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Old February 26th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #1
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Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered mic

I am looking at purchasing an Azden SGM-2X I just discovered it takes a battery instead of phantom power, does this make a big difference. I am as independent as independent filmmaking can get and I have to try and purchase lower cost yet try to get good quality. I have been looking on line and finding good reviews of this mic as well as the Rode NTG2. There is a $100.00 difference between the two and that is enough to make me hesitate in my current situation. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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Old February 26th, 2011, 10:22 PM   #2
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

Actually, the NTG-2 also takes battery power. It also will take phantom power if you are feeding it.

See this thread about the Azden:

Azden SGM-2X Shotgun Mic

I think real issue is which mic provides that sound quality you are looking for.

I started with the Sennheiser ME66, good but bit hot mic. Then I got the NTG-2, it has a bit mellower tone but does better indoors, I think. Then, in a contest, I won the phantom only NTG 3-- a $ 700 mic, and the difference is clear to me. It sounds great.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 09:48 AM   #3
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

The same microphone which can be use from both phantom power or its own battery, will usually have slightly better specifications from phantom power for things like the maximum input SPL handling.

The real question between the two microphones that you are inquiring about, is how good is the noise performance. Check out the specifications on them.

I have used both microphones before. You will be much happier with the NTG2 (Instead of the SGM-2x) because of its better noise characteristics.

The NTG2 is the sweet spot in the price / performance curve for shotgun microphones.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 01:57 PM   #4
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

Robert is absolutely correct. The other thing is that the higher quality mics out there will only work on Phantom. There are precious few better quality mics that will take a battery, rather the mics require phantom and the user will carry a battery powered preamp (ie Sound Devices or similar).

--Ben
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Old February 27th, 2011, 05:34 PM   #5
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

Thanks so much it looks like I will need to rethink things. The audio has always been my weakest link and I know it is one of the most important. I will do some more research and look into the mics you have mentioned. Know of any contests I can enter to win the NTG3???
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Old February 27th, 2011, 07:54 PM   #6
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

You missed it ! Right here at DVInfo, DV Charity Challenge, 2009-2010.

Shooting with a DSLR, I am shooting separate sound for a lot of things. I use a Sign ENG 44 and line feed a simple Tascam DR-07 recorder for a poor mans recording system. The SignENG 44 has gotten some decent review. The combo captures some pretty cleans sound at a fairly low expense. Of course the proper mic for the situation is a great big factor, too.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 08:19 PM   #7
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

This info on Amazon says the NTG2 can run off of either. The NTG2 provides a balanced low impedance output stage and operates either from an internal 1.5 V battery (AA) or 48 V phantom power.
I am thinking I might just have to go with this one.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 07:39 AM   #8
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzanne Lucas View Post
This info on Amazon says the NTG2 can run off of either. The NTG2 provides a balanced low impedance output stage and operates either from an internal 1.5 V battery (AA) or 48 V phantom power.
I am thinking I might just have to go with this one.
Note the first reply to your thread, Chris states this as well.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 12:15 PM   #9
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

Suzanne - What are you plugging the microphone into?

As to your original question "Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered mic," the answer typically is no. There isn't a big quality difference between battery powered and phantom powered mics (of the same model, anyhow).

Robert hinted at this earlier. Look at the Rode NTG2 and the NTG1. They are essentially the same mic, except that the NTG2 has the battery option, and the NTG1 does not (it requires phantom to operate). There are three differences:

1) The NTG1 has a slightly better sound. Because it doesn't have the additional circuitry for the battery, it has a slightly lower noise floor, and a slightly cleaner sound.

2) Because the NTG1 doesn't have the battery slot, it's physically shorter than the NTG2.

3) The NTG1 should be $20 cheaper

In this case, if you don't need the battery option, the NTG1 could be a better choice.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 07:22 PM   #10
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

Sam,
I am plugging it into a JVC GYHD100U. Thank you so much for all the information
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Old March 1st, 2011, 05:47 AM   #11
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

Just to be clear, it's not that phantom provides better sound than battery or vice versa. It's just that designers of the top-shelf mics on the market tend to opt for phantom only powering, probably because they anticipate that their products will be used in conjunction with professional-grade preamps, mixers, or recorders and it's virtually universal that such pro gear will have phantom power available.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 10:53 AM   #12
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

Suzanne - Nice camera! I would definitely go with the Rode NTG1. It's shorter than the NTG2, so it would be a good mic for you to use mounted on your camera, and also good for boompole work. You should make some room in your budget for a shockmount, and if you're going to shoot outdoors with it then you should definitely get some wind protection too.

Steve - Agreed, but I think the #1 reason why top-shelf shotguns don't have a battery option is to keep their noise floor down.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 02:09 PM   #13
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

One advantage to in-mic battery power is that the mic manufacturer can optimize the battery circuit for the specific mic design. Battery life is generally very good. On the other hand, a true +48V phantom circuit in a preamp or recorder can drain the preamp battery pretty quickly. Having the option to run the mic battery and turn phantom off is nice when working far from civilization.
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 09:08 AM   #14
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

A battery powered mic can also be helpful if your plug-on wireless transmitter doesn't have phantom power or if you have a need to use a Y cable with a mic and you have to avoid doubling the phantom power going into the mic by totally switching phantom power off.
A battery powered XLR mic can also be adapted to a stereo mini mic input (using the correct adapter cable) that doesn't have either phantom power or plug-in power (or the plug-in power can be turned off so it doesn't cause noise).
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Old March 5th, 2011, 11:29 PM   #15
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Re: Is there a big quality difference in a battery powered mic vs a phantom powered m

Like others said its not really a question of sound quality its what your using it for and whether your equipment provides phantom power. For example, if its out on a boom your not going to want the extra weight of a battery. Or if you plug your mic into other ppl systems and can't depend on them providing phantom power. Ppl tend to sweat the small stuff.
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