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-   -   Good mics at any price, there's not a whole lot(Shot guns and hypers) (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/30261-good-mics-any-price-theres-not-whole-lot-shot-guns-hypers.html)

Bryan Beasleigh August 8th, 2004 10:46 PM

Good mics at any price, there's not a whole lot(Shot guns and hypers)
Let's get a really good discussion going here. I've built up my own kit and in the process looked at and demo'd dozens of mics, asked experts their opinions and in the very end there aren't a whole lot of mics that excell when it comes to video production and dialog.

I've looked at inexpensive and mics that will break the bank. The good mics at any price level aren't as plentiful as we may think.

I started with the ME66, expanded to include an ECM44mlav and then picked up an AKG D230 stick mic. I have bought a boundary and other lavs but lets just zoom in on good directional dialog mics. Condenser's , eitrher phantom or battery.

Starting a garage band, well there are dozens and dozens of cheap offering and they'll all do the job. You want to record an interview, some dialog for a documentary or drama or an event, the list isn't very big at all.

I'm in search of a bargain. Well i'm here to tell you they're darn hard to find.

Take hypercardoids, the really good sounding ones cost between $150 and $1350. The sound difference between an Oktava , a Rode NT3, an AT 3031 isn't earth shattering. There's always a hitch.
The Rode NT3 sounds great and it's well built but its a big heavy pig. The oktava is inconsistant in sound and general quality. the russian assembler may not have the 680meg bleed resister handy. He may sub it with anything handy. The mic will work but it won't sound the same as the ones further up the line. Most of the time they sound great but because of the build and some resister values the mic is very prone to handling noise.

The AT 3031 and the higher end 4053 (modular) are great. they're the middle of the pack. What about the Blue Line, they have a fair bit of self noise. Sometimes that doesn't matter a hill of beans though and after all this is just Video.

A tad up the road is the AKG 480b modular system. The CK69 is one seet sounding shotgun but the CK63 isn't the same bang for the buck. Somethings missing and as much as I want it to be a good mic , it ain't (JMO) I haven't listened to the CK61 or 62 but I don't want a cardpid or omni. I really want the CK63 to work. You see the system is a modular one. if I have the c480b and the CK69 shotgun then the CK63 capsule is only another $225. That's a deal.

The neumann KMR81 and 82 are great dialog shotguns but the hyper is the same standard (for dialog). The MKH50 and Schoeps MK41 are pretty well perfect and they're different enough to attract a strong following. you're either a sennheiser MKH50 kinda guy or a schoeps MK41 fanatic. Now at $1150 to $1350 that's a big step up.

There's not a lot out there but what i have menytion is good stuff. Any other opinions?

I own 2 Oktava kits an ME66 and an MKH60 shotgun and a schoeps MK41. I was trying to find some middle ground but I don't think it exists. i should just bite the bullet and buy another schoeps MK41 with a mind to buy a MK4(cardoid) and an MK8 (Fig8)in the future

Chris L. Gray August 8th, 2004 11:22 PM

Rode NT1A
I've spent a good deal of the day listening to your mic samples. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

In one sample you have the Sennheiser ME66 and the Rode NT1A. The NT1A sounds much more appealing to me and the price of $199 makes it sweeter.

I'm about to conduct a few indoor interviews, so I'd like to think that this would be a great choice.

Could you imagine anyone using this for external boom work?

Maybe I'll get this mic and maybe a short boom for outdoor work.

By the way, you seem to like the Rode NT3, but from the mp3 sample it sounded just a touch noisy and lacking body. Now I love the price I've found on it ($159), but would be interested in knowing what types of applications would best suit it? Would you use it for an indoor interview and even as an outdoor boom?


Bryan Beasleigh August 9th, 2004 12:02 AM

The NT1A has amazing low noise and could work in a interview situation. You could mount it in a stationary boom, even set it on a table. There's actually no reason at all for not using it, but it'll pick up a flea fart at 20 paces and it's rejection ain't that great.

If you can control the environment it's a sweet sounding mic. It wouldn't really work for outdoors for the reason we just stated.

An oktava is the same money and it's more portable and it's modular.

The NT3 would work outdoors. You'd need a pole cat (fat cat) or a windjammer to go over the foam windshield.

Michael Wisniewski August 9th, 2004 12:49 AM

I've found the NT3 to be a good all around dialog mic, had mine since January 2004.

