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Old July 12th, 2007, 10:15 PM   #1
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Need your opinions please

Hi all:

I am in the process of updating this article I wrote in 2001 http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage...tgun_mics.html
I am planning on reviewing and testing about 8-10 new shotgun/hypercardioid mics and I am planning on also testing/reviewing wired lavaliere microphones.

The tests will be geared toward interviews, narrative and VO usage for film/video. They will be practical, hands-on tests, not lab testing and test bench measurements.

For the the shotgun/hypercardioids, I am planning on the following...

1. Oktava MK-012
2. Sennheiser MKH-50
3. Sennheiser MKH-60
4. Sanken CS-1
5. Sanken CS-3e
6. Beyerdynamic MC836
7. Audio-Technica AT-4073a
8. Audio-Technica AT-875r
9. Schoeps CMC6/MK41g
10. Schoeps CMIT 5U

Any other shotguns/hyper/supers I am missing? In comparison to the original article, which was geared toward cheap shotguns, this iteration is intended to be a definitive shotgun/hyper primer for camera operators, DPs and producers. It won't be geared toward sound mixers as most of them already know what to use and why.

Any suggestions for items you would like to know about/see/hear in this article?

As far as the lavalieres...

1. Tram TR50b
2. Countryman B6
3. Sanken COS-11
4. Sony ECM-77B
5. PSC Millimic
6. DPA DPA-4063

Will only be testing wired versions of the mics, no wireless systems.

Your suggestions, requests and input are much appreciated.

Dan
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Old July 13th, 2007, 06:39 AM   #2
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A MKH-70 might have its uses, as would Neumann KMR81 and 82 (I didn't realise until recently that Neumann is also part of the Sennheiser stable). The KMR81 is a short shotgun so should probably be on your list.

Be sure to post sample wave files!
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Old July 13th, 2007, 11:53 AM   #3
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i'm partial to the sennheiser mke-2 lav. you should also test the sennheiser mkh-416 p48, an industry standard...
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Old July 13th, 2007, 11:57 AM   #4
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Wow Dan, I remember reading your article way back when I was first getting into this stuff. It was really helpful, and was the main reason we bought the K6 system. I think it's too bad the way people seem to diss the ME66 these days. I still think it's an underappreciated system, although it certainly has its limitations. Anxious to see how the new breed of mics measure up in your tests. As far as the lavs, I think you should throw the AT899 in there.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 01:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Brockett View Post
Hi all:
...Your suggestions, requests and input are much appreciated.

Dan
Definitely include the Neuman shotguns and the Sennheiser MKH-416.

For lavs... add a Audio Technica AT898, Voice Technologies VT500, Countryman B3, and maybe a AKG C417 .
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Old July 13th, 2007, 03:26 PM   #6
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Sounds like a cool test.

1- What tests will you run on the mics?

2- An idea... I think it would be very interesting if you released the results as a blind test, so that we don't know which mic is which. It would be interesting to see how the mics stack up, without people's perception being influenced by price, brand, or microphone type.

It might also answer some questions like... can a cheap hyper like the Oktava do as good a job as the Schoeps? Can a "cheap" shotgun like the AT4073 do as good a job as the big guns? Are there situations where the cheaper stuff falls short?

3- The other thing I'd be interested in is how the hypers stack up against the shotguns for on-camera use. IME, the ME-66 can sound pretty bad indoors sometimes (I prefer the on-board mic on the DVX100 in some cases).

4- It may be good to keep the # of mics down, and to test what people are most interested in. For example, perhaps switch the MKH60 with the 416.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 10:00 PM   #7
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It would be pretty awesome if you made some MP3 or wav files of your tests and provided those.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 10:00 PM   #8
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What about including the Audio-Technica AT4053a?
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Old July 14th, 2007, 07:47 AM   #9
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I also would like to see the Sennheiser MKH-70 included in the test.
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Old July 15th, 2007, 09:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Peter Reed View Post
A MKH-70 might have its uses, as would Neumann KMR81 and 82 (I didn't realise until recently that Neumann is also part of the Sennheiser stable). The KMR81 is a short shotgun so should probably be on your list.

Be sure to post sample wave files!
Hi Mike:

Thanks for your input. I will probably avoid long shotguns on this go around as they are, IMHO, a specialized tool, only usable in certain very specific situations. I think long shotguns would warrant their own separate article at some point.

