Types of Microphones: Picking The Right Tool (Mic) For The Job
I’m obsessive about getting good audio on a shoot. To me, poor audio can spoil even the best looking video, so I always fret about what type of microphone to use and how to use it to get the best results.
When we’re interviewing people at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in April, there will be a tremendous amount of background noise. It’s basically a constant roar, which makes it a challenge to get a good, clear voice above the din even with an external mic.
Last year we used an inexpensive dynamic (not requiring a power supply) mic that I’ve had for probably 14 years. It’s great at eliminating background noise but you have to practically stick it in the interviewee’s face to hear them; in fact it almost looks rude to shove the mic so close to them. I didn’t like the look of that and it requires real concentration from the person doing the interview to switch the mic back and forth and get it positioned correctly. It’s great for stage singers who will be very close to the mic but it was the wrong mic for this application.
So, I’m shopping for what is alternately called an ENG (electronic news gathering), interview or a reporter’s mic. Last year I bought the venerable Electro-Voice 635 ENG mic, which many people rave about, but was totally underwhelmed by it. I sold it on eBay and am shopping again.
I’ve noticed that when our local weatherman does live remote broadcasts (I’ve been his subject several times) he doesn’t have to get the mic right in front of a person’s mouth to get good audio levels and it picks up just enough background audio to make it sound like you are there. That’s what I want.
The mic I choose will most likely be a cardioid mic, meaning it rejects much of the off-axis sound, picking up more in the 120 degees in front of it. It will have a longer handle than that tiny EV 635, both for comfort and because I want to put a mic flag on it. It will reject handling noise well and be very sturdy.
Right now I’m looking at the Sennheiser MD46 and the Electro-Voice RE50/B. If you have used these mics or have other suggestions, please share your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll let you know what I decide.
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