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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 12th, 2004 03:12 AM

A good stereo mic for PDX10? AT825?
I'm looking for a really good *stereo* microphone to be used on my PDX10.

The microphone should be suited at least for

1) outdoor use including recording of the sounds of nature - waves, birds, grashoppers (high frequency), thunder (low frequency), talk and so on. It can get windy. It can get humid (sea, fog, rain) but obviously I'll try to keep the microphone as dry as possible.

2) indoor use for documentary work (talk, occasional music etc).


- Would the Audio-Technica AT825 stereo field recording microphone be good for my purposes as it's name suggests? Or is there a better alternative available somewhere?

- The AT825 is 30-20000Hz and with optional roll-off (-6 dB / octave) at 150 Hz. Is it too good or too bad for the PDX10?

- How much water and fog does the AT825 condenser mic tolerate?

- Does it fit on the microphone holder well and does it stay out of the picture? (and what if I add a 0,7x or 0,5x wideangle?)

- Does it record any annoying handling noises when on the camera? (i.e. does it require a special shock mount? Which *on-camera* mount would you recommend?)

Jay Massengill February 12th, 2004 07:50 AM

The AT825 is a very good stereo mic for wide ambient pickup. It does require at least a mini furry windscreen for outdoor use, the foam screen that's supplied with the mic is totally inadequate for anything above air conditioner drafts.
It will also work for music although with its very wide field you really are forced to get the whole ambient picture of everything in front of the mic and around the sides too. Because of this, it's really inadequate for even basic isolation of specific voices for interview recording, it's truly a wide-angle mic.
With any mic located on the camera, especially one with such a wide field of reception you're going to pick up camera noises and the operator's hands.
You may want to consider the AT835ST. It's a stereo mic in a shotgun-style physical body. It would probably be more suitable for on-camera mounting, but it would still be as susceptible as any camera-mounted mic to handling noise. It's also considerably more expensive than the AT825.
Both of these mics can fit the standard holder, but you'd have to add a thin layer of material around the mic for a snug fit.
You may also want to consider a more directional mono mic and then adjust for psuedo stereo when editing. This will give much better isolation of specific sounds.

Frank Granovski February 12th, 2004 08:25 PM

Ralf, I asked some of those very questions a couple of months back and was "told" there weren't any good stereo and stereo zoom mics on the market. Now I read from Jay, "The AT825 is a very good stereo mic for wide ambient pickup;" and, "you may want to consider the AT835ST...a stereo mic in a shotgun-style physical body." Doh. Does anyone have any more to say about stereo and stereo zoom mics?

Glenn Chan February 12th, 2004 10:50 PM

Zoom mics just aren't very useful, and there aren't any good ones.

2- Stereo mics are useful for certain applications, like recording ambience. You don't have to mess around with 2 microphones to get stereo. For a lot of video work, a mono shotgun would be more useful. But maybe not in this situation. If stereo adds something for your content, then I'd go for it.

Ralf, is the on-board stereo mic on the PDX10 any good?

Bryan Beasleigh February 12th, 2004 11:07 PM

The PDX is a pro camera, it doesn't come with a stereo mic.

There are "zoom" mics but they're either cheap crap or expensive . Zoom I'm assuming would be a variable polar pattern. The change in polar pattern can be accomplished by changing a capsule or having 2 capsules and mixing the output. A variable pattern usually goes from omni through cardoid to figure 8.

I know of variable polar large diaphram , side address mics but not small diaphram end address. At any rate they'd be expensive.

A mic with an omni. cardoid and hyper capsule would be a manual zoom.

No matter how many times the question is asked and the words are twisted the answer remains the same.

Shawn Mielke February 13th, 2004 01:24 AM

Actually, the PDX does have a built-in stereo mic, just beneath the lens. It also comes with the shotgun. I wouldn't say the built-in mic is good for anything but the absolute last choice, when there is no choice, or when you're putting around the house in your skivvies and you just don't care.

