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First MIC investment

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Daniel Frome
First MIC investment
on Mar 4, 2012 at 6:59:51 pm

Hello everyone -

I'm a TV editor and film maker who hasn't made his own material in a while. I'm casually getting back into the swing of things and am trying to invest in a good general-purpose mic. As I'm well aware, the term 'general purpose' probably not going to get me very far, but here's what I know so far:

I'm going to film a mix of indoor and outdoor (but mostly indoor), and my limited research shows that a Sennheiser MKH50 or Scheops CMC 641 are top choices for dialog recording. It seems that they are excellent for indoor use, and also adequate for outdoor (someone please correct me if this is wrong).

Price wise, they both fall just north of $2000 (In Canada at least), and I'm wondering if there are cheaper (1000-1500) mics that still perform decently enough?

Any info is greatly appreciated.


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Richard Crowley
Re: First MIC investment
on Mar 4, 2012 at 7:40:20 pm

The Oktava MK012A "Bello Nero" with Hypercardioid Capsule is probably the most popular budget hypercardioid microphone. The downsides of this microphone are increased handling noise (use better shock mount), and somewhat higher self-noise (not as good for really quiet situations.)

http://oktava.com/inc/sdetail/474.

And remember low-frequency noise (wind) protection. Indoors, if you are going to be moving the microphone at all (as on a boom), you need a minimum some sort of foam ball gag. And if you are using it outdoors, you will almost certainly also need a furry cover for wind protection.


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Ty Ford
Re: First MIC investment
on Mar 5, 2012 at 10:21:32 pm

and it will never sound like a Schoeps...

From bottom up;

Oktava
Audio Technica AT4053b
Audix SCX-1 HC
Sennheiser MKH50
Schoeps cmc641

Regards,

Ty Ford
Audio Forum Leader


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


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Al Bergstein
Re: First MIC investment
on Mar 14, 2012 at 6:55:22 pm

Daniel, you really didn't clarify what kind of recording you are going to do, but it seems like you wanted a boom pole mic, as that's what the choices you described were about. Do you plan on booming all your work? I don't think I'd spend that money on using those for shotguns. Would you?

For me, the "first mic" had to be wireless lavs, and a wireless mic plugin for a handheld for standup interview purposes, which I rarely use. Plug into a dynamic EV-50b for field interview hand held (and sometimes attached to the wireless adapter).

Oh, and along with a good shotgun for the camera itself (Audio Technica).. Good inexpensive and reliable. Records quality sound for something on a camera, as opposed to a pole.

While none of my mics are in the price range you are describing (and that's wonderful you are considering that price range), I usually hire folks to do the audio when I have to record that quality of work. If you are considering being in business as a field audio guy rather than a shooter, that probably is worth the investment.

For example, my videos of the Brother's Four artist Mark Pearson (http://www.youtube.com/user/MarkPearsonMusic?ob=0&feature=results_main)
were shot in a theater we rented, and I convinced him to bring in a studio sound engineer to record. Mark brought a pair of performance mics that he uses that are in the range you describe, and the sound engineer had a wide range of mics. I think that I could *never* have done the quality of sound that these mics in the hands of a good experienced sound engineer produced. We recorded onto a Tascam HDP2 for most of these, and the engineer said he *loved* the quality of the pre's on it. I just sold it (maybe that was dumb) but have a Marantz PM661 coming this week, and will see whether we get the same quality. I think that the specs and quality of the 661, including the much sought after true 'line in' will be the go to recorder, since I'm not willing to spend almost $3k for SD quality (though I probably should have!). I feel that my next buy will be a used 4 channel mixer to feed down to the more portable 2 channel 661.

Also, a *first or early buy* would be a field mixer, as virtually all cameras have too much hiss for my tastes. I try to run all my work through a field mixer, and split it to a field recorder, unless it's being mic'ed directly to the recorder.

But for audio recording in the field, I think I would spend a little less until the jobs show up, as I doubt that the difference in mics will be that noticeable for video use. The mixer will do more to bring your work up to studio quality than tons of money on mics. Of course, this is my limited, advanced amateur thoughts only. I know the pros on this board would beg to differ (G).

Al


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Daniel Frome
Re: First MIC investment
on Mar 18, 2012 at 5:12:22 pm

[Al Bergstein] "Daniel, you really didn't clarify what kind of recording you are going to do, but it seems like you wanted a boom pole mic, as that's what the choices you described were about. Do you plan on booming all your work? I don't think I'd spend that money on using those for shotguns. Would you?"

Hi Al,
The type of shooting I want to do is personal projects, mix of indoors and outdoors (but mostly indoor). Think small scripted scenes with 1 or 2 actors, maybe the occasional corporate job 3-4 times per year.
As for booming with these mics, that's actually exactly what I was planning on doing. I got the idea after reading some other posts in this forum, specifically noting that some TV shows do exactly this, contrary to (what appears to be) conventional wisdom of needing to lav up actors. The idea is to buy 1 really good mic that I can boom, or hook up to a stand for interviews, etc, and then expand to lavs in the future if I need them. I have a feeling I will usually end up renting extra mics.. but I just want 1 really solid mic to own.


[Al Bergstein] "While none of my mics are in the price range you are describing (and that's wonderful you are considering that price range), I usually hire folks to do the audio when I have to record that quality of work. "

I don't mind spending a little extra. I've had enough experience to know that most mid-to-low range gear rarely lives up to what it promises to do.


[Al Bergstein] "Also, a *first or early buy* would be a field mixer, as virtually all cameras have too much hiss for my tastes. "

I'm actually using a sync box to from my HDP2 and camera, and therefore am only needing a guide track to the camera and sync everything up via timecode in post. I don't plan on using camera audio, but I know that if I was, this would be good advice.


[Al Bergstein] " If you are considering being in business as a field audio guy rather than a shooter, that probably is worth the investment. "

I'm actually a TV editor and do not plan on doing audio field production for a job, ever. The fact that I've got plenty of post experience is probably the reason I want to buy good quality gear, even for personal stuff.

It's interesting to note your different opinion on using these mics for boom-work (hopefully the other responders in this forum haven't been misinterpreted when I say this). I'm glad for people like you sharing your experience and opinion on the matter. Thanks again!


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Al Bergstein
Re: First MIC investment
on Mar 18, 2012 at 7:03:57 pm

All good feedback. (email threads like this are so difficult to clarify sometimes). Sounds like you have thought through your needs clearly. Good luck on your new projects!

Al


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