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Old September 14th, 2015, 08:28 AM   #1
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Right mic for a studio??

This is for a high school studio that has a limited budget. I am looking at putting in 2 shotgun mics or some type of condenser mic from above instead of using the lav mics. This is for when we do our broadcasts and any other type of interview or project. This way we don't have to spend time hiding the cable and making sure everything is set properly which can some times take up to 5 minutes or more when using a lav. What mic can be suggested for around the $300 mark a mic. I have been looking at the Rode Microphones NT3 Hypercardioid Condenser Microphone found at this link. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002PSCQW/...LRD7FRH8U4What are your suggestions on this? Thanks.
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Old September 14th, 2015, 10:43 AM   #2
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

Explain to us why hiding the microphones is so important here?
If quick setup is so important, how about some ordinary cardioid mics on desk stands?

Is this a news-style show with the subjects sitting at a desk/table?
Is this a chat-show where people are sitting in easy chairs etc?

What is the framing here? All closeups? Wide shots?
In other words, how close can you get the mics?

Do you have a studio that is "dead" enough to allow using distant mics?
I suspect that your audio will sound like you are broadcasting from a cave.
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Old September 14th, 2015, 12:08 PM   #3
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

Richard is right to ask for more details about your requirements. And his questions are just right: 1) visibility, 2) use case, 3) distance, and 4) environment.

Still, I'll jump ahead and give a potential recommendation: The Electro-Voice RE320. It nails your budget, sounds great (similar to the RE20, which has been used by countless radio shows), and is forgiving as the talent moves around. The RE320 and RE20 include built-in pop filters as they are designed for voice applications.

Electro-Voice RE-320 Premium Dynamic Microphone
Electro-Voice RE320 Variable-D dynamic vocal and instrument microphone

One thing to keep in mind is that these mics are dynamic. The good news is that they don't need a phantom power supply. The bad news is that their outputs are somewhat low, so the preamp needs to have low noise with high gain. In a studio environment, that shouldn't be an issue. Just be aware that you probably don't want to plug it straight into a camera. Go to a preamp or good mixing board instead.

I don't own either mic, but I spent a fair amount of time with the EV rep and the mics at an NAB show a few years ago. The RE20 simply sounds fantastic. I instantly recognized the sound as the classic radio voice. It put a smile on my face. :) The RE320 has some adjustments and has a wider frequency range than the RE20. The idea is that those on a budget might want to use it not just for voice but also for musical instruments. My feeling at the time was that with a small bit of EQ, the RE320 could sound nearly exactly like an RE20. (I would cut the lows and highs with shelf filters to narrow the band slightly and remove a touch of boom and air/hiss.) But even without additional EQ, the RE320 would do the job well. Without comparing the 320 and 20 back to back, it would be hard to know which you were hearing.

Anyway, this mic meets your budget and is designed for your application - assuming that you can have it visible, place it fairly close to the talent, and use a good preamp. You might also consider getting some 2-inch Corning 703 panels and framing/wrapping them to deaden the space, if it's not already treated.

Best wishes on your project!
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Old September 14th, 2015, 12:25 PM   #4
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

I just don't like to see the mic is all. I am all about the clean professional look. We don't use a desk but have a virtual one. I guess we could put it on a table in back of the virtual desk which would probably hide it.
It is a variety of shows. From broadcasts sitting in chairs in front of a virtual desk to talk shows sitting in chairs with no desk. We sometimes use the room for interviews also. There will be an establishing shot at the beginning of each program but most of the other shots will be our medium to close ups.
Our studio is acoustically treated and is pretty dead. Not too dead but with just the right vibrancy it needs. No cave in our studio.
I also do have a system that supplies a phantom power supply if needed.

I have also checked and even in a wide shot because we use a lot of virtual sets and a mic above is never in the shot and can be place fairly close to the talent. I guess experimenting is what I need to do some more of.
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Old September 14th, 2015, 12:40 PM   #5
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

Where do you think I can find out the safe distance that these mics can be away from a talent?
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Old September 14th, 2015, 01:05 PM   #6
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

Have a look at broadcast TV. Not just now, but historically.

