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Thread: Advice wanted best mic for longer distance recording

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    Advice wanted best mic for longer distance recording

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    Hi- would love inputs and advice on my options for best mic to record from longer distance outside. In olden days I used an AKGD900e which was great and still have it. I am thinking of a Rode NTG4plus (because of battery power) but has anybody got some better options for me. I need to record people from a distance so something made today that functions like the old AKG would be great.

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    What kind of distances are you considering? Outside, I assume?

    You're talking about "shotgun" mics, and they really don't "record people from a distance" but use some static technology to reduce the sound that is captured by using what is only captured in the sides of the mic tube, e.g., to cancel those same sounds. It works up to a point, and in some environments, but doesn't negate physics, which is why you see mobile sound rigs with those shotguns stuffed inside windscreens ("blimps") on the end of long boom poles. Longer distances are generally managed by using wireless lavs, with the shotgun more of a backup.

    Anyway, is it the best? It's probably competitive. Sennheiser was the [probably] the historical leader with their MKH 416 (a lot more $), but their MKE 600 is probably a direct competitor to the NTG4+. I'd certainly give it a look. But, just keep in mind, they don't do magic. Long distances require a mobile operator and wide angles almost guarantee you'll need wireless.

    N.B. I've actually got a RØDE shotgun mic and I've used it twice. Almost everything I do is inside and they rarely work well, or better than any cardioid, there (in my admittedly limited experience).

    P.S. The are very directional, which is why they're on boom poles with someone keeping them pointed directly at the person's mouth. You can't really put them on a stand and expect them to work well with anything that moves even a little.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    That is soooo helpful thank you indeed for your input and advice. With the AKG D900 I could be anywhere from 3-6 metres away and no problem (I had the impedances match of mic and recorder to maximise everything).

    The idea is to record groups in the open but not be in the 'group' but outside.

    So what is best given these wish circumstances??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huli1 View Post
    That is soooo helpful thank you indeed for your input and advice. With the AKG D900 I could be anywhere from 3-6 metres away and no problem (I had the impedances match of mic and recorder to maximise everything).

    The idea is to record groups in the open but not be in the 'group' but outside.

    So what is best given these wish circumstances??
    I assume this is for video? I'm going to have to say I've said as much as, if not more than, I know on this topic! A video forum or FB group might have some ideas if you describe the situation you want to capture, e.g., group size, movement, type of sound(s), etc.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huli1 View Post
    That is soooo helpful thank you indeed for your input and advice. With the AKG D900 I could be anywhere from 3-6 metres away and no problem (I had the impedances match of mic and recorder to maximise everything).

    The idea is to record groups in the open but not be in the 'group' but outside.

    So what is best given these wish circumstances??
    I would have thought that would be the perfect situation for a shotgun mic. Other mics may pick up all other sound with the group voices.

    I have a NGT2 and use that outside in the Blimp. A bit unwanted attention seeking I know. Only ever recorded 2 people inside using a shotgun mic. I use it with my Zoom H5. But any phantom power is heavy on batteries.

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    Focusing the sound captured on a narrower area is the strength of shotgun mics, and, in general, the longer the mic, the farther the distance, based on what I've read.

    Again, it depends on what OP's trying to do, location, kind of shot/group, and the distances involved. The narrower field does not stop when it gets to the intended source, is one thing to recognize, so if there's noise behind the source/group, it's going to get picked up as well, unless it's much quieter than what the intended source is. Some of the mics have a hypercardioid pattern as well, so there's the possibility of noise entering from behind the mic.

    And, those shotguns that have AA batteries are longer because of the battery length - i.e., that length is not comparable to a battery-less model that's just as long!
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Thanks to both of you---I guess I should just try and get a demo somewhere of the NTG4+ with my machine. Really nice of you both too spare the time.

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    The D900 is a long shotgun - nearer to the Sennheiser 815/6 and similar models from Audio Technica.

    Did you have a decent windshield for it? They're very sensitive to wind when used outside, so some for of shield is needed to stop a breeze sounding like a hurricane. I've still got an AT 815 long shotgun and it's still the best distant mic I own.

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    On the points of what Keith and Rob highlighted before you part with your cash. 'Length' .... is a problem with shotgun mics. Because when putting inside your Blimp for wind noise protection. You can cost yourself an awful lot of extra dosh. A Blimp alone is not really any good for wind without the Wombat (furry thing). So this extra cash can cost you as much as your mic.

    Importantly as you find out. Your mic may not fit in the Blimp if too long. So then you have to buy a Blimp extension.........and then an extra long Wombat to fit over the extended Blimp. Extra Cash....Extra Cash....Extra cash.

    Do not go by measurements of mic and Blimp supplied. Because the mic lead fitting on the rear of the mic will add approx 3" to the total length, and no part of the mic or its cable can touch the inside of the Blimp otherwise outside wind sound will just transfer to the mic.

    I can tell you that a Rode NGT2 mic only just fits inside the Rode Blimp with an inch or so to spare at the front and rear of the mic when the lead is attached. So that will give you something extra to think about. Sorry for bad news.

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    All good advice and some options to look at. Actually when I used the D900 it was just as is with the foam at end for wind and as noted it picked up fine from long distances no problem at all. The shotgun mics you have all recommended I can check out - don't need blimp really for what I am doing. So again thanks to all for the inputs.

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