I really like it for handheld, voiceover, and boom work. It rejects handling and wind noise fairly well all by itself, which is the main reason I picked it over the Oktava, since I use my mics mostly in outdoor environments. I feel very comfortable taking this mic on a busy NYC street, with 5-10 mph hour winds and only the supplied foam windscreen! I will still get very usable audio. Currently looking for a windscreen to handle high gusty winds. I've actually been very surprised with how well this mic handles wind. I don't know how many times I've been cringing at the noises during taping only to later be very pleased with the resulting outdoor audio.

In a closed environment, with a simple pop filter, it's a good voiceover mic.

For handheld work, you can get away with holding it directly, but you'll want to grip it either very lightly or very firmly. I usually just have the talent grip the shockmount, looks funny, but it works.

As Bryan pointed out it's a fat mic. I occasionally mount it on my camcorder using an AT8415 shockmount, and it works great, but it looks like the space shuttle on a boeing 747. Meaning it really doesn't look like it's comfortable there.

If you want an all-purpose, fairly robust dialog mic, and can work with it's size, I think you'll like the NT3.

Bryan Beasleigh August 9th, 2004 12:59 AM

Did you have any luck finding the windjammer or fat cat?

Michael Wisniewski August 9th, 2004 01:04 AM

I'm going to get some hands on at B&H with the Fat Cat and Windjammers, they look like they'll both work.

Kinda sad the the Rycote BBG won't fit it! Alas, I did see this windshield which might fit the NT3, so I might have to check that out too.

Chris L. Gray August 9th, 2004 06:45 AM

Thanks for your replies guys!

Can that shockmount fit on other cameras? I have a DVX100A... it looks versatile, but wonder what I'd have to do to let it sit on top of this cam.


Chris L. Gray August 9th, 2004 08:45 AM

Ordered Rode NT3 from B&H
I was running late for work and didn't have time to tell you guys that I ordered the Rode NT3 from B&H Photo. It was the lowest price I could find in my quick search and is $152.50. Not bad.

Bryan, I took your advice and dumped the Tiffen Film Look filter kit. I did keep the video essentials kit which has a uv filter and circular polarizer, which I need.

Thanks for all of your help. Now to find a nice bag for my DVX100A.. can't carry it around in my backpack forever. :]

Bryan Beasleigh August 9th, 2004 12:50 PM

For the bag, try a portabrace or petrol. You've got a good camera, give it a good place to rest ;-0.

ixnay on the windshield, the suspension wouldn't fit. The body is 32mm diameter and the biggest rycote suspension is 25mm. The whole rig would also cost an arm, your lower front apendage and your first born child.

The 8415 at $50 is great. You'll need a $10 adapter if you camera mounted it and a fat cat or windjammer will do the trick.

"Bryan, I took your advice and dumped the Tiffen Film Look filter kit. I did keep the video essentials kit which has a uv filter and circular polarizer, which I need"

You ned a linear polarisor, the circylar is a linear with a 1/4 wave retarder and designed for slr's or cameras that use a beam splitter. i use two linears and have never had a problem. Half the price. Also, IMO Hoya coated filters are better. If you're not shooting sky or subjects with glare you won't need the polarisor yet.

I have a Tiffen UV on my shelf and a Hoya multicoated(thin) on my camera.

Now back to other mics ;-)

Chris L. Gray August 9th, 2004 01:10 PM

Lotto tickets?
Bryan, thanks again. Any particular porta brace or petrol in mind? Good lord, they're expensive! (I need a cheap hobby like button collecting.)

I do need something that will blend in as I'll be walking the mean streets of chicago with my dvx... need it to look inconspicuous and not like an easy target, heh.

I just added the AT8415 and camera mount to my B&H order.. I know Jay is probably tired of hearing from me, amending that order.

Too bad I didn't get your info about using a linear polarizer in time. The Tiffen video essentials kit is on its way, but hey.. live and learn.

Now off to go research about fatcat, windjammer, fake fur and cheap mic stand poles to use as booms. :)

BTW Michael, looks like we're in the same boat regarding gusty, windy cities. Sometimes the hawk here gets mighty vicious, but I'm surprised the DVX100a's own mic handled that pretty well, with no windscreen.

Matt Gettemeier August 9th, 2004 01:43 PM

Here's the bag I use with my DVX and I love it...

Click HERE for Porta Brace DV3 for a DVX.

There have been a few times when I could have used a little extra space and in that case you may want this one...

Click HERE for Porta Brace DV4 for a DVX.

With my DV3 I can fit my camera, 7506 headphones, and a couple mics in the main compartment... then I can put a pair of 25' XLRs and a wireless set in the outer pocket. Fitting that much in the main compartment requires removing the little "pouch" which fits next to your camera, but then that makes a great Porta Brace bag for your belt... to carry wireless receivers or other items...

