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Shotgun mic options for VO?
Old 12th September 2020
  #1
Shotgun mic options for VO?

I'm really not a fan of them close mic'd, especially the MKH416, but the current situation is one where I need something with good off axis rejection. I currently have shotgun mics. A Deity S-Mic 2, and a Synco Mic D2. I don't particularly like either, but the Deity is the better of them. I'm looking at either getting a used MKH416, or a Rode NTG3, there's also an MKH816 on eBay for really cheap because it's not so popular of a mic (because the size makes it hard to boom with I guess).

Right now there aren't many used MKH416s shipping to Canada on eBay, and the ones that do are coming from Indonesia, so I'm skeptical of them and want to avoid them completely because even in cases where you've obviously been scammed, dealing with Paypal is a real pain in the ass. That's where me considering the NTG3 comes in. New prices are about what a used MKH416 goes for (maybe a bit more), and used prices are about $400 ($500 CAD) cheaper than what I'd pay for a new MKH416. There is a very modestly priced MKH416T as well, but then I have to buy a T12 to P48 converter (a little hard to find), or send it out to be modded. The MKH816 is like 2 feet long, and my recording space will only really be 4'x4' due to current space restrictions, so I'd probably have to under boom it. I can always set up extra blankets and stuff, but the permanent booth will only be 4'x4' (for the foreseeable future).

I will say I really like the sound of the Rode NTG3. I would also consider the NTG5, but I'm not sure how it sounds in comparison. There's a good $200 difference between them, though I do like that the NTG5 is only about 8 inches long.

I also considered the B9 Audio CM170F, which looks like it's a CMIT5U copy, but $800 USD is a lot of money to spend on a clone from an unknown company, even if they do sound good.

The reason I need something with good off axis rejection is a noise issue with my neighbours that's outside of my control. They're ridiculously noisy, and they say it's their kids making the noise (and they seem to have no intention of trying to get them to stop), and there's no mention in our city's noise bylaws about kids being too noisy (banging on walls, floors, etc, because of this a lot of the noise is extremely low end like vibrations, I'm aware there's not much I can do except maybe try to make a false floor, building a complete booth right now may not be possible), so filing a noise complaint would be difficult (we have asked them to stop the noise, their excuse makes the situation really complicated, frankly I think it's ridiculous that a barking dog is a noise violation in a lot of cities but kids beating on the walls at 1 AM isn't for some reason). So I'm thinking either get a good shotgun mic, a high quality dynamic mic (this is the least preferable option), or try to come up with some solution that will let my hypercardioid MK-012s work in this scenario. My budget is about $800 USD. Normally I wouldn't spend that much for a specific problem like this, but if I get a high quality shotgun mic I can use it for location audio too. I will also consider Audio Technica's shotgun mics as well.

I'm aware that the most effective solution would be a proper soundproof booth or a more isolated recording area, that's not possible right now since this place is a rental and I don't live alone.

I will be moving some time next year. The current place is a town house with shared walls.

Last edited by Dohreetoh; 12th September 2020 at 09:13 AM..
Old 12th September 2020
  #2
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Is this stuff primarily actual jobs, or auditions?
Old 12th September 2020
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Is this stuff primarily actual jobs, or auditions?
I would say both. I'm trying to do more recording work while my day job is still closed (it'll probably be a while before I work there again, right now we can only have 50 customers, so they'll probably bring minimal staff back at first). I haven't done much paid stuff (I don't count YouTube videos), so it's probably a bit overkill, but I'm planning to move to a major production area next year so it'll be good to have the gear.

Ideally it's for actual work because I can record an audition at like 4:00 AM when it's quite using my AT4050 or MK-012s, but might not have that option with a paid gig, especially with how some clients are if you're a non union freelancer.

There's an Audio Technica BP4073 on eBay for $400 USD that I'm pretty interested in, but after my last experience with buying a used shotgun mic at a really good price (that fake MKH416) I'm a little skeptical. I haven't heard of fake BP4073s though.

