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Whats a good Shotgun Mic for under $700?

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Patrick Bronte
Whats a good Shotgun Mic for under $700?
on Jul 21, 2013 at 4:30:12 am

It's time to upgrade the Shotgun Mic. I I use for conducting sit down interviews. I use a mic stand that I place in front of the talent at knee height and have the mic pointed directly at their face. This way I can get the mic closer to them than if it was mounted on the camera. I'm currently using an old Sony shotgun with a Cannon XF-100 which produces a pretty decent sound but could be better. It does record a better sound than a secondhand Sennheiser ME66/K6.

For the way I'm conducting the interviews do I need a Supercardioid rather than a straight shot gun?


Can anyone suggest the best Shotgun Mic for under $700 dollars? I'm not concerned with having a bunch of extra functions etc, just the best sound possible.

Any advice or recommendations would be much appreciated!



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Bob Kessler
Re: Whats a good Shotgun Mic for under $700?
on Jul 21, 2013 at 3:42:12 pm

The Rode NTG-3 has a very good reputation.

If you are shooting exclusively indoors you may want to consider a hypercardioid mic like the Audio Technic AT4053b; it may sound less "roomy."

Peace,

Bob
____________________________________________________________________
Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.


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Patrick Bronte
Re: Whats a good Shotgun Mic for under $700?
on Jul 22, 2013 at 12:07:51 am

Cheers Bob,

Does Phantom power mean that once plugged into the cameras XLR port the mic with run of the Cameras power supply? I had to ask to be sure. Do you have any idea as to how power hungry a mic like the Audio Technic and the Rode? After checking out both I think the Rode NTG-3 is the go for me. Its sounds as though its got the ability to record good sound. Its RF filter would be handy.

Thanks for putting me onto that Bob!

Pat



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Ty Ford
Re: Whats a good Shotgun Mic for under $700?
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:23:24 am

Hello Patrick and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum,

Bob has given you good advice. Unless you're on an acoustically treated sound stage, the AT 4053b is a good choice. Better than the NTG-3, which is a very good mic, but it's a shotgun and that's not what you want for interviews in most homes and offices.

Here's why.





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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Patrick Bronte
Re: Whats a good Shotgun Mic for under $700?
on Jul 22, 2013 at 2:55:48 am

Ty,

So you reckon get the AT 4053b. Will it be less sensitive to recording noise and other RF sounds as much as the NTG-3? As you've probably figured out I'm just learning about audio so do you think you could help explaining laymen's terms what the switchable 80Hz high-pass filter and -10dB pad allow you to reduce low-frequency noises and extend the mic's headroom in order to capture loud sound sources does and how it will benefit the way in which I would use it in my interview set up? That is: using one of the XF-100 cameras XLR port for a lapel microphone and the other with this mic. I have a small stand that I place right in front of the talent just above knee height (so its out of the frame) and have the mic pointed directly at there face.

So does phantom power mean it runs off the cameras power supply? Can you give me any idea about how much power it would use? This will help determine the size of the new camera battery I need to get. The AT is $100 cheaper than the Rode, is this a case of "just because its more expensive doesn't mean its better"?

If you could help answer these questions I'd be very grateful.



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Ty Ford
Re: Whats a good Shotgun Mic for under $700?
on Jul 22, 2013 at 12:19:55 pm

Patrick,

As I try to explain in my little video, a good audio kit has more than one kind of microphone. A kit with a NTG-3 and an AT4035b is a good start.

The high Pass switch rolls Off low frequencies (below 80 Hz) and is handy when in a lot of homes and offices to get rid of HVAC and other useless sources. It will drop the low frequencies of voices some as well, so use your ears (with good headphones like the ATH-M50 or MDR7506) to determine what to do.

You can't make good decisions without good headphones. Which do you have?

The pad switch reduces the overall sensitivity of the mic, and MAY be helpful if you're trying to shoot video in a REALLY LOUD ENVIRONMENT like a music venue with the band playing. (the pad may or may not get the level down to one that your camera can handle...no guarantee)

In a standard interview setup, you wouldn't use the pad. Mabye the rolloff. Gotta try it to find out.

Yes, Phantom Supply does take some juice form your camera's battery, but the camera uses a LOT more.

