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Author Topic: Sub-$100 shotgun?  (Read 2151 times)

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Offline TSNéa

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2017, 06:47:03 PM »
Maybe some Superlux shotgun would do the "time-alignement job" within your budget?
I remember reading some reviews for a short shotgun but cannot remember the model precisely.

Here is a page where you could compare them:
http://www.micsdirect.com/superlux.htm (prices in GBP)
and of course:
http://www.superlux.com.tw/index.do
Do not forget to set the language to English through the dropdown menu in the upper right hand corner...
Then you'll have access to full features ans specs.

HTH.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2017, 07:02:35 PM »
And to address an idea proposed earlier in this thread, the SBD feed is in every way superior to what the PA speakers are putting out. Adding in speaker coloration never helps. I use active noise-cancelling headphones at these shows and I can hear the SBD very clearly. When I take off the cans, the sound coming from the stage is 'way crummier. Using the SBD the way I would use a spotlight mic in an orchestral recording was my original thinking but I've scrapped that what the M mic is hearing is nearly useless, sonically. It contributes only a blurred, muddier, sloppier version of the SBD. The M mic isn't even suitable for wetting the SBD because it sounds such a mess. Useless, IMO.

Yes, and why I've been arguing for multichannel recording arrays that use a center microphone(s) intended to focus on the direct sound arriving from stage and PA to the exclusion of all ambient and hall sound as much as possible.  Really, that is in many ways an attempt to emulate what one would get from a complete and well-balanced SBD feed as closely as possible when one is not available.

Quote
Except for one teentsy little exception. Last year we had a Led Zeppelin tribute band play. The guitar amp -- Marshall stack, natch -- was turned up so loud that the PA sound engineer didn't put any of it into the PA because the audience could hear the guitar quite well without it. I wasn't using any AUD mics. So the broadcast listeners heard NO guitar. "The PA is the inverse of the stage" is how a sound man I really admire put it. So this is a situation where you would want a live M mic rigged up to fill in what was left out of the PA mix.

On the last festival, being the first using this hybrid M/SBD-S mic setup, I did a rough mix of the SBD and the S mics for broadcast and left it at that. Next time there is something unbalanced like that Led Zeppelin tribute band a-playin' away onstage I will add in some M mic so the broadcast listeners will know there's someone on guitar.

I record everything separately on separate tracks for later mixdown and archiving: the SBD, the S mic, and the M mic. A little mixing, a little mastering, and Hey Presto! a not bad-sounding recording.

That's a common problem with SBD feeds many tapers are familiar with, and somewhat of a realist counter point to my argument that all we really need along with a SBD feed is room mics, which I should clarify.  A SBD PA feed is not always "complete and well-balanced".  This is typically most noticeable with electric guitars and other highly amplified on-stage sources which are loud enough on their own that they are not reinforced significantly through the PA.  It's a bigger issue at small clubs and smaller outdoor events where the PA is relatively small and works along with with the sound generated on-stage to properly illuminate the room.  At very large events the PA dominates the on-stage sound and is mixed in a more "complete and well-balanced" way.  The other less dramatic way this can sometimes show up is via whatever EQ filtering has been applied to best adapt the PA to the acoustical environment of the room (if your feed is tapped after that correction).  If a funky EQ curve has been used to get a reasonable flat sounding result out in the room, that curve is basically the inverse of the room resonances.  It works with the room's response to produce a relatively flat sounding end result for folks in room. But in your direct PA feed that curve is not flattened by the room response and you will hear the corrective curve instead of the room-averaged end result.

Two fixes for this-
1) Get the FOH engineer to provide you with a dedicated stereo mix separate from the PA feed.  That should have all instrumentation in it which passes through the board and should be free of any room EQ corrections, if you're lucky it will be nicely stereo panned as well.  Problems are that this is may not be an option, and even if it is, getting that mix well balanced and keeping it that way is not going to be a focus of the FOH.  Their job is managing the house sound out in the room.
2) Mic the on-stage sound.  This is best done with a mic or pair of mics on the stage or at the stage-lip.  If you are lucky you can put an omni on stage, or a pair of mics at the stage-lip for this purpose and run them through the FOH snake back to the board for you to use, otherwise you'd need to run and manage long cables.  This works great and picks up lots of detail, depth and imaging cues which never make out into the room to relatively distant AUD mics or through close-mics to the PA.  Drum kits and acoustic instruments sound more open, clear, sparkly with 3-dimensional sound-staging and the up-front presence realism quotient goes way up.

