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Offline JimmieC

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shotgun mics usage
« on: November 19, 2013, 01:01:33 AM »
How often do you guys use your shotgun microphones (e.g., AKG ck69) and what instances?  Would you use them in a smaller places like a bar type venue?  Would think it would definitely cut through the crowd noise but would think better placement of the mics can over come this.  I used to see them at stadium, arena, and pavilion shows.  However, it seems really loud at the arena shows now days.  I see some just use one with a MS configuration.

Also, looks like the seller does not have the extension.  Trying to decide to get a pair of ck69 or ck63.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 03:26:31 AM by JimmieC »
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Offline JimmieC

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2013, 05:42:04 AM »
Talked out of the shotguns by the following posts by Dsatz and John Willet:  http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=158391.0 and http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=148982.msg1903532#msg1903532 I think I will go back to the idea of getting the ck63.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 11:49:55 PM by JimmieC »
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Offline tgakidis

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2013, 07:25:03 AM »
I run them at every Arena show i go to (Phish,Dead,etc) and I think they typically sound better then other sources from the OTS.


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Offline darby

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2013, 08:45:54 AM »
I'm not discounting what DSatz or John Willet say, but I record music played thru a PA, not classical music.
I find them useful when mixing with another source in larger rooms.
By themselves, they work for relatively quiet music recorded from a distance. 
You will the find the ck63s more useful than the ck69s though. 

EDIT:
for a little more than the price of a used set of ck63s you can get these 568s from Tony:
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=165391.0
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 08:50:02 AM by darby »

Offline acidjack

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2013, 08:56:32 AM »
There's always something to be said for experience vs. theoretical type discussions. Two things can be simultaneously right -- guns can be terrible for recording music theoretically, and they can be the ideal tool for what we're doing. I'm pretty sure recording music being played from a PA system at a distance is, itself, theoretically a terrible idea, too, so to some degree, when it comes to doing it, you have to go with your gut and your own experience.

I believe DigiGal uses a gun in M-S configuration a good bit. I've heard some of her results and thought they sounded great.
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Online DSatz

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2013, 09:18:41 AM »
I've argued against using pairs of shotgun mikes for stereo. I do own several shotgun microphones, though--Schoeps, Neumann and Audio-Technica--and have used them occasionally as mono spot mikes or as the "M" microphone for M/S stereo, where they've worked reasonably well.

The ones I've used have all been the "short" kind. I've also owned a few of the long kind but I never ended up using them, and eventually sold them.

Shotguns CAN'T and DON'T overcome the effect of large distances in reverberant indoor spaces. Professionals don't generally use them that way. At large distances in closed spaces, most sound energy will arrive off-axis due to room reflections. But the off-axis response of shotgun microphones, even in the $2K-and-up category, is their worst aspect. It's muffled and often spitty at the same time.

I urge everyone to look at polar response graphs of shotguns (especially long ones) at different frequencies, notice how radically the pattern changes across the audio frequency range, and think about the consequences. Shotguns can give good, clear pickup when the sound source is directly on axis at a reasonable distance (e.g. maybe up to twice as far as you would place a cardioid, but not farther). That is how professionals use them--making every effort to keep the sound source directly on axis. Being a boom operator for film and video sound production is very demanding work! In that type of situation (as well as outdoors) shotguns can offer just enough extra "reach" to be valuable.

When you're far away in a closed space, you're basically recording in a diffuse sound field.  Good supercardioids (or, as others suggest in this thread, diffuse-field-equalized omnis) are are a far better choice for such ambient recording; their off-axis response is MUCH smoother. If the result with shotguns sounds any good at all under those conditions, that's probably due more to the high-frequency boost that most shotguns have built in (in the better ones, it's switchable), not primarily because of their special directional characteristics.

To use a shotgun for stereo recording, M/S is the preferred method. With nearly all shotgun microphones, especially long ones, the low-frequency pickup pattern is far broader than the high-frequency pattern, which rules out any coincident approach. But M/S lets you aim the narrow, "good" part of the shotgun's pickup pattern at the center of the sound sources, hopefully without too much off-axis pickup of direct sound. Again, this won't work well at very great distances, but the type of recording you can do in a diffuse sound field is always going to be limited anyway.

--best regards
« Last Edit: September 16, 2021, 08:29:20 PM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline ts

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2013, 09:34:09 AM »
I'm not discounting what DSatz or John Willet say, but I record music played thru a PA, not classical music.
I find them useful when mixing with another source in larger rooms.
By themselves, they work for relatively quiet music recorded from a distance. 
You will the find the ck63s more useful than the ck69s though. 

