Many professionals use the d:dicate series microphones because of their accuracy and their silky smooth sound quality. This characteristic is hard to describe but very discernible when you hear it – certainly when you compare recordings done with an MKH 416, an S-Mic 2 and the d:dicate 4017.
Because the price of the d:dicate 4017 is way out of my league, I thought it would be nice to try make the cheapest of the three, the S-Mic 2, closer to the 4017 in post-production, for example by adjusting the EQ.
When I mention a shotgun microphone many of you will spontaneously think of a Sennheiser MKH 416 or perhaps a Schoeps CMIT 5. But if you’re really into quality and flexibility, a DPA Microphones d:dicate 4017 or – for smaller spaces and other recording types – a d:dicate 4018 could be a much better fit.
They don’t come cheap, VOVOX cables, but then they can’t be, given their build quality and the sound you get out of them. But, as always with cables, the question is whether you hear a difference. I received a test unit of a VOVOX Sonorus direct S and compared it with an ordinary Cordial, an Inco X-Lead, a Mogami Gold Studio and Gold Stage, and a d’Addario Planet Waves ASMC cable.
DPA Microphones’ d:screet 6060 CORE subminiature microphones are 3 mm in size, but if you close your eyes when monitoring a recording with one of these you’d swear you’re using a studio microphone the likes of a Neumann. I tested one of these tiny mics and it offered an unbelievable clarity, with as much detail in the low tones as much bigger and more expensive mics.
IK Multimedia’s sound and groove workstation has been upgraded to SampleTank 4. The MAX edition comes with a huge library of samples and it has a new sound engine that is much more efficient than the previous version. Furthermore, the interface design is gorgeous.
Bubblebee’s Sidekick In-Ear Monitors are IFB devices, which are essential parts in a monitoring and cueing system as used by TV, filmmaking, video production and radio broadcast people. They are great monitors for voice recordists too.
The Modular Windshield Kit Rycote sent me won the 2000 Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. In the 18 years since then, the family-run business hasn’t stopped inventing new products that set the industry standard. The PCS-Boom Connector is the latest example of how Rycote address the problem of unwanted noise; they use a holistic approach. Microphone manufacturers bundle their microphones with basic mounts and that’s it. If it’s a dynamic mic, it’s a plastic clamp. A large diaphragm microphone usually gets a rubber band based shock mount that lasts for a few months before the rubbers start wearing. But anything else – from shotgun to lavalier mics – must do with the simplest of mounts available. Especially shotgun mics, then, need more sophisticated mounting and shock absorption systems, because they’re continuously being manipulated, often mounted on boom poles of some length and subjected to rough handling. And when there’s enough wind blowing, the mic’s interference cancellation slots serve as windcatchers, resulting in blowing and whistle sounds that can …
If you record audio via an external recorder in order to replace the audio your camera captures, you’ll usually need some sort of a synchronisation tool. The simplest is using a clapper, with the second-best using Red Giant’s PluralEyes. But what if the audio your recorder captures drifts out of sync during recording? Why does that happen and how can you avoid it?
Youtubers, wedding video shooters, broadcast sound men/women and filmmakers: they all want to record sound with the best possible results. But practicalities such as pricing often stand in the way of reaching this lofty goal. Yet, equipment that exceeds the basic technical requirements – essential to even think about reaching it – is what you’ll need. A microphone is the first and one of the most important links in the chain from the sound you capture to the audio the viewer/listener gets out of their speakers. The results depend on the whole chain, but if you start with a tin can sound because of a low-end mic, you’ll never get to the full and rich sound you’re after.
If you are recording audio separately when shooting a documentary, interview or movie, chances are you’ll not only have to synchronise it with the footage but also edit your audio to make it sound perfect in post production. The two apps I use for this are the iZotope RX 6 Advanced Audio Editor and the Ozone 8 mastering suite. To be honest, my workflow will only work well with one or two microphones. If you’re recording a classical concert, you may have more than two mics set up to record audio from different parts of an orchestra. You might also be preparing a soundtrack CD from multiple recordings. That’s not the audio post production I’m covering here as those also require careful mixing. Mixing is less of an issue when you’re recording an interview or a commentary to go with a documentary, for example. What I’m going to discuss is how I optimise such recordings. To create a good sounding audio file, you’ll have to record at a high enough gain. If your gain levels …