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ninjafreddan

Advice please, cheap shotgun mics as audience microphones

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Hi everybody

 

I haven't posted in a while but lurk around now and then. :-)

 

I know (and use) all the usual professional shotgun mics as a sound recordist.

 

But now, I'm looking for good cheap shotgun mics to use as audience mics for conferences and events.

 

Maybe like Rode, Audio-Technica and such, or even camera mics from Sony or such.

 

I'm planning to get four short shotgun mics and prefer a smooth sound - the clarity doesn't have to be top-notch.

 

Any advice is highly appreciated.

 

 

Thanks in advance

Fred

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34 minutes ago, DanieldH said:

What is cheap/your budget?

Why shotguns?

What is an example for "smooth" compared to an example for ... "rough?" ?

 

I'd say $100-150/each. It's not like my clients are going to pay for them. It's just me being very picky about my Rec Feeds. 😄

 

Normally, I have one cardioid pen mic close to the stage, that I mix in whenever I have time to - got it on the last fader on the Yamaha QL1 console.

 

Last gig was streamed online, so I had two rented Neumann KMR-82 as audience mics, and they sounded great (of course). It got me thinking that I should try and use four small shotgun mices to get a good stereo ambience/audience. During the events, I don't have too much time to set the sound of the audience, so my plan is to find a good middle way, and maybe have the L/R-signal duck the back audience mics during speech and music/videos, and have the two close audience mics on a fader, like I have now. That way, I will always have an distant ambience when no one is speaking, that will be ducked as soon as someone starts talking, and use the closer positioned shotguns for laughter and clapping. Using only one microphone has worked surprisingly well, but if I make it stereo, I think I will have to have a distant pair as well - so that the stereo field don't come and go.

 

I want to use shotgun mics because that's what I'm been using for twenty years in broadcast for audiences, the close pair will almost only pick up audience if they are directional enough and properly positioned in front of the stage. The distant pair will pick up the PA sound, but that's fine, I will duck their signal during speech and video sound. I want them to be directional too, because if I position them on stands let's say, three meters above the back of the audience, I want them to only pick up diffuse audience sound, and no talking that is possible to listen in to. The best is of course to position them at the bottom of the PA-speakers or hanging half-way into the hall, but that's just too much work for a conference, and it gets them closer to noisy projectors, moving lights with nasty spinning fans and the AC-system.

 

So basically, I'm looking for four small-sized shotgun mics, think camera mic, that I can position in pair on two piano bars. One pair on the floor in front of the stage (which is usually at least a meter high) and one pair at the back of the venue (which is about 55x55 meters when set up for full plenary session).

 

What is an example of "smooth"? Good question, maybe like Rode NTG2, not having super clarity but at the same time not being pokey in the upper mid-range. Colored sound, but still okay.

 

Microphones I don't like for the job, Sennheiser MKH-416 (too colored back-lobes and too long), Sennheiser ME66 (in my ears, harsh-sounding).

 

Problem is, that I am picky, even for audience mics.

 

But, any information is highly appreciated.

 


Thanks

Fred

14 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

Check out Rode NTG5 / Deity S Mic 2 / Deity S Mic 2S

 

Thanks for the tip! Appreciate it!

 

I've had my eyes on Deity, but never had the possibility to try them out.

 

Are you using them yourself?

 

 

Cheers

Fred

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15 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

I would not scrimp on this unless you have to.  Nice clear smooth spacious non-harsh applause audio is a hallmark of a really good live recording.

 

Agree!

 

And when I know that a conference is going to be streamed live on the Internet, I'm willing to go the extra mile with stereo ambience, like my last gig. I'm already making my Rec Feeds in the pocket by using Dugan auto-mixing, Cedar noise reduction and a Jünger broadcast processor (and four layers of dynamic processing in the Yamaha QL1 console) - and it sounds great!

 

Using the Neumann mics on the last big conference (3000+ in the audience), got me thinking that I should make a great stereo ambience, my next level.

 

Maybe I'll consider the smaller Deity mics for the job. I do have a great-sounding Pearl MS-stereo microphone that I could put at the back of the venue, but I'm not sure I'm willing to bring it for conference and event gigs - it's one of my babies. :-)

 

When you're a one-man-show on the gig, everything has to run smoothly without being to complicated. If I can get the back audience mics to duck/expand properly, then hopefully I can leave them at a fixed level and just ride the front mics (also applying a bit of side-chained ducking) but not as much.

