If you don’t know much about audio, choosing a microphone can be a little confusing. It’s like learning a whole new language full of omni-this and cardioid-that words. But it really doesn’t have to be too complicated. Simon Beesley of Sennheiser walked the DIYP by choosing the best mic for the job you’re doing.
So which microphone will cover all your needs? “It’s a very good question,” Simon says, “it really depends on what you’re going to be doing, the type of work environment. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before you can choose the ‘best’ microphone. There is no solution for all scenarios”
Of course, there is not, we doubted it! Instead, you need to identify your needs and start from there. So what options are there, especially for someone who is just getting started with audio recording?
So, if you’re just getting started, maybe using your phone to film content, one of the simplest ways to improve the sound is to get the microphone as close to the sound source as possible. “If you’re shooting on a phone and you’re trying to capture sound five or six feet away, you need to remove the microphone from the phone,” Simon says.
The simplest solution is to use a lavalier (lav mic) microphone that is attached to the shirt of the person speaking. This is often used in news broadcasts or interviews. wired Lav . microphones Relatively inexpensive although wireless options are available for more flexibility.
But what if you’re off topic or if you need to talk too? For this, you can use a small shotgun microphone. The MKE 200 It is a compact device that is easy to slide into the bag. As Simon explains, it’s so easy to use that you don’t need to piece it together, it’s a “running and gun” style microphone.
If you have a slightly bigger budget, you can go to MKE 400 microphone. It’s slightly larger than the MKE 200 and has the added advantage of having a headphone jack so you can monitor audio directly through the microphone. It also has a gain control feature (which controls audio recording levels) and a low filter. The low frequency filter cuts out ambient noise such as the air conditioner for example and eliminates any background hum. These microphones also come with a dead cat windshield (yes it’s really called!) to reduce wind noise if recording outdoors. Remember that shotgun microphones are unidirectional so you must point in the direction of the sound you want to capture.
So what if you’re doing some business and want something a little more classy? The AVX System Very compact and easy to use, so it’s perfect to travel with. It’s also great for example if you’re checking in in a crowded area.
“It also runs on 1.9Gh instead of 2.4Gh, which means you’re less prone to interference from wifi and things like that,” Simon says. Within the AVX system, you can choose from a range of microphones, from a reporter-style handheld mic to a lav mic. You often need both to cover any scenario, especially if you’re doing short impromptu interviews or vox pop because you don’t have the time to fit into a lav mic.
Let’s stop and talk about frequencies for a moment. Different countries have different rules regarding radio frequencies. If you want a general range, you generally want to choose 2.4gH. If you want a public band frequency with less traffic, you can use 1.9gH. Simon explains that “UHF is the most stable, but you are bound to use fixed frequencies, and those frequencies can change depending on the region you are in.” Basically, if you’re only shooting in one country, UHF is the way forward, but if you’re traveling or touring, you may find that you can’t use the UHF system which is a big limitation. That’s something you don’t have with 1.9 or 2.4 grams per hour.
More relaxed scenarios
If you don’t want a visible microphone in the scene for example, you can choose MKE 600, which is a wired microphone. Typically, these are placed atop an arm shaft outside of the shot. This gives a very clean environment from a visual point of view. Again, it is a directional shotgun microphone and can be cam-mounted or as noted on the boom above.
You can also put a lav microphone on everyone with a wireless system. A good example is this Evolution G4 the system. This comes with a portable transmitter that sends the signals back to a receiver on the camera. But this is not cheap. A more entry level option would be XSW-D.
So there you have it. There is no best microphone that can cover all your needs. But Sennheiser has plenty of options that will exceed your requirements.
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