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Old March 21st, 2023, 11:35 AM   #1
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Shotguns - what exactly are the differences?

I did a video about shotguns a while back and somebody asked me a question via email. I dreamed up a way to compare how they actually do their job. Essentially I mounted four, picked for overall length and pointed them at a pink noise source filtered into bands from high to low. I then measured the output at 0, 45, 90, 135 and 180 degrees of four mics at >16K, 8K, 4K, 1K, 250 and 63Hz. The results were quite interesting - and I think have convinced me why people like the Sennheiser 416. The two longer ones are more directional - but the difference in their on-axis gain at different frequencies is quite noticeable. While many people realise the directional properties vary with frequency, the actual amount surprised me.



Last edited by Paul R Johnson; March 21st, 2023 at 02:42 PM.
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Old March 25th, 2023, 02:39 AM   #2
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Re: Shotguns - what exactly are the differences?

Very interesting Paul and thanks for your in depth analysis.

I have used a lot of these phase cancellation mics over the years and pretty much all the location drama and doco dialogue I have recorded has been with a 416 and the results you got pretty much match my feelings on it as it has always been that go to nice sounding and very forgiving mic for boom work.

I used the longer 816 shotguns on news in the 80's as they were always better at noise rejection and you could still get decent sound whilst being a distance away from the subject.

The AT875r has been my new fave for many recent years and is my std mic for video work but I guess as it was my money buying them the cost factor came into it and as I have radio mics too it is more a general purpose "camera" mic or go to placement mic for recording all sorts of things.

We had some of the CK9 / 451 combos in the old days too but as they always sounded "strange" they were usually just used as audience fx mics.

At the end of the day I suppose it is what sounds best but I would say that the 416 tends to be the go to mic for all the reasons you highlighted although I know that the current top drama guys now use more modern equivalents but then again they also tend to have a radio mic on everyone and multi track too.

As a footnote a good friend and well known top sound supervisor who also does some radio work uses a sennheiser K3U ME80 electret shotgun combo as his main voice mic and loves it but it is not what I would personally use for a close up V/O mic but as others use the 416 in voice over booths too it is each to their own and I suppose it keeps the capsule a distance from the source of the voice.
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Old March 29th, 2023, 03:09 AM   #3
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Re: Shotguns - what exactly are the differences?

Cheers Gary - have you pulled an 875 apart? I'm wondering how it actually works with those big slots? I'm wondering if it uses two cardioids inside? AT did that in the 80s - two ordinary cardioid capsules about 100mm apart connected together. I guess a phasing thing that gave a more directional performance. I'm loath to pull apart mine as it looks like it needs a screwdriver I don't have and I'll probably chew up the threads.

What was clear from the tests seemed to be that while they all have a 'sound' - how they respond on rotation is quite different.
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Old March 30th, 2023, 03:56 PM   #4
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Re: Shotguns - what exactly are the differences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
I'm wondering if it uses two cardioids inside? AT did that in the 80s - two ordinary cardioid capsules about 100mm apart connected together.
I am not aware of any AT shotguns with multiple capsules, I had an AT 835 and 815 back in the 80s and both had a single capsule. AT's newer 40 series shotguns are also single capsule The only multi-capsule (non-interference tube) 'shotgun' mic I am aware of is Sanken's CS-3e.
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Old March 31st, 2023, 12:09 AM   #5
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Re: Shotguns - what exactly are the differences?

I have four somewhere I think they were OEM products sold originally for video. The first ones had captive 3.5mm curly cable,then a few years later they had XLRs. Battery power only, no phantom. Slide switch with off, cardioid, shotgun pattern. I used them on stage fronts before I found boundary mics were better. I wonder if they just reused the designing the 875 as there are none of the usual radial slots?


EDIT

Found them
https://www.audio-technica.com/en-gb...UaAoc7EALw_wcB

This is the same as I have, bar XLR. Still gointg after all these years and cheap too.

EDIT 2
I pulled it apart - It's not two elements, just an electret in a resilient mount. What you can't see from outside, with those big wide slots and plasticky film is that inside, there is a brass tube, and a front to back slot is milled into either side - it's about 2mm wide, and invisible from outside. So it's not like the usual radial slots, but the long slot interference tube - similar in design to AKG CK8 and 9 mics, but much shorter. Quite nicely put together.
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Shotguns - what exactly are the differences?-img_0448.jpg   Shotguns - what exactly are the differences?-img_0449.jpg  


Last edited by Paul R Johnson; March 31st, 2023 at 04:22 AM.
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Old March 31st, 2023, 03:11 PM   #6
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Re: Shotguns - what exactly are the differences?

Thanks for the interesting info Paul..
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Old April 1st, 2023, 09:27 PM   #7
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Re: Shotguns - what exactly are the differences?

Never understood why they're called shotguns considering in the gun world a shotgun has a wide spread.
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Old April 2nd, 2023, 02:04 AM   #8
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Re: Shotguns - what exactly are the differences?

Long and pointy, and walking down the road with on sticking out of a rucksack here would probably be sufficient to not mention "its a shotgu............." to the police.
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Old April 4th, 2023, 11:23 AM   #9
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Re: Shotguns - what exactly are the differences?

Ha ha and you never pointed them at members of the Royal Family when on the News rota.

One guy did and he was floored and the 816 mic blimp ripped apart.

Now this is a gun mic or more like a bazooka at seven feet long !

https://wavreport.com/2017/03/04/ret...al-microphone/
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Old April 4th, 2023, 02:48 PM   #10
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Re: Shotguns - what exactly are the differences?

Now that really is a great mic. I wonder why it didn't catch on?
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