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clyde villegas
lav mic sound quality
on Mar 18, 2015 at 11:11:46 pm

I know that the size of a microphone's diaphram affects the quality of the sound. Is it possible to improve the sound quality or possibly increase the dynamic range of a low cost system (like the Azden 105) by replacing the included lapel mic with a better one? Thanks guys!

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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Richard Crowley
Re: lav mic sound quality
on Mar 19, 2015 at 12:48:32 am

It seems possible that you could improve the "quality" of the audio performance, depending on what parts of the performance you are talking about and whether it/they are influenced by the microphone, or by the rest of the audio chain.

It is not at all clear that "the size of a microphone's diaphram affects the quality of the sound". Some extraordinarily high quality microphones (such as those from DPA, etc.) are also extraordinarily tiny. And again, unless you can better define the term "quality" it is indistinguishable from ordinary free-floating anxiety.


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clyde villegas
Re: lav mic sound quality
on Mar 19, 2015 at 12:57:03 am

Thanks Richard.

I think I'm referring to dynamic range, where the sound is richer. On some cheaper mics, the sound seem to lack low and high frequencies. I can only hear the "middle". Sorry, I'm not sure if my terms are correct but that's the best that I can describe it.

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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Richard Crowley
Re: lav mic sound quality
on Mar 19, 2015 at 1:25:09 am

The "dynamic range" refers to the range between very quiet sounds and very loud sounds. The range between low frequencies and high frequencies is called "frequency response".

Indeed, less expensive microphones frequently have narrower frequency response than more expensive models. Note, however, that for picking up speech/dialog frequencies, an extended low frequency response is often more trouble than its worth because those low frequencies are almost always undesirable noise that you must get rid of anyway. And very high frequencies also pick up sibilence and noise that you must filter out.

We don't know the bigger picture here, so it isn't clear whether a microphone with a wider frequency response would be better or worse for whatever you are doing.


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clyde villegas
Re: lav mic sound quality
on Mar 19, 2015 at 2:48:47 am

Thanks Richard. I'm learning a lot from you.

I just want the dialogue to sound natural, as if the voice is coming from a real person just next to you. "Narrow frequencies" make voice sound like it's coming out from a telephone (I'm exaggerating but it's the closest that I can think of). But you are right, the narrow frequency is a blessing because it rejects unwanted sounds.

My next question is this: if I stick with the narrow frequency microphone, what should I do in post-production to make it sound like a wide frequency mic. Just the feel; I'm not intending to bring back the rejected sounds.

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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Richard Crowley
Re: lav mic sound quality
on Mar 19, 2015 at 10:37:56 am

It gets difficult to talk about this as pure theory. Can you put a sample up somewhere we can hear it? Do you have anything on YouTube or Vimeo, etc? Did you mention what gear you are using now?


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Brian Reynolds
Re: lav mic sound quality
on Mar 21, 2015 at 8:43:50 am

What device are you listening to the recording on?
Headphones, laptop computer, home HiFi, TV or surround sound system?


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Bruce Watson
Re: lav mic sound quality
on Mar 19, 2015 at 1:25:29 pm

[clyde villegas] "I know that the size of a microphone's diaphram affects the quality of the sound."

Do you now? Interesting. You might want to study that topic some more. In my experience diaphragm size is just an engineer's design choice. It has as much, or as little, to do with sound quality as the design engineer wants. Some of the best sounding mics for dialog and indeed, for music, have very small diaphragms.

[clyde villegas] "Is it possible to improve the sound quality or possibly increase the dynamic range of a low cost system (like the Azden 105) by replacing the included lapel mic with a better one?"

Possibly you can improve sound quality some with a better mic, like the Oscar SoundTech mics. But dynamic range and frequency response are limited by that Azden radio, which also introduces artifacts from signal processing (companding, etc.) IOW, the limit is the wireless radio system, not the mic itself.

Of course if you really want it to sound good, you'll drop the wireless in favor of a good XLR cable. No wireless radio, no matter how expensive, can sound as good as a $20 cable.


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Ty Ford
Re: lav mic sound quality
on Mar 19, 2015 at 3:31:38 pm

Hello Clyde and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Size does matter, but not in the way discussed here so far.

Larger diaphragms move more than smaller diaphragms. In doing so, they generate more voltage; more signal. As a result, you don't need as much gain to get a usable signal. Smaller diaphragms suffer from increased self-noise simply because they aren't big enough to generate the same voltage of larger diaphragmed mics.

Best thing you can do is try another lav and see. Everything folks have said before this are true. Azden is not known for their quality of sound. The best wireless lav system I've every heard is the Audio Ltd. 2040. At $5000.00 a set, it better be. Here's a link to a voice and a music track I recorded with the 2040 back in 2007 while the 2040 was here for review.
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0pjmdcb8u2wcc1t/AAClMu-UvyUa-AndWPLI_p_fa?dl=0

As mentioned, wide frequency response is not always your friend. I found that my countryman mics, combined with Audio Technica U100 wireless resulted in some problems. WHen I was in an environment with low frequency ambient noise, that noise would modulate the compander and I could hear that.

I had some lectrosonics here and compared them to the Audio Technica U100. I clipped both lavs on my chest and without looking at meters, adjusted levels to be even in each ear. Each mic was panned to a separate ear. After I got them "balanced" I looked at the meters. The Lectro level was about 4-6 dB below the Audio Technica.

I think Lectro was using an approach similar to that used by AM radio engineers; cut the low and highs and compress or limit the remaining signal a bit. In doing so, you get a track that is more persistent, even though it's lower.

Then too, mounting any lav has a dramatic effect on how it sounds due to body resonance.

Hope this helps,

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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Peter Groom
Re: lav mic sound quality
on Mar 20, 2015 at 2:23:50 pm

Additionally to the quality / cost of the mic, if the electronics that you plug it into arent of a high enough standard this can often result in poor sonic quality. I find DSLR camera suffer from this often.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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