Ralf Strandell February 13th, 2004 03:02 AM

Built-in stereo...
Yes, the PDX10 has built-in stereo microphones (it's an upgraded consumer model with XLRs and DVCAM). They are really good instrument mics for the camera... They are located 0,3 inches from the manual zoom ring and pick upp all handling noise very well.

As the camera is slighly front heavy I have to support it at the front. My fingers will thus usually cover the front stereo mics. No external sounds, just handling noise....

Frank Granovski February 13th, 2004 03:23 AM


There are "zoom" mics but they're either cheap crap or expensive...No matter how many times the question is asked and the words are twisted the answer remains the same.
Okay. When you threw in the word, "expensive," I got the picture. :-))

Ralf Strandell February 13th, 2004 04:11 AM

So, what mic then?
I'm using the on-camera Sony ECM-NV1 mono shotgun at the moment, but I fear that it's frequency response will not be good enough for the planned use. I would need to record up to 20 kHz and record reasonably low (50 Hz and so) frequencies too. So the NV1 needs to get replaced.

Part of the sound will be off axis, and ambient sounds are important too. One exception though - I would perfer avoiding handling noise.

All this could be done with a good mono mic but I would prefer a stereo mic because stereo sound creates a bit more natural atmosphere: moving picture really needs moving sound (you'll know if you have heard any 5.1 sound and then switched to stereo and then to mono...). In tele zoom, of course, it's not a big deal.

I can't use two mono mics (two hands only, and a tiny 1000 g camera like the PDX10 is not the correct "platform" for two 300 g mics)

I could get a separate more directional mic If I need, but now I'm after a more life like (stereo) representation of the sound field.

The AT825 would have been just fine, but it seems to record too wide.

Have you any other suggestions besides the AT835?

Jay Massengill February 13th, 2004 08:48 AM

I think the 835ST (remember, the "ST" is important) is probably what I'd recommend with the discussion so far. It's really a totally different mic than the original 835b, not just stereo added, but a more modern design like the 4073a.
Cost of the 835ST is in the high $600's to slightly over $700 depending on your source. The 835b mono is a little over $200.

Douglas Spotted Eagle February 13th, 2004 09:42 AM

BTW, an 835ST with a thin, dry lube condom over it will protect it quite well from the humidity, salt, and moisture you mention. I use the thin black rubber hair bands you see at Walmart to secure the condom to the mic. If it's tight, very little impact on the overall quality.

Shawn Mielke February 13th, 2004 10:21 AM

Rock on!

Bryan Beasleigh February 13th, 2004 01:58 PM

"Yes, the PDX10 has built-in stereo microphones (it's an upgraded consumer model with XLRs and DVCAM). They are really good instrument mics for the camera... They are located 0,3 inches from the manual zoom ring and pick upp all handling noise very well."

O0ps! I thought they'd have done away with that.

I had a TRV900 and the mics picked up very tic and fingertap.

Shawn Mielke February 13th, 2004 07:21 PM

Such is the nature of a beast that's trying to be pro AND consumer. It's funny to me that this cam could be more pro if certain buttons were simply DONE AWAY WITH, like "Back Light", or "Fader", or even "EditSearch". Just plain silly, not to mention perfectly obtrusive. Oh, alright, I'd be dancing in the aisles if they had installed a stepless exposure wheel.
OK, I'm done. Thanks.

Frank Granovski February 13th, 2004 09:08 PM

Any 835ST reviews anywhere? Audio clip?

Douglas Spotted Eagle February 13th, 2004 09:15 PM

I did a review for the DMN on the 835ST a while back. It's a great mic. Don Davis, a well known voice over artist uses one for all his voice over work, he does a lot of work for McDonalds, Disney, Six Flags, Jimmy Dean, Sarah Lee, and other big name companies. Does them out of his home studio these days.

Frank Granovski February 13th, 2004 09:35 PM

Thanks. Is it directional at all, or does it pick up from the rear?

