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-   -   A good stereo mic for PDX10? AT825? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/21235-good-stereo-mic-pdx10-at825.html)

Ralf Strandell February 20th, 2004 01:43 AM

And no; I don't want surround sound because it is far too complicated to record (lacking skill and there are better things to do in life) and edit and the equipment costs *far* too much.

And the show seems to go on...

I also looked at the Shure VP88. It's a stereo mic (M-S with internal matrixing option and an internal shock mount!) that has a cardioid mid element. Thus no coloration of off-axis sounds. Excellent, right?


It is both heavy (417g) and expensive (can get it at $800) and so it fits best on a big camera and a big budget (well, that's relative, but for me it is *very* expensive). But comparison is always good.

So how would that one compare to the AT825?
I mean, how shoud I interpret the differences in the frequency responses?

Ralf Strandell February 20th, 2004 02:02 AM

"Where do you see that the M-S mics fall short?"

Do they? I have nothing against M-S mics.


I don't care what sort of technology has been used to achieve a certain sound quality. It is the result that matters.

The AT835ST is a shotgun microphone. Thus the mid element does not hear high frequencies from the sides but it does hear lower frequencies. That must affect the sound... Tell me if I'm wrong. Shotgun mics are a bit problematic, too, if the sound source is moving or if the mic is moving - because of the side slots - or so I have read.

I haven't compared any mics because I only have the default Sony ECM-NV1 and no other microphones. I have to travel 2 hours by trains to find shops that offer some alternatives to test. That would be a whole day of mic shopping...

I don't want to do any "learning by buying". That's why I'm discussing this matter here despite of my limited knowledge in the field of mics.

The Shupe VP88 is not a shotgun mic, but it is a M-S mic. I would be very interested in it if I could get it a bit cheaper (and not $800)...

Dave Largent February 20th, 2004 02:28 AM

It's been awhile since I was shopping for a
stereo mic, prior to getting the NT4, but I
vaguely recall that I looked into the Shure
and that it didn't seem like it was all that.
Perhaps something about high self noise,
but don't quote me.
I do recall hearing that the NT4 is the best
stereo mic under $1000.

Ralf Strandell February 20th, 2004 02:53 AM

AT825 vs. Rode NT4
I did take a look at Rode NT4. It's quite nice, too. However, when compared to the AT825 mic the Rode NT4

- has about the same price

- has the same polar response

- has a similar frequency response with the exception of high frequencies. The curve slopes down faster for NT4 than it does for AT825. My camera seems to have enough of "high frequency roll-off" (probably too much?), so I prefer the AT825 that has a flatter response there. Shouldn't I ? Again, tell me if I'm wrong. Note that I was trying to record high frequencies here, so the fact that NT4 reaches lower (20Hz vs. 30 Hz) is not that big a deal.

- weighs two times more (NT4=480g, AT825=240g)

So the AT825 seems to be a better deal

... unless there is some big difference in the quality of the sound that cannot be seen in the numbers and graphs...

(and why is it so light? Both Rode and Shure weigh 2 x more...)

Ralf Strandell February 20th, 2004 03:25 AM

Can anyone explain to me how to interpret the self noise and signal/noise ratio?

The AT825 has 70 dB S/N ratio at 1 kHz, wile Rode NT4 has 78 dB. Isn't it so that 10 dB means double the noise? Thus the AT825 would have almost twice as much hiss?

I will be recording quiet sounds mostly, closer to 20 dB than 120 dB... And I want those high freq. quiet sounds on tape if possible...

Does the "self noise" affect this somehow? Or the sensitivity?

