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Old September 4th, 2014, 07:22 PM   #16
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Re: Boom mic

Agreed Don! I wish I had the time...

Fortunately, we have many people here who are successfully using a variety of mics:
- The 416 has been used by too many to count!
- John Willett stands by the newer generation of Sennheisers, including the MKH-8060.
- I've played with the Sanken CS3e and others here own it and love it.
- The Schoeps CMC641 is widely regarded as the king of indoor mics. (And their active shotgun is likely the king of outdoor mics, though I don't know if anybody here owns one - they're pricey!
- Many use and like the AT4053b for indoor use.
- Many use and like the AKG Blue Line for indoor use.
- I have yet to see any consensus beyond the three above for indoor dialog.
- The Rode NTG3 is well regarded. I've heard detailed tests where it compares well with the 416.
- The Rode NTG1 and NTG2 are solid, budget choices. They might not match the NTG3, 416, 8060, and CS3e, but they deliver credible results.
- The Avantone Pro CK-1 does not deliver credible results. ;)

Of all the comparisons, I'd most like to hear an AT4053b vs. AKG Blue Line shootout. Both are viable. The AKG is a bit cheaper; the AT a bit hotter. I have no idea how the sound compares, but it seems you can't go wrong with either.

FWIW, indoors, I generally use a COS-11D lav. I love the sound, and you can generally get it closer than one can with a boom - without a separate boom operator. For reflective environments, I use moving blankets on C-stands. Rather than choose the mic for a crummy environment, one can often improve the environment. :)
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Old September 4th, 2014, 09:49 PM   #17
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Re: Boom mic

Jon, maybe your post could be a sticky. You've put a bunch of good information in it and frankly if people would take a few minutes to search a little bit they'd find most of the information they're looking for. At least enough to help them narrow down their search for new gear so the questions that are asked can be more specific.
Anyway, yeah I prefer a lav for most of the interviews or if I'm lucky enough to have talent I'll give them a Shure SM63 to do interviews with. I love the look of the mic and the sound quality hits my ears just right plus you don't have to "eat" the mic for it to sound good. It's worked very well for me over the years even on the floor of trade shows. I'll use the good old SM58 if it's an extremely noisey enviorment like a manufacturing plant IF there's talent handling it otherwise it's the lav. I use Countryman EMWs with a Tram windscreen since the EMW and Tram50 are shaped the same. the Tram is a bit thicker but I make the windscreen work. It way better than the Countryman screen.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 03:35 AM   #18
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Re: Boom mic

"If you use a shotgun however, the pattern is smaller."

Not exactly in my experience. A shotgun with an interference tube may have a tight HF pattern, but the middle and low frequencies are a lot more omnidirectional.

Outside, that lets all sorts of off-axis noise get into the audio and it's usually not very pretty because of the edges of the pattern.

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Old September 5th, 2014, 03:53 AM   #19
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Re: Boom mic

I have found the AT875R to be a good compromise between a full shotgun and a hyper and they have become my stock mic for use on all sorts of projects usually fitted in a rode PG2 grip with W/S6 softie.

I also use the term boom pole rather than fish pole but as John says you can put whatever you wish on the end of a pole to capture audio.

I personally use gitzo carbon fibre poles with the above as tey are compact and lightweight.

Indeed I have used everything from a fisher boom with a neuman U87 all the way through to a sony ecm77 on the end of a telescopic RF aerial!
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Old September 5th, 2014, 06:58 AM   #20
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Re: Boom mic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford View Post
"If you use a shotgun however, the pattern is smaller."

Not exactly in my experience. A shotgun with an interference tube may have a tight HF pattern, but the middle and low frequencies are a lot more omnidirectional.
Not disputing that. What I'm saying is that it's easier to get out of the "sweet spot" with the tighter pattern from a shotgun. And when the speaker gets out of the sweet spot, it's usually quite audible, and not in a good way.

Last edited by Bruce Watson; September 5th, 2014 at 01:52 PM.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 09:11 AM   #21
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Re: Boom mic

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Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
a sony ecm77 on the end of a telescopic RF aerial!
I like that kind of thinking! In fact that plays into a question that I may post within the next few days.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 11:41 AM   #22
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Re: Boom mic

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Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
I have found the AT875R to be a good compromise between a full shotgun and a hyper and they have become my stock mic for use on all sorts of projects usually fitted in a rode PG2 grip with W/S6 softie.