 

 

Cheers

Fred

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2 hours ago, ninjafreddan said:

 

 

But now, I'm looking for good cheap shotgun mics to use as audience mics for conferences and events.

 

 

Why Shotgun for audience?

 

Line Audio CM4 Cardioids around $120.00 each

https://www.nohypeaudio.com/lineaudioproducts.htm

http://www.lineaudio.se

 

LOVED on Gearslutz

 

 

EDIT:

Theyre Swedish, like you!!!

 

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You probably have your reasoning why you want shotguns. I have done a few live gigs recently where some ortf seemed to be quite suited for ambiance mics. Does the two pairs need to be the same type of mics?

 

Personally if I were on budget I would try @TVPostSounds advice and go for cm4 or 3 and maybe even a pair of spaced om1s, neither breaks the bank and are amazingly linear. The only reason I have not got them myself is that they are not quiet enough for nature recordings.

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In my experience, shotgun mics in your budget ranger are usually eat piercingly bright and harsh. 
 

I’d check out the iSK Pro Audio Little Gem. For $50 it comes with 3 removable capsules, including a hypercardioid one. I have several and use it with the hyper cap when I do sound for my buddies bluegrass band - it sounds great on guitar, mandolin, and fiddle. It’s a nice clear, balanced mix with good headroom. 
https://www.iskproaudio.com/collections/microphones/products/little-gem

 

The Line Audio CM4 suggestion is a good one too although those are limited to a wider cardioid pattern. 
 

-Mike

 

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6 hours ago, TVPostSound said:

Why Shotgun for audience?

 

They can give me more headroom between PA sound and audience sound. A good super cardioid does work well too, I usually use two MKH50 at the stage front when doing broadcast work, and they work great, but I won't buy two just to use for conferences.

 

6 hours ago, TVPostSound said:

Line Audio CM4 Cardioids around $120.00 each

 

Theyre Swedish, like you!!!

 

 

That's an idea. Thanks!

 

I am using the previous model, Line Audio CM3, as audience mic, and it has worked pretty well. The CM3 has a rather wide polar pattern and that's why I've been riding it during gigs. The CM4 seem to have a bit tighter polar pattern and might just be a good candidate for the job.

It's just that it sounded so good with the Neumann shotgun mics - smooth and tight audience with very little PA sound, even when I was pushing it  - you get what you pay for...

 

But thanks for the tip. I didn't know that Line Audio had made a newer version of the microphone.

 

Sound-wise, the Line Audio microphones are linear with little coloration.

 

 

Cheers

Fred

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7 hours ago, Mattias Larsen said:

You probably have your reasoning why you want shotguns. I have done a few live gigs recently where some ortf seemed to be quite suited for ambiance mics. Does the two pairs need to be the same type of mics?

 

I also set them up in ORTF-configuration on a stereo bar, to get a tight stereo-correlated sound.

 

No, the two pairs don't have be the same type of microphones, but it might help to make the audience sound blend better together. For broadcast, I've always used different Sennheiser super cardioids and shotguns - force of habit, I guess.

 

7 hours ago, Mattias Larsen said:

 

Personally if I were on budget I would try @TVPostSounds advice and go for cm4 or 3 and maybe even a pair of spaced om1s, neither breaks the bank and are amazingly linear. The only reason I have not got them myself is that they are not quiet enough for nature recordings.

 

Yes, the Line Audio mics are very good value for money.

 

 

Thanks

Fred

6 hours ago, Mobilemike said:

In my experience, shotgun mics in your budget ranger are usually eat piercingly bright and harsh. 
 

 

True!

 

6 hours ago, Mobilemike said:

I’d check out the iSK Pro Audio Little Gem. For $50 it comes with 3 removable capsules, including a hypercardioid one. I have several and use it with the hyper cap when I do sound for my buddies bluegrass band - it sounds great on guitar, mandolin, and fiddle. It’s a nice clear, balanced mix with good headroom. 
https://www.iskproaudio.com/collections/microphones/products/little-gem

 

It looks interesting, as a hyper cardioid alternative. I'm going to listen to the sound bites on the webpage.

 

6 hours ago, Mobilemike said:

 

The Line Audio CM4 suggestion is a good one too although those are limited to a wider cardioid pattern. 

