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Sennheiser ME-2


Alistair Duff
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I think one of the main things I dislike about the ME-2 besides the boxy tone is the fact that the body of the mic is so micro phonic that it seems to get worse with moleskin. Any clothing noise is greatly amplified when its not even rubbing against the top of the mic. Which of the other lav mics are considerably better in this regard?

Alistair

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I was forced to use ME2s a lot when I first began doing sound. My favorite way to make them quiet was to use safety pins and jam them between the metal (the mikes are pretty big so they fit pretty well) and clip them between two pieces of clothes. I would add moleskin on top of it so that it wouldn't fall out (in a tiny, thin layer going around) [i would do this before I put it inside the pin]. Of course, you'd need two layers of clothes to do this and maybe a thicker layer on the outside to hide the pin. But when I could do it, it worked very well. I learned it from some sound mixer guy (who happened to be an actor on some film I was working on). It does kind of create a bump. But if you can find a spot where the bump kind of fits or make it more discrete somehow by adding more bumps, it's not so bad. And it's worth the trouble, I promise.

99 cent stores sell that big collection of assorted sizes of safety pins. Check them out if you want to try this method out.

I didn't know about the tape back then, but I find that Joe's Sticky Stuff between layers of clothing works very well. I always tell the actors and directors to tell talent to wear two layers of clothing nowadays and use sticky stuff to put mikes in between. Works on every mike really. Use it on my COS-11s or MKE2 whenever I can (even without the RM-11 for the COS-11, and it can help because the Sticky Stuff is such a quiet substance). Still harder for me to use it with Trams (though I may use it on a Tram inside a vampire or tape-down with mike facing in, though I never really dug the sound of this arrangement)

Moleskin should work though. I use moleskin combined with topstick when there's only one layer. And I apply the moleskin on the ME2 itself. I'd put a whole bunch of layers on it to shield it. I actually had to use these damn mikes on a reality show (very difficult! But that's all they gave me. Seven of the damn things!) and I had to figure out how to do this fast. Often I couldn't be nice about it anymore and would just leave the moleskin on the mikes permanently. They would look massive. I went for the layers instead of rolling the tape around the mike (which would create the superior rectangular bump instead of a circular bump). And I'd use topstick to attach the mike to the clothes (I'd just roll a single strip around the moleskin sandwich); and more importantly, I would topstick the clothes around the vicinity of the microphone. I would especially use topstick around the microphone. It's really the clothes moving/sliding over the mike that is the problem. Depending on sweat and what not, it would work very well.

Another thing I learned from another sound guy was to apply the mike (this applies to any lav) to a layer or two of moleskin (sticky side facing back--towards the body--but not exposed yet). Then you'd attach it with moleskin on top of that. Then, right before putting it on the body you'd expose the tape off the side facing the body. And bam! You'd attach it. It's self-contained so it works pretty well. I'd put topstick around the area to keep the clothes still (or maybe on the moleskin sandwich itself) and Transpore on a bit of the wire to keep the microphonics down.

You could use combinations. Maybe apply moleskin on the body to create a "layer of clothing"? Then use a safety pin between the microphone and the only layer of clothing. The problem with Sticky Stuff in this way would be that if it at all ever unsticks it loses all its adhesion. Putting it in between layers works because the layers never come apart.

I actually kind of miss using the safety pins for my COS-11s. It was an incredibly quiet method. And worked regardless of sweat, which is always a major problem when using tape (even and especially the Joe's Sticky Stuff which otherwise works very well.

Why would safety pins work so well? Well. Think about it. It fulfills all the purposes of the other tapes. Like moleskin it creates a space around the microphone on which the clothes do not rub on the capsule itself. Like the Sticky Stuff, the new layers that are created are noiseless; of course it's noiseless, because it's just air! Like the topstick it doesn't allow the clothes to move around because the layers have been attached by the clip. Even better, there's no tape so it can't be affected by sweat! It also reacts a bit better to movement[because it can't "unstick"] (but it is not immune to jumping around and going up and down. I'm still trying to see how to improve that aspect of miking). Interestingly, going to COS-11s kind of brought me back to zero regarding mic technique.

Obviously, placement and exposing the mike to air as much as possible still always helps. Pick a spot that seems to have less activity. If you can expose the mike to air this always seems to cut down in noise (but yeah you can't always do it, so at least the first one's always true).

It's always an issue of time though. Nowadays I just use Sticky Stuff when I can or a COS-11 in an RM11 with topstick. I've done some post recently and I find that clothing noise of extreme variety is hard to fix (though light crackling is easy). I think I'll get B6s, Mickey Mics, Pin/Button Mics, or TL40s in the future and just rely on those for all miking. The COS-11s are reliable but if it's just about clothing noise versus time, then I don't think you can go wrong with tiny & exposed microphones. Besides the sticky stuff between layers (which is generally reliable), I've had success with the Moleskin, Bam! method inside an RM-11. Transpore is better at sticking so I'd often put it on top of the moleskin for greater reliability (god I do hate the unending battle of sweat vs. tape). And Topstick around an RM-11. I still find Trams a mystery.... I'd prefer to use Sticky Stuff between layers though. It always seems to work well.... I'd definitely ask the directors and actors to wear layers. You also need layers for the safety pins too.

Everything has its disadvantages. Topstick doesn't resist being pulled apart all that well and you get crackling, sticking/unsticking sound (this is why I might not put the topstick on the microphone's area itself but on the clothes). The transpore is only single-sided and hurts actors. It also leaves residue on the wire. Joe's Sticky Stuff doesn't seem to work on skin, imo, because of three reasons: 1. It loses all adhesion if it comes off the actor and clothes just once 2. It's adversely affected by moisture and falls right off 3. I fear it may hurt people's skin since it's so damn strong. Moisture may also affects sticky stuff if there's a lot of moisture emanating in between the layers (but at least it still sticks because I suppose being in between two layers doesn't allow it to unstick).

