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Best mic for field interviews? Dynamic Microphones
Old 26th January 2010
  #1
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Best mic for field interviews?

I want to invest in a pair of mics for field interviews. These mics will be used in low noise situations (like homes), with the possibility of clips later used for a broadcast project, such as local NPR.

The basic limitations are: (1) the interviewees will not have good mic skills, (2) the mics will probably need to be placed on a table stand (or adapted half-shock and a table stand), as the interviewees will be seated, (3) the interviewees will mostly be men (so a mic that works well with lower range of voice). I'll be using a Sound Devices Mixpre for power and a digital recorder.

So basically, what I need is a mic that will function well as a spoken word mic, in the field, for people who will move in and out of a mic's sweet spot, and will most likely stay a foot from the mic itself.

I'm open to suggestions. I'd like to buy the mics once--rather than buy a pair and than wish I'd bought different pair.

Here's what I'm looking at. I know these are probably "lower end" mics, but I'm ok spending more money to get better sound for this project.

In terms of sound, I like actually like the Shure KSM141 for men's voices. I think, with foam, it would work OK in the field. Is this stupid, for voice? For people with no mic skills? (Foam will be OK. A pop filter will just be intimidating.)

Other, more traditional field interview mics I'm considering (and yes, probably the smarter route):

Beyerdynamic MCE58 OR M58
Sennheiser ME65 OR MD46

I know they use a lot of AT shotgun mics and lavs on The American Life. But generally, that's the sound I'm looking for. (I believe this is from an early The American Life session: File:IraGlass.jpg - Uncyclopedia, the content-free encyclopedia What mic is that?)

What are your suggestions?


Old 26th January 2010
  #2
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Rupert Neve once told me he thought the old Sennheiser MD 21 the best interview mic. around.

At the time I was using my old MD 421 for the purpose, with excellent results (and still recommend this).

An omni is normally considered best for interview work, but both the Beyer and Sennheiser models you mention are good - though I would go for the MD46 over the K6+ME65 - but I would include the omni MD42 in the list.
Old 26th January 2010
  #3
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waxx's Avatar
 

i often use a HHB Flashmic DRM85 for radio interviews and so, and it uses an very good senheiser microphone in it (small omni condensor like the MKH8020 is told to me) and this works very well for interview in low to medium noisy enviroments. You probally don't need the build in flash recorder of the HHB (as it is more for videotaped interviews i thought) but something similar without the recorder like the MKH8020 may fit your goal.
Old 26th January 2010
  #4
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grab a couple ev 635a's or re50's.

inexpensive and pretty much the standard for ENG work, no?

easy peasy.

Mike
Old 26th January 2010
  #5
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by waxx View Post
i often use a HHB Flashmic DRM85 for radio interviews and so, and it uses an very good senheiser microphone in it (small omni condensor like the MKH8020 is told to me) and this works very well for interview in low to medium noisy enviroments. You probally don't need the build in flash recorder of the HHB (as it is more for videotaped interviews i thought) but something similar without the recorder like the MKH8020 may fit your goal.
The FlashMic is excellent - but the omni capsule is nothing at all like the MKH 8020.

The 8020 is a symmetrical capsule RF condenser mic. of very high quality that is more expensive than the complete FlashMic.

The FlashMic. uses a pre-polarised omni condenser capsule of high quality - just that it's nothing like the 8020.
Old 26th January 2010
  #6
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Fletcher's Avatar
The Electrovoice RE-50b is a great tool used by MANY of the world's leading ENG organizations.

Happy hunting.
Old 26th January 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post

The FlashMic. uses a pre-polarised omni condenser capsule of high quality - just that it's nothing like the 8020.
But does that really matter John?

EW's and DPA's are also pre-polarized electrets and they seem to perform well.

I did some harmonic distortion measurements of a QTC1 and MKH8020 the other day and they are relatively equal with slightly better performance from QTC1. SPL aprox. 120dB.

MKH8020 had slightly higher asymmetrical/even order distortion but odd/3rd harmonic was similar.


/Peter
Old 27th January 2010
  #8
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DarkSky Media's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeMcDonald View Post
grab a couple ev 635a's or re50's.
+1. For this kind of work I have a pair of Electrovoice 635A mics that are simple and robust and give uniformly great results.
Old 27th January 2010
  #9
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waxx's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
The FlashMic is excellent - but the omni capsule is nothing at all like the MKH 8020.

The 8020 is a symmetrical capsule RF condenser mic. of very high quality that is more expensive than the complete FlashMic.

The FlashMic. uses a pre-polarised omni condenser capsule of high quality - just that it's nothing like the 8020.
anyway, i was told different but i didn't check actually. You're probally right.

But it's a very high quality mobile radio interview recorder... i wouldn't mind to work with that mic (without the flashcard and with xlr out) for video/tv interview neighterheh.
Old 27th January 2010
  #10
I most often grab the MKH 8050, a hypercardioid. The mics that I tend to take into the field with me are the MKH 60, MKH 8050, DPA 4060, EV RE 50 (and a U87i on certain occasions where it is needed ,like tonight, when there are atypical production environments - doing a documentary on the Kamehameha Schools Song Contest). The RE 50 would be good for "man on the street" type of interviews, but in a more controlled environment with some setup allowed, the 8050 is my choice. I really like the bass response from this mic, unusual for a hypercardioid, and even though people suggest omni, I feel that there are just too many bad sounding rooms out there to trust an omni to work most of the time.

