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soundbeard

New to Sound - looking for gear advice

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So I've been moonlighting videography for about 15 years now and am self-taught when it comes to sound, though I've always strived to get the best sound I possibly can when I do videography (I'm a one-man-band setup).  I'm looking to start doing sound work for local videographers and possibly other small features. So far I've done a few shorts as "location sound mixer," meaning I'm the whole sound department: wiring talent, mixing, booming and post, and I'm lucky enough to have just finished my first indie feature film, so I have a very small amount of experience doing this for real.

 

What I don't have is experience with a lot of the pro gear, and I'm trying to make sure I don't run into any pitfalls as I build my first sound kit. I just came into a little unexpected money to spend and I tend to be of the mind that it's cheaper in the long run to make an investment in decent gear rather than buying low to mid-range stuff and upgrading. I was wondering if I would run into any problems with this setup:

 

Right now I'm running:

 

  • MixPre-3 in an Orca OR-30, with BDS run from a slim gold mount battery (this battery and bag are big, I know, but I wanted a bag I could grow into, and the gold mount battery is nice as it doubles as a battery for my camera)
  • 2x Sennheiser G3 Wireless systems
  • 2x Sennheiser ME2 lavs that came with the G3's (these sound awful to me and they're very difficult to hide)
  • 1x Sennheiser ME66 / K6 shotgun on my boom (not crazy about the sound of this, either)

 

And I was thinking about adding these:

 

  • 2x DPA 6060 lav mics
  • 1x Schoeps CMC6 / MK41 for indoor booming + windscreen (Rycote maybe? Cinela? how bad is the handling noise on this mic?)
  • 1x Sennheiser 416 for outdoor booming + Rycote windscreen system
  • 2x Timecode Sync Ultrasync Ones

 

Lectro or Zaxcomm wireless would be great, but they're out of my price range at the moment. I also know I need an IFB solution of some sort soon, but so far the clients I've talked to aren't overly concerned about monitoring what I hear - if I ever get the money to upgrade to Lectros, I was thinking about using the G3s as sound out / director's monitor devices. 

 

So here's what I'm wondering:

 

Will the G3's have enough voltage to run the DPA 6060s?

 

The sensitivity on the 6060s seem really high compared to the Sanken COS-11D or the Countryman B6's. I'm planning on recording dialogue only. Would the 6061s be a better choice? Should I opt for another mic altogether? (the DPA lavs, like the Schoeps mic, seem like good investments - things I won't have to buy again in the near future, if you're wondering why I'm asking about expensive gear to start with). 

 

Should I opt for another outdoor shotgun over the 416?

 

Any other pitfalls I might be missing in this setup?

 

Thanks so much!

 

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10 hours ago, soundbeard said:
  • MixPre-3 in an Orca OR-30, with BDS run from a slim gold mount battery (this battery and bag are big, I know, but I wanted a bag I could grow into, and the gold mount battery is nice as it doubles as a battery for my camera)


Anything but the smallest of smallest shoots will likely find yourself needing more than three channels as your max, thus I'd suggest at least buying a Zoom F8n. 

Also might want to get a lighter battery, is well worthwhile saving your back for your future self!
(also the OR30 isn't what I'd call a "big bag", although yes there are smaller bags. But I might call the OR30 perhaps a smallish "medium" sized bag, I own one myself, is my main bag!)

10 hours ago, soundbeard said:

The sensitivity on the 6060s seem really high compared to the Sanken COS-11D or the Countryman B6's. I'm planning on recording dialogue only. Would the 6061s be a better choice? Should I opt for another mic altogether? (the DPA lavs, like the Schoeps mic, seem like good investments - things I won't have to buy again in the near future, if you're wondering why I'm asking about expensive gear to start with). 


Lavs are almost kinda a type of "expendable", given enough time, you will need to buy new lavs in your future, no matter what you might start out with buying now. 


 

10 hours ago, soundbeard said:

if I ever get the money to upgrade to Lectros


You'll also need to reterminate them, or buy new lavs. 

 

10 hours ago, soundbeard said:

I was thinking about using the G3s as sound out / director's monitor devices. 

