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What is the most useful microphone?

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Tony Connoly
What is the most useful microphone?
on Oct 23, 2010 at 1:37:03 am

I just got a Zoom H1 to complement my DSLR camera.

If I were to get one mic to experiment with, what would that be, or should I stick with the H1's built-in mic for now?

I am most interested in recording speech, city sounds and occasionally casual live music.


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Ty Ford
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Oct 23, 2010 at 11:29:56 am

Hello Tony and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

There is no "one good mic" for audio. Speech, City Sounds and Live music are all very different. Each situation, even if it were for speech or one of your other three pursuits, may require a different solution depending on ambient noise and acoustical environment, just to mention two factors.

I'm from the buy what you need when you need it clan. Maybe you have one person talking, on-camera, a small hideable lav maybe. A countryman B6 or EMW may work if the H1 has the same voltage available at the mic jack as the H2 does. That wouldn't be my choice for city sounds. I might want that in stereo. Oops! H1 is mono. Do you want to get everything with an omnidirectional mic or use a directional mic to purposely not hear some sounds in favor of hearing others?

Casual music is very difficult to record well, especially if it has percussion/drums. The sheer volume of live music can overload the mic/preamp combination of inexpensive recorders.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Tony Connoly
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Oct 23, 2010 at 2:40:58 pm

Thanks Ty. I guess for now I want a mic to try on different subjects and learn with while getting better audio than the camera's. Should I just stick with the H1's built-in stereo mics until I learn more.

From the Zoom website:

"The H1's stereo microphone input jack can provide plug-in power..."

Does that mean I can plug in mono or stereo mic?


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Ty Ford
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Oct 23, 2010 at 6:06:49 pm

[Tony Connoly] ""The H1's stereo microphone input jack can provide plug-in power..."

Does that mean I can plug in mono or stereo mic?"


Hey Tony,

Stick with the built in for a while until you learn what it does.

No, plug-in power means there a voltage at the jack capable of powering some mics, but not enough to power mics that require phantom power.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Tony Connoly
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Oct 23, 2010 at 6:23:18 pm

Ok, I'll stick with built-in mic for a while. But eventually, can't I plug in a "stereo" mic and record in stereo?


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Ty Ford
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Oct 23, 2010 at 6:51:10 pm

yeah, but remember, your recorder doesn't provide phantom power, so you will be required to:

1. Use mics that can use the existing voltage.
2. Use mics that are battery powered.
3. Use a mixer or preamp that supplies phantom power.

1 & 2 usually are mics that aren't top shelf. The Rode NT-4 and Audio Techinca AT8022 are exceptions. Both better than average.

3 lets you use better mics, but also has the extra cost of the mixer or preamp.

Regards,

TY Ford

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






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Tony Connoly
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Oct 23, 2010 at 7:19:21 pm

I understand. Thank you very much for your help!


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Tony Connoly
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Oct 23, 2010 at 7:29:47 pm

Ty, I just listened to "Look Ma I'm Flying". It's a beautiful recording.


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Ty Ford
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Oct 23, 2010 at 8:03:18 pm

Tony,

Thanks. That was my second attempt at doing something with a video camera. One mic, on the sofa arm. One mic on my cheek. The cheek mic is on to talk, off for music and then back on again to talk.

The sofa mic is a Schoeps cmc641. The cheek mic is a Countryman E6.

Stereo reverb, a little stereo chorus during the "c" part of the piece and then back to just reverb.

Given that it's audio on the Internet, I was very happy with the results.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Tony Connoly
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Nov 6, 2010 at 12:01:05 am

What do you think of using Rode NTG-2 as a leaening tool and to record speech indoors and outdoors, both on video camera and off? Sometimes mic will be 2 feet from speaker, at other times 5 feet. Is there a better choice in that price range?


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Ty Ford
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Nov 6, 2010 at 12:05:50 am

I can't change the laws of physics, Tony.

2 to 5 feet sucks for a boom mic unless you're on a sound stage or in the middle of nowhere.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Tony Connoly
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Nov 6, 2010 at 1:24:35 am

I was wondering whether the NTG-2 was a good choice for both indoor and outdoor work. I had heard that it's not as good indoors due to echo (although I would have thought a shotfun mic would help you avoid echos).

Is 2 feet a minimum? If I can get in closer, it's not a good a idea?

Sorry to ask so many questions. I am trying things out myself, but any added wisdom helps too.


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Ty Ford
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Nov 6, 2010 at 2:19:01 am

here ya go..

http://gallery.me.com/tyreeford#100038

Listen on good monitors or really good headphones.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Tony Connoly
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Nov 9, 2010 at 2:21:54 pm

I'm beginning to understand: microphones are like lenses to a photographer: you can never have enough of them and they're expensive. The only difference is that there are no zoom mics!

Seriously, I appreciate your insights. Looking at the polar response chart of the Rode NTG-2, it seems that off-axis it picks up more low-frequences than it ought to. Do you think that the high-pass filter would be useful in dampening the off-axis low frequences when the sound you're recording doesn't include very low frequencies(for example a woman's voice)?


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Ty Ford
Re: What is the most useful microphone?
on Nov 9, 2010 at 2:34:26 pm

Tony,

Most women's low resonance is below that of most men, but still in a useful range.

If you're thinking lenses, think lighting.

If you could flag off the offending frequencies without affecting the ones you wanted, you'd be OK.

It's the reflected sound that causes the problem with interference tube mics like the typical shotgun. Eliminate the reflections (as you would have on a sound stage) and you can use the shotgun. If you have simultaneous sound sources that are happening off axis to the shotgun on the sound stage, though, you will get unwanted leakage at the lower frequencies.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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