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Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?

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Norm Kaiser
Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 18, 2014 at 1:11:38 am

The name of this forum is Audio Professionals.

I am no professional.

I am about to demonstrate this fact in this post!

I record interviews into my camcorder using a clone of a Shure SM-58. It records excellent sound...BUT! For some reason the mic records handling noise even when the mic is handled very gently. It's a rumbling sort of noise.

What am I doing wrong?


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 18, 2014 at 9:08:46 am

Wrong mic for the job.... Shure SM58 (and clones) are vocal mics designed for singers to SCREAM into, which means any handling noise will be way down in level compared to the audio signal.
SM 58's can be used as an interview style mic BUT it needs to be VERY close to the mouth and talking at a loud level.

Typical interview mics used for news type jobs, the mics often used Electro voice RE50, Shure SM63, Shure VP64, Sennheiser MD42,+ others are most times are 'omni directional' rather than cardioid pattern mics.


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Craig Alan
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 18, 2014 at 10:29:21 pm

If you don't want the omni pattern the Sennheiser MD46 is an excellent hand held. The shure is very nice on a stand. You could try getting a shock mount for it. Also, an xlr cable with a loose connection can add to the noise.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Norm Kaiser
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 3:16:05 pm

Thanks, guys, for replying!

Thank you for pointing out that tidbit about using an omni mic. That did not occur to me. Funny, right after reading your post, I read up on the matter on the Internet and one article summed up exactly what I was doing: I mistakenly concluded that a uni mic would be better to block out any ambient noise.

Now...back to the matter at hand, however.

I have run several experiments, but still no luck. I switched to a uni mic, no luck.

Here's the deal -- somehow it seems the mic is too hot. That is, if I just gently and smoothly run my thumb along the shaft of the mic, the camcorder picks that noise up.

I could try turning the mic level down on the camcorder, but then I worry my actual dialogue (interview audio) will be too low. The mic level is set pegged squarely in the middle of the level bar...which to a newb like me seems to be where it should be. But then why is it picking up all the handling noise?


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Buz Tarlow
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 3:59:17 pm

Hi

It is typical to rolloff everything below 80Hz which does help with mic handling and other noise as well. Some mics have a switch on mic for that but you can do it in post as well. Doing it in mic is usually best but not a big deal. In mic so you don't use up your gain on noise. But post mic if you want to play with the starting point and steepness of the rolloff in post.

Hope this helps


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Norm Kaiser
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 5:27:32 pm

Thank you so much!

I've read many people suggest this. Problem is, I can seem to figure out how to do it in Vegas. I apply the equalizer effect thing in Vegas and tell the equalizer to drop everything under 80Hz, but it doesn't seem to have any effect.

Can you or anyone give me some pointers?

Doesn't have to be Vegas...can it be done in Audacity? If yes, I'd love to know how.


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Craig Alan
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 6:22:42 pm

Be more specific. What omni mike did you try? What camcorder? Most camcorders you want levels at or a tad over -12. You want the mike close to the source, the subject's mouth in this case. ENG mikes should not pick up that much handling noise. But a poor connection (the cord or interconnect) will make it very noisy. Are you using an xlr to mini-plug cord or an xlr-xlr cord? Will you hear nose if you wiggle the cord near where you plug it in to the camcorder or mike end? Try using a velcro tie down to create a loop that will isolates the plug from any movement of the cord. On the xlr mike end if the cord is loose and noisy then you have a bad cord or a bad mike. You could try some gaffers tape around the connection but I would get a quality cord instead.

The two reasons reporters prefer the omni pattern is so they pick up the atmosphere of the location and so they can shoot with one mike often placed somewhat between them and their subject (though they do try to point it back and forth). And I've seen interviews in the field in which this choice backfires. The interview can be drowned out by the b.g. noise. But the mike companies do designate mikes as being for ENG which is news gathering. So these are designed to be hand held without much handling noise. Generally physically playing with the mike you will pick up noise. To learn about the characteristics of mikes try looking them up on BHphoto.

