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Old April 24th, 2010, 01:06 PM   #16
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If I was in the market for a shotgun today, I would be hard pressed to decide between the Sanken CS-3E and the RØDE NTG-3, they are both excellent but the RØDE is so much less money, I would lean that way I think. I do think that the Sanken sounds better but the question is, does it sound that many hundreds of dollars better?

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Old April 24th, 2010, 05:55 PM   #17
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Dan the CS-3E falls under the law of diminishing returns for a lot of people. Currently at BnH there's a $716 saving with the NTG-3.

Referring to that published mod for the CS-3E .. it's so simple *most* could accomplish it and opening the mic obviously doesn't affect the warranty but I'm still surprised they'll let you do it. I would have thought back to the dealer would have been the go.
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Old April 24th, 2010, 10:15 PM   #18
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Dan the CS-3E falls under the law of diminishing returns for a lot of people.rs.
I agree that the difference between the CS-3e and the NTG-3 is a case of diminishing returns but then that is always the case when you approach the highest level of any technology. I will say that I like the sound of the NTG-3 but I love the sound of the CS-3e.

In some pretty extreme cases the Sanken can quickly pay for the difference in savings in post though (time really does equate to money).

-Garrett

BTW I'm in the market for a used Sanken CS-3e so if you have one or know of one I'd be really greatful for any leads. I know this is a long shot but I was about 30 seconds away from getting one until I snoozed and some submitted a bid at the last second.

Last edited by Garrett Low; April 24th, 2010 at 11:00 PM.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 11:09 PM   #19
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Meh. These uber-subjective "item" vs "item" discussions only seem to exist to bolster one's confidence in the path they've chosen.

To again quote Duke Ellington: “If it sounds good, it is good.”
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Old April 29th, 2010, 12:43 AM   #20
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In Ellington's day everything was tube. Of course it sounded good.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 01:30 AM   #21
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Meh. These uber-subjective "item" vs "item" discussions only seem to exist to bolster one's confidence in the path they've chosen.
That's often true. But not in my case. I don't have the budget to choose the Sanken or 416 right now.

Personally, I was blown away that the difference was so huge. This wasn't a tomato/tomahto thing. It was night and day. The 416 translated the tradeshow floor ambience into a constant, loud boom with a voice on top. The CS-3e sounded quite natural - and you could really isolate the voice from the background.

In that environment, it wasn't a matter of diminishing returns. It was good sound vs. very poor sound.

Thankfully, we don't record our critical audio at tradeshows. In a good environment, clearly the 416 (and NTG-3) can capture clean, nice sounding dialog. Given a clean environment, then for sure, it's a matter of diminishing returns.
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Old April 29th, 2010, 02:28 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
I guess I am weird but ever since I had an audio post business, I have never been a fan of the 416. Is it heavy duty and reliable? Yes. Does it sound good? Eh. it sounds okay IF the boom operator is really good....

As I Hear It - Choosing the Right Microphone
I guess I've been fortunate in over 2 decades of this work because I have consistently had great sound from 416s.

I've read your review before and I think the key to your article is in one paragraph.

I suggest that, if you want a fair evaluation of the clips, you need to obtain playback on a decent quality, somewhat accurate playback system. If you do not have access to a decent quality playback system, listen to the samples on decent headphones. The signal will not be accurate but you will at least be able to hear the differences between the mics, the low frequency differences and the room tone and air tone, ambient sound differences. I tested these samples on my laptop speakers and on some cheap computer speakers and trust me, all of the mics sound almost the same on lousy speakers.

I pulled your clips into PT HD and listened through a Benchmark D/A on Adam S3As in a tuned room. ( Coffey Sound :: Speakers :: ADAM S3A Midfield Studio Monitor )

I wonder if given a correct environment and playback system if the opinions expressed in this thread would be the same ?
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Old April 29th, 2010, 11:49 AM   #23
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Very true Kirk. I have a Genelec system here with a Genelec sub. When you try to judge audio quality and especially relative levels of specific tracks using a substandard audio playback system as about 95% of all video editors use, you are getting a highly skewed result.

Unfortunately, in the era of MP3s, iTunes and iPods and people editing with really crappy computer speakers, I doubt if many people ever hear what their audio really sounds like, they hear a low quality facsimile of it. I am always impressed when I work in an edit bay that has accurate monitors and has been set up with room characteristics and EQing to the room. It is just so rare these days.

Dan
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Old April 29th, 2010, 11:52 AM   #24
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Kirk,

I don't have any doubt whatsoever that 416s can create great sound. The quality of my voice with the 416 was good. I was listening on Sennheiser HD 280 Pro cans, which I've owned for years, so I'm quite familiar with them.

