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Old February 21st, 2007, 08:53 AM   #1
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First Hand-help microphone: wired or wireless?

Ready to purchase first hand-help mic. Should I get a hand-held one or should I spend a little (and I do mean little) more money and get a wireless system?

Background (this is to give you a flavor for how I'm approaching building my production hardware): Relatively new to DV production, purchased XL2 with two lighting kits, tripod and one lav mic. Still can't afford a field monitor and/or TelePrompter! Not even sure a hand-held mic should be my next purchase!

My sole focus is historical profiles, using talking heads, stills and any video I can steal -- legally that is!

There are plenty of pros using this forum that have 'been there done that.' You are who I'm hoping to hear from. Thanks.

Chuck
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Old February 21st, 2007, 09:06 AM   #2
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Charles, I would recommend adding a hand held mic to your arsenal, you never know when you're going to need it. You can find them anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on what you're looking for. My recommendation is the "electro-voice re50b" It's about a $150 and an industry standard. If you're budget is smaller, I also like the Audio Technica at-804 model. This one runs about $80. A wireless system is going to cost about $500.00 for a decent UHF one. Althought I know Azden makes one for about $350, it's the 100LT model. I have no experience with this model, but it might be more in your budget? All of these models are listed in B&H's catalog, or website.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 06:16 PM   #3
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My favorites are the Shure SM-58 and SM-57. If you are working in an environment that doesn't involve the hassel of having a lot of mic cable on hand, a hand held is a easy way to get good audio. Street price for both seems to be a little under $100 ea.
Later, when the convenience of wireless fits the budget, an XLR transmitter can turn your handheld into a wireless mic.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:29 PM   #4
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Charles,

if you only buy one mic, get a wired one. Even the more decent UHF systems (starting around $500) don't sound anywhere near as good as a good $100 wired microphone. Sometimes, the convenience of wireless systems outweighs this, but when possible, I suggest you use wired mics.

- Martin
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 04:08 AM   #5
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Thanks, guys. Wired it'll be.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 07:18 AM   #6
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And remember too, when you eventually go wireless you can include butt plug transmitter in the kit and use a dynamic hand-held mic either wired or wireless as the situation demands.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 01:43 PM   #7
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Charles,

Good advice from all these folks. I have an ElectroVoice Re50 that I bought, er, "a while back", that still goes in my kit today. A good hand held mic will continue to be useful to you for many, many years. Just remember that these are dynamic microphones (like the Sure SM58 and Sennheiser MD46) and need to be close to the speaker, so plan on seeing the mic in the shot.

If most of what you do is sit-down style interviews, then a wired lavaliere might be a good investment too. They are more easily tolerated on camera than the hand helds.
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 11:20 PM   #8
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Wireless is the last choice

Hi Charles,

All great advice here. While wireless technology is fun and sexy, it's really our last choice and we only use it when we must (the possibility of interference is always present). A wedding ceremony is a good example of when the wireless lavalier is a must, or perhaps a movie where the medium shot would show a boom mic.

Now if you were doing a interview with a jogger using your XL-2 ahead of the jogger respondent and interview (perhaps from the back of a truck), now that's a good time for your wireless lavs! Can you imagine the disaster running two 100 foot XLR cables to wired mics on each of them? Better get REALLY good insurance...

Enjoy, Michael
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