My AT4050 and CAD M179s pick up the low end thumping way too much, they actually audibly record an almost vibrating sound. Not sure whether that's actually the microphones vibrating (but I don't think that's the case) or just the low end noises not being blocked by the walls (since it's a shared wall and probably not too well insulated), I feel like there's a good chance it's just the latter since I also audibly hear it without hearing vibrations.

Last edited by Dohreetoh; 12th September 2020 at 09:45 AM..
Old 12th September 2020
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
I would say mostly for actual work...
In that case I wish I could help. Have you looked into some kind of barter/slave labor deal with someone who has actual isolation?
Old 12th September 2020
  #5
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

As it happens only yesterday I recorded this voice-over clip with a recently-acquired and serviced vintage Sennheiser MKH 415-T shotgun:



It's the first time I've used a shotgun on my voice - quite pleased with the result. I was moved in relatively close, but certainly not 'eating' the mic here.

I too would be interested in a comparison of this venerable old warrior with a newer MKH416 and the Rode NTG3, but I'm not in a position to do that at the moment.

I would say I'm getting better rejection with the shotgun than an LDC but perhaps not as much as a classic dynamic like the SM7B. Of course there's a difference in required gain as well - the MKH needs around +45dB while you're probably going to need over +60dB for the SM7B, meaning the quality of your preamps comes into play. This is the eternal trade-off between more directional dynamics and quieter, powered LDCs & shotguns.

Ultimately though, no mic in the world is going to block everything out completely, and the voice-over application is a particularly ruthless one as there's nothing to mask extraneous noise. You may find late-night sessions are your only option until you can move to a soundproof space.

Last edited by James Lehmann; 12th September 2020 at 11:33 AM..
Old 12th September 2020
  #6
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No question that a mic like that is good for VO, but it won't get OP out of his pickle. Every client is a relationship, and he need to figure out a way to not wreck them while he works to improve his situation.
Old 12th September 2020
  #7
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Simplicisimus's Avatar
 

No shotgun will help you with your situation/problem, so don't waste your money on them if you're hoping to achieve that. If you want a quality shotgun for using on location as well occasional VO in a treated space, then sure - buy a 416 or NTG3 or whatever. If you want to minimize the external noise in the room while recording your best bet is to use quality dynamic mic - 441, sm7b or maybe old AKG d202/d224e, but watch out you will need a good pre and lot of gain. You may be surprised at the quality you can get.
Old 12th September 2020
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicisimus View Post
No shotgun will help you with your situation/problem, so don't waste your money on them if you're hoping to achieve that. If you want a quality shotgun for using on location as well occasional VO in a treated space, then sure - buy a 416 or NTG3 or whatever. If you want to minimize the external noise in the room while recording your best bet is to use quality dynamic mic - 441, sm7b or maybe old AKG d202/d224e, but watch out you will need a good pre and lot of gain. You may be surprised at the quality you can get.
Think the M88TG would be good? I really like the tone of them more than the Shure stuff. It's cheap enough that I can grab it and a roughly $500 shotgun, which would be a used Audio Technica one, or the T powered 415 or 416, or maybe the Rode NT5 (or a used NTG3 if I find a really good deal).
Old 12th September 2020
  #9
Lives for gear
If you're considering dynamics, I'd recommend an RE20. There aren't a lot of mics where I cue it up and think "hey, that sounds like me" when used close-up, but that's one of them.

For outright rejection, a Beyer M201 does well and still sounds good. You'll need pretty extensive pop filtering, though.

Chris
Old 13th September 2020
  #10
Well the NTG5 is out. A lot of people are getting really bad noise with them after only a couple months. High pitched chirping sounds and buzzing.

Also gonna check out how my iSK ICDM's reject the noise (I've heard they have pretty good off axis rejection, similar to the SM7B). If they still audibly pick it up I think I'd be completely outta luck unless I build a really small booth, but I don't think that'd sound very good.