Jay Massengill February 20th, 2004 07:52 AM

The NT-4 will definitely be quieter, and also more sensitive. That's how it gains an extra 8db of signal to noise ratio, by winning in both those categories. 6db is a doubling, so this is a significant advantage of the Rode.
It's true that the high frequency response of the Rode appears to roll off more significantly than the AT, but if this high frequency content is lost in the hiss with the AT or if your camera can't effectively record that high anyway, I'd go with the Rode.
The main complaint with the Rode would be the weight and shockmounting it to a camera. I have used an NT-3 in an AT8415 mount on a static boom. It's not super secure and I'd be very careful about active booming, but for horizontal mounting on a camera it should be fine.
Neither mic is that easy to wind protect unless you buy something specifically made for that mic. It can be done with off the shelf materials, but it takes some experimentation due to their larger wider heads.

Patrick Bower February 20th, 2004 12:36 PM

I've used the Rode NT4 mounted on my camera. In quality terms it's probably a good match for the audio spec of your camera. I use an AT8415 Shockmount, with a flash shoe adaptor. It does make the camera very top heavy, but it is usable. Rycote make a windgag that fits the NT4.
I chose the Rode, instead of the AT825 or AT835, because there were favourable reviews by musicians using it to record music. (Look at the Rode site).

Dave Largent February 20th, 2004 02:36 PM

I got the Rode because I wanted it for quiet
situations, where high sensitivity would be required.
It is *very* sensitive to wind noise. The foam windscreen
that it comes with is nowhere near effective in the wind.
Patrick, have you used that Rycote? Any help in
locating which windgag, such as model name/number?
Anyone had any luck making a homemade furry, or
is special acoustic material required?

Patrick Bower February 20th, 2004 04:43 PM

The Rycote windgag is called the "Mini windjammer for the Rode NT4". It cost me 35 UK pounds.
I have found it reasonable for ordinary outdoor use, ie. light wind. It is not effective if it is really windy.

Bryan Beasleigh February 21st, 2004 12:49 AM

Don't drive yourself nots over specs and other peoples opinions. Listen to the mics yourself.

Many people will cavalierly throw out a mic that cost 2 or 3 times the mics we started discussing.

I really don't think the term HiFi belongs in this discussion. HiFi is more reflective of the whole audio chain than just a microphone.

I for one know that Dave listens to mics with his ears rather than his budget or the microphone specification.

Dave Largent February 21st, 2004 02:27 AM

And what peaves me, Beas, is half the time people
throw out their opinions, they haven't even worked
with the mic they're talking about.
They've read somewhere on RAMPS, or
wherever, so it must be true.
Best off to listen to those who've actually
used a mic in question.
Ralf, specs really don't tell you how a mic *sounds*.
You need to listen for yourself before making a
final decision. More important in a mic choice than
specs is *character*. They all have their own.
And just like a leopard doesn't change its spots,
a mic brings its character everywhere it goes.

Ralf Strandell February 22nd, 2004 10:42 AM

At least now I know a little bit better what to listen to when trying mics (self noise and recording of quiet sounds, freq. response, spatial impact, sensitivity i.e. sensitivity to wind and handling, intelligibility of speech, overall feel...) so there is a better chance of a succesfull and informative comparison now.

When starting this thread I hardly knew about frequency response and believed that shotguns were allways the best choise (no comments on that, please - I've read a lot of those discussions).

I have learned that a stereo 2x cardioid mic might be better for my specific purposes (including stereo ambience for some effects...) and that in addition to the frequency and polar responses I also have to consider the signal to noise ratio and the overall "feel" of the sound... I really did not pay attention to S/N ratio before I read about it here.

I also know now that both the AT825 and Rode NT4 are much better mics that the Sony default and that NT4 is more sensitive and quiet and thus more capable of recording quiet sounds cleanly. The AT825, on the other hand, records high freq. at a higher relative volume, which could be usefull (with my poor camcorder) if it sounds good too and if those freqs. can be heard above the mic noise. Sensitivity might be bad, too, when mounted on a camera...

Some people like the stereo image that the NT4 gives. It has at least been used to record concerts in stereo. That does not tell anything about how natural stereo image it gives in a forest, though, where "ambient sounds" is a something completely different than in a concert hall. Isn't that true?

