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Ello ello

So I was all happy when today my first ever shotgun arrived - Rode NTG-3. It also included the Rode PG2 pistol grip that I had ordered. I set out to do a bit of test recordings this evening, but shock, horror, what an unbelievable amount of handling noise! It's as bad as the handling noise I get when using my Zoom H2 with grip/tripod.

The NTG-3 is supposed to be very resistant to handling noise (so I've read), and I would think the pistol grip helps as well. Even moving a joint in one of my fingers holding the pistol grip creates big boomy mess! Simply touching the plastic handle creates a lot of handling noise.

Now, my question... am I doing something wrong, or did I simply buy the wrong product (which would be the PG2)? This pistol grib has a rubber suspension system where you simply put the microphone in, like so:

alt text

What do you people do to reduce handling noise? Am I missing something? Surely buying a more expensive system would be 'better', but this setup/pistol grip is pretty much unusable, hence I have the feeling I might be not understanding some basics here.

Thanks

edit: when I wrap a cloth around the pistol grip handle, it greatly reduces the handling noise, but surely that's not how it 'should' be?

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6 Answers 6

First thing to do is to hold the pistol grip gently. The tighter you hold the grip, the more likely it is you will transfer noise to the mic. Aiming the mic in a different direction should not be causing too many issues unless you've got an iron death-grip on the handle. If you have to move a finger, lift it away from the grip. Don't slide it.

Keep an eye out for strain relief on the cable running to the mic. If you're constantly bumping the cable, or the cable is in a strained/awkward position, you may be inducing noise that way.

Regarding your response to Andrew's post, those foam/fur pieces you're seeing mounted directly on a mic are used in lieu of a blimp/zepplin kit. The blimps are far superior as far as I'm concerned.

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@Shaun, thank you - admittedly, I am guilty of the iron grip, and that is something I will certainly have to start practicing, also like how Andrew pointed out that you need to learn to 'be still'. By the way, I know a blimp is far superior than foam - what I meant was that by having seen videos with people only using a foam shield + pistol grip and yet hearing no handling noise whilst they moved the mic up and down, I was expecting I wouldn't need a (relatively) expensive system like a blimp. –  Daan Hendriks Sep 27 '10 at 22:26
    
@Daan - you don't necessarily need a blimp, you can get some nice recordings with the style pistol grip you have. we have a few of them at work, and i've never really had any issues. just keep in mind that you do have a direct connection between the grip and the mic, unlike in most blimp systems. vibrations will transfer. just keep using it, you'll get the hang of it. :) –  Shaun Farley Sep 27 '10 at 22:58
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Honestly, I've learned over time to be extremely still. When I hit record, I literally don't move for 5 min a pop. I recommend yoga ;-)

Otherwise:

  • You can use a tripod and just leave the mic there, it's much more comfortable.

  • You can upgrade to something like the RODE blimp (it's affordable and good), the mic is suspended so it reduces handling noise even more.

alt text

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@Andrew, thanks for your answer. I understand that when the mic is suspended, it would reduce handling noise even more. But the situation is that currently, it doesn't seem to be reduced at all - like I said, simply 'accidentally' moving a joint in a finger creates a boom. I've seen videos where people hold a shotgun w/pistol grip and foam over the mic (so I don't think the mic can be suspended then) and they move the mic in the direction of the source. No handling noise to be heard in those videos/recordings. Could be edited, but... It just currently seems extremely sensitive. –  Daan Hendriks Sep 27 '10 at 21:45
    
Completely still? Like your fingers don't even twitch? That's my biggest problem, small joint/muscle sounds. –  Miles B. Sep 30 '10 at 13:48
    
I find that standing still takes practice. Sometimes I can mount my mics on a tripod and sometimes I have to hold them. Over time, I have gotten better at controlling my twitches even though my arms are turning to jello. Keep it up and focus on the sound not on what your hand is doing. Sounds esoteric but it works foe me. –  oinkaudio Oct 14 '10 at 13:39
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It sounds like you are getting a lot of noise from the XLR cable. You might want to get a Rycote Connbox, which will help cut down on this type of noise:

http://www.rycote.com/products/accessoriesspares/connbox/

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@Justin, thanks, I'll look into that. I did do a kind of test for this though, having the cable not run through the grip, but just let it hang loose (whilst making sure i didn't touch it/it wasnt moving). Same amount of noise when i then touch the grip though. You're right however that the cable, when touched, produces exactly the same kind of boomyness. –  Daan Hendriks Sep 27 '10 at 22:18
    
Yes...I have a nicer Rycote kit with a connbox and my Schoeps still pick up vibrations when handling. I record almost all of my ambiences on a tripod. When I handhold for hard effects, I tend to grip the handle loosely and with no sudden movements. The new Rycote Lyre mounts (and no I don't work for them) are supposed to be even better at absorbing this sort of stuff. Rycote stuff is over-priced, but it does the job. –  Justin P Sep 27 '10 at 22:52
    
@Justin, yes that Lyre mount certainly looks much more effective, as the mic is suspended properly... hmm... thanks for the tip. –  Daan Hendriks Sep 28 '10 at 9:25
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standing still helps. it pisses off everyone nearby but hey..

the pistol grip works better if you take some time to adjust it, find out what makes the noise. could be the cable touching the mic, or it could be the mic isn't in the best spot in the rubber suspension... certainly in the end, you wanted a very sensitive microphone, you will have to put up with its sensitivity :)

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@georgi - haha, true enough, about the sensitive mic. I've tried all those things though, been sitting for a while trying to root out the problem - and literally only with the most delicate of touches I can avoid rumble. So either that's the way everybody deals with it with a mount like this, or there's something else wrong, I'm still not entirely sure. But I really appreciate the help! –  Daan Hendriks Sep 28 '10 at 9:01
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Thanks everybody for the good advice.

I have recently purchased a Rode Blimp and the difference is enormous. In my experience, the pistol grip system as displayed on the picture in the question is pretty much useless. Although some people have adviced that after time you get used to it, I have to say that this particular one (Rode PG2) is so extremely sensitive to handling noise, I cannot see how that would ever work nicely - the smallest, tiniest movement in a joint (which often happens unconsciously, even when being very still and holding it lightly) creates a terrible amount of noise.

So after the advice here, and also because of listening to this song ("a blimp is pretty pimp"), I forked out the cash for the Rode Blimp, and it's certainly more than worth it. Of course there is still some handling noise but it's much, much more manageable. So for whoever is looking into buying a handheld grip system, I hope this info is going to be useful.

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Like someone said before, try holding softly. Hold it as soft as you can with out it falling out of your hand. I have also found that the less surface area of your skin that is touching the pistol grip of the mount the better. When I first started using stereo mics in a pistol grip I had lots of handling noise too. I second the tripod stand idea. I took the advice of noisejockey and got a Manfrotto 5001B stand. It's pretty light, cheap, and performs decently. With a bit of practice you will get better at avoiding handling noise. It's feels very zen when you get the hang of it.

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