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Old May 29th, 2016, 11:06 PM   #1
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Countryman wired vs AT lav

I have a question regarding a mic vocal quality comparison.

My friend and I narrate wildlife clips using AT803 lavs wired to a field mixer. We are each tethered by 15', which is okay. Its the lavs themselves we are sick of.

Compared to the beautiful sound of holding one of these ATs like a handheld, to me the clipped-on to the chest or collar sound is just awful. Also hate having to worry about which shirt to wear :-/

Will a Countryman (E6 wired to xlr) sound as pretty as the AT does when handheld near the mouth? I notice that if the AT is positioned like an earset/headset (experimenting) it also picks up too much low freq (to me).

Anyone have an opinion about how a Countryman might compare to the AT803 handheld test? Will it sound as sweet?
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Old May 30th, 2016, 07:44 AM   #2
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Re: Countryman wired vs AT lav

Are you activating the low frequency roll-off switch on the AT lav's power supply box when you wear it in the normal lavalier mounting position?

Does your field mixer also have a bass roll-off on each mic input?

I assume you're not pleased with the enhanced pickup of boomy chest resonance when wearing the lavalier mic in the "normal" position.

How high or low on the chest are you mounting the mic?
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Old May 30th, 2016, 10:26 AM   #3
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Re: Countryman wired vs AT lav

The AT803 is a lavaliere and should be positioned properly to obtain optimum quality.
properly= the sternum area of your chest. The E6 is a head-worn mic, but it's rather susceptible to wind and not designed for outdoor use. Recording narration outdoors ain't a good idea. I would recommend re-recording in a proper environment (and mic) using the field recording as a guide.
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Old May 30th, 2016, 01:42 PM   #4
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Re: Countryman wired vs AT lav

Thanks for taking time to help.

Yes the power module roll off switch is always on. We wear buttoned shirts. Counting all buttons including the collar top button, we've tried it between the 2nd and 3rd, and the 3rd 4th. Under the shirt (between buttons with moleskin and also outside.

Those locations seem optimal for the AT803s, but sound nothing at all like holding the mic in front of the mouth just outside of "popping" range. The difference is drastic.

We use an Azden FMX 32a, which I love. 2 channels are for stereo ambient and the 3rd is vocal joined using an AT xlr combiner, which has no impact on quality or output level. Here's a pic of the setup. The combiner is in the rear, facing down.

View image: IMG 0571

No bass roll off on the mixer, justan INPUT LEVEL SELECTOR: The following 2 settings are available for each channel: MIC HI: maximum +4dBu (2kΩ) MIC LO: maximum -15dBu (2kΩ)

The sony ambient stereo sounds beautiful. Is there a decent outdoor mic that would give good quality along the lines of the AT803 in handheld position?
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Old May 30th, 2016, 02:18 PM   #5
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Re: Countryman wired vs AT lav

" Is there a decent outdoor mic that would give good quality along the lines of the AT803 in handheld position?"
- An EV RE50, Sennheiser MD42 or other omni-directional 'reporters mic' would work good and is proximity effect free, (low frequency boost in close proximity). It is designed to be used hand-held or stand mounted..
A Shure SM58 (or other live performance vocal mic) is another option that works good in very close proximity.
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Old May 30th, 2016, 05:45 PM   #6
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Re: Countryman wired vs AT lav

Thanks for the suggestions. We're looking for earset or headset xlr mics so we can have our hands free.
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Old May 31st, 2016, 12:32 AM   #7
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Re: Countryman wired vs AT lav

I don't have a direct comparison with the AT803, it's been years since I used one, but, in general I find that the Countryman e6 outperforms most lavs. It's also more consistent, not affected by some of the many things that can compromise lab sound. When properly adjusted, it stays.

Like a lot of lavs, the supplied windscreen only helps a little.

I've used many Countryman earsets, and always been impressed. Oscartech earsets have been suggested by others on this forum, but I've not used them.
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Old May 31st, 2016, 05:42 AM   #8
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Re: Countryman wired vs AT lav

I believe the combiner you are running both AT803 mics into may be having more of an effect than you think.

If you are standing next to each other and both have the mics mounted in the normal lavalier position and have the input level on the mixer set for that positioning, you will get a lot of off-mic bleed from the other mic as you each speak in turn.

If hand-holding the lavalier, I'd be willing to bet you are speaking more closely into it and have the mixer input level set slightly lower. Both of those factors will decrease the off-mic bleed and improve the apparent quality of the sound from the mics when they are being combined into one signal.

But as others have suggested, there are many nice omni handheld mics available as well as headworn omni mics that should improve the sound in your particular situation.

Last edited by Jay Massengill; May 31st, 2016 at 09:06 AM.
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Old May 31st, 2016, 01:35 PM   #9
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Re: Countryman wired vs AT lav

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
...If you are standing next to each other and both have the mics mounted in the normal lavalier position and have the input level on the mixer set for that positioning, you will get a lot of off-mic bleed from the other mic as you each speak in turn...
/\ This is important, if the two lavs are as close as 4 feet from each other, plus or minus /\

Two people on lavs fairly close together will bleed into each others' mics quite a bit. Mixing both to mono in the field or post results in some poor sound for reasons of the physics of sound when picked up by multiple mics at various distances (distance = time) resulting in inconsistent small phase cancellations in various frequencies.

To sum up (!), it sounds bad, a sound frequently described as hollow, and, if it occurs in the field, is mostly un-fixable in post.

Proper technique is to record two lavs to separate channels, then assign them both to mono in post, but mix down the non-speaker's mic, such that only one mic is live at a time in the final mix.

A lot of bother and monkey-motion, but it's part of what pro sound work is about.

On the other hand, the earset is the *best* mic at avoiding cancellation / phase errors of this type, since it is within an inch or two of the sound source. More physics at work here, which I won't go into. Make the inverse-square law work for you!

Earsets work better in this situation, much better, with much less post work. Well, if you were working with a single handheld reporter's mic that would also be much better than two lavs, as suggested above.
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Old May 31st, 2016, 02:20 PM   #10
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Re: Countryman wired vs AT lav

Well this is all very useful info :-) Thank you! Think a pair of Countryman Isomax's are probably going to solve most of the issues warned about here, except maybe wind. Think I may have unintentionally suggested that we might use handhelds. Should have been more clear. Thank you for the help!!!
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