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I’m a novice......but......I have a question. I need to record my voice while I drive my car. I will be narrating the drive in real time. Pointing out landmarks, naming roads, and things of that nature as I drive. Video is not something that will be in vehicle so a mic can be mounted anywhere as long as it doesn’t interfere with driving. The goal would be to get the best possible voice audio into a recorder such as a Sound Devices MixPre-3 II while keeping road noise to a minimum. I need to get recommendations on what type of microphone to use. Shotgun, lav, etc. I can mount it anywhere but a good/easy place would be the sun visor. 
 

Any recommendations on a mic inside a moving car that can keep road noise to a minimum would be greatly appreciated. Great voice audio with minimal road noise. Can it be done? 
 

Thank you. 

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A head worn microphone will give you the best signal to noise ratio, reducing car and outside noise. Microphones such as the Sennheiser SL Headmic 1 or the Countryman E6 will give better performance than a lav. A lav mounted on your chest or collar will give decent performance, but if you are moving your head around looking around as you talk, the sound won't be consistent as you turn closer and further from the microphone.

 

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Paul,

Thank you for the advice. So the fact that the mic is closer to my mouth will reduce car and outside noise? I notice these mics have omnidirectional pickup patterns. Will that grab road noise? Also.....those appear to be wireless devices. How do I go about connecting one directly to a Sound Devices MixPre-3 ll? 
 

Very grateful for the information. 

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8 hours ago, Iwanttoknowaboutsound said:

So the fact that the mic is closer to my mouth will reduce car and outside noise?

 

Think about how close the mic will be to the signal you want (coming from your mouth) compared to how close it will be to the noise you don't want (coming from the road, engine, etc). You want to maximize the ratio of good signal to bad noise. An earset/headset mic will let you do that and it will remain a consistent distance from your mouth as you turn your head and stuff.

 

And an omni pickup pattern is the way to go here. Also, as much as possible keep your windows rolled up as you narrate.

 

Great suggestion from Paul.

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I am really grateful for the suggestion Jim. I assume the sound quality of the mics Paul mentioned are excellent. I’ll need to plug the mic directly into a Sound Devices MixPre-3 ll. I notice those mics are used wirelessly. I won’t be on a wireless rig. It needs to be hard wired. 
 

Thank you very much for the information on this Jim. 

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Cardioid earset/headset mics are available. But their inherent sensitivity to wind, handling and other issues is usually not worth a very slight increase in extraneous noise rejection. The only place I would opt for a cardioid lav or head mic, is in sound reinforcement to help prevent feedback.

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11 minutes ago, Allen Rowand said:

 

The Sennheiser has a 3.5mm connector, the E6 can be purchased with an XLR or 3.5mm. Either will plug directly into a MixPre 3.

Thank you Allen. Very helpful. The E6 looks to be extremely popular. I’m leaning towards that right now. 

13 minutes ago, Rick Reineke said:

Cardioid earset/headset mics are available. But their inherent sensitivity to wind, handling and other issues is usually not worth a very slight increase in extraneous noise rejection. The only place I would opt for a cardioid lav or head mic, is in a sound reinforcement to help prevent feedback.

What you said here is a bit over my head. I’m a novice. If I am interpreting your post correctly you are saying that the mics suggested thus far are only to be used as a last resort? I’ll be inside a car with the windows up. No wind. Also......I have no idea what you mean by “sound reinforcement”. What do you suggest for my needs? 

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If you are looking for something quite basic, try the Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx. https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wired_mics/94a69a7f0cbde4b3/index.html Around 90 bucks.

I used to use these as low-cost mics on high volume public events, where hundreds of people a day would sit on set to be filmed. It'll plug directly into your MixPre3 II. Use a provided foam windscreen to protect from plosives.

Use the MixPre's Advanced Mode.

A suggestion is to pan the mic between your Left and Right channels and favor one, level-wise, over the other. That way, you'll record the one mic at different levels, which can act as a "safety track", in case of over-modulation. For instance, set the pan to 10 or 11 o'clock.

Experiment with your Low Cut filter, which can help with road noise.

If you need further opinions, PM me. 

Good luck!

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When the focus is on mic and recording technology, it is sometimes forgotten:

 

Keep windows and roof closed, air condition as silent as possible and listen out for noisy things in the car (e.g. rattling CD's in the glove box, squeaky seat belt, rustly outdoor clothes, wobbly smartphone holder ...). There are things you normally not notice because you claim these noises as "normal" while driving, my experience. But in the recording they can be very annoying.

