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I'm looking for a microphone best for recording sound effects.

What I want to record:
- SFX (lighting a match, breaking glass, balloon, etc)
- Vehicles (train, car engine, etc)
- Nature (birds, thunder, rain)
- Foley

- Indoor (different small/medium rooms)
- Outdoor (forest, city)

- very low noise level
- fast transient response
- flat frequency response
- cardioid
- small diaphragm

Microphones I got my eyes on:
- Sennheiser MKE600
- Neumann KM184

around €500,-

Already own:
- Zoom H4n
- RME Babyface

I know I won't probably meet all my requirements in only one microphone, but I'd like to have one that matches most of these. If you have more suggestions for different sounds, please let me know!




Boswell Mon, 01/27/2014 - 15:51

There's no one microphone that would cover your list of sound sources. Some of the sources are inherently moving (the vehicles, for example) and cry out for stereo recording. Others need a shotgun style of microphone so you could hope to get an acceptable recording level without having to get too close to the subject and upset it.

In addition, the microphone is only the front of the story. If you are in remote locations (forests and the like), you will need battery-operated pre-amplifiers and a recorder, and the choice of these should be made in conjunction with the choice of microphones. You can get all-in-one recorders that have built-in microphones (the Zoom H4N is a good example) but that also have sockets for external microphones if you need to use special types. However, the noise levels on devices like these are not necessarily low enough for wildlife recording, and high-gain specialist pre-amps would be needed.

It's not clear from your post whether your €500 budget has to cover pre-amps and a recorder as well as microphones. If it does, starting with something like the H4N is liable to be about your only option, adding specialist mics and pre-amps when budget allows.

audiowave Tue, 01/28/2014 - 02:43

Hello, thanks for your reply! Sorry if I haven't been clear enough: I'm just looking for a microphone, no pre-amps or recorders whatsoever, because I already am an owner of the Zoom H4n. As for the rest you informed me: I am aware that there is no microphone that can cover all my needs. I'm just looking for suggestions for the best microphones for most of these needs!

dvdhawk Tue, 01/28/2014 - 11:32

If you can get the KM184 within your stated budget, that's going to be hard to beat for a cardioid SDC. (Factoring in the exchange rate, they cost considerably more here)

My biggest concern with the NTG3, is that it is a shotgun mic. Obviously that is supremely useful for some applications, but for ambient / environmental sounds a shotgun mic wouldn't be my first choice. For more realistic ambient sounds, I'd prefer either a matched pair of cardioids (maybe [=""]Rode NT4 or NT5[/]="http://www.soundons…"]Rode NT4 or NT5[/]), but I would imagine you're using the H4N X/Y pair for that.

If I wanted hi-def detail to augment that stereo pair, I might consider a single omni like the [[url=http://="http://www.earthwor…"]Earthworks M30[/]="http://www.earthwor…"]Earthworks M30[/] (which would meet all of your specs except cardioid pattern).

One thing you will want to verify is the phantom power capability of the Zoom and/or pre-amps. Reference-grade condenser mics usually require real 48v phantom power. Sometimes for field recording on battery power, that is a problem. There are lots of condenser mics that will run on much less voltage, but that's not the case with the more high-end versions.

audiowave Wed, 01/29/2014 - 02:17

Hi, thanks for your reply! I'm leaning more towards shotgun mics, because I'd rather be recording solo sounds than environmental ambient sounds.

As for the phantom power: the Zoom H4n delivers this, but has very crappy pre-amps unfortunately. Still looking into this though, but that's another research. Now I'm solely looking for the best mic within my budget.

Thx again! More suggestions are very welcome!