In fact, in a clean environment, it's more than possible that the 416 will sound *better* than the CS-3e. With different headphone setups in a tradeshow setting, there's no way that I could do a critical comparison of voice quality between the mics. All I can say is that the voice sounded good on both.

The difference in off-axis rejection, however, was stark. I didn't need anything more than headphones to judge that.

Which mic would do better on a soundstage or out in the woods? I have no idea. Which mic would do better on a construction site or near a waterfall? The Sanken would be my choice, hands down. Slogging through the Amazon? I'd probably choose the 416, due to it's rugged reputation.

Overall, I wasn't so much disappointed with the 416 off axis - it pretty much did what I expected it to do. But I was amazed with the CS-3e. I didn't expect it to roll off the bass that well or to have such good rejection at 180 degrees; hence, the "magic" title of this thread.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 01:30 PM   #25
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Yes. Magic.

Hello all.

I just want to further comment on that absolute amazing sound quality of the Sanken CS-3e. I consider it my #1 go to mic in almost all situations and I have barely touched other mics I have such as the 416 and the NTG-3 since I have had the Sanken. It really does seem like this mic is 'magic' in that in both noisy outdoor situations in inside sound stages it has delivered amazing sound hooked up to a variety of varying quality preamps, from the cheapo Zoom h4n to very high end Sound Devices mixers and recorders.

Personally, my favorite combo is the Sanken CS-3e going into a Sound Devices 702. I have done plenty of film dialog capture with just those two pieces of gear and each director has e-mailed me back later being blown away at the sound quality and I have received a lot of repeat business, since after a director finds a person who gets that magic 'movie quality in your face sound' they tend to keep using them.

I am an actor in NYC and freelance as a sound mixer / boom op / sound design / foley ect, and I also use the mic on my own projects that I act in and have other people dosound on, and I can quickly teach them the magic of the mic (you do need a certain technique with the cs-3e) but once you get that going into a quality preamp and 24 bit recorder, you are golden. If you can only have 1 mic, I would go for the Sanken cs-3e. Simply outstanding sound quality that I have not heard beat yet.. I can't imagine a better mic.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 03:21 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Given a clean environment, then for sure, it's a matter of diminishing returns.
I just finally got a CS-3e into my kit after a long and patient search. I couldn't afford a new one so I had to wait for a used one to come up. True Jon, in a clean environment or a sound booth a lot of mics can be made to sound very good. However I shoot a lot of low budget or no budget movies where the location sound is all that we can get. So if it's bad we don't get the chance to do ADR. It's hard to get actors to come back into a studio when you can barely afford to feed them on location. So in those cases having a mic with the characteristics of the CS-3e can be almost invaluable.

In those situations I really appreciate it's magic.

Garrett
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Old May 26th, 2010, 10:33 AM   #27
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Can you tell us more about the technique you mention to work with the cs3e? Thanks in advance.
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Old May 26th, 2010, 12:59 PM   #28
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It just has a special off axis rejection that other mics don't have. So you have to really move correctly above the actors heads to find the sweet spot.

I'll give you an example.... Most mics have a really bad problem in large school hallway environments with cement everything and echos everywhere and all sorts of noises and sounds that you can't do much about.
You have to lay sound blankets on the floor ect....

I could not even think of doing this scene with a 416 but with the sanken cs-3e it came out great with just the amound of echo for the realistic sound of the location... it will sound even better after it is tweaked a little in post but here's the raw file:

http://blackout.com/clients/teenage_...d/MONO-041.wav
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Old May 28th, 2010, 11:47 AM   #29
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It just has a special off axis rejection that other mics don't have. So you have to really move correctly above the actors heads to find the sweet spot.
That's consistent with what the rep told me at NAB. He showed me the CS-1 without a lot of fanfare. Then, with a twinkle in his eye, he moved to the CS-3E and said, "but the pros use this..." He followed up by saying that the operators need to be on their toes, due to the narrower pattern.

Then again, the off-axis rolloff of the CS-3E sounded quite neutral. You might lose some levels if the aim is a bit off, but I think the color of the sound might not change as much as with some other mics. That would make post work relatively easy. Just balance the levels, set the overall EQ, and you're done.

I've had the experience of mixing dialog where the voice dropped off, and lost intelligibility. It's tough to try to boost back the HFs when all the signal has are LFs.

I'd guess that with the CS-3E, correction from going somewhat off-axis might add noise due to the higher gain, but would still sound natural without any additional EQ. Only the very highest frequencies (5kHz and up) seem to have lobing, and those frequencies affect the "air" more than intelligibility.
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Old June 8th, 2010, 09:14 AM   #30
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Yesterday I took the plunge and added a CS-3e to my arsenal. I'm feeling some financial pain at the moment, lol. Anyhow, I'll probably use it this coming weekend for the first time. I'll report my results.

Question - I haven't seen anyone comment if this is a good mic to use on a camera. What do you think?
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