What's a Good External Mic

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by dhgeyer, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. dhgeyer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    #1
    I want to be able to use it attached to my camcorder (Canon HV M41 or HV30), for interview type shooting, or plugged into a computer for voice over editing. I bought a cheap Samsun, which turned out to be totally worthless. The sound quality is terrible, and the output level barely registers on my computer.

    So what's a good one?

    Thanks!
     
  2. floh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #2
    You should be aware that the most important thing to capture good sound is not necessarily the mic but to get whatever mic you have as close to the source as possible.

    That being said: So you want to hold a mic in your hand and have the interviewed person speak directly into it?

    How much do you want to spend on it?

    If you don't know that yet: All microphones need to be "preamplified" before the signal can be recorded. If the signal of your mic is very weak and the quality is bad, it might very well be that your microphone pregain is lousy (which it is on simple camcorders or on miniplug computer inputs). I would rather try to get a decent field recorder, which will give you three things at once: Good preamps, A recorder for voiceover and even included microphones for room tone. The Zoom H4n is a good one, although a little pricy. So again: What kind of money do you want to spend?
     
  3. Paratel macrumors 6502

    Paratel

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Somewhere in the US
    #3
    wireless lavalier? handheld? Boundary? shotgun? I currently use Sennheiser lavaliers and a few handhelds. I also have some Shure Boundary mics that are good for around the room conversations.
     
  4. salacious macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #4
    audio technica provide best value for money, i worked for 2 video companies doing different projects and they never failed us..
     
  5. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #5
    Okay Im Going to hit You

    With the top end. Rode:


    http://www.rodemic.com/

    The lowed should suit, but browse...It's the age old one...Crap in, crap out

    I have 2 studio pros....Superb, the offerings elsewhere just don't cut it IMO
     
  6. dhgeyer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    #6
    Thanks for the inputs so far. I did not know about preamplification. I will need to look into that, as that may well be my problem.

    As for how much I will be willing to spend - well, I'm not destitute. I'll spend what it takes. I don't need "The best of the best of the best - SIR". I just need something that works. I run the Digital Arts program at my local Boys & Girls Club. We will use this equipment for personal/learning projects, and for publicity videos for the club. I don't plan to donate this equipment, but to make it available for the kids as needed. I will also use it for my own projects. We need decent, rugged, and functional, but we're not professionals.
     
  7. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    Calgary AB
    #7
    As the one poster said- check out the Zoom's - The H4N sometimes can be a little bit of overkill but is outstanding- check out the X-1 which is a little bit smaller but outstanding quality as well.
     
  8. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #8
    PhantomPower

    Is required, through a board. Other stuff really does suck. Buy a cheap board with XLR inputs and phantom power.
     
  9. floh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #9
    First of all: I live in Germany, so I can only tell you prices in euros (they are mostly pretty much the same in US-$) and I can not support you with any links on where to get it. (expect if you want to order to Germany...)

    As has just been stated, I would also recommend the Zoom H4n, if you can afford it (about 300 euros). If you still have some money left, you can go for a shotgun mic, which could be Audio Technica or Rode, I have had good experiences with both. I would estimate this to be another 200 euros. So for 500 euros, you will get a very decent and flexible sound setup.

    At a cheaper price, you can still get a shotgun mic to connect to your camcorder/computer. You should care about two things though: First, the mic has to have an option for battery power supply, since it needs power supply and the miniplugs won't support that. Second, be sure that you can return it wherever you buy, in case the preamps actually were your problem. You should also get a connecting cable. All pro mics have XLR outputs and you need an adapter to miniplug. Be aware that the length of the cable is very restricted (about 3 meters). If you want longer cables, you will have to go all XLR.

    If you don't want to spend 200 euros on a shotgun mic, the cheaper versions of the external recorder (Zoom H1 for 90 euros, without external input; Zoom H2n for 180 euros with external input) are always a good idea to start with. They are also well suited to record any other audio from events, not just interviews, if you ever need this (concerts, performances, ...).

    Finally, I want to mention: There are 3 types of mics that are interesting for you:
    1. A shotgun mic. Very directional, only records sound from where you are pointing it. Good for interviews or camera work where the mic needs to be outside the screen (e.g. on a boompole above).
    2. A lavalier mic. The little things you can clip on somebody's shirt. Useful for interviews and moderation, nothing else.
    3. A condenser room mic. Those record all the sound in the room. Usable for interviews in silent surroundings and for room recording (concert etc...). The built-in mics of external recorders are of this kind.

    Maybe that gives you a little more insight and you can start from here. I could write for pages about sound and mics and the "which one is the best"-war that this thread is about to start. :)
     
  10. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #10
    For your tasks, an Azden ECZ990 (some 70 bucks) or Røde Videomic (150?) would do the trick. I've used them both and prefer the Azden. Just keep the mic as close to your subjects as possible and you'll do fine. You are not really after Hollywood sound, are you?
    For a boys/girls club you want to keep things simple (the more you have the more they break - been there, done that).
     
  11. dhgeyer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    #11
    Thanks everybody!

    I've got a lot of information now, and obviously have some homework to do! I'll get to it before I forget.
     
  12. Jbgloss macrumors member

    Jbgloss

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    #12
    Take a look at this mic

    http://www.rodemic.com/mics/nt3

    I have A LOT of mics at home but this one I can use for MANY things. It is a condensor but almost works as a shotgun. For interviews I shotgun it above both subjects in the middle and it rocks. More my personal stuff I use it as an overhead boom mic.

    It is a really versitle mic for the money. If you don't have phantom power you can put a battery in it. So it is self powered. A really nice handy multi purpose mic. I think you can get one for around $250 US.

    As you do research. Check it out. I am very happy, that mic is SO versatile. The only issue it has some size to it.... and it won't camera mount you have to boom it or hold it. You will see some ideas on the link I provided.

    JB
     
  13. dhgeyer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    #13
    Thanks JB! I'll definitely look into that one. Might be just what I need.
     
  14. Jbgloss macrumors member

    Jbgloss

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2011
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    #14
    Thanks it is a good mic, just remember it can self power but it is XLR. I use and Apogee Duet into my Mac Pro. I use another mic for most of my in computer recording. My Cannon XF100 has on board phantom power so I go XLR to XLR. If you camera has only a mini jack you are going to need to get and XLR to mini.

    Most really good mics are XLR - you can look at preamps that supply phantom power too. I just wanted you to be aware. You may need that extra piece of equipment.

    For interviews it works great. Keep it right out of site above both and it really does well if you Youtube it you will be able to find some sample videos.

    All the best,

    JB
     
  15. floh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #15
    I agree, this is an awesome microphone for interviews etc. I am using one of these to record vocals (singing) for a specific voice which it matches perfectly. It is not as directional and sensitive as the shotguns I suggested, and therefore won't work as well if you are actually shooting movies or want to record room sound. But with its cardiod characteristic, you can capture very clear and good sound if talking right into it.

    As the poster said (see quote), you are going to need an XLR connector and a preamp for the mic though. I told you that there are adapters XLR-miniplug to go directly into your Mac, but the sound of such a great quality mic will suffer and the length of cable recommendable is very restricted.

    A simple-to-use and cheap audio interface that will completely cover what you need would be any of the "m-audio fast track" devices. As awesome as the Apogee Duet is, I wouldn't spend that much money if you are not a pro musician. :eek:) Or go for one of the external Zoom recorders, all of which can be used as a USB sound device as well.
     

Share This Page