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Old July 18th, 2011, 04:43 AM   #91
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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Originally Posted by Sebastian Alvarez View Post
Steve, you're missing the point. You said "Frankly, if you only had a total of $3500 to invest to begin with, you would have been better off with a $2500 camera and devoting the other $1000 to sound, or even a $1500 camera so you could devote two kilobucks to the sound kit." What person in their right mind is going to buy a mediocre camera that can't even be called professional at $1500 and then add $2000 of state of the art professional audio equipment? A typical videographer that does weddings and corporate events would never do that. It's completely unbalanced. Top notch audio with mediocre video at best . I particularly prefer top notch video with decent audio, which is what I get with my digital recorders. All that equipment you mentioned is perfectly good for a large production company, but excessive for a single videographer, unless there is a specific project that requires it, in which case you rent it all, or if it's going to be a series of highly paid projects, then it makes sense to purchase it.
What I described is hardly a state of the art sound kit. What I described is an entry-level sound kit for professional work, covering the most common shooting situations an independent videographer might encounter. State of the art is going to multiply those numbers many times over. Try pricing an Aaton Cantaar or Deva recorder, mainstays of many studio and network episodic sets ... you're looking at between $15,000 and $20,000, perhaps a little more, just for the recorder. Or another example, I suggested an AKG Blueline hyper for interior booming ... that mic will run about $475. But the industry standard hyper in North America is arguably the Schoeps CMC641 which will set you back right about $2250.

Top notch audio with mediocre video will have better client acceptance than will top notch video with medicore audio. If you have to compromise somewhere because of budget limitations. you're better off compromising the images and concentrating on getting the sound right. Consider a typical corporate gig, a welcome to the company message for new employees from the CEO. What is more important, what he has to say or showing an image that looks like a portrait shot by Karsh or Avedon?
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Old July 18th, 2011, 12:45 PM   #92
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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Top notch audio with mediocre video will have better client acceptance than will top notch video with medicore audio. If you have to compromise somewhere because of budget limitations. you're better off compromising the images and concentrating on getting the sound right.
That may be the way you see it, but most people would be put off my mediocre video more than by mediocre sound. Of course if you know how to adjust video settings properly you can get good looking video from a $500 consumer camera, but nobody will spend $1500 on the video camera and then $2000 on a sound kit unless the project calls for it and pays far more than that. In which case obviously the videographer would never get a $1500 camera for such a project.

But anyway, I heard samples of the different mics below $200 on different clips on You Tube and Vimeo and the Azdens sound muffled, so I I ended up ordering the Audio Technica AT875R, which sounds great to me, at least from those sample clips. Here's one example:

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Old July 18th, 2011, 01:53 PM   #93
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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That may be the way you see it, but most people would be put off my mediocre video more than by mediocre sound. Of course if you know how to adjust video settings properly you can get good looking video from a $500 consumer camera, but nobody will spend $1500 on the video camera and then $2000 on a sound kit unless the project calls for it and pays far more than that. In which case obviously the videographer would never get a $1500 camera for such a project.

But anyway, I heard samples of the different mics below $200 on different clips on You Tube and Vimeo and the Azdens sound muffled, so I I ended up ordering the Audio Technica AT875R, which sounds great to me, at least from those sample clips. Here's one example:

In the Studio on Vimeo
The AT875 is a decent entry-level microphone that a lot of people like. What makes you think the audio in that clip was recorded with one though .. didn't you see (what appears to be) the Sanken COS-11 lav she was wearing in the middle of her chest from about 00:28 onward? The first 30 seconds and most of her voice have WAY too much room reverb in them.
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Old July 18th, 2011, 02:12 PM   #94
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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...but most people would be put off by mediocre video more than by mediocre sound.
That's not the case - at least not as we reach the lower limits. People put up with crummy video - postage stamp, big block noise, skipped frames - all the time. Degrade the audio to the point at which it is hard to understand or has a hiss, buzz, bad echo, or other distracting problem and people will turn it off. We can shut our eyes or turn our heads when we don't like what we see, but we can't close our ears.

As a kid, I remember watching stuff that was full of analog snow and ghosts - as long as the audio was okay. As long as I could kind of make out the picture, I'd watch. But if the sound was bad, click!

South Park is my favorite example. The visuals are virtually stick figures. Heck, the Terrance and Phillip characters ARE stick figures. By contrast, the sound is expertly done.