 

Yes, it's worth trying out. In Sweden, the CM4 is dead cheap.

 

 

Thanks

Fred

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14 hours ago, ninjafreddan said:

I've had my eyes on Deity, but never had the possibility to try them out.


Yup, I personally feel it is the best at the "no budget" level.

 

However........

 

14 hours ago, ninjafreddan said:

I'd say $100-150/each. It's not like my clients are going to pay for them. It's just me being very picky about my Rec Feeds. 😄

 

I'd say you're screwed! Waaay too low that budget is, too low even for the "no budget" grade.

Can't buy new any semi halfway kinda ish decent shotguns at that price.

 

14 hours ago, ninjafreddan said:

What is an example of "smooth"? Good question, maybe like Rode NTG2, not having super clarity but at the same time not being pokey in the upper mid-range. Colored sound, but still okay.


Go for secondhand NTG2, as I'd say secondhand is your only way to stick within your budget. And it seems you already like or at least are "ok with" a NTG2. So go for it! There are a few on eBay within your budget of $150/each

Look also for the NTG1, which is identical (but without the internal powering) and at a little bit cheaper price. 

 

12 hours ago, Mobilemike said:

I’d check out the iSK Pro Audio Little Gem. For $50 it comes with 3 removable capsules, including a hypercardioid one. I have several and use it with the hyper cap when I do sound for my buddies bluegrass band - it sounds great on guitar, mandolin, and fiddle. It’s a nice clear, balanced mix with good headroom. 
https://www.iskproaudio.com/collections/microphones/products/little-gem


@Mobilemike how is the noise floor of the Little Gem? (& how is off axis?)

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As Mattias mentioned try ORTF.  It will give you a really nice "how your ears hear it" result.  A pair of hypers in that config would work great for what you're doing and you only need one mount for each pair. 

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Hej Fred

 

I have a pair each of the CM3 and CM4 if you would like to test them.

I also have a pair of AT-875R if you want something with a bit more rear rejection then the Line Audio mics.

 

Send me PM and perhaps we can sort it - enkelt på ren svenska. : )

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6 hours ago, John Blankenship said:

As Mattias mentioned try ORTF.  It will give you a really nice "how your ears hear it" result.  A pair of hypers in that config would work great for what you're doing and you only need one mount for each pair. 

 

Thanks for the tip!

 

Yes, that's my plan. X/Y-stereo is usually a bit too tight and not that 'natural' sounding, A/B-stereo is too loose timing-wise, so ORTF is a good middle way to go for.

 

 

Thanks

Fred

6 hours ago, Display Name said:

Hej Fred

 

I have a pair each of the CM3 and CM4 if you would like to test them.

I also have a pair of AT-875R if you want something with a bit more rear rejection then the Line Audio mics.

 

Send me PM and perhaps we can sort it - enkelt på ren svenska. : )

 

Perfekt!

 

I'll drop you a PM.

 

 

Thanks

Fred

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Tjena Freddan,

 

If you want to spend the money - get a pair of MKH40, or Schoeps CMC64(1). You can always use them for other things in a variety of situations (interior dialog, interviews, acoustic guitar etc). I would avoid shotguns with interference tube for this purpose.

 

On a side note:

- A few years ago, I was helping out recording my son's Christmas pageant at school. Since it wasn't a paid job, and not super critical (video shot on prosumer cameras), I didn't want to spend a bunch of money, but still felt that a pair of mics to pick up the applause/audience noise would be nice to have. Around the same time, some guys were doing a mic shootout (can't remeber where.. GearSlutz maybe?) - and had included these really cheap mono-price mics: https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=600700

Those guys were going on and on about how crazy it was that these mics sounded quite decent, even compared to some high priced ones.

I ended up ordering a pair and used them for that audience recording. It actually sounded pretty good. For the price, even if you only use them once....

 

I have since then accumulated a number of really nice mics, and I wouldn't bring these mono-price ones out on a paid gig, but just sayin' - it may be an option to check out (just put gaff tape over the logo LOL).

 

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1 hour ago, Johnny Karlsson said:

Around the same time, some guys were doing a mic shootout (can't remeber where.. GearSlutz maybe?) - and had included these really cheap mono-price mics: https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=600700

Those guys were going on and on about how crazy it was that these mics sounded quite decent, even compared to some high priced ones.

