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Todd Ayers

Best Shotgun Mic for Singing Guitarist on Location

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I recently recorded a female singing guitarist using a 416 for the first time and despite a safe input level to the recorder I noticed a bit of fizz on some of the louder vocal moments upon playback on sppeakers. The guitar sounds great during her solo btw. I’m wondering if the 416 might not have overloaded a bit itself? And if so, what shotgun mic might be a better choice in this type of situation?

 

Todd

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FYI the 416 is rated at 130db MAX SPL, unless your vocalist went over the level of a pneumatic drill ( Jack hammer), the 416 capsule was not overloaded. 

 

What is your equipment signal flow? Gain stage, cables, recorder/DAW, Pre-Amp, Speakers, playback routing, etc...

 

I would personally suggest and Omni or Cardioid pickup on a condenser mic as opposed to a hyper cardioid shotgun type pickup pattern. If its on location, use a small cap condenser, if your in a quieter space ( bedroom, indoors) use a large cap condenser. 

 

Are you attempting to use a shotgun mic for its off axis rejection characteristics? ( make background noise lower level?). 

 

 

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The 416 was plugged directly into a Sound Devices MixPre-6. My monitoring system is my home studio and is proven to be okay. 

 

Under controlled circumstances the Sennheiser MKH 8020 is my preferred mic for female vocals as well as acoustic instruments but as I was on location, my reason for using the 416 was to increase isolation from background noise. 

 

One other circumstance that may have played into the fizziness was that we had just come from an interview outside in cold rain into a tool shed where the heater was on and the fan moving air around. My understanding is that the 416 is generally impervious to these types of conditions but the mic and situation are new to me as my background is in music studios and I am just beginning location sound. 

 

Perhaps my MKH 8040 would be better suited for this type of situation despite background noise?

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6 minutes ago, Todd Ayers said:

Perhaps my MKH 8040 would be better suited for this type of situation despite background noise?

8040 close mic the bridge, put a SM58B on vox. Can't get both GTR, Vox and have low background noise. 

 

7 minutes ago, Todd Ayers said:

the fizziness

Can you describe the fizziness?

 

If all things don't matter, then the 416 is just fine. I'm sure your recording is acceptable minus the fizziness. 

 

12 minutes ago, Todd Ayers said:

cold rain into a tool shed where the heater was on and the fan moving air around. My understanding is that the 416 is generally impervious to these types of conditions

You gotta break it down into individual symptoms and causes. "Generally, and "these types" leaves allot to be interpreted. 

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My goal for this type of impromptu solo performance is to simply use one mic boomed so oucamera shot. This was a quick interview and solo performance after soundcheck while the opening band played in the background. Obviously not ideal for studio clean recording. I’m just looking for the best setup for this scenario as I foresee more of these in the future - at bluegrass festivals and such. 

 

The “fizziness” sounds like a soft clipping plugin. Acceptable enough for the purpose but hoping to avoid in future if possible. 

 

More specifically: the 416 has a repuation for functioning despite quick humidity and temperature shifts. This was the environmental condition I found myself in for this shoot.  And it was only the second time I had used the mic. I like the mic and it did work and sounded good but I’m just wondering if there is a better choice for such conditions. 

 

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 The 416 has kind of a high frequency fizz sometimes on certain voices. I don’t think it’s distortion, just the sound of the microphone itself. 

 

 My top choice for something like this would be my Neumann RMS 190; I like the stereo image to give a little extra life to the performance. For a mono mic I would choose a Neumann KMR 81. 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Todd Ayers said:

More specifically: the 416 has a repuation for functioning despite quick humidity and temperature shifts. This was the environmental condition I found myself in for this shoot.  And it was only the second time I had used the mic. I like the mic and it did work and sounded good but I’m just wondering if there is a better choice for such conditions. 

 

 

From Brian Copenhagen's humidity testing MK41, DPA4017, MKH70

"ran some tests against a Schoeps MK41, Senn MKH70, and the DPA, in about 97% humidity (in the bathroom, hot shower going).  The Schoeps did what we'd expect (b-b-b-bbl-bb-bbl), the Sennheiser's sound quality degraded (mostly increased noise floor), but it marched on.  And the DPA just sailed on thru, with no apparent change."