Last edited by Dohreetoh; 13th September 2020 at 06:54 AM..
Old 13th September 2020
  #11
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Simplicisimus's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
Think the M88TG would be good? I really like the tone of them more than the Shure stuff. It's cheap enough that I can grab it and a roughly $500 shotgun, which would be a used Audio Technica one, or the T powered 415 or 416, or maybe the Rode NT5 (or a used NTG3 if I find a really good deal).
M88 is very good mic, if you like it better on your voice then Shure, go for it!
SM7b is somewhat more "robust" sound, "slower" on transients, where M88 is more "articulate". Older AKG's models mentioned earlier have the great tone, reminiscent of older Neumanns when used with good mic amp with transformers, can be used very close without proximity effect (best of both worlds). 441 is the best dynamic ever, period. It really sounds like a nice condenser, but downside is that it requires a lot of gain and you can end up with noisy recordings.
As for shotgun, I would skip the AT one. Go for the 416t version or NTG3.
Good luck!
Old 13th September 2020
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicisimus View Post
M88 is very good mic, if you like it better on your voice then Shure, go for it!
SM7b is somewhat more "robust" sound, "slower" on transients, where M88 is more "articulate". Older AKG's models mentioned earlier have the great tone, reminiscent of older Neumanns when used with good mic amp with transformers, can be used very close without proximity effect (best of both worlds). 441 is the best dynamic ever, period. It really sounds like a nice condenser, but downside is that it requires a lot of gain and you can end up with noisy recordings.
As for shotgun, I would skip the AT one. Go for the 416t version or NTG3.
Good luck!
Currently inquiring about a used NTG3 on eBay, that's cheap enough that I'll also be able to grab an M88TG from Amazon and only be $100 over budget (I have to factor in about $75 in duties).
Old 14th September 2020
  #13
Ordered the NTG3, it's a couple hundred off, and it's coming from an authorized dealer. About $800 CAD with duties, an M88TG is a bit over $400 CAD, so I'm only $100 and a bit over budget.

I'm gonna check out how my current dynamics reject the noise as well. If they pick up too much of the noise another one might not be too much better.

Also, in a reply from Audio Technica they say they will not disclose any information about counterfeits, and the only way to be sure you get a legit mic is to buy from a licensed distributor. Looks like AT might not have a place in my locker anymore. Guess I'll be buying C414 XLS's over AT4050s in the future (this also has to do with me not liking a lot of other Audio Technica stuff I've tried, such as a couple pairs of headphones, and one of the stage condensers, and some of their accessories not being very good, and companies like Sennheiser and Oktava are helpful when inquiring about whether something is counterfeit).

Last edited by Dohreetoh; 15th September 2020 at 11:50 AM..
Old 18th September 2020
  #14
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SoundWow's Avatar
 

Better than a shotgun mic

I had a neighbor that would play basketball outside the wall next to me doing VO. It was loud.

Surprised how much Izotope's RX 7 Voice Isolate plugin helped!
Old 19th September 2020
  #15
So as it turns out the Fethead Phantom can be used with dynamics pretty well, which helps because it means I don't have to buy a whole new preamp yet (gonna get something better when I feel I need to upgrade, but the UMC1820's MIDAS pres sound fine IMO).
Old 19th September 2020
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundWow View Post
I had a neighbor that would play basketball outside the wall next to me doing VO. It was loud.

Surprised how much Izotope's RX 7 Voice Isolate plugin helped!
I haven't tried any of Izotope's stuff. If I can find it cheap enough I may give it a go. I haven't tried Waves Z-noise on it yet because a lot of the sound is low end vibrations.

In this case it's an unpredictable but regular (and sometimes long) noise. It's literally kids banging on the wall and the parent not doing anything about it (the kids also leave food and garbage everywhere, and it takes days before it's picked up). It gets so bad sometimes our furniture vibrates, and it happens a late at night/early morning (between 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM which are the hours in our local by-laws that certain noises, fireworks, power tools, etc must cease). It's happening as I type this actually. Unfortunately a lot of noise loud kids make doesn't have restrictions.
Old 19th September 2020
  #17
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there is a deity model that is supposed to imitate the 416. so if you have that deity model, you might not like the 416.

the 416 sounds terrible on my voice, but works for others.

you say you are relocating next year, and want to get more and more into this game. i would try to score a used whisperroom for a few thousand. if you are looking at rx for $600 and a mic for $800, you are at $1400 and are managing rather than eliminating the problem.

