of the mics in particular or have any other suggestions? Also, would these mics work with the Rode Blimp / Suspension system? Or should I get a separate shockmount for indoor use like the Pearstone DUS-M?

Is it worhould also mention that I my intended showcase for the finished product is the web or DVD, so if the difference between a great mic (MKH50) and a good mic (AKG CK93) can't be heard on normal speaker or headphones, then the cheaper is all I need.

A separate issue: Is it worth the money to get a cheaper microphone like the AKG CK93 and save money for a mixer or pre-amp like the MM-1? Again, how much difference would it make given my target venue is the web / DVD.

Thanks.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 01:17 PM   #2
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as far as the oktava goes they have alot of mic handling noise.
i have the thing is on a shockmount which is then connected to a fibre boom pole. when i grip the pole, the minute i carefully lift my thumb to reposition it sounds like a record scratched. otherwise great sounding mic.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 04:16 PM   #3
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While I agree that the MK-012 has some handling issues, I have never had them to a degree anything like what George has just mentioned. Get a decent shockmount and make sure your boom pole has padded areas to grip (as mine does) and I do not think that the handling noise issues should be considered "disqualifying" per se. I also wonder if the flood of knockoffs that hit the market about 10 years ago might have been worse than the true Russian ones (which I know mine to be).

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Old November 11th, 2009, 10:53 PM   #4
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I haven't used the Octavas, but personally, I feel it would be skimping a little too much. Issues with quality control as well as RF and handling problems seem well documented. I think they're for people with truly no budget, like say a 13 year old who has to find a way to buy gear with their allowance or something. Budgeting $400 for Blueline or AT and getting an MM1 or even a Mixpre is a wise, forward thinking strategy that will serve you well for years.

You can't beat the Invision shockmount on performance and price. They really built a better mousetrap with that thing. In fact, you Octava users should get one pronto if you don't have it already. I'll bet it will cure a lot of your handling woes.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...icrophone.html
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Old November 12th, 2009, 01:49 AM   #5
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You could always try the MKH 8050 - much cheaper then the MKH 50 and the same sort of quality.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 10:41 AM   #6
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I think I'll go with either the AT or the Blueline and either MM-1 or MixPre (if I can find the latter used.) Does any have any suggestions about choosing between the AT and the Blueline? Either one have any strengths or weaknesses compared to the other?
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Old November 12th, 2009, 12:28 PM   #7
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Haven't used the AT, but it is well recommended. I use and like the Blueline, but the AT seems comparable. Based on the stats, it seems that the AT has a better-looking polar pattern and the Blueline has a prettier-looking frequency response, at least it's more uniform. Both would seem to have their advantages and disadvantages.

AT4053 page with PDF
Audio-Technica - Microphones, headphones, wireless microphone systems, noise-cancelling headphones & more : AT4053b Hypercardioid Condenser Microphone

Blueline with PDF
CK 93 (AKG Blue Line)
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Old November 12th, 2009, 01:16 PM   #8
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I own a MK12 and agree with others comments on its handling noise. It's also picks up wind so you'll need a good windscreen/blimp for it. These issues might be due to its high sensitivity.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 09:02 PM   #9
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I own a mk-012 ($180) as well as a Schoeps cmc641 ($1800). The schoeps by most accounts is *the* hollywood go-to hypercardioid. While its true that the mk-012 has more handling noise, the schoeps has quite a bit too. I have a ktek ssms (the extra S is the "soft rubber" mount) and a rycote baby ball gag. Both work with either the schoeps or the oktava, and the two reduce the handling and wind noise down to levels I can work with. The oktava needs wind protection even if you are just swinging it around a room. The schoeps can often get by with just the foam protector... although i've had the BBG on the schoeps indoors many times.

My point isnt so much one mic vs. another, as much as no matter what hypercardioid you buy, you are going to need to invest a healthy chunk into your support and wind protection.

