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Old May 22nd, 2010, 03:29 AM   #1
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Hypercardioids revisited

I've been doing a lot of reading about mic selection. The conventional wisdom to capture interviews, indoors in an on-location (event) scenario seems to be a Hypercardioid. I would have to deal with whatever type of room I might find myself in. There seems to be good reviews on the AT 4053b. If I want to take the audio to the next level what would be a good choice ($900 - $1200 zone)? Looks like the Schoeps CMC641 with an MK41 is probably awesome although I've seen it described as a Supercardioid as well as a Hypercardioid. Plus it's really out of the budget for now. Ideas?
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 11:30 AM   #2
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Hi Robert:

In your range, I would seriously consider...

1. RØDE NTG-3
2. Sennheiser MKH-50
3. Sennhesier MKH-416

You are just under the sweet spot for industry standard mics like the Sanken CS3E ($1,400.00) and the Schoeps but I would consider shotguns as well. It is arbitrary to say that you can only use a cardioid variant for interiors or that you must use a shotgun outdoors.

Learn how to read polar patterns, they will tell you all you need to know about what a microphone will pick up, both in front of the element and behind it. Those microphones with a larger rear pickup will not work as well in live rooms but in a dead or well insulated room, a shotgun can often work great. I inlcuded polar patterns as well as different samples for each microphone that I tested here As I Hear It - Choosing the Right Microphone

Also, listen with your ears, not your wallet. It is great that you have a decent budget to acquire a new microphone but you may hear a lower cost microphone that speaks to your ear as well, allowing you to budget correctly. Your budget should include a high quality mic support, wind protection, a good mic boom pole and quality cables as well as the mic itself.


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Last edited by Dan Brockett; May 22nd, 2010 at 12:41 PM.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 11:46 AM   #3
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I agree with Dan.

I invested in both, the AT4053a and the NTG-3.
I always compare on location (indoors usually) and I have not once used my AT4053A.
It's kinda disappointing actually, I've been thinking of selling it for quite a while.

The NTG-3 is really that good a mic.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 12:04 PM   #4
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The mic pre-amp (and operator skill) is also a big factor.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 12:51 PM   #5
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Dan - I have read Ken Stone's page multiple times. Really amazing information. I actually considered the Sanken CS3E but all I keep hearing (no pun intended) is that it's a shotgun and not the best to use indoors. I understand every on-location situation is different. I also plan to build up a better audio kit. What I need first is a mic i can use indoors, in different type of environments, to capture interviews from either one or a couple of people. It seems like putting a 4053b on a boom would work (I was looking at the Manfrotto 420b). I also understand the law of diminished returns. Price is a factor but I would consider the Sanken CS3E if it afforded the type of results I'm looking for. I'm certainly not an expert in the audio field so I'm trying to learn as much as possible to make the best decision.

Craig - I think I'll take another look at the NTG-3 (thanks)

Rick - No doubt the mic pre-amp is a big factor. For many scenarios I know I'll be using my Edirol R-44 which does a pretty good job.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 05:22 PM   #6
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The Sanken CS3E has three (3) capsules, and is less prone to the usual single capsule interference tube mic abnormalities. ie; 'early reflections' Much of the side and rear noise cancellations are done electronically opposed to acoustically.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 08:43 PM   #7
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Rick has it right. From my experience, the CS3E does pretty well on interiors.

If you have your heart set on a cardioid variant, I would also seriously consider the Sennheiser MKH-50, that is a really sweet mic and somewhat of an industry standard. I have seen them working on plenty of network shows and features, tough to go wrong with that one.

Good luck,

Dan
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 09:41 PM   #8
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I highly recommend the AT4053b for indoor use. I have that as well as the Rode NTG-3 and between the tow I can handle most any room. True you can get away with usable sound sometimes indoors with the NTG-3. but there are issues with shotguns. Those slits on the side that help a shotgun reject side noise, also create an out-of-phase sound when reflections bounce off a wall/floor/ceiling and it those slits. Sometimes it's subtle, sometimes not. Doing post audio for films I hear the hollow sound of misused shotguns often, and there is no fixing it. Just get the right tools for your audio kit and don't believe that one shotgun is all you need.

Here's some testing I did when I first got the AT4053b. It does NOT display the flangey sound of a shotgun getting wall reflections, but when you have one on a moving boom you run into it more often.

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Old May 24th, 2010, 01:28 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert McGowan View Post
... Looks like the Schoeps CMC641 with an MK41 is probably awesome although I've seen it described as a Supercardioid as well as a Hypercardioid. Plus it's really out of the budget for now. Ideas?
This is anecdotal since its out of your budget, but I sat down with my $200 Oktava and my $1700 schoeps and recorded this a few weeks ago. Its normal boom placement on both.

http://www.lakeflyproductions.com/st...avaschoeps.wav

You can hear the difference. But I'd imagine only way you hear a $1500 worth of difference is if somebody is paying you to deliver the difference. For legibility and function, either mic would work just fine.

