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Affinity

Poor Man's Schoeps CMC641?

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I want to add a hypercardiod mic to my kit for recording dialogue in interiors (and perhaps in some outdoor conditions as well).  I will sometimes be booming this mic and other times I will be putting it on a stand.

I understand the philosophy of buy a good quality/performance mic the first time around so to save money (and gain performance) in the long run.  But as I've recently purchased a SD302 mixer my budget is more constrained.  What I would like to know is what is the cheapest good quality/performance hypercardiod?

After doing some research I've narrowed my choices down to:

Audio Technica AT4053b

Audix SCX1 HC

AKG Blue Line CK93

MBHO 603 with hyper cap

Peluso Cemc6 with hyper cap

Of these 5 the Audix and the MBHO seem to stand out the most to me, but I have no experience with any of these mics.  I was hoping that some of you could help me with this decision? 

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I very specifically need a hypercardiod. 

I considered the Oktava but saw too much feedback about it being a difficult/poor choice for boom use due to significant handling/indoor wind noise. 

I own a NTG-2.  It's not suitable for the interior dialogue work I'm trying to do. 

The CS1 is interesting but not a hyper. 

I was considering the NTG-3 (as a 416-like mic) for interior dialogue since it seems to do okay indoors but in the end I found I really did need the hypercardiod pattern. 

I think the only non-hyper that I would consider is the CS3e but it's out of my current budget of about $600. 

Consider also:

--a used 416

--Rode NTG-2

--Sanken CS1

--Oktava MCO12 w/ hyper cap  (new or used)

best bet is the first one....you'll end up keeping it for your whole career.

phil p

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I very specifically need a hypercardiod. 

I considered the Oktava but saw too much feedback about it being a difficult/poor choice for boom use due to significant handling/indoor wind noise. 

I own a NTG-2.  It's not suitable for the interior dialogue work I'm trying to do. 

The CS1 is interesting but not a hyper. 

I was considering the NTG-3 (as a 416-like mic) for interior dialogue since it seems to do okay indoors but in the end I found I really did need the hypercardiod pattern. 

I think the only non-hyper that I would consider is the CS3e but it's out of my current budget of about $600.

All the mics I gave you are hypers.  People call the 416 a shotgun but it is in fact a hypercard in pattern.  The Oktava does have handling issues but these can be cured by a good shock mount.  It is the the closest match to a Schoeps MK41 that I've ever heard in a cheap mic.

phil p

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The Sanken CS1 sounds very nice on interior dialog in my experience.  I recently boomed for an experienced mixer who uses it all the time.  It has the short shotgun mic form factor but it doesn't give you the unsatisfactory off axis response like other shotguns.  Street price is $825 but they show up on ebay for a good deal less than that.

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I generally use the Rode NTG-3 for exteriors and a matched set of the Oktava MK-012 with the HC capsule for interiors they work well together and sound clean and quiet. We did some interesting stereo boom stuff with the Oktava's this weekend.

The Oktava MC series were chinese made versions of the MK's, I've heard they weren't as good but haven't tried them. As for Handling noise of the MK's I use the Rycote INV-7 and don't get any handling noise unless I'm really jerking the thing around. They also make several interesting capsules that work with the same MK012 preamp body.

Oh yeah, did I mention they're cheap and easy to replace?

http://oktavausa.com/products.htm

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From my view, by far your best bet is a used Schoeps.  When I compared the CS-1 to the Schoeps I sold both of my CS-1s.  The CS-1 sounds good, mind you, but I realized that any place I'd consider using them, I strongly preferred the Schoeps.  So, they each went to a good home.

I own four hand-selected, and custom-modified Oktavas and when I try them under ideal conditions, they sound surprisingly close to the Schoeps (the Oktava cardioid capsule a bit more so than the hyper).  However, under actual field conditions, when I've tried putting an Oktava up as a second mic with the first mic being a Schoeps, the Oktava has disappointed me in every case.  I think the smoothness of the Schoeps' pattern has a lot to do with that.  These days I carry at least a pair of Schoeps with me if I think I might need more than one hyper.  I deploy the Oktavas as "stunt doubles" for the Schoeps in situations where the mic could possibly be in peril.

So, my recommendation is to stretch your budget just a little bit and buy a used Schoeps CMC-4+MK-41 combination.  The CMC-4 preamp is T-power so you'll find quite a few of them on the used market and they're available cheaper than a CMC-5 (48v. phantom), or CMC-6 (12v.-48v. phantom).  More good news: your 302 can handle T-power fine -- just flip the mic-powering switch to the T position on whichever channel you wish to use -- couldn't be simpler.