You could use them as a transmitter, but you'd want to specifically buy the G3 IEM receivers if you wish to hand them out to director/clients/scripty/etc

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Please help the sound community by purchasing your gear from dealers that support the professional sound community.

 

Gotham Sound

Trew Audio

Location Sound Corp and

Pro Sound (Florida) 954-289-4770.

 

Good luck on your gear research.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, IronFilm said:

You'll also need to reterminate them, or buy new lavs. 

 

Was planning on getting the Microdot terminated DPAs so I didn't have to do this. Is this a bad idea?

 

3 hours ago, IronFilm said:

You could use them as a transmitter, but you'd want to specifically buy the G3 IEM receivers if you wish to hand them out to director/clients/scripty/etc

 

Is this only because the G3 IEMs have a gain control knob or am I missing something else?

 

Also, any idea if my G3's even have enough voltage to run the DPA 6060s? Know anyone who has used this combo? Couldn't find anything online about it. 

 

Thanks again!

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18 hours ago, soundbeard said:

Was planning on getting the Microdot terminated DPAs so I didn't have to do this. Is this a bad idea?

 

Not everyone is a fan of microdots, but I reckon it sounds like a sensible plan

 

18 hours ago, soundbeard said:

Is this only because the G3 IEMs have a gain control knob or am I missing something else?

 

I'm not a G3 user, but will a normal G3 RX even drive a headphone loud enough to be usable?

Plus the other big factor is that your usual director/scripty/client/producer/etc is not exactly err ummm... "technically inclined"

Changing the headphone levels via buttons and menu could very well be beyond their capabilities for many of them. 

A twisty knob thingy is more at their level. 

 

 

 

 

18 hours ago, soundbeard said:

Also, any idea if my G3's even have enough voltage to run the DPA 6060s? Know anyone who has used this combo? Couldn't find anything online about it. 

 

 

The DPA 6060 is a brand brand new product, which many dealers I think are even struggling to keep in stock?
So no surprise if info online is still a bit scarce, but that will change as time passes. 
The other factor is you're talking about the most high end of lavs paired with the most low of low end wireless, not exactly a common combo? I'd expect it would work as a gut guess, but I wouldn't be surprised if this particular combo hasn't been tried out by many if any yet. 

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On 12 June 2019 at 4:43 AM, soundbeard said:

 

  • 1x Schoeps CMC6 / MK41 for indoor booming + windscreen (Rycote maybe? Cinela? how bad is the handling noise on this mic?)

 

 

Well, the Cut 1 filter can make life much easier in that regard. But I'm not sure what Cinela fits with it attached. I'm sure many here will know the ins and outs. Just be aware that it could be a very expensive retro decision to use one once you've bought the Cinela! Still, I'm sure the expertise can be found here ... elsewhere. (I own a Cut 1 but not an MK41, CMC6 nor Cinela)!

 

Jez

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Schoeps are great mics and it's hard to beat the sound.  With that said,  if you are one man banding it you should choose something along the lines of a Sennheiser mkh50.  The Schoeps can have quite a bit of handling noise if not in the hands of a really skilled operator.  Sure, you can lessen it with a cut 1 filter but by then you're going to have around $3000 into it.  Buy a new 50 for $1300.  Handling noise is less and it sounds great.  A lot of pros use 50's.

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15 minutes ago, Mirror said:

Schoeps are great mics and it's hard to beat the sound.  With that said,  if you are one man banding it you should choose something along the lines of a Sennheiser mkh50.  The Schoeps can have quite a bit of handling noise if not in the hands of a really skilled operator.  Sure, you can lessen it with a cut 1 filter but by then you're going to have around $3000 into it.  Buy a new 50 for $1300.  Handling noise is less and it sounds great.  A lot of pros use 50's.

 

I had looked at the 50, but was under the impression that the Schoeps matched the DPA lavs better, while the 50 was a better match with something like the Sanken COS-11D. I'd also heard the handling noise on the 50 was as bad if not worse than the Schoeps. 

 

Also, the Cut 60 seems to do exactly the same thing as the Cut 1, and it's half price and smaller. MK41 + CMC6 + CUT 60 is only about $1950.

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A lot of what you “have heard”, and what you read on the interwebs, as well as what others tell you here, may or may not apply to you. I would suggest renting some or all of the above to try before you buy.