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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Patrick Bronte
Re: Whats a good Shotgun Mic for under $700?
on Jul 23, 2013 at 3:12:48 am

Hi Ty,

That video was very helpful. I'm only just starting to learn so I'm still in the dark as to 99.9% of Professional Sound.

I use a Cannon XF-100 which has two XLR ports. At the moment I'm using an Audio-Technica AT803 lapel mic plugged into one and an old Sony shotgun mic in the other (it was given to me and I can't find a model number) The lapel mic seems to pick up the high range sounds while the shotgun picks up the deeper tones in the talents voice. This mic seems to be picking up a slight hum and due to its age needs to be replaced. I'd still use it to record the interviews with my Tascam DR-40 as a back up though. I use a pair of Panasonic RP-DJS200 headphones to monitor the sound.

How do I determine what settings I should have the dials next to the XLR ports on a camera like the XF-100 set to? I try not to fiddle to much once something sounds right.

I have no budget so can only afford one mic to replace the Sony as my main mic. All my shoots will be done inside and are set up as described in my initial post. I kind of need an all rounder - a mic that can capture full rich sounds while the AT803 lapel compensates by capturing clear sound. So far the AT4053b looks like a good choice.



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Ty Ford
Re: Whats a good Shotgun Mic for under $700?
on Jul 23, 2013 at 11:31:53 am

Hello Patrick,

  • "I use a pair of Panasonic RP-DJS200 headphones to monitor the sound."


  • I'd be very wary of $15 headphones.

  • How do I determine what settings I should have the dials next to the XLR ports on a camera like the XF-100 set to? I try not to fiddle to much once something sounds right.


  • Recording with peaks no higher than 8 to 10 dB below zero is fairly safe. Each person is different. Some have irregularly occurring PEAKs in their speech PAtterns that needs to BE compensated for. Of course, you never want to exceed zero.

  • I have no budget so can only afford one mic to replace the Sony as my main mic. All my shoots will be done inside and are set up as described in my initial post. I kind of need an all rounder - a mic that can capture full rich sounds while the AT803 lapel compensates by capturing clear sound. So far the AT4053b looks like a good choice.


  • You can't argue with physics, Patrick. Different mics work better in different situations. Having said that, you can do a lot with a 4053b .

    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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    Patrick Bronte
    Re: Whats a good Shotgun Mic for under $700?
    on Jul 27, 2013 at 5:38:30 am

    Hi Ty & Bob

    I've taken your advice and purchased a pair of MDR-7506 head phones and the AT4053b Mic.

    Does it make any difference using gold plated XLR cables. It sounds like it would. Should I get these on buying a new XLR cable?

    I've attached two images that show my mic controls on my XF-100. I'd like to set them correctly and don't really know the difference so probably have them wrong. If recording volume/strength is increased by turning the dials up, whats it best set to? Can you please advise on the correct settings I should have all the switches on? Does it make a difference if one channel has the shotgun and the other a lavier mic?





    Thanks guys.



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    Ty Ford
    Re: Whats a good Shotgun Mic for under $700?
    on Jul 27, 2013 at 11:45:08 am

    Hello Patrick,

    M for manual (and, btw, you should read the manual that came with the camera)

    Mic + 48 V for the at4053b. If the lav also requires Phantom Power, then Mic +48 for it as well, otherwise just Mic.

    External for both.

    I guess you're talking about gold-plated connectors, not gold cables. I have many cable without gold connectors that work just fine.

    Consult the manual as to how to find the audio metering and adjust the levels so the person speaking doesn't drive the levels into clipping. Experiment with the gear until you are comfortable.

    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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    Patrick Bronte
    Re: Whats a good Shotgun Mic for under $700?
    on Jul 28, 2013 at 2:55:24 am

    Cheers Ty!

    Have had a another good read of the camera manual in light of what I've learn't from this thread. It's so tempting to put the camera on auto everything but that has its own set of problems. I have to wait a few weeks to receive the at4053b as BnH wouldn't ship it to NZ so I'm using a US address to forward it on. I can't wait to start experimenting and becoming familiar with it. It's going to make a big difference with decent headphones. My lav mic uses a battery so its good to know not to put the switch onto +48.

    I did mean gold connectors. I thought I'd ask if they were that much better for the sales assistants sure do make an effort to sell them to you!

    Thanks again!

    Pat



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