With a SBD feed, on-stage mics, and audience mics for ambiance, pretty much all bases are covered.  With traditional AUD recording we are trying to get all three of those aspect from back at the audience recording location, where only the ambient audience stuff is maybe correct, but even much of that stuff (the audience reaction for sure) is usually best captured closer to the front.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2017, 07:28:41 PM »
Your best answer would be to put your M/S pair at the front of the stage and use an omni Mid mic.  That would make everything easier for you and should sound much better as well.  No time alignment required.  Use the SBD as primary Mid and mix in a bit of omni Mid with it to get some audience ambience into the mono broadcast and take care of any loud guitars which are not well represented in the SBD feed.  Gets great stage presence and clarity plus the best, most energetic crowd reaction from up front rather than distracted talking further back.  Stereoized with the addition of the Side mic you also get nice wide, deep, 3d-like on stage and audience imaging.

Can you talk the FOH into letting you use two channels of the snake to run your stage mics back to the board location?  Otherwise it may be worthwhile to figure out a way to safely run long cables up there.

This might not be doable, but would solve a lot of problems and should sound great.  If not right away, maybe you can plant some seeds to eventualy move things that direction.
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Offline admkrk

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2017, 09:20:31 PM »
"IMHO, you would be better off with two rigs, and just switching witch one is broadcasting. "

You may well be right. The "rig" (mics, tall lighting stand, cables) are being bought out of my own pocket, the station as zero money for such things. Since this two-stages setup happens only once a year, I can't personally justify the expense. If it works out okay, I'll stick with it in 2018. If it sounds like doo-doo then maybe next year I'll save up Social Security pennies and but a second stand, shotgun and figure-8 mics, and build two more 100-foot cables. We shall see.

Got to go with what you got. There was 5 or 6 of us on the team, so we had plenty of gear options to choose from. You should at least consider getting a friend to lend a hand, if that is possible, even if they are not a taper. That would take some of the load off of switching.
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Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #19 on: July 20, 2017, 09:45:06 AM »
"Your best answer would be to put your M/S pair at the front of the stage and use an omni Mid mic."

You make a compelling argument. I think I'll spring for a second M-S rig so I can mic both stages. And more XLR cables, this time in all the colors of the rainbow so that by the time I get six cables back to our booth (2 each SBD, Mid mic, and Side mic) so I can tell them apart. I have just that many mic preamps available (one Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 and one 6i6) strapped via SPDIF.

You'd use an omni for the Mid mic? That's going to be pretty heavy in the bass and my preamps don't have any bass-cut controls. I have a couple of subcards I could use at the expense of rolling off off-axis highs.

This is going to be an ambitious project.

For the suggestion that I get help -- the station and I are constantly requesting for volunteers to aid in these events. One thing about community radio volunteers is that nearly none of them are technically-adept or have a background in mixing audio. The booth is already full up with me, the equipment, and two announcers. There isn't room for a fourth.

I figure that once I have my levels dialed in, I just need to mute three inputs and unmute the other three inputs to switch between stages. And, this being community radio and not some kind of fancy-pants operation where we are being paid and expected to crank out flawless sound, some fumbling is normal. This is Oregon, man. Are you familiar with the cannabis laws here?

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2017, 10:38:56 AM »
An omni Mid mic at the front edge of the stage should provide a good balance between the on-stage sound and audience sound, and the front/back balance will not change depending on how much Side you use. You could use a subcardiod Mid, just decide which is more important: making sure you get clean and clear audience enthusiasm or enough level from any guitar amps not strongly represented in the SBD.  And with a directional Mid microphone the front/back balance will change as you dial in less or more Side, but at least that's not as pronounced as it would be if using a cardioid Mid.

