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I am about to invest in a super cardioid or hyper cardioid for recording quality indoor dialogue on set.I have had some advice from the forum in a previous question and was suggested the MK41 capsule which seems to be a great standard. I am interested in the Sennheiser MKH 50 which I have heard good things about (little heavy on the low end apparently??). A friend of mine uses a CCM-415 and gets great results. I am sure many of you have experience with these mics or have other favorites, mabye even cheaper models that still stand up well? Just wanted to get some other opinions before forking out on one.

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2 Answers

First of all, for interior dialog, you are correct that a hypercardioid mic is a much better choice than a shotgun mic. This is due to shotgun mics not rejecting low end frequencies even as well as a hypercardioid. When the low frequencies bounce back off the walls, it shows up as low end mud and sounds weird and echoey.

Hypercardioid mics can also be very useful outside too, they just don't have quite as much range as a shotgun mic. Of course, if you get too far away, even a shotgun mic isn't going to sound good, and you'll end up in ADR territory anyway.

The gold standard is the Schoeps CMC-641, but it's nearly $2000. That may or may not be an issue for you. If money is no object, buy this and be done with it.

The reputation of the Sennheiser 416 doesn't necessarily carry over to the hypercardioid mics, I would look and listen carefully and not go on brand name alone there.

I'm fairly partial to the Audix SCX1-HC. I see the price has gone up since I bought mine, but I think it's still worth it at $499. In my opinion, it's good enough to use in a feature film. To my ears, it sounds a little less bright than the Audio Technica hypercardiod mics. The AKG Blue Line hypercardioid is a nice choice as well, but since it's an electret condenser and not a "true" condenser, it won't sound quite as good 10 or 20 years out as it gradually loses its charge. That may or may not be a consideration to you, but generally good microphones will last a lifetime, so I think it bears mentioning.

At the lower end of the price spectrum, some people love the Oktava MK-012. It sounds quite good, but there are a lot of counterfit knock-offs and the quality control is reported to be a bit spotty. There's a web site called The Sound Room that quality checks them and sells them at a premium. The other issue with the Oktavas is that they are EXTREMELY sensitive to wind noise. Whatever money you save will need to be sunk right back into the very finest wind protection and shock mounts (Rycote Baby Ball Gag and Invision shock mount), which will exceed the cost of the microphone itself.

I did a ton of research on this, and ended up buying the Audix SCX1-HC. I would buy it again, and recommend it to anyone in the same situation. You should Google "Ty Ford", he is a production sound mixer and has a video where he compares several different microphones. If you Google around you can find sound clips of a lot of these microphones, but not really in a standardized way. Still, it's better than nothing.

Best of luck!

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Thanks for the advice, will have a look at the Audix –  Lenny Sep 14 '10 at 8:40
    
+1 on the AKG mics. I've had good success with mine. Great for the price. –  VCProd Sep 14 '10 at 16:15
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I've owned the Senheiser.....the low-end is amazing. It's durable. You can't go wrong. The bottom line for me, when recording dialogue indoors is.......how is the area "treated". I just got done working on "war flowers" and the equipment was top notch, at the same time, the studio was an old Ford office building and didn't have proper sound treatment on the ceiling, giving a never-ending echo.
Moral of the story is, the mics you listed will be fine, just start with a good base.....ie..... sound treatment, and your dialogue will be clear, concise and you'll have to EQ, or ADR very little on the post side.

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Thanks DSD, thats the main reason I am choosing these mics as many places I record in are not ideal from an acoustic point of view, was hoping these models would make the best out of not so perfect recording locations by rejecting the echo far more than a shotgun would if I didnt have time to treat a room. –  Lenny Sep 13 '10 at 13:14
    
Such is the nature of recording. Echo-phasing just kills. Obviously every place will be different. I would try and rent a couple mics and give them a whirl on your location, if time permits. You may find that a shotgun works great in one spot, whereas the hyper-cardioid is better for kitchen/bathroom type scenes.....etc. People can have a good experience with many mics, but trial and error is what really gives you a feel for any given situation. –  Detroit Sound Design Sep 13 '10 at 14:05
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