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Old February 11th, 2011, 07:42 PM   #1
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Warm sounding handheld reporter's mic?

I find myself mostly using a Rode NTG-3 for audio-only interviews and radio-type work. If that doesn't work, I'll use an Audio Technica AT4053b, although it's much more prone to handling noise than the Rode.

Any suggestions for a cardioid or omni handheld mic that sounds as good as either of those, but that isn't prone to handling noise?

I've got an Audio Technica AT8010, but I can never bring myself to use it since it lacks the warmth and richness of the above mics.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 09:03 PM   #2
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99.9% of the networks in the US use the EV RE50 for a H/H reporters mic. (Gets more airtime than 'Seinfeld' reruns) The Sennheiser equivalent is very nice sounding as well.

The Rode NTG-3 and Audio Technica AT4053 are decent for boom type work, I would certainly not recommend them for H/H use though.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 09:15 PM   #3
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should have prefaced my question by saying, 'anything but the RE-50.' :)

i know it's the standard mic for ENG, but i'm looking for something a little nicer sounding for documentary work.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 10:33 PM   #4
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Perhaps the reason the NTG-3 and AT4053b sound warm to you is because they are directional, and directional mics tend to exhibit proximity effect. That is, they tend to have accentuated LF response when worked closer than a few feet. Those mics would be quite flat at boom distance, but might tend to sound unnaturally warm at hand-held distances, because of the bass boost.

The RE-50 is fairly flat down to 100 Hz, with a modest rolloff below that. http://www.electrovoice.com/sitefile...ta%20Sheet.pdf And, because it's an omni, it does not exhibit any proximity effect. Thus, it will stay flat even when worked an inch from the mouth.

Another advantage is that omnis, like the RE-50, often have lower handling noise than directional mics.

Also, the RE-50 has a slight, broad HF peak, from about 5 to 10 kHz. That would help with articulation, but would perhaps make the LF range sound even a bit quieter than it actually is.

The RE-50 has a good reputation. If you dislike it only because it's not quite warm enough, would it be worthwhile trying just a small amount of LF boost, to electronically imitate the proximity effect that you get when using the shotguns at a hand-held distance? That might be somewhat pleasing, especially if the talent has a rather "thin" voice.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 11:22 PM   #5
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you're right, i definitely like a little proximity effect, which i wouldn't get with an omni, so maybe i'm just looking for a good handheld cardioid, preferably a condenser (since i mostly use a marantz pmd661 which doesn't have a lot of clean gain for a dynamic mic). i realize you can add 'warmth' with a little eq, but it never quite sounds the same as a good mic that sounds warm out of the box.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 01:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post

Another advantage is that omnis, like the RE-50, often have lower handling noise than directional mics.

Also, the RE-50 has a slight, broad HF peak, from about 5 to 10 kHz. That would help with articulation, but would perhaps make the LF range sound even a bit quieter than it actually is.

The RE-50 has a good reputation. If you dislike it only because it's not quite warm enough, would it be worthwhile trying just a small amount of LF boost, to electronically imitate the proximity effect that you get when using the shotguns at a hand-held distance? That might be somewhat pleasing, especially if the talent has a rather "thin" voice.
Greg you have very accurately given the reasons this mic is THE standard. It does make the best of the situation, reducing hand held noise and providing a slight emphasis where it adds clarity.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 02:49 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ansel Brandt View Post
you're right, i definitely like a little proximity effect, which i wouldn't get with an omni, so maybe i'm just looking for a good handheld cardioid
The catch is, proximity effect varies with distance. Out past one to three feet or so, depending on the particular mic, the mic will be flat. Thus, if you want to match sound from shot to shot, you'll have to keep the working distance the same. If a few shots have the mic at 6", and you try to match a shot at 1" (because of high ambient noise level), or you try to match a shot at 18" (pulling the mic back for better visual composition), the mic will have different apparent response, and the shots won't match. An omni will be the same at any distance, so matching shots will be much easier.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier: a directional mic is much more sensitive to wind noises than an omni. So you'll probably want to use a foam pop filter, at the very least. That will make the mic bigger and uglier in your camera shots. And outdoors, you'll have much more trouble dealing with atmospheric wind, compared to an omni. You won't have those issues with a good omni like an RE-50.

My personal favorite announce mic is an RCA BK-5B, which is a cardioid ribbon (although it's not the best mic for every voice). Worked about 6", it is beautifully warm, yet very clean with good articulation. But it would be a disaster to try to use one for shooting a documentary.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 03:34 AM   #8
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THe AT 875r can be a nice interview or hand held mic as is it shorter than most shotguns and does not sound so phasey, it needs to be in a grip though and with a softie on can look a bit large in vision.

Other than that the EV RE-50 or the EV 635a or the Beyer dynamic omni are in vision favorites.

As for condenser mics we used to use calrec 1001 or 2001 omni mics for hand held's but you need a foam wind gag on to protect the capsule from wind noise, handling is very good though.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 05:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ansel Brandt View Post
should have prefaced my question by saying, 'anything but the RE-50.' :)

i know it's the standard mic for ENG, but i'm looking for something a little nicer sounding for documentary work.
Try a Sennheiser MD46
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Old February 12th, 2011, 10:59 AM   #10
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I don't have any direct experience at all with ribbon mics - of course I know their reputation for warmth, fragility, low output, and don't ever send phantom to them!

An audio engineer I work with from time to time put a mic in my hand about 10 years ago, and said "listen to this!" It was stunning, a ribbon in a hand-held configuration. It was a Beyerdynamic, either an M160 or M260. I only had about 20 seconds with it, but it was impressive.

Worth a listen, if you can locate one. Don't know anything about handling noise or wind susceptibility, and it's a hypercard, which is normally not the first choice in a h/h, as it would call for much more care in making sure that anyone speaking is on-mike.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 11:04 AM   #11
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Try a Sennheiser MD46
+1

The Sennheiser MD46 dynamic would be my choice. Reporters can actually be holding the mic really low (belly button low) or pointing the mic at a subject 2-3 feet away and you still get great sound. For the untrained reporter that forgets to point the mic, the cardioid pattern is unforgiving. You need to be on axis or within a foot. Works well outdoors even without a foam windscreen (double basket grille). It's also nicely balanced with the Sennheiser SKP100 plug on transmitter. You've heard this mic a lot in the Olympics with NBC reporters.

Edit. Just found an old sample of the MD46 if you'd like to hear it. This was back in 2005 at NAB with the SKP 100 G2 wireless into a Canon XL2 http://dvcreators.net/podcasts/Hoffm...40%204%3A3.m4v
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Old February 12th, 2011, 07:34 PM   #12
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Other than that the EV RE-50 or the EV 635a or the Beyer dynamic omni are in vision favorites.
Gary, could you please toss out a model number for the Beyer that you like?

Thanks in advance.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 08:30 PM   #13
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Have a look at the Beyerdynamic M58 or how about a Shure SM63 [small light weight great in the wind] or a Shure VP64 [modern styling]
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Old February 12th, 2011, 08:41 PM   #14
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I love my SM63. Has a great look and really nice sound but then I'm half deaf or so says my wife (it's actually selcted hearing)
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Old February 12th, 2011, 08:46 PM   #15
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Have a look at the Beyerdynamic M58 or how about a Shure SM63
But bear in mind that the Beyer is 2.5 times the price of the Shure and has a considerably different sound and much less handling noise.
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