The only way to find what you like personally is to try them and listen for yourself. 

 

Things like mic placement and gain staging are more important than which brand of mic used. Skills, or lack there of will make way more difference than which one of the 50 vs the 41, DPA vs Sanken etc is “better”.

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What others have failed to mention is that rushing out to buy gear is probably the worst thing that you can do. Before you go into business for yourself and invest in a bunch of gear, why not reach out to other professionals in your area, and learn more about the trade? A lot of people buy a bunch of gear, work for pennies, spend everything on upgrades and more gear, and struggle for years to get their rates up, because they never learned about the business side of things. 

 

To make matters worse, there is a budding number of people doing this aorbof work as a hobby, which hurts the business for people who do it for a living on many levels. 

 

Talk to others near you, learn from them. They may not be too happy about a new guy showing up and charging less than them. In my area we try to educate the younger folks so that they start strong with a better business sense, instead of working for pennies and teaching clients that sound isn’t worth spending money on because someone will come along and do it for nothing. 

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47 minutes ago, JonG said:

What others have failed to mention is that rushing out to buy gear is probably the worst thing that you can do. Before you go into business for yourself and invest in a bunch of gear, why not reach out to other professionals in your area, and learn more about the trade? A lot of people buy a bunch of gear, work for pennies, spend everything on upgrades and more gear, and struggle for years to get their rates up, because they never learned about the business side of things. 

 

To make matters worse, there is a budding number of people doing this aorbof work as a hobby, which hurts the business for people who do it for a living on many levels. 

 

Talk to others near you, learn from them. They may not be too happy about a new guy showing up and charging less than them. In my area we try to educate the younger folks so that they start strong with a better business sense, instead of working for pennies and teaching clients that sound isn’t worth spending money on because someone will come along and do it for nothing. 

What Jon said. Self taught. Interesting phrase. Think about it for a moment. Who would hire a know "self taught" anybody? Electrician, Plumber, Dentist, Teacher, Sound guy. Buy the most expensive gear there is and good luck.

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4 hours ago, Johnny Karlsson said:

Things like mic placement and gain staging are more important than which brand of mic used. Skills, or lack there of will make way more difference than which one of the 50 vs the 41, DPA vs Sanken etc is “better”.


This, your skill with them will make a far far bigger difference. Than those small % gains in using one brand or another. 
When you're starting out all those small % "gains" will be lost in the background noise of your skill level. 

There is nothing at all wrong about buying something entry/mid level (like an Audio Technica AT4053B) then upgrading in the future. 

As no matter what super duper amazing hyper triple delux gear you might buy in the future, you'll still want to have back up gear (and back up for your back ups!). 

And the equipment you buy when starting out is perfect to become your future back up gear. (as it is gear you already know, have experience with, and can trust)

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Buy everything used.  You have one indie feature under your belt and you're rushing to dump thousands into new gear?  It's good to have enthusiasm but you can't forget you're running a business. Nobody who hires you at this stage knows or cares the difference between a Schoeps, Sennheiser, or two cans tied with string. Even now I'm rarely asked what mics I'm using by production.

 

My advice is to buy a used 416, used Sanken COS11s, and hold off on the timecode until somebody asks for and pays for it.  Spend the rest of your money on things that make your life on set easier (not a gold mount battery system, for example). Then when you've established clients and income splurge for the luxury items.

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For your bag now, not going to diss the 6060 (one of my next purchases) or Schoeps, but there some valid reasons to go 416 or 416 + 50 and for mics, good to upgrade from stock, but COS-11 have some advantages in the trenches and are cheaper to boot.  Some day when you graduate to higher end jobs and at least move past Sennheiser G, then consider the more top notch gear, but now balance will be perfectly served by more "standard" fare.

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7 hours ago, soundbeard said:

 

I had looked at the 50, but was under the impression that the Schoeps matched the DPA lavs better, while the 50 was a better match with something like the Sanken COS-11D.

1 hour ago, max said:

Even now I'm rarely asked what mics I'm using by production.

 

... and probably never by post production, except in a friendly interested manner.

