Paul Garafola

This mic test may surprise you. *This is an outdoor test only*

22 posts in this topic

Hello guys & girls

I thought you might like to see this outdoor test we did with some microphones, a few of which are not generally considered to be used outdoors at all.  The results here may surprise you.

 

Despite YouTube's compression, I was still surprised that to hear that the Sound Devices mixer did not totally blow away the Beachtek going straight to camera. I thought the difference would be night and day.  It wasn't, to my ears. Just my opinion, obviously.

 

Check it out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpTT8_B-MBk

 

 - Paul -

 

 

 

Your thoughts?

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Pull the mics away 3 ft.....  then do the test again....

 Real world is not always 12 inches........  Many mics shine in still being able to sound good at 3 or more ft from the mouth... and to cancel unwanted sound..

At 12 inches I would expect all the mics to sound OK... and they were all OK..  No news there...

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Re : "Pull the mics away 3 ft.....  then do the test again...Real world is not always 12 inches."

 

Good point.  We should've thought of that.

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And then pull out your keys and rattle them in front of the mic, with the gain up.

 

Lots of gear sounds good when the recording situation is easy.

 

philp

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Hiya kid.

 

Thanks for the interesting video. My preferred mic is the MKH 50 and your video reconfirmed that for me. 

 

Rich

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Hiya kid.  I knew I'd catch you here at some point.

 

The 50 is the only mic I own at the moment.  Love it.  Have never used it outdoors, but in a situation when the subject is stationary and the mic can be around a foot away consistently, I really wouldn't hesitate to use it.  Have you EVER used it outdoors?

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I used it outdoors today for an impromptu 3 piece acapella recording. I've used it many times outdoors to record dialog scenes in movies and TV shows. I use either a softie or a Rycote zeppelin with it. It really is a great mic. Wonderful for string instruments as well. 

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Hhhmmm, great to know, Rich.  Re:  the zeppelin you use...I was considering using a BBG on it for light to moderate wind.  Is that what you're referring to?

 

When recording dialogue with the 50 outdoors, did you need to bump up the gain a bit?   Or was it a non-issue and the reach was just fine?

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I use the Rycote Modular Windshield WS 2 Kit, but sometimes the Softie will do just fine. I don't think the reach is all that different than the 60, it's just a wider pattern. Much more natural in my opinion. In a quiet environment the 50 can sound amazing, even from several feet away. 

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I would also look at overload issues. In my experience, one of the things that separates cheap mic preamps from good ones is that the latter have more headroom and are less inclined to distort. Listen to what happens when somebody shouts, vs. when they speak normally. 

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Like the other fellas said, difficult to tell since those were pretty ideal conditions with the exception of the background noise changing. Many people likely have trouble differentiating the quality of the dialogue with the background noise changing so much between clips. However, I would say that this video does confirm how I feel about some mics. The MKH-XX series has great presence all around, the 416 has more pronounced sibilance, the AT wasn't quite as pleasant to my ears, and the Tram was a little muffley and a little more lo-fi. Again, to my ears. I'd definitely like to see another one of these with the mics further away as well. Either way, cool video, thanks for posting it!

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Thanks for sharing Paul!

 

1 feet and 3 feet above the head is the "normal" positions, 80% all the time.

 

BTW nice sound from Sennheiser MKH 40

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My 50 is also my go to outside mic. I own 3, and one lives in my WS2. Coincidentally, Rich and I discovered it working together. The WS2 was a great purchase, allowing its use in all sorts of conditions. Rich boomed a scene for me in a quiet location on soft ground from easily 4-5ft overhead, up on a ladder. 5 or 6 people spread out, after we had shot all the coverage. It was a big silly wide, so didn't have lavs on. Sounded amazing. Honestly could have used any of it to cut into the other shots.

Showed the skill of the booming as well as the quality of the mic. That was with a softie.

I commissioned a Super Softie from Rycote, which outperforms my old softie. We've had it in some moderate wind on this movie.

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The tonality of the preamps was difficult to judge in the trafficky environment.  I do agree that the beachtec rig didn't do anything awful to the frequency range at first listen.

 

that said, the beachtek into the camera was distorting on peaks pretty consistently, especially on the mics in the latter parts of the test.  You were already past your available headroom there.  Also, that kind of distortion sounds UGLY.  The 552 had room to spare in the headroom arena, and has pretty sounding limiters on it that can keep stuff from breaking into crud. 

 

I love the MKH50.  One of my favorite mics.  sounds so big. Was surprised to not really hear a difference between it and the MKH60. 

