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Author Topic: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)  (Read 512 times)

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Offline JesseDavis95688

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hey! so ive been recording bands for a long time and used a few different mics but settled on sony ms 908c's a while back, and some old vintage realistic "videomics" but i need to update my audio gear. im looking for a reasonably priced shotgun mic that will give me a better signal from the rear of a room to the stage. just trying to eliminate side chatter and get a cleaner sound from the instruments and vocals. any recommendations welcome. thank you..

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2022, 05:25:22 PM »
Welcome to taperssection!

Other than the specific choice of microphones others will chime in with (preferably supercardioid/hypercardioid over shotgun).. Point the microphones directly at the PA speakers.  Ideally, adjust the spacing between the microphones based upon whatever angle you end up with between them (less angle = more spacing).  Get the mics up higher to minimize sensitivity to the chatter that is occurring nearby.  Most importantly, figure out a way to get the microphones closer to the PA and stage if you can.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2022, 12:23:47 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline DSatz

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2022, 11:10:54 PM »
Any mike placed near the back of a performance space will pick up sound from all angles. There may be somewhat more sound arriving from the front hemisphere, but usually not much more. You can test this with a cardioid--point it toward the back of the room, then toward the front. Is the level of sound pickup substantially greater when it's pointed toward the front? Almost never (actually, not even once ever in my experience).

So you're in a basically diffuse sound field, and even what's arriving directly on-axis will include a lot of reflected sound energy. This calls for a microphone whose "all-angle" (integrated) response is (a) smooth and (b) parallel to its on-axis response.

Unfortunately, at midrange frequencies and higher, shotgun mikes are far from behaving that way. Whenever the sound is reflected throughout the performance space and reaches the microphone from all angles simultaneously, their response becomes wildly uneven--I'm talking peaks and valleys of 6 to 10 dB depending on the angle of arrival. That's why film and video sound people work hard to keep the talent directly on axis at all times when using shotgun mikes, and they never use them at any substantial distance in reverberant spaces. High-quality, small-diaphragm supercardioids would be a far better choice.

music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline jcable77

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2022, 07:04:22 AM »
Im selling a pair of AKG 568eb's in the yard sale. Cant beat em for the price IMO.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2022, 09:25:01 AM »
And welcome to a long-running reoccurring discussion here at taperssection. The jist of which is this:

Shotgun microphones (meaning those which utilize an interference tube in their design - making them physically longer than more-compact non-shotgun designs) are neither designed for, nor are appropriate for your intended application.  BUT, many tapers use them anyway and have made decent recordings with them regardless.

An acoustically better choice, very much likely to produce better results, will be to use supercardioid/hypercardioid pattern microphones instead that are not a "shotgun" interference-tube design, and are designed to work more appropriately in this kind of situation. 

The more fundamental solution in terms of acoustics is to move closer if at all possible, regardless of what microphones you are using.

« Last Edit: November 15, 2022, 10:08:42 AM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline DavidPuddy

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2022, 11:11:49 AM »
The "math" may not work out for shotgun use, but I've run them alongside my hypercardioids and omnis and often preferred their pulls indoors. YMMV

Im selling a pair of AKG 568eb's in the yard sale. Cant beat em for the price IMO.

I would recommend these, OP. Great mics, price, and seller.

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2022, 12:01:53 PM »
^^^^^
It's not math it is physics. You never know exactly how a room/PA combination will come out on the recording. I have used shotguns (AKG, Senn) too good effect, but given a choice might be more wise to go supercardioid or hypercardioid for the OP.

