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Old June 3rd, 2006, 04:44 PM   #1
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PD170 microphone

What's a good general-purpose replacement microphone for the Sony PD170? Or should I be satisfied with the one that comes with the camera?
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 06:44 PM   #2
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I mounted an AT-4051a atop my PD170. It provides wider coverage, if that's something you want (I did) and the frequency response and tonal characteristics is much better than the stock Sony mic.

The mic also has a Mic Muff on it to cut wind noise. A rubber band wrapped around the mic, just back of the capsule, helps keep the Mic Muff from sliding off.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 09:03 PM   #3
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Let's see. there's the 4051A Dean mentioned, the 4073A, the 897, the Sennheiser Me64, 66, 416, there are Neumanns and Schoeps. Really depends on what you plan to do with it AND your budget. Some are as little as $300 and some go up to over $1500.

Personally, I like the AT897 so much I sold my Senn ME66 but I also use a Hypercaroid for some work (AKG300 with the 93 capsule)
Lots of choices and it can drive you crazy and broke ;-)

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Old June 3rd, 2006, 09:29 PM   #4
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NEVER trust the on camera mic (that is with the prosumer cams). I would recommend a good handheld before any stick-type (shotgun or hyper). Not necessarily mounted on the camera (although possible) but just...ready at hand. The EV 635 has been a starter-standard or you can move up to the RE50 - which has become the standard for newsgathering and field production groups. If you choose to mount these on the camera, they will pic up sound from the camera - they are omnidirectional. If you want something with a little direction, try the Shure SM58 (stage standard) or lower level PG58.

Then again, if you don't expect to be doing anything requiring a handheld mic, go with a nice shotgun mounted on camera. I just did a contract gig, which required purchasing 24 PD170's and I selected all Sennheiser K66 shotguns, with Rycote windsceens. Nice bang for the buck, and also look good as a handheld in a flash, although need to be properly aimed.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 11:14 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Wang
NEVER trust the on camera mic (that is with the prosumer cams). I would recommend a good handheld before any stick-type (shotgun or hyper). .
1. on-camera mics are useless at any level.
2. You can't recommend ANY kind of mic until you know the application. Putting an SM58 on a boom is a waste of energy and quality. Putting a small diaphragm hyper in a handheld situation is the same.

Specific applications call for specific types of mics. Handhelds in a cardioid pattern, are all but useless for anything except VERY close mic situations in interviews, and for dialogix or dramatic work, can't be used at all.
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Old June 4th, 2006, 01:47 AM   #6
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The Shure 58 is a great mic, but as Douglas said, it's really for close mic'ing situations, like interviews. The nice thing about this and other dynamics are that they are relatively insensitive to outside noises and room echo.

If you're doing ADR or a voiceover in an untreated room, consider a dynamic mic, and get right on top of it. The lower quality of the mic is offset by avoiding the sound of a low quality room.

People expect studio vocalists to use large diaphagms with a spit screen and headphones. It's the classic "Entertainment Tonight" shot. In an exception to that rule, Bono sometimes uses a Shure 58 - and he uses it without headphones. He sings along with open monitors! Sure, there's bleed, but it's low enough, and he's got a strong enough pair of lungs that it works in the mix. It won't catch small subtleties, but hey, it's rock and roll.

But if the speaker isn't within a foot of the mic - and hopefully less - leave the dynamic mic in its case.
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Old June 4th, 2006, 07:58 AM   #7
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True, anything a built in mic can do, the right external mic can do better (except to operate as conveniently). But there are some applications where any improvement over the built in may be marginal.

When I tape a stage production with two or three cams, I take my primary audio from the house mixer. I used to set up an AT3031 cardioid mic at the back for ambience. Besides picking up the audience sounds, a low level of the ambience mic's signal in post brings life to the mixer sound wihich, although intimate and clear, is very dry. However, I always found myself using a built in stereo mic track from one of the cams for the ambience track instead. It just plain sounds good--better than the AT cardioid for this purpose. I'm sure that a good external stereo mic would capture better audio, but in this role in the mix I don't think it would matter much.
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Old June 4th, 2006, 08:13 AM   #8
 
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One thing I'd caution;
Bear in mind that even at a foot, an SM58 has lost it's proximity effect, and will be very thin.
Hopefully among these three responses, and whatever others are to come, you'll get the idea about mics in a toolkit, much like a carpenter carries a framing hammer and a finishing hammer, in addition to nail sets and other unique tools for whatever job arises.
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Old June 4th, 2006, 08:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georg Herbet
What's a good general-purpose replacement microphone for the Sony PD170? Or should I be satisfied with the one that comes with the camera?