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Thanks, guys.  All your input is really helpful to me.

 

Rich and RPSharman, you saved me from making a purchase I really didn't have to make. 

Along with my video test, your experience using the 50 outdoors has given me some peace of mind and confidence in using mine outside as well.  With a limited budget right now, I'll use the 50 + Rycote BBG + INV-6 (which I already own).

 

*Some folks are dead against using the INV-6 and recommend the INV-7 instead. But I tested both and the stiffer lyres on the 7 created more handling noise.  But if anyone has tried this set-up and disliked it, do let me know.

 

Cheers,

- Paul -

 

Thanks also for the WS2 recommendation.  It's on my list now.

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With a high-output mic like the Sennheiser MKH series, when everything is idea such as mic position, dialog not too low, not too high, the difference in mic preamps from most any established professional audio device will be non-discernable. Reality, however, is a quickly moving target, which is when the better stuff can make significant improvements. But speaking of a difference like night and day, the comparison should make everyone very reluctant to use a hidden lav mic. 

 

Though Youtube removes a lot of the subtleties, and the mic position probably is a bit closer than ideal (particularly for the long mics), if the goal is naturalness of the voice and ambience, the MKH-40 takes it.

 

gt

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Also, differences in mic preamps and A-D converters become more apparent with really really quiet sources. That's where the difference in quality matters. Everyone can do loud...

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thank you for taking the time to post this. two my ear I am hearing a low level hiss on the beachtek, which I think will become more audible when limited or if the signal is low.

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Hello guys & girls

I thought you might like to see this outdoor test we did with some microphones, a few of which are not generally considered to be used outdoors at all.  The results here may surprise you.

 

Despite YouTube's compression, I was still surprised that to hear that the Sound Devices mixer did not totally blow away the Beachtek going straight to camera. I thought the difference would be night and day.  It wasn't, to my ears. Just my opinion, obviously.

 

Check it out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpTT8_B-MBk

 

 - Paul -

 

 

 

Your thoughts?

To my ears the Beachtek sounds thin by comparison to the SD in some of the tests, I listend to your test via Sony 7506's and also some small mons. I have always thoght the Beachtek units to be a bit noisy as well, in my opin a JuicedLink or an SD is much better, I myself use an SD MixPre direct to my Canon 60D to basically bypass the cams hiss ridden pre-amps and it sounds great and is very clean. I should mention my cam has ML installed so I set that to the lowest analog gain setting it has, and then feed the line out to the cam via a custom pad cable because the older MixPre was not padded to work directly with a DSLR.

 

I do love the sound of the MKH 50 that is one great mic, I have a AT4073 and for some reason I think my mic sounds a bit better then the one in your test and we have the same cam, just my 2 cents but nice vid.

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Loud can be just as hard as quiet. The show

I'm doing now features and actor who is playing a character that whispers the dialog and then usually ends up in a screaming screech by the end of the take. 6k multicam shoot. Very few chances to get a boom in. I'm using DPA 4061's and neverclip preamps. It's still a challenge to get it all on the track without boning either the whisper or the scream. I've got my gains set very well, but I think that lav may still be approaching clipping at times. The 4061 is like a red dot, padded.

As for using the 50 outside, I've never tried

It, but based on some testing I did a while back with most of the usual boom mics that we use, I can't see how it could approach the usability of a CMIT series, MKH 60, or 70.

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Thanks Paul and Fellows.

Very interesting to share experiences, and uses.

 

Noisy backgrounds have the benefit to cover the self noise of this kind of preamps. I'd be curious to listen the same test in quiet environment. And compare dynamics and transients between Beachtek and Sound devices.

 

MKH60/50/40 would be my choice if I had to use a low budget preamp: high sensitivity, roll-off filter switch, -10dB attenuation switch.

MKH60 is more forgiving than the MKH416 when the boom has to move from one person to another. I mean, transition from in to off-axis is softer than the 416. Despite this I prefer the 416.

 

Plus, MKHs are very reliable in wet environement, I've experienced that in South Asia: where my Schoeps were - temporarily - unusable (ccm4+8, cmc6.4 and cmc6.41), MKHs were still operationals.

 

Since I've used DPA 4060 and 4061, I don't go back to TRAM mics with pleasure...

 

Here is another sound comparison to add DPA and Schoeps mics to the list (too bad they didn't show the mic placement and recording equipment):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=razdOs_SdWM

-I think it's Swedish spoken-

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