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Diaphragm Mics

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Kaye Woods
Diaphragm Mics
on Nov 16, 2009 at 4:10:10 pm

I have recently learned that you are supposed to use diaphragm mics for indoor video recording. I did notice my usual shot gun mic sounded funny indoors. I will be doing a shoot this week, indoors in a large room, possibly with a slight echo. Is there a mic that would be good for this? Thanks!

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Jordan Wolf
Re: Diaphragm Mics
on Nov 16, 2009 at 4:26:16 pm

If you'd do a little searching, I think you'd find this is a VERY common topic. indulge you...

The Schoeps CMIT 5U is the industry standard (if you can afford it). Basically, you want a microphone that has linear rejection of frequencies off-axis. Most shotgun mics reject high frequencies, but accept lower frequencies off-axis, often resulting in a muddy mix.


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Ty Ford
Re: Diaphragm Mics
on Nov 16, 2009 at 5:38:53 pm

Hello Kaye and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Audio language can sound pretty weird to the uninitiated. Let's start from the beginning.

All condenser mics have a diaphragm. It's what the sounds hits. The diaphragm moves and that motion is converted into electricity.

Shotgun mics, those long things with the slots in the tube, have their diaphragms at the bottom of the tube (except for the Sanken CS-3e). Shotgun mics are great in spaces where there isn't a lot of reflected sound. That's why the AD yells "Quiet On The Set!"

Outside shotgun mics work well, but in a big downtown city like NY, the street and building walls can be very reflective. Reflections are a problem because while the shotgun mic is very directional at high frequencies, it's not very directional at mid and low frequencies. So it picks up a lot of reflected and side sound; cars, trucks, people passing by, HVAC noise, lawn mowers, helicopters, etc.

Hypercardioid or supercardioid mics usually do better on the boom in normal indoor rooms and they can also be used outside, although they may not have the reach of a shotgun. If you're within a couple of feet with one of these, you should be just fine.

The Schoeps cmc641 and Sennheiser MKH 50 are examples of the better hyper/supercardioids.

They sound way better than most other mics of the same pattern and are industry standard.

This might help you wrap your head around mics:


Ty Ford

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

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Ed Denton
Re: Diaphragm Mics
on Nov 18, 2009 at 12:40:18 am

Yes I think the phrase you are looking for is "small-diaphragm condenser mic with a hyper cardiod polar pattern". I've been looking into these recently as it was news to me that shotgun mics behave in this way. At my college we were never taught this and so we just used a shotgun mic for everything. In the lower budget you should look at an Oktava MK-012 (also called an MC-012) or Audio Technica AT4053 with hyper cardiod capsules. These get great reviews and are often compared with the Schoeps at a fraction of the cost. But as with everything to do with audio, more expensive is pretty much always better so go with the Schoeps that Ty recommended if you can afford it. I can't!

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