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Good VO mic?

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Matt Campbell
Good VO mic?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 2:27:02 pm

Mic question. What would it take to record good audio without having a studio or sound booth? We currectly have a shotgun mic (AudioTechnica) and a reporter style mic (Sennheiser) for use with our HVX 200 camera and my Mackie 1202 mixer. Which I use to capture audio into FCP or STP. I feel like I don't get that good of audio from our mics. Would something like this mic be good. I’ve seen studio mics range from $100 all the way up to a thousand. Can anyone recommend a good, cheap mic.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/558996-REG/AKG_3101_H_00050_Perceptio...

I guess, the bigger question is, is it the mic or the environment your recording in. We don’t have a booth rather my office, a room with my computer and editorial equipment. Basically we get these little or no budget video requests and I’d like to be able to record good VO tracks rather than call upon our audio house to hopefully give us another freebie. Any thoughts on set up?

This doesn't need to be broadcast quality just good enough for web and DVD.

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Ty Ford
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 3:50:05 pm

Hello Matt and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Only for the web but your current mics aren't good enough?

Too little information.

The space or room in which your record makes a HUGE difference.

Where you put the mic makes a difference.

How close you get ti it makes a big difference.

Regards,

Ty Ford


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Matt Campbell
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 4:09:29 pm

Well, web and DVD. I can record decent audio but it just doesn't sound as good as I think it should. When our audio house send us there VOs, there's and ours are pretty different. I'm hoping I can get them closer. The shotgun mic pics up everything, so we only use that on camera and on boom. The Sennheiser MD 46 gives a lot better sound but still not as good as studio mics or audio from a booth.

So I guess it might be more of a usage thing. My office is in a 15' x 14' room with metal corrigated paneling. I usually hang blankets on some of the walls to help reduce vibration and such. With the mic having a smaller cone, I place it almost nose or eye level and slightly off center about 6-12" from subject.

I'm just not sure if a studio mic (or large Diaphragm Condenser) would be better served for this purpose or if I should stick with what I got. I just don't know enough about audio.

Also, is the recording process okay. Simply running the mic via XLR into my Mackie 1202 mixer and recording into FCP via the Log and Capture video. Or even in STP. I'm on FCS 2.

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Ty Ford
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 4:22:31 pm

Yes, well, that's different isn't it?

There's a reason why people spend money on acoustic treatment for recording studios. That's what you're hearing.

Ty Ford's #1 Law Of Microphones is..Get it closer to the source. 2" and 45 degrees off the side of the mouth.

You still have not told me what the AT mic is. Find it.

Ty Ford

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Matt Campbell
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 5:34:40 pm

sorry ty. Its a audio technica 4073a.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/422104-REG/Audio_Technica__Deluxe_Sho...

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Ty Ford
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 5:46:49 pm

that'll work!

4073 is a hot mic.

Put up some C-stands around the talker. Drape sound blankets over them, maybe even across the top.

Work the mic 45 degrees to one side or the other and @3" from the tip. Don't talk into the mic, talk past it but have it pointing at your mouth,

If that fails, hire me to do your VO from my studio. :)

http://web.mac.com/tyreeford/Site/VO_and_On_Camera_Demos.html

Regards,

Ty Ford


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Matt Campbell
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 5:55:55 pm

Thanks. I'll try those things. But with which mic. The AT or Senhessier?

Also, I just watched the first clip on your link. That sounds super clear. My audio never sounds that good. Its very dull. The range is low. That is the kind of audio i'd like to get. Can you recommend a particular mic? Maybe like the one from the first post or something better?

Was that recorded with mix you have hanging there or something else? And was that recorded directly in camera?

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Ty Ford
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 6:10:02 pm

[Matt Campbell] "Was that recorded with mix you have hanging there or something else? And was that recorded directly in camera?"

Matt,

I make part of my living doing VO, so my voice is half the recipe.

What you are hearing is a Countryman B6 on my chest to a Sound Devices 442 mixer to a Canon XL2, plus my ability to know what to do to each one of them to make it punch.

That was shot here in my studio which is acoustically treated. No sound blanket required.

No reason you can't use either mic.

Regards,

Ty Ford


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






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Matt Campbell
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 6:16:43 pm

gotcha. thx for the help.

we also have a Sound Devices MixPre compact 2-channel field mixer. but haven't been using it lately. the last few times we've tried using it, we've had weird issues. we get what sounds like waves in the line. I'm sure its a setting we've missed somewhere but I miss using it. i had the ability to ride levels a bit. tough to do that on camera.

thx again for the help. i'll keep fine tuning.

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Ty Ford
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 6:42:07 pm

waves in the line....hmm

wanna send me a clip?

tyreeford@comcast.net

Ty

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Matt Campbell
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 6:55:21 pm

I would, only I don't have those clips anymore. Deleted them after we went straight to camera for audio, bypassing the mixer.

However, I just tested everything and it was all good. Here's my set up. maybe before I missed something on the camera and/or mixer.

Panasonic HVX200 & SD MixPre using the AT mic.

XLR cables. Mic to Input 1 on mixer, output 1 from mixer to input 2 on camera. Input on camera set to Line, not MIC. Audio settings on camera CH1 Select on Input 2, CH 2 Select to Input 2, Input 1 is off, Input 2 is on. Channel dials on camera back are set to channel 1 below middle and channel 2 above middle. I do this so if one channel is too hot I can still use the other channel in FCP.

Mixer has levels set and channel to C. I'm assuming C is for Center from L C R. MixPre runs off 2 batteries power is set to INT and switch to TAPE not RTN.

