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Old March 3rd, 2014, 04:57 PM   #1
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Which Mic? Please listen.

Gentlemen,

After all my years at this I am still, and always will be trying to improve my audio skills. I am working on a project that is very important to me.

Instead of just going with the microphone that I would normally pick for this set up I decided to test two of my mics to pick the best one. The result kind of surprised me because they each have their own qualities (to my ears) without a clear cut winner.

Please listen and give me your opinion. It is a blind test for now because I am asking for a judgement on sound quality. When I tell you what they are there will be no tricks or surprises.

It is a raw recording. Original is at 48hz 16bit, in camera.

Opinions please. Which one would you use? Mic 1 or mic 2?

Steve

PS I had a lot more information on the recorded dialog but I had to chop it up to meet the file size restriction.
Attached Files
File Type: wav Mic One.wav (6.24 MB, 121 views)
File Type: wav Mic Two.wav (6.24 MB, 102 views)
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 05:16 PM   #2
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

#1
without a doubt
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 05:35 PM   #3
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

What are you trying to shoot?
What are the locations?
What mics do you have acess to?
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 05:48 PM   #4
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

I prefer the "edge" of Mic #1. Unfortunately, I can't judge the silence part at my current location. Mic #2 didn't sound bad at all, it's just not as aggressive sounding as #1. If I wanted Mic #1 to sound smoother, I'm sure that I could give EQ the "edge" down. I don't know that I'd be able to EQ the "edge" into Mic #2 though.
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Old March 3rd, 2014, 09:08 PM   #5
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

I also find #1 a bit better, although I would EQ it to eliminate some highs. #2 to me sounds harsher, more sibilant, and has less body or fullness (which I consider a disadvantage). In listening thru headphones, #2 seems to have worse noise floor - it's either more sensitive to room noise, or has more self-noise.
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Old March 4th, 2014, 01:10 AM   #6
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

#1.

# 2 seems overs sibilant and thinner overall.
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Old March 4th, 2014, 06:55 AM   #7
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

Peter Piper picked Microphone #1.

Sounds better overall to my ears.
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Old March 4th, 2014, 09:47 AM   #8
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

Less early reflections (ambient) in Two. Both sound sibilant . smeared esses. I prefer #two.
However I listened on a laptop with a likely cheap D/A and cheap HPs. I'll re-evaluate when I get back to home base tomorrow. in a controlled environment with proper converters and monitors.
BTW, The file size could have been halved by using single channel mono files. Pity the person with a dial-up connection.
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Old March 4th, 2014, 09:57 AM   #9
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

Mic 1 it is. Actually, I ended up rigging them both so I am going to record that way. It will give me more material to play with in post.

Mic 1. is a Rode NT1A
Mic 2 is a Sennheiser ME66

Mounted on fixed boom, just out of frame for a single talking head. Small room, 10' x 12', too bright. I hung some drape over large surfaces, always a major helper.

With a single talking head, mic placement is pretty good. The Rode is not as close as my voice over talent get to it but it is still a reasonable distance.

I know shotguns are not supposed to be used in indoor situations where reflections are evident. Trying it was an afterthought. I was surprised that it sounds as good as it does in that room. I love that mic. It is not a 416 but it has served me well for years on my corporate projects.

Those recordings are straight from mic into camera via XLR. I have not touched them. I think the Rode will be fine after I sweeten it a little bit in post.

I found it strange that two mics, with such completely different designs and purposes sounded so close. Yes, I hear the different characteristics, but I think once they are tweaked a little bit ether one of them is usable. But I am not an audio specialist, that's why I asked.

Thanks for the input!

Steve
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Last edited by Steven Digges; March 4th, 2014 at 09:59 AM. Reason: SP
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Old March 4th, 2014, 10:06 AM   #10
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

For some 'big name' (and highly paid) VO artists, the 416 is their mic of choice, of course used in studio environment with a suitable preamp.
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Old March 4th, 2014, 10:42 AM   #11
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

Tonally, the one in Mic 2 would cut through because Mic 1 had more bottom end and was rounder sounding - so if the VO was going to be over a bed of something bottom end heavy, it would be my choice. If I needed the rounder sound I'd pick Mic 1. I don't believe either is better - just useful for different applications.
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Old March 4th, 2014, 06:32 PM   #12
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

The NT1A? Nice. It's a great budget performer. The best thing about it, IMO, is the supremely low noise. It's a simple design, so it's quiet. It allows you to get away with a second-tier preamp.

The downside, IMO, is that it gets at bit too crunchy when the signal gets hot. That's the "edge" I wrote about above. Give it a bit less sound pressure (speak quieter or move it further away) and the crunch goes down. Put it in front of a singer with big pipes and that "edge" is transformed into something I call "too much harmonic distortion".

It's a great mic for recording foley - especially quiet footsteps or a pin dropping. (We don't need perfect harmonics and EQ for non-voice and non-music instruments.) It's a good mic for voiceover. It's not so great for loud sounds and singers, IMO.

BTW, nice test. :)
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Old March 4th, 2014, 11:43 PM   #13
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

John,

I agree with you on the NT1A. It is my primary VO mic as well as other useful situations.

I think both the Rode NT1A and the Sennheiser ME66 are big bang for the buck mics. They are workhorses for me. I pay a lot of attention to audio, always have. I am not one of those, audio is secondary guys. With that said, I don't think most my clients would notice the difference if I used mics costing three times as much. I am not working in broadcast at all anymore. It is all corporate work, no one is looking at model numbers when I show up. They expect good sounding audio from me and they don't care what I use to get it. Those are nice mics to me. Even though I know there are guys on this sub forum that would turn their nose up at them. And, whenever I can, I try to convince clients how important my audio guy is and get him into the budget with his kit.

So it all works out. My fundamentals are strong enough to record decent audio when budgets are tight and my crew is limited. When they want it to be truly high end (my first choice) and are willing to pay what it costs I provide that too. I have never had anyone complain in ether scenario.

Don B. I read your recent posts about how well your AKG Blue Line Series Hypercardioid Microphone has served you. I have plenty of mics but a hyper in that style is one of my holes. Your killing me!

Rick, Are you insinuating that my on-board Sony pre-amps are not the finest money can buy ;) :0 :)

Steve
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Old March 5th, 2014, 02:47 PM   #14
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

Reevaluation on known converter/monitors/environment. (Equator, Auratone, Altec w/sub)
Clip #1 sounds considerably better on these. So disregard my previous post. I can still hear some smearing of the HFs though. Not a big problem for spoken word.
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Old March 6th, 2014, 11:00 AM   #15
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Re: Which Mic? Please listen.

The ME-66 is presenting a lower noise floor, but along with that comes a general "compression" of the sounds and a lower sensitivity, lower dynamic range, and not as much presence. A little as though you are speaking through a piece of pipe.

So if the goal is to reject unwanted extraneous sounds, go with the ME-66. Otherwise, the NT1-A is giving you more to work with in post. Just knock down the treble a little, maybe, with a low-pass filter or something. The sibilance is a bit too sharp in my ears. Yeah, I don't know. Both could probably use a little EQ, I guess. I put a lot of stock in my Rode NTG-3 condenser, but I'm almost always on-location, not in-studio.

You have a voice for radio, by the way.
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