(I meant RE50, not RE20, corrected...)
Old 27th January 2010
  #11
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andychamp's Avatar
Either a (dynamic) omni: Sennheiser MD21 or EV 635a/RE50.
Or, if the interviewees will be seated at a table: a PZM on the tabletop.
Old 27th January 2010
  #12
...and another thing, SOP... 1 boom mic and 1 wireless lav. Boom mic may be actually "boomed" or sometimes the carbon fibre boom is attached to a mic stand / C-stand and the base heavily sand bagged, counterweighted, aimed down at subject's mouth from 30 to 45 degrees or so. Lav is a safety. Some interiors are so bad, the lav sounds better. Sometimes subjects move their heads or body too much and go off axis (one good point for using an omni I suppose, but am still not sold). Stuff happens, good to have backup anyways. If you don't have enough setup time to manage that, then I'd grab the RE50 and just roll with it.
Old 27th January 2010
  #13
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jwh1192's Avatar
if you can boom it .. do it ... a Lav can be a backup ... countryman EWM is nice and phat .... i own 5 of them for multi-person interviews ...

and a Senn 416 48v / Schoeps CMC4_MK41 head .... each is good for certain situations ...

416 - outside or inside if not in really small room .. if small room Schoeps works better .. also, the Schoeps is easier to boom two persons at once ..

the boom mics will have so much more body .. but the countryman's will come very close .. easy to match them if need be .. most important is that easy match ...

cheers .. have fun

john
Old 28th January 2010
  #14
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Eganmedia's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwh1192 View Post
if you can boom it .. do it ... a Lav can be a backup ... countryman EWM is nice and phat .... i own 5 of them for multi-person interviews ...

and a Senn 416 48v / Schoeps CMC4_MK41 head .... each is good for certain situations ...

416 - outside or inside if not in really small room .. if small room Schoeps works better .. also, the Schoeps is easier to boom two persons at once ..

the boom mics will have so much more body .. but the countryman's will come very close .. easy to match them if need be .. most important is that easy match ...

cheers .. have fun

john

...beat me to it. If you're going to be interviewing people in homes or other small reflective rooms, a mic like the EV 635 will pick up an awful lot of reflection and noise. A short shotgun like a 416 boomed from above ought to work well in carpeted rooms. If you mic from below you'll get splatter off the ceiling. If the room is particularly lousy sounding, the off-axis uniformity of a Schoeps CM41 will sound better than a shotgun, but won't have the same pull. If I had to have one indoor mic and I didn't have to worry about the mic being in a camera's frame, I'd opt for the CMC41with a cut1 and a pop filter like a rycote. Indoors a softie is fine. I'd get it as close as is practical.
Old 28th January 2010
  #15
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jproc's Avatar
+a million for the EV RE50

99% of every news reporter you see on TV is using this mic... for a good reason.... Its a fantastic handheld omni dynamic... as indestructable as an SM57... and it looks good on camera...

This is as much the workhorse of the broadcasting/ENG world as the SM57 is the workhorse of the live sound/recording world....
Old 27th February 2010
  #16
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I would recommend the Shure SM63LB. Great interview mic and just as indestructible as the RE50 and 635A.

When I worked in the broadcast industry we used these for press conferences at football matches and they shone in the very less than perfect acoustic environment.

The omni pattern compensated for less than optimum mic placement / technique.
Old 10th September 2010
  #17
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Old thread but here I go....

The Sennheiser MD21 is a really cool mic and it sounds great. The bad thing about it is that it's really small and when you do radio interviews (for example) you end up having to put your hand right in people's face... just because the body of the mic is so short. Which can be a bad thing since people usually don't like your hand that close to their face... and will back off. Causing the sound to drop in volume. But it sounds good and it's sturdy as HELL. I don't think it's even possible to break it.
Old 10th September 2010
  #18
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Best mic for field interviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by petsematary
Old thread but here I go....

The Sennheiser MD21 is a really cool mic and it sounds great. The bad thing about it is that it's really small and when you do radio interviews (for example) you end up having to put your hand right in people's face... just because the body of the mic is so short. Which can be a bad thing since people usually don't like your hand that close to their face... and will back off. Causing the sound to drop in volume. But it sounds good and it's sturdy as HELL. I don't think it's even possible to break it.
Rupert Neve was once quoted as saying that the MD21 was the best interview mic. around.

Also, a good interviewer never stuffs a mic. into the interviewees face, it's held stationary between the two - despite what you see on TV by reporters who don't know how to use a mic.


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Old 10th September 2010
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Rupert Neve was once quoted as saying that the MD21 was the best interview mic. around.
You're repeating yourself again John.

I have found for interviewing, especially in home situations, that you want to reject all background noise, refrigerator hum, water noise, talking, street noise etc.