This test work fine. Not sure how I got those waves before. Maybe bad XLR cable or missed setting. FYI, the waves sounded like a didgeridoo instrument.

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Ty Ford
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 3, 2010 at 7:22:06 pm

[Matt Campbell] "XLR cables. Mic to Input 1 on mixer, output 1 from mixer to input 2 on camera. Input on camera set to Line, not MIC. Audio settings on camera CH1 Select on Input 2, CH 2 Select to Input 2, Input 1 is off, Input 2 is on. Channel dials on camera back are set to channel 1 below middle and channel 2 above middle. I do this so if one channel is too hot I can still use the other channel in FCP.

Mixer has levels set and channel to C. I'm assuming C is for Center from L C R. MixPre runs off 2 batteries power is set to INT and switch to TAPE not RTN. "


OK... Yes, C for center (orsending to both MixPre outputs. The normal way to do this is to have a two channel cable with an audio return for headphones. So, two XLRs from mixer to camera. there's a male mini 1/8" plug that goes into the camera headphone jack.

There's a male mini 1/8" plug on the other end of the camera cable that goes into the headphone return jack. RTN. You can togle back and forth from mixer to camera return by throwing the Tape Return switch back and forth. I usually ALWAYS listen to the camera return instead of the mixer out. That way I am sure the audio is at least getting to the camera.

switch the 1Khz tone switch to throw tone to your camera. set the inputs at -20 dB on the camera. The meter on the MixPre should read 0 dB of tone. Turn off tone. You can run levels on the Mixpre up to +20 dB (fullscale) on its meters and that will result in your camera levels being 0 dB, just below clipping. That's how you calibrate the mixer to the camera. Now you don't have to look at the camera meters.I normally try to peak at -6dB.

The MixPre Limiters are your friend. Read the manual.


Limiters
The MixPre has two built-in peak responding limiters, one for each input channel. The three-position
LIMITER switch on the input panel activates both channels limiters. Each limiter in the MixPre is a twostage
circuit; the fi rst stage keeps the input gain stage from clipping; the second stage limits the variable
gain stage to the level set by the Limiter Threshold control. This unique two stage topology limits the
gain stage directly after the mic input transformer, to make the front end virtually “unclippable”, but
does not change the input impedance as other “at the mic” limiters do. The circuit enables the MixPre
to limit, when necessary, in excess of 50 dB, making it very diffi cult to clip the unit no matter the gain
setting.
The three-position Limiter switch can be set to operate in either dual mono or stereo linked operation.
Dual mono operation (ON switch position) allows each input to limit independently, responding only
to its input signal. Stereo linked operation (LINK switch position) connects both limiters, ensuring that
the limiters control both channels identically. This linking is important for stereo operation to maintain
a proper stereo image. When the limiters activate, the Peak/Limiter LED on the front panel illuminates
amber in proportion to the amount of limiting for each channel.----

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Matt Campbell
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 4, 2010 at 1:13:37 pm

Oh, I now see what the TAPE RTN is for. Duh. So the way I have it set up is monitoring the incoming mic audio vs. your method monitors the mic audio but through the camera. Sound right? One thing though, our 1/8" jack on the camera is spotty at best. We need to send it in for repairs. You have to wiggle the jack to get it to work and even then your lucky if you do. So I think, as long as it works, I'll have to stick with the set up I'm using. Does that sound about right? I mean, it works, but probably not ideal according to your recommend above, to create that loop with the TAPE RTN.

I guess as long as I'm seeing the meters on the camera bounce I SHOULD be ok for now, until we can get that fixed. I can still monitor through the mixer.

Thanks for your help. Much appreciated.

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Matt Campbell
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 4, 2010 at 2:40:31 pm

Ok Ty, I've just tried everything you mentioned. Mic input into mixer, 2 XLRs out from mixer and into camera. 1/8" headphone jack from camera to TAPE RTN on mixer. Everything sounded good and normal. But the kicker is that it didn't sound any different than the original set up I used, with only 1 xlr going to camera. That way I was able to turn 1 ch down and 1 ch up in case one was hot in post. This was I was recording to both ch's at the same level. I'm sorry this is all getting to be a bit much and over my head. I just can't comprehend all this. I just don't fully understand the connections.

No matter what connection set up I use, its like the camera audio dials are the end all be all. Am I not able to turn 1 ch up and 1 ch down on the mixer? The ch 2 dial on mixer does diddly squat. Maybe I'll ask one of our vendors to just show me the set up. I'm more of a visual learner anyway.

thx again.

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Ty Ford
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 4, 2010 at 3:22:10 pm

Matt,

Bouncing meters only mean the lights are working.
Think it through. If you're not hearing camera audio, you can screw yourself up.
When that day happens, you'll remember this thread and me saying, "ALWAYS, ALWAYS LISTEN!

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Matt Campbell
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 4, 2010 at 3:24:23 pm

Thats just the thing. Even without the 1/8" headphone jack, I'm still hearing the audio with the mixer on RTN.

OS 10.6.3, Mac Pro 2 x 2.66 ghz quad-core intel xenon, 16 gb ram, with BM Intensity Pro card


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Ty Ford
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 4, 2010 at 3:33:22 pm

move the switch. With nothing plugged into the headphone return, you will hear nothing.
With the proper cable plugged into the camera headphone output and the RTN jack on the mixer you will hear camera input audio.

Ya might want to re-read the manual. :)

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Hope Holmesby
Re: Good VO mic?
on Jun 4, 2010 at 4:30:13 pm

Really beautiful....beautiful....

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Life is here to enjoy.

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