Bryan Beasleigh February 13th, 2004 10:04 PM

Frank here are some interesting links



Have a peek at the AT spec sheet. the polar patterns in the bottom of the page will give you the rejection at the sides and rear. It actually looks preetty good. For more detailed graphs (but harder to read) click on the english spec link at the bottom of the page. that'll get you a PDF file of a more detailed desciption.

Douglas Spotted Eagle February 13th, 2004 10:15 PM

Frank, it's quite directional, and rejects well from the rear. In doing the review, I did it at a live shoot for the Broadway show "My Way." Therefore, I did a 'real world' review vs a scientific one. I bought the mic after having seen it being used on a film I was scoring part of for Steven Seagal. It was being used for live capture, and I thought it odd they were using a stereo mic. That's pretty rare. Anyway, it did a great job for me, even though I was using it as a backup in the test. I think there is still a stream of the "My Way" promo at http://www.encoreattractions.com. My web connection is slow in the hotel, so I didn't go there to look.

Bryan Beasleigh February 13th, 2004 10:22 PM

Looks pretty versitile and inexpensive for what it does.

Glenn Chan February 14th, 2004 12:41 AM

1- Another option is to get the Ambient Emesser, which can turn your favorite mic into a M/S (mid-side) setup like the Audio Technica stereo shotgun. The AT shotgun is much cheaper though.

http://coffeysound.com/store/ambient.html List price $650USD.

2- I was wondering about the on-board stereo mic because you might be able to use it to record just ambience without moving the camera. However, it's no good if you are handling the camera and it might pick up motor noise, so that's probably a bad idea.

Frank Granovski February 14th, 2004 02:00 AM

What's the web company info link to the 835ST?

So would I need an XLR adaptor with the 835ST?

Glenn Chan February 14th, 2004 01:45 PM


"Includes a 24" (0.61 m) cable (5-pin XLRF to two standard 3-pin XLRM connectors) "

Bryan Beasleigh February 14th, 2004 04:20 PM

My mistake, I thought i posted the AT link.

At any rate, while it's inexpensive for what it does it's still $570 plus shipping from B&H.


Frank Granovski February 14th, 2004 07:10 PM

Glenn, Bryan, thanks for the links.

Glenn, I read that, "Includes a 24" (0.61 m) cable (5-pin XLRF to two standard 3-pin XLRM connectors)," on those 2 links Bryan posted, but I was wondering if an XLR adaptor is required.

Glenn Chan February 14th, 2004 07:31 PM


Glenn, I read that, "Includes a 24" (0.61 m) cable (5-pin XLRF to two standard 3-pin XLRM connectors)," on those 2 links Bryan posted, but I was wondering if an XLR adaptor is required.
Adapter to what? XLRM should be XLR Male, which should be the right connector nearly all the time.

If you need to adapt from XLR --> miniplug (mic input) or some other input, I think you need something like a Beachtek. On the AT site it looks like the mic needs phantom power. You'll also need to get levels right and to filter out "mic plug-in" power on most mic inputs. The Beachtek DXA4 (I think that's the model) provides both, and it also helps you get levels right since it volume control built in.

Bryan Beasleigh February 14th, 2004 09:33 PM

The 835St requires 11-52 volt phantom and at the very least would require a beach DXA6 (dual phantom) . The Rode NT4 is a stereo that runs off of a 9 volt onboard battery. It's bigger than the AT and costs about $375US. Dave Largent ( a DVINFO member) uses one.

Frank Granovski February 14th, 2004 09:40 PM

Thanks Bryan. That makes this mic's price about $400 bucks higher.

Frank Granovski February 14th, 2004 09:48 PM

Sorry, Glenn. My cams don't have XLRs, and I was looking for a cheap mic solution but with a strong leaning toward stereo or zoom-stereo. So the cost for me would also include an XLR adaptor, aand I see I'll need other extras for this "bare" mic. I guess I'll have to dig deep or go with Bryan's original suggestion with the Apex 191/shock mount. I think I'll be going for the stereo, though, and the new Glenbox or the Beachtek.

