New Rode VideMic Pro recording at lower-than-normal levels?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by xbonet, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. xbonet

    xbonet Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Location:
    France
    I recently bought the Rode VideoMic Pro to couple with my Zoom H1 in order to obtain better and cleaner sound in my videos by recording the person's voice from up top, as close as I can get to the mouth, which is normally around 30-40 cm. However, I'm finding that at normal to slighlty-higher-than-normal speech levels my setup must be VMP @ +20db and H1 @ 25 in order to get a decent sounding audio quality with decent volume. And I'm often having to ask the speaker to speak a louder, as loud as he/she can, which is not ideal.

    It seems a little weird that I have to jack the VMP all the way up to get decent levels. If I want the VMP @ 0 db, say, in order not to capture everything that's going on around, I find I'm forced to jack up the H1 all the way up to 75 in order to get similar results. Although here I feel audio quality is already a little sacrificed by jacking up the gain so much.

    The VMP @ -10 db? Well, that makes sound non-existent in my setup. My setup is pretty standard, isn't it? Having the VMP at 30 cm seems like a dream to me when compared to when I worked on short films and the boom had to be high up, a meter or more from the actors. However, I feel I'm getting very low recording volumes. Not at all what I was expecting when I spent more than 200€ on the mic.

    The first VMP I bought had an issue with the 3,5 audio jack, and the audio input to the H1 would cut off on its own for no reason. So I could never really test it. I exchanged it and this second VMP is fine in that respect but it does have an issue with the Off-On-Cut switch popping off when I take it out of the bag or when I toggle it. So I'm feeling like the Rode quality control for these mics atleast isn't that great. This, added to the fact that I feel that, even though the VMP is a shtogun mic, I find it picks up a lot more from all over the place than I was expecting for its price. Allinall, I'm wondering if I haven't got another lemon on my hands? That my VMP might actually be working at lower-than-normal volumes and I should change it again?

    I would really appreciate to know your experience with the VMP and if you think this sounds normal or if it sounds like the mic isn't working correctly.

    Thanks in advance for your input! Cheers!
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    UK
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    You are mistaken in thinking that the output level switch on the VMP can make any difference to the ratio of target sound to background sound. From what you are saying, you should be using the switch at +20 and keeping the level control on the H1 correspondingly lower. The Rode microphone noise is much lower than the H1's pre-amp noise, so you need to feed it well.

    I also think you have an over-optimistic expectation of what a fairly standard-pattern budget camera microphone can do for off-axis rejection, compared with (say) a proper shotgun microphone. You have to pay a lot more than the price of a VMP for a real shotgun, and, even these don't reject in the way that your brain does when processing wanted sound from background noise (cocktail-party effect).
     
  3. xbonet

    xbonet Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2017
    Location:
    France
    Hello, Boswell, thanks for your response!

    My way of thinking is that if the mic is at +20 dB the speaker's voice need not be that strong, which makes it more probable that the background noise and the speaker's voice have about the same levels—or rather that more of the bg noise will be present around the same levels as the voice. Whereas if the mic is at 0, the speaker's voice can be much stronger (i.e. the speaker can permit him/herself to speak much louder or be asked to speak much louder), thereby raising above bg noise level. That's what I meant. I know all sounds of the same level will be captured equally regardless of the gain used in the VMP and the H1.

    Yes, that may be the case. I wasn't expecting it to be super pro but it did surprise me how little the difference was between the VMP and, say, the lavs I usually use. Perhaps my expectations were naïve but I was basing these on how popular the VMP is for YouTube-type video and the rather good quality sound I found it captured in reviews and such.

    I find assurance in the fact that you believe +20 dB on the VMP and lower input volumes on the H1 to be the correct way to go. My fear was that my VMP was working below its intended potential.

    At any rate, should I understand from your response that you find my VMP's performance on par with what is expected from it?

    Thanks again for taking the time to respond!
     
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    Home Page:
    How does the speaker know what position the switch is set to? You as producer should get the speaker to deliver in a way that the situation requires. You as recording engineer set the switch and the level controls to meet the required technical goals.

    Apart from the switch cap popping off, nothing you have said about the performance of the mic indicates to me that it has a fault.
     

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