You might try it with the subcard pointed one way, then the other to determine what works best.  Without being there and seeing the setup, I'd probably choose to point the subcard out at the audience it is not in the SBD at all, providing better audience presence for all acts, and I suspect occasional act with loud guitar amps will illuminate the entire stage and near audience with plenty of reflected guitar sound so I doubt that would be lacking in a subcard Mid pointed away from the stage.  And with some Side mic mixed in there should be even more on-stage guitar.  Alternately, with the Subcard pointed at the stage you get nuanced on-stage depth and detail lacking in the SBD.  Probably a call best made on the spot, after trying it both ways.

Since you don't have EQ control, it may depend on on how bass heavy it is up there.  If its a thick subwoofer swamp at the front of the stage, then you may need to avoid the omni Mid unless you have a low-cut on the microphone itself you can engage.  A subcard will be a bit less low bass sensitive which may help, but probably won't cut the bass by a huge amount.


I figure that once I have my levels dialed in, I just need to mute three inputs and unmute the other three inputs to switch between stages. And, this being community radio and not some kind of fancy-pants operation where we are being paid and expected to crank out flawless sound, some fumbling is normal. This is Oregon, man. Are you familiar with the cannabis laws here?

Heading out to Idaho for the eclipse next month, rafting down the Snake just prior, so will be right on the other side of your Eastern boarder.  Rather tempted to drive over to the other side for the delve into darkness.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2017, 10:42:47 AM by Gutbucket »
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Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2017, 12:47:44 PM »
I already have four omni mics in my kit. None have low-cut switches. Does such a thing exist in the sub-$100 range with not-awful sound quality?

I'll also look at XLR inline high-pass filters, maybe build a couple. I have in inquiry in with Focusrite about the mic input impedance for the 1st Gen Scarlett 6i6 and 18i8. Doesn't appear to be part of the published specifications.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2017, 02:35:03 PM »
Using in-line high pass filters on the omni Mids is a wise idea as long as the component values are correct and it sounds like you have a handle on that.  Even if not overly bass heavy at the mic location their use shouldn't be problematic as the SBD feed will provide low end extension.  You shouldn't need them on the bi-directionals.
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Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2017, 08:55:25 PM »
I figure I can pretty easily build a pair of second-order LC high-pass filters with some good film caps and inductors from the likes of Digikey. Put them inside a $33 eBay two-channel phantom power supply box with the guts removed. Where would you put the -3dB point for this kind of between-the-subwoofers omni micing situation.

Offline admkrk

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2017, 03:35:13 AM »
Quote
For the suggestion that I get help -- the station and I are constantly requesting for volunteers to aid in these events.
I was thinking of a personal friend/ol' lady.
Quote
One thing about community radio volunteers is that nearly none of them are technically-adept or have a background in mixing audio.
"When I tell you, pull these cables out of where they are plugged into, and plug them into here->" Does not take much more than monkey intelligence to handle that.
Quote
There isn't room for a fourth.

Now that can be a valid point, depending on what makes up the booth.
Quote
And, this being community radio and not some kind of fancy-pants operation where we are being paid and expected to crank out flawless sound
Means you should enjoy yourself, and not be stressed out by trying to do too much yourself.
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Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2017, 04:03:34 PM »
Trust me, I am good at delegating. It's finding people willing to stick around for 12 hours two days in a row that's the tough part.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2017, 11:52:08 AM »
Quote from: thatjackelliott
I've pretty much decided to set my M-S rig at the front of the stage, and use an omni for the Mid mic. Bass is likely to be pretty heavy thereabouts, and I'm going to build a low-cut filter to use inline with the mic cable.

I can't find information on how steeply the average cardioid mic rolls off bass when proximity effect is not a factor . . . I'm guessing 6dB/octave (one-pole) but don't know. I suppose my filter should try to mimic the low-end response of a cardioid in the farfield. But steeper might be better.

So, what would you suggest for the low-cut filter design: one- or two-pole (6dB/oct or 12dB/oct), and where would you suggest I put my -3dB point.