OP- welcome. Your first post stepped into an often discussed/debated topic here on TS.
1] It might help to describe the types of rooms you typically record in (bars, arenas, theaters etc)
2] From your OP, it appears you are doing mainly video recording and seeking a single shotgun solution for better SQ on the videos?
3] IF so, That makes a huge difference to what our advice would be.
Sennheiser ME66's, ME80's or MKH60's are well known for this application. The MKH series, while more expensive,  features a humidity barrier, useful for shooting outdoors.   
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Offline JesseDavis95688

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2022, 11:50:31 AM »
ok .. awesome. i knew this was the right place to ask this question and the others that will come later. thanks everyone for your responses, all killer info for me to absorb. as i said before, i have been recording bands for a while, but i dont consider myself an "audio guy" i really dont know that much about mics and mic setups. thats why im here. one of you said it would be good to get more info about where and how i record, and yeah i should explain better!

most of the shows i record are indoors, in bars or small clubs, some are halls, theaters and larger rooms. my usual set up is multiple cameras, each one with its own external mic. the sony ms 908c's and realistic 33-1065's. my standard camera placement is rear cam, drum cam, side cam, forward facing cam (toward the crowd from the back of the stage) and sometimes ill do 2 drum cams, 2 side cams, 2 rear cams. and then on top of that, ill run a handheld from the audience area as well. and possibly adding more handhelds if other shooters are helping me.

2 years ago i started using a zoom h4n, as a back up/redundant audio recorder, and ive been testing it out in different placements, sometimes from the rear, sometimes directly on the pa monitors. ive also run xlr's off soundboards into it and then also run the built in mics simultaneously. with varying degrees of success. im getting better at it. placement, etc.

also, when i edit the material, ill go through it all, figure out what sounds good and what doesnt, ditch the bad stuff and use the good stuff. then i typically layer/synch each of these different audio sources from each of the cams/mics. sometimes it sounds pretty good, sometimes just ok. i also will sometimes layer/synch the cam mics with soundboard recordings if they are usable.

my initial question about the shotgun mic for the rear camera.. i am trying to figure out a better way to capture that full room sound, but also trying to get the good loud sound coming mainly from the stage, the instruments and vocals. a clearer sound. with more separation, better bass, cleaner highs, etc.

i dont even know what type of mics these mics im using are! super cardioid.. hyper cardioid? im not sure. i know they are both electret condenser. ive attached images to help you guys see what im using.

Offline JesseDavis95688

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2022, 12:04:31 PM »
also.. i wanted to give an example of what some of my recordings sound like. heres some links to some more recent and better stuff.

https://youtu.be/E9iS0pqf8kk  < an outdoor recording with just mics, no soundboard.

https://youtu.be/OHbsfR_UMJQ  < an indoor recording with mics and soundboard.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2022, 12:24:02 PM »
i am trying to figure out a better way to capture that full room sound, but also trying to get the good loud sound coming mainly from the stage, the instruments and vocals. a clearer sound. with more separation, better bass, cleaner highs, etc.

The gorilla in the room with respect to all those things is recording position.  The situational acoustics of a recording position at the rear of the room is going to be the dominating factor in most of those things to a much greater degree than choice of microphone.  I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but this is the reality of the acoustic situation DSatz describes above. Its not at all a bad idea to change microphones based on input from other tapers on whatever works for them in similar situations, just don't get your expectations up too high about the specific aspect you mention, unless you are able shift to a closer position.

[edit- Just listened to your samples (left channel only, crappy broken work headphones), and they sound quite good.  Having a soundboard feed will help dramatically when recording from in back indoors and will be your best bet whenever you can get it.].
« Last Edit: November 18, 2022, 12:31:47 PM by Gutbucket »
musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline DSatz

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2022, 11:51:37 AM »
Intuitively obvious, attractively packaged misinformation, once it gets lodged in people's minds, tends to stay there a long time. People go out of their way to avoid evidence that would contradict or disprove such information--and when that can't be done, their response is often resentment, which reinforces the misinformation. Thus most attempts to correct misinformation not only fail, but actually backfire. No matter which side you're on regarding (say) Hillary's emails, Hunter Biden's laptop, or vaccination and mask-wearing for Covid, you will surely have seen this avoidance/resistance on the other side--but probably a lot less so on your own side, no? That's how it works with us humans.

