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Old June 21st, 2010, 10:43 AM   #1
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Indoor Mic for $500? Is it needed?

Getting ready for a production and am looking at adding to my equipment. My last feature, I worked solely with the Sennheiser MKH416P48. Now, I'm alright working with just the Senn, but this next feature is going to involve a lot of indoor conversations, and it's been recommend to me that I look into super cardiod mics for those indoor situations. I don't have a bunch of cash to spend, and really, if the Senn 416 will work, I'll stick with it, but if there's a mic I can add to my collection that'll really shine indoors, I'm very interested in hearing suggestions. I'm not against a battery powered mic, but I do have the capability to phantom power. If there's something you suggest under $500, that'd be great!
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Old June 21st, 2010, 11:32 AM   #2
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Under $500 USD.. I like the AT-4053 and the Audix SCX1.
A 'Russian' Oktava 012 is a slightly lower cost option and a nice mic, but they are not all created equal. Quality control is an issue and getting one that's tested, tweaked and evaluated, costs about $100 more than an 'off the self' import. "Do ya feel lucky" I'm not even addressing the Chinese counterfeits.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 05:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Maurer View Post
Getting ready for a production and am looking at adding to my equipment. My last feature, I worked solely with the Sennheiser MKH416P48. Now, I'm alright working with just the Senn, but this next feature is going to involve a lot of indoor conversations, and it's been recommend to me that I look into super cardiod mics for those indoor situations....
Is it needed? It depends but generally, yes. Line-gradient mics such as most shotguns (MKH416 included) do not perform well in a reflective environment such as a typical, non-conditioned, interior. On a soundstage they're fine but in an office or residence, not so much. I liken the results to a hollow, echo'y, recorded in a culvert sort of sound. In untreated interiors a hypercardioid is much better behaved since it uses a different acoustic principle to achieve its directivity.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 10:15 AM   #4
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I've been investigating this myself. But I have no experience yet -- just research. There seem to be a couple of ENG favorites for interviews. The Sennheiser - MD46 - Dynamic ENG Microphone - MD46 - B&H Photo is often a go-to mic. for man-in-the-street type interviews even in very noisy environments. The Electro Voice - RE50N/D-B - N/DYM Dynamic Omni Mic - 16502345 - seems to be another favorite for perhaps less noisy environments. Both mics. have their partisans.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 10:30 AM   #5
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Is it needed? It depends but generally, yes. Line-gradient mics such as most shotguns (MKH416 included) do not perform well in a reflective environment such as a typical, non-conditioned, interior. On a soundstage they're fine but in an office or residence, not so much. I liken the results to a hollow, echo'y, recorded in a culvert sort of sound. In untreated interiors a hypercardioid is much better behaved since it uses a different acoustic principle to achieve its directivity.
Do you have a suggestion that I might check up on? I'm not using this mic for interviews; I'm using it to capture audio of conversations for a feature. I would imagine it's safe to say that there is going to be reverb from the walls. This isn't a studio shoot.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 11:01 AM   #6
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In the under $500 range, the Okatava 012 seems to be a favorite. However, I'm with Rick on this one. I'd also vote for the Audio Technica 4053, less handling noise, consistent quality.

You might also be interested in some of the content on the DVD "Sound for Film and Television" where you can hear the Oktava, AKG and a few other mics indoors YouTube - Sound for Film and Television Instructional DVD from Barry Green and WBS

For more money, I'd probably be looking at a Sennheiser 8050. You can hear the 416 (shotgun) vs the 8050 (super cardioid) below.

Sennheiser MKH416

Sennheiser MKH8050
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 11:28 AM   #7
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Do you have a suggestion that I might check up on? I'm not using this mic for interviews; I'm using it to capture audio of conversations for a feature. I would imagine it's safe to say that there is going to be reverb from the walls. This isn't a studio shoot.
The 'industry standard' hyper is the Schoeps CMC641 but that runs way over your budget I expect. Sanken CS3 is a good contender, looks like a shotgun but it's really not. An excellent directional performer is the Sennhwiser MKH8050 Super-Cardioid. These are all over your $500 budget, though. The aformentioned Audio Technica 4053b isn't a bad bet and you might also want to take a look at the AKG Blueline series SE300B with the CK93 Hypercardioid capsule.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 11:34 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your thoughts. I've actually seen those videos, and as an educator here on campus, I've shown them to my class to demonstrate pickup patterns of cardiod, super, and a standard shotgun.

