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Old July 30th, 2006, 09:14 AM   #16
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There are at least two schools of thought.

1. How cheaply can I buy a mic?
2. What the best mic for the best sound?

If you aren't attempting to be competitive, just doing you own videos or audio recording, it really doesn't matter. You can use approach #1. OTOH, if you're out in the marktplace selling your services, you need to be competitive.

Go to any market where professional video is shot. Find the sound guys and gals. What do they use on the boom? Not Oktava/Octava. So it's not really "what Ty Ford likes or dislikes." It's what he has learned to appreciate from those professionals who go before him.

People hire me to do sound because the tools I use and the way I use them make a difference. I'm also sort of an insurance policy. They can now concentrate on lighting and video and depend on me to deliver good audio.

Last week, that meant having me on the shoot to figure out the best way to get audio from a PA system in Washington DC for a press conference. The press distribution box sound sucked.

They put a direct box with a lift switch in the line when I brought their attention to it. In one position there was hum, in the other buzz. They had some sort of small footprint mixer (not a mackie). I found an aux output from the mixer that had neither hum nor buzz. We had good audio. The crews that showed up that settled for the press box got what they got; hum or buzz, depending on what position the lift switch had been left.

After the event, there's a scramble for comments from the participants. The room is full of people talking. The babble can get quite loud. The hotel staff are removing cups, saucers, plates, coffee urns, etc. It can be quite an audio madhouse. The Schoeps cmc641 is much more effective in not hearing the rest of the crowd, providing you can wield it properly. In this particular case, as the noise increased, the shooter gave me that "is the noise a problem?" look. I was able to give him the "Given where we are, it'll be OK" look.

That's another reason I get hired. Peace of mind.

Regards,

Ty
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Old July 30th, 2006, 09:42 AM   #17
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TyFord I was hoping to get a reaction from you because you are the Pro who's opinion I follow.

If you are very poor or don't know about quality you might not have any choice but follow the first school of thought, but if you are a pro and have the money you obviously better follow the second.

I personally neither follow the first school of thought nor the second, I am a pure hobbyist, I do not try to be competitive but try to get a quality which satisfies me with a limited amount of money I am willing to spend for my hobby.
I am curious if I will be lucky and can get a mic in Shanghai of a quality that I would not be able to afford back home. From your previous post learned that I will not try to get an Octava, but if anybody knew of any other choice in China that can be recommended I'd be very grateful.

If anybody is interested I will post my finds, if any, later.
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Old July 30th, 2006, 10:37 AM   #18
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Good luck with that and we do expect a full report.


Ty Ford
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Old August 8th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #19
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OK, the promised report:

A lot of mics in the market, all made for Karaoke. They are cheap, abt 15 USD, mostly chinese branded, some say Panasonic, others Sennheiser but they don't hide the fact that they are cheap copies. In their specs. they say e.g. 60 - 15000 HZ only, usually come with a few meter XLR female - 6,3 inch male cables and a mount, some are of a quite robust and heavy built.

No SE Electronics or Sound Projects Mics ( these two brands, the first chinese, the second American producing in Shanghai are, to my knowledge, considered the best produced in China ) to be found anywhere, also no Octavas or their copies.

There is only one mic which is different and tempting me a bit, a abt. 30 cm long AA battery powered shotgun. It's frequency range is not great ( don't remember exactly ) but it comes with a long cable, 2 mounts ( one for camera one for mic stand ) and a windscreen. Asking prize is abt. 35 USD, but I guess I could get it for less. Could be an interesting Mic if I tried to get into building my own using it as a base. But then I don't have any knowledge of micbuilding, fets or alike. Or could it be enough to simply change it's capsule?
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Old August 8th, 2006, 09:52 AM   #20
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The Audio Technica AT 2020 and AT 2021 are made in China
The AKG Perception 100, 200 (and I think 400) are also made in China.

Both under the heavy QC of each company.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old August 9th, 2006, 11:17 AM   #21
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It is amazing how many international quality brands produce in China.

I had bought two iRiver mp3 players/recorders, an Audio Technica Mic preamp in Japan, they all say 'Made in China', just as do the AC adapters of various Panasonic Products, Sanyo battery chargers asf, all japanese branded and bought in Japan, but made in China.

I was hoping to find some of these products here in Shanghai, but obviously they are all exported only and never hit the chinese market. The selection of international branded electronics is rather poor, mostly last years models somewhat overprized, besides them there are very cheap, very likely inferior quality chinese branded products.

That is my impression what electronics is concerned and may not be true for other products.
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Last edited by Andreas Griesmayr; August 9th, 2006 at 11:53 AM.
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Old August 9th, 2006, 11:33 AM   #22
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Just to ruffle feathers I've been in high end music recording studios and they were using Octavias for acoustic guitar...I would not for the life of me use one as any kind of boom or as a on camera shotgun or whatever people are trying...but they're great for acoustics in the right room and on certain body types...also on mandolins :)

Paul
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Old August 9th, 2006, 06:32 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cypert
Just to ruffle feathers I've been in high end music recording studios and they were using Octavias for acoustic guitar...I would not for the life of me use one as any kind of boom or as a on camera shotgun or whatever people are trying...but they're great for acoustics in the right room and on certain body types...also on mandolins :)

Paul
Unless you happen to have something better, like a Schoeps, Neumann or Senneheiser. Then the best use for an Octava (not Octavia, thanks) is propping the door open.

