Problems with microphone for demo video narration

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Mickey Segal, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. Mickey Segal

    Mickey Segal Guest

    I need advice about microphone problems that I'm experiencing in doing
    narration for software demo videos.

    The main problem is a 60 Hz hum, which I get on about half of my recording
    days. The hum is maximal when I uncoil the microphone cord. I haven't been
    able to locate an intermittent source for such interference: I'm using a
    Tablet PC running on its battery and there is no other equipment on in the
    room and no fluorescent lights at all.

    Does anyone have advice on how to identify or prevent such a hum?

    I don't know if such problems are attributable to using a cheap microphone
    (a Labtec AM-222 handheld microphone) and I'd consider getting a better
    microphone, particularly since we get sound artifacts from plosive sounds
    like "p" that cause a rustling noise in the microphone.

    Does anyone have advice on microphone models or good places to look for such
    advice? My needs are to record narration for online software demos, so
    presumably I should be looking for microphones that are mono and
    unidirectional.
     
    Mickey Segal, Oct 28, 2004
    #1
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  2. Mickey Segal

    Ed Anson Guest

    Your problem is most likely due to an unbalanced mic cable. It's really
    amazing what those things will pick up. I've even managed to record
    short wave radio broadcasts using an unbalanced mic. Any professional
    mic will provide a balanced signal that is relatively interference
    proof. You will need an adapter (e.g., BeachTek) for the unbalanced
    input to your recorder.

    Protection from plosives is improved if you use a windscreen and proper
    micing technique.
    I'm sure you will get plenty of advice on this. For your needs, just
    about any balanced mic will be much better than what you are using. You
    can find a good selection online at any of the following:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/
    http://www.taiaudio.com/catalog/
    http://www.trewaudio.com/

    These are only a few of the reputable dealers I have bought stuff from.
     
    Ed Anson, Oct 29, 2004
    #2
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  3. Mickey Segal

    Ty Ford Guest


    Could be several things. Bad cord, something bad you're getting next to,
    cheap mic, someone leaving a dimmer in mid position, ground loop.

    I have just self-published a small book that answers a lot of questions about
    location audio, especially for dvcam users. You can see what it's about on my
    website.

    Regards,

    Ty Ford





    -- Ty Ford's equipment reviews, audio samples, rates and other audiocentric
    stuff are at www.tyford.com
     
    Ty Ford, Oct 29, 2004
    #3
  4. Mickey Segal

    Mickey Segal Guest

    What I'm trying to do is get a microphone that plugs into the microphone
    input of a computer. Many of the microphones on the sites you list cost
    thousands of dollars. Are there decent inexpensive ones? Do they come with
    windscreens or do you get those separately? How can you tell if a
    microphone you are considering has a balanced cable? How can you tell if a
    microphone you are considering needs an adaptor to plug into a microphone
    input of a computer?
     
    Mickey Segal, Oct 29, 2004
    #4
  5. Mickey Segal

    Ed Anson Guest

    If a microphone is balanced, the spec sheet will say so. If it is
    balanced, it will require an adaptor because the computer's input is
    unbalanced.

    Yes, the best mics are rather expensive. But you can get something
    decent for only a few hundred. I'll leave specific recommendations to
    others, as I'm not very familiar with the offerings. Or you can explain
    your needs and budget to the dealer and ask for a recommendation.
     
    Ed Anson, Oct 29, 2004
    #5
  6. If you can afford $99, get the Behringer B-1, a large-diaphragm studio
    condenser mic. It requires phantom power, so if you plan to use with with
    something so awful as a computer sound card, you will need a $35 phantom
    power supply as well.

    I would recommend at LEAST some form of pro audio card that is an external
    box. M-Audio makes something fairly cheap with just two channels. All can be
    had for well under $1000, including all cables, shipping and taxes.

    For our audio, we use the MOTU 896 and eight Behringer B-1s. You don't need
    a $3000 Neuman mic to make a quality recording. In fact, I've compared specs
    and the differences are negligable compared to the price differences.

