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Need advice to get a mic for recording discourses

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Jaanus Henno
Need advice to get a mic for recording discourses
on Dec 28, 2012 at 7:11:15 am

Hi!
I've been looking around the net for some time and read many different reviews on lots of microphones and came to a conclusion to better ask someone who knows. There's too much to take into consideration for me to figure it out.

Here it is. I need a good quality mic for recording discourses on a Zoom H1 recorder. I was checking lav mics but I would better avoid them because I don't want to hang anything on the speaker. At the same time I would like to eliminate as much as noise as possible. I'm going to India and there's hot, so often the ventilators are making a lot of noise on the ceiling. Another issue is that if there's already a microphone and speakers for the audience, they are often very low quality and I would like to eliminate as much sound from the speakers as possible. And third is echo, there's many times a lot of echo, depending on the environment, but I don't want that.

So I guess some good quality shotgun mic is what I need and also a stand to keep it on the table. The distance from the speaker will be small.

Another issue is that Zoom H1 has only a 3.5 jack input.

My budget is around 200 dollars.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!


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Ty Ford
Re: Need advice to get a mic for recording discourses
on Dec 29, 2012 at 4:14:19 am

Hello Jaanus and welome to the Cow Audio Forum.

What's a discourse and in what sort of space is it?

You are not likely to be happy with a shotgun mic at a distance of more than 18 inches. Microphones are not like zoom lenses. This is very likely why you haven't been able to come to a decision by yourself. :)

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow 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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Richard Crowley
Re: Need advice to get a mic for recording discourses
on Dec 29, 2012 at 4:47:40 pm

You have painted yourself into a corner. You say that you don't want to put a microphone on the presenter, but then you describe environments that make any other kind of technique unworkable.

As Mr. Ford says, shotgun mics are NOT like zoom lenses or laser beams. And in acoustically difficult places, proximity is the best solution. Since you cannot affect the acoustic environment, your only choice is to get the microphone as close as possible to increase the signal-to-noise ratio.

Not to mention that shotgun mics are actually WORSE in environments with near reflections because they confuse the mic so it can't discriminate between direct vs. reflected sounds.


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Jaanus Henno
Re: Need advice to get a mic for recording discourses
on Dec 30, 2012 at 7:11:57 am

Ok, thank you.

Now I understand. So then I will go with the lav mics and have to hang it on the speaker anyway.

By a discourse I meant a speaker sitting behind the table and speaking, audience and space vary a lot, all kinds of environments will be taken into consideration. The speaker travels a lot and speaks in different places, outdoor and indoor.

One more question. If I hang the lav on a standard microphone stand close to the big mic for the public, will there be any interference problems?

And then I have to choose a good lav mike. Should I get a mic with low sensitivity? I don't want to record much of the surroundings and the volume of the record is not a problem, I will go through it and add levels etc. with Adobe Audition. I just want to have a nice, clean and natural voice recording.

One more thing I'm taking into consideration is that sometimes the speaker has a translator and I also want to record him. So I was thinking of binaural mics since there's two of them in one and I can use one for the translator. Later on I can mix the recording together or keep two separate tracks, whatever is needed. Is that a good way to go?

If yes, then I'm thinking of these Audio Professionals lav mics. Is that a good choice?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/LAVALIER-LAPEL-MICROPHONES-w-CLIP-SOUND-PROFESSIONA...

Or if that is not a good choice, is there anything you can recommend?

Regards,
Jaanus


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Richard Crowley
Re: Need advice to get a mic for recording discourses
on Dec 30, 2012 at 7:22:11 am

There is generally no issue with adjacent microphones interfering with each other. Note the dozens of microphones in a small forest at major news conferences, etc. The only problem may be if you let your ground touch the ground (generally the outside shell of the mic or connector) of someone else's mic which could cause a ground loop hum in some cases. Something easily avoided in any case.

The sensitivity of the mic will make no difference in the discrimination between the desired signal and the undesired ambient noise/acoustics. It is the RATIO of the sounds that you want to maximize by getting the mic as close to the presenter's mouth as practical. Of course, you don't want such a low sensitivity that you have to crank up the gain when recording which will add extra electronic noise (hiss). OTOH very high sensitivity may be a problem if this presenter is prone to shouting, etc.

