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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:30 AM   #1
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Now i'm confused: shotgun good for interiors?

I just talked to the sales rep from professional audio from B&H while trying to purchase the RODE NT3 hypercardioid but he was telling me I don;t need it, that the ME66 I already have is more than fine for indoor interviews and that the NT3 is a studio mike not fit for boompole use (fine) but not even to be used with a stand.

I've told him about what I've learned so far in this forum and readings: off-axis coloration, boomy sound, etc, but the guy stood his ground and basically told me not to buy the NT3. Now, if he had tried to convince me to buy it, I could have been suspicious of his motives, but he argued exactly the opposite. So he got me thinking.

Am i missing sth here? perhaps the disdavantages of the shotgun mike for indoor interviews is only an issue for highly professional recordings and not so much for docs??

please help.

maximo
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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:49 AM   #2
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Interesting experience. I'm not a huge fan of the ME66 and think it'd grab too many reflections to work great in a small-room interview, but I do like the ME64 capsule. It's somewhere between omni and hyper. Since you already have a K6 power module (I assume), it could be the ME64 will do what you want.

I haven't used an NT3 so I can't comment first hand on that mic, though. But it looks like it's aimed more at music recording/performing. Check out the manual:

http://www.rode.com.au/?pagename=Products&product=NT3

I'll defer to others about the NT3. But check out the ME64, and various other hypers recommended on these forums...

Best,

Jim
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Old February 9th, 2006, 11:50 AM   #3
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One of the problems with a lot of documentaries is they were shot by people who fell for the myth that "sound doesn't matter for docs." It always matters and your audience will forgive less than perfect pictures much faster than they'll forgive poor audio. Go take a look at fellow member Ty Ford's web site were you can see and hear some direct examples of the ME66 used indoors versus other mics. I can't say whether the NT3 per se is the best alternative or not but the saleman's implication that the ME66 is the "best" mic to use for interviews just doesn't hold water. Listen to Ty's demonstration comparing a shotgun to a lav and a hypercardioid indoors and go from there.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 12:04 PM   #4
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update

OK I talked to another guy at B&H and we discussed some of the alternatives discussed in this forum including the AT 4053a. His suggestion is not to take baby steps from the ME66 and go for the very expensive Senn 416 (if budget allows). So, budget does not allow.

I followed up with a question about whether buying a SD mixpre (although overextending my budget) would make a noticeable difference. And now the answer was defintely yes, he said: go for it. Now you'll get noticeable cleaner sound.

So, I think it makes sense: the most bang for the buck in my situation (although more bucks than I had planned) would be to purchase the sound devices mixpre and hook up my sennheiser G2 omni and the ME66.

Does this make sense before I plunge to shell out $800 (with bag included).

(at this point should I go ahead and also buy the ME64 capsule for another $150)

M.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 12:27 PM   #5
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I would at least go for the ME64. A mixer will help you control the levels and give you a limiter as well as phantom power, but I don't know what he means by "cleaner" sound.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 03:29 PM   #6
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I have a 64, 66, 4053a, and 3 NT3's. The 64 is very wide open and very sensitive. If you have any ambient noise, especially higher frequency things like air vent hiss or computer fans and harddrive whine, it will be hard to deal with. While the 64 has much less off-axis coloration, it still has a lot of off-axis response. You'll have to be careful with any movement in the room and a lively room will still sound very lively. The only way to combat this with a 64 is to keep it as close as possible to the subject.
I still think the NT3 would be more forgiving and capable of generally better sound in more situations at this price point. It's clean, directional, has low off-axis coloration, a tame low-end response and a balanced high end response. I don't think you can go wrong with the NT3 where as the 64 and 66 might sometimes be better but often will be much worse.
With that said, unless you have a radio drop-out or clothing rub, a lav will sound better in a truly bad environment. That's why I never single-mic an interview if I'm outside the studio.
Which camera will you be using again? That will have some influence too, regarding sensitivity and the quality of the camera preamps.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 03:46 PM   #7
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I suppose another option here is the ME65, which oddly, doesn't appear to be used by anybody. I'm kind of curious as to why that is. It looks like an interesting mic.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 04:15 PM   #8
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Jay -- Your comments on the NT3 are interesting. It's good to know that there's another option in this price bracket for a hypercardiod with an internal power source. How's the handling noise? It seems awfully heavy (13 ounces!) to put on a boom. That's heavier than a can of Coke.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
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Old February 9th, 2006, 04:42 PM   #9
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Recording with a Z1

I'll be Recording with a Z1 and I will have a Senn G2 omni lavalier in use. The remaining question is whether I use the ME66 as is, or I add a mixpre (and whether I spend even more money on an additional mike)

my understanding is that the NT3 will sound better than the ME64 only if really close to the speaker, whereas the ME64 may be more forgiving of slightly longer distances (is this the price to pay for the slight off-axis coloration of the ME64?)

Anyway, my main concern at this point (price-wise) is whether spending the money on the mixpre will give me more mileage in terms of sound quality (interviews) rather than worrying too much about which mike to use (ME64, ME66, ME65 or NT3). This was the reasoning of the B&H sales rep that got me thinking along these lines. It is a substantial amount of money for me ($800 with case) and am willing to pay for it, if indeed I can get better sound than with the current G2 lav + SennME66 going directly to camcorder. And of course, I can use the ME66 on mike stand (or even on boompole if i have help).

thanks again
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Old February 9th, 2006, 04:58 PM   #10
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I haven't used the NT3, but I would expect it to have more reach than the ME64 based on Jay's comments. I know the ME64 really needs to be within about a foot and a half of the speakers mouth.

