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Aluminum vs. Carbon Fiber...


aginzo
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Just curious. I wanted to know for any of you out there, is an aluminum pole really that bad compared to a carbon fiber pole? In my career I've only used carbon fiber because of the stigmatism of the heavy aluminum pole. I'm looking to buy a longer second pole and I am under a bit of a budget. I've seen some good products on eBay but I am skeptical of getting an aluminum pole (These are going for a cheaper price and I'm betting it's because they are less in demand.). I just wanted to know if this would be a huge mistake to even consider or is it just merely preference? I use right now a K-Tek KEG-88CC Avalon Series "Traveler. I'm upgrading my gear and would like to have a longer pole, just in case I get into that type of situation. It won't be a most of the jobs I do (ENG, "run and gun"). My currently pole goes from 1'11"-7'4". Your thought?

 

Thanks

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" is an aluminum pole really that bad compared to a carbon fiber pole? "

it is difficult to say, but what exactly is "that bad" ??

 

" a cheaper price and I'm betting it's because they are less in demand.). "

nope... it is because the material to build them is more costly.

 

" Your thought? "

lighter is always lighter....

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If you are near one of our usual suspects, go feel the difference and decide for yourself.

Personally, I once considered getting a small aluminum Traveler for backup, but when I picked one up and held it for three seconds, decided against it.

Obviously with a longer pole, the difference in weight would be even bigger.

+1 on AFMY's point about dents.

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I get the impression that you want someone to assure you that cheaper tools are just as good as more expensive ones. Seldom is that the case.

What is true is that we're often buying on a curve where the amount of return for money spent comes in increasingly smaller increments. Where one buys on that curve depends upon several factors.

Also, what suits your personal preferences can only be determined by your experience with both.

A potential red flag is your statement, "I've seen some good products on eBay." If you're not really familiar with the selections from the main boom pole manufacturers, and the potential pitfalls of buying such things used, I think you'd be better served by purchasing from a dedicated location sound dealer -- either new or from their used section.

I would definitely recommend against buying a Chinese knock-off or non-name brand.

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There was a time when nearly all poles were aluminum.  We made a lot of movies with them.  I don't miss them--really easy to damage, and I felt like they transmitted more handling and cable noise to the mic (so I didn't use internal cables with them).    The pole is really your axe, try them out for yourself.  Call the dealers, explain yourself and ask about returns.  I don't recommend EBay for this....  I DO recommend getting a new pole if you can, vs used.  Poles are hard and expensive to service, it would be nice to have everything all brandy new and working smoothly.

 

philp

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+1 to John's post about buying along a curve.

 

It really depends on what kind of gigs you expect to find yourself working over the next couple of years. If you're looking to buy a longer pole than your KEG-88, I'd personally recommend against going aluminum; the longer pole length and the heavier material combined will make for a significant increase in strain on your muscles.

 

You really begin to appreciate a lighter pole when takes run long. An aluminum pole doesn't feel that much heavier than a carbon fiber or graphite one at first, but see how heavy that thing feels toward the end of a 12-minute take. ;]

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while I love my 15' gitzo aluminum pole for eng work.  I would not want anything longer in aluminum as other people have mentioned the length tends to combine with the weight to create strain.  For me it is not an issue as for most of the shoots I work they are either sit-down interview situations or I am not booming more than 2 or 3 sections out.  My personal opinion is it is a wash if you have aluminum for short reaches but carbon fiber will shine on long boom reaches.

 

What about graphite, our local eng supply house here in dallas has been stocking graphite and I am just curious.

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Look up Eric at TAI, they're local here in Orlando and they've always treated me well.  They've got a range of options in their showroom that I'm sure they'll let you test drive in the office.  

 

I'll buy you a cup of coffee if you want to get together and chat sometime.  I've got one of each variety from K-Tek, I can let you feel the difference for yourself.  

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The boom is probably the most important weapon in your arsenal. Try different ones before committing to one. Go to one of the usual suspects!

 

I started booming with aluminum poles mostly, and when it came to purchasing my own, I invested nearly $1k on a really nice carbon fiber K-Tek pole. Honestly, it was the best investment I've made to date. This thing is so light in comparison. I do not miss booming with aluminum poles. Worth it IMO.

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The longest aluminum pole K-Tek makes is the KE-144, and it's about 12 feet long. It's aluminum, so it is going to be considerably heavier than its graphite counter part. The reason for cost difference is the cost of materials. Aluminum is considerably cheaper than graphite. 

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Wow, in one day I never expected this many responses. Thanks everyone. I think I may hold out for graphite pole. As for TAI, yes I'm well aware of TAI. Known about them since 1995. Was a customer of them for years and knew then at the old location. However, I didn't want to travel 30 minutes out of my way to be "sold". I much rather go there when I'm looking to buy. It just turns me off when I go there and I have the creepy heavy sale going on. I don't blame them that's their job. I kind of wanted unsolicated testimonials and I just got it.

 

Thanks

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The boom is probably the most important weapon in your arsenal.

I invested nearly $1k on a really nice carbon fiber K-Tek pole. Honestly, it was the best investment I've made to date. This thing is so light in comparison.

I did the same and totally agree! My K-Tek boom is always by my side when I ENG, her name is "Doris". :-)

Light-weight, good locking action and the built-in cable makes the sometimes tough job of boom operating a little bit easier. When the boom and shotgun mic are light-weight I don't mind extending the boom an extra section getting closer to the action.

I really don't miss the aluminium booms and wooden grip shotgun mic handles. Ohh, workout...

My ENG equipment is available for rental, except for my boom, she will only be touched by me. :-)

Cheers

Fred

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I had the Ktek 144CC aluminum pole for a while as a longer budget boom pole (I think I got it for around $280ish). I upgraded to a Ktek 153CCR graphite. It was 2.5x the price, but its definitely worth it. No aluminum poles for me unless they are under around 9'. I also have a Ktek 123CC that is fantastic as a compact pole with solid length for anything ENG/reality/corporate.

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Did anybody compare a K-Tek 152CCR and a Ambient QP480 in person? I never had an internal cabeld pole - always shorter Ambient and VdB (2,6m). My much liked QP 480 (external cable)  was stolen quite short after purchase.

 

Recently I had a short Test with a 152 CCR of another sound guy and was surprised how little cable noise it makes. Then I saw the price 699 Euro :-( 

 

But the Aluminium 12' 144CCR is only 279 Euro. 

In fact the K-tek homepage does not really tell the differences between Avalon and Klasssik in their series beneath stating Klassic is more modular - whatever that means. 

The design of the collars looks for more grip though.

 

Weight difference is 856g vs 1016g which sounds not that much for me

 

Is there a difference in internal cable noise between K-152 / 144 / QP 480?

Ambient only offers straight internal cables and that seems to me of no advantage vs external as I like to disconnect the boom quickly from the mixer and avoid messing with cables. Maybe another company does an coiled cable for it?

 

There is not one dealer in germany that has them in stock in whole germany...

 

Recently I had a rental QP4140 which is also 1000g (external cable) - I did not need the full length and think about buying the 144 ccr.

Good to read here about dents - any more drawbacks?  

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