I also use the term boom pole rather than fish pole but as John says you can put whatever you wish on the end of a pole to capture audio.

I personally use gitzo carbon fibre poles with the above as tey are compact and lightweight.

Indeed I have used everything from a fisher boom with a neuman U87 all the way through to a sony ecm77 on the end of a telescopic RF aerial!
I've had great results with my AT897, too. It's no Neumann, but definitely a good mic for the price.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 02:00 PM   #23
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Re: Boom mic

Good point about the less expensive AT shotguns:

- The AT875R is one of the most sensitive (-30dB) budget mics. It's a very short shotgun that some recommend for indoor use. This might be the best entry level mic as the pattern is wide, so it's forgiving, it can be used indoors for sub-pro, high-amateur use, and its high sensitivity means that it's effective with lower cost preamps and recorders.
- The AT897 is a popular inexpensive shotgun that competes with the Rode NTG1 and NTG2. From the specs the AT897 is less sensitive (-40dB vs -36db) than the Rodes and the pattern is a bit tighter. I haven't compared them head to head.
- The AT815b is a long shotgun (I own one) that has strong lobes and a so-so frequency response. For outdoor use only. It has been replaced by the AT8015. The sensitivity of these mics is on the low side (-39dB).

Of these, the AT875R is the most interesting. One could start with it and keep it around as an emergency backup for indoor or outdoor use after upgrading to better equipment. I'd personally skip the AT815b and AT8015, though this might just be that I'm quite familiar with its flaws. I've heard nice examples with the NTG1 and its higher sensitivity and my experience with the AT long shotgun make me prefer the Rode.

Another mic in my kit is the Rode NT1A. It's a big, heavy, large condenser, cardioid studio mic that is cheap, sounds good, and has super low noise. It's perfect for recording very quiet Foley like pin drops. It's not super sweet for vocals and can sound bad when driven too hard, but for quiet, non-vocal stuff it's imperfect frequency response and poor THD at high levels don't matter. The low noise and low price are the killer features of this mic. Don't expect to put it on a "fishpole" though. This is for mic stand use only. It can also be used for voiceovers, though there are better options at higher prices.
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Old September 5th, 2014, 03:00 PM   #24
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Re: Boom mic

I have also had good results with the AT875r. B&H currently offers a complete aluminum boompole kit featuring this mic with shockmount, wind protection, carry case and other accessories for $553 (which also allows for a $70 discount on the purchase of a Tascam DR-60D).

My current best hypercardioid for boom use is the AKG C480b/CK63. Unfortunately it's current price is $1058, much higher than the high $700's to low $800's back when I purchased mine. After I got the CK63, I didn't use my AT4053a anymore and eventually sold it.

Other AT mics that I use frequently are the AT4073 in a blimp and the newer design AT4021 cardioid.
The AT4021 has very low self-noise, high sensitivity and a flatter frequency response in the low end than my AT4053a had. Even though it's a cardioid I plan to use it on a long boom soon just to test it out. The $350 price is attractive too for situations where a very clean cardioid on a regular mic boomstand is warranted.

I haven't tried the Blue Line, or the Rode NTG-1, -2 or -3. I do like the sound of my AT897 if connecting to good preamps. It's on a boomstand in the studio connected to a rackmount preamp and hasn't been out in the field since 2008.

Last edited by Jay Massengill; September 5th, 2014 at 08:17 PM.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 10:03 AM   #25
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Re: Boom mic

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Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
Is your $1000 budget for just the mic, or the whole setup with shockmount, boompole and wind protection?
The budget is for the whole set up.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 12:55 PM   #26
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Re: Boom mic

Kathy, looking back at your first post, I see that this is mainly for interviews. If so, have you considered a lav?

In some respects, there is a parallel between lavs/boom-mics and headphones/monitors. You can spend thousands of dollars for great monitors and great boom mics. On the other hand, you can get best-of-class headphones and lavs for a few hundred bucks. Of course, for a fully-featured audio kit, you want all of the above, but on a budget, it's nice when you can buy products that are truly keepers that never need an upgrade.

For example, best of class outdoor mics (Sennheiser 70, 60, 8070, 8060; Sanken CS3e, Schoeps), you're looking at $1,000+ if not significantly more, plus pole and wind protection.