Of course, you said "mediocre". That gets harder to judge. One can use fairly cheap audio gear (as long as the preamp is good enough to avoid excess hiss) and apply good production and post techniques to get good sound. But this would be the case of mediocre gear, not mediocre sound. Similarly, great gear used poorly will produce poor audio. And poor audio should be avoided at all costs.
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Old July 18th, 2011, 02:52 PM   #95
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
The AT875 is a decent entry-level microphone that a lot of people like. What makes you think the audio in that clip was recorded with one though .. didn't you see (what appears to be) the Sanken COS-11 lav she was wearing in the middle of her chest from about 00:28 onward? The first 30 seconds and most of her voice have WAY too much room reverb in them.
If you click on "Vimeo" in the video (I pasted the URL but this forum embedded the video directly) you can see this in the description: "For the techies: I shot it in 1080/30p and used an Audio-Technica AT875R for audio"

Sure, there's a lot of room reverb but that's not the microphone's fault, it's simply a matter of the surroundings.
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Old July 18th, 2011, 03:08 PM   #96
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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That's not the case - at least not as we reach the lower limits. People put up with crummy video - postage stamp, big block noise, skipped frames - all the time. Degrade the audio to the point at which it is hard to understand or has a hiss, buzz, bad echo, or other distracting problem and people will turn it off.
We agree on that, but that's not the discussion we are having with Steve. He said I should've spent $1500 on a video camera and $2000 on the audio kit, which I seriously disagree with. That doesn't mean that a $100 microphone will give you audio that is hard to understand and is unusable. I'll give you an example if you go to this address and watch this sample video of a wedding I made: Samples - Anna & Paul

Let it buffer and when it lets you, go to around 4:50 and listen to the voices. Those voices were captured with my Zoom H1 recorder ($100) placed behind the floral arrangement on top of them. The H1 is stereo but for that purpose I set it to mono since it was there just to record voices. Then I got the stereo ambient audio from the internal mic of the camera I had at that point, a Panasonic HMC80.

It may not be top notch audio, but it's very decent, and the groom has a very expensive home theater and is an audiophile, and he was very happy with the quality of the voices. I was like thirty feet away, so even if I would have had a $1500 shotgun mic on my camera, there was no way I was going to get the same voice quality I got with that $100 digital recorder.
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Old July 18th, 2011, 05:40 PM   #97
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

Not bad on the vows .... could have had a bit more presence by putting a lav on either the groom, the officiant, or both but on the whole I'd consider it acceptable. Certainly far better than an on-camera mic would have done. Really lost it on the toast before the cutting of the cake though.

I'm never said you should have bought a $1500 camera in order to spend $2000 on the sound kit, just that that would be one possible approach unfder some circumstances. But to compromise on the camera, if that's what you have to do because of budget limitations, in order to invest in a basic pro-grade sound kit, up to a certain point, generally gives a better ROI of the long run. The point is that for the type of work you're positioning yourself to do - weddings, corporate events, etc and since you're not hiring a sound specialist who provides the kit - your sound kit and the selection of professional grade tools to go into it is of at least equal importance to your choice of camera kit. In an earlier post you complained about how terrible the camera's internal mics are and yet in your approach to the sound kit you're doing exactly what the camera designer's did, treating sound as an afterthought and not really all that important.
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Old July 18th, 2011, 06:19 PM   #98
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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Not bad on the vows .... could have had a bit more presence by putting a lav on either the groom, the officiant, or both but on the whole I'd consider it acceptable. Certainly far better than an on-camera mic would have done. Really lost it on the toast before the cutting of the cake though.
I did have a lav on the groom, however, when comparing it to the Zoom H1 track, the H1 was ten times better, besides more balanced because it caught the three of them at around the same distance. Still, I obviously had to do a lot of keyframing on editing because their voices would have different volumes at different times.

The guy giving the toast doesn't sound too good, unfortunately they didn't tell me about it so I had to run to where he was and start recording with the internal camera mic, otherwise I would've put a lav on him as well.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 02:15 PM   #99
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

I finally got the AT875R and it's quite an excellent microphone. What I don't understand is why Audio Technica offers very affordable stereo shotgun mics for 3.5mm inputs but the cheapest shotgun XLR stereo is $675 on B&H, the BP4029. There is a cheaper stereo XLR, the AT8022, but because of the shape it would look ridiculous on a camera, it's obviously meant for a microphone stand. And still, it's $500, not a lot cheaper. I don't understand why can't they make a stereo version of the AT875R, even if it's a little more expensive than the mono version.

I wonder, if I add a second AT875R, how different would that be from the stereo of a real stereo microphone? Because each mic would be recording to a separate channel, so it would be stereo in theory, but would it be as good as a directional stereo microphone? Would it make a big difference that they wouldn't be exactly side by side, but that one would be about one inch higher, about 45 degrees from the other one? I mean, the idea is that one will be on the holder, the other one on the shoe, and these are not at the same level.

BTW, does anybody know where to buy a 6 inch XLR female to male cable? I bought the shortest one they had at monoprice, 1.5 feet, but it's still too long and it goes all the way down to the handle. I googled trying to find this but most places don't even have one as short as 1.5 ft.

