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Old April 16th, 2012, 06:09 PM   #1
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Powered Microphone for dance recitals

I need microphone recommendations for recording the ambient sound for musicals and dance recitals. It will be mounted on a mic stand at the back of the auditorium.

I currently use a small condenser Cardioid pattern Octava MK-12 but it requires phantom power. One of my cameras doesn't provide phantom. When I have to use that camera it requires setting up a mixer that provides phantom power, requires ac outlet that isn't always available, the meters are bright (get complaints), etc. I know I could go the JuiceLinked route, but I'd rather get a battery powered mic.

Number of other videographers are always telling me to get a shotgun mic, even though I've heard here many times not to use a shotgun inside. A friend of mine says he swears by Audio-Technica AT897 and good value entry level shotgun. This is low-end applications so I'm not looking to spend over $400 for a mic. The acoustics of these performances are usually bad and getting a proper board feed is often not an option.

As non-shotgun alternatives:
Sennheiser ME62/K6 - Omni Mic Capsule with K6

AKG C 1000 S

Rode NT3 Microphone
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Old April 16th, 2012, 07:28 PM   #2
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Re: Powered Microphone for dance recitals

Are you wanting to record room sound or the sound of the performance? NO mic will give you good sound from the back of the room.....no matter how much you spend.
If your after a battery powered shotgun mic also have a look at the Rode NTG2.
This diagram might give you some comparisons.
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Powered Microphone for dance recitals-microphone-distance-chart.jpg  
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Old April 16th, 2012, 08:34 PM   #3
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Re: Powered Microphone for dance recitals

You might have better luck with a cardoid or hypercardoid hung over the stage, as much toward the front of the stage as you can, angled back to the performers...or even two, if that's do-able. Anything from the rear of the hall, even in a small venue, is going to pick up audience noise and room echo to a huge extent, humbly suggest you won't like the result....:)
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Old April 16th, 2012, 11:25 PM   #4
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Re: Powered Microphone for dance recitals

All I'm looking for is to capture what the audience is hearing and some their applause. Its not like I'm doing an interview and need the mic with in a couple of feet of the subject. Either its a dance performance where they're blasting out music from speakers up front or its a musical where the performers are wearing mics. I also put a mic up front to capture dance steps or provide an alternate source that has less audience noise. While hanging a mic from top of stage might provide a better source, most venues wouldn't allow me to do that. You audiophiles are probably cringing but this is the down and dirty method of low end video for high school and semi-professional performances.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 07:07 AM   #5
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Re: Powered Microphone for dance recitals

It's not that we're audiophile, or pros, it's because the sound at the back of the room is simply dreadful - and worse of all, you have all the kids going whoop, whoop almost continually, meaning that you may not even be able to hear the music.

In all honesty, the mic in the camera is probably going to be just as good as anything plugged in. What's the old saying, "you can't polish a t*rd?".

The advice to not use a shotgun inside isn't quite right - it's good advice for a small room, because of all the reflections, they usually sound very odd. A shotgun at the back might help narrow the acceptance angle - but there's a lot of rubbish in between the stage and you - noisy kids.

In reality, the very back is also the worst for picture too. If you zoom in to fill the frame, then you need a very good tripod to stop the image wobbling - and if you zoom out, you get people in the frame too! Obviously, it's often the only solution - but not much you can do on the quality front.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 08:38 AM   #6
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Re: Powered Microphone for dance recitals

In the category of using what you have but getting phantom power to it without requiring mains power or having lights, there are battery powered devices to do that. I use a Denecke. There are others:

Phantom Power Supplies
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Old April 17th, 2012, 08:45 AM   #7
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Re: Powered Microphone for dance recitals

Please, please don't buy an AKG C1000, it is without a shadow of a doubt the world's most horrible microphone. People who only have dynamics and buy a C1000 believe the new tinniness is something all condensers do. The best use for a C1000 is to use as a hammer for banging in tent pegs on a camp site. I know some people love them, but given the choice of using a beat up SM58 vocal mic or a C1000, there wouldn't even need to be a decision to be made - the sooner AKG retire the damn things the better!
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Old April 18th, 2012, 08:16 AM   #8
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Re: Powered Microphone for dance recitals

As mentioned, a good phantom power supply is always helpful but you'll certainly need one that provides full 48v power for mics like the Oktava.

I have several Rode NT3 mics and they would work for your purpose.

I also have the ME64 cardioid/K6 and that would work but has a very HOT output.

The AT897 and Rode NTG2 are both nice but I wouldn't pick them for this.

I can also suggest the AT8031 cardioid. This would probably be my choice if I had to quickly pick something I have in hand for the job you've described.
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