 

After you've used the tools at your disposal to get the best sound you can possibly get - then post production is going to use their best tools to edit and balance the sound as best they can. I have to suggest here (and hey, Senator called me up on the same issue decades ago) that matching lavs to hypers or shotguns is a dead end street (or cul-de-sac)!

 

Far more important is using mics to the best of their characteristics to achieve the end result: clear sound. After this there is still (usually) a great deal of work to be done down the line - if not, you have had a very lucky shoot.

 

-

 

Apart from this, good advice from all here I think. I'd also go for a (less expensive, still expensive) MKH50 especially OMB'ing, with its handy low cut (and pad) inbuilt. I'd also try different gear out, try to work with others in bigger teams, and keep some of that money aside for gear you come to realise will be a REAL investment (could be a bag, a harness, a particular length of boom or even some cabling). Like Tom, I intend to get some 6060s when I can, to supplement / replace 4060s and possibly B6s, but especially in a OMB lo-no drama situation they could be a very expensive loss: fair enough if you feel sure you can take good care of them in videography situations but you'll be tempted to use them I expect in 'interesting' jobs where you're trying to do much more with less control and there's no insurance comeback for 'expendables'.

 

Jez

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Now I finally understand why my doctors and mechanics were always so frustrated and short tempered with me. 

 

I asked the doctor for my appendix back when I was 11 after my appendectomy. I think he though I was joking until I insisted.

 

I asked my mechanics if I could just watch them do the work. None said yes. 

 

FWIW I’m self taught in everything. I didn’t learn much from teachers before College. I couldn’t pass 10th grade Algebra but could pass college calculus. Go figure. 

 

I encourage your desire for knowledge and applaud your efforts. 

 

You started off well by finding this resource. JW is the best! 

 

 

 

 

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Some great advice here. Thanks so much. I think I will stick with most of the gear I have currently and look into getting more experience. 

 

However, I did want to clarify "self taught." By self taught, I mean I didn't go to school for sound or video work. I bought a camera in 2003 and started playing around, made short films, made lots of mistakes, and learned from them. I met and worked with other videographers. For them, with them. Made lots more mistakes, and learned from those. Met other sound guys. Talked with them. Worked for them, with them. Made tons of mistakes. And learned from them. 

 

Schooling is certainly not the only way to learn something. Failure is often the best teacher, so long as you learn from it. 

 

I'm asking about getting into my market, which has lots of videographers but a small, dwindling supply of sound people. All the people who would be initial clients are videographers who I personally know and have worked with before. I'm not planning on putting my hat in the ring for film/tv work until I get a lot more experience. 

 

All that being said, I really don't like the ME2 lavs, and would like to replace them with something better. I'm guessing the COS-11Ds would be the go-to if upgrading?

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your experience parallels a lot of my own, learning from a lot of mistakes.  this place is exactly for people like you, tapping into the knowledge of others to help steer you right, I know I've benefited much more from Jeff's gift than I've given.

 

COS-11D are great.  I'm also a big fan of Countryman B3... I feel like they are more rugged, or maybe I just am more apt to mistreat them and put them in harms way since they are a lot cheaper... from water, to rodeos, to dirt.  Maybe B3s aren't quite as sweet as the COS-11D in general, but lavaliers really can't be rated on a scale of best.  each mic has an application and sometimes I've gotten best results from an ancient beat up ECM-50 vs a pristine DPA.

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I would definitely consign the ME66 to the spares box and upgrade that side of it, and if you can find a decent second hand 416 that would be an ideal mic that would always have a place in the armoury. If you ended up buying new though I would have a good look at the various contenders (focusing especially eg on the reach, tightness, forgivingness of the type of work you'll mostly be doing on a boom outdoors) and I would add a decent rycote to that.

 

A good hyper would complement this and also serve you long (Schoeps with all the trimmings and a Cinela if you want, but an MKH50 with a 'baseball' would be my first and cheaper choice - you could start using it in the shotgun rycote when used outside even then upgrade basket and mount if you felt it necessary with how it was getting use).

 

That said, there are today several good mics that fall between hyper and short shotgun that might suit working which straddles these two - they might be worth looking at and could reduce a spend more. Though I would still look out for second hand 416s in case you locate a decent bargain.

 

Not my place to offer advice on lavs for wireless systems or other accessories but clearly others here are helping there so best of luck.

