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Audio Technica AT897 shotgun mic ?

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    Audio Technica AT897 shotgun mic ?

    Hey all, Iíve had this shotgun mic for well over 5 years now. Itís been serving me well, and I use it with my Zoom H1 portable recorder. But I notice I have to crank the input gain on the recorder to get good levels. Iíll monitor the levels on screen and it will reach my to my liking at about 70-80 gain. Seems a bit high for the Zoom H1.

    My question, is there another way of increasing the mic gain aside from the recorder? Or will a different recorder be better suited for it, like Zoom H4N/Pro? Or even maybe a different shotgun mic altogether?

    I appreciate everyoneís input!

    #2
    The AT897 has a bit lower output than you really want. It’s a 200 Ohm impedance using phantom power, but that drops to 300 Ohms using the AA battery. Couple that with weak pre-amps in the H1 and yes, you can expect to have to crank the gain to get decent levels.

    I’d suggest a better system all around. If you’re on a budget, the AT875r is a much better bet (100 Ohm impedance, meaning a pretty hot output signal). As for recorders, I’m not a fan of any of the handheld designs for field use with external mics, but I also don’t know what your typical workflow is or what level of production you’re operating on. As a blind recommendation, maybe look at the Tascam DR-60DmkII.

    But what is your typical use? What kinds of things are you creating? And what’s your budget range?
    Knoxville-based location sound mixer.

    Instagram @sonolocus

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      #3
      Originally posted by Alex H. View Post
      The AT897 has a bit lower output than you really want. It’s a 200 Ohm impedance using phantom power, but that drops to 300 Ohms using the AA battery. Couple that with weak pre-amps in the H1 and yes, you can expect to have to crank the gain to get decent levels.

      I’d suggest a better system all around. If you’re on a budget, the AT875r is a much better bet (100 Ohm impedance, meaning a pretty hot output signal). As for recorders, I’m not a fan of any of the handheld designs for field use with external mics, but I also don’t know what your typical workflow is or what level of production you’re operating on. As a blind recommendation, maybe look at the Tascam DR-60DmkII.

      But what is your typical use? What kinds of things are you creating? And what’s your budget range?
      I appreciate the advice! Yes I use the AA for the mic. My audio recording is a vlog setup for YouTube. Budget for a mic I'd say under $150-200, and a portable/handheld recorder under $150-200 as well.

      I was looking at the Deity D3 V-mic Pro($200), which uses a 3.5mm connection and has a gain knob similar to the Rode Video Mic Pro/Pro+($250).

      Comment


        #4
        Ditch the idea of 3.5mm. The AT875r and the DR-60DmkII will fit right into your budget.

        Using a microphone and a recorder that interface with XLR means you have a balanced signal run, which means longer cable runs with less noise. The higher output of the AT875r means you can drive the mic with less added gain in the recorder, meaning less added noise as well.

        Also, the DR-60DmkII has a dedicated output for sending to a DSLR or small camcorder. Depending on which camera you use for your vlogging, that means you can send audio easily to your camera without distortion.
        Knoxville-based location sound mixer.

        Instagram @sonolocus

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Alex H. View Post
          Ditch the idea of 3.5mm. The AT875r and the DR-60DmkII will fit right into your budget.

          Using a microphone and a recorder that interface with XLR means you have a balanced signal run, which means longer cable runs with less noise. The higher output of the AT875r means you can drive the mic with less added gain in the recorder, meaning less added noise as well.

          Also, the DR-60DmkII has a dedicated output for sending to a DSLR or small camcorder. Depending on which camera you use for your vlogging, that means you can send audio easily to your camera without distortion.
          I just checked out both products, and look like a very viable option. I appreciate the info!

          Comment


            #6
            Another option would be a +27 dB FetHead In-Line Preamp, but you could get a used AT875R for the price of the FetHead.

            I recently got a used AT875R on eBay for $75, and they usually bounce between $70-$100 for used ones.