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I have never found the 416 (or most shotgun mics) to be particularly suited for musoc recording. 

For your specific situation Icwouls recommend to keep the 416 on the boom and work with it outside. For the inside part (the music recording) have a cardioid (or whatever you

like) prepared on a stand. Just plug it in and record. No worries about temperature shifts and you can find the best mic for each situation. 

Get the mic as close as possible. That should help more with background noise than a shotgun mic could 

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My top choice for something like this would be my Neumann RMS 190; I like the stereo image to give a little extra life to theperformance.

 

Neumann RSM 190 looks very interesting - I love the idea of ms stereo shotgun. I was actually looking at the Sennheiser MKH 418 since I heard that’s what NPR used on their Tiny Desks program. My understanding is that the 418 is essentially a 416 with a figure 8 added to the mix. Considering my fizzy issue with the 416, the RMS 190 may be a better choice for stereo. 

 

For a mono mic I would choose a Neumann KMR 81

 

I do like every sound clip of the KNR 81 that I’ve heard. I will have to see if anyone in the Denver area has one to rent. 

 

 

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NPR's tiny desk concerts are recorded mostly with a mkh 418. You can watch their shows on Youtube. It has some nice raw vibe to it

 

Ah Todd, you just beat me to it.

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25 minutes ago, Dalton Patterson said:

 

From Brian Copenhagen's humidity testing MK41, DPA4017, MKH70

"ran some tests against a Schoeps MK41, Senn MKH70, and the DPA, in about 97% humidity (in the bathroom, hot shower going).  The Schoeps did what we'd expect (b-b-b-bbl-bb-bbl), the Sennheiser's sound quality degraded (mostly increased noise floor), but it marched on.  And the DPA just sailed on thru, with no apparent change."

 Interesting that you bring up the DPA as they are located in Lingmont, CO, litereally right up the road from Planet Bluegrass Lyons, CO where my shoot was. 

 

The DPA 4017 B also boasts a max spl of 138 that might be useful for any screamers. 

 

Good to know the DPA is humidity friendly. 

28 minutes ago, Constantin said:

I have never found the 416 (or most shotgun mics) to be particularly suited for musoc recording. 

For your specific situation Icwouls recommend to keep the 416 on the boom and work with it outside. For the inside part (the music recording) have a cardioid (or whatever you

like) prepared on a stand. Just plug it in and record. No worries about temperature shifts and you can find the best mic for each situation. 

Get the mic as close as possible. That should help more with background noise than a shotgun mic could 

 

Constantin, I know that you use the DPA 4017C as your main mic-do you feel that it would work well for music outdoors? Or do you think a cardoid on a boom would still be better?

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2 hours ago, Todd Ayers said:

Constantin, I know that you use the DPA 4017C as your main mic-do you feel that it would work well for music outdoors? Or do you think a cardoid on a boom would still be better?

 

I'm not Constantin but I will butt in!

 

It's funny to ask what mono dialogue film production mic might be used to record music.

 

Wha is your end delivery format? Mono? Stereo? Personally for a stereo delivery I would tend toward an omni pair for outdoor music ..?

 

Jez

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19 minutes ago, The Immoral Mr Teas said:

Wha is your end delivery format? Mono? Stereo? Personally for a stereo delivery I would tend toward an omni pair for outdoor music ..?

 

for a solo singer in an environment with background noise?

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This is an Air New Zealand Promo I did with Ronan Keating and Julian on top of roof in Sydney city with an aircon vent near by. Thanks to a skilled boom swinger, Andy Duncan, and the help of the grips, we got great results using a CMIT. Rooftop starts at around the 2:25 mark.

 

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1 hour ago, chrismedr said:

 

for a solo singer in an environment with background noise?

Yes. Solo singing guitarist in environment with background noise. 

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2 hours ago, Nate C said:

This is an Air New Zealand Promo I did with Ronan Keating and Julian on top of roof in Sydney city with an aircon vent near by. Thanks to a skilled boom swinger, Andy Duncan, and the help of the grips, we got great results using a CMIT. Rooftop starts at around the 2:25 mark.