For indoor mics, the Schoeps CMC641 costs nearly $2k.

But for lavs, you can get a Sanken COS-11D with XLR output for under $500 and the highest price for an in-stock lav on the entire B&H site is under $650. I have a couple of Sankens, and they sound absolutely great to my ears.

But there are some pros and cons with lavs:

1) They're okay in outdoor conditions, but can't match mic in a nice blimp. On the other hand, for extreme weather, one could choose an omni handheld mic like newscasters use in hurricanes. That generally requires an on-screen interviewer, but the mic won't cost $1k+ and will perform great.

2) They take a bit of time to set up. You might need to string the cable through clothing. Then again, you don't need a dedicated boom operator.

3) If the talent moves, the mic moves with them, which is good. However, if the talent turns their head, the response goes down. So it's better than a mic on a fixed stand but not as good as a mic and dedicated operator.

4) If you use a wireless transmitter or put the recorder on the talent, the talent can walk freely and you can capture good dialog even with a wide shot.

5) Indoors, a lav won't sound "bad" (as can a lobar shotgun), but it will pick up more room reflections than would a hypercardioid. I find this to be acceptable in reasonably dead (carpeted) areas. If there are hard surfaces, such as large windows, this can be an issue. Putting moving blankets on C-stands is a great solution for taming bad reflections. In general a lav in a reflective room with well-placed blankets is better than a hyper in the same room without the blankets. The hyper doesn't remove the "bounce"; it just reduces the volume of the "bounce". If the reverberation sounds bad (like a clear delay), no mic will fix it.

Anyway, a great lav (or pair of lavs) might be the better interview solution than a so-so boom mic. Not needing to place a stand, hire an operator, and worry about casting shadows or being in the frame are all nice, practical advantages.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 01:01 PM   #27
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Re: Boom mic

Another point about lavs. Sometimes you pay more for miniaturization than you do for great sound. There are examples of companies cheaper but larger mics sounding better than their more expensive, tiny mics. A larger capsule is better able to pick up bass.

For instance, the Countryman E6 is a tiny, head worn mic. The advantages are that they are tiny, can be placed VERY close to the mouth, and will get a consistent signal no matter how the user moves their head. The downside is that they have virtually no bass. I really can't stand the sound of them as the speaker sounds unnaturally thin. I don't know if that's because of the size of the capsule or if it's to avoid plosives. In any case, this is a clear example of paying for extreme miniaturization over sound quality.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 03:41 PM   #28
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Re: Boom mic

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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Kathy, looking back at your first post, I see that this is mainly for interviews. If so, have you considered a lav?

In some respects, there is a parallel between lavs/boom-mics and headphones/monitors. You can spend thousands of dollars for great monitors and great boom mics. On the other hand, you can get best-of-class headphones and lavs for a few hundred bucks. Of course, for a fully-featured audio kit, you want all of the above, but on a budget, it's nice when you can buy products that are truly keepers that never need an upgrade.

For example, best of class outdoor mics (Sennheiser 70, 60, 8070, 8060; Sanken CS3e, Schoeps), you're looking at $1,000+ if not significantly more, plus pole and wind protection.

For indoor mics, the Schoeps CMC641 costs nearly $2k.

But for lavs, you can get a Sanken COS-11D with XLR output for under $500 and the highest price for an in-stock lav on the entire B&H site is under $650. I have a couple of Sankens, and they sound absolutely great to my ears.

But there are some pros and cons with lavs:

1) They're okay in outdoor conditions, but can't match mic in a nice blimp. On the other hand, for extreme weather, one could choose an omni handheld mic like newscasters use in hurricanes. That generally requires an on-screen interviewer, but the mic won't cost $1k+ and will perform great.

2) They take a bit of time to set up. You might need to string the cable through clothing. Then again, you don't need a dedicated boom operator.

3) If the talent moves, the mic moves with them, which is good. However, if the talent turns their head, the response goes down. So it's better than a mic on a fixed stand but not as good as a mic and dedicated operator.

4) If you use a wireless transmitter or put the recorder on the talent, the talent can walk freely and you can capture good dialog even with a wide shot.

