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Old November 30th, 2009, 08:34 AM   #1
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Shotgun mics on a budget!

Hi Guys,

I recently bought a Sony Z1 and as I'm sure you all know, the internal mic is no good for anything so it's time to upgrade my audio.

There is such a big range of mics out there that I have no idea where to start, and if you look at reviews and so forth there are always bad and good points for each.

I want to shoot indoors and outdoors and have the mic either attached to the shoe of the Z1 in a shock mount or on a boom pole.

I've been looking at both the ME66/K6 and the Rode NTG-2 but I'm open to other suggestions, although I don't really want to get any more expensive than that.

However, I've heard that the ME66 doesn't really sound great indoors so that has put me off slightly. Then I've also read that shotgun mics arent really good indoors at all. So as you can tell I'm quite confused.

Any help on which mic to get for this purpose would be really helpful. Thanks :)
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Old November 30th, 2009, 08:58 AM   #2
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I have the Rřde NTG-1 and love it. Shotguns aren't good for indoors because they pick up sounds reflections from the hard surfaces (walls and ceilings.) For an all-purpose mic, I have found the NTG-1 to be fine for my needs. I usually shoot sports for the campus new show. When shooting something that I can set up for, interviews or a scripted film, I will use a clip-on or put the Rřde on a boom.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 10:25 AM   #3
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If you are okay with 3.5mm input jack, Rode VideoMic will be a good choice.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 11:00 AM   #4
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First of all, you've not provided info as to the kinds of shooting you do, which hampers highly specific recommendations. Not knockin' ya, but recommendations will differ a lot if you're a nature shooter vs. an interview shooter vs. a wedding shooter.

My NTG-2 is an insane value. Not the best mic ever, but for the price I think it's hard to beat. It's great indoors in acoustically dead rooms you can control (studio), where I've used it for SFX recording with great success, but like most shotguns, you're gonna have problems in reflective interiors you may not be able to modify (in the field). I've heard the Sanken CS3e and Schoeps CMIT5u and they're amazing indoors, but they're an order of magnitude more expensive than the shotgun mics you're considering.

Any reason you'd not be considering a hypercardioid instead? Pickup pattern is similar, but a wee more forgiving, and you won't have the indoor/outdoor problem. There are a lot more options in that price range, too. Short shotguns won't give you that much more "reach" than a hypercardioid.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 11:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Carlson View Post
IShotguns aren't good for indoors because they pick up sounds reflections from the hard surfaces (walls and ceilings.)
*All* microphones pick-up these reflections, not just shotguns!
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Old November 30th, 2009, 11:57 AM   #6
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They all pick up reflections. Shotguns make the reflections sound screwy. ;)
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Old November 30th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #7
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Thanks for your help, appreciate it. The main thing I would be shooting is short films.

At the budget I'm on I was wanting to not only use the mic for this purpose but just for generally everything. However, it seems like I need to just bite the bullet and buy different mics for different purposes.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 03:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
They all pick up reflections. Shotguns make the reflections sound screwy. ;)
It's because of the comb-filtering effect.

Some shotguns work better than others indoors - it depends on the off-axis effects.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 03:54 PM   #9
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@James Newton-No offense but the answer to your question is already posted. Its actually a sticky. I know I know you are wanting to see what everyone else is using. Its always good to research as well and read so you know what type of mic you are needing for each situation. Please see the link below.

Audio Forum Frequently Asked Questions



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Old November 30th, 2009, 07:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Newton View Post
Hi Guys,
I want to shoot indoors and outdoors and have the mic either attached to the shoe of the Z1 in a shock mount or on a boom pole.

I've been looking at both the ME66/K6 and the Rode NTG-2 but I'm open to other suggestions, although I don't really want to get any more expensive than that.
If it were my money:

outdoor:
1) Audio Technica AT897
Just under $200 at B&H now. Excellent value. Great fit and finish, hard case (if you like them) and a great Japanese mic. It's quite flexible so you might just find you want this for many jobs, including indoor. Get this mic first if you can't get two at once.

indoor:
1) AKG SE 300B (power module) and CK93 capsule - currently "not a regularly stocked item" at B&H, but it used to be. Don't expect a soft case or hard case (or relevant instructions) but it's a good combo which sounds great - and tiny at half the length of the AT897 and Rode NTG-2. It has no option to run on AA battery like the Rode NTG-2 and Audio-Technica AT897.
$429.90

or

2) Audio-Technica AT4053B
Also a modular mic like the AKG which is probably comparable to it. I have no experience with this mic, but have no reason to disbelieve it given that I am a big fan of Audio Technica's mics.

The other three mics mentioned here I personally own and have tested. I prefer the Audio-Technica AT897 over the NTG-2, though it must be said there's not a lot of difference between them, results-wise. So personally (if doing it again) I wouldn't go the Rode NTG-2 route (especially since they're asking for a bit more), but really you can't go far wrong with any of these choices.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 11:02 AM   #11
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Agreeing that the AT897 is a great mike at a great price, I used a Sennhiser ME66/K6 for several years doing news, and liked it better because it has a greater sensitivity and output than most of the mikes in that price range, or at least the ones I'm familiar with.

I did a side-by-side test with the ME66 and the AT8035, very similar to the AT897, and got better audio levels with the Senny.

Any shotgun in a highly reflective environment will have problems in that regard, and indoors I switched to the ME64/k6 with good results; I often used an ATM33a, a cardioid condenser mike, on a short boom when I was one-man-banding an interview indoors, with good results. You have to match the mike to the problem.

The ME66, however, saved my bacon numerous times by letting me pick up audio in breaking news situations where I was able to clearly get voices at pretty amazing distances because the side and rear isolation on that mike are excellent. HTH /Battle Vaughan
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Old December 1st, 2009, 11:41 AM   #12
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#1: there is no allround mic, we all know that;
#2: a mic mounted on the camera will always be an emergency setup, at best,
and this is another thing we all know.
#3: many of us work in solo mode on a pretty tight budget,
and this clashes with #1 and #2...
To sum it up: I own a Senny ME66 and a Rode NTG-2,
and I recently picked up on ebay a refurb AT 875 for $100
(ridicoulous price, I know...)
My two cents (in line with # 1, 2 and 3):
- The Rode NTG-2 gives me a lot of bang for the buck:
it covers my "outdoors shotgun necessities" pretty well at a very low price point;
- I'm therefore willing to get rid of the Senny (don't know exactly why, Battle, but
it's not my favorite, and it costs substantially more than the Rode), or I might
keep it as a backup and to impress people (JK, of course);
- I hope the AT 875 will give me more latitude as an "indoor mic"
and as a backup (2nd channel) to the lavalier I usually use for interviews;
I've read tons of amazingly good reviews on this extremely compact and cheap mic:
if it performs as advertised, I will be one happy camper!
Might be one of the closest things to the "allround, small, cheap" mic
we all know doesn't exist but a lot of people still dream of (me included).

Best

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Old December 1st, 2009, 12:02 PM   #13
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I'd get the AT 875R for its compact size for on camera mounting. I don't own one (yet), but I've used it. I think it's great for the size and price.

Here is an excellent article by Dan Brockett that should help you decide:
As I Hear It - Choosing the Right Microphone
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Old December 1st, 2009, 01:05 PM   #14
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For more sensitivity, take a look at the AT4073A. It needs phantom power but really cranks out the voltage.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 01:11 AM   #15
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Well if you want cheap..there are the Cheap mics from HK that actually sound pretty good. $30 shipped. Actually pretty solid and fairly clean. Probably no worse than lower end name brand. I have one. I can barely tell the diff. from one of our sennheisers.
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