I ended up ordering a pair and used them for that audience recording. It actually sounded pretty good. For the price, even if you only use them once....

 

That may have been me/Silver Sound. Cory Choy hosted a mic shootout at Silver in June 2015 (I think). We had all the normal "highend" mics and I brought a pair of the monoprice mics for the hell of it. I picked them up for camera and "crash" mics – I've also used them a few times for audience mics – They've started to fall apart and get noisy if the pieces aren't all in the right place. 

The 2 surprises from that shootout were 1. the monoprice mics, and 2. You can't hear a difference between the CMIT and 4017 on axis, and off axis the CMIT was a tiny bit nicer, but not $500 nicer.

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7 hours ago, Johnny Karlsson said:

If you want to spend the money - get a pair of MKH40, or Schoeps CMC64(1). You can always use them for other things in a variety of situations (interior dialog, interviews, acoustic guitar etc). I would avoid shotguns with interference tube for this purpose.

 

Thanks for the advice!

 

Well, shotgun mics actually work really well for the purpose having even better off-axis rejection, because bringing the audience mics into the Rec Feed and just add audience is what I want to achieve. But I have to have good-sounding shotguns, I know that. That said, I have gotten some really good alternatives from you guys so I'm glad I started the thread.

 

For close-micing audience, when I work with broadcast, I normally use two MKH50, because they have great smooth off-axis rejection and sound great. But for conference sound, it's over-kill. I would love to own a couple of MKH40 or 50 and some Schoeps and Neumann, but I just don't record multi-channel that often anymore.

 

The whole stereo-ambience thing is just me providing a service that no one has asked for. Most often, recorded conferences on YouTube sound like crap, and it makes you wonder how the actual event sounded - and people are fine with that as long as you can hear what the presenter is saying.

I use Dugan auto-mixing and Cedar noise-reduction to clean up my PA sound, and a nice broadcast processor with AGC to package my Rec Feed, and no one even knows about it - they don't care. But I do.

 

If I have very directional microphones in front of the stage, facing the audience, I can bring them in as soon as the conference has started, and then probably just leave them open - with some ducking/expansion going on when presenters are speaking. And that's what I want to achieve.

 

The Line Audio CM3 that I've been using, is a very wide cardioid so I have had to ride it when the audience is clapping or laughing, which has worked just fine. It has helped to make the viewer/listener being 'there' so to speak.

 

If I make that audience sound stereo, it will sound a bit odd if I mix it in and out of the Rec Feed, with stereo ambience coming and going and the rest being dead mono.

 

So that's why I plan to have pretty directional audience mics at the front, and a pair all the way back of the hall that will be open all the time just adding a little bit of stereo field to the Rec Feed.

 

Once set up, I plan to record a session via Dante and Nuendo Live, and then do a quick virtual soundcheck during a break. When I have my levels set, they will most likely work without much attention. I will control the front audience mics via a fader so that I still can sweeten the Rec Feed whenever I need to.

 

7 hours ago, Johnny Karlsson said:

 

On a side note:

- A few years ago, I was helping out recording my son's Christmas pageant at school. Since it wasn't a paid job, and not super critical (video shot on prosumer cameras), I didn't want to spend a bunch of money, but still felt that a pair of mics to pick up the applause/audience noise would be nice to have. Around the same time, some guys were doing a mic shootout (can't remeber where.. GearSlutz maybe?) - and had included these really cheap mono-price mics: https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=600700

 

Thanks for the tip!

 

They are available as a hyper-cardioid as well I can see, so maybe an alternative for me.

 

Coming to think of it, there are a lot of hyper-cardioid condenser microphones available from Shure, Audio-Techica, AKG and such big companies that won't blow my budget.

 

 

Cheers

Fred

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Microphones for conferences are quite different. There are gooseneck microphones that are placed in front of every participant involved in the discussion; boundary microphones that are placed on the table to improve the acoustics of the whole room; and, finally, wall-mounted and ceiling-mounted microphones. All of these types of mics have their advantages and drawbacks.

 

Here you can find some good options and their short reviews.

 

As for Rode, Audio-Technica, they are also good variants. I like these ones:

 

  1. Audio-Technica AT875R
  2. Rode NTG2
  3. Sennheiser MKE 600

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