I will say this, "For the price", the oktava is phenomenal. Its certainly not 10x worse than the schoeps... not that my ears are all that special or mics can be reliably graded as X times better or worse than each other. hehe.

I'm not 13. I bought my Oktava a couple years ago. i blew my budget on a mix pre, ktek boom, mount, BBG and cables. I had enough left over for the Oktava. A year later when i had more budget, i bought the schoeps. My theory was that good support gear + an oktava was infinitely more useful than an expensive mic with no mixer, cables, boom, mount or wind block. In retrospect I stand by that being the right decision. I still keep the oktava in the kit and occasionally find uses for it. Same wouldn't be true if i had bought cheapy support and mixing gear.

my 1.7 cents.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 10:28 PM   #10
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Thanks Andrew. Nothing like input from a real user, as compared to repeated old wives tales.. I have NEVER used the Scheops, but can only imagine that it is pretty good stuff... My impressions of the Oktava - based on my real usage, comparisons to high end mics aside, mirror yours exactly.

I'm not sorry I bought my Oktava MK-012 - I did my research and avoided a chinese knockoff, and then had it modded once I got it. I am happy with it - as an end address mic with a hyper, cardiod and omni capsule it fills a nice spot in my kit. But I hasten to add, it is just a small part of the kit. I fully agree with your approach.
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Old November 16th, 2009, 12:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin F. Teague View Post
I'm looking to purchase a hypercardiod microphone for shooting interiors for narrative and documentary films.
I'm very happy with the AKG CK93 (with SE300B power module) for indoor work. I don't feel there's a need to spend more. But I have zero experience with those others, so maybe they do offer something worth looking into.
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Old November 16th, 2009, 08:52 AM   #12
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Andrew does have a point. The Schoeps is very susceptible to handling noise. In fact, it almost can't be used on a boom without the low-cut engaged.

And okay, maybe the 13 year old comment was a bit harsh. I do think that with audio it's always a mistake to buy non-pro items. The Blueline and AT4053 are budget mics, but they are pro gear. The Oktavas aren't pro mics, or at least they don't seem to be used on professional shoots except when they are needed in dangerous situations. I have read that they are often used on big budget features to records explosions and things like that in scenarios where the mic is in danger of getting burnt up and so on.

I would say (and this just me), if I had a choice between the Blueline/AT and an MM1, or an Octava and a Mixpre, I'd take the first option.
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Old November 16th, 2009, 08:21 PM   #13
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There are some online comparisons of mics out there... maybe these help, maybe not, but you CAN listen to some side by sides on occasion and use that to assist you. Often though they don't have he mics you are wanting to compare on their list.

However, if If you want to compare the Schoeps to the Oktava (an unfair test to be sure) you can do it here:

As I Hear It - Choosing the Right Microphone

Dan Brockett is a pretty good hand at all this. He regularly writes a sound column in HDV Pro magazine, and is an industry professional.

Chris S.

ps. His comments on the "factory fresh" MK-012 are spot on in my experience. The mod really helps improve the shortcomings he mentions.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 07:36 PM   #14
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Thanks for posting that link Chris - very helpful.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 09:38 PM   #15
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Picked up my Oktava with 3 capsules and a 10db pad on E-Bay for $175. I paid about $75 to have it modded. It is a terrific performer for the money. I've never felt like I bought a tinker toy mic, or even a non-professional mic for that matter. I know it's shortcoming s and attributes. Someday I may own a schoeps, but before then I have been using the money I saved for shotguns, lavs, large diaphragm studio, tube preamps, etc etc. which greatly expand my capabilities beyond what owning a single high end mic would. PLUS, I can sell it when and if the time ever came, for as much as I paid for it. Remember no one mic can do everything well.

ps. For those considering a less expensive microphone... see if there is not a mod for it. Their often a lackuster performance is mainly due to cheap electronic components which CAN be changed. For not a lot of money it can turn them into formidable mics for a very good pricepoint.
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