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-   -   Don't get a Shure SM86... (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/21119-dont-get-shure-sm86.html)

Matt Gettemeier February 9th, 2004 11:55 PM

Don't get a Shure SM86...
Hey gang... I tried and tried to get some input on this mic... but I never got any response except for one from somebody who said they were familiar with the mic and then proceeded to say NOTHING about it. Hmm, that's always helpful...

Anyway, curiousity got the best of me... along with a buddy of mine from the music store.

As best I can tell this mic is mainly for CLOSE vocals... did I say CLOSE? Well I meant CLOSE if I didn't say it.

Seriously I think it will be good for handheld VO within 2" proximity but that can be a specialty requirement for some people. I figured I could use it from a couple FEET away and still get usable sound... but it sounds distant quickly beyond a foot.

For some users I think the isolation the mic provides will be a great thing. If you need VO and you don't have a REALLY quiet place this will isolate your VO completely from the room. Also it has almost zero handling noise... about as low as the m58 I had.

So if you need a mic that will completely isolate you from the environment then maybe this is your boy. If you wanted an omni handheld to record you and the ambience of an area simultaneously then this 'aint your boy.

My final thoughts as I'm typing is I may keep it and use channel 1 with my on-cam omni/cardioid and then mix that with channel 2 and I could then perfectly choose how much of the SM86 I wanted to pipe into the mix.

If I don't decide to do that then you guys will have dibs on another freakin' bargain on another brand new mic from your uncle Matty... If I do sell then it'll be $149 shipped... I'm only saying this 'cause if you're reading this and you wanted to buy one gimme' a day to decide.

Aaron Koolen February 10th, 2004 03:05 AM

Matt, I mean this in the nicest possible way, but I think you need to go to Microphones Anonymous..... You sure do buy a lot of mics! ;)


Matt Gettemeier February 10th, 2004 07:09 AM

Aarron, yeah... you're right about that. I think Beas has got me beat though... but not by too much.

I've been into electronics forever and after so many years you develop relationships and find ways to get things cheaper then everybody else... so that makes experimenting even more tempting.

I sold an NT3 for just over a hundred a month ago... brand new... If I don't decide to keep this mic I can return it or I can let one of you guys have it for my cost... $139 plus $10 shipping...

Point is? It doesn't really cost me anything to simply TRY mics...

My current quest is for the ultimate handheld that works equally well as a newsmic...

I'm looking for the perfect combo of isolation, but not too much... sensitivity, but not too much... ruggedness, and comletely uncolored sound. Seem like a lot to ask for?

I liked the sound of the NT3 but the handling noise is something serious to manage... i.e. NOT a newsmic.

The Shure seems to sound really uncolored compared to the other handheld mics I've played with... really the only thing I'm not sold on yet is the isolation/close proximity that I need to use the mic...

The guy I get most mics from will let me return anything... so if I decide I like it and keep it, fine. If I return it, no cost. If I sell it to you guys, no cost... so why not?

I can GUARANTEE you I'll be a source of dirt cheap mics for you guys, probably from now on.

Douglas Spotted Eagle February 10th, 2004 07:59 AM

The 86 is designed as a stage mic, it's a great on-camera mic, but by on camera, I mean for the talent to be holding. That's what it's designed for. Supposedly a nice sounding mic, with a lot hotter output than a 58,.(it's a condenser as you know) But no stick mic is going to be good as a camera mount mic, they are aimed at the handheld market. Proximity on that mic is likely 3" to be of real value, and it's designed for high SPL areas to prevent feedback in a live setting.
While I've never worked with at length, I see them on a lot of stages we've played. I guess I should have said more when you asked.

Aaron Koolen February 10th, 2004 12:59 PM

Matt, keep us informed of your discoveries re the handleheld/news mic. I am going to be embarking on a video project which will no doubt have some vox pops in it and so a good handheld mic might be in order. That or a boomop and setup.