5) Indoors, a lav won't sound "bad" (as can a lobar shotgun), but it will pick up more room reflections than would a hypercardioid. I find this to be acceptable in reasonably dead (carpeted) areas. If there are hard surfaces, such as large windows, this can be an issue. Putting moving blankets on C-stands is a great solution for taming bad reflections. In general a lav in a reflective room with well-placed blankets is better than a hyper in the same room without the blankets. The hyper doesn't remove the "bounce"; it just reduces the volume of the "bounce". If the reverberation sounds bad (like a clear delay), no mic will fix it.

Anyway, a great lav (or pair of lavs) might be the better interview solution than a so-so boom mic. Not needing to place a stand, hire an operator, and worry about casting shadows or being in the frame are all nice, practical advantages.
Jon,

I already have a lav (Sanken COS-11D). I need a boom mic for situations where I don't have time to properly implant the mic on the person.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 06:27 PM   #29
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Re: Boom mic

Got it.

In that case, I'd probably put the AT4053b at the top of the list. It leaves enough change on the table for a nice boom pole and wind protection. I would assume that the majority of your interviews will be indoors and those that are outdoors would not be in the rain and harsh conditions. Unless the exterior is a very noisy environment or in bad weather, the AT4053b can do just fine outdoors.

Overall, I'd rather use an indoor mic outdoors than an outdoor mic indoors - except when water is involved.

The AKG Blue Line is the main alternative, but with a 6 dB lower output, it's more demanding of your preamp and recorder. If you are going into mid-level gear, I'd recommend the AT's hotter output.

Note that Sanken also makes a CS1e short shotgun, but unlike the CS3e it has a single element and traditional lobar design. The sound would match the COS-11D well, but that mic will have the classic room reverberation problem of other shotguns. But for outdoor work, this could be a consideration.

A few years ago at NAB, the Sanken rep noted that the CS1e is fairly forgiving in the hands of novice boom operators, due to its wide pattern. The CS3e has a much tighter spot and requires more skill. Note that the AT4053b also has a wider pattern and will be forgiving. Hotter signal levels also make mics more forgiving in that when the boom operator lets the mic drift away, you won't be fighting the noise in post quite so badly.

FWIW, here are some sensitivity numbers:
AKG Blue Line: 10 mV/Pa (-40 dB)
COS-11D: 17.8 mV/Pa (-35 dB)
AT4053b: 19.9 mV/Pa (-34 dB)
CS3e: 50 mV/Pa (-26 dB)
CS1e: 63mV/Pa (-24 dB - cookin'!)

With the sensitivity of the COS-11D and AT4053b so close, you could do a quick test with the lav on a pole to check the typical distances and the noise of your recordings through your system. Double the distance from the talent to simulate the AKG signal level.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 06:31 PM   #30
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Re: Boom mic

I own and have used for several years, the AKG SE393 (SE300 power module with the CK93 hypercardioid capsule for those scoring at home). Recently at my place of employment, we bought an AT4053b. Upon reading this thread, I decided to run a quick comparison of the two. Now this IS DEFINITELY NOT a scientific lab test. I tried my best to place the mics in the same spot, but as I was using a single boom arm, it's possible they are millimeters different in their placement. I ran them both through a Sound Devices SD552 mixer and recorded to the internal recorder at 24-bit, 48kHz. I tried to match the recording levels on the mics as I recorded and came pretty darn close. I then brought them into Adobe Audition and brought their levels up about 10dB. (We just bought the SD552 and I need to learn it a bit better as I am getting great sound, but a little lower levels than what I want so far. Thank goodness the pres on the SD552 are so quiet.) All the final files were saved at 16-bit, then Soundcloud does whatever it does to them. The link below will take you to a Soundcloud playlist with a number of files. The first are the two tracks with 10dB gain added, but no other processing. The ones with "wNR" in the name were run through the Noise Reduction processing of Audition, as you can hear in the raw tracks that the room we were using has a bit of a hum in it. And finally I created tracks, both with and without noise reduction where I used part of one file, then part of the other, then back to the first. The first person to correctly identify which mics are on which parts wins the admiration of all of us :>)

Like I said, not scientific, but I hope it's a useful comparison for people to hear a real-world head-to-head recording of both mics. Enjoy!

https://soundcloud.com/rob-neidig/se...3-vs-akg-se393

Rob

Last edited by Rob Neidig; September 8th, 2014 at 06:33 PM. Reason: Quoted old reply
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