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Old April 22nd, 2011, 03:22 PM   #1
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SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

Here's a little shootout I did between 4 miniature shotguns. The Sennheiser MKE400, Rode VideoMic Pro, the Que Audio Micro Shotgun, and the Rode VideoMic. Who sounds best? Who has the best side rejection? Listen and you decide.

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Old April 23rd, 2011, 01:02 AM   #2
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

Hey, thanks for posting that. I liked the sound of the VideoMics - I've been thinking about getting one.
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 02:58 AM   #3
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

Chad, a good comparison of the mics characters. The MKE400 sounded even tinnier than I expected. I hope you don't mind a little constructive critique, but I think this test would be so much better if you took the mics out of the studio. They are most likely, going to be used on small camcorders and DSLRs and in less than ideal conditions, so how they cope with wind noise, handling, reflections etc. is probably very relevant to potential buyers.
The little Que audio, seems an interesting package. I'd love to see how this performs in the real world.
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 03:13 AM   #4
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

I think you should take them all out by the hedge again so that I can hear how they do in windy conditions :-)
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 05:31 AM   #5
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

I really wish someone would include the Ambient TinyMike in a shootout.

Having seen and held one at Frankfurt a couple of weeks ago I was really impressed with its build quality - it seems more like a mini 416 than a consumer camcorder mic.

Knowing its pedigree also gives me the confidence that it should be really good.

DVUser did a review HERE, though.
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 09:10 AM   #6
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

Appreciate the comparisons, Chad! This week I bought a VideoMic as a 2nd mic for indoor use. Didn't have the extra $100 to spend on the VideoMic Pro —was very pleased to hear these mics 'side by side.' Thanks for posting.
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 11:46 AM   #7
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

Nicely done Chad, and thanks for posting. I'm glad we have end-users that can create these kind of head-to-head comparisons, as you'll rarely get it from the manufacturers. I'm pretty sure this will save someone time, money and frustration.
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 01:50 PM   #8
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

Adrian & Colin

I understand the desire to hear the mics out in the world. As far as a mics susceptibility to wind goes, no mic is good in wind. All of these would be blown out with rumble. If I took these out in the wind, it would be a shootout between furries, not mics. And the physics of mic placement is the same for all mics: The further away a mic is, the worse it sounds. You can determine which mic would sound better out in the world (wind protection aside) by judging the side rejection. The VideoMic had the best side rejection. You can see by looking at the wave forms in the white noise test. It's a lot of work to try to get a situation to present the exact same conditions for 4 mics outside. What I hoped to do is illustrate the character of these mics in relation to each other. If the mic sounds thinner than the others in my studio, it will still sound thinner than the others on the world.

If you want my opinion:
The best sounding mic - almost a tossup between the VM and the VMP, with the VM edging out over the VMP with better side rejection. However the VMP has the 20db boost which is invaluable for use with noisy recording devices like DSLRs.

3rd place: the Que. Sounds thin, but has some fidelity. However - it lacks sensitivity, being at least twice as quiet as the rest. So when you record with it you have to turn up the gain, adding noise. In FCP I had to turn up my wav forms all the way to match the others, even when recording with 26db of gain on the T2i. BUT if you have a clean source of gain the noise is not an issue. If you record into a Sony D-50 you can run the mic on plug-in power and the D-50s clean gain will give you a nice signal. The mini boom pole is cool too.

Last place: MKE400. Pretty thin sounding to me. Even in a controlled situation, and talking right into the mic. Worst side rejection too. But the smallest package. So if you want your DSLR to look really cute with an adorable wee mic sitting on top - I say go for it! Ha ha. I expected more out of that mic. But as you guys said, it's not in the real world. Problem is I don't yet own a DSLR. I must return my borrowed one today. I would love someone like Sam Mallary to take the testing further, as I think he has both an MKE400 and a VMP. And I think he's doing a shootout too. So maybe he can take it a step further and step out in the world and go head to head with the 2 mics. He also lives in New York, which has lots of interesting stuff happening. I live in Arcata, Ca (next to Eureka Ca) and there is not much here. Just wind and rain....
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Old April 24th, 2011, 08:13 AM   #9
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

Chad, maybe you could weigh in and offer your expertice..