Matt Gettemeier February 10th, 2004 02:26 PM

Thanks guys. DSE I figured a little "prod" would get you to say something more about the sm86... lol, I hope you don't mind... I can tell you're thick skinned and from my posts you'll notice that I'm a friendly guy with a touch of sarcasm/humor as needed.

Yeah I got the sm86 to be a handheld mic... to serve in the role of a newsmic... as you may tell from Aarron's comments I'm no stranger to mics... I have 8 or so of 'em even right now! All kinds. I rotate stock from that lot.

Currently my quest is for the "ideal" handheld mic, as stated above. My definition of "ideal" is also stated above.

When I said I'd hoped the sm86 would pickup sound from a few feet away, I didn't mean from the talent... I was hoping that the mic would capture just a touch of the environment... like an omni newsmic does.

Aww gee, I'll just restate it in case anybody can point me to the Holy Grail... I want a durable stick mic that has minimal coloration of sound and good usable proximity effect. I want it to mostly isolate the speaker but also it should capture a reduced sound of the surrounding area.

At this point the front runner is the AKG D230... but I was hoping to get a mic that's even more "studio" sounding with a little more isolation then that... I want a double-duty newsmic/VO mic with a preference towards location VO work.

If the sm86 is at one end and the d230 is at the other... what's in the center?

Brian T. Young February 10th, 2004 03:15 PM

hey matt - i know this comes in late as i missed the original thread, but yeah - thats a GREAT mic in noisy rooms when the talent works the mic really close. we used the sm86 at cnn on election nights on the riser when there was so much noise in the room that i couldn't hear the talent 4 feet away. just remember, in that sort of situation, the talent does NOT have to yell. just speak normally and it'll pick up - but you'll hardly notice the room noise.
good luck!

Matt Gettemeier February 10th, 2004 03:29 PM

Thanks Brian... maybe I'll just keep it then? I hate collecting mics, but I'd have to agree that this one fits a specialized use... so maybe I'll make space for it.

If somebody said, "me! me! me!... I want it!" then I may have shipped it out... but your post confirms my best reason for keeping it. What you just said is exactly the use/situation I expected this thing would be good for.

I like the sound/sensitivity/isolation of the NT3, but the handling noise was the deal-breaker.

I like the sound/sesitivity/low handling noise of the D230, but the lack of isolation/condenser character has kept me from trying it, SO FAR.

I like the sound/isolation/low handling noise of the sm86, but the sensitivity is a bummer 'cause it limits the usable range of the mic to whoever is holding it.

So compromises all around! Rather then get a gaggle of stick mics I guess I'll just hang with this one and get a d230 with the next paycheck... that's gonna' have to cover it.

Dave Largent February 13th, 2004 12:07 AM

Hi Matt,
Just to let you know, the D230 is a bad choice to
use around music, for example, when music
would be in the background. This one was a big
surprise for me. Music comes out flat and muffled.
Guess in tuning it for voice, compromises were

Matt Gettemeier February 13th, 2004 10:45 AM

Well, for better or worse I returned the sm86 since none of you guys asked for it.

Brian, I appreciated the tip about the sm86, but I kept asking myself how likely it would be for me to be in that sort of situation. For my kind of shooting it's not too likely. In that use I assume the mic still needs to be within 3" of the speaker's mouth? With the dvx it didn't matter how much I pumped up the volume... the sm86 still needed to be almost ON the mouth. This would be my mic of choice if I was a reporter and I was missing a front tooth.

The only other issue is that I wanted a stick mic to pop on the end of a Lectro plug-on and the sm86 isn't a good mic for that use... not on my Lectro anyway.

I don't know what's involved aside from just sensitivity, but in my experience, some mics definitely adapt better to wireless use then others.

The sm86 was flattened by the Lectro and there was "pumping" which I don't usually notice...

I DID like the sound of that mic however. It is crisp and accurate. My voice sounded like me, but nothing more. The sm86 isn't a mic you turn to for an improvement... it's just an accurate mic.

