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Old September 12th, 2005, 10:09 AM   #1
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Buying sound equipment - please advice

Hello.

I intend to buy a Sennheiser ME66/K6 microphone.

First question: is there much of the difference between Sennheiser MZW66 Foam Windscreen: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

and Sennheiser MZW66 Pro Foam Windscreen: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

Second question: I want to get a anti-shock holder for the microphone for two purposes: 1st for sticking it to the camera replacing camera's mike, and secondly I would like to make my own boom pole, so I will need apropriate holder for the mike.

Which would be better:

Sennheiser MZS-CAM Shotgun Camera Shock Mount Adapter: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=194397&is=REG

or Beyerdynamic EA86 - Camera Shoe Shock Mount: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

regards

Last edited by Milosz Krzyzaniak; September 12th, 2005 at 12:52 PM.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 09:01 AM   #2
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What camera will you use this mic with and what types of activities will you record, especially what type of location will you work in? Depending on your answers there may be some alternatives to the K6/ME66 to consider.
I can definitely tell you to avoid the Pro version of the Sennheiser windscreen. The velour coating will never stop shedding, ever. It's almost as bad as copier toner or fingerprint powder, just there's less of it. It would be a very bad thing to get into a mini-dv mechanism.
Any foam windscreen will be less effective than a furry type windscreen. Then a zeppelin is next effective, then a zeppelin with a furry cover is most effective.
There are also more effective shockmounts available from K-Tek and Audio Technica that can be used or adapted to both camera and boom-pole use.
The two you listed work ok for straight-ahead-only on-camera use, but for boom-pole use the mount must have an angle adjustment. It's also important to use an angle-adjustment that maintains the mic in the axis of the boom-pole. Otherwise you get extra fatigue from the torque and extra weight of an external joint used to modify a mount that's made for on-camera use only.
I like the Audio Technica AT8415 with the premium bands from K-Tek. You can add a simple adapter to mount it to a camera shoe.
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Old September 13th, 2005, 09:34 AM   #3
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Hello.

Thank you for your reply.

The camera would be SONY VX2100 which I intend to enrich with Beachtek DXA-8 preamp.

The task would be shooting a documentary film, mostly some interviews in relatively quiet, indoor spaces. Additionally to this I would like to record number of sound effects.

What mike replacement would you suggest? Why ME66 wouldn't fit?

thanks
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Old September 13th, 2005, 10:19 AM   #4
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Adding the DXA-8 gives you a much wider range of mics to select from.
The K6/ME66, like all mics, has strengths and weaknesses. Using it with the DXA-8, for interior spaces, and for sound effects recording can all play toward this mic's weaknesses.
If you had said "I will use this mic solely for on-camera use with a VX-2100 with no preamp and outside", that would be playing towards this mic's strengths.
Some other choices that work well with a DXA-8 would be the AT897 for on-camera run-and-gun, outside boom-pole use or for interviews in acoustically soft interiors or with soft-spoken individuals. For more reverberent interiors, the AT897, like most short shotguns, suffers from off-axis coloration although not nearly as bad as the ME66 does. It would need the preamp of the DXA-8 to work best with the VX-2100. If you decide not to get the DXA-8, that would change my answer.
For most interior interviews a lavalier mic or a hypercardioid mic on a static stand (or both simultaneously) is used. In the US you can get the excellent AT899 lav kit for $200 and a good hypercardioid like the Rode NT-3 for about $160. That's less than the K6/ME66 with no accessories. This pair would do a great job for interior interviews (lav primarily) and sound effects recording (hypercardioid primarily).
For active boom-pole and on-camera use, the NT-3 is too large and heavy. You could use the AT897 for $280 or instead of the NT-3 get an AT4053 hypercardioid for $400 that could do static interiors, sound efx, and wider on-camera or boom-pole pickup. It wouldn't be the best choice for exterior boom-pole use unless it's used very close to the subject.
So you can see the choices and compromises you'll need to balance in your decision. No mic does everything perfectly, even modular ones. And don't forget about the DXA-8, that is a significant part of the equation.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 09:48 PM   #5
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Thanks again for your reply.

Could you just clarify to me (or relink me to an appriopriate URL) the issue of off-axis coloration. Do I understand well that this is a kind of mike's flaw which is that sound that comes from off-axis direction is recorded in a distort way?