So what do you intend to capture with the mic and what's your budget range?
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Old June 4th, 2006, 01:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
One thing I'd caution;
Bear in mind that even at a foot, an SM58 has lost it's proximity effect, and will be very thin.
Exactly. Three inches or so is about right for off camera. Maybe six for a more confortable on camera presence.

And hopefully your talent will hold the mic consistently. If they move it in/out/left/right at those close distances, you'll really need to ride the faders and/or smash it with compression in post.
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Old June 4th, 2006, 03:11 PM   #11
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Hmm...

since he hasn't answered with what to use as what his applications are...

For handheld I would suggest the SM58 for vocal, it's not a field microphone but will stand up to it. A step up is the EV RE50, and then a Sennheiser MD46.

If it's going to be mounted on camera, the one of the AudioTechnica's aforementioned, or a Sennheiser K6 base Hyper or shotgun (44 & 66 respectively) - Sorry, I'm a big fan of Sennheiser. A step up would probably be a Sennheiser 416 (in my mind), and then the Neumann KMR81i or KMR81 based on your desirable length, if not the Neumann KM140 Hyper is small enough. If you're not a Neumann (and that is noy-mann pronounced... now if I could only pronounce Sachtler) fan, go with Schoeps.

Just on adaptability, I would go with the Sennheiser K6 line, you can go with the Sennheiser ME Lapels (which by the way, seem to be indestructable compared to the Sony ECM66's or a Tram), or a Hyper or shotgun or even a handheld (but has anyone tried the K6 handheld?)

Best of luck and keep your ears on.
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Old June 4th, 2006, 03:20 PM   #12
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Hmm...

since he hasn't answered with what to use as what his applications are...

For handheld I would suggest the SM58 for vocal, it's not a field microphone but will stand up to it. A step up is the EV RE50, and then a Sennheiser MD46.

If it's going to be mounted on camera, the one of the AudioTechnica's aforementioned, or a Sennheiser K6 base Hyper or shotgun (44 & 66 respectively) - Sorry, I'm a big fan of Sennheiser. A step up would probably be a Sennheiser 416 (in my mind), and then the Neumann KMR81i or KMR81 based on your desirable length, if not the Neumann KM140 Hyper is small enough. If you're not a Neumann (and that is noy-mann pronounced... now if I could only pronounce Sachtler) fan, go with Schoeps.

Just on adaptability, I would go with the Sennheiser K6 line, you can go with the Sennheiser ME Lapels (which by the way, seem to be indestructable compared to the Sony ECM66's or a Tram), or a Hyper or shotgun or even a handheld (but has anyone tried the K6 handheld?)

Best of luck and keep your ears on.
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Old July 29th, 2006, 09:42 PM   #13
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PD170 microphone

I'm looking to switch the mic on my pd170 also. I have been looking at the sennheiser me64/k6. My intent is to use it for weddings and receptions. Would the me64 be a wise choise? I'm worried about the abient sound changing during receptions as I pan toward or away from the dj's pa system. I'm also looking for more bass sound. The sony mic has no bass at all.

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Old July 30th, 2006, 01:29 AM   #14
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I have a sony pd170 and have thought about changing the mic.

I borrowed a AT835b and did a test with the two mics.

Although the stock mic was quieter, in post I was able to make it sound exactly like the AT835b.

At receptions my sound is good and better depending on where I stand. It was the ceremony that had me concerned and wanting to change mics.

In the end I settled for an iriver and a giant squid. This way I can have my wireless on the groom, the iriver on the podium or near a speaker, and the stock mic on the camera.

Right now with the stock mic I never clip. I was afraid if I tried a hot mic like the M66 that my receptions would be screwed up.

My mic kit is the pd170 stock mic, wireless and wireless handheld mic, the iriver/giant squid, and AT825 stereo mic.
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Old July 30th, 2006, 03:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troy Christie
Would the me64 be a wise choise? I'm worried about the abient sound changing during receptions as I pan toward or away from the dj's pa system. I'm also looking for more bass sound. The sony mic has no bass at all.

Not for receptions. Sound will change a lot as you pan and
also 64 is light on the bass. The 64 really doesn't sound
very well for use around DJ speakers.
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