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Old March 6th, 2013, 11:33 PM   #1
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Hot Hypercardioid?

Hi — I'm a newbie here; thanks in advance for your input! My basic question: is there a hypercardioid mic that is as hot/sensitive as the Sennheiser ME66 at 12"-18" foot distance? I usually record directly into a Tascam DR-40, which doesn't have the cleanest preamps. So the loud output of the ME66, despite its thin sound, works well for me. I've compared it in-store to an old Schoeps CMT441, which sounded awesome through a high quality mixer but resulted in too much hiss when plugged into my DR-40 (gain cranked up to 70, vs 50 to get a comparable level on the ME66).

Background: I shoot documentaries and corporate videos, operating as a one man band. Typically I shoot with a Canon DSLR and a Tascam DR-40. 90% of my sound situations are sit-down, indoor interviews. Typically I'll go with a lav (wired AT899 at the moment) and an overhead boom (ME66), usually within 12" of the speaker, just above frame.

This may sound crazy to the pros, but I've actually done okay with the ME66 for a lot of indoor interviews. Unless the interior is super-reverberant, I find that the ME66 sounds okay (again, I'm only talking about sit-down interviews where I can place it very close to the speaker). But sometimes it does sound too echo-y, and so I'm looking for a hot hypercardioid (up to $1000 but preferably less) that would sound more natural. Also wondering if maybe a Sennheiser 8060 might fit my purpose.

As you can probably tell, I'm not super picky about the richness/warmth of the sound. My main concerns are minimizing background noise (AC that can't be turned off, outside traffic rumble), the echo effect, and the hiss of the DR-40. I've thought about the ME64 capsule but I've read that a cardioid mic won't minimize the echo effect and isolate dialogue as well as a hyper.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 12:19 AM   #2
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

Have you considered using a high quality preamp mixer between the mic and the recorder?
That would keep the recorder gain down for a cleaner sound. Something like the mixpre or better.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 01:48 AM   #3
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

I've had good success with the Audio Technica instrument cardioids for interviews and all around camera sound. They are the discontinued AT3031 and the newer AT4041 which are both phantom only.

Some features: You can turn on the high-pass filter to minimize traffic & air-con noise. And even though they are pretty sensitive, they handle changes in noise levels quite smoothly, one additional benefit is that the high SPL rating gives you a mic that performs well in loud environments.

I also own the AT4071 shotgun and the AT4053 hyper-cardioid, but I've found I'm more partial to the more natural sound of the AT3031 & AT4041 cardiods on my camera.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 06:23 AM   #4
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

I've been using the AKG BLueline Hyper which consists of the SE300/CK93 capsule and honestly it's my goto mic both for indoor on camera use and for boom use. Yes, it need phantom so if I'm going straight into the camera no problem, if going to a mixer, no problem, if going to my DR-05 then I end up using a phanom box. I use a FatBoy box and it's worked just fine over the years for me. Run the mic to theat, then that to the DR-05. Frankly I've only done that once just to test it because I'm either going straight to the cam or into the mixer then out to whatever end it's going be it camera or recorder.
In any case I love my Blueline.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 08:04 AM   #5
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

When using your ME66 on a static boom indoors, you should make sure the bass roll off on the K6 is not engaged in order to make the sound less thin and more full bodied. If needed, you can EQ the lows in post with a much lower knee point than the bass roll off switch has.

I use an AKG C480b with CK63 hypercardioid capsule, but it has risen to over $1000 currently.

Other choices could be the AT4053b, the AT875r, or the newer cardioid AT4021 (which is a much better mic than the AT4041 for use in these circumstances where low self-noise and a flat frequency response are needed).

All of these mics will need a good phantom power supply.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 09:14 AM   #6
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

All great advice thanks! ... Reading between the lines, it seems like some are suggesting a cardioid for indoor interviews, just above frame on a boom stand. In that case, would I be alright with an ME64? It uses my K6 capsule, is less than $200, and would be as hot as my ME66. It also would be battery powered which would be nice since phantom power drains the DR-40 after an hour or so.

My question for cardioid advocates: how does your cardioid compare to a hyper in terms of isolating dialogue from reflections, AC, traffic rumble?

I did think about the MixPre solution, which would signficantly step up my sound game, but as I am a one man band I'm trying to keep all the devices to a minimum. Sometime I'm operating two DSLR cameras plus monitoring sound at the same time.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 09:46 AM   #7
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

I use my ME64 on an overhead boom when I have to cover groups of three or four people speaking rapidly in a group. It works as long as the environment isn't terribly noisy since it is more open in it's pattern. It's also not quite as hot as the ME66, but it does have significant output. For sit down interviews, I would opt for a hyper if available.