EDIT:
for a little more than the price of a used set of ck63s you can get these 568s from Tony:
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=165391.0

Thanks Darby! However these were sold last night. Just waiting for payment.
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cashandkerouac

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2013, 01:14:54 PM »
There's always something to be said for experience vs. theoretical type discussions. Two things can be simultaneously right -- guns can be terrible for recording music theoretically, and they can be the ideal tool for what we're doing. I'm pretty sure recording music being played from a PA system at a distance is, itself, theoretically a terrible idea, too, so to some degree, when it comes to doing it, you have to go with your gut and your own experience.

from a practical perspective this ^ makes sense based on my experience.   

I don't use shotguns to overcome the effect of large distances in closed spaces. They suck at that, because at large distances most sound energy comes to them from off-axis (due to room reflections), and the off-axis response of shotgun microphones, even those in the $2,500 and up category, is muffled and irregular.

I also don't use shotguns to "choose" one direct sound source over another one that's beside it, because they suck at that as well.

What I would urge everyone to try at least once, if you're considering a pair of shotgun mikes for music recording, is to make a mono test recording some time with just one shotgun mike aimed, say, 45 to 60 degrees away from the main music source. When you get home, listen to how it picks up the sound sources that were farthest away from where the mike was pointing. With most shotguns, even the expensive ones, that sound will not be very pretty due to the (reduced but) irregular off-axis high-frequency response. That sound will be prominent in your mix if you use a coincident or closely-spaced pair.

--best regards

if the goal is to capture a "stereo" image of the music coming from the stage and from the PA then I would be foolish to disagree with DSatz.  however, in a lot of cases in which folks are recording far from the stage (i.e. OTS), capturing a true stereo image is not the primary goal.  most "hobbyists" using a pair of shotgun mics to record concert audio are not orienting the mics in a traditional stereo configuration (i.e. DIN, ORTF, etc...); the mics are usually pointed straight at the stacks in order to get as much direct sounds as possible with the goal of minimizing the undesirable off-axis crowd noise.  the resulting audio is much more mono than it is stereo, but the goal of minimizing the off-axis crowd noise is uaually achieved.               

Offline JimmieC

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2013, 09:48:00 PM »
Thanks.  I figured they were still mostly being ran at larger venues.  Looks like the best would be MS or mix with another set of mics.

I was looking at an ebay listing for an AKG 480 (really good condition), ck68 (no extension), and some misc parts for $370.  They have 2 left and almost bought them last night / morning.  It would have upgraded my bodies and had a short shotgun.  They are still available but think I´ll be better of getting some ck63.  I´ll use them more and still have some money for another preamp with not upgrading bodies.

I have seen some great reviews for the AKG C568.  I can´t download or stream for awhile so can´t listen to the shotgun samples out there.  It will have to wait for a couple more weeks.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2013, 10:09:13 PM by JimmieC »
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Offline dointhatrag

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2013, 10:00:20 AM »
imo the kmr81i is the only shotgun you should be using for music, as fas as i can tell, I am the only one who used them in the jam scene too.

Go get them, you wont be dissappointed, and lots of used ones out there
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Offline ts

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2013, 10:26:26 AM »
imo the kmr81i is the only shotgun you should be using for music, as fas as i can tell, I am the only one who used them in the jam scene too.

Go get them, you wont be dissappointed, and lots of used ones out there

I used the KMR81's for a few years. 2003 -2005. I think. Great mics, just to expensive to only use 2 or 3 times a year. Used they are 1500 and that's a smoking deal.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2013, 10:28:21 AM by ts »
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Offline dointhatrag

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2013, 10:33:39 AM »
imo the kmr81i is the only shotgun you should be using for music, as fas as i can tell, I am the only one who used them in the jam scene too.

Go get them, you wont be dissappointed, and lots of used ones out there

I used the KMR81's for a few years. 2003 -2005. I think. Great mics, just to expensive to only use 2 or 3 times a year. Used they are 1500 and that's a smoking deal.

I got mine on trew consignment for 900 a piece. They are a great arsenal to have in your collection
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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2013, 12:13:18 PM »
JimmieC:  here are a couple of budget-friendly options to consider...

