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Old February 18th, 2012, 10:38 AM   #1
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Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

So after searching around I purchased a Sennheiser MD46 for some street interviews to be coupled with my H4N. I am shooting on DSLR's so I have no option of plugging into the camera.

However I find that the volume is quite low even when my H4N is maxed out.

Do I have the wrong microphone, any suggestions on what I should be using instead of this combination?
I have to record separate audio and I'd prefer to have a mic that I can point at people when they speak such as the MD46.

Thank you.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 12:21 PM   #2
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

You need a mic with a hotter output. A condenser mic, like the Audio Technica AT8010 would work better.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 12:39 PM   #3
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

What do you mean by "I'd prefer to have a mic that I can point at people when they speak" .. at what distance?
Most mics like the MD46 should be used in close proximity to the sound source, optimally 12 inches or less.
That said, the H4n does not offer a lot of gain.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 12:47 PM   #4
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

Something that I can hold at basically arms length from the person, so say about 2 feet. I don't want to get too close to the people i'm interviewing as it might make them uncomfortable. I also have an Audio Technica AT897 shotgun mic that I use for my narrative stuff, and this provides quite a bit more volume than the MD46.

What I seem to be understanding is that without a fancy preamp the MD46 will not be very sensitive.
I suppose I could use my AT897 but there is quite a bit of handling noise from that mic.

I just went down to the local music store, but none of the mics they had were powerfull enough to produce enough volume into the h4n.

Last edited by Paul Hildebrandt; February 18th, 2012 at 01:55 PM.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 03:15 PM   #5
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

See if you can find a Senny ME 66/ K6 (not K6p) medium shotgun to test drive.

All the ME6x mics run real hot and the 66 makes an excellent street interview mic, with not a lot of handling noise, especially is using either a Rode, Rycote or similar hand grip.

A dead cat is pretty well mandatory as well.

Worth a try if one can be found.


CS
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Old February 18th, 2012, 04:26 PM   #6
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

One of the critical parts of choice of interview mic is how "good" is the interviewer?
Do they have good mic technique?
Is the location windy or protected from the elements?
Do yo want to see the mic in shot?

Omni directional mics work much better with experienced talent than directional mics, they also work better in windy conditions.
Directional mics work better in noisy situations (providing the noise is NOT behind the tallent)

Another thing to consider is the weight of the mic if you are going to carry it around all day in your kit, the Sennheiser MD 42, EV RE50 are actually quite heavy, mics like the Shure VP64 and SM63 are almost half the weight.

First up work out the type of mic you need... then work out the make and model that best suits the needs.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 06:34 PM   #7
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

Paul, not sure, but are you a one person shooter/interviewer?

For street interviews you need at least 2 crew. Do as the news crews do, never approach folk carrying the camera and the mic.
Many say no thanks and a startled few will just take off.

The camera person stands well back also holding the mic while the interviewer approaches likely looking cantidates with a standard speil and susses them out. You get more street cred and useable interviews that way. If you're on a very noisy street, ask will they step around the corner etc.
That can also let the person settle a bit and get their ducks in row :)

You need a couple of interview mics in the kit, both omni and cardioid for quiet and noisy locations. Take the H4N to more shops to try some out.
Bad news to hold and point a shotgun at many subjects, it's like pointing a shotgun.

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Old February 18th, 2012, 09:34 PM   #8
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

Allan, the plan was to have a two man crew. The interviewer with the h4n+mic combination, and then a separate camera operator. I had thought that approaching with at least the microphone would make you look more official and not like some lobbyist off the street. But it sounds like you have done this before so i'll try it your way!

The interviews will be conducted downtown, our downtown is not a city downtown with buses, engine sounds, car horns, and lots of loud talking, it's a pretty quiet open area.

The type of "talent" we are filming are just random people. The weight of the microphone does not bother me, as we will will only be out for a few hours at a time.

The sennheiser ME 66/ K6 kit does look nice, but at $500+ thats a bit more than I wanted to spend.

I don't mind so much if the mic is in the shot, though it does look more official if it's not and this is for a documentary. Which is why I had wanted the option to hold the mic at a distance of about 2 feet. I'm planning for the interviews to go fairly quick so I don't want to have to put a lav on each person either.

If the MD46 is meant to be a close to face microphone, I can accept that but surely there must be something else I can use.

This guy seems to do okay with the H4N and MD46.

Thanks!
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Old February 19th, 2012, 01:08 AM   #9
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

Yep, he sorta does fine, except the mic is waving about like Tinker Bells magic wand and it's like "follow the bouncing ball" for the duration.

Have to take exception to Allan's comment with regard to shotguns (the mic type, I hasten to add).

The whole reason why the ME66/ K6 works so well is that it isn't necessary to
Quote:
point a shotgun at many subjects
as, if you're using it properly, you've got it held low, almost at waist level, pointing up towards their mouths.

No threat there, and it captures what's required, admirably, and if the cameraman is doing his/ her job, it isn't even visible.

Being almost verticle, it cuts out background noise amazingly and the amount of movement required to get both inteviewer and interviewee voices is minimal (note the difference with the previous video, where he could be conducting an orchestra at times).

[ I do use it with the same Senny "brick" that guy was using though, else the bodypack, depends, cables are a complete no - no]

And, far from having people do a swerve when the kit comes out, we have to have a serious,"ok, you first" 'cos that 'ol "we might be on the telly" is like a jar of honey to a swarm of flies.

Just my PO.


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Old February 19th, 2012, 02:28 AM   #10
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

One small thing I failed to mention, which is exceedingly relevant here, is the interviewer themselves.