There seems to be no quick path to follow. I must test them all...

This is a good starting point for a mic listening tour. I have some assumptions that I can test and try to verify...

Without the good advice here I would probably have ordered a mic from a web shop without listening to it first. Now I think it is best to head for the shops next week and to try a few myself...

Marius Peterson February 23rd, 2004 04:44 AM

If You are not looking for a shotgun mic and You'll not put it on Your pdx10 but just on a stand near the camera... then Shure vp88 is also a very very good stereo mic. I'm using it myself for audio recordings. Tested already in very different situations. Early and liturgical music recordings, meetings and conferences and so on. It's working with phantom and also with batteries.

Ralf Strandell February 24th, 2004 01:07 AM

Is there any particular reason for not mounting the Shure on a camera (besides the fact that a camcorder is a relly poor place for a mic generally)?

Is it too big or too heavy for camera-mount use? Hard to find a shock mount that works? Or maybe just too sensitive? Money wasted?

- I hope to test all three in a week or two... If I manage to do that then I'll post my experiences -

Dave Largent May 24th, 2004 01:53 AM

So, Ralf, did you ever test them?

Ralf Strandell May 24th, 2004 03:45 AM

I haven't had a chance to test them yet. Working 5 days a week, shop open 5 days a week... But I'll definitely test when I have time to. I'll let you know then.

There is no hurry, as you can see. I still have two months time before a major event where I would need stereo...

Meanwhile, I have been thinking about the alternative of getting a separate 8-mic... That would be a quite flexible setup, but I'm a bit uncertain as to how well such setups would work on a camera. The figure eight mic might pick up too much camera noise (I don't know yet)... Maybe that can be fixed in M-S stereo matrixing in post, though.

Dual mic M-S stereo would be nice because for me:

- it might become cheaper, afterall (keeping the side mic and changing the mid mics)

- a dual mic M-S stereo setup would improve the mono quality too (getting a new mono mic...) I have to get a better shotgun and a cardioid or stereo anyway.

- it would also enable stereo recording with at least some kind of control over the width of the stereo image (better than with fixed X/Y stereo). Note: speaking of stereo image width to avoid the bad Z-word ;)

- it would be automatically mono-compatible.

- it would be possible to add a controlled amount of stereo ambience to situations where a shotgun is needed - or keep it strictly directional and mono - and a better stereo localization would be achieved with a cardioid mic.

This would be a three mic setup. A shotgun, a cardioid and 8-mic... A bit expensive, but cheaper than buying an X/Y mic that might not quite do the job...

Oh, It'll be a long listening session, when I have time for it...

Patrick Bower May 24th, 2004 10:56 AM

Unfortunately separate figure of 8 microphones, e.g Ambient Emesser, Sennheiser MK30, Schoeps MK8, are expensive.
But then you never need to upgrade a top quality mic.

The Schoeps range is modular so you could buy 2 power modules, and 3 capsules (figure of 8, cardioid and hypercardioid).

Alternatively, you might be able to compromise with just the MK8 and MK41 (hypercardioid). Instead of a shotgun use the MK41, Instead of a cardioid use the MK41 combined with the MK8. This will given you a wider polar pattern than a mono cardioid.

The Schoeps microphones are very light. I have used them in a stereo pair mounted my DVX100 in an Audio Technica AT8415 shockmount.


Bryan Beasleigh May 24th, 2004 12:46 PM

I've been thinking of getting another Schoeps preamp and the figure8 capsule. manfred Klemme at K Tek makes a piggyback mic mount so the MK4 or 41 can be mounted with the fig8 in the same standard rycote windshield.

Patrick Bower May 24th, 2004 01:26 PM

Definitely don't use the Rycote MS mounting clips in a mono Rycote windshield. You have to use very short rubber bands and the whole suspension becomes too stiff.