whisperrooms (unlike custom construction builds) can easily be disassembled and relocated. they also get it right with ventilation and door seals (something that is very tricky for amateur home project builders). they also hold their value well. so if you bought a used one for $2500 you should be able to sell it a few years later for $2000 (you might even get your full $2500 back depending on market conditions). so you would only be out $500 if you decide to do something else.

https://whisperroom.com/models/?sort...alse&checkbox=[%22stand%22,%22enh%22]&priceRange=$3,300%20-%20$34,800&squareFt=0%20-%20140%20ft%C2%B2&offset=1
Old 19th September 2020
  #18
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent View Post
you say you are relocating next year, and want to get more and more into this game. i would try to score a used whisperroom for a few thousand.
Have you ever used one? Not a rhetorical question -- please answer it.

Whisperrooms are basically a repurposed meat locker with a tiny window and marginal ventilation. They were originally designed to lock sound in, and that's all. So you could play trumpet in your tiny apartment without getting evicted. The sound inside the box wasn't a consideration at all.

Much later on it became evident that people were trying to record in them, so the makers rolled out models with a little "treament." But it only helps a tiny bit; the basic character of the sound inside those things is still godawful.

Given the crazy price point of them, even used, and the fact that the majority of them don't even have the rudimentary and useless "treatment," it's pretty cavalier of you to suggest that someone throw "a few thousand" at one, just on your say-so.

On the other hand, if you show us good recordings you've done in one, I'll eat crow and take it all back.
Old 19th September 2020
  #19
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
On the other hand, if you show us good recordings you've done in one, I'll eat crow and take it all back.
OT, but I thought carrying jockstraps was the requisite 'walk of atonement' in your particular case Brent?
Old 19th September 2020
  #20
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post
OT, but I thought carrying jockstraps was the requisite 'walk of atonement' in your particular case Brent?
Yeah I guess. And FWIW, he got the purgatory part wrong, "forever" isn't part of the deal.
Old 19th September 2020
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by gearstudent View Post
there is a deity model that is supposed to imitate the 416. so if you have that deity model, you might not like the 416.

the 416 sounds terrible on my voice, but works for others.

you say you are relocating next year, and want to get more and more into this game. i would try to score a used whisperroom for a few thousand. if you are looking at rx for $600 and a mic for $800, you are at $1400 and are managing rather than eliminating the problem.

whisperrooms (unlike custom construction builds) can easily be disassembled and relocated. they also get it right with ventilation and door seals (something that is very tricky for amateur home project builders). they also hold their value well. so if you bought a used one for $2500 you should be able to sell it a few years later for $2000 (you might even get your full $2500 back depending on market conditions). so you would only be out $500 if you decide to do something else.

https://whisperroom.com/models/?sort...alse&checkbox=[%22stand%22,%22enh%22]&priceRange=$3,300%20-%20$34,800&squareFt=0%20-%20140%20ft%C2%B2&offset=1
For the shotgun mic, I grabbed a Rode NTG3 instead. Doesn't have the same pedigree (because let's face it, Rode is known for their NT1-A and crappy video mics), but I feel like the low end it has really off sets the harshness a lot of mics with a high shelf boost have. I got about $200 off on it, was supposed to be an open box one, but the seller said they upgraded me to a sealed new one. The seller is an authorized dealer as well.

I don't like the MKH416 on voiceover. At all. I get why it's used on commercials, and why it's used for ADR on a film that has the MKH416 as the boom mic. Close miking for VO makes everything sound like an overly processed radio commercial.

This is a bit off topic, but I also mentioned the Synco Mic D2 which I just opened up and it looks suspiciously like the counterfeit MKH416s. Like a dead ringer for one. Only I can see is that they didn't cover the PCB when the fake 416s have some sort of black rubberized coating. It's definitely built better, but has what looks like a similar Chinese electret to what the MKH416 counterfeits have and the same crappy interference tube that's held in place with a little rubber ring, and the wires come out the back of that tube like the fake MKH416s. The outer body is different, but the internals (tube, capsule, the whole interior body) look damn near the same.

Oh and after opening it once the end cap came off. Very reminiscent of the counterfeit copies of a famous, one might say ubiquitous shotgun mic.

