Need a decent lav. mic.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by ChrisA, Jul 30, 2013.

  1. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #1
    Just like the title says, I'm looking for a decent (need not be great) lav. mic.

    It needs to be wired and fit the 1/8" mic jack in the camcorder. I just bought a cheap Audio-Technica microphone and it's going back to the store. The level was WAY to low.

    This is just for interviews and instructional videos, it's OK to have the mic show on-camera but it needs to be sensitive enough to pick up voice while clipped to a shirt with no need to turn the mic level up to 100%
     
  2. chirpie macrumors 6502a

    chirpie

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    #2
    If you're patient, Giant Squid Audio mono lapel mic is pretty great. They're always on backorder though, and take a few weeks minimum to get to you.
     
  3. musique macrumors regular

    musique

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    #3
    Budget? Future needs?

    You don't mention what kind of budget you have nor do you say anything about using this mic for other purposes in the future. If your budget is a few hundred dollars, you might consider the Rode Lavalier Mic. It is a good omni lav mic made with quality parts.

    One useful feature is its micon connector that allows you to use a variety of different plugs. For example, you could get a standard 1/8" jack now for your current needs. In the future you could add a plug for a Sennheiser G3 wireless set-up or an XLR adapter for more traditional (larger) videocameras or recorders.

    A good mic will last a long time and having this kind of flexibility may increase the value of your investment.
     
  4. ChrisA thread starter macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    The Rode is a bit over budget. The use of the mic will pretty much always be the same, clipped to someone's shirt or lab coat while they are framed from the waist up explaining some science topic. For other kind of work, like say voice over narration we can use a bigger studio mic on a stand.

    For budget reference the Audio-Technical AT2020 is about at the upper end, although that is used for a different purpose

    That is a useful feature. I'm going to have to think about the future. I think maybe just go with all XLR mics and adapt them as required?
     
  5. floh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #5
    I don't know which Audio Technica and which camcorder you are talking about. Is it the ATR-3350? That's 30 dollars and I've gotten some usable (although not great) sound from it.

    Anyways, here are some things to consider:

    1. Condenser mics will be a lot more sensitive than dynamic mics, I wouldn't go the dynamic route. And condenser mics will need power, which means that they will either contain a battery (e.g. somewhere in the cable), or are wireless with a matching transmitter, or will require phantom power from an XLR input.

    2. All microphones have very low output levels. They will have to be run through a preamplifier. And if you have a bad preamplifier (like the one in almost all cameras with mini-plug inputs), your mic will sound terrible, even if it's great quality. Consider getting an external recorder or an external amplifier.

    3. I don't like Rode microphones for speech. They are very insensitive for high frequencies and tend to make the sound very bass pronounced and muddy. But that's just personal opinion.

    I actually just made a video to prove some of the things I just said. Most of the sound was recorded on the ATR-3350 (which sells at 30 euros), and into a Zoom H4n. The important comparisons for you are at 06:02 minutes.

     
  6. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    I use a ATR-3350 and am very happy with it for the price paid!
     
  7. modul8tr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    #7
    I use the Sanken COS-11 and or the Tram TR-50. These are both industry standard for film and television. And they sound great. The Sanken is also used in theatre.
     
  8. floh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #8
    These might be over budget from what I understood.

    But if the OP wants to spend this amount and wants a high signal: The Sanken in my experience is the most sensitive of all mics mentioned here so far. In my opinion, it sounds pretty good, very bright, very pronounced eplosive consonants. Maybe you'll need a DeEsser in post production.

    The best sounding mic in my opinion is actually the (comparably inexpensive at 140$) Sennheiser ME-2. You can upgrade it with a wireless pack, but it also comes in the standalone version, with miniplug-adapter. But in this quality range, it's all a matter of personal taste, so it would be best if you checked them out yourself.

    But, and I can not stress this enough: The Sennheiser and the Sanken will both sound less than stellar when recorded into your camera input, if you don't accidentally have a professional grade camera with class A preamps. Seriously. You've been warned.
     
  9. ChrisA thread starter macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    What do you use your ATR-3350 with? I plugged it directly into the Canon VIXIA HF R400 and had to turn the mic gain full up to 100% and even then the audio was very low, but the noise was a solid white noise hiss.

    Perhaps other devices with better spec'd preamps could use the ATR-3350 but the R400 camera can't.

    I borrowed one of these mics to use for a while and the sound is very good. They cost more than the atr3350 but the difference is dramatic even to my 15 yer old daughter who know noththing about sound. I made a quick in-camera video (played it back from the camera, never hit a computer.) and made a cut between mics and she just about jumpped off her feet, the voice did not sound like it was recorded.

    I used an adaptor cable to go from XLR to 1/8" stereo, this version of the cable uses a transformer. I think the transformer helps a lot. I have to turn the mic gain down on the camera for this mic to 24 (on a 100 scale)

    http://www.locationsound.com/tram-tr-50bmlxl-omnidirectional-lavalier-w-switchcraft-ta5f-connector--tr-79-power-supply---black-865?filter_name=tram

    The above is the best I've found so far. Or maybe I should say "the one I like best."
     
  10. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    I use it with a canon EOS 650D DSLR. Works great for me. I don't change any gain settings etc at all.
    Did you check or try replacing the batteries in it? Saying that, I've been using mine since I purchased it 2 years ago and never needed to change batteries yet!
     
  11. ChrisA thread starter macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #11
    Yes the battery when installed in the holder and switched on was over 1.5 volts. So the battery was new. I think the quality control on there cheap mics is poor. I lot depends on luck.

    The camera works fine with three other microphones. And I move the AT mic to other devices and it is the same low signal level.

    You say you don't change the gain? Does that means you leave it on auto or that it is an exact match to whatever you used last?
     
  12. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    To be honest all I have ever done is plugged it into my DSLR, switched it on, and hit record!
    I get a little background noise, which I remove by using the Background Noise Removal option in Final Cut Pro X, and the audio Im left with is great. All of my YouTube videos are created using the mic in this way.
     
  13. ChrisA thread starter macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #13
    So you are using the automatic gain function on the camera. Try setting a constant gain, then the gain will not shoot up during periods of quiet.

    But I looked at your videos and I see you do voice overs. I don't see anyone on-camera. If so then why use a lavaliere microphone? Or did I miss the ones where you are on camera? When I listen to the voice over it sounds like maybe you are using a very close microphone placement. Are you speaking directly into that AT mic or is it clipped to your shirt? Or you do the voice over with a different microphone
     
  14. Ifti macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    It's not all voiceovers - most of the time I'm actually talking as I'm reviewing on screen. Using a lav is just easier for me as I'm not always in front if the camera - sometimes I'm behind, to one side, etc. I clip the mic to my shirt - at chest level - and have freedom to move as required and talk as normal. I'm not an audio person so haven't touched the gain etc!

    I did try a Blue Snowball mic once, which gave me very quiet audio though, hence I replaced it with the lav, which has been great for me.
     

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