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Old December 29th, 2005, 07:10 AM   #1
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Need a new indoor mic (but it gets complicated)

Okay, have learned a lot over the past month reading posts here and Ty Ford's book. I want to replace my ME66 and thought to start with something for indoor use as that's mostly where I shoot. This is for boom use for a no to low budget indie kind of guy. I often shoot in imperfect places (friend's houses, etc) so reach and off axis rejection are perhaps even more crucial for me as the set is rarely perfect.
Anyway, I've been looking at hyper-cardioids for indoors in low ceilings as seems to be the general advice. Later on, I'll buy a short shotgun for outdoor shoots (had my eye out for a good used 416). But, here's where it gets complicated. Some people call certain mics hypers though they're listed as supers. Seen the Sen MKH-50 mentioned this way a few times. And if that's not for use inside then I don't know what you'd use it for.
So then I scratch the MKH50 off my list (too expensive anyway) and look at real hypers, like the (modified) Oktava 012, the At4053a, AKG "Blue Line" SE300B with ck93 cap, the Neumann KM185, the AKG C480B with CK63 cap, and the Schoeps MK41. The last two are really getting pricey though. There's a sale on a "B Stock" Neumann and the Oktava is $163 at the Sound Room (there's even a guy on ebay who supplies the parts and does the oft mentioned mod to the mic for $49). The real problem is I live too far away from any place that sells or rents these mics, so I have to go on a certain amount of advice here.
So what I was wondering is:
1- How important is it to have different purpose mics match each other (like a MKH 50, and a 416 do for example)? Wondering if my hyper choice should affect my outdoor mic choice.
2- Is it a difficult thing to match them in post (like with Logic Pro or STP's Match EQ filter)?
3- Any recommendations with reach and off axis rejection in mind for any of these mics: the modified Oktava 012, the At4053a, the AKG "Blue Line" SE300B with ck93 cap, or the Neumann KM185?
Sorry for the long post, but I'm really trying to educate myself here and am learning how interconnected everything is. Thanks ahead of time for any help!
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Old December 29th, 2005, 08:59 AM   #2
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Other's will chime in with their own thoughts I'm sure but the AT 4053a has garnered an excellent reputation among users with critical ears. And because it's part of a system with modular capsules you can get the omni and cardioid heads for a broad selection of options on the set at lower total cost than three comparable quality non-modular mics. Got my eyes on one myself in the not too distant future.
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Last edited by Steve House; December 29th, 2005 at 10:13 AM.
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Old December 29th, 2005, 09:55 AM   #3
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Of the mics you mentioned, I have a tested (but not modded) Oktava with hypercardioid and cardioid capsules, an AT4053a, and an AKG C480b with CK62 and CK63 capsules. None are perfect, but I'd probably agree with Steve that the AT4053a makes good sense if you aren't going to go all the way with an MKH-50 or a Schoeps CMC6/Mk41.
I wasn't blown away by the C480b. It has excellent sound quality and extremely low self-noise, but I find that mine is very susceptible to handling noise. Because of the mic's very lightweight construction, the handling noise is also at a higher frequency that isn't as easy to get rid of. If I was using a static mounted boom and had the money for it, the basic sound is great.
In the real world I find the AT4053a to be more forgiving in spite of having a much greater bass response even when rolled off. That's really my only complaint, it's not as directional at bass frequencies as I would like it to be.
The Oktava is also good, but fairly low sensitivity to sound while still being very sensitive to handling and wind noise.
At some point I want to test the AKG Blue Line hyper and see if it's a good compromise without having too much self-noise.
You may also want to consider the Sanken CS-1, it has an excellent reputation for indoor use.
I think the Neumann has too low a sensitivity for good boom use unless you've got good preamps, it's mainly designed for music recording in the studio.
As for the difference in "super" and "hyper", that's more in the marketing terminology of the manufacturers rather than a difference you'll easily pick out in practical terms.
I don't think you'd regret the money spent on an MKH-50 or a Schoeps, but if that's out of the question, an AT4053a is also a good investment at its price point. Search around, there's a large difference in price for this mic that isn't as widely sold as other AT's. As Steve also mentioned, despite AT's odd marketing that practically keeps its modular construction a secret, the other capsules are also available.
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Old December 29th, 2005, 04:34 PM   #4
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I'll agree with what's been said here by others. I own a Sanken CS-1 and like it a lot. Works well indoors, matches pretty well with a Schoeps 641 (when we're using two boom mics), small, light, moderately priced.

My AT4073a works pretty well indoors, too. But sounds like the 4053a might be more what you're looking for.

I haven't used the AKG blueline stuff, but hear it works pretty well for the money.

You might also want to at least try a Sennheiser ME64 capsule on your K6. They call it cardioid, but the few times I've used on it seemed more hyper to me (but that could be caused by many things...I don't own any K6 mics). Anyway, I think more of the 64 than I do the 66...