With audio, it's best to record good sound and just balance levels out in post not try to edit out rumbling noise and such. Good mixers and some mikes have that 80 htz roll off but it does not fix mike handling noise. It helps with low muddy voices and a tad of low b.g. room noise.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 9:31:33 pm
Last Edited By Brian Reynolds on Jan 19, 2014 at 9:32:31 pm

In the original posting of this thread you mentioned the mic was a 'clone of an SM58'... you mean by shape or by construction or by electrically similar.
Any chance of a make and model number?



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Norm Kaiser
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 9:44:20 pm

>>Be more specific. What omni mike did you try? What camcorder?

Camcorder is a Canon Vixia HF21.

I've tried three different mics: The Pyle PDMIC58. That's the Shure clone. Then I tried the Radio Shack omni and the Radio Shack uni. Note that I have three different mics AND THREE DIFFERENT CORDS. Regardless of which mic I use, I get the same handling noise. So I assume the problem is not the cord.

>>Are you using an xlr to mini-plug cord or an xlr-xlr cord?

XLR to 1/4...and then I convert the 1/4 to a mini into the camcorder using an adapter.

>>Will you hear noise if you wiggle the cord near where you plug it in to the camcorder or mike end?

No. No noise. Connection is very snug.


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John Fishback
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 9:45:59 pm

There might be mechanical damage in the mic caused by rough handling or dropping. I've seen that happen.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz, 16 GB RAM, OS 10.8.4, QT10.1, Kona 3, Dual Cinema 23, ATI Radeon HD 5870, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
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Norm Kaiser
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 9:49:54 pm

I thought that, too, but I've tried three different mics all with the same result.

Is it possible that the noise is due to the fact that the mics are dynamic, not condensers?


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 9:50:12 pm
Last Edited By Brian Reynolds on Jan 19, 2014 at 9:58:10 pm

I think I might have the reason... you have a balanced mic going into an unbalanced stereo input. You need to get a correctly made cord that will send the mic signal to BOTH left and right of the cam corder. At the moment tou have the positive of the mic signal going to Left and the negative of the signal going to Right.

Pin 1 of the mic needs to end up on the 'sleave' of the camcorder input connector.
Pin 2 of the mic needs to end up on BOTH the 'tip' and 'ring' of the camcorder input connector.
Pin 3 of the mic needs to be joined up with 'sleave' at the camcroder input connector.

ANY OTHER combination WILL give you trouble.


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Norm Kaiser
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 10:06:03 pm

OK...here's where I wade into murky waters for me.

I have three mics. All three mics terminate into a mono (one black ring) 1/4 inch plug.

So...that means the mics are unbalanced, correct?

So to overcome the fact that it's a mono plug, I have a mono 1/4 inch to stereo mini adapter.

My thought was this would just put the same mono signal into both tracks, left and right.

This seems to work very well except for the handling noise.

And just to educate myself -- in order to have a balanced connection, you have to have three tips, correct? That is, if the cord terminates into a 1/4 plug, the 1/4 plug would have to have two black rings around it, correct?


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 10:15:23 pm
Last Edited By Brian Reynolds on Jan 19, 2014 at 10:17:51 pm

Yep you are now into a very grey area... lets assume the xlr connector is wired correctly... the first point of doubt is the 1/4" mono connector, the next point of doubt is the converter to mini jack, then the next point of doubt is the connection into the camcorder.

So realisticly there might be 6-8 possible connection variations in the set up you have..... Yes they may all physicaly fit together but I very much doubt if you have the correct connections.

I have NEVER found a correctly wired 'off the shelf' adaptor to suit stereo camcorder mic inputs.


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Norm Kaiser
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 10:19:24 pm

Understood. But then why is the sound quality so good? The sound of the speaker is exceptional. My only problem is the handling noise. I would think that if my connections were wrong the mic would either not work at all or sound like crap...right?


