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Old December 3rd, 2010, 08:54 PM   #1
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Rode NTG-3 / NTG3 cold weather issue

There seems to be a problem with the Rode NTG-3 (some or all?) . It shuts down when it is used in a cold environment.

People talk about the problem here. Anyone else experiencing the same?

The Freesound Project :: View topic - Is my microphone freezing due to cold weather?

"have an NTG-3, it has been -3 -4 degrees celcius in London tonight and I was on a film shoot. The microphone would work for a short while and then it would sound awful. Loads of noise and quiet recordings. Is this normal? Can I just keep it warm before a take or will this damage it more? I was recording into a Fostex FR2-LE. "

"Wow. I lend the NTG3 some days ago from the university I am studying and it had the same problems: lots of noise and quiet recordings.
It`s been in my car for about 2 hours, it wasn`t that cold (round about 4 to 5 degrees celcius)."

"When using the Rode NTG-3 in cold weather (<5 - 8 degrees celcius) it almost shuts down after about 5 minutes. The input on the camera shows and hears lots of noise and almost inaudible audio. When i take it back inside the house (where the temperature is nearly 20 celcius) the rode starts working again with no problems after a 5 - 10 minutes warm-up. "

"the last test i did was to put the NTG-3 in the fridge (4 degrees) and take it out after 15 minutes. Same problem. All other components were at room temperature (xlr cable, juicedlink cx231, camera, camera battery, juicedlink battery). Before this test NTG-3 was working. After 15 minutes of being in the fridge it was not. I attached it to the XLR box, turned on camera, etc and listened with headphones what would happen. After 5 - 10 minutes warm-up i started hearing breaking noises and hiss. The next following minutes the sound slowly recovered and the breaking noises and hiss went away. During this test i also connected the Sennheiser EW100 G3 XLR on the same and second XLR port. No problems."
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Old December 4th, 2010, 12:12 AM   #2
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I found this pdf that mentions the mic working fine at -2c, so I bet that's the low operational temp.

aus.rodemic.com/downloads/ntg-3/NTG-3_AT.pdf
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Old December 4th, 2010, 07:09 AM   #3
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Hi Chris,

I don’t have NTG-3 but I was thinking to get one and this post intrigued me because where I live its cold 5 months out of the year.

Perhaps the reason the microphone stop working is because any humidity trapped in the microphone freezes on components that should still be able to move due to sound pressure. The only solution I can think of is to keep the microphone in a plastic bag with the ‘moisture absorbing gel’ and let it cool down to the working temperature. You then take it out of the bag and use it as usual (remember to do the same on the way back). This is a trick I learned long time ago when we were going back and forth (hot/cold/hot) with cameras and it prevented frost from building up on lenses. It is not a fast solution because you need to allow the equipment to cool down or to worm up, but it may be the only solution.
I would be very interested to hear if that works for you.
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Old December 5th, 2010, 01:22 AM   #4
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Hi Robert,

Rode (via European distributor) has asked me to return the microphone. They will replace it for a new one. When the replacement has the same problems i wil try your good idea. Thanks. But i hope it has not. This means i basically can't use it from oct till march due to weather conditions.
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Old December 5th, 2010, 04:25 AM   #5
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The sennheiser 416 & 816 are listed to go to -10 deg C, years ago a crew went to Antarctica with no problems with the gear apart from the Miller fluid head tripod being SUPER stiff.
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Old December 5th, 2010, 09:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
The sennheiser 416 & 816 are listed to go to -10 deg C, years ago a crew went to Antarctica with no problems with the gear apart from the Miller fluid head tripod being SUPER stiff.
Sennheiser MKH series microphones have been regularly used at both the north and south poles with no problems being reported.
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Old December 5th, 2010, 04:02 PM   #7
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Hi Chris,

The NTG-3 has been extensively tested at sub-zero temperatures (rated to -12 degrees). We have many reports of the microphone being used free of any performance issues in demanding environments including arctic regions.

Like all RØDE broadcast mics (and the Blimp) the NTG-3 comes with a 10 year warranty following online registration, so if you are experiencing any issues please contact your local service center to arrange a warranty service.
(RØDE Microphones - International distributors and service agents)

I believe you've already done this as our Service Manager is expecting the microphone to arrive from the service center. Once we receive it we'll run tests to isolate the cause of the failure.

If I can be of any assistance please just let me know.
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Old December 10th, 2010, 01:08 AM   #8
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I have used both my NTG 2 and NTG 3 in the winter time in 11 degress F (-10 C) with no problem.

Its common practice (and sense) to slowly cool down the gear prior to using it in very cold conditions and vice versa for very warm conditions. I find that putting my Kata bag in my garage for 1-2 hours prior to leaving allows the camera to come close to outdoor conditions and at a slow pace due to the bag acting as insulation.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 06:39 PM   #9
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Rode spent 2yrs with the design of the RF biased NTG-3 which includes the capability to operate as advertised in sub-zero temperatures.

At Rode HQ, even in the busy Xmas period they have placed high priority on this question and an answer will be forthcoming asap.

Cheers.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 09:35 PM   #10
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A thought, maybe it's not the cold per se, but moisture condensing on the mike element, caused by the cooler temperature than that at which it was kept....condenser mikes don't like moisture.

One of mine, an instrument mike, came with a warning that using as a vocal mike, with the attendant breath moisture, would cause symptoms much like those you describe. Possibly letting the mike acclimate to its surroundings before removing from it's nice metal case would help?
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Old December 15th, 2010, 08:40 AM   #11
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My RODE NT-1A came with a small desiccant package that changes color when wet. The recommendation is that the user bake the desiccant in the oven until it changes color, and that the mic be stored in its pouch with the desiccant near the condenser.

It makes sense that if there is moisture on the element that it would freeze below 32F, which would reduce the signal, if not eliminate it.
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Old December 15th, 2010, 02:59 PM   #12
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At least with the NTG 3, it comes with the metal case and I am sure it holds all moisture inside so maybe its best not to use the case to store the mic. Others have stated that using the airtight camera cases are a bad idea as well because it holds all moisture inside, which is why I stopped using my EX1 Storm case.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 11:49 AM   #13
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Re: Rode NTG-3 / NTG3 cold weather issue

Resurrecting this older thread to add that I just had some issues with my NTG 3 as well. Got to a location (an abandoned building with no heat) and when I wired all my gear up, the NTG 3 gave me no signal at all. Only sound it made was a hollow thump noise when I tapped on the XLR connector at the base of the mic. Ended up pulling out my other shotgun for the shoot, which worked fine on the same equipment and cables. After I got home, I tested the Rode again, and it worked fine.
It wasn't too cold in the building. I'd guess maybe in the mid 40's Fahrenheit in the morning. I guess I'll be sending it back to Rode for replacement.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 12:42 PM   #14
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Re: Rode NTG-3 / NTG3 cold weather issue

I used the rode NTG2 and NTG3 in very cold environnements a lot without any problem. specifically, in february I was the soundman on a shoot on a frozen lake. I used the NTG3 plugged in a ZOOM H4n. The temperature where below -30 celsius, and the wind was very strong. The crew where pretty affected by the temperature, but the rode? Not at all. It performed strong for 12 hours straight (but had to replace the batteries in the H4n every 20 minutes...)
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Old April 8th, 2011, 01:28 PM   #15
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Re: Rode NTG-3 / NTG3 cold weather issue

We are returning the mic for replacement. Most likely just a defective unit, but it seems to have happened to more than one NTG 3. Still, its a great mic when its all working good. I'll miss it until the replacement gets here!
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