Mic questions Audio Technica 825 vs Sennheiser MKE 300 at DVinfo.net

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Old January 17th, 2004, 08:26 PM   #1
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Mic questions Audio Technica 825 vs Sennheiser MKE 300

I have a GL-2 with the MA-300 XLR adapter. I decided to buy an Audio Technica
AT-825 Stereo omni directional mic. I also have the Sennheiser MKE 300 mono shotgun which plugs into the mini jack. I taped some marching bands in parades over the Christmas holidays, with both mics attached to camera and cannot figure out why the sound on the stereo $300 Audio Technica sounds like crap in comparison to the $170 Sennheiser. The Audio Technica sounds like your listening to everything through a can whereas the mono shotgun Sennheiser sounded clearer with more treble. I even turned off the bass roll off on the Audio Technica and it still sounds the same. Anybody else own one of these combinations that can help?
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Old January 18th, 2004, 07:01 AM   #2
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I have both mics also, use the AT-825 for recording band concerts mainly on stage. Use the MKE300 on camcorder when I need a moderate cost shotgun.

The AT-825 is a stereo mic, with each channel having a cardoid response about 45 degrees off center. It is a much better mic than the MKE300 for music, and can deal with higher sound levels without excessive distortion. It has a flatter frequency response too. But as a cardoid mic, it is not as directive as the mono MKE300, and thus more susceptable to picking up unwanted sound; e.g., echos and crowd noise.

Baring a damaged mic the problem is either field conditions, or something induced by how the mic was connected.

Precisely how did you connect it to the GL2? Were you using the MKE300 at the same time or for separate recordings? How are you listening to the sound to judge it?
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Old January 18th, 2004, 10:16 PM   #3
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Don,
I used each mic on a separate shoot but both were marching band recordings. I connected the AT-825 using the MA-300 XLR adapter and the 10 foot xlr cable that came with the mic. I've since replaced this unmanageable cable with a 1 foot patch cable. The MKE300 I plugged directly into the mini jack on the GL-2. I'm comparing the sound I hear coming out of my TV when I play the tapes back individually. I even monitored the AT-825 with earphones while recording and manually worked the sound level dials. The sound of the MKE300 is clearer and seemed to pickup music from even further away than the AT-825. I know the MKE300 has a narrow shotgun pattern but it seems to be more sensitive to sounds than the AT-825 and have more treble. The AT-825 sounds muffled.
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Old January 18th, 2004, 10:30 PM   #4
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Don,
I also tried an experiment in recording music played on a stereo system with two speakers and used each mic to record the music from the same distance. I used earphones for both recordings and manually controled the audio levels for each mic each time. I noticed right away that I had to turn up the recording levels on the AT-825 wired with the XLRs through the MA-300 to almost max to get the level which sounded good. Now when I switched to the MKE300 plugged into the mini jack I had to back down quite a bit on the one channel level dial to make the sound not spike over the 12 level on the scale. I'm not sure if this proves anything or not but I know the MKE300 seems more sensitive and again even clearer than the AT-825. I just don't think this should be right especially for recording music and the price.
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Old January 19th, 2004, 09:04 PM   #5
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The MKE300 is more sensitive than the AT-825. Per the mfgr's published specs it has about 10 dB higher output for the same sound level. But it reaches 1% distortion at 116 dB SPL. (The AT-825 reaches 1% at 126 dB SPL)

Looking at the frequency response curves, the MKE300 has a bit of a low frequency peak around 250 Hz and a sharp roll off for frequencies below about 200 Hz an down ~10 dB at 150 Hz. At the flat setting the AT-825 has no roll off down to about 30 Hz.

Also, the MKE300 has a ~ 5dB high frequency peak that starts around 3 kHz and peaks around 8 kHz. The AT-825 does not exhibit this marked peak either.

The higher output and high frequency peak could make the MKE300 sound "brighter."

Also, if the AT-825 playback is converted to mono (as is potentially the case with TV playback it could sound poor due to left/right audio cancellation effects.

Another possibility issue could be a weak battery in the AT-825. Or you could have a defective AT-825.

Were the recording made from in the middle of the audience or was the mic on the edge of the field?

As a suggestion, I believe it is OK to let the sound peak close to 0 on the meter.

If interested I could email to you an excerpt of a Marching Band recorded (to MiniDisc) using an AT-825 as a comparison.
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