You can purchase a good, used CMC-4+MK41 for about a grand if you keep a keen eye out -- well worth the money -- especially, with how specific your requirements are.

Check T.U.S. (The Usual Suspects -- i.e. your friendly professional sound dealer) to see what they have in their used or consignment listings.  eBay is another source, just make sure you know your recourse if there's an issue.  Going through a dealer, you might need to pay a couple hundred bucks more, but they'll probably stand behind it if you check it out and find it lacking. 

(NOTE:  This isn't why I wrote the above comments, but I have a CMC-4+MK41 I might consider selling since I find I currently have an over-abundance of Schoeps.)

Good luck with your choice.

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Although I have not used it on a boom, I've used the AKG Blueline SE300 pre amp with CK91 (cardioid), and CK93 (hyper-cardioid) a lot on stands for music such as above string sections in orchestras, Hi Hat, drum overheads, etc... and speech when table stand mounted and I like them a lot. One day I would like to get one or two for my own kit.

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Hi John, I'm curious about what you mean by the smoothness of the pattern on the Oktava's, we can take this off line if I'm going off topic.

-Mike

I own four hand-selected, and custom-modified Oktavas and when I try them under ideal conditions, they sound surprisingly close to the Schoeps (the Oktava cardioid capsule a bit more so than the hyper).  However, under actual field conditions, when I've tried putting an Oktava up as a second mic with the first mic being a Schoeps, the Oktava has disappointed me in every case.  I think the smoothness of the pattern has a lot to do with that.  These days I carry at least a pair of Schoeps with me if I think I might need more than one hyper.  I deploy the Oktavas as "stunt doubles" for the Schoeps in situations where the mic could possibly be in peril.

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Hello,

I was looking for the same kind of mic some months ago; in the end i've bought an Audix SCX-1 hyper.

I've found the Audix way smoother and flatter than the Oktava (quite similar to the Schoeps when on-axis)

Sadly, it's not a Schoeps...this one still sounds better and has a fantastic off-axis sound that i've never found on any other mic, but, as everybody knows, the price is really high (4 or 5 times an Audix....).

I was also disappointed by the AT 4053b. Very different sound than the "a" version, i did'nt like it at all.

So, my 2 cents, in that order: Oktava>Audix>Schoeps (being the last one my personal number one)

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Hi John, I'm curious about what you mean by the smoothness of the pattern on the Oktava's, we can take this off line if I'm going off topic.

Maybe I wrote that wrong (it was mighty late).  I meant how smooth the Schoeps is off-axis.  I'll correct it to make it clearer.  Thanks.

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I was also disappointed by the AT 4053b. Very different sound than the "a" version, i did'nt like it at all.

Really? I have a 4053a and a 4053b, and I can't really hear the difference between them. However, it is odd that Audio Technica changed the design between the two models (the grill looks totally different).

As far as which poor man's mic is the best, it's hard to say. I kind have a soft spot for Audix, but I haven't used the SCX1 HC. The best choice is probably the one that you can get the best price on (that's what will make it a true poor man's Schoeps).

I think John Blankenship offered good advice about hunting down T-powered Schoeps. I bought a poor man's hyper to get started, and I'm happy with the sound I get, but now it would be nice to have a Schoeps. Buy once, cry once. I wanted to buy a Sanken CS3e when I started, but I opted for a 4073a. That mic has been fine too, but I still want to upgrade to the Sanken. It's the same old story that you read about every day at JW Sound. They speak the truth around here.

Of course, I didn't mind having my poor man's Schoeps at the end of my pole when I accidentally stuck it into a ceiling fan when shooting at a cafe. Neither the 4053 or the ceiling fan were damaged in the incident, but when it happened the fist thing I thought was "Wow, I'm actually glad I'm not using a super fancy mic." Of course, I still want Schoeps, but you catch my drift. 

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Affinity,

I have used an MKH-50 for many years as my primary hyper mic, and I love it. I occasionally needed a second hyper for some scenes, and couldn't justify the expense of a second MKH-50, so I went with the MBHO. It's a great sounding mic and very close to the sound of the 50, when you can get it in at a reasonable distance above the actor. You'll find with most of those mics you listed that they sound pretty good when you can get them in at a normal headroom level above the actors. But when you have to start moving away for different framing issues, you start to hear why the great mics cost more. My 50 can hang in there when I have to lift it higher, but my MBHO just couldn't cut it when I had to go more then 2 feet above the head of an actor. I also own an Octava and I used to have the Audio Technica. Both good mics in ideal situations, but not as good as the MBHO when you have to pull back.

