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Best type of Mic?

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Donovan Werts
Best type of Mic?
on Feb 27, 2008 at 6:48:56 pm

Hi, I've searched the forum and read about recording live events. I don't have a mixer, but do have two XLR inputs into my camcorder. I will be recording a small chamber orchestra at a smaller, old theatre. I'm wondering if I can bypass the mixer and just plug a mic into the XLR. I'm just wanting to do better than the on board camera, no high expectations because I can't afford a mixer before the shoot. I'm wondering what type of mic would be best for this. Could I buy an inexpensive boom mic, pop in a battery, and run a long XLR back to my camera? Would it be worth buying that set-up? Would another type of mic be better? I have a nice studio mic, but didn't know if that'd work. I'm volunteering my time for this shoot to help a non-profit group. Up till now (and you pros may groan) I've used a lavalier mic on a mic stand and put it near the stage. Not bad, but I'd like to do better :) Thanks in advance, Donovan


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Ty Ford
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Feb 28, 2008 at 2:20:03 am

Hello Donovan and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Try the AT 825 or Rode NT4.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Donovan Werts
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Feb 28, 2008 at 4:36:46 am

Ty, what a surprise? The Rode NT4 microphone was really intersting. So a stereo condensor mic would be best for recording live music? I would have guessed a boom mic, but even though I've done video for years, audio quality has always been lacking. Where would I put a mic like the ones you recommended? I'm recording a small chamber orchestra.

Thanks for the information! Donovan



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Ty Ford
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Feb 28, 2008 at 1:21:17 pm

Gotta be a little careful with live music. It can get loud and overdrive. It can get low and go into the noise floor. I'd ALWAYS want a mixer and listen during the performance so I could ride gain. I'd also want a limiter before the recorder.

Where do you put the mic? I could write a 3000 word article on that alone. If you're using one stereo mic, you have to find a place where you can hear everything really well with as little audience as possible.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Donovan Werts
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Feb 28, 2008 at 4:10:13 pm

Ty, I will see if I can do a test during a rehearsal. I know I need to upgrade, maybe I'll get out the Visa Card! :)

I'll look in to getting a mixer, seems there's a lot to learn, but I want good quality production.

By the way, your guitar playing is excellent. Thanks again, Donovan



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Ty Ford
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Feb 28, 2008 at 4:39:27 pm

Thanks for the comments on my playing Donovan. As you may know, if you don't play, it goes away.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Donovan Werts
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Feb 28, 2008 at 4:59:13 pm

You're welcome. I love hearing accoustic music. I sing and know what you mean about use it or lose it. I just bought your book, sounds like what I need to upgrade my audio quality. I have demos of my commercials at http://www.donovideo.com they look great but aren't set up to play with stereo audio...yet!

Have a good day, Donovan



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Ty Ford
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Feb 28, 2008 at 5:27:38 pm

You're obviously doing something right. The Market Bin spot looks and sounds good here.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Stuart Allman
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Feb 29, 2008 at 4:21:36 pm

Donovan,

You might want to consider renting a couple large diaphram condenser mic's for your shoot. I'm going to take a rough guess and say that your camera supports 2 XLR channels. My Pearlman TM-1, like most LDC mics, has a power supply that you put inline with the mic cable, so you would need to hide two of those near the mic stands. Mic placement REALLY depends on the venue and acoustics. Generally speaking you will probably want to consider placing the mics above and slightly in front of the muscians, a good distance apart from each other, and arrange the postion to your personal listening taste. I would recommend a cardiod pattern because omni is going to pick up a lot of useless noises.

A great resource for further information can be found at gearslutz.com (I'll probably get sensored for the web site name). It's a community of audio geeks and as I recall they have a forum dedicated to live events. I found the information there quite useful.

Stuart

PS - A lav mic? I'm in pain.



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Donovan Werts
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Feb 29, 2008 at 4:58:14 pm

Hi, thanks for the info! I do have a studio microphone that you can change the pattern on, maybe I'll test that out until I can afford some new gear. I'll check out that site. Donovan



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Mick Haensler
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Mar 4, 2008 at 2:14:13 pm

[Donovan Werts] "(and you pros may groan)"

Guess what Donovan, if you're doing pro video work, and by the looks of your website you are, you are by default doing pro audio work. Unless it's a silent movie, audio is just as important as video in any production. If you're offering finished product and not just shooting and editing, people are paying you for your audio as well as your video expertise. In this case, you have an opportunity to up your game so to speak without risk to a paying client. BTW, the price of a decent 4-6 input mixer might surprise you. For small stuff, I use a Yamaha 6 input that I think I paid around $100. And as stated above, the Rodes mics are incredible for the price.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media





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Donovan Werts
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Mar 4, 2008 at 4:43:54 pm

Good Points Mick. I have focused so much on the visual part, and felt a little lost on the audio side. I am a good researcher and shopper, and now I'm inspired to start buying better equipment. I'm set up pretty well with a nice studio mic, it's the field stuff that's lacking. Thanks for your reply, Donovan



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Donovan Werts
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Mar 4, 2008 at 4:56:25 pm

Mick, since this might help others as well: What features should I look for in a decent mixer (around $100)? What types of inputs? Do mixers amplify the sound as well? Anything else I should consider when shopping? I know there's a million things I should consider, but tips would be appreciated! :)

Thanks again, Donovan



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Mick Haensler
Re: Best type of Mic?
on Mar 9, 2008 at 2:19:17 pm

The main thing I look for are decent mic preamps. The Yamaha pres are really decent for the price. When I say decent I mean high gain and low noise. In other words, can you drive the audio signal from the mixer to your input devices and achieve a decent sound level without a lot of noise like hiss. And make sure all mic inputs have phantom power for condensor mics. Cheaper mic pres will have a bit of hiss when cranked. Other features I look for are multiple outputs so I can feed the signal to a number of recorders. Good metering is important too, especially if you're inputting to a deck like the Sony DSR 11 which doesn't have meters. I like a strong headphone preamp too since concerts tend to be loud, I need to hear the mix over top the house sound. I don't worry to much about EQ since I run everything flat and sweeten the sound in post. I also like a variety of input types, the Yamaha has 4 balanced switchable mic/line inputs as well as balanced and unbalanced line inputs. The only thing it doesn't have is switchable mic/line output, only line. This is only an issue if you are feeding the signal to a prosumer camera that only takes an external mic input. Although I have the Yamaha and like it, there are quite a few small mixers like it on the market. My favorite is the Mackie Onyx. A bit pricey but awesome pres as well as the ability(for an extra price of course) to output a multitrack mix to a laptop via firewire which allows you to keep every channel seperate for greater flexibility in post tweaking. Hope this helps and good luck.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media



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