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Old March 18th, 2007, 05:36 PM   #1
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Boundary mic recommendations

Hi;

I'd like to add a boundary mic to my inventory - I needed one this weekend for a shoot, and couldn't find one in time, so I'd like not to get caught out again. Is the cheapo one available from online radioshack OK? Is there much of a difference in performance between this and the more expensive ones that can cost more than $500?

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Greg
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Old March 19th, 2007, 08:21 AM   #2
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I haven't used the Audio-Technica ATR97 omni boundary mic that Radio Shack is currently selling. The ATR series of mics is AT's lowest priced, lowest quality line. This one has a 5-foot cable that terminates in a mini-plug.
What are you going to be connecting to?
The higher quality boundary mics from AT, Shure and Crown will perform much better and cost less than $300, many under $200, online.
You need to decide what pick-up pattern of mic you need as well as whether you need battery power or phantom power. It's also important how you will connect the mic to your camera/mixer/recorder.
Boundary mics can be a great solution for certain situations, but are also open for other problems. Most importantly, the boundary has to be in the right place and be free of surface noises like rustling papers, coffee cups, etc. The mics are well isolated from vibration, but they are designed to pick up the sound waves on the boundary. Anything happening in contact with the boundary will be louder than voices near the boundary.
You can also use most small-diaphragm condenser mics as boundary mics if you need to. They don't look as clean on-camera as a real boundary mic, but with a small piece of rubber pad underneath and proper placement they work about as well as a real boundary mic.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 09:14 AM   #3
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I have a Sanken Cub 1 and use it way more than I ever thought I would. It's especially great for recording dialog in a car. While it performs like a boundary mic, it's technically not one, as you don't have to put it on a flat surface to work. No idea why. It's magic or something.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 09:18 AM   #4
 
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I love my Cub. It's indeed an amazing mic. It's not a lav, not a boundary mic, it sounds fat and warm in almost any location...

The heavier a boundary is, the better the contact is, which is part of how it works with the reflections. AT makes great boundaries, but they're not part of the AT series. Unfortunately, "good" isn't cheap. "Great" is pricey. But if you have a specific need for a specific job, it likely will pay for itself.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 09:28 AM   #5
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Thanks very much for everyone's replies. The uses I envisage will for on-location table settings. For example, on Saturday night I wanted one for use in a restaurant where a group of folks were seated at a table. What it will be connected to depends - for example, on Saturday, I probably would have used it in conjunction with a wireless transmitter (evolution G2) or connected up to a zoom recorder - I don't anticipate having it connected directly to my cam.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 07:28 AM   #6
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Depending on how tight the group is at the table the Cub 1 might work for you. I've used it like that before when the shot was really wide and we couldn't get the boom in there. If they're on opposite ends of the table I don't think one will cover it though.
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