1) AKG ck8 hyper-cardioid "short shotgun" caps: the AKG ck8 caps are compatible with the 451/452 series.  you can find them on ebay in very good condition for $100 - $150 each.  i run a pair for outdoor situations and I've been very happy with them.  i also ran them indoors once when i was way in the back of the room and they worked quite well for that application as well. 

2) Nakamichi CP4 "short shotgun" caps:  the CP4 caps are compatible with the Nak 300 bodies and can be found on ebay in good condition for $50 - $100 each. 

if you're mostly recording rock shows in the OTS these would work well.  if you're mainly recording a closer distances you'd be better off using a standard caridioid mic.   

 

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2013, 04:16:38 PM »
If a shotgun must be used for stereo recording, M/S is greatly preferred. [snip]
But M/S at least lets you aim the shotgun at the center of the sound source, and get as much of it as possible into the pickup angle of the one microphone, without much if any off-axis pickup of direct sound sources.

Here's an alternate option which I believe will be superior for music recording from farther back in an outdoor situation-

Keep the single, directly forward facing shotgun orientation and instead of M/S with a 'side' figure-8 mic, substitute two spaced omnis.  Need to either record all three channels seperately or mix them to 2-channel on the fly (left omni hard-panned left, right omni hard-panned right, shotgun panned to center). 

I always thought this would be the way to go back in the day with the Nakamichi 3-mic sets which came with a 3-channel mixer and I suspect would be superior to the once common 3-mic outdoor Grateful Dead taper setup of two PAS shotguns + one center omni, for all the reasons DSatz mentions plus a few others.  I'm mostly advocating this as 'better' because I prefer spaced omnis over M/S at a distance, and because like M/S it uses the shotgun appropriately (pointed the right direction, no phase-interaction problems with two of them, near-spaced).  However it is certainly not limited to a shotgun.  Using a supercardioid or cardioid for the center mic is the way I do it.  Although I haven't used a shotgun for the center mic in this way, I think this is likely to be the best way to use one for music recording at a distance while limiting the problematic attributes of the pattern, providing clarity from the centrally located, directly forward-facing directional mic without phase interaction problems with another shotgun, or with the omnis since they are spaced far enough to either side of the shotgun-mic.

Several benefits of mixing a single forward facing shotgun with two omnis instead of running it M/S with a figure-8:

>Solid bass from the omnis,
>The 'big & open' spaced omnis sound,
>The omnis tend to ‘cover’ the shortcomings of the shotgun and vice-versa.
>Some 'antenna array' directionality from having three mics in a line (something of a relative to Tony >Falkner's 4-mic 'phased array' technique [not to be confused with his several decades older parallel 8's setup most think of when they hear the term 'phased array'])

It’s also an improvement over straight 2-channel spaced omnis-
>Increased articulation, clarity and reach,
>No problem with any wide A-B 'hole in the middle'.
>Both sharper imaging and increased envelopment.

One challenge is getting the omnis optimally wide using a single stand.  As many of you know, I do that by using very light weight miniature omnis mounted on long telescoping arms but most tapers would need either multiple stands or to clamp the omnis to neighboring stands or along a railing.

I haven't done this with a shotgun in the center, but it is currently my favorite setup for outdoor material using a cardioid or supercardioid in the center.  I just returned from running the 2meter spaced mini omnis with a center supercard at a 4-day outdoor festival over the past weekend.  I did not intend this rig for use inside, but I also ran it FOB in the indoor music hall for a few sets, which I will need to listen to determine how well the wide spaced omnis worked from upfront indoors, in some ways that application was the opposite of what this was designed for, and assuming it worked well I think that will help establish it’s general flexibility.

The setup is much more forgiving and flexible overall than I though it would be, and as mentioned above, I think it would help manage some of the shotgun issues to get the best result possible given the other situational constraints.
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Offline mccordo

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Re: shotgun mics usage
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2013, 04:37:15 PM »
I just returned from running the 2meter spaced mini omnis with a center supercard at a 4-day outdoor festival over the past weekend.  I did not intend this rig for use inside, but I also ran it FOB in the indoor music hall for a few sets, which I will need to listen to determine how well the wide spaced omnis worked from upfront indoors, in some ways that application was the opposite of what this was designed for, and assuming it worked well I think that will help establish it’s general flexibility.

I was at the same festival and got a chance to see this set-up in person and it is impressive, not to mention very easily portable. I'm really interested in hearing how Gutbucket's extremely FOB recordings sound and would like to compare them to the ones I and other tapers made in the OTS (which was generally inside or just in front of the SBD cage depending on the stage).
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