So if you are reading this and YOU are a person searching for info on this mic then I can say I'd recommend it for it's sound, but only if you don't mind it being fully in the face of the subject you're shooting.

Douglas Spotted Eagle February 13th, 2004 08:56 PM

The reason you are hearing the pumping with the Lectro is that the output of the mic is hot enough that it's hitting the dynamics controller built into the transmitter. It's more or less necessary in order to transmit correctly, without blowing the inputs to the receiver. Most of the better wireless units have this. You can reduce the input to the Lectro inside the transmitter. I have to regularly change this around with various mics. It's irritating because it requires a small screwdriver that my Swiss Army knife won't suffice for.

Matt Gettemeier February 13th, 2004 10:14 PM

DSE, the crazy thing about it is that I don't experience the pumping with either an me66 or even with a Rode nt1000... Laughing? You should be! Who in their right mind tries to use a full-on studio mic with a plug-on transmitter?

Well I never said I was IN my right mind.

Ok, seriously... there is a SLIGHT pumping with the nt1000, but the me66 is clean as a whistle.

I don't know what exactly the transmitter didn't like about the sm86... I theorize that it went from nothing to a hot transient with just a little distance or a little vocal ooomph. I don't know exactly, but the Lectro don't like it. Is that proper english? It dough-nuh like it one-uh bit.

If nothing else, all my mic madness is really giving me a good handle of what mics do what, and what don't.

Dave Largent February 14th, 2004 01:22 PM

Just curious, Matt, what mic's do you own?

Matt Gettemeier February 14th, 2004 04:10 PM

Dave, I've really "rifled" through a lot of mics over this winter.

When you (and Beas) started really opening our (my) ears to the differences in mics... I went nuts.

Do you remember the thread where I'd asked if you heard the m58 and you said, "bad news". Well I truly went off the deep end of mic experimentation as of THAT very day.

At the time I mentioned that my mic bag consisted of:
A cheap Radio Shack lav, a Lectro m150 lav, 3 Tram Tr50 lavs of various configurations (xlr, xlr/ta5f, ta5f), Beyerdynamic m58, Sennheiser me66/k6, mke2-RD, AT atr55 (had it for years)... I also had the Softies, mounts, and windscreens to use all of it.

Over the last two months I've had:
Rode NTK tube mic and tube pre, Rode Nt3, Rode Nt2000, AT 4073a, and a Shure sm86.

Right now my mic bag consists of:
(2) Rode Nt1000 mics, (2) Oktava mk012 mics with cardioid and hyper cap, (3) Tram Tr50 lavs (for now, one's for sale), and a Sennheiser mke2-Red Dot lav...

So far I haven't seen much point in keeping the other stuff. As of now I've got my mic kit pretty honed down to the minimum of useful gear.

I hope/plan to get a 416 or similar later this year, but as I've sold the mics I had I've used that cash to upgrade support gear... I've always supported mics well, but the Oktavas can do the job of a shotgun if you put 'em in a BBG and Jammer. So that turns a relatively cheap little mic into a multi-tasking wonder. An Oktava hyper works great as a VO, indoor boom, outdoor boom, and on-cam... one mic doing 4 jobs well. All the mounts and crap needed to do this stuff costs cash though, so I'm a couple mics under my "ideal" selection for now. (newsmic and GREAT short shotgun)

Douglas Spotted Eagle February 14th, 2004 04:22 PM

Matt, there is nothing wrong with going a little 'mic crazy' and using studio mikes for video. In fact, this has LONG been a pet peeve of mine. I've always said that "Audio is 70% of what the audience sees" yet it's always the last thing videographers consider. Until Lucas came along, audio was barely a consideration. Now people are finally figuring it out.
Having a good assortment of mics is great. Our studio has over 100 mics in the selection, ranging from BK to Neumann to AT to AKG to Audix to hell...it's a long list. But I've got my faves, and with the right preamp, you can make most anything work and sound great.

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