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Old September 5th, 2011, 06:37 AM   #1
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Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

Since I don't see it mentioned elsewhere thought I'd mention I now have the Nikon ME-1 mic attached to my SD900 and the results are pretty good.

Unfortunately there's not much documentation on the mic, but I can tell you it is compatible with the SD900 which provides the needed "plug-in power" on the mic jack.

It's frequency response is rated on paper at 70Hz - 16kHz which is not stellar, but somewhat reasonable when you consider its size and the fact you will never ever have to worry about batteries for the mic.

On paper the SNR is ~60dB - to my ear there is no audible hiss.

It's also much more sensitive than the on-board mic and more directional meaning that I've not (yet) heard the on-board fan. I run the audio at manual -18dB with AGC as a crude limiter and get good dynamic range.

The stereo imaging is pretty good too, though I'm not sure if it's XY or MS - again, lack of documentation from Nikon.

I was considering the Rode Stereo Video Mic also, on paper that mic does true 20Hz - 20kHz and really low self noise of 16dB (some XLR mics have elements rated at 22dB self noise) - but ultimately its size and battery management meant I took a somewhat blind punt on the Nikon.

I've yet to subject the Nikon to the rigours of a "proper" job, but so far I'm very pleased with it.

If you're looking for a low-maintenance discreet external stereo mic for your cam, it's probably worth putting on your shortlist (assuming your cam supplies the needed plug-in power on the mic jack).
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Old September 5th, 2011, 07:02 AM   #2
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Re: Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

Hi Mike,

I might be in the market for a mic for my TM900. I really like the idea of not having to worry about batteries. Care to share what it cost and where you bought it??

Thanks,
Ian
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Old September 5th, 2011, 07:54 AM   #3
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Re: Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

Mike,

This is GOOD information. When I saw that Nikon ME-1 mic announced I tried very hard to find details related to it working on the Panasonic 900 series or not but could not get enough info from the TM900 handbook to convince myself it was worth purchasing it (the plug in power info in the Specs section was a bit too vague for my liking!)....I even outlined my deliberations about it in that super long TM900 users thread (page 6). [Its such a long thread not surprised you never found it!]

So in the end I went with the Rode VMP and I'm generally very pleased with the results.

I own the Rode Stereo VM and the original Rode VM too. Both are very large on my TM900. The original VM being way too long/makes an appearance in most shots if just mounted on the accessory shoe! The Stereo VM is "doable" (and stays out of shot even on full wide) and provides lovely open sound. However, it is a heavy mic due to its all-metal case construction so (unless you use a rig) it makes the featherlight, small TM900, SD900 etc. a bit difficult to do hand-held stuff with as it become very top heavy (but its not impossible - I have done it). Works great on a tripod though.

Good to read that there is now another stereo mic option for the 900s. Thanks for sharing.
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Old September 5th, 2011, 08:41 AM   #4
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Re: Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Cope View Post
Hi Mike,

I might be in the market for a mic for my TM900. I really like the idea of not having to worry about batteries. Care to share what it cost and where you bought it??

Thanks,
Ian
I'm in the UK. I got mine from Carmarthen Cameras' eBay store, 115 all inc.
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Old September 5th, 2011, 08:49 AM   #5
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Re: Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

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Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
Mike,

This is GOOD information. When I saw that Nikon ME-1 mic announced I tried very hard to find details related to it working on the Panasonic 900 series or not but could not get enough info from the TM900 handbook to convince myself it was worth purchasing it (the plug in power info in the Specs section was a bit too vague for my liking!)....I even outlined my deliberations about it in that super long TM900 users thread (page 6). [Its such a long thread not surprised you never found it!].
I did check the manual to be as sure as possible that the cam supplied the power, then checked out some audio samples from YouTube and Vimeo before going for it.

I can't find the clip now (typical!), but the one that sold me on it finally was a clip of some running water (stream exterior, not a tap) and the camera/mic was rotated 360 degrees so the off-axis (rear) rejection was very apparent (compared to the SD900 which seems very omni-directional).

Pretty sure I had read through the thread you reference and found it very useful - though I was adamant I must record in stereo for various reasons.

UPDATE: here is the clip demonstrating the off-axis rejection (exterior running water)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enmZuRUHKfM
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Last edited by Mike Peter Reed; September 5th, 2011 at 08:57 AM. Reason: found the clip
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Old September 5th, 2011, 08:56 AM   #6
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Re: Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

Cheers Mike.

This is what it has in the TM900's handbook. On page 163 it mentions the Mic Input, " -70dBV (Mic sensitivity -50dB equivalent, 0dB=1 V/Pa, 1 kHz)" and then on page 13 it states, "A compatible plug-in powered microphone can be used as an external microphone".

The description of that stream clip sounds impressive. Maybe we can look forward to seeing/hearing your own examples of this mic in action when you eventually get time to upload something?
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Old September 5th, 2011, 05:33 PM   #7
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Re: Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

Thanks Mike. I managed to source 1 from the US for $160 to my door.
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Old September 6th, 2011, 10:33 AM   #8
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Re: Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Wilkinson View Post
Maybe we can look forward to seeing/hearing your own examples of this mic in action when you eventually get time to upload something?
Here's my quickly thrown together demo (still being put through the YouTube mangle as I write so might want to wait a couple of hours before reviewing)

Nikon ME-1 test on Panasonic SD900 - YouTube
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Old September 6th, 2011, 11:11 AM   #9
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Re: Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

I see your kitchen is as tidy as ours gets - when my wife is away! You can hear the AGC pump up in the quiet bits but all in all pretty good sound I think - good directionality (if that is a word). Love the ending - gave the video a 'Like' too! And thanks.
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Old September 10th, 2011, 03:37 AM   #10
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Re: Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

:)

Here it is being used outside with its standard foam windshield, on a still day, with some dialogue -

Robo Mow - YouTube
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Old October 17th, 2011, 02:38 AM   #11
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Re: Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

Even though it was a still day the wind noise crept in right through the clip. I guess a little windshield basket could be made to keep some still air on the outside of the supplied foam cover?

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Old October 17th, 2011, 07:03 AM   #12
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Re: Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

I'm actually going to contact Windcutter and see if they will make a furry for this mic. Will let you know how I go.
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Old October 17th, 2011, 08:02 AM   #13
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Re: Panasonic SD900 + Nikon ME-1 = pretty good stereo sound

Although I have not yet tested it "in anger", I have since got myself a 5cm Rycote miniscreen. Due to the somewhat odd position of the ME-1 cabling at the "chin" of the mic, I had to also slice a groove into the miniscreen to get a snug fit. There's also a slip-on hairy windjammer available for the miniscreen which would give maximum (Rycote) wind protection on such a small shotgun.

It does bulk out the appearance of the mic somewhat and is less discreet.

[Off Topic]Looking at the iPhone 4S - and knowing Thomlison Holman recently joined Apple - I'm hoping the iPhone 5 may give a half decent 1080P and improved sound recording. Would be useful in some situations requiring discretion and good sync sound.[/Off Topic]
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