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Old March 4th, 2007, 01:15 PM   #1
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Microphone Recommendation?

I will be videotaping a cheer competition from the top of the bleachers in a gym, but I want to put a mic in front of the performers (probably on a mic stand on gym floor in front of judge's table), and transmit to my camera via a Senn 100ENG plug-on transmitter. I have a AT-897 that I could use, but I think this may be too narrow a pickup pattern. Any suggestions for a moderately priced condenser mic for this application? Thanks.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:20 AM   #2
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There are a few choices for low-cost battery-powered condensers with a wider pattern than your AT-897. Some of them however are drying up since they've been discontinued.
The Audio-Technica ATM-31a cardioid is still available online for about $130. The similar ATM-33a instrument-styled cardioid is $160. The omni ATM-10a is about $100. If you're searching online sometimes the hyphen is omitted from the model number, sometimes it's in.
The Rode NT3 would also work even though it has a fairly narrow pattern too.
You might be better off with a high quality dynamic mic given the sound levels that will be present. A Sennheiser e835 cardioid, a Shure Beta57a, or an EV N/D367 would all work.
You should get a shockmount and a windscreen as well as a sturdy mic stand. And probably rope off the mic so nobody grabs it and tries to make "PA Announcements" on it.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 12:57 AM   #3
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The 897 will be fine. There's music right? You'll need a directional mic to keep it out of the pa, don't worry about all the ready OK stuff, it wont overload your mic. If you want the pa then use a dynamic, the shure sm57 is a good mic for reproducing cabinets, do not use a senn 835 they are Crapola. 100ft xlr will sound bettter than WL 100% of the time. Good Luck.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 02:09 PM   #4
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Hey Charles, are you volunteering to tape down his 100-ft of cable so nobody trips on it and sues him? Have you ever used an AT897 in a GYM with a crowd that's screaming at a cheering competition? The correct setting of the transmitter input gain will be crucial for this very wide dynamic range, that's one reason I recommend a lower sensitivity mic.
Obviously you've never used an e835 correctly, they're very good mics and I use my 6 of them frequently and that's why I recommend them. At the levels the PA will be running, and in a reverberent location, a directional mic won't provide any isolation but will create a lot of off-axis sound problems.
I did fail to mention the first time that you should use a second mic at the camera, recording a backup track on your second input. If you can have a second recorder hooked directly to the PA output, that would be a good idea too.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 06:52 PM   #5
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I will have a tascam recorder on the audio sound board to get the music and mc voice, but I wanted to get good quality sound on the cheerleaders during their performance that I can mix in post. I was mostly concerned that the narrow pattern of the 897 might be too narrow and sound unnatural. I will be at the top of the bleachers, so maybe the camera-mounted 897 will suffice?
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Old March 7th, 2007, 06:40 AM   #6
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I try to find a way to use my old Crown pzm (cheap) in gyms. Gets rid of most of those reflected "gym" sounds.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 07:26 AM   #7
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Which camera will you be using?
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Old March 7th, 2007, 11:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken McGrath View Post
...I was mostly concerned that the narrow pattern of the 897 might be too narrow and sound unnatural. I will be at the top of the bleachers, so maybe the camera-mounted 897 will suffice?
Narrow or not narrow? At a rough guess, at 12-20 feet away from the performance a short shotgun such as the 897 will pick up a large group just fine. You can work it closer to a smaller group. At the top of the bleachers it won't be "directional" at all, picking up everything in the gym.

My recc - just another opinion from someone who's worked in sound for video a long time - Use the 897, try to get to a rehearsal and see what distance sounds good with it (you could do this camera mounted with good headphones, or with a mixer). When you get to editing, you'll probably want to roll off some of the low end on this mic, in fact if it has it I'd switch a rolloff in on the mic. Mix with your board feed - I think you'll be happy.

But again, if it really matters, get to a practice and try it out. Several distances (keep track), rolloff in and out. This will also tell you just how wide they get with their routine.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 12:47 AM   #9
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[edit]. I won't gaff it down personally but that is a good suggestion. Tape that XLR cable down so nobody trips and falls. The audio will sound better than using wireless and nobody will get hurt. I should have been more careful with my advice. [edit] Good Luck, Be Safe, Charles.

Last edited by Douglas Spotted Eagle; March 8th, 2007 at 08:16 AM. Reason: inflammatory comment
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Old March 8th, 2007, 11:26 AM   #10
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I agree with you that wired would sound better than wireless, but there are times it may be too impractical to run cable. Another case where the OP will have to judge for himself and have a backup in place no matter which route he chooses.
As for the AT897, it isn't the coverage of the squads that has concerned me. It's the fact it will be in a gym with a screaming crowd of spectators and a potentially reverberent PA. I'm confident that any of the mics I suggested, placed where the original poster suggested, will make a better ambient recording than the AT897 placed just about anywhere possible in the gym. This isn't a criticism of the 897, I like mine a lot. It's just not a situation where it's likely to do well compared to other less directional mics.
It's good that there will be a direct recording of the PA signal, but if the equally important ambient track has too much off-axis coloration and reverb, then it will be very difficult to get a good sounding final product.
The main pitfall to avoid with my method will be getting the transmitter input gain set correctly since it will be remote from the camera and a practice session won't have the fully energized crowd of spectators screaming at the end of every routine in order to test accurately.
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