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Old March 2nd, 2007, 06:40 AM   #1
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Pickup patterns in shotgun microphones

Hi all,

I was investigating several shotguns for outdoor use. I already know pretty much what's on the market due to other threads here and some testing myself. But I was wondering if people could give some overview into how tight or wide the patterns of different microphones are. I've looked at polar diagrams, but couldn't really compare them on this feature. Also, I know from other posts that for instance the pattern of the mkkh416 is pretty tight, and the AT4073a is wider than that. But a more complete view would be welcome.
I'm particularly interested in the mkh416, mkh-60, me-66, at4073a, at897, AKG ck98, Sanken CS-1 and CS-3e, and rode ntg-2. Thanks.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 06:50 AM   #2
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If you go to the websites of the manufacturers you'll find the information you need on patterns.

For the AT4073a, for example: http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/re...3a_english.pdf

The MKH 416 http://www.sennheiser.com/nordic/icm_fi.nsf/root/01511#

It would be helpful if you could give more information how the mic would be used. You say outdoors, but will it be to record ambience, dialouge, wildlife? etc. From how far away on average?
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 07:06 AM   #3
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Hi Peter, It will be mainly for dialogue, and occasionally sound fx and ambiance recording. Personally I can't really see from a polar diagram within how many degrees you have to point the mic to the sound source (mouth) to have a good sound without coloration.
I'm looking for this because I was advised that if you work with less experienced boomers, it's better to use a less tight mic. They said a 416 is 'too professional' for novice boomers because they would be missing the spot too often. Accroding to them, I was better of with something like a 4073a. Then I was wondering how other mics would behave in such a comparison.
Also I guess I'm not really looking for scientific results, but more the experiences from some of the veterans out here. But maybe it's not an easy question and I have to do some more testing myself.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 07:22 AM   #4
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.

Well in the situations you seem to be describing be it a pro or a beginner I'd head for the AT835 every time,personally always the stereo (ST) version for the basic reason that when stereo effects are worth getting I just unplug the 5 to 3 pin conversion cable, pop the transmitter off and plug in a 5 pin cable, nice and easy for use in the field day after day on a shoot.

As that mic goes for normal boom work it's a joy to use compared to a 416 or indeed an 816, you forget how nice a mic it really is and how good it sounds when you have had to use something else for a while.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 10:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Fokkinga View Post
Hi Peter, It will be mainly for dialogue, and occasionally sound fx and ambiance recording. Personally I can't really see from a polar diagram within how many degrees you have to point the mic to the sound source (mouth) to have a good sound without coloration.

I've not used many of these mics, but generally the way to read a polar diagram...

If at a given angle on the polar diagram, all the lines for the different frequencies have the same level, then you won't have much coloration there.

Compare the Sennheiser 416 at 60 degrees to the Schoeps mk41 at 60 degrees. The schoeps has the same plot for all frequencies up to 2khz, and then only slight deviations from that shape up to 16khz. The 416 on the other hand goes basically apeshit past 2khz, and even there, the pickup pattern starts to shift a bit.

So, for these 2 mics, the Sennheiser really needs to be pointed directly at the sound source, and if then it gets 30 degrees off axis, the sound starts to get colored. The Schoeps on the other hand looks like it pretty much performs the same 30 degrees off axis as it does on axis. Even at 60 degrees off axis, the source will sound the same, just quieter by 5db. At this point on the 416, your high frequencies are down 5-20 db from the lower ones as compared to on axis sounds. This is coloration.

http://www.sennheiser.com/nordic/icm_fi.nsf/resources/01511_pd.jpg/$File/01511_pd.jpg

http://schoeps.de/images-2004/fpol-mk-ccm41-e.gif
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 02:38 PM   #6
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I'm not sure one mic will be much safer than another from an inexperienced boom-op. I think the better approach is to get a good mic and then practice the boom operator as much as possible before doing anything critical.

http://www.thompsound.com/Articles/QSFT/zen_boom.pdf
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 05:25 AM   #7
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I guess I'll delve a bit deeper into those polar diagrams. Thanks for the links, the article was also a nice read, peter!
Any practical experiences from people are still very welcome!

Thanks again.
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