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 10:23:27 pm

Is the sound level 'low' compared to other recordings?
It may not be as the auto gain has raised the level so high that even the slightest handling noise will 50 times (or more) louder than it should be.


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Norm Kaiser
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 10:29:53 pm

That's an idea. How do I check that?

I'm thinking no, as the camcorder has a mic level setting, which is a little slider bar thing, and the slider bar thing has a -12dB indicator on it, and I have the mic set right around that indicator.

But maybe you're on to something! Is it possible this camcorder requires a mic that is self-powered (i.e., a batter?) and since I'm using a simple plug-in dynamic mic it's turning up the gain?


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Craig Alan
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 19, 2014 at 11:52:22 pm

http://www.mediacollege.com/audio/connection/connectors.html

Canon recommends stereo condensor mikes with 3.5mm plug. Since condenser mikes are powered it helps send a strong enough signal to your cheap preamp which is used in all these minicams.

But getting back to the theory that the camera is auto boosting the signal:

Put the camera in manual adjustment for audio. There is one bar that indicates the level (the one with -12 marked) and the other is how high the signal has been adjusted. So you should visually see if that is the case. Not sure if auto gain remains in effect somehow even when using the manual controls.

I still can't tell what mikes you've tried. Radio shack omni and uni? What models? You plugged in your xlr into these mikes or did they come wired already with a plug meant for PA powered speaker? (thus mono).

I would consider either getting a small mixer that can provide phantom power or getting a mike that can be powered with a battery. Do a search for both shure and Audio Technica for ENG condenser battery powered hand-held stereo mike. Then check prices and reviews on BHphoto.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Ty Ford
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 20, 2014 at 1:20:52 am

Norm,

Please present model numbers and names so we can more quickly get you your answer.

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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Norm Kaiser
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 20, 2014 at 1:29:00 am

Camera: Canon Vixia HF21
Mic #1: Pyle PDMIC58
Mic #2: Radio Shack 33-3042
Mic #3: Radio Shack 33-3039


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Ty Ford
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 20, 2014 at 2:25:31 am

OK,

These are low dollar mics that attempt to look like an SM58. So clones. No guarantees that they bear ANY resemblance to an SM58.

Yes, your mics are unbalanced. I doubt a simple mono to stereo adapter will work. In fact, a dynamic mic may not work well because all dynamic mics are low in sensitivity compared to condenser mics. Because of this, if the camera preamp has not been designed to provide good, clean, quiet gain, you will be unhappy with the results.

That means the mics themselves may be the problem. Brian or Craig gave you a list of professional mics used for this type of job. Perhaps this is the time to begin building a proper audio kit. These are professional mics. They require a cable with female XLR on one end and a 1/8" TRS on the other that has been specially wired with pin 2 to the tip and ring. Tip and ring will connect to the left and right camera inputs properly. This connection puts the audio on both tracks of your camcorder.

What city are you in?

Regards,

Ty Ford

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


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Norm Kaiser
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 20, 2014 at 3:04:47 am

>>I doubt a simple mono to stereo adapter will work.

I know for a fact that it works. I have video to prove it. The audio itself sounds great. The problem is not whether or not it works; the problem is that the audio has mic handling noise when the interviewer moves it.

>>These are low dollar mics that attempt to look like an SM58. So clones. No guarantees that they bear ANY resemblance to an SM58.

Understood. HOWEVER, if you read the reviews of this mic on Amazon, you'll see dozens of folks there giving this clone rave reviews and reporting that it performs on par with the SM58. See here: http://www.amazon.com/Pyle-Pro-PDMIC58-Professional-Handheld-Microphone/pro...

>>What city are you in?

I live in Freeport, Florida...right outside of Panama City.


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Ty Ford
Re: Handheld Mic is Noisy...Why?
on Jan 20, 2014 at 3:15:26 am

:) Then your answer is fairly simple.

If you're not going to get better mics, then learn to handle the mics you have more gently.

Find some sort of cushioned adhesive-backed material. Moleskin, maybe. Wear gloves.

Or, back to square one, get the right gear for the job.

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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