Lav Shootout! Rode, Tram, Sanken & Sennheiser at DVinfo.net

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Old October 19th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #1
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Lav Shootout! Rode, Tram, Sanken & Sennheiser



Hear the different characteristics of these four lavaliere mics and decide for yourself which one is best for you. Also you'll hear how well these lavs cut against the RØDE NTG-3 shotgun microphone.
Thank you to Guy Cochran and DveStore for providing the Rode Lav and an extra Sennheiser G3 wireless system to do the shootout with.

RØDE Lavalier: http://www.dvestore.com/​products/​R...alier-Mic.html
Sanken COS11D: http://www.dvestore.com/​products/​S...-Wireless.html
Sennheiser G3 Wireless: http://www.dvestore.com/​products/​S...ss-System.html
Tram TR-50: http://www.dvestore.com/​search.php?...y=tram&x=0&y=0
RØDE NTG-3: http://www.dvestore.com/​products/​R...otgun-mic.html
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Old October 19th, 2010, 03:45 PM   #2
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Thanks, Chad! Great piece and very useful information!
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Old October 19th, 2010, 09:40 PM   #3
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A+

Hi Chad,

Hey, I can't help to write a review of review. Just because it is one of the best lavalier test videos I have even seen. Perhaps the best at this current time.

You did a truly fantastic job. Very professional and likable. Those 7 minutes flew by quickly and they felt like 40 seconds because it is very nicely done. You can tell that: you know what you are talking about, you LOVE what you do and that you have plenty of experience.

As an Actor myself, I can tell you I like your charming personality. The camera likes you, you look mellow, humble, cool and NOT full of yourself. The kind of videos you say 'Hey, I'd like to be friends with that cool guy'.

I also like that you go straight to the point. You have a very clear purpose on you video and you deliver by going for it. On the technical side, you can SEE the products very well and HEAR them very clearly as well.

I assume you used your EX1 to shoot it because that is on your signature, but I cannot tell for sure. What aperture and ISO values did you use?

Lighting is very sweet as well. Did you use a 3 lights set up? You can nicely see your hair and shoulders. What did you use for lighting the scene?

Editing was also truly great. I really enjoyed your video, I know you know but you are providing this free service for people who are researching to pick the best quality and value for their buck and that is so nice of you to do; so THANK YOU!!
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Old October 19th, 2010, 10:33 PM   #4
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Bravo! I like your tiger shirt. Cool!
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Old October 19th, 2010, 10:43 PM   #5
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Thanks Chad. I was somewhat impressed with how little difference there was in the mikes. All of them sounded pretty good, but to my ears the new Rode sounded the best (and I love the connector and case). I don't know how much Vimeo impacts the sound of your shootout and I imagine if you had someone singing and projecting their voice the differences would be more substantial.

Thanks for a great job!
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Old October 20th, 2010, 12:40 AM   #6
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Thanks Ben! That's very thoughtful. I did have fun making it, though it was a bit of work to shoot in such a small little studio, which is basically a bedroom. I'm glad you thought I came off as mellow and natural. I was a bit uncomfortable being in front of the camera rather than behind it. I would love to do this for a living, as I spend enough time perusing gear and participating in audio/video forums. Yes I shot it with one of my EX1s, at f.8. -3db gain. I added some minor color correction and some Magic Bullet Looks for a more filmic look. I had a 650 Arri light in a soft box, with an articulating floor lamp from Ikea for a fill, because I was too lazy to set up another "real" light. Then I had this cool stand called a CombiBoom I used for my LED light as a hair light. That thing lets you put a light in odd positions, as you will see in this short clip of the setup, that the stand was out the door.

Room Setup
YouTube - Room Set Up

Combi Boom - great for mics and lights.
YouTube - Manfrotto 420B Combi boom stand for lights or microphones
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Old October 20th, 2010, 12:44 AM   #7
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Roger, I actually think the mics have a big difference between them, and I can hear it clearly on Vimeo too. I'm listening on studio monitors though. The tram is way darker than the others, and the ME-2 has this plasticy high end, and the Cos11, and Rode Lav seem somewhat similar to each other. But I was listening to these things for 2 days. Give it another listen with nice headphones on and see what you think.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 01:08 AM   #8
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Thanks for this. The COS11D and the RODE sound the best to my ears.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 05:44 AM   #9
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Chad,

my first listen was through PC speakers, nice but definitely not studio monitors. I gave another listen through headphones and the ME2 did in fact fall in the rankings! I'm torn between the Sanken and the Rode. The Sanken has the most open sound but is a little overly bright to my ears. I really like the flexibility of the Rode connection.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 06:17 AM   #10
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Chad,
Nice job. I'm really glad you mixed in the NTG-3 as well. I think the Rode-Rode combo is tough to beat. Thanks for putting this together.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 02:15 AM   #11
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You are welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Johnson View Post
Thanks Ben! That's very thoughtful. I did have fun making it, though it was a bit of work to shoot in such a small little studio, which is basically a bedroom. I'm glad you thought I came off as mellow and natural. I was a bit uncomfortable being in front of the camera rather than behind it. I would love to do this for a living, as I spend enough time perusing gear and participating in audio/video forums. Yes I shot it with one of my EX1s, at f.8. -3db gain. I added some minor color correction and some Magic Bullet Looks for a more filmic look. I had a 650 Arri light in a soft box, with an articulating floor lamp from Ikea for a fill, because I was too lazy to set up another "real" light. Then I had this cool stand called a CombiBoom I used for my LED light as a hair light. That thing lets you put a light in odd positions, as you will see in this short clip of the setup, that the stand was out the door.