Anyway, I think for my use, the Audio Technica 4053 looks to be just about what I'm going to need. I appreciate the help.

Now, of course, I imagine that it'll have the same problem with my T2i, and the AGC; I'll go through the new BeachTek box to use the kill switch, should make this mic sound pretty sharp for the price.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 11:40 AM   #9
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I'm a little confused as to the difference between the Audio-Technica AT4053a and Audio-Technica AT4053b. Seems to sell on B&H for $599. Is that the mic you're talking about?
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 12:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brian Maurer View Post
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate your thoughts. I've actually seen those videos, and as an educator here on campus, I've shown them to my class to demonstrate pickup patterns of cardiod, super, and a standard shotgun.

Anyway, I think for my use, the Audio Technica 4053 looks to be just about what I'm going to need. I appreciate the help.

Now, of course, I imagine that it'll have the same problem with my T2i, and the AGC; I'll go through the new BeachTek box to use the kill switch, should make this mic sound pretty sharp for the price.
If you're shooting on a DSLR, I'd skip spending $500 on a new mic, and invest the money into a Tascam DR100 portable recorder. You'll get a better end result with a 416 and a Tascam than an AT 4053 into the camera through an XLR adapter.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 12:37 PM   #11
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The 4053a is considered discontinued but can still be found at some sources for a lower price. The 4053b is the current model. I believe the only difference is RoHS-compliance regarding hazardous substances used in manufacture of the mic as well as improved RF interference prevention against cellphones.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 01:10 PM   #12
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If you're shooting on a DSLR, I'd skip spending $500 on a new mic, and invest the money into a Tascam DR100 portable recorder. You'll get a better end result with a 416 and a Tascam than an AT 4053 into the camera through an XLR adapter.
That's been suggested as well, and debated when I brought up a hiss caused by the AGC. I'm somewhat concerned about the battery cutting out or something. But If you think the Senn 416P48 is strong enough to use indoors without any real problems, I can give it a shot.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 01:27 PM   #13
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The Tascam DR100 has a built in lithium ion battery, plus you can use AA's.
There is battery level indicators in the "info" section. So you will not be caught off guard.

The Tascam also has a LINE level out *plus* headphone out.

Now you can monitor the audio being recorded and have faith in it. You can use a DVcreators Line to Mic Cable out of the Tascam to feed a guide track into the DSLR.

You also have the safety of great limiters and meters with the Tascam.

Here is what the DR100 sounds like indoors with a shotgun mic.

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Old June 23rd, 2010, 01:54 PM   #14
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I don't recall Brian stating as to how the mic will be used, If this will be a 'camera mounted' mic, don't expect much more than surveillance audio no matter what the cost. An inexperienced boom op is also a recipe for disaster.
That said, factor in the cost of a shock mount and a slip-on foam windscreen, A foamy will most likely be necessary in many indoor situations when you or the subject is moving about.
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 02:17 PM   #15
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I don't recall Brian stating as to how the mic will be used, If this will be a 'camera mounted' mic, don't expect much more than surveillance audio no matter what the cost. An inexperienced boom op is also a recipe for disaster.

That said, factor in the cost of a shock mount and a slip-on foam windscreen, A foamy will most likely be necessary in many indoor situations when you or the subject is moving about.
Sorry that I failed to mention this. Yes, I already own a boom pole, shock mount, and wind screen. No, I do not want to mount the mic on the camera itself. Certainly not going to capture the audio I need that way. I imagine that we're not going to have a professional operating the boom, but at least someone who has at least some idea how to use it.

Quote:
Here is what the DR100 sounds like indoors with a shotgun mic.
The video seems to imply that recording on the Tascam, then using the wire into the 5/7D would negate the AGC. I imagine that syncing sounds in post is the most ideal for the sharpest sound.
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