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Old November 22nd, 2005, 03:14 AM   #1
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Condenser Microphone Vs Shotgun

I will be shooting my short inside and was wondering what type of mic will produce better sound quality. I also only have around $500 to spend and currently have an AT815b that is just not doing the job. The sound will also be recorded directly into my canon xl2.



Cheers,

Richard
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 09:39 AM   #2
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Shotguns are not good for indoors. Try using an Audio-Technica AT4053a. This is a sweet mic for indoor shoots.

~jr
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 04:03 PM   #3
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thanks for your help! Do you know of a good place to purchse one?
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 04:50 PM   #4
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I buy all my equipment from either B&H Photo, Sweetwater, or zZounds. I have found all three to be very reputable. I just checked and only B&H carries this mic.

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Old November 23rd, 2005, 08:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Clark
I will be shooting my short inside and was wondering what type of mic will produce better sound quality. I also only have around $500 to spend and currently have an AT815b that is just not doing the job. The sound will also be recorded directly into my canon xl2.



Cheers,

Richard
Out of curiosity, why is it not doing the job?

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Old November 23rd, 2005, 08:33 AM   #6
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I'm in a similar position, probably less inclined to pay $500 - I've still got other audio gear to get. I have a K6/ME66 on the way, and it's definitely not an indoor mic. Would getting an ME64 or similar module be a good way to go for indoors, or what are the value packed options from other makers? Is there an advantage to being able to use two types (cardiod/hypercardiod) at once, or just stick with one, plus wireless?

I'm still trying to decide between the Sony UWP-C1 with added ECM44BMP, or the Sennheiser EW112 G2 for the wireless option. Anyone with experience with BOTH? I'm just not sure about the quality difference (although the stock Sony mic is apparently not great - hence the upgrade to the ECM44), and whether the Senn being a non diversity system has more dropouts. Specs on paper are nice, but results speak louder than words in this realm. And without access to them, I'm a little stuck pondering.

Any advice is appreciated, I'm still getting up to speed on the audio side. I got my PD150 last week, now I need the audio gear to complement it.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 10:50 AM   #7
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The ME64 definitely does better than the ME66 indoors. There's also the ME65. Pretty much the only reason to use the ME series is if you don't have access to phantom power. If you do, there are better mic systems for the money.

We often use two hypercardiods for interior shoots. I would feel severely constrained if we didn't have that option available. Most people seem to get by with just one though. I suppose they just pick up the rest of their audio on the reversals and closeups when they can't cover a scene completely.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 11:13 AM   #8
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I've used my non-diversity sennheiser for over three years without a single dropout...however, during my last wedding, the church's "diversity" system dropped out several times :-)
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 12:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Clark
I will be shooting my short inside and was wondering what type of mic will produce better sound quality. I also only have around $500 to spend and currently have an AT815b that is just not doing the job. The sound will also be recorded directly into my canon xl2.



Cheers,

Richard
Just FYI, "condenser" refers to the electrical nature of the sensitive element within the mic while "shotgun" refers to the directional characteristics of the sensitivity pattern. Mic elements can be condenser, electret (a type of condenser), ribbon, dynamic, or ceramic depending on just how they convert the sound vibrations into electrical signals. The pickup pattern of a mic can be omni-directional, cardoid, hypercardoid, or shotgun in terms of their directivity. I mention all this because your question asked whether you should choose a condenser or shotgun microphone and the two are not mutually exclusive - in fact, most shotgun mics ARE condenser mics.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 01:07 AM   #10
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Luckily I got the Sennheiser gear at a discount. So that leaves me at, am I better off buying a separate cardioid, or getting a module for the K6 such as the ME64 for indoors? This would be geared towards weddings and events.

Does anyone know of a shootout comparison between the better wireless systems? I know there's a lot of info around, but it's all snippets/scattered. It's hard trying to find indepth (and meaningful) comparisons, particularly to do with reliability. Plus everyone seems to have a slightly different experience, making an informed decision difficult.
I'll keep looking, but I'd like to know enough to decide soon.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 05:36 AM   #11
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With only a couple of exceptions, shotgun mics will be a poor choice for indoor use - particularly in reverberant indoor spaces such as sanctuaries. The exception would be a very short shotgun mic such as the AT 4073a ($$) and Sanken CS1 ($$$).

Typically, you would use the type of cardioid, supercardioid or hypercardioid mic that is suitable for boom pole or on-camera use. Physical criteria are: Cylindrical body, Short length (for camera use), and Light weight. Acoustically, look for very low noise floor, wide frequency response with a flat low end, flat mids, and either flat highs or a subtle rise or "presence peak" at the top end. A switchable low frequency filter can be very handy.

Nearly every mic manufacturer has these (and we carry most of them), but I'll mention two from Audix, an American manufacturer. The SCX-one is a short, very high quality condenser mic with interchangeable capsules ($479.00). The 1290-S is a very unusual miniature shotgun mic. It is very thin, only 1/2" in diameter, is 8.5" long, and weighs only 2 ounces ($379.00). I use both of these on boom poles and the 1290-S on camera and they are really sweet. We have made an adapter that allows the 1290-S to fit in a standard mic mount.
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Old November 25th, 2005, 07:26 AM   #12
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Marty,
How does the AT4073 compare to the CS3e based on indoor performance?
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Old November 25th, 2005, 08:26 AM   #13
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The CS3e is certainly more useable indoors than say a 416 or the 4071a, but it is a longer mic than the 4073. It would be fairer to compare the 4073a to the CS-1. These two are also nearly identical in price. Here is the spec comparison:

The 4073 has a higher output level, but a lower max signal level.
The 4073 is spec'd down to 30Hz, the CS-1 down to 50 Hz
The 4073 can work on 11-52V phantom power, the CS-1 needs 48V
The 4073 has a 21mm diameter, the CS-1 is 19mm
The 4073 is about 3" longer.

Phantom power requirements may be a consideration, and so will diameter if you need it to fit an existing shock mount.

The CS-1 will have a somewhat better off axis rejection, though the 4073 will be better than any longer shotgun. It's been a while since I used my 4073, so I can't give you comparison of the sound, but I did like it. I think the CS-1 sounds great for a shotgun mic.

All thngs being equal, I would go with the CS-1 if you use it primarly for interiors. However, if you need one mic for both interiors and exteriors (with an emphasis on exteriors), I'd go with the CS-3e.

I hope that helps.
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