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Best mics for field use

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Matt Striner
Best mics for field use
on Apr 29, 2008 at 2:05:28 pm

Hello! I have a somewhat loaded question which I'm sure will have many answers...

We're a small production company that will be recording commercials in the field (we do not have a studio) and were curious as to what mics may work best for our application--namely on-camera work and voiceover work....

After a bit of research, I'm a little overwhelmed. I'm leaning toward a dynamic mic (RE 20, SM7) but I've also heard good reviews about some condenser mics (the Rode NT line specifically). We're looking a good mic in the $300-$500 range that'll make our audio stand out--any suggestions?

Thanks,
Matt






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David Jones
Re: Best mics for field use
on Apr 29, 2008 at 4:07:09 pm

This is a question that could take all the space in the forum to answer :o)

Mics like the re-20 or sm-7 are designed to be used in a quite enviroment like a studio so, they probably aren't the mics for you. A good voiceover (only) mic to use in any environment is the Coles Lip Mic (at $600). It's the mic the networks use for voiceover work because it will cut out all background noise, making it sound like you're recording in a studio, even if you're in the middle of traffic! In terms of a field mic, I'm afraid you're going to need to spend more than $300-$500 to "stand out". In other words, different situations require different mics. Sometimes a lav will work better then a shotgun. Sometimes you will need a shotgun with a tight pattern to reject all the background noise. Most good lavs start at around $300 and most "true" condensers start at more than $500.

As you have said, you're bound to get a lot of answers on here so, weigh your options carefully :o)


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Matt Striner
Re: Best mics for field use
on Apr 29, 2008 at 4:25:25 pm

I figured this is a pretty broad topic...thanks for the info though...



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Ty Ford
Re: Best mics for field use
on Apr 29, 2008 at 4:53:42 pm

Hello Matt and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum,

When you say on camera mic, do mean a mic for on camera talent or a mic mounted on a camera? The latter won't get you good audio in the field, particularly if you are going after the commercial market.

Getting good audio while shooting on location requires a mix of wireless lavs, boom mics and handheld. Oh, and a good mixer too.

Wireless lavs: Audio Technica 1800 series or Sony G series
Boom mics: Schoeps cmit and/or cmc641, Sanken CS-3e, Audix scx-1 HC
Handheld: EV RE50

There's a lot more to it than that, but that answers your initial question.

Sadly, none are in the cost range you wish. The NTG-1 and NTG-2 are good for the money, but they don't sound like the above mics.

Audio is not as expensive as camera tripods or heads, but you do have to spend to get quality stuff.

Regards,

Ty Ford




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






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Matt Striner
Re: Best mics for field use
on Apr 29, 2008 at 5:03:24 pm

Thanks Ty,

I was referring to on-camera talent. If most of the field work I do is indoors, would the studio mics I considered buying (SM7, RE 20) still not be the best option(s)?



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David Jones
Re: Best mics for field use
on Apr 29, 2008 at 8:54:49 pm

These mics can't be more than about a foot away from the talent to be effective; they don't have any reach like a shotgun or lav mic would, but they will pick up a lot of ambient background noise. Unless you don't care if they appear on camera, they're really only designed to be used as a vo/radio announcer mic. I would recommend looking at the mics Ty had listed.


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Stuart Allman
Re: Best mics for field use
on Apr 29, 2008 at 10:54:28 pm

I have a more diabolical and sinister approach. Hire an audio person for the first few shoots...write down what he/she uses...and buy that. You'll still have a learning curve (audio isn't simple), but at least you should have the right equipment the first time.

A good field condenser mic should be less than $1500. Some of the pro shotguns like the ME66 run $1100. Studio mics tend to be large diaphrahm condensers (LDC's). Typically a half-way decent one runs around $1k. I bought a Pearlman for $1500 that I love and it's made a few people jealous. You'll need a good preamp as well, otherwise you can ruin the sound of a perfectly good mic (no camera pre's for studio work!).

Stuart



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Ty Ford
Re: Best mics for field use
on May 1, 2008 at 10:37:30 pm

Huh?

Sorry Matt. You have lost me.

Regards,

Ty

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






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