            The AT875R requires phantom power, so you'll need an XLR preamp with phantom power or a recorder with phantom power.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Imamacuser View Post
              Another option would be a +27 dB FetHead In-Line Preamp, but you could get a used AT875R for the price of the FetHead.

              I recently got a used AT875R on eBay for $75, and they usually bounce between $70-$100 for used ones.

              The AT875R requires phantom power, so you'll need an XLR preamp with phantom power or a recorder with phantom power.
              I actually have the Fethead in-line preamp, and I connected it to my AT897 and into the Zoom H1. But I donít get any signal, I thought it was a dead battery and that didnít change anything.

              I read the Fethead is for dynamic/ribbon mics.

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                #8
                I was also thinking using the DR60-II with my current AT897. Since the Tascam offers lots of clean gain, is this a good option as well?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Maybe the Fethead phantom then, but that would also require a phantom power preamp/recorder.

                  I think you'd need a preamp noise floor below -80 dB to get a hiss free signal with the AT897. The AT897 sounds good, but it's just not sensitive enough to produce a clean signal when paired with low-end preamps.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by raf702 View Post
                    I was also thinking using the DR60-II with my current AT897. Since the Tascam offers lots of clean gain, is this a good option as well?
                    Again, the AT897 has a weak output. It’s a little better if using phantom power, but still not great. The pre-amps on the DR-60DmkII aren’t bad, and they supply phantom power. I think you’ll be much happier with it, and with the AT875r.

                    The FetHead isn’t the right solution for your situation, either.
                    Knoxville-based location sound mixer.

                    Instagram @sonolocus

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Imamacuser View Post
                      Maybe the Fethead phantom then, but that would also require a phantom power preamp/recorder.

                      I think you'd need a preamp noise floor below -80 dB to get a hiss free signal with the AT897. The AT897 sounds good, but it's just not sensitive enough to produce a clean signal when paired with low-end preamps.
                      I appreciate the info!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Alex H. View Post
                        Again, the AT897 has a weak output. Itís a little better if using phantom power, but still not great. The pre-amps on the DR-60DmkII arenít bad, and they supply phantom power. I think youíll be much happier with it, and with the AT875r.

                        The FetHead isnít the right solution for your situation, either.
                        Thanks again, Iíll keep that setup into consideration! I appreciate the info!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          According to AT, the 897 sensitivity is stated as 10mV on Phantom Power (about 1mV less on battery). That is usable, but a preamp with lots of clean input gain is wanted. Preferably more than +60dB.

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                            #14
                            Perspective: unless your vlog is on audio mastering or selling yourself as a voice actor, the AT897 will be fine.
                            Pudgy bearded camera guy
                            http://mcbob.tv

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Here is another perspective from someone who owns both the 897 and 875. I had never checked any of the specs which indicate that the 875 is a hotter mic (per Rick R), so not sure what to think about that. I have not measured side by side. Neither mic is what I would consider very hot compared to more sensitive mics. For example, I have a NTG3 which is way hotter than either AT mic. Having said that, I haven't noticed much difference between the output of the 897 vs 875. The audio is similar sounding as well. The big difference is in pickup pattern due to the length with the 897 being significantly longer, so a narrower pickup patter. The 875 is easier to use and a real bargain. Both mics perform OK with my weakest preamp recorder which is a Tascam DR100 mkII; not great, but OK given decent placement. Using the preamps in my SD legacy gear changes everything for the better. Much better. I like both mics for different reasons. The 875 is IMHO a true bargain and a great on cam mic, or for when you need a wider pattern. The 897 has more isolation, but the big deal for me is being able to have a self powered shotgun for use with non-phantom powered wireless. Both functions are worthy of consideration. In the end, choosing between the two, I would probably go with the 875 for size and versatility.
                              Last edited by ggrantly; 03-22-2020, 09:48 AM.

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