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Old August 14th, 2010, 02:24 PM   #16
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"Define bad mic."

I was responding to Warren when he said,

"if the videos will only be viewed on websites or tv, would upgrading the microphones really make that big a difference? When my computer speakers play website videos, I honestly can't tell the difference in sound quality between a $30 Radio Shack mic and a $2500 Shoeps. At what point does equipment become overkill for website videos? "

So a $30.00 Radio Shack mic is my definition of a bad mic.

The NTG-3 isn't the lowest end mic listed either. That is a high quality piece of equipment equal to the MKH416 in quality but cheaper in price, and IMO more high end then the Oktiva, and the AKGCK93 - though they are apples and oranges. I don't know why you would put a shotgun in blimp and roll off the lows for indoor use. The NTG-3 actually does quite well indoors. My point is that a good sound person should have the correct tools, rather than hoping they will get away with using a shotgun indoors. You may get away with you may not, but if you don't have the right tool you risk not being prepared. Really it shouldn't be too hard to ask a professional to have at least 2 mics.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 09:41 PM   #17
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A $30 Radio Shack mic is indistinguishable from a $3000 mic if used properly. I have already done the experiment in case anyone wishes to dispute the statement. Now a $3000 mic may be more flexible in what it can do effectively. You will have to decide if the $2970 difference is worth it for your particular application.

Furthermore, the notion that you must start with better quality material if the delivery channel is low grade is absurd on its face and doesn't hold up to being taken to its logical conclusion.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 10:13 PM   #18
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My point wasn't that one needs better mics when recording something for the web. My point was that if you have 2 mics varying in quality enough to hear the difference on uncompressed audio, you will likely still hear the difference on the web. And we must remember that "The Web" doesn't automatically mean audio coming through it is bad. 128kbps MP3 quality is decent enough to enjoy music, and is where youtube delivers it's audio when the video is displayed at 480p or above. And just because some people use small computer monitors doesn't mean that there aren't also people with nice speakers.I have 1,500.00 computer speakers! The web is on it's way to becoming the main place for all media. So basically I say don't use "the web" as an excuse to cheap out on audio. It's always better to get the better equipment unless you just don't want to spend the money.

But hey, the bar is low on a lot of projects out there too. There are plenty of people who also use inferior gear and cut a little corner here, and just don't worry about something there. It all adds up.

Rather I should say, "It all subtracts down..."
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Old August 14th, 2010, 11:33 PM   #19
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This entire thread demonstrates a woeful lack of understanding of audio fundamentals.

Recording equipment contributes to the quality of a recording pretty much in exactly the same way that BRUSHES, PAINTS and TURPENTINE contribute to the quality of a painting.

The EQUIPMENT doesn't make a recording. The BRAIN behind the equipment does.

You need to do one of two things. Spend significant time learning the TECHNIQUES of audio recording. (Personally, I spent the first FIVE years of my career doing that and I consider myself a decent mid-range working pro - not in any case an expert or a major movie set quality practitioner.

OR - you need to hire that expertise.

Anything less and you're consigning your audio to being an afterthought - and that's VERY poor decision making considering that the soundtrack typically carries the MAJORITY of the communications load in a typical video project.

End of story.
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Old August 15th, 2010, 02:08 AM   #20
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Though what you say is true about equipment not making the recording Bill, not all equipment is equal. I thought were talking about equipment in this particular thread, not techniques. I operate under the assumption that we already know how to make a recording. All technical skill being equal we are left again with the quality of the equipment having some bearing on the sound quality I dare say.
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Old August 15th, 2010, 07:58 AM   #21
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I agree that the brain behind the equipment is what really makes the art, but the tools do have an effect. The quality of the tools becomes more important when scheduling is tight and there is less manpower to get things right. A good tool can help a single skilled worker get the job done efficiently while an inferior tool will require more time and manpower. Once a person is skilled, he or she can save time and money by using better tools.
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Old August 15th, 2010, 01:55 PM   #22
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When recording indoors...

The BRAIN says, I should use a Schoeps hyper. If not, I could go with an AKG or AT hyper, if not a lav. I know how to place the mic perfectly for this scene.

The BUDGET says, all I have is this danged Azden shotgun on a painter's pole feeding a Microtrack II.

The AUDIENCE says, why did it sound so echoey and wimpy with all that hiss?