Hmm. Good question.  Various cardioids roll off at different points depending on their design intent.  Complicating things is proximity effect. 

Let me think out loud a bit are throw some data points out there and see what floats..

Seems I'm commonly adjusting subwoofer heaviness around 100-120Hz for amplified stuff.  Yet boom and room-thickness issues range from 80 up to 300Hz or higher.

Dipole rolloff is 6db/octave, but the -3dB point in cardioids seems to vary anywhere from around 100 to 500Hz .  The Microtech Gefell cardioids I use roll off from about 200Hz down, the MG supercards I use are actually flatter down to a lower frequency than the cardioids.  Both have low-cut filters on their amplifier bodies spec'd as "-15dB at 60Hz" but I never engage them. 

I pulled up the specification sheet for the Sure KSM 141 at random (since they are good at listing specs), and it has 3 low frequency contour options: Flat, –6 dB/octave below 115 Hz, or –18 dB/octave below 80 Hz.  Those are probably intended for proximity compensation and wind-noise reduction.

The DPA 4098 supercardioids I use roll off at 6dB/octave from about 500Hz down.  That would seem to preclude them from taper use, but I always use them in arrays in combination with omnis which fill out the bottom end and in all situations they provide a nice clarity without getting bogged down.  The bass from them is smoothly attenuated but still there, and can be pulled up using EQ.  Actually at bass-heavy events they can sound quite balanced on their own without EQ or the addition of the omnis.  Since your SBD feed will be providing bass extension in a somewhat similar way to the omnis in my setup with the 4098, I think in this situation a similar rolloff to the 4098s may be appropriate for your omni Mids.  At bit of excess bass rolloff is going to be safer than less given that you have no EQ ability on your mic pair, and since the SBD feed you will be mixing with is presumably full-range.

Given that, I'd probably shoot for -6db/octave from say around 400-500Hz.  I think a single pole filter slope in combination with a relatively high corner will blend best with the SBD source.  If you didn't have the SBD feed that could be more low-cut than you'd want, but then again it might not as things often get very bass heavy at the front of the stage.  For spicing up the SBD with some stereoness, stage-presence, and audience reaction, you really only need the mid-range and higher stuff anyway as long as you have enough bass extension from the SBD feed.
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Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2017, 12:19:16 PM »
"Given that, I'd probably shoot for -6db/octave from say around 400-500Hz.  I think a single pole filter slope in combination with a relatively high corner will blend best with the SBD source.  If you didn't have the SBD feed that could be more low-cut than you'd want, but then again it might not as things often get very bass heavy at the front of the stage.  For spicing up the SBD with some stereoness, stage-presence, and audience reaction, you really only need the mid-range and higher stuff anyway as long as you have enough bass extension from the SBD feed."

Cool. I learned two* things: (1) dipole (cardioid) rolloff is single pole, good to know; (2) the frequency of the cutoff point varies by make/model. This must be due to some arcane bit of microphone design that I don't know about.

6dB/octave is a simple filter, basically a blocking capacitor in series with the mic output ("outputs" as the mic is balanced so need two caps per mic), loaded into the 2,000 ohm input impedance of the first-gen Scarlett 6i6/18i8 mic preamps, For 500Hz that's a 0.18uF cap, a value easily found in a film type cap for cheap.

I do have to get phantom power out to the mic, and the DC-blocking capacitor won't pass the power from the mic preamp to the mic, so I could either bypass the capacitor with a resistor to leak some current through, which would limit the maximum amount of attenuation at the lowest frequencies, or bang a phantom power supply box on the mic side of the filter. Fortunately I happen to have a dual phantom power supply box. There may even be room in the box to put in the blocking capacitors AND a handy switch to bypass them if they are unneeded.

Thank you for the help.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Sub-$100 shotgun?
« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2017, 12:54:44 PM »
Yes, best to do the filter after the phantom supply.  Double check it in the actual setup after you build it if you can, to confirm the real-world curve ends up. You can then adjust the values if necessary.

When's the next event?  Please let us know how it works out.
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Offline thatjackelliott

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