That dual lav mic setup would probably work, except that the wires don't look like they are anywhere near long enough for practical use. Even the distance between the mic heads looks too short. Unless the presenter and the translator are Siamese Twins joined at the hip.


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Jaanus Henno
Re: Need advice to get a mic for recording discourses
on Dec 30, 2012 at 9:11:59 am

Ok, thanks for the clarification.

In that case, could it be possible to use an adapter to have two separate lav mics?

Another option is to order a longer cord, I think Sound Professionals can do that.

H1 provides plug-in power, but I don't know how much will it be.

Is there a need to get a small pre-amp for the mic or mics?

Sound Professionals site have these (although it's down at the moment).

Any recommendation for a good lav?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Need advice to get a mic for recording discourses
on Dec 30, 2012 at 6:18:56 pm

Yes, if you have an adapter that is wired correctly, you can use two separate mics. Note that the kind of adapter normally sold at retail (Radio Shack, online, etc.) are made for stereo headphones/earbuds are are NOT wired correctly for this kind of use.

If they can supply the unit with a longer cord, that would be great.

I woludn't think that the plug-in power from the H1 would be an issue. It would be good if you could confirm with the microphone vendor that it will work.

I would not think you need a preamp if you get microphones with decent sensitivity. Unless your presenter/translator are whispering or something.

These are some of the vendors I would investigate for a project like yours:
http://www.oscarsoundtech.com/index.html
http://microphonemadness.com/index.html
http://www.naiant.com/

I have done business with Naiant, but the others have been recommended in this or other sound forums.

Remember that using a wired microphone is always more reliable than using wireless, but the user must not run off suddenly and forget that they are tethered with a mic cable. In the case of two people, this will be even more of a potential issue.

However, no wireless microphone kit cheaper than US$600 is worth buying. And note that wireless microphones can be a problem if traveling in other countries.

Consider that taking 100% redundant spares (an extra set of mics, cables, etc.) may be prudent depending on the nature of your presenters, the conditions, the importance of capturing everything, etc. etc.


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Roger Van Duyn
Re: Need advice to get a mic for recording discourses
on Jan 1, 2013 at 4:11:13 pm

Hi Jaanus.

Your question: "One more question. If I hang the lav on a standard microphone stand close to the big mic for the public, will there be any interference problems?"

You're not asking about feedback are you? That comes from your microphone picking up the amplified sound coming through the PA system and then going back through the PA system again. It's not anything that comes from microphones being close together.

Again, not sure how much experience you have. As someone still not all that far from the newbie level myself, I know how hard it can be to ask the right question.

Roger


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Richard Crowley
Re: Need advice to get a mic for recording discourses
on Jan 2, 2013 at 6:55:21 am

It is a common fallacy that microphones in proximity cause (or promote) acoustic feedback. There is noting about microphones in proximity that has anything to do with acoustic feedback. Especially microphones connected to different systems (as house reinforcement vs. recording, etc.) As I said, the hazards from microphones in close proximity are banging against each other, and accidentally touching which COULD cause a ground loop problem in SOME cases.


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Jaanus Henno
Re: Need advice to get a mic for recording discourses
on Jan 2, 2013 at 12:30:00 pm

Thank you for all the advice, I'm getting one of the mics from the sites Richard recommended, that's just what I need.

Regards,
Jaanus


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Ty Ford
Re: Need advice to get a mic for recording discourses
on Jan 2, 2013 at 1:27:31 pm

There are two mics anecdotes;

I have yet to see a movie in which there's a scene where someone comes to a microphone and just before they speak there's a feedback squeal or ring. It's the most bizarre thing. It's not like they don't have control of that during the shoot. Some sound designer with too much time on their hands decided to put that in there and it's a major cliche.

When using a live PA mic, grabbing the head of the mic in such a way that you block the rear ports of the capsule immediately turns the (usually) directional mic into a omnidirectional mic and can set off feedback. Move your hands away from the back ports, and the feedback goes away.

HNY Everyone,

Ty Ford
Cow 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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