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  1. Hello, I am learning location sound recording, practising as an enthusiast. I first try to use what I already have, and if necessary, I may invest a bit. These days, I focus on recording dialog. I would like to check whether buying an Audix SCX-1 / AT4053b / MK012 would improve the quality. I have a Beyer M88-TG, hypercardioïd, 2,9mV/Pa. I recorded my voice 40cm away from the mouth (acceptable for a close-up). The recorder is a USB soundcard, a Behringer UMC204HD. Although being an entry level device, pres are rather clean, EIN supposed to be -129dBu. I measured “signal to noise ratio” my own way (not really scientific): LUFS of spoken words / LUFS of silent parts. Of course, there is room tone in these silent parts. With the preamp gain at its maximum (56dB), I get 40dB difference between the average level of my voice and the noise. To my ears, this is acceptable. The level of my voice at the mic position is 59dBA. I tried to figure out what I could get from an small condenser microphone. I am not sure of my calculation. Let’s assume I have an SCX-1, 14dBA self noise. Ignoring the preamplifier noise, this means that the best signal to noise ratio I would get is 59-14 = 45dBA. Is that correct ? With a MK012, 18dBA self noise, this would give 59-18 = 41dBA S/N, Correct ? At best, the SCX-1 would provide an improvement of 5dB over my M88. It would indeed not be that much due to preamplifier noise, plus the fact that current “noise” contains an unknown amount of room tone. The MK012 would probably bring no improvement at all, or even worse than the M88. Now, I tried to estimate the M88 self noise. This is a dynamic microphone. Lets’ assume the noise is the one of a 150 ohm resistor, so -130dBu, as proposed by an article on Neumann’s website: https://www.neumann.com/homestudio/en/will-a-better-preamp-give-you-lower-noise -130dBu = 0,245µV M88 sensitivity is 2,9mV/Pa. Sound pressure equivalent to noise : 0,245E-6 / 2,9E-3 = 84,5µPa Equivalent SPL: 20*log(84,5E-6 / 2E-5 ) = 12,5dB 12,5dB is extremely low. I guess A-weighting would even lower it. Is that calculation correct ? Does this mean that, due to its high sensitivity (for a dynamic microphone), the Beyer M88 competes with the best small diaphragm condensers as long as I use a clean preamplifier ? Or... is my calculation complete BS ? By the way, I also made tests with an AT4033, 17dBA self noise, 25mV/Pa, and the results were really close to the M88: about 40dB difference between voice average level and noise. This again suggests there is not much improvement to be expected buying a decent condenser, at least with rthe ambient noise (measured at 34dBA) Please note I just focused on noise here. I know the M88 is highly sensitive to vibrations, wind, and weight a lot if boomed. Good reasons to use something else. Thank you for reading.
  2. Hi everyone, this is my very first post here, and I'm honored to ask for your help about a question: As a filmaking student I havo to make a little documentary with audio 5.1. The bad thing about audio is that I'm completely alone (I haven't a boom guy). The good thing is that this documentary will be almost without dialogues (it's a sort of silent and poetic tale about the life of an old woman). In this scenario I thought to realize the surround audio field completely in post, mixing different sources taken during "clean" off-camera sessions (so avoiding to capture audio during video sessions) and this for 2 reasons: 1. creating an imaginary (and perhaps more interesting) sound landscape; 2. basically avoiding to capture my noises as camera operator (my steps, my breath, steady squeaking) during video takes. Recreating a fictitious audio in post should work for all the channels BUT one: the C-channel, that contains the most "in-frame" audio effects: infact I can't dub my talent's own steps, movements' noises, sighs, etc. (because she's not an actor, but a real woman living her life). In few words I need at least an on-camera mic solution to capture the C-channel effects. The problem is: which mic is able to bring only the sounds on its front while completely rejecting the sounds on its rear? If you know a mic like this, please tell me! Because up to now all the polar diagrams I've seen show a certain capsule's sensibility also under the center: a) omni is obviously unusable for my purpose; cardiod has two curves under the center, and tends to behave like omni at low frequencies; c) hypercardioid have a little ball of sensibility on its rear; d) shotgun is narrow but creates a sort of 8 figure in its diagram, i.e. it captures also on the back. Surely shotgun is fine as boom mic, or even as on-camera mic if the operator is moveless and silent, but in a run&gun scenario I can't think it's the right mean to capture a clean audio. And more than this, it's too directional for a moving talent in a on-camera condition. Someone uses all-in-one solutions like the fantastic Sony PCM-D100 mounted on the camera: I've thought about it, but I've heard tests with evident camera-operator's noises (and all this recorders have internal little capsules that are unidirectioal only at 1kHz and up, but under 1kHz the capsules behave like omni). So does exist an on-camera mic solution to capture front-only? I have an hypothesis that I'd need to discuss with you: Let say I'd start with an hypercardioid because it should work indoor (without too much reverb) and basically also outdoor. I'd choose a mic with a pretty constant polar diagram for all the frequency spectrum (Audio-Tachnica AT4053B, or Audix SCX1-HC, or a modified Oktava MK012) and I'd use two in X/Y position on the camera (so I should choose a mic without handling issues). In this way I'll surely capture front + side + rear sounds, it's true, but there should be only a single common cross-diagrams portion, and that portion should be only in front of the camera, not in the back nor on the side. This "clean" portion should be obtained by algebrical operation on the two channels (in a DAW), and it should be my C-channel. Do you think it could work? I'd use a Tascam DR-70D (screwed under the camera) modified by Busman to have very clean preamp, and a couple of AT4053B or SCX1hc mounted over the camera in X/Y position. I've read that modified Oktavas are very interesting but I've also read that they are too sensitive to operator's movements. So, between AT4053B and SCX1hc, which is in your opinion the less problematic in a run&gun scenario? Thanks for all your help (I really need it) and your advices.
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