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9 hours ago, Mungo said:

When the focus is on mic and recording technology, it is sometimes forgotten:

 

Keep windows and roof closed, air condition as silent as possible and listen out for noisy things in the car (e.g. rattling CD's in the glove box, squeaky seat belt, rustly outdoor clothes, wobbly smartphone holder ...). There are things you normally not notice because you claim these noises as "normal" while driving, my experience. But in the recording they can be very annoying.


Yes. Excellent advice. Initially I did have some distracting sounds so I eliminated everything from the vehicle and now the cabin inside the car is rattle free. 
 

By the way, yesterday I placed a shotgun mic on the sun visor as an experiment. My voice sounded fine but the road noise was too loud for my taste. Again.....I’m a novice here but......I had the mic about 8 inches from my mouth and angled slightly above my head. I am thinking that if I can get it closer to my mouth and possibly angle it more directly towards my mouth it will reduce road noise. The mic is said to reduce noise from the sides and back. Of course I have to keep my driving visibility in tact. I’m a photographer. Delving into sound is difficult for me. My needs in this instance are simple to explain but difficult to achieve. Excellent voice audio with minimal road noise while recording a live drive in a car. 
 

Thank you for the ideas.

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If you have a lav, as an experiment to see how a head worn mic will perform, tape the lav on your cheek close to your mouth. If it works well, maybe just use that. Preferably use an end fire lav (one that the mic openings are on the end rather than the side).

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If you are going to use a shotgun microphone (and I think Paul's suggestion of a head worn mike is a good one), you would want to position it on the transmission tunnel pointed up at your mouth. From that position, it would be shielded from road noise by the doors and frame of the car and aimed at the headliner of your car's roof. That would give you better isolation from road noise than up in the visor area.

 

If you try a lavalier, rather than taping it to your cheek, I would tape it to the middle of your forehead, just at the hairline. That should give results very similar to what you would achieve with a headset mike.

 

You'll never be entirely free of some road noise. You'll have less in a Rolls Royce than in a Jeep but there's always a little background. Much of it is low frequency and later can be diminished with EQ. And, of course, usually one doesn't want to remove all traces of location; some background puts the listener in the moment.

 

David

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I understand you won't be using the lav experiment, but for the record, I'm retracting my statement about side fire vs end fire. I've  had side fire work better than end fire in this application. It just depends on the microphone.

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In case no one mentioned it yet, it's a good ideas to add sound dampening materials to any hard surfaces (where practical) I would suggest a folded up sound blanket on the passenger side floor, as well as the floor behind the front seats. I wouldn't put anything on the driver side though, for obvious reasons.

 

I will echo others who recommended a lav taped to your cheek or a hardwired headset mic. If you can find a dynamic headset mic, even better for eliminating background sounds.

Edited by jason porter
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Folks.......the shotgun placed pointing up or down in my car is still giving me more road noise than I want. It's a pretty quiet large car but to me the shotgun mic in that environment isn't cutting it. I have tried a bunch of different placements but it's just not what I need for road noise isolation. The voice audio is good but the background sound is too distracting. I need some ambient sound but this is just too much.

 

So I'm going to try a headset mic. I am looking at a Rode HS2 Headset, Countryman E6 and the DPA d:fine 4166. The DPA seems to sound terrific as does the Rode and E6 but there really aren't too many comparisons done on these. It seems the DPA is the industry standard. Any thoughts on those mics?

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Here's a video that provides a great comparison of how these microphones perform in a noisy environment. Check the performance in the laundry room and in the living room with kids playing. The E6 is quite disappointing because of breath popping issues. I'm surprised it is performing that poorly. I think he has it too close to his mouth.  Perhaps a foam overlay as the DPA has would correct that. The DPA does very well.

 

Skip to 2:27.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Paul F said:

The E6 is quite disappointing because of breath popping issues.

 

I haven't watched the video, but I own a couple E6 mics and don't have that problem when the mic's placed properly. I can't compare them to DPA's earset, but the E6 work for me.  Heck, a bunch of different brands and models would probably work for me if placed properly and securely.

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Agreed. Iwantoknow, I'd ignore the popping issues for your evaluation. What you can take as a lesson is how important it is to have a production mixer person on set to avoid these issues. That video is really unfair to a couple of the mics because no one was monitoring the session and allowing them to perform at their best.

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