<http://www.sennheiserusa.com/newsite/productdetail.asp?transid=003282>

You know, depending on where you live, you might be able to rent/demo several of the mics you're considering (including a Schoeps), try them out, listen to what you've recorded, and then make your decision. What matters is what sounds best for your work to your ears. Rentals would probably be around $30/day (I'm basing that on my market, though).

But for me, the choice order would go Schoeps 641, Sennheiser MKH50, Sanken CS-1, and then I'm not sure because I have less experience with the following mics...probably Blueline, 4053/4073, ME64...but it's hard to say...

Hope this helps a little...

Jim
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Old December 30th, 2005, 04:44 PM   #5
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Thank you everyone for the feedback!! I was wondering about how to deal with some of these mics deficiencies though. For example, would a good shockmount help with the handling noise of an Oktava or a C480B? Also, wouldn't using a mixer and rolling off the lower frequencies there as well as on the mic itself go a long way towards dealing with the 4053a's lack of directionality in the lower ranges?
I was surprised to see the CS-1 come up so much. That seems to be breaking the rule of no shotguns inside. Interesting, but potentially shattering of my new world view.
As a general stupid question, is the Schoeps MK41 the same thing as the 641? I sometimes get lost in abbreviations.
Thank you all again for taking the time and for trying to educate this novice. I really appreciate it!
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Old December 30th, 2005, 06:20 PM   #6
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"is the Schoeps MK41 the same thing as the 641? I sometimes get lost in abbreviations"

That used to confuse me too. It's an abbreviation of CMC6 MK41. In other words, "yeah."

The CS1 is a freak that draws extreme opinions from people. If you look at the polar graph it looks more like a cardiod pattern, but at 90 degrees off axis the sound rejection is just insane. Its primary use seems to be for interiors. The dealer I bought my Schoeps from claims the CS1 has more reach, but I don't know anything about that. I kind of want one, as it looks like it would be very useful in some situations, but I haven't really been able to justify it.
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Old December 31st, 2005, 12:27 AM   #7
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I had a CS-1, Marco, and got rid of it because
it sounded too thin.
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Old December 31st, 2005, 10:04 PM   #8
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Schoeps: The CMC6 is the current model preamp. The MK41 is the hyper mic capsule. You need both to make a mic you can plug an XLR cable into (and may want a Cut 1, too).

A shock mount will help with the handling noise from an Octavia, but won't make it as quiet as many other mics. I mainly use my Octavia as a plant or stunt mic (stunt as in mic might get destroyed by a car, horse, or something).

My Sanken CS-1 doesn't sound thin at all. It was originally designed partly as an on-camera mic, so it intentionally rejects off-axis sound and has a small rear lobe. It matches Schoeps fairly well, but you do have to aim the CS-1 to get the best sound.

Best,

Jim "about to go out for New Years" Feeley
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Old January 1st, 2006, 08:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley Cooper
O
... So what I was wondering is:
1- How important is it to have different purpose mics match each other (like a MKH 50, and a 416 do for example)? Wondering if my hyper choice should affect my outdoor mic choice.
...
The new Schoeps CMIT shotgun is considered to be a very close match to the sound qualities of the CMC641 hyper. According to their website, having the two mics sound the same was one of the key design goals.
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Old January 1st, 2006, 08:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashley Cooper
Okay, have learned a lot over the past month reading posts here and Ty Ford's book. .......The real problem is I live too far away from any place that sells or rents these mics, so I have to go on a certain amount of advice here.
Hi Ashley,

Appendix B in my book is a list of renters that will drop a mic in express mail for you. You don't need to be close. rent several try 'em and learn which one you like.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old January 4th, 2006, 01:42 AM   #11
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Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the help. Ty, I did check out the Appendix as you mentioned. For some reason, I didn't realize you could rent and have them send the equipment in the mail. Guess I will be able to check out some mics (except for the Oktava which no one seems to rent). Thanks again!
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Old January 4th, 2006, 11:58 AM   #12
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I have had very good luck with the ME64 so you might try it since you already have the power supply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Feeley
You might also want to at least try a Sennheiser ME64 capsule on your K6. They call it cardioid, but the few times I've used on it seemed more hyper to me (but that could be caused by many things...I don't own any K6 mics). Anyway, I think more of the 64 than I do the 66...

<http://www.sennheiserusa.com/newsite/productdetail.asp?transid=003282>


Jim
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Old January 5th, 2006, 05:15 AM   #13
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Interesting. Thanks for that, Bill and Jim. The only thing is, after listening to other mics I've found that I'm really not that fond of the ME66 (for example I liked the AT4073a a lot more). But, it wouldn't hurt to do a comparison with the ME64.
Thanks again!
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Old January 5th, 2006, 11:27 PM   #14
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If you compare, please let me know the results. I also own a K6 ME66 and am looking for a better indoor alternative. Ideally it should also fit my rycote softie mount. So I am very eager to hear about your test results.
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Old January 5th, 2006, 11:37 PM   #15
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Sorry, what I meant to say was "please let us know the results". Thanks to everyone posting in this forum, it's a great source.
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