As a side note, a local post house wanted a hyper mic for doind ADR work. They didn't want to spend that much, so they tested most of the same mics that have been listed here. They ended going with the MBHO (they bought my used one). They wanted to get a new one, but after numerous attempts at contacting the Canadian and American distributors, didn't get anywhere.

If you can find one and can try before you buy, I'd recommend the MBHO.

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I've been extremely happy with my Oktava. So much so, I just bought another for double boom situations (off to go pick it up at the post office in a few minutes.) Yes, there is some handling noise, but like Phil said, with the proper shockmount AND booming technique, it works perfectly. I think it's helped my booming technique because it is sensitive and requires a steady hand. Down the road, would love to get a pair of Schoeps but that'll be for another day.

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If you can find one and can try before you buy, I'd recommend the MBHO.

Oh my god! Another German microphone manufacturer I've never heard of :)

Thanks for the info - which MBHO are you referring to please? The website is very clunky!

http://www.mbho.de/t1.htm

The personal background of Herbert Haun is more than impressive. His education was done at Bayer years ago, since then he was always involved in the production of microphones. [img alt=Manfred Schneider - Chief Engineer height=72 width=60]http://www.mbho.de/images/manfred_schneider_kl.jpgMBHO's chief engineer, Manfred Schneider, was involved for a long time with the famous Dr. Schoeps.

This background should give you confidence regarding the products and their quality.

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You'll find with most of those mics you listed that they sound pretty good when you can get them in at a normal headroom level above the actors. But when you have to start moving away for different framing issues, you start to hear why the great mics cost more.

I totally agree, totally. Just one thing i'd like to add: MBHO and Audix share the same capsule.

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Really? I have a 4053a and a 4053b, and I can't really hear the difference between them. However, it is odd that Audio Technica changed the design between the two models (the grill looks totally different).

Hi Sam,

You make me thinking that the one i've tried was defective. Did'nt you find the sound of the "b" is way darker than the "a"?

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I've tested or used most of the popular microphones out there for interior dialogue. I have been using the AKG Blueline for many years. As many have said, personal preference can be somewhat subjective. I switched to this mic for a few reasons. Shoeps, particularly with thin female voices would record the sibilance so well that my ears would explode by the end of the day and my dubbing mixers would be using de-essers. The Newman's were subject to RF, were very tough with handling noise and the screw mount elbows and colette were a hassle. . A lovely sound, more round than the Shoeps and a distinctive quality to voices. The Senhheiser, as addressed in this thread earlier, would color off axis and I found the sound to be a little strident. Also it doesn't have elbow mounts.  The AKG Blue Line is not the quietest mic built, nor is it the brightest. It has good accessories, seems to have a slightly better reach than other hypercards and in open or larger sets is a bit deader sounding. It is good with handling noise and has built in low cut and 10DB pads. I also carry and use Sanken CS3E's, Newman KMR81's/82s and KM140's. As many have said, different microphones respond to environments in different ways. The Blueline responds well in most int.  environments. I use subtle parametric EQ (Sonosax ST8D)  and different low end roll off's in almost every situation based upon room acoustics and background noise.

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I'd be curious to hear some samples recorded with that mysterious MBHO mic I've never heard of - I couldn't find a hyper capsule on their website by the way.

I recommend the Oktava too, by the way. Nice modular options (figure of eight adapter for example, nice for a cheap M/S rig) and no problems with handling noise at all. Your SD 302 has a low cut button on each channel so you wouldn't even need to buy the Oktava low cut capsule.

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" People call the 416 a shotgun but it is in fact a hypercard in pattern. "

while the patterns may be similar, the way they are made is quite different;  the typical hyper-cardioid mics make their directional pattern similar to the way cardioid and super-cardioid mic's due, with dual diaphrams.  The "shotgun" type mic's add an "interference tube" in front of the capsule(s) and the acoustics of that arrangement (physics is involved!) cause such mic's to seem to over emphasize zny reverb in the space, thus many folks prefer "hyper's" over shotguns for the sound quality, particularly indoors, more than the pattern itself

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