All in all I'm 100% satisfied with the cost/quality relationship of Porta Brace products.

As far as the polarizer... it's not that a circular polarizer won't work... it's just that there's no special advantage over a linear polarizer... I've got both and they're virtually indistinguishable. So no sweat on that issue.

Bryan Beasleigh August 9th, 2004 04:35 PM

How about the original topic. Really good hypers and shotguns there aren't a whole lot out there. 50 pushups each for busting the old guys topic ;-)

I have and love the same bag that Matt uses. My mixer and recorder are all hpoused in Porta Brace. The 302 bag is a bit bloated though.

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh. I did it to myself

50 of the best

Back to the topic. Quality dialog mics

Michael Wisniewski August 9th, 2004 05:50 PM

Alan Barker has an interesting argument for using a K6/ME64 cardiod combo for getting dialog in his documentaries. (Scroll down to the "Why K6/ME64?" article).

Chris L. Gray August 9th, 2004 05:58 PM

I saw Alan Barker mentioned while doing searches a few days ago and read much of his site. I'll give the NT3 a whirl to see how much I like or dislike it, but it'll have to do for now.

I just stopped by Guitar Center and picked up a black Proline mic stand for $20. Has a nice heavy base and feels ok overall.

Now I just need to get my hands on that Rode!

Want to see how the shockmount feels on this stand to determine whether to get a boom to put it over the talent's head or maybe i'll use one of my desk mic stands and place it on a stool right undernealth them, out of frame...

Matt Gettemeier August 9th, 2004 06:24 PM

I think the Schoeps Mk41 is the quintessential dialog mic... almost everybody in Hollywood agrees.

Next I'd have to say the Mkh50... even though it's not everybody's favorite... it would be the logical choice for interiors if you DON'T use a Schoeps.

After that I'd give the Mkh60 the nod... but it may be pushing it for interiors in a live space.

Then it's the Sanken CS3e... even though there's a "thick" character (to MY ears) I still think it's an excellent choice because of it's off axis/rear rejection. That's what we buy mics like this for... but again... it's more in the category of the Mkh60, and therefor primarily an outdoor mic.

In this list I'd put the 416 here... sure it's a lot like the Mkh60, but without the benefits of low-cut and variable presence peak, it's slightly less usable... and YES, it's still best outdoors.

The Sanken CS1 gets my next vote... mainly because of it's off axis/rear rejection prowess which is like it's big brother, the CS3e. As I just said, this is what we buy mics like this for in the first place... For me the hardest part of getting the sound I want lies in NOT getting the sound I DON'T want. Both Sankens are exemplary at this magic trick... the CS1 is a great choice for interiors.

Audio Technica's 4073a would get a close billing under the Sanken CS1... only losing out because it's not well suited to interiors... in all but the deadest rooms the 4073a's high sensitivity will cause more harm then good. This mic has a great off axis/rear rejection for the money... and a very natural sound, and it's hot character is a BOON outdoors, but a hindrance in live interiors. Sounds which are side/rear rejected still bounce into the pickup pattern and make it on the track anyway. Still this mic is my all-time favorite "bang for the buck" shotgun.

Below the At4073a the mic choices get blury... I have a lot of experience with the Oktava Mk012 with Hyper-Cardioid cap and I like it a whole lot. It's been very effective for me in many interiors and even a couple outdoor shoots. I wouldn't quantify this mic as necessarily being better then any of the following contenders however... due to my lack of fair testing...

I think the AKG 300b/ck93 looks to be a real winner... but in the states it's pushing $400... so it's hardly a bargain when the Oktava is readily available at $195... in fully tested and guaranteed form from www.sound-room.com... The AKG does have a reputation for being great regarding handling noise... but if you get a K-Tek KSSM (soft) then it's really not an issue anyway.

The AT3031 is a cardioid only, but at $169 it's a real bargain with very respectable specs... super flat response in an efficient mic... with reasonable self-noise and outrageous max SPL ability. I'm very intrigued by this mic... but the only reason I'm going to try the AKG first is because the AKG, at 19mm diameter... will fit all my expensive support gear!

The AT4053a is another mic I don't have experience with, but it looks pretty good... the only issue is that it's frequency response is nowhere near as flat as the 3031 and it's got even more self-noise... so I'd have to be convinced by somebody to pay over double for a noisier, less flat mic.

Within this list I don't think the Neumanns get a fair shake... but that's only because I've yet to experiment with them.

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