Forums

    11 posts

  • avatar
    0 sounds
    7 posts
    Dual mono recordig with shot-gun-microphones.


    I am very close to buy two Sennheiser ME 66 shot-gun microphones. I plan to use them in dual mounting for stereo. It is a bit unusual to mount shot-gun mics in pairs, but field recorders do use it. They can not be mountet in wide angle form each other, just a bit angled, near to parallel.

    Anyway, I would be glad to hear from anyone who have some experience with this kind of use. I am going to test before buing and it could be nice to know more what to look for.

    My motivation for buing two shot-gun mics rather than one stereo, is mostly lower price and low self-noise in ME66. My use is for field recording of often silent soundscapes.

    Thank you for any advices! smile

  • avatar
    3050 sounds
    476 posts


    sverremac
    I am very close to buy two Sennheiser ME 66 shot-gun microphones. I plan to use them in dual mounting for stereo. It is a bit unusual to mount shot-gun mics in pairs, but field recorders do use it. They can not be mountet in wide angle form each other, just a bit angled, near to parallel.

    Anyway, I would be glad to hear from anyone who have some experience with this kind of use. I am going to test before buing and it could be nice to know more what to look for.

    My motivation for buing two shot-gun mics rather than one stereo, is mostly lower price and loself-noise in ME66. My use is for field recording of often silent soundscapes.

    Thank you for any advices! smile

    Hi,

    been using ME66 as my main mic in nature field work for the last year (first for mono recordings, then as mid mic in M/S setups), so I can say I know it first hand. And your idea is surprising to me, meaning it never crossed my mind before weirdhock: My first thought is this may result into 'hollow in the middle' recordings... Although on the other hand the polar pattern of ME66 is wider than most people think, so it *might* work.

    But I don't really undesrtand the choice of the ME66, why don't you pair two cardioid ME64? Seems to me a more logical. Self-noise and sensitivity are very similar to that of ME66 and as regards price the cardioid is more affordable. Actually I'm thinking of selling my ME66 to experiment with spaced omnis/cardiodid.

    Saludos

  • avatar
    0 sounds
    7 posts


    Thank you dobroide!

    I happend to bump into the application manager of Sennheiser UK at another forum here. He says ME 66 works fine in double mount, but that you need a sharp angle between the two.

    You just have to tell me how cardioid ME 64 works in isolating other sounds, compared to the shot-gun ME 66. I am looking for soundscapes, so to isolate for instance a bird totally is not my main goal. But still I could use some good direction, and focus. I look for small sounds... That is my motivation for shot-gun mic.

    If the ME 64 is more omnidirectional, it will kind of overlap the built in microphones I already have in my zoom H4. The H4 works very well at "close ups" when sound is loud enough, like a cople of centimeters from the water in a river the other night. The trick with the H4 is to keep record level under a certain step to avoid noise. The H4 I will replace with something more sophisticated if this really takes off.... Is the sensitivity and low noise really as good with ME 64 as with ME 66?

  • avatar
    3050 sounds
    476 posts


    sverremac
    If the ME 64 is more omnidirectional, it will kind of overlap the built in microphones I already have in my zoom H4. The H4 works very well at "close ups" when sound is loud enough, like a cople of centimeters from the water in a river the other night. The trick with the H4 is to keep record level under a certain step to avoid noise. The H4 I will replace with something more sophisticated if this really takes off.... Is the sensitivity and low noise really as good with ME 64 as with ME 66?

    I had one ME62 (omni) in the past but never owned the ME64, sorry.
    But note that capsule choice is not just a matter of selfnoise/sensitivity, nor of the width of the stereo image you get. More importantly, capsule type has a great impact on the 'quality' of the sound. My main concern with ME66, for example, is that I *know* for sure the sound is a bit 'strident'. This is simply natural, as shotguns tend to exaggerate high frequencies to some extent.

    I'm not sure I would like a stereo recording in which the two channels were from ME66... Too high-pitched for my taste :roll: Of course the cardiod capsule in the K6 system isn't completely flat either, but I think the outcome should sound more natural. Just an opinion.

    Saludos

  • avatar
    0 sounds
    7 posts


    dobroide

    My main concern with ME66, for example, is that I *know* for sure the sound is a bit 'strident'. This is simply natural, as shotguns tend to exaggerate high frequencies to some extent.

    I'm not sure I would like a stereo recording in which the two channels were from ME66... Too high-pitched for my taste :roll: Of course the cardiod capsule in the K6 system isn't completely flat either, but I think the outcome should sound more natural. Just an opinion.