I have been pleased with the BeachTek DXA SLR Pro that I got back in the Fall of 2012. I have actually used it with other devices besides my T3i and T4i so far, but hope to do more dSLR video soon. I have paired it with a Canon HF11 mini HD camera and a Tascam DR-05 and it worked well.
It would be a more integrated solution for one-man-band use than the Mix Pre D since it attaches directly to the camera, and at half the cost. It would also allow use of more general output mics since it can cleanly boost them to a hot mic level, then send it into your dSLR mini mic input from its mini mic output.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 10:31 AM   #8
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

The AT 40-series mics have one of the highest outputs and all require 48V Phantom Pwr.. The 4071 long-shotgun being the hottest, but would have limited usage like most long-shotguns. The 4053 is an 'affordable' hyper-cardioid for about $600USD, it is highly regarded and has a whopping 20mV output spec, however that mic alone would not be recommended for outdoor usage. No mic will bring the POS preamps in those budget recorders up to pro level.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 12:52 PM   #9
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

Thank you, Rick, that info about the mV rating is exactly what I was looking for. I did some quick research and found the following mV/Pa sensitivity ratings for a range of cardioid, hyper, and shotgun mics. What I don't understand is what they mean relative to one another. How much more sensitive is 50mV compared to 25mV?

Also, I'm noticing that the 8060 (which is a shotgun, not a hyper) is crazy loud at 63mV and I've read that it is okay indoors because it has less colored off-axis response. Maybe I could sell my ME66 and just get that; but would I still be better off with a less sensitive hyper for indoor interviews?

Also, I've noticed the self-noise rating that each mic has, and I'm trying to weigh the relative importance of that in getting good signal-to-noise with my admittedly not ideal DR-40 preamps. It seems to range from 11dB to 18dB.

AKG Blue Line CK93 10mV
Neumann KM185 10mV

Schoeps MK41 14mV
Audix SCX1HC 15mV

Senn AT8053b 20mV
Senn 8040 20mV
Senn 8050 20mV

Senn 416 25mV
Senn MKH40 25mV
Senn MKH50 25mV

Senn ME64 31mV

Senn ME66 50mV

Senn 8060 63mV
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Old March 7th, 2013, 02:10 PM   #10
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

Some manufacturers use different test parameters, so they should be taken into consideration.
It's good to have some kind of pad available for 'hot' mics, in line, on a mixer or recorder. Some have them built in the mic.
The Oktava O12 is like the Neumann @ 10mV. The budget priced cardioid only AT 3031 is around 19mV and 150.USD.. it's discontinued but still available
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Old March 7th, 2013, 02:18 PM   #11
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

Great question. Having spent a bit of time with the Tascam DR-40, I would say that adding a mixer with a high quality pre-amp would be worth analyzing before buying another mic. You're lucky that you're in NYC so if you have a moment, drop by a place like Gotham or Professional Sound and try your ME66/DR-40 with a Sound Devices MixPre-D in the middle.

On the cheap, you're right, the ME64 capsule would drop right on your K6, maybe you can test one while you're at the same shop. I recently listened to a good example of the ME64 vs the new MKE600 - worth watching to get an idea of your options:

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Old March 8th, 2013, 03:43 AM   #12
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Cochran View Post
Great question. Having spent a bit of time with the Tascam DR-40, I would say that adding a mixer with a high quality pre-amp would be worth analyzing before buying another mic. You're lucky that you're in NYC so if you have a moment, drop by a place like Gotham or Professional Sound and try your ME66/DR-40 with a Sound Devices MixPre-D in the middle.

On the cheap, you're right, the ME64 capsule would drop right on your K6, maybe you can test one while you're at the same shop. I recently listened to a good example of the ME64 vs the new MKE600 - worth watching to get an idea of your options:

Gear Lab #4: Sennheiser Shotgun Showdown! The ME 64 vs the MKE 600 on Vimeo
This is a very silly test.

The MKE 600 is a short gun and the K6/ME64 is a cardioid.

The polar-patterns are very different, the microphones would be used for different purposes and it makes the whole test totally meaningless.

It should have been done comparing the MKE 600 with the K6/ME64 - THEN - it would have been a useful test.

I suggest the test is ignored completely as it is comparing apples with oranges.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 08:49 AM   #13
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

John I think you meant to say ME66 as an apples to apples comparison.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 09:26 AM   #14
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Re: Hot Hypercardioid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
This is a very silly test.

The MKE 600 is a short gun and the K6/ME64 is a cardioid.

The polar-patterns are very different, the microphones would be used for different purposes and it makes the whole test totally meaningless.

It should have been done comparing the MKE 600 with the K6/ME64 - THEN - it would have been a useful test.

I suggest the test is ignored completely as it is comparing apples with oranges.
There are very few recent examples of the Sennheiser ME64 on the web. The original poster Sherng-Lee indicated that he had an interest in this particular mic because he already owns the power module and it would be cost effective. You can disagree all you want about the test being meaningless for you, for others that have never even heard an ME64, it's absolutely relevant. Some may find it thin and bright, but tight

There was actually another video where Dean talks more about the ME64 that I meant to post.


Not to say that I'm as big of a fan of this mic, but it's always nice to know what is out there, and what is a good value. I would say that with the Sherng-Lee's issue, there are 3 spots in the chain: mic, pre-amp/mixer, recorder. Right now his best bet, in my opinion with a given budget would be to either ditch the DR-40 in favor of a better recorder, with better pres, or buy a mixer. As he already stated he has an AT899 lav and an ME66. Between the two of those, I would think that buying another mic shouldn't be the first step without going and taking a listen to either a mixer or different recorder at a local shop (since he's in NYC, he's lucky to have great local resources).

Listen to the same mic going into DR-40 without a mixer, then with:

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