Last edited by Dohreetoh; 19th September 2020 at 07:11 PM..
Old 19th September 2020
  #22
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SoundWow's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
I haven't tried any of Izotope's stuff. If I can find it cheap enough I may give it a go. I haven't tried Waves Z-noise on it yet because a lot of the sound is low end vibrations.

In this case it's an unpredictable but regular (and sometimes long) noise. It's literally kids banging on the wall and the parent not doing anything about it (the kids also leave food and garbage everywhere, and it takes days before it's picked up). It gets so bad sometimes our furniture vibrates, and it happens a late at night/early morning (between 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM which are the hours in our local by-laws that certain noises, fireworks, power tools, etc must cease). It's happening as I type this actually. Unfortunately a lot of noise loud kids make doesn't have restrictions.

I think "Voice Isolate" is only available in the Rx Advanced version which isn't cheap unfortunately.
Old 19th September 2020
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundWow View Post
I think "Voice Isolate" is only available in the Rx Advanced version which isn't cheap unfortunately.
Yeah, I checked it out on Izotope's site. $1000 is a bit more than I care to pay right now. Now, I would absolutely pay like $100-$200 for a good plugin like the dialogue isolation one, but $1000 is a lot considering it's only that one that I like, and maybe the guitar noise reduction ones.
Old 19th September 2020
  #24
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SoundWow's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
Yeah, I checked it out on Izotope's site. $1000 is a bit more than I care to pay right now. Now, I would absolutely pay like $100-$200 for a good plugin like the dialogue isolation one, but $1000 is a lot considering it's only that one that I like, and maybe the guitar noise reduction ones.
Yes, it is expensive. Cheaper than a whisper room
Though!
Old 20th September 2020
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundWow View Post
Yes, it is expensive. Cheaper than a whisper room
Though!
A pre-built yes. I was also looking at Audionamix's stuff, but I refuse to buy something that's going to force me to use an iLok. I can kind of understand it with stuff like Pro Tools, but I still don't like it. I'm against excessive DRM, since it only punishes the customer. The plugins and DAWs will be cracked eventually, and people unwilling to wait will just use an earlier cracked version .

Last edited by Dohreetoh; 20th September 2020 at 04:50 AM..
Old 20th September 2020
  #26
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SoundWow's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
A pre-built yes. I was also looking at Audionamix's stuff, but I refuse to buy something that's going to force me to use an iLok.
Oh, Gotcha.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
One last thought. Could I use sort of of mass loaded vinyl like the Vocal Booth to Go portable "sound proof" booths? I'm aware that wouldn't be cheap, and probably not as effective if I don't have the door to seal it.

I can probably build a small booth, but 3'x4' or 4'x4' probably won't sound very good.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
Gear Addict
Just stumbled upon this thread. I see that you already purchased something and perhaps my suggestion for Boom Mic is too expensive.

But in my experience, I haven't heard anything with better off-axis rejection than the Sanken Cs3e. They are rarely on sale used and at close to full price. It's weird that they don't have a huge following, but I have a few friends that all they do is sound and the swear by them. The one thing is that their pickup pattern is tighter than others and therefore require a more experience boom operator.
I think some of the newer Digital CMits actually have some sort of noise cancelation feature that may make them better than the sanken.

But for your situation, I would think an RE20 (which I own and I love) or an SM7b (haven't tried, but obviously awesome as well) with a FetHead to help your preamp. Would be a better solution. I got my RE20 for about $300-350 USD and the fethead is about $100.

If the mic you purchased doesn't help with your problem and you can return it, do look into the Dynamic Route.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dohreetoh View Post
I can probably build a small booth, but 3'x4' or 4'x4' probably won't sound very good.
Nope, it sure won't... and on top of that, it won't even be particularly quiet if it shares a surface of any kind with any of the surfaces (floor, walls, ceiling) in your place.

You're flat out not going to be able to do pro level VO in place with noise issues of this severity, no matter what your setup is like.

I'd recommend at least making peace with pro tools, as you're going to be editing the f*ck out of each and every take in order to get something manageable.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Lots of excellent advice here.
Just chiming in to wish you well D, with the current situation.
Chris
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