Marty Wein February 14th, 2004 10:13 PM

The AT822 is like the AT825. Works on battery and is supplied with a stereo mini cable.

Ralf Strandell February 15th, 2004 03:13 AM

Shotgun mics good for stereo?
Thank you very much for your informative replies. The AT835ST seems to be a quite good stereo microphone...

There is something that I do not understand though. In many threads it is said that shotgun microphones are a) very directional and only good for picking up a selected voice where there is excessive ambient noise, and b) only good for recording talk (interview use and such). It is said that they may not have as pleasing a sound as cardioid mics (read: non-shotgun) have. It is also said that shotguns have an interference tube that cancels lateral sounds by wave interference and that it cancels mostly high frequencies thus distorting any off-axis sound.

This does not sound very stereo to me. What have I missed?

I'm not a sound technician, obviously, and neither will anyone hearing my recordigs be (unfortunately, probably). Thus any differences that require years of experience to be noticed do not exist to me.

So, if I want to record a high frequency ambient sound, then is this AT835 a bad choice? Doesn't it cancel high frequency ambient sounds by its design?

Would it be better to choose a mic with two spatially separated capsules? Would that become too expensive? ( 600 $ is quite a bit of money for me... )

Bryan Beasleigh February 15th, 2004 12:23 PM

Read the PDF. It shows the vaious polar patterns. I think it will answer your questions.


Patrick Bower February 15th, 2004 05:44 PM

Ralf, you will have to compromise. If you want maximum rejection of off axis sound, and a bit of stereo ambience, then a shotgun mic is appropriate. If you want hi-fi sound, with no colouration of any off axis sound that gets recorded, you can't use a shotgun. You either have to be closer to your subject, or put up with more off axis sound. The options are:[list=1][*]a fixed XY stereo cardioid, like the AT822 or AT825 or Rode NT4, but they will pick up all the sound at the sides (more than 180 degrees acceptance angle).[*]2 separate cardioids angled at less than 90 degrees, which will give you a narrower stereo field.[*]Ideally (but most expensive), a hypercardioid and a figure of 8 microphone, giving M/S stereo. This way, you can control the amount of off axis sound in post production. You may find these articles interesting:


Ralf Strandell February 16th, 2004 04:33 AM

Still unceretain about high freq. ambient sounds
The AT835ST has a line-cardioid element (front/middle) and a bi-directional element. It is a shotgun format microphone capable of mid-side stereo and internally matrixed left-right-wide stereo (wider than AT825 at 1 kHz) and left-right-narrow stereo. I would love the possibility of choosing a more directional pattern (L/R narrow) when ambience is not needed and a wide pattern when I want a wider stereo image. It might be a compromise, but it might also be just good enough for me.

So it is a shotgun microphone that is "wider" than a stereo cardioid (isn't that a contradiction?)...

The polar patterns in the PDFs for AT825 and AT835ST are for 1 kHz only... What about 500 Hz, 2 kHz, 5 kHz, 10 kHz and 18 kHz (near 20 kHz)? Can I find more accurate graphs anywhere?

What I fear is that the high frequencies from left/right are somehow lost/cancelled/distorted when using the AT835ST "wide stereo shotgun"...

... maybe because of the "shotgun" construction of the mic (the "interference tube")? I'm not sure. There is a bi-directional 8-element for the sides after all. So is this AT835ST wide only for low/mid frequencies? Or does it record any near-decent high freq. at the sides? I can't find these mics in any local shop so I cannot compare.

The question really is: Is a bidirectional + line-cardioid combi capable of HiFi or near-HiFi sound?

