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Old September 28th, 2005, 08:29 PM   #16
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Stranger and stranger. Would you have an opinion as to why my Z1 performed so poorly with 3 AT897's? At first I was thinking that this was a problem with my camera, but after trying the ME66 and 4073a, I'm less likely to think it's an issue with the Z1 - otherwise I would probably be having similar problems with other mics.

As always, your thoughts are greatly appeciated.

James
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Old September 29th, 2005, 03:05 PM   #17
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Well, I went and exchanged my Z1 for another one this morning just to satisfy my curiosity. Sure enough, two AT897's displayed the same poor result on the replacement Z1. Strange. Oh well, I will stick with the AT4073a.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 03:17 PM   #18
 
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The 4073 is a totally different class of mic than the 897, so I'm not sure why you keep making comparisons. Your disdain for the 897 is noted, several times over. By the same token, there are many, many people here happy with them. For it's price class, it's a superior mic. Maybe gain is all you're looking for, quality of sound, consistency of sound, rejection, self-noise, are all issues that most of the rest of us look at. As Robin pointed out, as I've pointed out, and as many threads and posts here bear out, the 897 is a mic that people are quite happy with. Perhaps there is a problem with the way you monitor, or a level at which you are expecting a mic in a sub 500.00 class to perform.
I just spoke to a good friend in the Audio dept at B&H, he tells me they're not having any issues with the mic and the Z1 that he's aware of either.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 04:09 PM   #19
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Why do you keep insisting that I have disdain for the AT897? I have said that it's a good mic, just not for me and the Z1. As you've also said many times over that many people like this mic and recommend it, is there something wrong with me disagreeing?

For me, the quality of audio is useless if you can't hear it, or you have to boost it so much in post process that the audio quality degrades. The built-in mic albeit useless had more output than the AT897 did. This is not what I expect from any microphone whether it be $250 or $550. I'm not comparing the AT4073a either... 50mv vs. 10mv output plus a huge difference in price - of course it's in a different league.

The bottom line - I wanted to find out if the mic was at fault or if it's the camera. I've tried a total of 3 AT897's at B&H, along with two different Z1's (and now inlucing my replacement). All of the AT897's provided a very weak output. That's not to say the audio quality is good, it's just that the signal is very low without having to boost it significantly.

I just find it odd that 3 AT897's and two brand new Z1's along with a myriad of audio and cable combinations would all lead to the same result. Wouldn't you? Anyway, I'll end my discussion here, as it seems I don't get any postive feedback from anyone anyway.

Have a nice day,

James
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Old September 29th, 2005, 04:15 PM   #20
 
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James, I don't believe that there are 3 defective 897s, nor do I believe that there are 2 defective Z1's. What I believe is that you have a method of monitoring that might be different from what satisfied users of the microphone are enjoying.
Suggesting that you hear something that others don't isn't a problem, but suggesting that others aren't in pursuit of excellence is.

So, to sum up:
The 4073 is indeed a better mic, and should be expected as such.
You've not been satisfied with the 897, and that's certainly within the realm of understanding.
Many others are very happy with the 897, and that's certainly within the realm of understanding. BTW, the national sales manager at AT recently informed me he's using an 897 with the Z1, and I'd say he's a pretty good judge of his own microphones.

Shedding light on how you're monitoring might help. For instance, maybe your headphones are inefficient, so require a significant amount of boost at either the headphone amp or in the gain stage of the cam?
Providing input on what the meters are displaying might help. But continuing to say "I don't like it" and not providing more info doesn't help much except to keep beating a dead horse.
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Old September 29th, 2005, 04:28 PM   #21
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I thought I gave enough details to help in my first post, but I'll write it again to clarify -

I'm using Sony MDR-7506 headphones
AT897 set to manual, channel 1 at level 5, 0dB gain, noise - wind - and audio limiters all set to off: normal conversation level in a quiet room reads around -38 to -28 dB. This is me standing approx. 3~4 feet away from the subject. Go 2 feet back, and I've lost audio almost completely. Bumping up channel 1 levels to 9 or 10 will drop me into the -20 to -15 range on the VU. Same thing if I up the gain to +6dB and up Channel 1 to 6 or 7.

Keep in mind, the subject is speaking in a normal tone and level of voice. Not whispering, nor shouting.

Now, if I go to automatic mode, the VU is only hitting -40 to -38dB. If the subject "yells" then I can get to -20 to -15 on the VU. Switching to internal mic, normal sensitivity, wind reduction on actually yields a louder signal although poor quality.

I hope that was enough info. As for me, I'm happy with what I have now and I really am done with this topic. Thanks for replying anyway.

Best regards,

James
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Old October 3rd, 2005, 01:27 PM   #22
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I have found this AT897 discussion very helpful, where I work we have 12 Z1's and 8 of them run the AT897 and the other 4 run the ME66 and by far the ME66 are reading a higher level through the deck. It seems the 897 cranked to 10 on the camera does not record a level as high as the ME66 when its set to 5 on the camera. What we have found out is that the AT897 recorded a little low to tape sounds great when during the final pass we add a little trim ,it sound allot better than adding trim while going to tape, very little hiss, literally no hiss.
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Old October 3rd, 2005, 01:32 PM   #23
 
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The ME66 is quite a bit hotter, it's just a poorer sound, IMO. Adding the gain in post isn't a problem for me, because you're not boosting noise from a pre-amp, which is apparently what you've noticed. This is but one more small reason I really like the 897 in the budget category.
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