Fact:

Men will stop for a female inteviewer bacause she's female, even if she looks like the rear end of a bus.

(In Australasia, substitute Female for either: Aussie Rules Football player or NZ All Black Rugby Player, same effect, only they [the punters] drool more).

Women will stop for a female interviewer because she's NOT male, unless, of course, it's George Clooney, in which case, all bets are off.

Have a good look at the preceeding video, just about everybody interviewed wasn't about to give the interviewer access to their personal space.

He's too tall, male and dressed like a creep.

That mic being shoved in their faces would have been the last straw.

My missus, being one of those rare people who could get Mr. Obama to give up the launch codes in 30 seconds flat, gets inside peoples personal space (by invitation) in seconds and THEN you have an interview.

It's an art form, street theatre if you will, you need the right players to pull it off with aplomb.


CS

PS: Oh, and another thing. If you put the Lav on the inteviewer, and leave him/ her to point the ME66 in the right direction (instead of waving it back and forth like a Fairy GodMothers wand) and get your levels right, there's no bleeds between the two. Thus, two perfectly clean channels of audio that can be mixed at will.

Right technique, right people, right gear, right script, can't fail, unless you have a flat battery in the camera or your car gets towed.

Last edited by Chris Soucy; February 19th, 2012 at 03:11 AM.
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Old February 19th, 2012, 04:17 AM   #11
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hildebrandt View Post
Something that I can hold at basically arms length from the person, so say about 2 feet. I don't want to get too close to the people i'm interviewing as it might make them uncomfortable. I also have an Audio Technica AT897 shotgun mic that I use for my narrative stuff, and this provides quite a bit more volume than the MD46.

What I seem to be understanding is that without a fancy preamp the MD46 will not be very sensitive.
I suppose I could use my AT897 but there is quite a bit of handling noise from that mic.

I just went down to the local music store, but none of the mics they had were powerfull enough to produce enough volume into the h4n.
Your fundamental problem is you have an unrealistic expectation for your working distance - two feet from the subject's mouth is about the maximum limit for even a sensitive shotgun. The normal working distance for a dynamic interview mic like the MD46 is about 8-10 inches from the mouth of the person speaking. Since it is a dynamic mic, it does have a lower output than many condenser mics, meaning that the devices it's used with must have adequate gain. Couple that with the weaker preamps on hobbyist consumer gear like your Zoom recorder (Sorry guys, I know that the H4n is wildly popular and a lot of you are using it for serious projects but the fact remains, it is NOT professional grade kit.) and you're fighting a losing battle. I have an MD46 that I use with my SD442 mixer and it works perfectly well.

Two viable approaches - get some breath-mints and get over your concerns over getting close to your subjects and use the MD46 the way it's intended to be used or for a little more stand off, get a good pistol grip, shock-mount, and wind protection kit for your shotgun - that'll give you about 18 inches comfortable working distance.
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Old February 19th, 2012, 11:19 AM   #12
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

Hi, folks...I've been 'lurking' around this thread for a while and I'm very interested in the discussion. I've been trying to fill-out my my modest audio kit. Currently, I have a Senn. EK 100 G3 Wireless kit, which includes an SKP 100 G3 Plug-in Transmitter, a.k.a., 'Butt Plug'. Heh, heh! The 'BP' moniker was used in another thread, when I first read it, it caused me to 'launch' my coffee through my nose, all over my monitors and keyboard! It cracked me up.

At this juncture, I'm considering the Electro-Voice RE50(b) omni-directional, dynamic microphone as my 'stand-up' interview mic. I also have an AT 4053(b) Hyper-Cardioid I can use in very noisy conditions. Everything I've read, indicates this is an 'industry standard' workhorse, very robust and the GOTO mics of the ENG world. I'd be interested in the 'Crew's' thoughts as I haven't 'pulled the trigger', yet.

Best regards,

J.

Last edited by James Kuhn; February 19th, 2012 at 11:20 AM. Reason: Added punctuation.
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Old February 19th, 2012, 11:26 AM   #13
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hildebrandt View Post
This guy seems to do okay with the H4N and MD46.
MOS: People's experiences with wedding video and videographers on Vimeo
This is horrible mic. technique - very aggressive and very bad for getting a good interview.

But he was using the Sennheiser SKP 100 plug-on transmitter and the receiver would have a good high output level.

The MD46 (or, better, the MD42) are excellent interview mics.

The best way of interviewing is to hold the mic. vertical at waist level half way between interviewer and interviewee.

The low level problem is more to do with the choice of recorder than the choice of mic. I have done interviews with dynamic mics with no problems - if you have a recorder with poor mic. pre-amps., then the best thing to do is to either change the recorder or use an external mic. pre..
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Old February 19th, 2012, 12:02 PM   #14
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

To Steve: So I guess the question becomes then, what is an appropriate recorder to use with a dynamic microphone?

-------------------

Also, what would you suggest is the best dress for an interview crew?

And... are you saying that by using a plugin transmitter and wireless receiver, that actually amplifies the signal?
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Old February 19th, 2012, 01:23 PM   #15
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Re: Street interview mic w/separate recorder? MD46?

Strange thing I just discovered about the H4N, if i use a 3.5 to xlr adapter and plug into the 3.5 mic input on the h4n, the volume isn't bad. But even better, if I plug into my juicedlink CX231 preamp, and then into the zoom H4N, i can turn the zoom h4n gain down to about half, and get much cleaner audio using the juicedlink. Problem is hooking the juicedlink and the h4n together, they don't play nice with that input plug on the back of the zoom. Design fail.
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