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Luke8

Advice for a novice

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Hi everyone been reading this forum for a little while and thought to join up now to learn a bit more... 

 

im a novice creator trying to work out good sound and video for YouTube vids (at the moment indoor and just 1 person), audiobooks and podcasting. I just got myself a mix pre3 and am now shopping for a one for all mic solution to upgrade from the rode videomic pro. 

 

So far the mkh50 seems like the go to option - nice bass and seems a good all rounder. Other mics I was considering where sanken cs3e, schoeps mini CMIT, schoeps mk41 (bit pricey though). There’s a good offer on the 416 locally but am of the understanding that is not the best mic out there anymore so willing to put a bit more down for something that I be happy to use for the long term. 

 

My other thoughts where for use of putting 1 mic between 2 people sitting close, I have 1 Sony uwp set allready so maybe it’s better to get another when it comes to 2 people...

 

Anyhow pointers and advice much appreciated... 

 

ps if anyone knows a good thread on learning how to use a mixer/ recorder would be much appreciated - took me half an hour to work out how to get any sound through it! 

 

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Sure, the 416 might not be the best sounding mic for professionals that get put into many varying locations and talent scenarios, but it’s a fine sounding, quiet microphone that is extremely reliable. There are a ton of comparison videos on YouTube, as well as discussions on this forum. Ultimately, it will come down to personal preference and budget. I’d suggest learning how to operate your new recorder and plugging in as many mics as you can get your hands on, uploading some tests to YouTube and seeing what will work vs. your budget. 

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A 416 will sound leaps and bounds better than an on camera rode mic. Still sounds fantastic by today’s standards IMO and used regularly by many professionals. If you find a deal on one I say go for it. But learning how to use the mic correctly is going to be what gets you better sound. Even a CMIT sounds like ass if it’s in the wrong place.

 

RE: covering multiple people. In my experience, even a super cardioid with a wider pattern (641) doesn’t cover 2 people very well unless they are very close together.

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Many different ideas of mics here. All of them might be good, but there are some variables to take into account.

 

Things that you can ask yourself in deciding which mic or mics are the best can be:

How is the framing like? How close are the talking persons eachother? Outside or intoors? Stationary or moving?

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Thanks for the feedback everyone - my main location is indoors, for 2 people it’s sitting still reasonably close together, my location for solo filming (that is mostly what I am currently doing) is  in fairly bouncy surfaced room  hence I was leaning toward the mkh50, but perhaps there’s a mic that covers 2 people close together nicely? My local dealer also has an offer on the mkh60 if that’s anything worth considering.. 

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I wouldn't be going for a shotgun for an indoors location, especially a fairly reflective room. 

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Is there any chance of taming the bouncy surface room? Blankets on c-stands and booms? 2" 703 panels leaning against the walls that aren't in the shot? Even spreading around those round fiber cases they move tripods in will help: they don't absorb, but they'll diffuse the reflections.

 

You can lower some low frequency room nodes in post with careful parametric eq. And you can hide some of the annoying verb with today's plug-ins... or even a well-tuned expander. But the verb will still be there during the words, to fight intelligibility.

 

But the real reason for killing some of the bounce is sound quality. Standing waves will mess up the timbre of any recording, with any mic. Shotguns make it even worse, because the echoes can bounce dialog into the sides... where even the best shotguns have uneven response. 

 

If the production won't let you treat the room, how about getting a pair of hypers close to the talents and in the shot. The only other way to make a bouncy room sound good is ADR...

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Depending on the framing ofcourse, but I would maybe go for a card if the talents are close to each other and you can get close and the room is very live. Mkh40 would for example be worth considering (or oktava mk012/ Audix scx1 on a budget) Skip the shotguns in the setting you are talking about most likely.

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Thanks again for the feedback seems like Its not worth getting the 416 from what everyone is saying - it’s either 2 hyper cardiods or 1 cardiod 🤔 

I suppose i could hang some blankets up as well if that’s going to be a game changer.. I’ll let you know how I get on. 