Of course, if the preamp is crap, all bets are off. That can kill the quality of any great mic.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old August 9th, 2006, 11:30 PM   #24
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In the studios I mentioned they did have all of those...certain people use different tools like different painters use paint in differing ways...they don't always use them, but do use them instead of some of their 1K or more mics too...sorry to have challenged the gospel of Ty :)

But seriously you know way more than most of us about audio...but when some of us have seen something different that doesn't make it wrong and it's not wrong to pass on that info to others...I've seen budget studios using some of the biggie mics and get crap sound and I've heard the results of big boys using a shure sm58...i'm not recommending to everyone to only use the sm58 because it works for Bono, but I am saying it to say that loads of folks have managed to amazing things with just about everything under the sun...some would even choose to use them again even when they have access to something better...like SRV and his beat up old axe even though he could have afforded something better...

Paul
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Old August 10th, 2006, 08:59 AM   #25
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In the studios I mentioned they did have all of those...certain people use different tools like different painters use paint in differing ways...they don't always use them, but do use them instead of some of their 1K or more mics too...sorry to have challenged the gospel of Ty :)

**That's right, try to make the guy telling the truth appear as an egotist. Nice try. It doesn't work because all I have to do is tell the truth. That's an uncalled for personal attack. It doesn't belong here. The last person who made that sort of statement to me like that was connected with one of the mic companies.

But seriously you know way more than most of us about audio...but when some of us have seen something different that doesn't make it wrong and it's not wrong to pass on that info to others.

** And when they have limitations, I'm going to point them out.

I've seen budget studios using some of the biggie mics and get crap sound

** That's right. Great mics DON'T guarantee great sound. It's about the mic, the preamp, the room and the placement...and the source. A U 87 Neumann plugged into a Mackie is not going to sound right. If that's what you've been using, plug it into a GML or a Neve and get a great surprise. And don't put the line level output of the great preamp through the Mackie either or it'll still get "trimmed."


and I've heard the results of big boys using a shure sm58...i'm not recommending to everyone to only use the sm58 because it works for Bono, but I am saying it to say that loads of folks have managed to amazing things with just about everything under the sun...some would even choose to use them again even when they have access to something better...like SRV and his beat up old axe even though he could have afforded something better...

**Who said the sm58 was a bad mic. Not me. I was talking about Oktavas and cheap chinese condensers. And, again, please keep your personal comments to yourself.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old August 10th, 2006, 09:32 PM   #26
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Aren't most comments made on the board personal comments? :)

I mean we're not just reading press releases...almost everything here is personal. Plus, I had a smiley next to the Gospel of Ty comment...it was meant in jest.

The point was just to show there are other ways of thought. You made a pretty bold statement saying that if one had access to some other mics certain mics were only valuable as door stops. That's simply not true. People on these boards really listen to what you have to say, but they need to know also that there are professional cd producing folks that might have a differing opinion. It's just so people have more than one side to look at.

I am in no way affiliated with Octava/Octavia. I'm a photographer (sometimes videographer) for a relief and development organization in Thailand. I don't get paid to do the things I do (usually...in the summers I work weddings in the states to help us live here during the year) and have learned to make the most from what some would consider limited equipment. I just feel there's too much thought that one must have X and Y and then they can really do quality work. Simply not true. If people would take the time to really learn to use what they have they could blow away 2K mics with practice. I also used to assist in some studios when I was trying to do home recording and have some friends who have some nice professional studios.

I've read many of your posts and have referred to a lot of what you've written when it comes to personal mic choices for video. The thing that bugged me was your assumption that if you didn't see fit to use something it was a door block and couldn't seem to allow that others might have a differing opinion.

Paul

PS - The people I referenced had the Russian variants. I'm not sure about the Chinese variants...all I know is that the instructions included were in Russian in the box which was super helpful :)
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Old August 11th, 2006, 04:23 AM   #27
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an interesting quote I got sent in a forum called 'taperssection':
Quote:
There are counterfeit Oktavas on the market (Chinese made) but a lot of people seem to actually PREFER their sound to the Russian ones. Interestingly enough, the quality control on the copies was much better than that of the originals until just recently. The Russian made ones have a very dark character to them, while the Chinese ones are a little brighter. Often you can find a pair of these for under $200. I wuld imagine at that price even the Chinese ones would do quite well.
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Old August 11th, 2006, 08:05 AM   #28
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Aren't most comments made on the board personal comments? :)

I mean we're not just reading press releases...almost everything here is personal. Plus, I had a smiley next to the Gospel of Ty comment...it was meant in jest.