So, do I understand well that your suggestion (on getting a hypercardioid instead of a shotgun for reverberant interiors) is actually not meant to cut down the reverb of the speech (so: how to cut it down?), but rather to avoid distorting of the tone of the speech with echos approching a shotgun from an off-axis angle?

How about expelling background noises sometimes present in interior, which is quite easier with a shotgun, and seems to me a little harder with a hypercardioid?

And, may you clarify - when comparing the shotguns, is the AT897 a winner in all of the aspects over the ME66?
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Old September 15th, 2005, 12:05 AM   #6
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Shotguns just have that weird sound indoors. My theory is that it's because echoes hit the mic off-axis.
There may be some weird human perception thing going on that makes the sound weird. Your brain may not be expecting the echoes to sound drastically different from the original sound. Your brain typically does some tricks to figure out the delay between original sound and echo, which helps you locate how far the sound is away from you. Because the echo sounds significantly different from the original sound, your brain may "crap out" there.

Anyways, just a theory. In practice, the shotgun sound effect lessens dramatically with distance. Check out the sennheiser 416 clips- you hear very little of it at 1-2 feet.
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Old September 15th, 2005, 05:10 AM   #7
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Now, thanks for your output all you folks, that gave me a lot of fresh thoughts.

Now, after consideration, here's my plan of purchases. Could I ask for some comment.

So, I definitely need a shotgun. Well, maybe that's just a habit.

Therefore I think of getting a AT897, which would be a solution far cheaper than ME66, and, as all of you say, much better in most of the aspects than the ME66. Am I right?

For indoor interviews I need something different, a hypercardioid and a lav. But I cannot affor both. So, chosing one out of two, I need a lav.

Preferably - a wireless lav.

So, how about AT830 - a wireless lav for $170? I understand it won't be as good as AT899, but won't it just fit my needs? http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search

Another issue that is important to me is ability to make my shotgun wireless. Having a radio transmitter/receiver will allow me to plug my AT897 mike (which has ability to be powered by a AA battery, isn't it? So I won't need any phantom power for it) into the transmitter and let my sound man feel free moving around with a boompole, not being limitted by the cord.

Just one thing more. Isn't a cardioid polar pattern lav far better than an omni pattern lav in terms of limitting background noise in interior work?

Last edited by Milosz Krzyzaniak; September 15th, 2005 at 08:39 AM.
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Old September 15th, 2005, 07:23 AM   #8
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While there are certain freedoms of movement you'll get with a wireless lav, in your budget range I'd go with a wired lav if at all possible. $200 for the microphone alone will get you far better quality equipment than trying to get the mic, transmitter, and receiver all for the same $200 expenditure. And budget wireless outfits will definitly involve a compromise on the sound quality, range, freedom from interference, etc.

Take a look at Ty Fords website. There he's posted a video file that demonstrates the differences in sonic characteristics betweeen omin, cardoid, shoutgun and hypercardoid mics - its a big download - about 30 meg i think - but well worth it
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Old September 17th, 2005, 05:48 AM   #9
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So, maybe I should go into Sennheiser Evolution G2 100 Series with ME2 Microphone for $499?

Is this ME2 microphone comparable to mentioned AT899?

Or maybe there is a way to collect a wireless kit on a base of AT899 with some additional receiever/tranceiever for less than $500?

Also, how about a replacement for RODE NT-3 and AT4053 that would be as lightweight as AT4053 allowing me to boompole, and a little cheaper than it? Would AT3031 be a good choice?

Sorry

Last edited by Milosz Krzyzaniak; September 17th, 2005 at 06:39 AM.
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Old September 17th, 2005, 03:24 PM   #10
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The Sennheiser G2 is a good system in that price range, but I haven't used the ME2 capsule. The AT899 is available wired for several different brands of transmitter and Sennheiser has several other lav capsules too.
As long as you're using the DXA-8, a better hypercardioid choice might be the new AudioTechnica U873r. It's the updated version of the AT873r, with lower self-noise but also lower sensitivity than the NT3. It's about the same size and weight as the 4053 but costs less. It's also a little easier to wind protect when outside. When booming with the U873r you'll need to be closer than with other more directional and more sensitive mics. Indoors with the extra gain from the BeachTek 8 it should sound good. I've used the older version for a number of years and except for the higher self-noise on quiet subjects it was great.
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