The MORAL is: you need adequate equipment for the conditions. Inadequate equipment won't deliver good results (unless you are in a position to change the shooting conditions to suit your gear.) Adequate equipment and skill can deliver very good results. The world's greatest equipment will only improve things slightly - but don't underestimate the value of top equipment for winning paid jobs. :)
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Old August 15th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #23
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I guess equipment is important too!

End of story...
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Old August 15th, 2010, 02:38 PM   #24
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The OP suggested that he wanted a mic that hase "more throw" so he can use it from farther away. Now, while I'm not an audio expert, but one thing I've learned from this forum, and experience, is the easiest way to improve SQ is to get the mic closer to the source.

Therefore, while you may not like the look of lavs, if there's a lot of background noise, a lav might be the best choice, as well as the least expensive.

There are some very small lavs available that are inconspicuous, easy to hide and produce great sound. And because the talent is between the mic and the background noise, a lav effectively reduces ambient noise.

The poor lav just doesn't get the respect it deserves. :)
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Old August 15th, 2010, 03:22 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Johnson View Post
I guess equipment is important too!

End of story...
Or not.

You take a Schoeps catalog and pick a proper boom mic.

I'll take the Radio Shack catalog and pick a lav mic.

We'll both record UNDER THE CONDITIONS POSTED BY THE OP. (moderately noisy environment where the critical task is separation of voice from the environment so that the voice will POP out of the resulting mix)

If your presumption is correct, the multi thousand dollar Schoeps will smoke the couple of hundred dollar lav, right? But it won't.

I bet you $1000 that I can get a track that TRASHES yours in the critical category of signal to noise ratio - which is precisely what the OP was asking about.

THIS is why nobody who is responsible for sound results for a LIVING has only a boom mic in their kit. NOBODY. It's a fine tool FOR SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES. Which can be broadly defined as recording in decent sounding spaces where the perception of LIVE room acoustics will add to the authenticity of the recorded sound. That is often useful in narrative work. And typically almost USELESS in many other situations, one of the cheif being work like the OP mentioned where a VO has to be separated and reinforced in a mix. In that circumstance a boom mic is a TERRIBLE choice for the precise reason it's a fine one in other situations.

What the OP was asking for - even if they did not understand exactly what it was that they WERE asking for - was SEPARATION of the voice from the environment such that the voice could be further processed in order to be made to STAND OUT from the mix.

That presumes MAXIMUM S/N separation. And a boom mic - ANY boom mic - is an extremely POOR choice to achieve that result.

(Well, I suppose you could gaffers tape a boom mic to someone's chest and if they held really, REALLY steady you could get a similar S/N recording, but ONLY with specific types of boom mics and ONLY if you understood that mic's technology and didn't put the gaff in places where it might interfere with the mics performance such as taping up the vents in an interference tube mic design)

I might politely suggest that if you're NOT a qualified sound professional - you should feel free to take whatever advice is in this thread with some grains of salt.

YES, professional equipment is important. Often the extra money does buy improved performance - and certainly improved reliability and residual market value. But to say that there's a direct relationship between the cost of a piece of equipment and it's performance in all situations is EXACTLY like saying that there's a direct relationship between the cost of a PIANO and the satisfaction of listening to someone playing it. The chief property is NOT the quality of the Piano - but the quality of the Piano PLAYER.

Highly qualified people WILL maximize the capabilities of any tool. But like the piano wizzard sitting down at a modest priced studio console rather than a Steinway - the ability to PLAY always matters more than the quality of the instrument.

That's my 2 cents. But what do I know. I've just been producing audio and video content for a few decades now. And as we all know - here in the digital era - the ability to afford shiny new tools is REALLY what makes someone a great practitioner in anything, right?
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Old August 15th, 2010, 04:05 PM   #26
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I didn't presume anything if you were referring to me.

Bill I only said "End of story" because you did. Obviously there is never an end to the story with you. Especially when you assume that you are the top pro and the rest of us on the thread are "demonstrating a woeful lack of understanding of audio fundamentals."