The short Neumann would be a good idea, I will see if I can get my hands on one for the review.

Thanks!

Dan
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Old July 15th, 2007, 09:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Bellotte View Post
i'm partial to the sennheiser mke-2 lav. you should also test the sennheiser mkh-416 p48, an industry standard...
Hi Greg:

Doesn't everyone know what the 416 sounds like by now? Well, I guess I will ask Sennheiser to send one along. I feel that it was good in it's day but I have always prefered the MKH-60 over it. If they will send me one, I will include it.

Good suggestion on the Sennheiser lav.

Best,

Dan
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Old July 15th, 2007, 09:51 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jim Boda View Post
Definitely include the Neuman shotguns and the Sennheiser MKH-416.

For lavs... add a Audio Technica AT898, Voice Technologies VT500, Countryman B3, and maybe a AKG C417 .
Hi Jim:

I am trying to get Sennheiser to loan me a 416. If they will, it will be included.

I will only review the short Neumann as I feel that long guns like the MKH-70 and KMR82 deserve their own review and tests. I don't think the average audience for this article would use a long gun very often, I know I don't. I have the ME-67 and an MKH-70 and I am thinking about selling them because I so rarely use them. Guess it depends on what kind of stuff you shoot but for me, long guns are the exception. I use hypercardioids and super cardioids most of the time.

Voice Technologies? Is that something new? I have never heard of it? Has anyone else in this thread ever heard of and or used it?

I guess I should clarify, I don't want to review every short gun, hyper and super and lav on the market, just the most popular and well known. I don't know any pros in LA using the AT lavs, for instance. A few that use the Sony ECM-77 and most I know use the Countrymans, Trams, Millimics and Sankens.

I think if I review 15-20 shotguns and 10-20 lavs, this review will take me about a year to do rather than hopefully completing it in August.

Goos suggestions though, I will think them over.

Dan
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Old July 15th, 2007, 10:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Glenn Chan View Post
Sounds like a cool test.

1- What tests will you run on the mics?
Mostly practical ones, I was thinking interview, narrative scene and possibly location VO. I will include on axis and off-axis samples. I do not plan on ANY bench or test tone type of testing, the audience for the article are not engineers or ultra techno sound guys, the main audience on Ken's board are videographers, filmmakers, producers and beginning sound mixers.

2- An idea... I think it would be very interesting if you released the results as a blind test, so that we don't know which mic is which. It would be interesting to see how the mics stack up, without people's perception being influenced by price, brand, or microphone type.
Could be interesting but also confusing as heck to organize and to present to the audience for the article.

I may do this as an "extra" at the end of the article, I like the idea. I fully expect some of the very inexpensive mics to sound as good or better to a lot of people as the most expensive mics. Recording levels are easy to manipulate a listener to picking the slightly louder signal, regardless of sound "quality" so I am trying very carefully to match relative levels in the samples.

It might also answer some questions like... can a cheap hyper like the Oktava do as good a job as the Schoeps? Can a "cheap" shotgun like the AT4073 do as good a job as the big guns? Are there situations where the cheaper stuff falls short?
Yes, great suggestions!

3- The other thing I'd be interested in is how the hypers stack up against the shotguns for on-camera use. IME, the ME-66 can sound pretty bad indoors sometimes (I prefer the on-board mic on the DVX100 in some cases).
Since I HIGHLY discourage the use of mics on-camera, it will be difficult for me to care about this parameter. The only thing on-camera mics are good for is ambient and as far as I am concerned, the cheap, stock on-camera mics are fine for ambient.

4- It may be good to keep the # of mics down, and to test what people are most interested in. For example, perhaps switch the MKH60 with the 416.
Agreed.

But I would be surprised if more people are interested in the 416, although that might be possible. Would be a shame as the MKH-60 has always sounded considerably quieter and better to me, I used to own a 416 and switched to the MKH-60 when it came out.

Thanks for your input!

Dan
Thanks for your time to respond too!
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Old July 15th, 2007, 10:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Davidson View Post
It would be pretty awesome if you made some MP3 or wav files of your tests and provided those.
Will do!

Dan
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Old July 15th, 2007, 10:05 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski View Post
What about including the Audio-Technica AT4053a?
Would you and a number of readers rather see this than the 4073a? I think the 4073 is a lot more popular than this one, hence my choice, plus the new super budget 875a.

Convince me otherwise, I can't review three ATs.

Best,

Dan
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