Room Setup
YouTube - Room Set Up

Combi Boom - great for mics and lights.
YouTube - Manfrotto 420B Combi boom stand for lights or microphones
Hey Chad,

Well, you might well do this for a living. This video was a proof you have the knowledge and experience necessary to do it. And you are good because you truly have passion for it and you see it on your video. Audiences are very smart and we can feel how you feel. It came out really well, once again you did a wonderful job. Always fun to watch. I have to say again I love that desk you have.
I checked Guy's video about the Manfrotto 420B. I added to my wish list.

I've recently got the following C stand:

Avenger A2030D Turtle Base Century C Stand Grip Arm A2030DKIT -


I am very happy with it, but the Manfrotto will propably become my second stand.


Any recomendations for lighting kits?

I currently have no lights and never owned one before but I am trying to get a nice set. Budget is limited but flexible. Like the best bang for you buck indie standard kind of deal...

I found this one as an example:

Lowel DV Creator 1 Kit, GO-85 Case DV-901Z - B&H Photo Video


Guy's videos are super cool and yours are too!!
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 03:05 PM   #12
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Actually I do video/audio stuff for a living. I just don't get in front of the camera and present stuff. It was a fun job and hope to do more.

The lights I used were not my own. They are one of my employers. I have been looking at light kits, and I really want at least one soft box. That Arri that I used was a 650, and with the box on, it's not as bright as I would expect, That kit has 2x 650s and 2x 350s, a soft box, stands and gels. They go for 2,500.00 or so new. We got it in trade. Same for the desk! This video guy was getting rid of his stuff and we did him a web page for the lights, a lectrosonics wireless unit with the Tram TR50 I reviewed, and the desk, a custom made thing valued at a couple of grand. My boss couldn't fit it in his place so I got it, and am keeping it as trade for me having to buy all my own cameras and gear. So for the rent of my EX1 I'm never letting go of that desk!

Here's a light Kit I have my eyes on: Lowel DVcreator Kit 44 (with soft case and lamps) - DVeStore

It's just a little more extensive than your link. Also DVeStore has it for 137.00 cheaper than B&H.

I've considered looking at Britek lights because they are inexpensive, but I don't know. That goes against my "buy quality and be happy" policy.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 06:08 PM   #13
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Audio Technica AT803 - good value budget XLR lav

Chad,

Outstanding tests!

I wanted to throw the Audio Technica AT803 into the mix. It's not for everybody, since it's not a sub-mini and too big to try and hide on talent. But, if all you are looking for is decent sound for a XLR lav at a very reasonable price, then it's definetly something to consider.

Here's an audio clip comparison between the Audio Technica AT803 and Tram TR50:
http://www.juicedlink.com/downloaddata/TramTR50.wav
http://www.juicedlink.com/downloadda...hnicaAT803.wav

The AT803 also has a low-cut filter, which was not engaged for this test.


-R
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Last edited by Robert Rozak; October 23rd, 2010 at 06:11 PM. Reason: more info
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 08:54 PM   #14
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Hi Robert. Thanks!

The AT, surprisingly, sounds more bass heavy than the Tram. I'd be interested to hear the AT with the low cut engaged. In my big JBL LSR monitors I could just feel low end, not necessarily in the voice so much as in the ambiance. That might be a good mic for someone with a higher register voice? The tram in my shootout seemed dull, but I just recorded a Yoga class with it, and it sounded great. Once you acclimate to a mic it's much more palatable than hearing them compared. Hey I'll see if I can get that R-4 Pro test going tomorrow by the way...
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Old October 24th, 2010, 11:06 AM   #15
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Chad,

Here's what I think is going on ...

Specs:
AT803 Sens: -46 dB
TR50 Sens: -57dB
AT803 SNR: 66 dB
TR50 Self Noise: 26 dB

Manufacturers never make things easy, with consistent specs. Assuming everything is A-weighted, I'm assuming the AT803 self noise is 94 - 66 = 28dB

So, the TR50 has a 2dB advantage in noise, but the AT803 has a 11 dB advantage in sensitivity.

I made the recordings through a juicedLink CX231 at max gain, going into a H4n.

The more sensitive AT803 allowed me to throttle back the amp in the H4n further.

I beleive that the H4n at reduced gain produced much more than a 2dB improvement in SNR.


So, the TR50 system noise level was masking the room ambient sound. And with the lower AT803 system noise level, you could hear more of the room ambient tone, (during the quite periods when I wasn't speaking ... which sounds more bass-y than the hiss of the noise with the TR50).


Later, I'll try another clip using the AT803 low-cut filter, for comparison.


-R
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