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Thread: Advice please - vocal mic at a distance?

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    Question Advice please - vocal mic at a distance?

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    Help please - what sort of mic do I need?

    Here's the scenario:

    Recording into iMovie on a Macbook pro
    The fan runs - built in mic picks up too much noise
    Want an external mic to improve sound quality and reduce b/g noise
    Spoken word only - sometimes softly spoken
    Lapel / headset will NOT work
    Close up will NOT work - mic needs to be out of shot
    Mic needs to be about a meter away from the person speaking
    I don't have a huge budget - high end gear is most likely out!

    So... I know it's not ideal, but is it possible? And if possible then can it be done at a price I can afford?

    What sort of mic do I need? A shotgun mic, or will something else work at that distance? What pattern?

    The quality doesn't have to be amazing, studio quality, just better than all the hiss and hum we're getting now!

    Any thoughts much appreciated
    Cheers
    IanB

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    OMNI pattern PZM mic might work for your needs.
    of course you will need phantom powered interface but I assume thats what you have already If you were thinking shotgun anyways.
    Smoke me a kipper. I'll be back for breakfast

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    I doubt the OP has an audio interface, and hasn't expressed his exact budget. guessing he could use a USB condensor mic, but its going to pick up a lot of noise besides the voice.
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
    My Bandcamp site: http://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

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    Thanks for the input guys.

    MJB - correct, no audio interface, I was just taking a guess, based on (very) limited knowledge, about what I might need.

    Popped into a music shop today, microphones weren't really their thing and we weren't entirely convinced the guy knew what he was talking about but... he suggested a Shure SM57, or an AKG equivalent(?) with a suitable audio interface (the one he had there was a Roland I think). Any thoughts on that?

    I'm coming to terms with the fact that we're probably going to end up spending more than we hoped - hadn't realised we'd need an audio interface, but I guess that's going to be necessary to get the quality? Straight in to USB would be great, but if it's just going to pick up a load of background noise, especially if we have to turn up the gain to pick up softly spoken voice, then we're no better off - I'd rather spend a bit more and get something usable, I spend too much time trying to filter out noise without ruining the quality!

    Any other thoughts still much appreciated

    Cheers
    IanB

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    Unless you soundproof the fan somehow a condensor is going to pick it up even at 3 feet away. They are usually very sensitive. I can pick up the sound of my furnace running in the basement. A dynamic mic won't pick up as much noise and that may be your best bet. SM57 and an interface will work but you can't speak 3 feet a way from the mic - you need it fairly close to your mouth for it to work properly. But you can get a cable that you can move the mic three feet away from the laptop to avoid fan noise.

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    Sounds like you're doing video work, yes? Shotgun mic on a pole. Buy a painter's pole for cheap and duct tape the mic to it. Get somebody to hold out of shot. Rode makes some good inexpensive shotgun mics. Also look at sennheiser.

    Or buy a portable recording device like a zoom H4N and put it in a pocket out of sight.

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    Yep, I'm thinking it might be a shotgun mic after all - with audio interface I assume (I need to do more research here!)

    We do have a ZoomQ3HD - it's brilliant, and too good in a way. The mics are so good it pics up everything - birds singing outside, builders working on a house in the next street etc!

    Really need something that's going to isolate the sound we're after - well what we really need is to move to a house big enough to have a dedicated recording studio, but that's not happening just yet! In the meantime I think I'll look into those Rhode and Senheiser shotgun mics.

    Cheers
    IanB

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    Before you start throwing money at the problem...

    What camera are you using, one built into the Macbook?

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    fix the fan first before spending money on the mics interface ad/da e.t.c, get a new fan that is silent if possible, there are plenty of 3rd party fans that are much better than stock fans, but if I'm right you can't replace parts on a mac, I've only ever used PC systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Btyre2013 View Post
    fix the fan first before spending money on the mics interface ad/da e.t.c, get a new fan that is silent if possible, there are plenty of 3rd party fans that are much better than stock fans, but if I'm right you can't replace parts on a mac, I've only ever used PC systems.
    More to the point, it's a laptop. I would imagine the options are rather limited.

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