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A good mic for Screaming and yelling?


jgbsound
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Howdy Gents,

I've been doing a fair amount of horror films and I always have distortion issues with my CMIT5u when anyone screams (especially women), or even yells too loud.  I normally back off the gain and move the mic away to handle it but this changes proximity, and in post, there's a noticeable difference.  

I've been renting a MKH60 with a -10pad to better handle these situations but it occurred to me that you all have had to deal with this situation at one time or another.  So I was wondering what your solution is/was for capturing clean scream sounds?  I'd prefer the mic to be up close to my subjects when I do this of course to get a more consistent result to send to post.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!


Thanks,

John
(jgbsound)

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Thanks Rob!  It's funny I was looking at the 4017 just a bit ago.  I'll take another look at it.  Thanks! :-)

Phil:  I always assumed it was the mic; I've dropped input gain down pretty low and I still I get distortion.  It there something else I would need to check/monitor?  The mic handles a maximum SPL of 132 which is a pretty loud source.  I really notice it with female screams.  

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Human voices are funny things--very peaky and asymmetrical wfms.  Your actors may just have the sort of voice that isn't suited to the mic in hand in its current condition, so trying others is a great idea.  Carefully running through your record chain is good too--are you sure it isn't just your headphone amp distorting?  Have you played the files back on something else and listened?  My default in cases like this is to suspect my gain staging first, the monitoring second and the mic last....

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Hmmm.  I guess I need to investigate this further.  I input straight into the Fusion 12 (no Mixer) so there are only two things involved with the analog inputs.  THe mic and then analog input on the fusion.  I do have to drive the Schoeps at a pretty high trim gain to use for normal dialog to sit at -10/-12.  I'll try an MK41 next.  

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1 hour ago, jgbsound said:

Hmmm.  I guess I need to investigate this further.  I input straight into the Fusion 12 (no Mixer) so there are only two things involved with the analog inputs.  THe mic and then analog input on the fusion.  I do have to drive the Schoeps at a pretty high trim gain to use for normal dialog to sit at -10/-12.  I'll try an MK41 next.  

Is your Fusion's analog input limiter engaged? 

My thinking is, since the Fusion can handle pretty loud signals, perhaps you have it off by default?

Sorry if this doesn't make sense. I haven't used a Fusion. I know the Fusion has an input limiter, but I don't know how much control you have over it.

Jim "try a SM58 :-)" Feeley

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I just finished a movie about seriel killers where a captive women was screaming like crazy all the time. It's never the capsule that is the problem, it's the preamp in the mic . I put the 10db Inline pad in between the mk 41 capsule and cmc 6 preamp and screaming right into the mic was no problem

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I used to use the Schoeps CMC641 with the -10dB inline pad for this all the time when I worked at an ADR studio. I'd have one permanently hung alongside whatever other boom I was using so that if the actor started screaming it was just a fader throw away. Worked great. 

 

-Mike

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8 hours ago, gus harris said:

During scenes involving talking to screaming or loud transients, especially while OMBing, I'm a big fan of having an XLR(F)-2XLR(M) splitter & gaining the second channel conservatively, by a good 6db or more.

+1 I do the same but with Zaxcom Iso Attenuation

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  • 3 weeks later...

MKH 50 with 10db pad engaged.  or in-line pad(s) in the MK Schoeps. Frankly for screaming..I think I'd save the Schoeps. Having the boom op mix with the mic is nice too. Lectro SM Lav transmitters to 0 if you are looking to get a scream track on radio..you won't get much else.

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On 4/15/2016 at 3:21 PM, Mungo said:

You could use a Sennheiser MD 441 - supercardioid dynamic mic. I would say it's the best dynamic mic of all times.

You could record it on a second track.

Sennheiser MD 416u is the precursor to the 441. Thus, mmmmaybe the second best dynamic mic of all time. Great mic always available for cheap on ebay. Originally designed for rock vocals, built for yelling. Designed looks-wise to appeal to MetalHeads.

If I was going to situation-ally  swap in a dynamic mic I would play around with a Cloudlifter, Fethead or Marti Audio plug on preamp or something on that order that operates on 48v.

http://www.coutant.org/md416u/

md 416u.jpg

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The MDU 416u is amazing but Beyer makes a dynamic mic. that is made for explosions etc. and sounds like a condensor mic.----talk to sherry at Trew Audio.I had both and the Beyer saved me many times.

 

                                                                                                                         J.D.

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I've used a dynamic Shure SM11, (lavaliere) for recording engine S/FX. Never used it for dialog.
 Don't know the max SPL, but I'm sure it's significant. It does have a presence peak around 7.5kHz, so woman screams may be brittle.

The 441 is a great mic fo' sure , I've used them back in my music recording days (daze).. a little  h e a v y  for a H/H boom I would think.

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Many times I've heard distortion from yelling that I know was originating at the mic, not the mixer input, and happened when using hardwired mics with  SPL ratings higher than the the world record for loud screams mention above in this thread. I'm not sure what would explain it, but adding the switchable attenuator on mics that have them, or adding the -10dB pad between the capsule and the body of a CMC Schoeps often solves the problem. I'm not sure if the max SPL is frequency specific, or if it's measure with pink noise, or if that would make any difference. But usually screams are a relatively narrow band in the higher audio freq spectrum.

Another thing to consider is phantom voltage. For example, the published max SPL of mics designed for 48V phantom voltage can usually not be achieved if the phantom voltage is below spec. IIRC correctly, the DIN spec for 48V phantom is 48V, +/-4V, and 7mA. Anything below those specs can cause a noticeable reduction in the SPL of the mic and increased self noise. This is not as uncommon as you might imagine. For example, when powered by only 12VDC, the renowned Cooper CS-106+1 mixer will only provide about 40V phantom power because of the inefficiency of the its phantom power DC-DC converter circuit. For many of the mics we use, 40V phantom will cause a mic to be noticeably more noisy and have clipping distortion at levels well below the published SPL spec. That's why some people have the misconception that the Cooper "sounds better" with a 24VDC power supply. Actually, any voltage between 13.5VDC and 24VDC will allow the CS-106 to provide a full 48V phantom voltage and achieve full spec. In fact, except for low phantom voltage, the CS-106 has the same audio specs (sounds identical) with a powering voltage of 11VDC-24VDC.

Related: Unless screams are to be recorded in the midst of other dialog, I recommend not relying on a limiter or compressor, as there shouldn't be any need, and compression can certainly take away from the effects of a scream. Compressor/limiter action on a scream is probably the most obvious of dialog recording mistakes, as it is very apparent all the way to the home TV set. In the analog Nagra days, tape saturation took care of this problem naturally, but since those days are gone, set the analog input trim to keep the peak below clipping, and record up to be not exceeding max dBfs.

GT

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<<That's why some people have the misconception that the Cooper "sounds better" with a 24VDC power supply.>>

Off-topic - but hilarious (or pathetic) - i once remember a long time ago - when i was on rented gear, i had a Cooper mixer and a PD6, was setting up in the morning and plugged in the brick batteries from the bottom shelf of the PSC cart to the mixer and the recorder. Turned on the PD6 and it went 'pop...'. Turned out it was a 24V battery i had plugged in instead of the 12V battery. Well, nothing was mentioned on the cables OR the batteries. 

Another time a Deva IV came to me for firmware upgrade (yes, folks, this too happened). Once again - plugged in battery and there was colourful smoke and awful smell from the Deva. yes - 24V brick battery, unmarked. 

Brick battery = SLA inside a flight case with a connector on the top, sometimes with a carrying strap handle... 

BTW, both were from the same rental. Heh. 

-vin

 

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