I'm not arguing for the merits of either of these mics, just showing the two extremes and how a 4053 would probably sit right in the middle of those two mics.

However, if i could start over now knowing what I know, I would buy a cs3e before the oktava, schoeps or at 4073a. I like all three of those mics, but for video work? I think the cs3e does more to make your job easier, and at the moment that seems to be worth more to me than the nuances that please the audiophiles in the audience.

But thats me..
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Old November 13th, 2010, 01:42 PM   #10
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I have an NTG-3 and am looking for an interior mic. Compared to the MKH8050, MKH50, Schoeps CMC641, is the CS3E really that great of a mic (after I learn to contol it properly) that I should buy it instead of a hyper? Or at this point, should I just practice handling with my NTG-3 and buy some lavs?

Thanks for your time

Will
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Old November 13th, 2010, 02:22 PM   #11
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Phew! Somebody talking sense at last! Andrew's comment on $1500 difference is well put. In fact, I'd go further. They sound different, but which is better? Blind testing on audio equipment isn't done that often. A friend of mine in his audio studio leaves a Neumann U87 on the stand all the time, but next to it is an Audio Technica AT4033 - which is the one he always uses as he likes it's sound so much - the Neumann is in effect, a prop! (Looks good in the pictures too!)
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Old November 13th, 2010, 03:46 PM   #12
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William

I have no experience with the CS3E, but it's supposed to be a great sounding shotgun that also is able to perform well indoors where other shotguns fail. So it's an all around good mic, and I wouldn't mind having one myself. However you do have a great sounding shotgun now with the NTG-3. That I can vouch for. And It doesn't do so bad indoors either. The thing with shotguns is there is eventually going to be some combination of reflective surfaces that don't interact well with the slits on the side of the shotgun causing some sort of put-of-phase type artifact. You can test a shotgun inside, and it may well perform well (as in my video above) but when you are shooting all over with a moving boom you never know what you'll encounter. That's why people go with a hypercardioid for indoor use, as it deals with reflections in a natural sounding way. I can also vouch for the AT4053b hyper, as I own one, and I think it sounds great. They run between 400 - 500 bucks. I'm sure there are better ones out there too. I'm just saying if you already have a shotgun for outdoor use, maybe you should get a mic designed for indoor use next. The trinity of mics for video is Shotgun, Hyper & Lav, so I suggest that everyone have at lease those three types of mics to start with, then expand out from there.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 10:45 PM   #13
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Looks like the Audix SCX-1 is a good choice too...

So a cs3e or a hyper?

I guess this helps:

Current gear- NTG3, H4n, x1 Senn G2 w/ stock mic

I bought the NTG3 for damp outdoor situations and was surprised when helping on a short film the director used it for his interior dialogue situations. I want a hyper for 'worry free' dialogue, and would like something as durable as the NTG3. The CS3e sounds like a great, durable mic, but at a glance looks spec wise comparable to the NTG3, so I'm wondering if the CS3e purchase is redundant. BUT the CS3e keeps appearing in the hyper posts I'm finding.

I'm going to use the mic in various indoor, non-studio locations, but would like to use it in a wet cave should one present itself.

Thanks again for your help.
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Old November 14th, 2010, 06:08 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William James Ryan View Post
Looks like the Audix SCX-1 is a good choice too...

So a cs3e or a hyper?

... The CS3e sounds like a great, durable mic, but at a glance looks spec wise comparable to the NTG3, so I'm wondering if the CS3e purchase is redundant. BUT the CS3e keeps appearing in the hyper posts I'm finding.

I'm going to use the mic in various indoor, non-studio locations, but would like to use it in a wet cave should one present itself.

Thanks again for your help.
The CS3 LOOKS like an interference-tube shotgun but it really isn't one, using a different physical principle to get its directivity. If there's any universal mic for both interior and exterior work, this is probably it. It has the supercardioid pattern of the shots with the good behaviour amidst reflections of the hypers.
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Old November 14th, 2010, 01:24 PM   #15
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The CS 3e is a truly remarkable mic. It rivals most hypers in indoor situations and is at the top of the shotgun selections. For many of my projects, corporate interviews, and indie movies with both interior and exterior shots, I use the Sanken for 99% of my boomed shots. The only thing I am not sure about and am not willing to find out is how durable it is in hostile environments. That's what I keep an Senn ME66 for.

The characteristics of the CS 3e does make it easier for my sound guys as the side rejection is very good. The main reason I went with the CS 3e is its versatility. I often have to be able to go from very different environments and really can't afford the extra time to change out mics. For me, this along with the great sound of the Sanken make it worth the cost. But, only you can judge if it is worth it on your audio demands and your production work practices.

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