-slighly confused now-

Marius Peterson February 16th, 2004 08:36 AM

Sennheiser MKH 418-S
What about
Sennheiser MKH 418-S


Ralf Strandell February 16th, 2004 10:24 AM

An educated guess
The user manual of the MKH 418-S was quite informative. Thank you. I start to understand the basics of these mics now :)

So, the the line-cardioid mic (for the mid/front channel) has an interference tube that makes it more directional by eliminating lateral sounds, especially the higher frequencies. Thus it will record "high frequencies" only directly in front of it ("line"?) and "other frequencies" from a cardioid shaped area...

The bi-directional element (the side channel) records all frequencies from both right and left.

Because X/Y stereo is created by combining these two channels, then the higher the frequency the more it moves towards the sides unless it is right in the front, right?

Thus "high frequencies" would be *heard* either from left or right or front but not from, say, 45 degrees? This would distort the sound to some degree unknown to me. As I have not really studied how well ones ear can localize high frequenciens, I do not know how bad this is. Anyway, it now seems logical that stereo shotguns just might not record HiFi...

So, if I want true HiFi stereo then I really need the AT825 although it will be more prone to handling noise (than AT835ST in L-R-narrow mode) that could easily destroy the quality of the recording (especially when the mic is mounted on the camera).

If I would use bass roll-off to avoid part of the handling noise then the low frequencies would be partially lost, but the overall quality might be more acceptable. Unfortunately not all camera handling noises are low frequency (clicks and such)...

So the choices with the AT825 would be:

1) good stereo sound, bass light, lots of handling/camera noise
2) good stereo sound, better bass, even more handling/camera noise

The AT835ST on the other hand would not give such a good stereo sound because the sound localization would vary much more depending on frequency.

It would, however, produce "cleaner" sound without so much handling/camera noise and possibly without cutting low frequencies with a bass roll-off. Thus it might still sound better than the "HiFi" alternative. Especially if one cannot detect the "high frequency problems" too easily. (Is it so?)

Thus the AT-835ST might still be the mic producing the best overall quality stereo audio for camera-mount applications. The 825 would be better if I had someone else take care of recording because it should be kept well in front of the camera...

This is starting to become complicated now, and I feel that this thread might not lead anywhere anymore. One would just need to try the mics and listen to learn how prone to handling noise the 825 actually is compared to the 835 ST...

Ralf Strandell February 18th, 2004 12:59 PM

On another thread I found this exceptionally good link: http://www.jtv.be/JTV/info/sound/sound.html

Having read what Shure and Alan Barker have written about shotgun microphones I have no trouble in choosing between the AT825 and the AT835ST (and the suggested Sennheiser).

I want natural stereo sound. Thus I need the 825.

If the sound source is too distant I walk closer.

Case closed.

- - This thread was very useful. I learned a lot. Thanks to all the contibutors. - -

Dave Largent February 18th, 2004 02:51 PM

Just curious what you mean by "HiFi"?

Ralf Strandell February 20th, 2004 01:23 AM

Well, with HiFi sound I meant this time that

- it is a good and full (frequencies, amplitudes, directions) representation of what the ear can hear on location. With one exception: sounds from the rear should be ignored, because I don't want to record myself or the camera. There is a limit to the price I can afford, though.

- it contains even the 16kHz - 20kHz frequency range (many mics only have up to 16 kHz) and that high frequencies above 10kHz can be heard at a natural relative level without sacrificing human voice and talk.

Without a DAT this is a bit problematic because the frequency response of the camera itself is less than optimal (no, I cannot afford a DAT right now). Cameras freq. resp. http://www.jtv.be/JTV/info/sound/sound.html

- human voice sounds natural

- the resulting stereo sound feels natural with no coloration of sound from the sides. If there is some colorization of off-axis sound then the sound is not hifi, IMO. Mono sound is not HiFi because it completely lacks an important part of the sound - direction.

Dave Largent February 20th, 2004 01:38 AM

Where do you see that the M-S mics fall short?
If you do go with one of the X-Y mics, let us
know how the mic is.
I use an NT4 and have been happy with the
localization it provides.

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