** I find it personally offensive, the smiley face took little away from your intent. And as I continued to read this post, it's quite obvious that the emotional component of your comment was derogatory.

The point was just to show there are other ways of thought. You made a pretty bold statement saying that if one had access to some other mics certain mics were only valuable as door stops. That's simply not true.

**Bold perhaps, but not a personal comment. You need to hear a cmc641. I'm equally bold about using a good mixer. That's not always a popular position here, but it makes a world of difference.

People on these boards really listen to what you have to say, but they need to know also that there are professional cd producing folks that might have a differing opinion. It's just so people have more than one side to look at.

**Perhaps if you had heard a Schoeps, you would understand. When I did, it changed the way I thought about audio in a massive way.

I am in no way affiliated with Octava/Octavia.

**It's NOT Octavia. Depending on the year, it's Oktava or Octava.

I'm a photographer (sometimes videographer) for a relief and development organization in Thailand. I don't get paid to do the things I do (usually...in the summers I work weddings in the states to help us live here during the year) and have learned to make the most from what some would consider limited equipment. I just feel there's too much thought that one must have X and Y and then they can really do quality work. Simply not true. If people would take the time to really learn to use what they have they could blow away 2K mics with practice. I also used to assist in some studios when I was trying to do home recording and have some friends who have some nice professional studios.

**Well first, technology can make a difference. That you choose to ignore that is on you. I've been recording for a really long time. Professionally for over 40 years. I only began using Schoeps about 5-6 years ago. This isn't about you and me. Go to a motion picture set. See what the location audio professionals AROUND THE WORLD use. For indoor (and outdoor) boom work, for the majority of this work, it's a Schoeps cmc641.

I've read many of your posts and have referred to a lot of what you've written when it comes to personal mic choices for video. The thing that bugged me was your assumption that if you didn't see fit to use something it was a door block and couldn't seem to allow that others might have a differing opinion.

***So you're bugged because I have had the opportunity to hear a lot of different mics as a professional mic reviewer since 1986 and have heard a used a LOT of mics? Don't know what to say about that. It's what I DO, man. (The new Rode SVM is pretty cool, btw.)

***BTW, you will see the MC012 with hyper capsule used by pros when the particular setup puts their Schoeps in danger of being damaged. For them, it's a "throw away" that gets "close enough" for those situations. I can't comment on whether or not the tracks are actually used or if they do ADR later.

***Also, BTW, when film production companies order remote ADR sessions at Baltimore professional audio studios (Verve Broadcast Design and Producer's Video) they actually specify the Schoeps cmc641. If you don't have one, you don't get the gig. Producer's only had ONE a few years ago. They needed two for one session and rented one of mine.

Paul

PS - The people I referenced had the Russian variants. I'm not sure about the Chinese variants...all I know is that the instructions included were in Russian in the box which was super helpful :)

**Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share a deeper amount of what I know to the group. There aren't many mics I can think of that are such strong contenders. For the home studio folks, the Schoeps cmc641 also makes an incredible acoustic guitar mic, vocal mic and guitar amp mic. I also use the pair as drum overheads.

***I have an online library of music produced here at my studio.
http://home.comcast.net/%7Etyreeford/Library.html
I have a fairly complete mic cabinet and could use any mic. I tried the cm641 on my acoustic guitar (Martin D28S) and was shocked at how much better it sounded. Every guitar on every song, even the guitar amp on "Existential Boogie", was tracked with one cmc641. Vocals were done on a Neumann U 89. They record well and because they do, they make mixing a lot easier. If you are spending a lot of time getting a mix to work, it is highly possible that the mics are working against you. But that, along with why matching the right mic with the right preamp, is another story...

Cheers,

Ty Ford

PS: Doug, you set this up with Paul to get me to write this "article" because you KNOW I'm passionate about this stuff didn't you! You and Chris owe me lunch!
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Old August 12th, 2006, 08:28 AM   #29
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Though it is interesting to hear that the Schoepps is above the rest, hopefully people who want to spend not more than a couple of 100 bucks for a mic for their videocam also can get splendid advice from knowledgeable and experienced people like Ty in this video - forum.
Which Mics are used for studio audio recordings interests me only marginally and I guess I am not the only one who feels like this.
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Old August 12th, 2006, 09:02 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford
...

** That's right. Great mics DON'T guarantee great sound. It's about the mic, the preamp, the room and the placement...and the source. A U 87 Neumann plugged into a Mackie is not going to sound right. If that's what you've been using, plug it into a GML or a Neve and get a great surprise. And don't put the line level output of the great preamp through the Mackie either or it'll still get "trimmed."

...
Sounds like you're not thrilled with Mackies, Ty. I'm almost afraid to ask since I just bought a 1642VLZ-PRO but do you find problems with the whole Mackie line or just specific models or applications? Is it that you find them unacceptable for professional quality work or are they adequate but way outclassed by the top of the line exotics like Neve etc (which is certainly to be expected since a whole Mackie mixer is less than a quarter of the price of a single Neve channel strip or preamp)?
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