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MKH 40 or 50?

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As outlined in another thread, I'm shooting a feature this Spring and have hired a boom op and location sound mixer who will be using my equipment. About 80% of the film will be shot in a Victorian home with 11' ceilings and hardwood floors. However, there are large area rugs , the ceilings are heavily textured, and there is wallpaper everywhere. The rooms do not sound particularly "live" for a house of this type. Generally there will not be a problem with extraneous sounds. The only exception is the upstairs A/C, which is located in the attic. When shooting upstairs I might not always be able to turn it off, due to the high heat level without it. 

I've narrowed my choice of interior mic down to the MKH 40 and MKH 50. I know the 50 is the go to mic, but if sound rejection is not a big issue, would I be better off with the 40 since it has a wider pattern? 

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I would go for MKH50, very happy with my MKH8050 for indoor situation, even MKH8060 is great. only used 8040 for music recording and ambience. My opinion, in order to get the same kind of "clear" sound, you need to place cardioid near to the actor then a hyper-cardioid (if I remembered correctly, it's about 1.5 times of distance), so, with hyper-cardioid, you can have your boom a little bit far away but don't worry about to lose the clarity of voice. But this is only my opinion.

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If they're using a second camera for reverses (and not paying for another boom op) it might make it easier on your boom op to have the option of an MKH40, otherwise can't see why you'd not be on the 50. Obviously having both (or 2 of 1) gives you option of having a matching mic for spots or 2nd boom - but I usually hire my second.

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The 50 has more reach, basically this means you can have the mic higher with less "room" and more "voice". Go for the mkh50, post can add 'verb later if they want more room.  Like Tong0615 said, this is just my opinion.

Grant.

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15 minutes ago, engaudio said:

The 50 has more reach, basically this means you can have the mic higher with less "room" and more "voice". Go for the mkh50, post can add 'verb later if they want more room.  Like Tong0615 said, this is just my opinion.

Grant.

Exactly what I'm looking for. The AT 4053a is a good mic, but optimal at 18" or less. Need a bit more reach for wider shots.

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There are conflicting schools of thought on this choice.

My own preference would be for the MKH50 over the 40. I favor the extra reach of the more directional microphone but it does require a bit more skill from the boom operator to maintain an on-axis response. The challenge of off-axis sound degradation has become less acute in recent years, as manufacturers have been able to make units with nearly identical polar patterns throughout the audible range, but it is still there.

Glen Trew takes the alternate position and has posted his assessment that the 40 very nearly duplicates the pick-up pattern of the hyper-cardioid Scheops that has long been a favored microphone for dialog.

But, while there are perceivable differences, I really think that the choice is less important than we tend to think it is. Both are outstanding microphones and a good post mix will be able to make either one, if skillfully deployed, sound full and natural. I think this is true of microphone choices in general. Any good professional-grade microphone should be a suitable choice and ought to yield a proper result. 

Parenthetically, I am reminded of the outstanding job that Chris McLaughlin did booming All The President's Men almost entirely with a Sennheiser MKH815. That's a big stick to swing under any circumstances but particularly in the newsroom scenes where shadows forced him to boom from below and he needed to dart the microphone in and out of the actors' legs. This also affords a chance to consider how natural the sound was even when recorded indoors with such an extreme microphone. (Admittedly, it was a very big stage so that may be more akin to outside than in.)

You have an enviable choice between the 40 and the 50 Sennheisers; you can't go wrong. But, with a semi-skilled boom operator, you might favor the 40 as it would be a bit more forgiving of miscues.

David

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I think a wider pattern may be better for a 'green' boom op. There won't be a night-and-day difference with any of the above three mics. The Sennheisers have a few more mV output than the AT.

An inexperienced boom op is a recipe for disaster with any mic IMHO. Been-there-done-that...

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I have both, and honestly the MKH40 does not get much stick time.. the 50 is slightly tighter but also seems to suck out the dialogue more and has a richer low end which is great on interior close ups. I have Schoeps as well but mostly reach for the 50 first...

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I have, and use both. Pick either one and get the other one later. The cardioid vs super cardioid difference is not as drastic as some may suggest, imho. The "more room" in a cardioid is a little misleading, but depends on the room. But consider that a super has a rear lobe, which is almost non-existent in the cardioid, so if you are close to a hard ceiling....

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