    The B-1 comes with a shockmount, windscreen and carrying case and is quite
    heavy. When you pick one up, you'll realize you're not playing with a toy
    microphone.

    www.bswusa.com has them. Last summer, they had a special reduced price for a
    week and I picked up six more mics after trying two and comparing them
    against the Shure KSM-32 and a Neuman TLM-103. We sold the Neuman and used
    the money to pay for six more Behringers.


    --
    Take care,

    Mark & Mary Ann Weiss

    VIDEO PRODUCTION • FILM SCANNING • DVD MASTERING • AUDIO RESTORATION
    Hear my Kurzweil Creations at: http://www.dv-clips.com/theater.htm
    Business sites at:
    www.dv-clips.com
    www.mwcomms.com
    www.adventuresinanimemusic.com
    -
     
    Mark & Mary Ann Weiss, Oct 29, 2004
    #6
  7. Mickey Segal

    Mickey Segal Guest

    Thanks. This sounds like the right level of quality. People will be
    listening to our demos over computer speakers or computer headphones so
    there is no point going for super high quality.
    Do I need the PS-6 MICROPHONE POP FILTER, 6" as described at:
    http://www.bswusa.com/prod_item.asp?item=B-1
    or is the included windscreen OK?
     
    Mickey Segal, Oct 29, 2004
    #7
  8. The included windscreen is proably more than you need if you
    use the microphone properly. If you are having problems with
    plosives ("p-popping"), "cross-talk" it. Put it to the side and
    speak "across" it.

    Note that something like the M-Audio Mobil-Pre would take
    care of both supplying a high-quality mic preamp, the 48v
    phantom power to the microphone, and bypassing the lousy
    mic preamp in your computer. And all for $135. Good deal IMHO.
    http://www.core-sound.com/mobilepre-usb.html
     
    Richard Crowley, Oct 29, 2004
    #8
  9. Mickey Segal

    Ty Ford Guest

    I wouldn't have done that.

    Regards,

    Ty Ford



    -- Ty Ford's equipment reviews, audio samples, rates and other audiocentric
    stuff are at www.tyford.com
     
    Ty Ford, Oct 29, 2004
    #9
  10. Mickey Segal

    123 Guest

    I had a similar problem just recently. The room had un-earthed wall outlets in
    use. I had them earthed and the problem went away.

    Could be something else of course.
     
    123, Oct 30, 2004
    #10
  11. Mickey Segal

    Mickey Segal Guest

    In my case the phenomenon is intermittent. I presume this means it is due
    to something nearby being on. The next time it happens I will go around
    turning things off until I find it. It would be good to know what is
    responsible, even if a better microphone eliminates the problem.
     
    Mickey Segal, Oct 30, 2004
    #11
  12. Mickey Segal

    Ty Ford Guest

    It doesn't have to be nearby. It can be on the same power leg or something
    like a SCR in a light dimmer somewhere else in the building.

    You are operating on battery power and NOT plugged into the AC, right?

    Regards,

    Ty Ford



    -- Ty Ford's equipment reviews, audio samples, rates and other audiocentric
    stuff are at www.tyford.com
     
    Ty Ford, Oct 31, 2004
    #12
  13. Mickey Segal

    Mickey Segal Guest

    Right.
     
    Mickey Segal, Nov 1, 2004
    #13
  14. Mickey Segal

    Mike Fields Guest

    Unless you are running balanced wires, you may also have
    inductive pickup from wiring under the floor that goes to something
    like a water heater etc with a fairly high current draw -- this
    creates a significant "hum field" around the wire and if you
    are not using balanced wiring, you will pick it up if you are near
    it.
     
    Mike Fields, Nov 1, 2004
    #14
  15. Mickey Segal

    Ty Ford Guest


    Very true. You can sometimes minimize this by using condenser mics instead of
    dynamic mics. The coil in some dynamics is not shielded well enough to
    prevent it and humbucking coils are not always used in dynamic mics.

    Regards,

    Ty Ford




    -- Ty Ford's equipment reviews, audio samples, rates and other audiocentric
    stuff are at www.tyford.com
     
    Ty Ford, Nov 1, 2004
    #15
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