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I'm researching about what microphone I should pick up as my first mic. I've boomed on several short films and am at the point where picking up a portable mixer and mic collection come in handy. Theres a lady who wants me to record approximately 8 hours of audio for her. She is going to read 100 pages of text to me and make an audio book. If I am recording in say a living room, what mic will reveal the better results? Cardiod won't pick up any rear reflections and that might not the the best approach. Super/Hypercardiod will pick up some of those rear reflections which might give a more full sound. Personally, I'm leaning toward a super/hypercardiod, maybe a short shotgun. Due to budget restrictions, I'm also planning on using this mic for other interviews/indoor shoots. Does the rear pickup of a super/hypercardiod less of a disconcerting sound than a cardiod for something like an audio book recorded inside?

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4 Answers

I learned the hard way that just starting out, I'd have benefited most from having a hyper as my first mic. Directional but more forgiving than a shotgun. A shotgun mic's interference tube design makes it sound odd indoors, generally speaking, unless you drop $2k on a Schoeps CMIT5u or similar. Or unless you have a really dead room. IMO, I think that what rear lobe a hyper might have can usually be addressed by room treatment (hanging sound blankets, opening closets to expose clothing, or similar) and mic placement.

That said, if you can get a cardioid close enough and the sound outside the room is minimal, that'd get the job done, too. I saw Randy Thom once write, "any mic close enough to its source becomes directional."

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Thanks NJ. My budget is definitely not $2k at the moment and I was leaning toward hyper. –  Chris Jul 1 '11 at 16:41
    
+1 for CMIT-5U. I would take that above any mic any day in any situation - indoors or out. –  Utopia Jul 1 '11 at 18:20
    
My budget is like 300-450 for the mic –  Chris Jul 1 '11 at 21:40
    
Don't overlook large condenser mics. The NT1a is so cheap that it's outside of the low end of your range and is an insane value, and the new Sennheiser MK4 is on the top end of that range. Get 'em in close with a boom stand and a pop filter and that might be a good solution. Just a thought. –  NoiseJockey Jul 2 '11 at 0:16
    
+1 on the NT1-A. A very handy "go to" mic for V.O. and it also doubles as a good choice for close mic Foley recordings. There are, of course, better mics out there but for the price range, the NT1-A really stands out! –  Colin Hunter Jul 6 '11 at 20:13
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At that price range, assuming you're using USD, the Oktava 012 comes to mind, though I'm not a fan of it's over-sensitivity. A good shock mount is essential. I do like it's sound though.

A bit more and you can get the AudioTechnica 4035B.

Personally I started with an Rode NTG-3, but that was largely because it was on sale with a $1 Blimp. :D

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Tak. The Octavia gets a lot of recommendations but also complaints of oversensitivity and high noise. The higher noise is what keeps me away from buying it. –  Chris Jul 7 '11 at 1:10
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For the described purpose I would go for a cardioid, because it will sound more natural and you should not have any problems getting close enough. For film use as your first mic a super cardioid might give you a broader palette also for outdoors.

Be careful even with the CMIT-5U! It's a great sounding mic and does tolerate a lot, but if you have a lot of movement in a scene it'll take a lot of work in the mix to eq the different presence of the voices. So coming from the post side of things I would like to advise for try to get close first. Then try to get the room quiet and dampened. And if none of this is sufficient, try a more directional mic.

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I decided to go with either a "break the bank" Sanken CS-1 or a AKG Blue-line HC. Was going for an audix sx-hc due to the reccomendations from interwebz. After reviewing a frequency response chart from the Audix website, I changed my mind. The wild midrange rise and drastic mid-high/high drop confused me as to why this mic is reccomended for indoor boom operations. AKG Blueline is much more attractive to me for price and noise floor (28 db, isn't that a little high?) Sanken CS-1 "break the bank" microphone attracts me for the versatility of indoor/outdoor recording ability as well as the low noise floor.

With the amount of money I spend on a Blueline compared to a Sanken, you can invest in a lav

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i've got a pair of the blue lines, with a pair of cardioid and a pair of hypercardioid capsules. they were a great investment for the price i got them at. –  Shaun Farley Jul 22 '11 at 12:15
    
Man I was excited to get those but I ended up with a Sanken CS1-e. Mainly for the reviews I saw from RAMPS and other forums and it is a versatile indoor/outdoor which fits my budget well. Funny story actually…I was researching what mic to get for weeks and the morning I decided, 7 hours later when I ordered it, it was discontinued and replaced with a Sanken CS1-e. –  Chris Jul 23 '11 at 5:32
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