    Saludos

    Thank you dobroide, this is useful! I have heard a simular opinion about the sound of the ME-66 before. A German said it was not considered as a good mic for nature purpuse in his country. The manager from Sennheiser said the ME 66 where much used in wildlife recording in UK. Your opinion is worth listening to. One way too see it, is that the "strigent" sound could be handled with equalizer in the after-work. But as I understand you (and microphones...), the difference goes futher than that.

    Still, to go from 10 to 16 dB in self noise... it is a bit.. Out of your experience with silent nature, have you found a general limit for acceptual self-noise? I have read reviews that tells over 20 dB is far too much. I know for sure, as you say, there are more variables, but still.

    I understand another way to make stereo of a pair, is to combine a cardiodid with a "8 figure" microphone. Some stereo "shot guns" are made this way. I'm not very confident with that, but this could be a way to combine two different capsules and still get the stereo.

  • avatar
    3050 sounds
    476 posts


    sverremac

    Still, to go from 10 to 16 dB in self noise... it is a bit.. Out of your experience with silent nature, have you found a general limit for acceptual self-noise? I have read reviews that tells over 20 dB is far too much. I know for sure, as you say, there are more variables, but still.

    It's funny, on this issue of self-noise I remember one comment I read time ago at the nature recordist group. A guy wrote ' You generally don't pay attention to the self-noise of your mic... until you listen to it for the first time, usually trying to record an owl at night. From that moment onwards noise is always there. No matter what you do, you can't forget it'. Well, I can tell you the author of this comment knew very well what he/she was talking about: happened to me last month! The 'guilty' sample is this one: http://freesound.iua.upf.edu/samplesViewSingle.php?id=33719
    In short, I had to filter hiss from ME66 in post as it spoiled the whole recording. So yes, even the allegedly 'quiet' ME66 has noticeable selfnoise once you identify it and learn to differentiate it from the noise of wind, moving leaves, etcetera. And as usual the only way to overcome the problem is... to increase signal level (i.e., get closer to source), or shifting to really quiet mics (like the MKHs, but that' s another league as regards price).

    sverremac

    I understand another way to make stereo of a pair, is to combine a cardiodid with a "8 figure" microphone. Some stereo "shot guns" are made this way. I'm not very confident with that, but this could be a way to combine two different capsules and still get the stereo.

    You mean Mid-Side stereo, I guess. Yes, that's my setup right now using MKH60 as mid and a figure-8 MKH30 as side mic. Arggg... damn expensive... :x The Audiotechnica AT835st also uses the same principle, it combines one shotgun+one figure-8 capsule into a single mic body. Hey wait, that stereo mic might be of interest for you, check it !

    But remember, not even very expensive mics compare to getting closer smile

  • avatar
    0 sounds
    7 posts


    If figure 8 microphones are expensive in general, they are not an option for me. The Audiotechnica has been a canidate, but this specific microphone was the one that I was refering too, about the review that said self-noise was too high. Therefore I have forgotten it.

    I quote the review:
    "Because field recordists may be called on to record very quiet sounds — for example, the murmur of a creek, leaves rustling across a lawn, or a clock ticking in a quiet house — mic self-noise is an important consideration. The mic preamp you use can contribute significantly to noise, so I tested the AT835ST using an outstanding and very quiet mic pre: a Grace Designs Lunatec V2.

    The AT835ST uses electret condenser capsules — capsules that tend to be noisier than a true condenser (that is, one with an externally polarized capacitor). The AT835ST performed about as I expected for its reasonable price: it was somewhat noisy. Therefore, it would not be my first pick for recording really quiet sources; for louder applications, however, it is sufficiently quiet."
    http://emusician.com/mics/emusic_audiotechnica_atst/

    Another I have considered is Edirol CS-50, also a stereo, with 18 in self-noise. That is not much up from ME 64 with its 16.

    I have now found your many recordings in here! And I'll have a walk among a few of the ME66 ones. They can give me an idea as good as I can get through my own brief testing this weekend. If you want to give me some more suggestions to listening, you're welcome. I'm at your autumn recordings now, because that are close to what I am going to record myself. Your words about a kind of "strident" sound I can understand from what I hear. How does it work to equalize it afterwords? Is there any more bass to level up than I can hear for instance in http://freesound.iua.upf.edu/samplesViewSingle.php?id=24652 ?

    Funny what you said about the hearing-self-noise-syndrom. It seems that one uconsious can choose both to hear and not hear it. After all that's how our senses work anyway. But of course, at a certain level one can't "choose" anymore.

  • avatar
    0 sounds
    7 posts


    I see you have used a AKG CK94 a lot together with the ME 66. Have you any comments on that figure 8 microphone? My impression so far on the ME 66, is that it is maybe too sharp for my needs. Your comments and files have been important. Tommorow my own testing of this _or another_ mic. starts... smile

  • avatar
    3050 sounds
    476 posts


    sverremac
    I see you have used a AKG CK94 a lot together with the ME 66. Have you any comments on that figure 8 microphone? My impression so far on the ME 66, is that it is maybe too sharp for my needs. Your comments and files have been important. Tommorow my own testing of this _or another_ mic. starts... smile

    Yes, I think equalizing may help.