I do production & post sound for a living too with 25 years experience, and I do use Sanken COS11d lavs when it is appropriate. Believe it or not there are times when a full sized shotgun/hyper (there's no such mic as a 'boom' mic) of a high quality can actually sound better than a lav. Call me crazy. You know you can place a shotgun on a boom and put it under the frame aiming up to the mouth, still utilizing the speaker's body to block ambient sound - just like with a lav. There are no absolutes, as it all depends on the actual situation. I just think you should cut the insulting talk. When the audio person IS using the right type of tool for the situation, then again the quality of that tool varies by which model you purchase.

I think it is safe to say that any audio kit for video production should have the basic 3 mics for starters. Shotgun, hyper, lav. Then branch out from there. My original point was that a shotgun isn't the best choice for indoor dialogue. A hyper is better suited usually. But when neither mic will work a lav is indeed the next choice. Or if you have no boom op, the lav could be your first choice. With every mic there are models that are of higher ad lower quality, and that quality usually corresponds to price. Trash me all you want with your Radio Shack kit Bill. I never said to use one type of mic when another was more appropriate. I think your cantankerous rant that rails against bad mic choice may be true in the right situation, but nobody was saying not to use a lav. The mic quality digression started when the idea that one shouldn't worry about quality when delivering for "the web".

Double end of story.
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Old August 15th, 2010, 07:00 PM   #27
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My presumption was that I was in a discussion with Greg, the OP.
He noted quite clearly that he was booming interviews.
He had "read positive reviews of Cs3d and the NTG3." and was also considering "a pre-amp/mixer."

From there the discussion devolved to typical mic suggestions and arguments.

NOBODY at that point made the point that NONE OF THESE approaches would help.

I get tired of strings of posts that seek to demonstrate knowledge of gear - when the solution to the problem has little to do with gear choice and everything to do with technique.

It's like guys arguing about tractors when their goal is to run the fastest quarter mile. Sure one may beat another, but neither can beat any family sedan.

I made the error when I replied to the last message - incidently yours, Chad - when I was speaking generally to the group and specifically to the OP. Sorry.

My points stand.

In a situation where S/N in a moderatly noisy environment is the critical factor - a Lav - even a modest Rat Shack lav - will outperform even a fine hypercardiod - simply because of the inverse square principal and positioning geometry. And physics is one thing we can likely all agree is a trumping, unavoidable factor in sound recording.

I just watched a CNN snippit of a reporter doing a piece from inside a flying attack helicopter. Her mic? Coles 4104. (Hadn't seen one on-camera in a long time) - but obviously there was a sound person somewhere who understands that knowing when and how to use which mic is the ONLY path to consistent, quality results - even if you have to reach for a mic designed 50 years ago and still working better than anything else in a particular set of conditions.

That's the REAL end of the story.
Always.
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Last edited by Bill Davis; August 15th, 2010 at 07:36 PM.
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Old August 15th, 2010, 07:50 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Kiger View Post
• We are positioning ourselves as a premium video production shop and I want to deliver on that promise. My question is - what’s our next logical step toward better audio?
I believe that your next logical steps toward better audio are...

1) SD 302 Mixer
2) Quality lav / wired version that can also work in a wireless system (Sanken COS11)
3) Upgrade Boom mic

Adding quality tools and experience w/ those tools will allow you to record better audio.

A mixer will give you better control over the signal and quality limiters protect from unexpected peaks and also allow you to deliver a line level recording to camera. Using a Lav to double mic is an added insurance to getting a better recording.
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Old August 15th, 2010, 09:31 PM   #29
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wow, this thread just got knee deep.

From my understanding, the OP said "Mostly we shoot 1 person sit down interviews in corporate office environments"

Corporate office environments will probably mean either a conference room or an office, I'm unsure how that has translated into he's in noisy environments with the need of highest s/n ratio recording.

Lavs are great, but there are pitfalls with lavs that most people don't explain or prepare one for. Such as shirt / ruffle noise. A single scratch/ruffle noise can kill a lav recording in a sec, vs a boom mic might have not the perfect s/n ratio of a LAV, but it's recording won't be trashed by noises mentioned above. I've seen lav recordings get trashed during weddings as well due to nervous grooms.

Has anyone asked the OP a sample of video that he believes needs better audio? I think to analyze the ACTUAL problem vs theorizing what it is would probably be most beneficial.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 03:37 PM   #30
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The Senn 416 is used indoors and outdoors. It's a workhorse. There might be better mics but no one ever got fired for using one. Lotta pre-owned units out there too.
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