A mixer is almost essential in my opinion because these cameras have so little headroom and you often have to do some active mixing. But it doesn't actually "improve" the sound, although you're likely to get better results with one because you can control the signal more.

Does the Z1 have phantom power? That's another benefit of a mixer. Once you have phantom power you have access to much better mics that are often comparably priced to the ME series.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 09:44 PM   #11
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The 64 has great sensitivity, so in a way it does have "reach" but it's often counterproductive because it's reaching out very broadly to soak up everything. The only way to get isolation is by getting close enough to the subject that it overpowers everything else the mic is picking up.
The NT3 is more selective, in direction, sensitivity and frequency response.
In my studio it sounds nice at 4 feet, when I've used it in a theater to isolate the crowd response from the PA it worked well and had minimal off-axis coloration. I would never advise actively booming one, but on a static stand it is fine.
The MixPre is awesome, but there are lower quality alternatives that cost much less and can still give you better control. If you don't have to have battery power for the mixer during sitdown interviews, I think I would add the NT3 and a less expensive AC-powered mixer and keep saving for the MixPre.
As long as every piece of gear you buy serves a useful purpose and isn't simply a cheap-out that won't be satisfactory beyond a month or two, it's ok to build up your arsenal in stages.
I've often wondered about the ME65 also, since I've had good success with the AT873r, another "handheld" hypercardioid condenser. However, the AT is tailored to be used at a greater distance and the ME65 is really intended to be used close-up only.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 10:06 PM   #12
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any suggestions for less expensive mixer?

Jay: thank you for your very informative feedback. Which less expensive ac-powered mixer would you recommend?

I have to confess that one worry I have is that in most situations I'm alone interviewing, so I cannot actively monitor the mixer. So no matter how good the monitor can be, it may be overkill for me at this point.

This is very confusing to me because I'm very new at this, but I really appreciate the feedback that you all have voluntereed.

Thank to your input i think I'm coming back to my senses again and once again looking into buying the much praised RODE NT-3, a good shockmount (AT-4815?) and an inexpensive mike stand with boom.

Is there a cheap mike preamp/mixer with audio limiter and low-cut filter that coluld help me without requiring too much attention on my part during the interview, or should i just forget about the mixer for now until i get more experience with audio equipment?

maximo
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Old February 9th, 2006, 10:38 PM   #13
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Sound Environment

Not mentioned in this discussion is the sound environment:
Can you describe the conditions under which you use the mic? What are going to use it for? What are your sound requirements? Are you going for studio sound or is on the fly?

The B and H guy has some good points. The best mics for people and interviews are indeed lavs. The Senn2's are very good, but there are many times there is no time to mic people up in a spontaneous situation.

I have used the 66 for a long time and it does very well; it has a fairly narrow cone of capture, and within a reasonable distance from the subject, say 10-15 feet. it does the job, even with extraneous sound nearby.

It also works very well, indoors and outdoors, with the Z1, which does have phantom power on both XLR channels. Just don't try to mic somebody inside from 30 feet away, then it is going produce boomy sound.

Speaking of booms, it works fine there too. If you don't want to spend the money and you already have the 66 and the Senn2's, work with them for a while and run some tests.
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Old February 9th, 2006, 10:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximo Salaberry
I just talked to the sales rep from professional audio from B&H while trying to purchase the RODE NT3 hypercardioid but he was telling me I don;t need it, that the ME66 I already have is more than fine for indoor interviews and that the NT3 is a studio mike not fit for boompole use (fine) but not even to be used with a stand.

I've told him about what I've learned so far in this forum and readings: off-axis coloration, boomy sound, etc, but the guy stood his ground and basically told me not to buy the NT3. Now, if he had tried to convince me to buy it, I could have been suspicious of his motives, but he argued exactly the opposite. So he got me thinking.

Am i missing sth here? perhaps the disdavantages of the shotgun mike for indoor interviews is only an issue for highly professional recordings and not so much for docs??

please help.

maximo

This will not be the first time someone at B&H didn't know what they were talking about.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old February 10th, 2006, 09:37 AM   #15
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You can certainly try it with what you already have without attempting to add more complexity at this point. If you have control in picking your locations, you can have success with the 66 and the lavs, but you will have less flexibility in where you can get pleasing results. This is really true with any mics, and is a very important point to remember, but will be especially important with the 66.
I would advise against using the bass roll-off on the K6/ME66, it has an unusually high knee point and will make the mic sound even thinner and less warm. Do some accurate practice sessions, actually pack your gear into a typical location and do a real setup and recording session in the typical time you would have available. See what works and then make some decisions on what you might want to add to improve your results as you get more comfortable. It certainly wouldn't be a mistake to get an NT3, it's a very useful mic that's worth the money. The same would be true of a Mackie 1202-VLZ mixer, there will always be occasions where a mixer like that is the better choice versus a field mixer, even though a MixPre is a necessity in other cases.
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