Camcorder microphone suggestions

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Dan K, May 24, 2004.

  1. Dan K

    Dan K Guest

    I have a Sony TRV-27 camcorder, and am looking for suggestions for an
    external microphone. I specifically want it for recording classical
    guitar concerts, plus some piano concerts. This is for occasionally
    recording family members, not for professional recording, so I don't
    want a professional (i.e. expensive) mic, but something in the
    $100-200 range that will be an improvement over the built-in mic. I
    would consider either a camcorder mounted mic or a free standing mic.
    Any suggestions?????

    The camcorder has an 1/8" stereo minijack. I've considered the
    Sennheiser MKE-300, and the Sony ECM-MS908C, but am open to other
    suggestions.

    Thanks!
    DanK
     
    Dan K, May 24, 2004
    #1
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  2. I like the 908c for casual stereo recording, and it is surprisingly OK for
    accoustic-music recording. If the mic must be far from the source, if the
    source is "narrow-angle" (as with a single guitar or perhaps a piano),
    and if you are not looking for a good recording of stereo "ambience"
    (which can be either wonderful, or distracting), the mono MKE-300
    can also work fairly well, and it may reduce a bit some of the ambience
    you may not want (if it is far enough off axis), like some audience noises.
    Either mic is a good "cheap" solution, with different advantages and
    disadvantages...
     
    David Ruether, May 24, 2004
    #2
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  3. Dan K

    PTRAVEL Guest

    The 908C looks like a shoe-mount version of the 907C, which I use for making
    ambient recordings to MD that I use in my videos. It's a good enough mike,
    though I'd probably have used the 957C, were it not for size and weight
    issues (I do travel videos, so keeping my kit small is important).

    With all that said, there's a major "but" to all of this . . .

    I now use a VX2000, but I used to use a TRV-20 which, I think, is not
    radically different from your TRV-27. I've found that the built-in mike on
    Sony camcorders (including my TRV-20) is really quite good. I've shot lots
    of performances with both cameras, and have always been surprised and
    pleased by the quality of the audio. I haven't ever used my 907C for
    on-camera recording, so I've never made a comparison. However, you may want
    to make sure that you buy from somewhere with a liberal return policy, so
    that you can test it on-camera and compare it side-by-side with the camera's
    internal mikes. You may find that the improvement is so incremental it may
    not justify the cost.

    Also, another thing to keep in mind. If you're sitting far back in the
    audience for these concerts, you _will_ pick up additional noise, e.g. the
    audience rustling, coughs, etc. To isolate a performer, you need a good
    shotgun mike and these are, to the best of my knowledge, available only in
    mono. Also, a good one is fairly expensive. In the best of all worlds,
    you'd use two shotguns mounted at least several feet apart to get a stereo
    track.

    Another alternative is to do a recording to a separate device altogether,
    e.g. a MD (these are cheap, especially on eBay) or a DAT recorder, and place
    it near the stage. It's very, very easy to sync digital audio to video
    after the fact if you're doing anything with an NLE.
     
    PTRAVEL, May 24, 2004
    #3
  4. Rode NT4.
    Rather over your price range. But worth it.

    It offers dual XLR connectors for connection to professional gear,
    stereo mini-jack for connection to camcorders, minidisk, cassette.
    48v phantom powering or internal 9v battery.

    Particularly for the classical guitar, make sure the mic you choose
    works off-camera. Mic placement is of the essence when recording
    guitar.
     
    Laurence Payne, May 24, 2004
    #4
  5. Dan K

    someone Guest

    Whatever the microphone, they only work good when they are close to the
    sound source. Shotguns aren't too good at isolating a source if you are
    very far away (much more than 5-6 feet depending on the microphone).
    Furthermore, shotguns aren't great at music recording and they quickly run
    out of dynamic range, a problem if you attempted to record a Flamenco
    Guitarist for example.

    A good solution if you can find one is the $75 (IIRC) Sony stereo microphone
    F-99EX. I ran out of microphones and inputs ( 6 microphones were used)
    during an outdoor wedding so I had this microphone plugged into a Sony
    PC-110. The PC-110 was grabbing a close-up of the bride and groom while the
    microphone, on a boom-stand, was collecting music from the string quartet.
    I put one a Rycote fur ball over the head of the microphone to kill the wind
    noise.

    The members of the quartet said that it was the best recording they had ever
    heard of themselves and they had just cut a CD.

    In many other ways, the microphone is not ideal. It doesn't have a balanced
    output and it suffers from handling noise. But at least in this instance,
    it sounded great.

    A reasonable microphone placed quite close to the music source will do
    better than a better microphone placed back at the camera position.
     
    someone, May 25, 2004
    #5
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