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Mic setup

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by Viktorreddersen, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. Viktorreddersen

    Viktorreddersen Active Member

    Hello everybody.

    I posted a thread a couple of weeks ago about an old AKG C34 microphone. Now, I decided to sell it, because it's too fragile and narrow for my use. So; I just got a Maycom field recorder (Easycorder), and now I would like your view on which mic-setup that would fit my use. I work as a radio journalist / podcaster.

    I need; a microphone for nice voice recording - recording interviews in the field.

    a microphone for big scale recording like nature, rain, thunder - recordings where I need the full sound perspective on a certain location.

    detailed recording. (water boiler, people walking on stairs, detailed sound) close range recording ...

    Price range: 4-5000 dollars for 2/3 mics

    Viktor Reddersen
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    For the "big scale recording", you will need a stereo microphone or a pair of microphones, and, with careful choice, these could also cover the "detailed recording" as well. The Maycom Easycorder has 48V phantom power and also sufficient gain on its XLR mic inputs not to need external pre-amps for the low-level work with most types of microphone. Are these always occasions where you could set up a mic stand (or pair of stands), or are you looking at hand-held operation?

    For the field interview work, are you envisaging that it would be mono? When interviewing, would you expect to be moving the microphone to point at whoever is talking at the time? Is this just sound, or is it recording in conjuction with a video crew?
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    You will be hard pressed to get a better stereo mic than the C34... especially for those things you mentioned that you are looking to record... sound effects (Foley), sounds of nature, etc.

    If you want that nice stereo spread... realism, clarity and depth, stay with the C34; especially since it is so very versatile in the different multi array/patterns that it provides.

    I know of no other mic that offers everything you would need - from XY to ORTF to M-S - that would be any better than the C34.

    As far as it being fragile, well of course you would want to avoid taking it out into a raging thunderstorm or torrential downpour, but then again, you wouldn't want to do that with any microphone.

    For interview work, you don't really need a stereo microphone. A nice dynamic, or most any decent condenser, will do just fine.

    In short, if I were you, I'd hold onto that C34 and use it precisely for the stereo applications you mentioned, because you won't find one any better stereo mic than what you already have.

    And, for the interview work, I would pick up a nice dynamic... for that matter, a Shure SM58 would do the job just fine...and it would set you back about a hundred bucks or so. **

    You might also want to consider a decent lav mic for those times when the interviews would be more of a sitting down/face to face scenario. Using a lavalier is preferred for those times when you don't want any microphone in the shot.

    ** as a side note.....I also love the EV RE20 for broadcast audio, it's great for voice recording. However, its size and shape make it a bit cumbersome to use - it's certainly not a mic with a "subtle" physical appearance - LOL, but it is an industry standard for broadcast, albeit most of the time it is stationary in placement, used on a stand in a radio station, and not meant to be moved around or shoved into someone's face... it would certainly be noticeable in a video shot ;) Besides being rugged, it's variable D design makes it a great choice to avoid proximity effect, which is a common problem with most dynamics using a cardioid pattern.
    RE 20's typically run around $400 or so, give or take.

    All of the above in my humble opinion, of course.

  4. Viktorreddersen

    Viktorreddersen Active Member

    All right. I heard that it's a wonderful microphone, but I also heard that it is a bit noisy when recording big scale?

    So you suggest, that I keep the C34 and buy a condenser for vioce recording / interviews -

    Thanks for the advice.

  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I never encountered any noise when using the C34. I found it to be a great choice for capturing stereo audio... everything from vocal/choral sections to brass, strings, percussion rigs... and while I never used it to record sound effects, like the Foley stuff you mentioned ( footsteps, kettle boiling, etc) or the sounds of nature (streams, wind in the trees, thunder, etc) I can't imagine it wouldn't be a stellar choice for all of those things. The other thing about that mic is the flexibility and adjustable nature of the patterns. You aren't limited to using just one stereo array, which in most cases and with most stereo microphones is generally X-Y/Coincidental.

    You have options - and options are cool. Not only can you adjust the width of the X-Y array, but you can also choose other multi-mic arrays/patterns as well... ORTF, M-S (Middle-Side).... I would highly recommend that you go online and do some research on the various stereo/multi-mic arrays and what they do and what you can accomplish. Brush up on the techniques. Learn the differences between the patterns. This is pretty important stuff to know.

    And while a decent condenser would be good for interview work, I'm not sure it's necessary. I get the sense that you are in some way against the idea of a dynamic mic... I'm interested as to why you picked up on the condenser part of my post but ignored the dynamic mic suggestion(s) I made... just curious as to why you continue to overlook the notion of using a dynamic...

    If you are under the impression that the price tag of a mic is going to be relative to the quality of the audio you get, well, in some cases this is true, but many times it's not. Just because you have 5 grand to spend on mics doesn't mean you have to spend that 5 grand top get what you need to accomplish what it is you want to do.

    Maybe it's me and I'm not making myself clear here.... Remy, Chris, Bos.... anyone else wanna maybe jump in here please?
  6. Ty Ford

    Ty Ford Active Member

    Hello Viktor,

    I think you need different mics for the different work you want to do. For your in the field recordings, will they be hand-held? In what sorts of environments?

    For nature, mono or stereo?

    For detailed recording, again, mono or stereo?

