I need to do some voiceover recording at a celebrity's house next week. I'm going to record with a Sony Z1U HDV camera because I'll be grabbing some B-roll shots, too. My question is can I plug my Shure SM7b mic directly into the Sony and get good sound? In my studio I need to crank the preamp trim up to 60 for this mic.
I could bring a Mackie 1402 mixer with me if I need to. I don't have a field mixer. I'd rather not bring the Mackie if I don't have to, because everything else can run on batteries.
The SM7B is a dynamic mic. Dynamics generally are not a sensitive and condensers, if the diaphragms are of equal size. You have the mic, you have the camera. Plug it in and see what happens. Compare it to one of your lavs, which will surely have a smaller diaphragm.
Distance from the source also plays a big part in whether the SM7b will work for you. You can work that mic almost with lips on it. An experienced radio person can do that.
I'm recording a celebrity doing voiceover for a documentary. I didn't have the camera in house when I wrote the fisrt post. I do now and have tried it. I have to put the record volume level most of the way up, but it does seem to sound OK. When I bring it into Soundtrack Pro and put some compression on it, it sounds pretty good.
It's very much about the preamp in this situation. A really good preamp has a lot of good gain.
The better the preamp, the more clean gain, especially at higher gain levels. Cheap preamps get noisy (in addition to being louder) as you turn them up.
Camera preamps are OK. Cheap mixers may be OK, but the price frequently means they are not.
Sound Devices makes the MM1, a plain preamp that's nice. They also make the MixPre; a quality little mixer with the exception that it has a line level output. If your camera only has mic level inputs, they sell a set of adapter cables that reduce the line level to mic level. It also has an unbalanced stereo output that you can plug in to the little prosumer cameras.
Mark McQuilken's RNP preamp is an exception. It requires AC, but it's a nice little preamp.
Preamps and mixers are different. I mention this here because some folks have bought preamps thinking that they will save a few dollars, only to find they bought the wrong thing. You find preamps IN mixers, but not mixers in preamps.
Preamps usually have only one output. Mixers have several preamps (inputs) and an output stage that allows the input to be routed to different places including a master stereo output.
Mixers are also usually designed to be adjusted on the fly, allowing the user to ride gain during recording. All of these things can make a big difference in the quality of the recording.