The safety pin makes a big bump; and if the first layer is thin, the sheen of the metal might appear in the camera (black matte safety pins are sold at stores, too, though they are not as strong). Putting mikes between layers doesn't solve the problem of the next layer rubbing on the clothes or on the chest hair. You might still have to use topstick or moleskin[for quieting the sound of the rubbing] on the inner layer (I don't like to use it on the chest hair but to still the clothes somewhere around the area). Transpore's still best, imo, for keeping things stuck. However, actors always complain to me about it, so I may try to use those Tram cable clip thingies. None of them fixes noisy clothing all that much. I'm still looking into that. Fabric softener? Water? Other stuff maybe? More moleskin? More topstick? Definitely a mystery. Another reason for exposed B6s or Pin Mics. And why the Boom is always best.

Sawrab

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Sawrab, Thanks for your reply..lots of good info. I appreciate all the tips and methods you mentioned. I will try and get by with these mics until I can spring for something else. Does anyone have a preferred online retailer for Topstick and Sticky Stuff?

Alistair

Check and see if there is a Sally Beuty supply near you they useualy have Topstick and its nice to not have to order off the net.

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Sawrab, Thanks for your reply..lots of good info. I appreciate all the tips and methods you mentioned. I will try and get by with these mics until I can spring for something else. Does anyone have a preferred online retailer for Topstick and Sticky Stuff?

Alistair

No problem. I help because it helps me, too. I forget about all this stuff a lot of the time because of the stress of filming. Nice to remember it. It grounds you.

Yeah you could buy all this stuff online. Amazon sells the Sticky Stuff. Depending on your location, sound houses sell these products for cheap too. Pro-Sound and Gotham Sound in NYC sell Moleskin by the yard for $13 to $15 or so. A great bargain compared to the equivalent price at drug/convenience stores. I've never been to LA but I'm sure there must be similar places like that there. Although I guess Pro-Sound and Gotham have online purchasing & shipping too. ...I guess you could find similar deals on the internet, too.

The sticky stuff and moleskin will last you awhile. The topstick is a bit over $5 on the internet for each of those boxes of strips. The strips run out fast.

I dig OST-801s...but they are like Trams after all, and have their own style of placement. OST themselves will sell it to you cheaper if you buy in bulk, and they may be more receptive to any issues you have with their lavaliers (they have some quality control issues, but they seem to work okay with the Sennheiser G-series).

Sawrab

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Check out Oscar Sound Tech. Good quality, tl-40 is the diameter of cos11's but much shorter and the ost-801/802 is tram like. They are all very much a leap forward from the me2 and cheaper to replace than those stock Sennheisers. At Pro Sound NYC around $100 each.

Im going to go ahead and order a pair of TL40s as replacements for the stock Sennheisers..Thanks earmuffs and Sawrab!

Alistair

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No problem. I help because it helps me, too. I forget about all this stuff a lot of the time because of the stress of filming. Nice to remember it. It grounds you.

Yeah you could buy all this stuff online. Amazon sells the Sticky Stuff. Depending on your location, sound houses sell these products for cheap too. Pro-Sound and Gotham Sound in NYC sell Moleskin by the yard for $13 to $15 or so. A great bargain compared to the equivalent price at drug/convenience stores. I've never been to LA but I'm sure there must be similar places like that there. Although I guess Pro-Sound and Gotham have online purchasing & shipping too. ...I guess you could find similar deals on the internet, too.

The sticky stuff and moleskin will last you awhile. The topstick is a bit over $5 on the internet for each of those boxes of strips. The strips run out fast.

I dig OST-801s...but they are like Trams after all, and have their own style of placement. OST themselves will sell it to you cheaper if you buy in bulk, and they may be more receptive to any issues you have with their lavaliers (they have some quality control issues, but they seem to work okay with the Sennheiser G-series).

Sawrab

I would stay away from any used OST's for sure unless they were made this year. I was sort of an unknowing beta tester for the early tl-40 sennheiser configurations, there were some issues with the trs connectors that caused input overload, no damage but unusable. I bought 3 new ones from Pro Sound last month and they work perfect.

As for buying direct, I have been trying to contact the guys at OST to fix one of two bad ones i bought direct from them last year (same problem as stated above) but they have not responded to any of my messages. So take that for what it's worth, maybe it's just a holiday thing. I suggest buying from a retailer if you can so they can deal with any issues.

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As for buying direct, I have been trying to contact the guys at OST to fix one of two bad ones i bought direct from them last year (same problem as stated above) but they have not responded to any of my messages. So take that for what it's worth, maybe it's just a holiday thing. I suggest buying from a retailer if you can so they can deal with any issues.

I have had the opposite experience, I just got my mic back from OST to fix the head about 2 weeks ago. Dave responded to my email quickly, I sent it out, they fixed it and I got it back the same week. It only cost me about $12, I guess its a hit or miss? Then again, I haven't had a single bad experience dealing directly with them. Their customer service is top notch.

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"I have been trying to contact the guys at OST to fix one of two bad ones i bought direct from them last year (same problem as stated above) but they have not responded to any of my messages."

This is highly unusual, Dave usually responds very quickly.. within an hour usually, a day at the most in my correspondences.
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This is highly unusual, Dave usually responds very quickly.. within an hour usually, a day at the most in my correspondences.

That's what I thought too, when I had my others repaired Jim and Dave were both very fast to respond and when I didn't get a response this time I used the web contact form but still nothing. Not sure why.

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