Last edited by Sebastian Alvarez; July 20th, 2011 at 02:47 PM.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 03:16 PM   #100
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

Two 875R's would not be a good idea as a stereo mic as they need to be crossed pair and the capsules are near the back of the mic, you are better getting what I recommended the sony ECM MS957 as it is a proper phase coherant M/S stereo mic. I have both and use them all the time with great results.

As for a short cable I have the .5m ones too but any shorter and you will have to make them or get them made up for you.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 03:19 PM   #101
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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Two 875R's would not be a good idea as a stereo mic as they need to be crossed pair and the capsules are near the back of the mic, you are better getting what I recommended the sony ECM MS957 as it is a proper phase coherant M/S stereo mic. I have both and use them all the time with great results.
After the horrible performance of this camera's microphone, I would never buy a Sony microphone. Everything I've had in my life branded Sony that was an audio product of any kind was subpar. Sony may be very good for visuals, but when it comes to audio they suck.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 05:14 PM   #102
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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Originally Posted by Sebastian Alvarez View Post
...
I wonder, if I add a second AT875R, how different would that be from the stereo of a real stereo microphone? Because each mic would be recording to a separate channel, so it would be stereo in theory, but would it be as good as a directional stereo microphone? Would it make a big difference that they wouldn't be exactly side by side, but that one would be about one inch higher, about 45 degrees from the other one? I mean, the idea is that one will be on the holder, the other one on the shoe, and these are not at the same level.

....
Actually they wouldn't be stereo in theory. Stereo requires more than just the fact that two channels are being recorded - the channels need to be in certain relationships to each other for the playback to recreate the original soundfield. With the mic arrangement you describe, the problem is not that they are on different levels; it is that they are side by side. Here's a link to a page that summarizes some of the most common arrangements of microphones in a stereo setup ... http://www.schoeps.de/documents/ster...chniques-e.pdf

The problem with using shotguns is that their pattern is a narrow cone of sensitivity. When used singly, they help pick out the desired sound they're aimed at from the surrounding ambience. But when recording stereo, you don't want a narrow beam of pickup, you want to pickup all the sounds coming from straight ahead and left and right, all across from one side to the other of the imaginary stage in front of you. The "V" shape of the two narrow 'beams' of sensitivity coming from two shotguns mounted together at the apex doesn't really do that very evenly. That's why two cardioids is probably the most common arrangement.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 05:37 PM   #103
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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After the horrible performance of this camera's microphone, I would never buy a Sony microphone. Everything I've had in my life branded Sony that was an audio product of any kind was subpar. Sony may be very good for visuals, but when it comes to audio they suck.
Sony's consumer lines of audio gear can be iffy - some of the gear is pretty good, some not so good. But their professional lines are generally quite acceptable. For instance, the standard monitoring headset found on just about every location set and soundstage in North America is the Sony MDR-7506 headphones. About 75% of all movies that you've ever seen in the theatres was originally recorded with the sound mixer listening through a pair of those. Personally I think of Sony as being more of an audio company than video when it comes to their professional equipment. Your experience with your camera's internal mic is more due to the fact that camera designers in general have treated sound as an afterthought. Although it has been getting better in recent years, even $100,000 broadcast and EFP cameras have suffered with relatively marginal sound capabilities.

As a point of interest, the term 'pro-sumer' supposedly arose as a description of gear that has professional-grade visual performance with consumer-grade audio circuits.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 06:00 PM   #104
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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Sony's consumer lines of audio gear can be iffy - some of the gear is pretty good, some not so good. But their professional lines are generally quite acceptable.
Maybe, but my opinion from having many Sony audio products is that on average you have to pay a lot more for the same quality that you find on another brands. It's about the same as Apple computers. My computer, built by myself with components I chose, outperforms every Mac except for the Mac Pros, except that I put my computer together for about half of what I would have paid for a Mac Pro. In most cases Apple is nothing but cute looking grossly overpriced hardware, and Sony is about the same in many cases. The only reason I bought a Sony camera was that Panasonics have a horrible auto-iris and Canon, at least in November of last year, was still using HDV on their entry level professional cameras. Regardless of that, the video quality of the AX2000 is outstanding, and with the exception of film on Blu-ray, I haven't seen anything on 1080-60i video anywhere, Blu-ray or television, that surpasses its picture quality. Which makes the internal mic that much more of a disappointment, because you get superb picture quality and sound that is barely better than that of a cell phone.

My point is that, if I can avoid Sony, I will.
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Old July 20th, 2011, 07:14 PM   #105
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Re: I need a very cheap stereo XLR mic

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Actually they wouldn't be stereo in theory...
It's still stereo, but not a natural sounding stereo.

Remember some of the Beatles recordings where the singer would be panned hard to one side and bass or guitar to the other? The effect of two shotguns would be similar to that, depending on angles, isolation, etc.

There are many ways that we can record a stereo soundfield. None is perfect. They are all approximations. Two shotguns is still stereo, but a worse approximation than most. ;)
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