View Full Version : Best Mic for Doc?
07-07-2004, 05:45 PM
I am planning on shooting my documentary soon. I was wondering if anyone here had any opinions on the best mic to use for capturing sound. Max price about $500.
I need to capture dialogue whilst on the move/following the subject and also need to do many "talking head" setups.
I know this is an equipment question, but i figured others that had mad a doc with their DVX's might have an opinion.
07-07-2004, 05:51 PM
I would have a wireless lav, and a shotgun, switching to whichever one is better at that moment.
07-07-2004, 05:59 PM
I have the wireless lav. I am looking for a good shotgun mic. in the below $500 range.
after reading the review at
i am thinking it will be one of those 3.
Anyone with any experience of these mic's that would like to share their knowledge would be appreicated.
07-07-2004, 06:48 PM
Of the three mics listed the ME66/K6 is the best bet. Are you going to be indoors, outdoors, or both? If you're shooting indoors, I prefer the ME64/K6 combination. For outdoor work, the ME66/k6 is a better choice. A good alternative would be the AT897.
07-07-2004, 08:07 PM
Im using ME66 on my doc and its great!
07-07-2004, 08:07 PM
I just shot with the Sennheiser ME66 both indoors and outdoors. It was pretty clean and worked well. Make certain to have a windscreen if outdoors. The typical foam screen works well in soft breezes, but if it is truly windy you will get interference. If you can afford it, I would go with a Rycote softie.
Another thought - if this is a typical documentary with a lot of dialogue, it may be worth the money to get a slightly higher end shotgun. I'm a big fan of the Sennheiser MKH416. New they're around 1000, but you can often find a good used one for 700ish. In my opinion, this is a much better mic than the 66.
What is the subject of your doc, if you don't mind sharing?
07-07-2004, 10:38 PM
i do run and gun stuff mostly and i use a sennheiser ev-500 wireless setup as well as a sennheiser me-66 shotgun.
i went for the combo pack with the k6 power supply and the rycote windscreen. i have it mounted on the at-8415 shockmount.
i'm not 100% thrilled with the shockmount as it takes up too much room to leave it on in my porta brace bag and it tends to move around too much no matter how much i tighten it down.
i tried the on camera mount they give you, as well as the sennheiser optional one but the windscreen was visible in the shot, plus the mic seemed to pickup too much noise from the camera such as the sound from the lens zooming in and out.
07-08-2004, 09:39 AM
This site is completely awesome!! Looks Like I'm going to go with the ME66.
07-09-2004, 11:36 AM
The only problem with the ME 66 is that it gets really lost in a "live" room. Concrete, hard flooring, lots of reverberation and the voices tend to drop into the background noise as the mic ends up picking up so much from the rear.
Of the cheap mics though, it's the only one that really has any kind of signal coming out of it. All the other shotguns I've used I've had to crank up all the way to get a signal that can match the 66, introducing all kinds of noise.
Also, the 66 doesn't seem as sensitive to EMF noise as a lot of other mics...so it's a good all around choice. I don't really like the quality of sound out of it, but it just ends up performing better under a variety of situations.
09-21-2004, 04:55 PM
I found this link really helpful. They give audio samples of a handful of shotgun mics. To my ear the Audio Technica 4073 was the warmest. The Sennhesier also sounded good, but perhaps a bit tinny.
10-13-2004, 08:57 PM
I've had an Audio Technica 835B for a long time, well before the K6 system came out. For your price range, you can get one of these mics and a decent suspension system. (I use Lightwave components, might cost you a little more). 835B is a good medium-patterned shotgun. They seem to be better at getting beaten to hell than the Sennies. Sounds better when phantom-powered.
I actually had mine mounted on the front of a CP-16 and was going into live structure fires (1500 degrees +) while shooting a doc when I was still a firefighter. NEVER had any problems with the mic and you can only imagine the insane condition fluctuations (including sudden humidity changes). Not quite as sensitive as say a Sennheiser 416 (which would be the next logical step). The 835B seems to be ok indoors, with occasional echo, but seems to have less than the Sennheisers.
I wouldn't waste my time on a K6 system or the AT 4071/4073, which are mid-level mics. If going cheap, use the Audio Technica 835 or 815. If you've got the cash, go the Sennheiser 416/816 route. You can always sell your AT's on ebay or trade them in later.
If you can mic the people you are running and gunning with, consider getting one of the Sennheiser EW-100 G2 kits. Amazing wireless kits for the price. And the included lavs are pretty good -- they mix pretty well with Tram 50's and even some Trims, if the rolloff is done properly. (Not bad to hide, either). $550 or so should get you the ENG kit, which would include a body pack transmitter, receiver, and a snap-on XLR transmitter that you can use on other mics. Good and strong for about 500' line of sight. $100 less=same kit, minus the snap-on transmitter. Pretty awesome kit if you can't afford a Lectro. Then just leave one channel set to the on-camera mic.
Arcburn, before you decide to go on the ME66, make sure you check first the Sennheiser MKH416. it should cost around $600, which is above your budget, i know, but it's so way much better. perfect for booming, worked great for me too as a on-camera mic! *