 

Jez

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Ultrasyncs are cool, but the mini DIN connectors will result in you needing to buy a host of custom cables, and unless you can make them yourself, the cost adds up. For me personally, I haven't found that OMB work, such as small crew doc or corporate video, necessitates the wireless sync or genlock features often enough to make the ultrasync worthwhile. I'd much rather have something more rugged, with bnc connections, like a Betso SBOX-1N, or a Denecke JB-1.

If you work multi cam shoots often though, I'm sure the Ultrasync One is great.

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On 6/14/2019 at 11:14 AM, max said:

Buy everything used.  You have one indie feature under your belt and you're rushing to dump thousands into new gear?  It's good to have enthusiasm but you can't forget you're running a business. Nobody who hires you at this stage knows or cares the difference between a Schoeps, Sennheiser, or two cans tied with string. Even now I'm rarely asked what mics I'm using by production.

 


I very much agree that at this point of your career (one feature film plus a handful of other small projects under your belt) then nobody at all really truly cares what gear you have so long as "it does the job".

Probably wouldn't recommend the 416 though, I reckon your shotgun boom is a key enough piece of gear it is worth spending a little extra rather than going with the ancient 416, or again the opposite is also worthwhile, you could at this point in your development just as well save your pennies and get a Rode NTG3 / Deity S Mic 2 instead. 

Feel like Timecode boxes are worthwhile buying sooner rather than later, as now in 2019 they're dirt cheap and we're spoiled for options. Plus it places you a cut above anybody else starting out and who isn't bothering to think about this important details yet. 

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Def better to focus on skills. I've heard stuff from a kid with a rode ntg2 and zoom h4n that sounded surprisingly good. Its so easy to clean up recordings with the software out now. 

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On 6/17/2019 at 2:41 AM, IronFilm said:

Probably wouldn't recommend the 416 though, I reckon your shotgun boom is a key enough piece of gear it is worth spending a little extra rather than going with the ancient 416, or again the opposite is also worthwhile, you could at this point in your development just as well save your pennies and get a Rode NTG3 / Deity S Mic 2 instead. 

 

Any recommendations instead of the 416? I've worked with the NTG3 and the 416 both and preferred the sound on the 416 (though the pickup pattern is tighter, and it's a little less forgiving when booming two people at once). Part of me thinks that if I were to get a boom for indoors (Schoeps MK41 / CMC6, MKH 50 or even something cheap like a Shure KSM-141) I'd be better off getting something like a Sanken CS3e for outdoors (though I know that's even more directional than the 416 - or so it seems) to help with those situations you just can't control.

 

Also, as for the 416, I've seen some folks recommend trying to get a used one and almost pulled the trigger on a few, but got nervous when I heard about the counterfeit ones that are in the mix. Some are supposedly hard to spot. There are even some threads on this site about them:

 

 

I've got a couple of shoots coming up in July, and I think my plan for now is just to stick with my ME66 and upgrade my lavs. My goal is clean sound, and the ME66 isn't standing in the way of that right now, where as the ME2's are. I might just go with the Oscar Sound Tech 801, which sound good and are cheap, but were a little hard for me to isolate. On the feature I used B6's, OST 801's and in a pinch, the ME2 lavs, and I greatly preferred the B6 due to how easy they were to isolate, but I feel like if I were to splurge for the B6 I might as well get the COS-11Ds - they're roughly the same price. 

 

Hopefully these upcoming jobs will lead to more jobs, in which case it might make sense to upgrade my boom mic. 

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20 minutes ago, soundbeard said:

 

Any recommendations instead of the 416? I've worked with the NTG3 and the 416 both and preferred the sound on the 416 (though the pickup pattern is tighter, and it's a little less forgiving when booming two people at once). Part of me thinks that if I were to get a boom for indoors (Schoeps MK41 / CMC6, MKH 50 or even something cheap like a Shure KSM-141) I'd be better off getting something like a Sanken CS3e for outdoors (though I know that's even more directional than the 416 - or so it seems) to help with those situations you just can't control.