Everyone uses lavs, or desk mounted mics. where there are seated presenters and no desk, then often condensers with extension capsules, because they look nicer. Back in the 70s, small lav mics were in reality quite big, and pretty obvious compared to our tiny ones now, that can be easily hidden if you have the time and skill. The notion of a mic out of frame in medium and wide shots is expensive and needs technical skill to do. When presenters did not have lav mics, then boom mics and most importantly boom operators were the only way to get focussed sound that didn't sound distant and thin. So directional mics out of frame, carefully and accurately aimed were the way it was done. Add extra people and you add extra booms and ops.

On camera mics are frequently slated for having thin and distant audio, and overhead mics will be exactly the same. Worse, perhaps if they collect floor reflections. Who has a studio boom now and could do this? A few broadcasters who kept their legacy equipment. A location boom pole simply doesn't have the pan and tilt required to keep aiming at the mouth. If it's a high school studio, it's going to be totally impossible to get decent sound. The skill level simply isn't there.

Given the choice of decent audio or a small mic visible, it's surely a no brainer. Hundreds of videos on youtube prove it - distant mic placement is dreadful. A cheap condenser clipped on beats it every single time.
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Old September 14th, 2015, 01:30 PM   #7
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

I guess I understand what you are saying. It's better to have a little visibility of the mic and good sound then to have no visibility and not good quality sound. I'll just probably stick with our lave mics and just make sure we learn how to hide them better.
Although if I could use the RE320 as a desktop mic how close do they need to be to the talent. When we use our virtual sets I can get a desktop mic real close to the talent.
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Old September 14th, 2015, 02:01 PM   #8
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

For invisibility, good sound, and no extra boom ops, you can't beat a lavalier.

That said, I think there's a reason that the pros don't bother hiding them on studio shows. You can't predict what the talent and guests will do. If the mic is showing and has a nice loop, there is unlikely to be a problem, and if there is, you can fix it quickly. If the mic is hidden in a blouse and it brushes up against the material or becomes unclipped, you're sunk.

On a film (where they hide it), you can do another take. On a studio show (where the mic shows), you need reliability.
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Old September 14th, 2015, 02:05 PM   #9
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

Or you could get one of these...
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Old September 14th, 2015, 02:06 PM   #10
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

I like that picture. Our studio is just a little small for it though. :)
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Old September 14th, 2015, 06:37 PM   #11
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

Anybody who has held a long boom pole for many takes of a long scene knows the value of that photo. :)

I've done a number of interviews with a mic on a fixed boom, but it only works well for people who are seated and fairly static with a somewhat tight shot.In these cases, we spend time to setup the framing, lighting, seating, and mic position and then we do as many takes as needed. I wouldn't recommend this for a live broadcast.
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Old September 14th, 2015, 10:03 PM   #12
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

Funny - on the Japanese NHK "Rakugo" (comedic monologue) shows they always have a large mic on a stand in front of the performer.- and it's not attached to anything because they also have a lav on him (never seen a "her". )

But without a big honking mic in front of the performer it apparently doesn't look "real" enough.
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Old September 15th, 2015, 08:28 AM   #13
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

Since Larry King's talk show, a 'prop' mic has been on the desk of most late-night shows. Some where actually connected as a back-up, some not. FYI, Larry's prop mic was a RCA 77DX.
For anchor person news broadcasts, lavalieres are SOP since Walter Cronkite who initially used an Sony ECM-50. The most popular reporter's field mic (in the USA) is the venerable EV RE50 (gets more air time than Seinfeld reruns). Many mic manufacturers (Shure, Sennheiser, AT, ect.) have their own version of the hand-held dynamic Omni.
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Old September 15th, 2015, 10:59 AM   #14
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

Larry King wasn't even in high school when Dave Garroway started the Today Show with an RCA DX-77 on the desk.
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Old September 15th, 2015, 11:49 AM   #15
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Re: Right mic for a studio??

It looks as if Garroway is wearing an Altec "coke bottle" condenser mic on a neck holder. That must have been painfully heavy to use as a "lav" because it had a vacuum-tube preamp inside the body of the mic, as well as a heavy multi-conductor cable connecting the mic back to the power supply.
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