 

Yes! That’s the ticket!

 

Mono Cmit boomed above with some clean stereo ambience added for a sense of space... Exactly the type of sound I’m hoping for.

 

How far was the boom would you say?

 

Thanks for sharing Nate!

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7 hours ago, Todd Ayers said:

Yes! That’s the ticket!

 

Mono Cmit boomed above with some clean stereo ambience added for a sense of space... Exactly the type of sound I’m hoping for.

 

How far was the boom would you say?

 

Thanks for sharing Nate!

It was three camera coverage with the boom being mostly 1 to 3 feet from source. As there were two characters and some adlibs we kept the boom up a little so as to keep a balance on the edge of the mics patern.

 

At one stage we had some nasty shadow issues from nasty sun refections from another building. Luckily that didn't work for cam either. 

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The 416 has a presence peak that can certainly suggest fizz if the sound even gets close to fizzing. A lot of singers have a 5-6 kHz peak that pops out when they bear down on a passage. (Think Janis Joplin. She had a LOT of it.)

The 418s has a bit more air than the 416, but they are very similar. 

https://tyfordaudiovideo.blogspot.com/2012/03/sennheiser-mkh-418s-stereoshotgun-mic.html

 

RSM 191 would be lovely. https://tyfordaudiovideo.blogspot.com/2013/10/neumann-rsm-191-stereoshotgun-mic-going.html

 

Probably any Schoeps. Here are a pair of CMC641 in coincident XY for all four setups.

 

Regards,

 

Ty Ford

 

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18 hours ago, chrismedr said:

well, I was referring to Jez's post and just wondering if an omni stereo would work well for that.

 

Fair comment Chris!

 

Note to self - pay better attention!  (I'd read the first but skimmed subsequent posts...)

 

Jez

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In the old days the 415's were susceptible to high frequency distortion (Like keys jingling) and could be problematic. Hard to really say in your case as there were so many variables possible. You have the recording to post so we could hear the issue? A schoeps 41 is my mic of choice in most situations and would of been in this one as well. 

CrewC

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The more I listen to the fizz and read comments from experienced 416 users the more certain I am that it was a case of wrong mic for the voice. The singer was a female Bluegrass artist who’s voice had a very strong prescence peak to begin with and the built in peak of the 416 just accentuated that even more. 

 

Main lesson learned: Prepare as best as possible for the specific scenario and have an alternative mic available if necessary. 

 

 

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On 4/28/2018 at 12:20 AM, Todd Ayers said:

Constantin, I know that you use the DPA 4017C as your main mic-do you feel that it would work well for music outdoors? Or do you think a cardoid on a boom would still be better?

 

The pickup pattern of the 4017 is a huge aspect of why I like this mic so much. It’s in many ways more like a supercardioid with an added interference tube and extra „reach“. 

But even a supercardioid would rarely be my first choice when it comes to music recording. A cardioid is a better starting point, and you may be able to use its polar pattern to even better advantage than that of a shotgun mic. 

But like I said before, I would leave a music setup prepared at the location - hidden if necessary and switch as needed, which will also reduce the humidity issue. If this is at all possible. If not the 4017 is certainly a very good allround mic, but I‘d recommend the B preamp for this as it might help with reducing low-end background noise.  

If it’s all boom I agree that an MS setup would be better than a single, and I personally would do almost anything to avoid a 418. 

The aforementioned Neumann is a wonderful mic, but it’s not ideal on a boom (though it’s possible) and I don’t know how it handles humidity. 

A Schoeps CCM based MS rig is very nice sounding, small, light, and the M could be a supercardioid potentials giving you the best of all sides. The CCMs do handle very well in humidity* 

 

* please note that there are many recordists have used their Schoeps mics in most extreme conditions and most with great success. The is no Schoeps-humidity issue. There are some reports (such as in this thread) with humidity issues with the (modular) Collette series, and this can often be traced to capsule to preamp connections which are not as clean as... ideal

 

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