Bryan Beasleigh May 24th, 2004 02:31 PM

I very clearly posted that I won't be using rycote shock mounts. K-tek have a piggy back arrangement much the same as the Emesser by Ambient . I have 2 K-Tek mounts and they're great. Have a look at the standard mounts. Any of them can be adapted for any blimp system.http://www.mklemme.com/pole/home.html

On the Schoeps i'm using the very soft mounts that were developed for the Sanken CS-1. Even with the Baby Ball Gag it works great

Dan Melius May 24th, 2004 06:59 PM

Which Stereo is best for concerts?
So which one of these stereo microphones would be best for recording only concerts on a PD170. Whichever microphone I choose I will not be using it on the camera but instead will be using it on a microphone stand placed directly in front of the group. If I go stereo instead of two mono 81's microphones, I think I will be choosing between the AT825, Shure VP88 or the Rode NT-4. I am a bit concerned at the drop in signal to noise between the mono 81's and the VP88's. Which of these three Cardioid non shotgun mikes would give me the best results on my camera. It really is not of any concern to me that the Shure VP88 is twice as much as the Rode NT-4 if it would be best for my situation. I am also concerned with losing the highs if I chose the Rode NT-4. I sure wish I had the selection of microphones to choose from in the stereo department as I do when choosing mono cardioid's.

Also, would I need an amplifier with these microphones in order to cut down the gain in the PD170 to the suggested limit of 40 to 50 percent.

Dave Largent May 24th, 2004 07:10 PM

Here'a a link to a comparison of some stereo mics.
AT825, NT4, a Sennheiser XY (may have been discontinued), and some others. Includes a comparison to a pricey Schoeps mic. It's a bit long, but some may find it interesting. It also goes into stereo recording theory and explains different recording techniques.


And here's that Schoeps.


George Ellis May 25th, 2004 06:02 AM

Maybe next week - 835ST
I only have one sample so far on the 835ST and it has some pop in it because I was rushed in setup and had the XLR connector grounding on my tripod until I figured out what it was.

This weekend, I will be able to do another recording of Spirit from JSU, the DCI Division I drum and bugle corps. I don't have a site to host it from, but I should be able to forward it to someone to listen to.

One of the kids in Spirit has three 128kbps mp3s I did from WAV extracted out of an AVI (Liquid Edition -> Creative WaveLab -> MusicMatch). I do not know his bandwidth and he is at camp at the moment, so please be kind...


This was in a room with a tile floor. The Doctor Beat is in at least one of the recordings. I forget (anything that says mp3 is blocked by our firewall, so I cannot check) if these were the one's that MusicMatch converted to mono or not (I fixed it later.)

I am using a VX2100 with a Beachtec DX8.

Dan Melius May 25th, 2004 03:56 PM

Thanks for the links Dave, I am conviced now to go with a Rode NT-4.

I am also convinced to go with a DAT recorder instead of buying a high quality secondary camera.

Any suggestions on a good DAT machine that will take the XLR connection from the NT-4 and work well with a PD170 and will also not run me 10,000 dollars.

Dave Largent May 26th, 2004 10:20 PM

The NT4 comes with a 1/8" miniplug cable.
Were you planning on mounting the NT4 on a mic stand?

Dave Largent May 27th, 2004 02:04 AM

You know, I've been thinking about getting an AT825,
but I worry that I'm not going to be happy with it,
especially when I read posts like the one I've linked.
See, I already have the NT4, which can sound quite good,
and if the AT825 is a big step down .... I do like that it
shows good spacial locationing, which is probably due to
the 110 degree capsule placement.
Anyone here used both, who might step forward with their
A couple things I like about the AT are that it's easier to
camera mount, and it's cheaper. The NT4 is not light in
weight, and it's not small. I don't think any of those
rubber band shock mounts would hold it, especially if the
cam is tilted downward.
I have heard it said that the Rode is the best stereo mic
under $1000!


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