 

When I bought the video mic pro I thought I would get good sound like magic... turns out it’s quite an art! 

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19 minutes ago, Luke8 said:

...

When I bought the video mic pro I thought I would get good sound like magic... turns out it’s quite an art! 

 

I bought the best scalpel available a year ago and still haven't been able to do open heart surgery on a patient that lived -- go figure.

 

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The Sanken CS3 is one of the few exterior 'shotgun' mics that could work in a reflective environment. It does not use the typical interference tube design and attenuates off-axis sounds by using multiple capsules. Not all folks like the tight pattern (and sound) and would not be good in the hands of an unskilled boom op. (but that pretty much applies to any mic).

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1 hour ago, John Blankenship said:

 

I bought the best scalpel available a year ago and still haven't been able to do open heart surgery on a patient that lived -- go figure.

 

 

I was hoping decent sound doesn’t take 7 years at university 😂 

learning has been fun so far it’s a whole new science for me 

 

Rick 

 

I was looking at the sanken but can get the mkh50 and mkh416 for only an extra $400 over the cost of the sanken alone... having heard so many good things about the 416 I thought it may be good to invest in both eventually, as a long term creator

 

+ really appreciate all the professional feedback - thank you 🙏🏻 

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2 hours ago, Luke8 said:

suppose i could hang some blankets up as well if that’s going to be a game changer..

No doubt. This will make more of a difference than splitting hairs between the mics mentioned here. Lay some carpets on the floor if it’s hard surface too.

 Basic physics of sound.

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53 minutes ago, Luke8 said:

 

I was hoping decent sound doesn’t take 7 years at university 😂 

learning has been fun so far it’s a whole new science for me

 

Believe it or not, whatever the profession, it takes thirty years to gain thirty years of experience.

 

I was making a point, by the way -- which it seems may have been missed -- that it isn't the tools, but the capabilities of the person using them that matters.  Yet your focus seemed to be on what mic to buy. 

 

If you're serious about improving your game, forget for now what mic to buy and learn about acoustics and placement and develop the tool you already have -- your ears -- and learn how to listen. 

 

As far as mics, keep it as simple as possible -- the more mics you have live, the more phase problems that will crop up if you don't know how to use them properly and how to listen for those issues.

 

 

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If you want to know how these mics sound you have to listen to them yourself.  How I or anyone else here regardless of experience think they sound is in the end irrelevant to you.  Find a way to do mic-to-mic comparisons.  This can be done in a pro audio shop (if you are lucky enough to live in area that has such a thing), at a rental house (if you are lucky enough to live in an area with a cooperative one) or by asking other sound people where you are to let you audition their mics.   A few words spoken into each at various distances will reveal more to you than reading 50 web board threads on the subject.

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13 hours ago, Luke8 said:

Thanks again for the feedback seems like Its not worth getting the 416 from what everyone is saying - it’s either 2 hyper cardiods or 1 cardiod

The 416 is still worthwhile owning, but for different scenarios than what you mentioned in your first post as to how you'd be using it.

 

13 hours ago, Luke8 said:

When I bought the video mic pro I thought I would get good sound like magic... turns out it’s quite an art! 

"I bought the latest new iPhone with its fancy HD video recording capabilities and I thought I'd be the next Roger Deakins! The years have gone by, and sadly that didn't happen... "

11 hours ago, Luke8 said:

I was hoping decent sound doesn’t take 7 years at university 😂 

 

No, it takes longer. A life long pursuit of learning and practice!

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Decent sound is, IMHO, harder than decent picture. If you're trying to learn picture, you can look at the work of the masters and figure out what kind of lenses they used, how they did basic framing and moves, and even -- when you know a bit more -- where the light is coming from. If you're trying to learn pix editing, you can also learn a lot by examining films. Yes, you can learn a lot more by listening to what the masters have said about their art... but at least you can get started on your own.