Despite that, I want to explain what shotgun microphones do and don't do. The few who read this will have to decide for themselves whether to trouble themselves to change their thinking or not. I've changed my mind about some pretty basic things in my life, and I know that it can be a lot of trouble. Most people, being human, don't take on that trouble eagerly. Still ...

OK. We all know about directional patterns such as omnidirectional, cardioid, and bidirectional ("figure-8"). Many of us are aware that these exist on a continuum--the spectrum of "first-order" directional patterns. The three patterns that I just mentioned happen to be the two ends of the spectrum (omnidirectional, figure-8) and the center (cardioid). Anything else along that line is also possible--and that's where supercardioid, hypercardioid, "wide cardioid", etc. come from. There have even been microphones with continuously variable, remote-controlled patterns; the basic patent for how to do that is dated 1949, so it's nothing new.

If you have such a microphone, as you gradually vary its pattern from omnidirectional to cardioid (the halfway point), its pickup pattern narrows, and the microphone excludes room sound more and more, relative to on-axis sound. This narrowing and exclusion actually continues somewhat past the halfway point: The supercardioid setting (right around 5/8) is the one that excludes "all-around" (random incidence) sound the most, compared to on-axis pickup. But then if you continue, the effect reverses as the rear lobe gets larger and larger, eventually equaling the front lobe (= figure-8). By then the ratio between on-axis and random-incident pickup of sound is back to being the same as with a cardioid.

Note, please, that "shotgun" doesn't appear anywhere on that spectrum. That's because it's not a directional pattern, but a general way of constructing a microphone--putting a slotted "interference tube" in front of its diaphragm. The function of that tube is, as the name suggests, to arrange skirmishes between front-arriving and non-front-arriving sound waves, such that front-arriving sound is interfered with the least. But as a general rule, in any situation where sound waves are "played off against each other", at some frequencies and angles the interference will subtract (i.e. "destructive interference", the desired effect) while at other frequencies and angles it will add (so-called "constructive interference"). This causes the off-axis sound, depending on its angle of arrival, to be picked up with a frequency response that has very significant peaks and valleys. The longer the interference tube, the more severe the resulting response peaks and valleys will be, and the closer together (both in frequency and angle) they will occur. As you go upward in frequency, the peaks and valleys get closer together, to where eventually you have what's called a "comb filter" effect, which sounds like shit, to use the technical acoustical term.

That's one big reason why there are so many more short shotguns than long shotguns on the market, instead of people using long shotguns all the time. If you think that an interference tube adds "reach", then you would expect longer shotguns to be favored, no? Actually what the tube does is to cause a kind of semi-controlled chaos that has the NET, statistically AVERAGE effect of reducing certain frequencies off axis--but always at the cost of irregular overall off-axis response--and the longer the tube, the greater the irregularity at any given pickup angle (off axis) will be. I'm talking about 10+ dB peaks and dips within the space of one octave. Also, any relative motion between the sound source and the microphone can cause a significant change in sound quality because all of a sudden, the angles and thus the response curves will shift considerably.

As well, shotgun microphones each have a kind of "crossover frequency" built in to their physical design. Remember that sounds at different frequencies have drastically different wavelengths--there's a 1000:1 ratio among the frequencies we can hear, and thus a 1:1000 ratio among their wavelengths in air. If an interference tube is 1 foot long (i.e. somewhat longer than the majority of shotguns have), it will have no significant effect below the octave from 550 - 1100 Hz; the low-frequency and lower mid-frequency sound waves will simply flow around it the way that long waves on the surface of a pond flow around a rock. So any given length of interference tube implies a frequency below which the tube has no effect. The shorter the tube, the higher that frequency will be, and the longer, the lower.