 

Also, as for the 416, I've seen some folks recommend trying to get a used one and almost pulled the trigger on a few, but got nervous when I heard about the counterfeit ones that are in the mix. Some are supposedly hard to spot. There are even some threads on this site about them

 

I've got a couple of shoots coming up in July, and I think my plan for now is just to stick with my ME66 and upgrade my lavs. My goal is clean sound, and the ME66 isn't standing in the way of that right now, where as the ME2's are. I might just go with the Oscar Sound Tech 801, which sound good and are cheap, but were a little hard for me to isolate. On the feature I used B6's, OST 801's and in a pinch, the ME2 lavs, and I greatly preferred the B6 due to how easy they were to isolate, but I feel like if I were to splurge for the B6 I might as well get the COS-11Ds - they're roughly the same price. 

 

Hopefully these upcoming jobs will lead to more jobs, in which case it might make sense to upgrade my boom mic. 

 

Use this opportunity to rent and try out your favourite options. Take the ME66 but don't use it unless you feel others are not giving you better and easier results - and trust me you will not reach for it.

 

I would suggest that the difference in a good boom mic would hit you far harder than the difference in a lav mic (thru a G3) tho I advance that the latter is not my area of experience.

 

I don't mean to try several mics but just hire and try one different boom (like the CS3E) and perhaps even one different lav (either the COS11 or the DPA 4060/1 since you have experience of the B6) and swallow the cost since this cost will add directly to your experience and help immeasurably to your eventual choosing of equipment.

 

Best, Jez

 

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10 hours ago, soundbeard said:

Any recommendations instead of the 416? I've worked with the NTG3 and the 416 both and preferred the sound on the 416 (though the pickup pattern is tighter, and it's a little less forgiving when booming two people at once). Part of me thinks that if I were to get a boom for indoors (Schoeps MK41 / CMC6, MKH 50 or even something cheap like a Shure KSM-141) I'd be better off getting something like a Sanken CS3e for outdoors (though I know that's even more directional than the 416 - or so it seems) to help with those situations you just can't control.

 


Personally I'm a big fan of the CS3e because that is what I've been using for the last few years, but there are plenty of other pro shotguns to consider other than the CS3e which are more modern than the vintage 416. (8060/MKH60/CMiT5u/4017b/KMR82I/etc etc). 

 

 

10 hours ago, soundbeard said:

 

Also, as for the 416, I've seen some folks recommend trying to get a used one and almost pulled the trigger on a few, but got nervous when I heard about the counterfeit ones that are in the mix. Some are supposedly hard to spot.


Yeah.... this is one of the reasons which I why I reckon the 416 is a tough mic to strongly recommend in late 2019. 

As if you're buying new then you've got options which are still "more than good enough" to start out with (or more than good enough to use as a back up, which for many people this is the purpose of their 416, they used to use it every day but now it only occasionally comes out as a back up), but are much cheaper such as the Rode NTG3 or Deity S Mic 2. 

Or you can spend a "little bit" more than the new price of a 416 and get one of the more modern options. (which you'd probably want to move onto anyway if you had started out originally with a 416 first)

Then you've got the other option of going secondhand...  which I reckon is a very good idea, as the 416 has been around so very very very long that it means there are heaps of copies available secondhand! But if only the 416 wasn't such a popular choice to make knock off clones.... exactly because the 416 is likely the most popular professional shotgun ever. 

Thus only makes sense to buy a secondhand 416 if you've very confident about its history. 

 

So in the end, why should a 416 still be a top recommendation for a first shotgun for someone to buy? I reckon it is surviving on just it's charm of being around so long. 

 

 

10 hours ago, soundbeard said:

I've got a couple of shoots coming up in July, and I think my plan for now is just to stick with my ME66 and upgrade my lavs. My goal is clean sound, and the ME66 isn't standing in the way of that right now, where as the ME2's are. I might just go with the Oscar Sound Tech 801, which sound good and are cheap, but were a little hard for me to isolate. On the feature I used B6's, OST 801's and in a pinch, the ME2 lavs, and I greatly preferred the B6 due to how easy they were to isolate, but I feel like if I were to splurge for the B6 I might as well get the COS-11Ds - they're roughly the same price. 

 


Eh, I started out on the ME66/NTG2

Ugh. 

Personally I'd choose upgrading your shotgun and your hypercardioid over changing your lav mics. 

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