In a different post ( If you could only have 1 mic) I was looking for some advice on a mic purchase.

Equipment: Sony VX2100 and Rode SVM - camera does not have XLR
Usage: Serious hobbiest looking to improve his audio. I shoot indoors, outdoors, etc

Would a VM or VMP be a good choice for my camera/usage?
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Old April 24th, 2011, 09:18 AM   #10
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

Hi Chad, just to say thanks for another EXCELLENT comparative test from you. I greatly enjoyed it.

Just one very minor comment. At 1 min 59 secs you briefly show the Rode Videomic Pro with the Rode VMP Deadcat on (for illustrative purposes rather than as part of your test). I believe you had the deadcat on upside down!

There is close-up picture that I've just posted in the Rode VMP thread, linked below, that shows it clearly (in what I believe to be) the right way up position - shown mounted on a Panasonic TM900. And yes, it was not immediately obvious when I got my Rode deadcat a couple of days ago as to which way it should go on. It came with no instructions! (and there was no mention of how to fit it in the VMP's main instruction booklet - I just checked).

RODE Videomic Pro

Keep up the great work Chad!

And Jay, a Rode VMP would be an excellent addition to your kit. If you don't/won't need the DSLR friendly +20dB boost then the original Videomic is a very similar sounding and equally similar performer, at less cost, as Chad's test shows. Then use any spare dosh to buy a digital audio recorder next. This will give you a lot of audio capability and great tools to learn and have fun with for relatively little cost. I started out with (and still have/use sometimes) a Rode Videomic, Rode SVM and a cheap Zoom H2. By the way, my Rode deadcat for the SVM fits nicely on top of my Zoom H2 when needed too!
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Old April 24th, 2011, 01:24 PM   #11
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

Jay!

I too have the VX2100, and I must suggest the VideoMic PRO for that camera (over the VideoMic). The VX2100 has a certain hissssssssssss that is quite prevalent. I went so far as to get the "Greg Winter Mod" which removes the hiss, and bypasses the 2100's noisy preamps, and allows you to run line level signal into the RCA inputs of the camera. But all that aside, you probably just have the stock VX2100 with the hiss. So that extra 20db of gain will indeed help you out, because then you can turn down the camera's recording gain. That being said, you'd do even better with a preamp/mixer that outputs a LINE level signal. Like a Sound Devices MixPre, but you take a 3.5mm cable from the tape out on that, into the 3.5mm input on the VX, then set the input to "LINE".

Andy: Oops! I guess I put the deadcat on backwards! I thought I tried it the other way and it was tight. I'll try it again. I've just been so busy that I have not had a chance to fully explore any one piece of gear, as I have been doing a lot of demos & shootouts of a lot of stuff. And I don't even have a DSLR yet! Anyway, the VMP is my choice for the simple "mic on the camera" setup without a doubt.
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Old April 25th, 2011, 12:33 PM   #12
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

Here are some additional tests I did with 3 of the mics. The Que, the MKE400, and the VideoMic Pro. A) Going into the Sony D-50 straight. B) Going into JuicedLink Preamps, then to the D-50. C) Going into the Sound Devices MixPre, then to the D-50.

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Old April 28th, 2011, 10:58 PM   #13
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

Thanks. This made me happy to have bought my Rode Mic what seems like an eternity ago. I will buy another one since I'm needing another for a second shooter. The pro is what I'll take. The Que sounded good too but I like the all in one form factor.

I use a red head wind screen on top of the foam windscreen on my rode regular and it works incredibly well even on the beach with the wind blowing 10-15.

This was a ton of work and I thank you profusely for such a great vid!
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Old April 29th, 2011, 01:13 PM   #14
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Re: SHOOTOUT of the MINI SHOTS! • MKE400 • VideoMic Pro • Que • VideoMic

Glad you liked it! When you buy the VideoMic Pro you get a free dead cat when you register the mic. I haven't tested mine. For the regular VideoMic the normal sized dead cat works pretty well in higher wind too.
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