Audio Technica

3 Professional Indoor Boom Microphones: Sennheiser, Schoeps, Audio Technica

Several requests came in to look at more professional level microphones for recording dialogue sound for film and video. So let’s have a look at and a listen to three higher-end microphones that are well suited for recording dialogue while indoors. We’ll have a separate episode on shotgun microphones which are better suited for outdoor use.

The Schoeps CMC641 is used in many mid to large budget film and TV productions. It's one of my favorite all-purpose microphones when recording dialogue indoors. It's only potential downside, and not an issue I've encountered yet, is that it can have issues when recording in very wet/humid environments (e.g., jungles or rain forests).

My newest addition is the Sennheiser MKH 8050. This one is also a good all-rounder but does have its own signature sound that works particularly well for voices with a lot of mid-range energy. For these voices, it seems to smooth them out in a rather pleasant way (this definitely applies to my voice).

Then there's my long-time friend the Audio Technica AT4053B. This one is actually a hyper-cardioid microphone. It works really well and sounds great for many voices. The only time I don't love the sound of this mic is when recording people with particularly sibilant voices (lots of "S" and "C" sizzling energy). It also has high pass filter and -10dB pad for recording especially loud sound sources.

If I could only choose one of them? Wow, that's tough but it would probably be between the Schoeps and the Sennheiser. Please don't make me choose. ;-)

Links to other gear discussed or used to shoot this episode:

Rycote Shockmount - Shockmounts are a necessity when you're handling a boom pole with a microphone on it otherwise you'll end up with a bunch of handling noise in your recording.

Aputure COB120t LED Light - My main light for headshots and product shots

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - I use this for almost every interview/talking head shot

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder - a pro-grade recorder/mixer which makes most microphones sound their best

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro - The camera I used for most of this episode. It's pretty good.

Panasonic GH5 - The camera I used for the product shots in this episode. It's a good all-rounder as well.

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd

Sound for Video Session: Mixing Headphones Compared

In this week's Sound for Video Session, we compare 6 sets of headphones for mixing film and video projects (plus a bonus set that almost nobody can afford, just for fun). We also cover why using headphones alone is not ideal and can make mixing a frustrating experience. We also underscore the importance of reviewing your mixes on lots of different playback systems: Near field monitors, hifi system, car sound system, smartphone earbuds, TV, etc.

Jump ahead to particular headphones:

06:55 AKG K240
12:37 Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro
16:10 Audio Technica ATH-R70x
20:09 Shure SRH1840
22:45 Sennheiser HD 800
25:23 Audeze LCD-X
30:40 Sennheiser HE 1 Orpheus

Gear discussed in this session:

AKG K240 Studio Pro Semi-Open Back Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro Semi-Open Back Reference Headphones

Audio Technica ATH-R70x Pro Reference Headphones

Shure SRH1840 Pro Open Back Headphones

Sennheiser HD 800 Open Back Headphones

Sennheiser HD 800 S Open Back Headphones

Audeze LCD-X High Performance Reference Planar Magnetic Headphones

Sennheiser HE 1 Orpheus Headphones

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd

RODELink's Lavalier Audio Comparison to Audio Technica AT899

**Status Update 17 June 2015** In further experiments, I've found that the RODE Lavalier sounds a whole lot better when hidden under the talent's shirt. Sounds like this mic was designed for that which is not surprising as this is how they are often used when shooting film (not as much with ENG/News/Doc). Now it makes even more sense that RODE calls this the RODELink Filmmaker Kit. Final review should be out later this week.

I’ve been testing the RODELink to put together a review and a few times paused while post processing and thought to myself, “hmm…this audio seems sort of harsh…” So I did several things to narrow down the issue. I think it is just the nature of the RODE Lavalier mic. Here we have a listen to a clip from the RODE Lavalier and then compare it to a clip from the Audio Technica AT899, a similarly priced lavalier (~$200 USD).

Neither of them are perfect. I would describe the sound of the RODE Lavalier as a little more “forward” or “in-your-face” and the AT899 as smoother in the mid-range but more sibilant. They’ll each complement other’s voices differently than mine. Which do you prefer?

Audio Technica AT2005USB & ATR 2100: Good Starter Microphone for Voice-Over and Screencasts

If you record voice-over, narration, or screencasts and are looking for an affordable microphone to capture your audio, the Audio Technica AT2005 USB may be a good option. It is incredibly versatile because it can record directly to your computer via the included USB cable or if you grow into a more professional audio interface or field recorder, it can also output to an XLR cable. It is a cardioid dynamic mic which means you have to work pretty close to it but it also does a very nice job rejecting most room reverb (known by non-audio types as “echo”).
Inicdentally, the Audio Technica ATR2100 microphone is almost identical to the AT2005. The only differences I could see is their finish color, the shape of the grill/pop filter, and the switch is slightly different. Otherwise they appear to be the same—same capsule, both with USB and XLR output.
Let’s take a closer look and listen and see whether it is a good option for your projects.


Affordable Shotgun Microphone: Audio Technica AT897

Audio_Technica_AT897_AT897_Short_Condenser_300615 B&H has got some nice pricing on a good mid-level shotgun that sounds great in the samples that I've heard: The Audio Technica AT897. If you're in the market, looks like their Black Friday price is about $175 USD through November 30th. Pretty nice deal for a good shotgun mic.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!