So if its a table or floor mic, a shotgun or hypercardioid is the way to go, or an omni is OK if it is miniature lavalier close to the mouth, so that the gain can be low-ish.
Old 10th September 2010
  #20
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Best mic for field interviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Spearritt

You're repeating yourself again John.
Am I? It was so long ago, I forgot.

My interviewing experience is in radio interviewing. I always used an MD421 held vertically (the same way you would use an omni) between the interviewer and interviewee at the point of equal volume.

In a house I still did it the same way, but I would unplug the fridge for the duration.




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Old 11th September 2010
  #21
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Eganmedia's Avatar
Knowing I'm repeating myself as well, I'll reiterate the Schoeps CMC41 for indoors. But I had an epiphany a few days ago. I used an Oktava MK012 with a hyper cardioid cap, and it sounded, to my ears, almost exactly like the Schoeps. For something like 1/6 the price. Really nice sounding. Now I know what to bring when the budget doesn't warrant putting my nice mics in harm's way.

Wait...
The MK012 *is* a nice mic by my own definition. Maybe I'll just bring EV 635s.
Old 11th September 2010
  #22
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petsematary's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Rupert Neve was once quoted as saying that the MD21 was the best interview mic. around.

Also, a good interviewer never stuffs a mic. into the interviewees face, it's held stationary between the two - despite what you see on TV by reporters who don't know how to use a mic.


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Believe me there's a reason why a lot of reporter's mics have extra long shafts. A lot of times it's necessary to tilt the mic towards the person you're talking to, and putting it a bit closer to their mouth. A lot less invasive (is that the right word??) to do that with a long mic than an MD21. This is especially important in radio when you have only audio.

Btw, the 21's are insanely expensive. I looked at one in a webhop just now - 850 dollars (Europe). They're about 3-400 on ebay, used. An RE50 is 160 on ebay, new.
Old 11th September 2010
  #23
Shy
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That's not "insanely expensive" for a mic of such extremely high quality.
Old 11th September 2010
  #24
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when you consider the alternatives, i think it is.
Old 11th September 2010
  #25
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John Willett's Avatar
 

Best mic for field interviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by petsematary

Believe me there's a reason why a lot of reporter's mics have extra long shafts. A lot of times it's necessary to tilt the mic towards the person you're talking to, and putting it a bit closer to their mouth. A lot less invasive (is that the right word??) to do that with a long mic than an MD21. This is especially important in radio when you have only audio.

Btw, the 21's are insanely expensive. I looked at one in a webhop just now - 850 dollars (Europe). They're about 3-400 on ebay, used. An RE50 is 160 on ebay, new.
Actually, you shouldn't tilt the mic. at all, it should be vertical. It should be held stationary between the two.

Don't copy what you often see on TV,


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Old 12th September 2010
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett View Post
Actually, you shouldn't tilt the mic. at all, it should be vertical. It should be held stationary between the two.

Don't copy what you often see on TV,


Sent from my iPhone using Gearslutz
I spent ten years working in radio and I disagree. Also depends on the polar pattern of your mic. But this is a gear thread so I don't think it's very fruitful to start measuring dicks. However, my opinion on the 21 is that it's too expensive to be worth it. It's good but not three times as good as the alternatives. Much like the MD441 which is also a great mic. But very, very costly. If someone gave me a 21 I wouldn't say no though. And, much like the 441, it looks really cool.
Old 12th September 2010
  #27
Shy
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Funny that you mention the MD 441, another mic I think is actually priced more than fairly considering its FAR above avarage quality, meaning its amazing frequency response, very pleasant sound, ability to capture pretty much any source that isn't huge adequately and having a supercardioid polar pattern on top of all that. I prefer it over much more expensive mics. MD 21 also has a remarkably good sound and I definitely consider that "little extra" to be worth that much more.
Old 7th October 2010
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shy View Post
Funny that you mention the MD 441, another mic I think is actually priced more than fairly considering its FAR above avarage quality, meaning its amazing frequency response, very pleasant sound, ability to capture pretty much any source that isn't huge adequately and having a supercardioid polar pattern on top of all that. I prefer it over much more expensive mics. MD 21 also has a remarkably good sound and I definitely consider that "little extra" to be worth that much more.
Hi,

I agreed with you. Any way, your points of view make me thinking about some thing for my project.

Pls try to keep posting.
We also find them more same at: Field engineer interviews


Tks and best regards
Old 7th October 2010
  #29
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Jamie Mac's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by petsematary View Post
However, my opinion on the 21 is that it's too expensive to be worth it. It's good but not three times as good as the alternatives.
I don't know where you're getting your prices from but a new MD21 is under 400€ but you can EASILY find them second hand for 50-100€
Old 7th October 2010
  #30
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Yeah, they're around 400 euros here, too. If I said anything else, I take that back. But still... more than twice what I could pay for a new RE50. Which is an awesome ENG mic. And used mics are just not my thing for field work, but if you go that route, obviously they'll run you less. When I last checked ebay though, I saw a lot of 60's and 70's model 21's running from 2 to 300 dollars. I would never but a reporter's mic that old for that kind of money. But hey, you guys buy whatever you want, I'm just speaking my mind as far as prices.
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