    About using the CK94 for nature, my opinion is similar to what I concluded on the stereo Rode NT4 which I also used for some time: these are all capsules intended for vocals and music with 16 dB selfnoise and around 10 mV sensitive, meaning they sound really good as long as you have a powerful signal. Too bad you won't be that lucky out there in nature often, which forces you to cranck the preamp up... with the result that you get noise from the mic. Of course the same will hold for ME66 or *any* other mic, since it 's not just selfnoise which matters, but signal-to-self-noise ratio: if its high you get a clean recording, a low one and you get noticeable hiss. That's my point. Recordists using parabolas enjoy more signal and no additional noise, i.e. they benefit from increased signal/noise ratios and produce cleaner recordings (and of course they have to carry a large dish around. Oh my god... smile

    Saludos

  • avatar
    0 sounds
    7 posts


    dobroide

    But note that capsule choice is not just a matter of selfnoise/sensitivity, nor of the width of the stereo image you get. More importantly, capsule type has a great impact on the 'quality' of the sound. My main concern with ME66, for example, is that I *know* for sure the sound is a bit 'strident'. This is simply natural, as shotguns tend to exaggerate high frequencies to some extent.

    I'm not sure I would like a stereo recording in which the two channels were from ME66... Too high-pitched for my taste :roll: Of course the cardiod capsule in the K6 system isn't completely flat either, but I think the outcome should sound more natural. Just an opinion.

    This is just what I now see. I have borrowed a single ME 66 and tested. I have made the same recordings with the H4 built in mics and the ME 66, and compared with only one side of my headset for simular mono effect. One crucial test is the stream/brook. With my H4 I can hear that almost every part of the stream has it's own little dancing song. With the ME 66, the song is gone! Sometimes I can hear something is there, but the song itself has left. There is an ambience of a stream, of course, but without what was so facinating about recording streams. I have tested both on distance and at very close ups. In other words it is not only the lower tones that can dissapear with a gun-shot. At least with ME 66 I find the higher tones kind of compressed or something. To such an extent that the important little melodies disappears.

    My motivation for buing a gun shot was excatly to come close to those fragile parts of nature's sound. Kind of the oposite happends! I could move the gunshot around at a distance and find differnet sounds of the stream, but without the actual quality I look for. The ME 66 worked better on bird song. I guess this was more close to the mic's nature. The song became more isolated. The self-noise I could hear was lower. But the total "image" was not very "warm". I would'nt be too nice with this picture as stereo. My H4's mics couldn't cope as good with the same bird song. The self-noise became to high, and the ambience from around also too high. But in better conditions, and a bit closer, I think I would have got a result that was close in clearness, and better as a whole.

    As you say:

    dobroide

    But remember, not even very expensive mics compare to getting closer

    I guess the right focus and the right closeness to the sources is my most important way to get what I want. ME 66 doesn't seem to give what I need, and therefore I will not put so much money into buing it/them (two). I think I need a gun-shot mic anyway, but I don't think I should try to chase a quality that isn't possible with that construction. The Edirol CS-50, a bipolar stereo gun shot mic, is now on my mind. I am lucky to have found one owner that will upload some excamples. If the self-noise is not very high, or the sound quality not even sharper, I think I will go for it. But you never know, there can still be more to be learned.... And still there is a couple of more days testing.

    Maybe a future solution for the gun-shot-quiality would be to buy a portable mixer, and then be able to mix in warmer mic's together with the guh-shot. My H4 has not the option to use both built in mics and lines. Two takes mixed together later could also be an option at certain conditions.

    sverremac

  • avatar
    134 sounds
    26 posts


    Here's what I don't understand. If you are interested in "soundscapes" and I take by that to mean natural ambiences/environments, a shotgun tends to ignore low mid and bass sounds. So a major portion of your location's spectrum is missing. Not just attenuated, missing, as in "not there". Shot guns, by design, focus on higher frequency sounds hence their popularity with old school film loaction mixers and nature recordists. They're great for talk and bird songs. The transient features of a sound environment will register nicely but the angle will be narrow. Think of a car or people walking passed. Their appearence and disappearence will be quite sudden unless you pan to follow them. In which case the sound image remains centred on the transient objects and not the background. If you want a good stereo recording of something, close up, and in it's natural environment why not mount two wider range cardiod or omni mics in a standard stereo pattern on a boom pole and get as close as you need? Just a thought.

    We can see seeing. We cannot hear hearing. -Marcel Duchamp

    11 posts