 

But our craft is, or should be, largely invisible. Dialog is supposed to sound like we are in the room with the actors... but we never can see where the mics were, how they treated the areas immediately out of the shot, and what was done in post. (After a short while you can distinguish between good booming and good lavs, unless the post is also very good. Then the mics should intercut, and it takes very careful listening to tell them apart.)

 

So you have to rely on the laws of physics... which don't require more than a grade school education and a sense of reality. Plus the techniques we've developed over the past century of recorded sound, which aren't secret.  

 

Or, at least, that's the thrust of my books.

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On 6/3/2018 at 7:25 PM, Philip Perkins said:

If you want to know how these mics sound you have to listen to them yourself.  How I or anyone else here regardless of experience think they sound is in the end irrelevant to you.  Find a way to do mic-to-mic comparisons.  This can be done in a pro audio shop (if you are lucky enough to live in area that has such a thing), at a rental house (if you are lucky enough to live in an area with a cooperative one) or by asking other sound people where you are to let you audition their mics.   A few words spoken into each at various distances will reveal more to you than reading 50 web board threads on the subject.

+1

And having a reference 'mic' is useful to do this. For me being familiar with 1 type of mic helped me judge the next. Whether you make the 416 your reference (like lots have) is another matter -  many interior scenes have been boomed with a 416 but there are more choices these days - on paper (i've not heard it) the new Sanken CS1m could be the 416 of this era, not least as we all use more radio mics and a long shotgun with lots of 'suck' doesn't seem as important. I use my 50 more than the CS3e or 416, as it has great off axis rejection and is more forgiving in use for a OMB (it also sounds superb and very quiet).

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The other reference you need is hearing your "actors" talk to you live, when you're listening to the test mics on good speakers. My engineering staff and I rejected a few otherwise "we love it" mics, after we heard that the mic's version of reality was actually a form of distortion. 

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On 6/3/2018 at 11:16 AM, John Blankenship said:

learn about acoustics and placement and develop the tool you already have -- your ears -- and learn how to listen

 

 

5 hours ago, Jay Rose said:

test mics on good speakers

 

10 hours ago, Jay Rose said:

you have to rely on the laws of physics... which don't require more than a grade school education and a sense of reality

 

Keep researching. You made the right step joining JWSOUND and posting. 

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On 6/3/2018 at 5:05 PM, Luke8 said:

Thanks again for the feedback seems like Its not worth getting the 416 from what everyone is saying 

 

A 416 is ALWAYS worth getting. 

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On 6/3/2018 at 6:53 AM, Jay Rose said:

Is there any chance of taming the bouncy surface room? Blankets on c-stands and booms? 2" 703 panels leaning against the walls that aren't in the shot? Even spreading around those round fiber cases they move tripods in will help: they don't absorb, but they'll diffuse the reflections.

 

You can lower some low frequency room nodes in post with careful parametric eq. And you can hide some of the annoying verb with today's plug-ins... or even a well-tuned expander. But the verb will still be there during the words, to fight intelligibility.

 

But the real reason for killing some of the bounce is sound quality. Standing waves will mess up the timbre of any recording, with any mic. Shotguns make it even worse, because the echoes can bounce dialog into the sides... where even the best shotguns have uneven response. 

 

If the production won't let you treat the room, how about getting a pair of hypers close to the talents and in the shot. The only other way to make a bouncy room sound good is ADR...

These are a good option as I have used them with success with several projects. They look good, are portable, and quick to setup if you are in a studio environment. The only downside is cost and depending on the size of the room you may require a lot more than two.   

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/ProMAXCHAv2--auralex-promax-v2-charcoal

 

Here is a video on basic signal flow. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-v75Mgh9dA

 

 

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On 6/3/2018 at 11:05 AM, Luke8 said:

When I bought the video mic pro I thought I would get good sound like magic...

 

 

Funny thing: I did a presentation for our combined SMPTE/AES chapters a few years ago, with the title "Magic Microphones". Here's a video.

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For some perspective Luke8 I've been doing sound for film/TV for 26 years and I still suck at it most of the time.

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