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Mics For Field Work

Published : 9th January 2004

I want this mic to complement our AT shotgun mic to get the ambient/wild tracks in stereo. I am thinking of either the Audio Technica 825 or the Beyer Dynamics MCE 82.

I read a long review of both in Electronic Musician, but wondered if there are any actual users on these forums. I belong to a small multi skilled team, starting to make short films for TV.

Rob Dunford
Sound man (in training)
Devon, UK


Robert Dunford wrote :

class="style9">>I want this mic to complement our AT shotgun mic to get the >ambient/wild tracks in stereo.

What AT mic are you using? 4071? 4073? Other?

class="style9">>I am thinking of either the Audio Technica 825 or the Beyer Dynamics >MCE 82.

Sorry, I'm not familiar with either of these. A good composer/sound designer friend used an 825 to gather ambience for sound design in a couple shows. But that was at pretty close range. He wasn't trying to grab tracks on a set or on location.

You might want to set up a M-S (mid-side) system...but how do you want to use this?

Jim Feeley


We have the AT 4041.

I work with a small team starting to make short films on miniDV. We were in Spain this summer shooting a short story with a small cast, our sound gear (all last minute stuff!!) was the AT on a homemade mic boom pole and a Sony portable DAT recorder. No windjammer either. We were VERY low budget. You can imagine the problems I had on the exteriors, but with a will and a steady hand I got some fairly decent recordings.

We have serious plans to make more short films and aim for a more commercial product, so I have offered to set up a small sound department on a minimalist budget. Obviously I need a proper mic boom pole and a good windjammer and I want to replace the recorder with the Fostex FR2. But I feel I need a stereo mic to capture wild tracks. You know, night sounds, raindrops on the roof, all those sounds that seem to come from everywhere in real life.

So there you have it, any help, advice is most welcome.

Rob Dunford
Sound recordist (in training)
Devon, UK


Robert Dunford wrote :

class="style9">>We have the AT 4041.

Rob,

You might start with the basics before venturing into more elaborate setups.

In other words, forget the stereo microphone for the time being.


You'll need a decent boom pole, microphone mount, wind shield (go for the simple Rycote furry), a portable mixer if possible (with LF filters, proper monitoring etc.) and at least two good mics, a short shotgun (Sennheiser 416, AT 4071 etc) plus a hypercardiod for interiors (AT 4053, AKG 480/63, etc). It's better to start with a smaller package consisting of good quality parts and build up from there.....

The AT 4041 cardiod mic is not the best choice for your intended purpose.

Good luck,
Karl Lohninger
Sound mixer, etc
Los Angeles


class="style9">>But I feel I need a stereo mic to capture wild tracks. You know, night >sounds, raindrops on the roof, all those sounds that seem to come >from everywhere in real life.

I've used the Crown SASS-P stereo PZM for this, it's very nice.

Note it's a VERY wide pattern you'll get 'everything' around you.

Sam Wells


Karl,

First of all, thank you for the advice. On reflection I made an error on the AT we have, it's the 897. Which is probably very suitable for exteriors. But proved a bit of a disaster when we had interiors...stone walls and floors!!!

I did ask for some serious sound deadening but nothing materialised.

So the 'hypercardiod' is the best type for interiors, correct?

I agree about getting the basics right, but still what to do about ambient sounds. I just have this feeling that a lot of them need to be in stereo. You mentioned a mixer, can you point me in the right direction for a cost effective solution?

Thanks

Rob Dunford
Devon, UK


Well Rob,

I don't want to sound elitist, but you should start out with a decent microphone and until you've got more money forget about the stereo mic thing and just record ambient in mono! Nothing wrong about that!

Get a used Sennheiser 416 (or a cheaper 415 which is just the same with a different name).

I don't know how constraint your monetary situation is....the 3 channel sound devices 302 mixer will keep you happy for quite some time - in the US about $1000,00 - check B&H. You can ride levels correctly, set HP filters, it's got a built in limiter, phantom and T-power etc. etc.

And yes, you're right, shot gun mics and interiors usually don't go well together, that's where the hyper cardiod comes in. I mentioned Audio technica mics, but be aware that the good ones are the 4000 series

Again, better have just a few but good quality pieces then...

Karl Lohninger
Sound mixer, etc
Los Angeles


Karl Lohninger wrote :

class="style9">>Again, better have just a few but good quality pieces then…

If you are really serious, get a really good mic -- rather than a mediocre one.

If you are serious about dialog, get a Schoeps. Often available used -- not cheap, but it is, after all, as important as a lens... not to be scrimped on.

Jeff Kreines


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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