    My choice for detailed and interviews is usually a mono mic which can then be panned to the position needed. Sometimes stereo for nature. My present choice for nature and other stereo ambi is the Audio Technica BP4025. Here's a link to a sample: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7f0qg6se5bzvbev/ATBP4025ambi08.wav

    There's always the Neumann RSM 191! Wow!


    Ty Ford
  7. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    LOL.... I think there must be some kind of language barrier or maybe I'm just not making myself clear...


    I'm not just regurgitating information here. I have used the C34, on many occasions. It's a fantastic stereo mic with a huge variety of stereo miking options and adjustable parameters within those patterns.

    See my post above.

    And you don't need to spend huge money on a mic that will be used for field interviews. Yes. A condenser will work. Yes, a dynamic will also work. Both will provide you with excellent results.

    Again, see my post above.

    I feel as though I have a communication disability here. LOL duh
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    For a all-around multipurpose microphone, appropriate for capturing high-quality sound effects and dialogue and which also works quite well to recording Orchestra with is an MS shotgun microphone. You have the budget for one of these quality pieces. These are used in newsgathering, feature-length movies, musical recording in large concert halls. For outdoor use, there is a rigid wind filter known as a blimp. And these blimps are frequently covered in fake fur. We call them " dead cats " because they look a little bit like that at the end of the boom pole.

    Shotgun microphones in the past have mostly been single channel monaural devices. Newer ones have come along that offer MS stereo. The beauty about an MS stereo microphone is that you have a single directional monaural microphone facing in the direction of the extended long tube of the shotgun microphone. This is recorded to the left channel of your recorder and can be used all by itself. Whereas the S or, side microphone is generally recorded to the right channel. Some of these MS stereo condenser shotgun microphones also offer a built-in matrix. This matrix allows the microphone to then send out an actual left right stereo signal and not a mono middle and side tracking configuration format. But it really actually doesn't matter because in software, you can convert from one to the other and back again with this type of Stereophonics microphone usage technique.
    n extremely
    It differs from your C-34 in that, that particular microphone was truly designed for Stereophonic studio and live performance capture purposes. Not something you want to take outside. But shotgun microphones are designed for schlepping around outside. Though no condenser microphone does particularly well in extremely humid or wet conditions. So you should avoid those conditions with any condenser microphone.

    When faced with the possibility of needing to capture high quality sound in adverse weather conditions, you'd want a passive dynamic microphone such as the SHURE SM58/Beta 58, Sennheiser 421 and the de facto TV standard reporter in the field news microphone and the venerable and nearly irreplaceable Electro-Voice 635/RE 50. That microphone is not correctional. It is omnidirectional and is far less sensitive to high wind noise. Wind noise is a problem with every directional microphone.

    So I really just recommend any of the stereo shotgun MS style condenser microphones from companies like Sennheiser, Neumann, AT, I think Rode and I'm sure others. And then you need to get that dead cat rigid blimp and a boom pole. You'll also want a standard microphone stand and a good pair of headphones.

    This microphones versatility is such that it's ideal for documentarians to use in their productions. It'll get you great dialogue tracks that can even have stereo ambience if you choose to use the second channel of the microphone. This opens up a whole realm of extra possibilities at this microphone can accomplish for you. It's good enough that singly by itself, can make for award-winning orchestral and operatic recordings for broadcast and record releases. That's how good these particular microphones are and how versatile they are to use in the field, in the home, for the show. And it will retain its value for years to come should the day ever arise in which you want to sell it. None of these premium microphones lose their value. Cheap ones do. And the quality you get from these particular premium shotgun microphones are second to none.

    And that's what you really need for what you've described. It's a one shot, do everything microphone at the highest level of quality available. And a couple of inexpensive dynamic microphones one directional with a pop filter and the other omnidirectional with a pop filter will be all that you need for anything that you want to do. In addition to those, I might suggest also picking up a pair of condenser lavalier microphones? Truly great force it down one-on-one interviews and the way you should do it. Though recording an interview with one of these stereo condenser shotgun microphones can also sound really quite marvelous. Because the microphone is actually pointing directly to the sound source and not in those XY types which actually face away from the sound source to capture a stereo image. But people are frequently intimidated by this MS concept. Because it's a method of recording that requires a matrix for decoding to discrete left and right channels for a proper stereo image. As I said, some of these microphones have that matrix built into them to make your job more comprehendible for ya. The nice thing about this technique is that it allows one to adjust the width of the stereo image. No other stereo microphone technique can do that. Which is why it's so valuable for specialized capture purposes the types of which, you've described.

    These microphones are powered in the same way as every other condenser microphone is and that is through the preamps supplying +48 V of phantom power. Most of these microphones are not battery-operated though there are those that are and are usually less expensive, lower in quality but still quite usable. And even if they do take a battery, they can also be externally powered from phantom. It just gives you that extra option for when you don't have phantom power for the microphone. But most modern units today do.

    Hope this helps to clear up your microphone selection dilemma and decision-making process of which to purchase?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. Viktorreddersen

    Viktorreddersen Active Member

    Hey DonnyThompson.

    I understand what you say. I was just surprised, because everyone that I have talked to mention the qualities of the mic as music, strings, etc recording. So I am very glad to hear, that I already have the perfect mic. So now I need to get some experience with the microphone, learn how to use the different settings - as you say.

    The only reason why I did not respond to the dynamic part is because I have used the SM58 very much - and indeed: It never fails.

    So I will give it a try on my next session. Looking forward to it.

    Thanks a lot to all of you guys!

    Viktor Reddersen

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