Thus most shotgun microphones have no special directivity at low and midrange frequencies; they'd have to be absurdly long otherwise. Instead, because of who usually buys them, they're designed to reach full effect at the frequencies of the human voice that determine the clarity and intelligibility of speech, i.e. the region around 1.5 to 2.5 kHz. Above that range, the microphone's directional pattern goes all to hell--there's comb filtering like crazy. But with speaking voices it mostly doesn't matter, because the voice itself tends to roll off steeply above that range, and because the people who use shotgun microphones are very careful to keep the talent directly on axis at all times, while still getting as close in as they can without intruding into the frame of the video or film that's being made. And they never use shotgun microphones when they don't have to. Every professional film and video sound person has a supercardioid that they prefer for when they can use it for tight shots, sometimes hiding it in the scenery. Well-made supercardioids don't have the off-axis comb-filter response problem, so it's a lot less work to get good sound with them. (Radio mikes also come into play here.)

Finally, please note that such applications are predominantly mono. The problem takes on an added dimension (literally) when you try to use shotgun mikes in pairs to record music in stereo. Since they have one directional pattern at low and mid frequencies and another, varying and highly irregular range of patterns at upper-mid frequencies and above, there simply is no X/Y or near-coincident arrangement that can possibly be appropriate for their mutual placement. Any angle and distance that might be plausible for their low-frequency pattern is guaranteed to be wrong for their upper-mid and high-frequency patterns and vice versa.

On the other hand, shotgun microphones can be, and often are, used in professional film and video sound as the "M" microphone in an M/S pair. This can be done by attaching a figure-8 microphone to the shotgun such that their capsules are at the same distance from the sound source (the capsule of a shotgun mike is, of course, behind the tube and not at its tip). Some professional-quality, single-piece "stereo shotgun microphones" are also built on this principle. However, M/S recording only works when the mikes are close enough to receive a good balance of direct vs. reflected sound; it's pretty useless at the back of a room.

"When all you have is a hammer ..." -- shotgun microphones are very specific tools for a very specific set of applications. Just because you can hammer a nail with a microscope, you would be foolish to buy a microscope for that purpose.

Full disclosure: I do editorial consulting and historical research, on a free-lance and/or volunteer basis, for one of the world's leading manufacturers of very high-quality shotgun microphones, and the principal designer of those microphones has been my friend for many years. In other words, you might expect my bias to be in their favor--except that using them in pairs to make stereo recordings of music is a fundamentally misguided idea.

Which doesn't mean, of course, that you can never get a good, or even a wonderful-sounding recording that way. It just means that it's an unwise general approach where you're taking a bigger risk, and spending more for any given level of microphone quality, than you probably would with a more reality-based approach.

--best regards
« Last Edit: November 23, 2022, 11:03:31 AM by DSatz »
music > microphones > a recorder of some sort

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2022, 12:39:27 PM »
Great explanation! 

That should be pinned somehow for anyone searching TS for info on how shotgun microphones work and their intended application.
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musical volition > vibrations > voltages > numeric values > voltages > vibrations> virtual teleportation time-machine experience
Better recording made easy - >>Improved PAS table<< | Made excellent- >>click here to download the Oddball Microphone Technique illustrated PDF booklet<< (note: This is a 1st draft, now several years old and in need of revision!  Stay tuned)

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2022, 01:31:51 PM »
To the OP:
somewhat based on what dsatz discusses (and he is authoritative when it comes to microphone application/design) your sony ms 908c is a great tool in your toolbox. While a bit "low end" electronics wise, the preconfigured MS adjustable from 90-120 is possibly a wise choice of mic for the center camera which captures wide views of the stage, maybe positioned at FOH. I know nothing about video, and only that much more about "proper": sound capture for video, but the audio pov says go out and get a nice stereo pair of SD mics with multiple capsules, which you can afford. OR a stereo mic such as the Beyer MCE-72 (Only noting for "affordability").https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/beyer-mce72
  Fly them near the SBD cage while you gather all the other video/sound on the cameras via the existing mics.
music IS love

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Mics:         AKG460|CK61|CK1|CK3|CK8|Beyer M 201E|DPA 4060 SK
Recorders:Marantz PMD661 OADE Concert mod; Tascam DR680 MKI

Offline phil_er_up

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Re: recommend shotgun mics for loud music recording. (heavy metal, etc)
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2022, 07:43:42 AM »
Great post dsatz. Thank you. It is appreciated.
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