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Handheld Mic

Published : 21st October 2004

I may need to purchase a handheld microphone for an upcoming project. The Shure SM58 is the first one that comes to mind - are there any other ones I should be considering?

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List
https://cinematography.net


Jessica Gallant wrote :

>I may need to purchase a handheld microphone for an upcoming >project. The Shure SM58 is the first one that comes to mind - are there >any other ones I should be considering?

The Electro-Voice RE 50B is a pretty common handheld mic, as is the Beyer dynamic M58.

Jeffrey Bloom
Director of Tech. Ops.
Pie Town Prods.


>The Electro-Voice RE 50B is a pretty common handheld mic, as is the >Beyer dynamic M58.

How do they compare to the Sure SM58 in terms of ruggedness and sound quality?

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List


>How do they compare to the Sure SM58 in terms of ruggedness and >sound quality?

The SM58 is a workhorse mic, and not too expensive. A good choice.

John Babl
Miami


>How do they compare to the Sure SM58 in terms of ruggedness and >sound quality?

The Shure is very rugged, and sounds good. The E-V is not quite as rugged, but is a good omni mic with a frequency response of 80-13000hz, which helps eliminate unwanted low end and hi-end frequencies while still picking up off axis speakers(good for those inexperienced interviewers with bad mic techniques). Never used the Beyer dynamic, just know of it.

Might want to rent them from Location Sound(et al) and do a side-by-side comparison. But if ruggedness is a main concern then the SM58'll do the trick, and is a lot less price wise.

Jeff Bloom


>But if ruggedness is a main concern then the SM58'll do the trick, and is >a lot less price wise.

Ruggedness is my main consideration with sound quality coming next. Thanks everyone for their input!

Jessica Gallant
Los Angeles based Director of Photography
West Coast Systems Administrator, Cinematography Mailing List


>Ruggedness is my main consideration with sound quality coming next.

Ah...it is then the Electro-Voice 635A you seek. Good close up mic and you can hammer nails with them...mine's got lots of dings and chips after 28 yrs in my kit...and still a work horse.

Al Emer
Lighting Cameraman
Holmdel, NJ


>Ah...it is then the Electro-Voice 635A you seek. Good close up mic and >you can hammer nails with them...

And you don't even have to remember the name of the mic, just ask for an EV Hammer Mic and they'll know exactly what you need.

Note that it also comes in black, if it's intended to be seen in frame that can be a consideration...And it comes in 2 lengths. I find the more common short version can be difficult as many people seem to instinctively hold it by the connector...The longer mic eliminates this problem. Also gives you more leverage.

George Hupka
Director/DP
Downstream Pictures
Saskatoon, Canada


>Ruggedness is my main consideration with sound quality coming next.

EV RE-50 period! I've had mine through 8 Hurricanes and 3 100yr floods. Not so much as a hit or spit. It just won't die! It has an internal wind screen that is very very good. Response is tweaked for voice which is what you want.

Tom McDonnell
Dir/DP
New Orleans, La


>Ah...it is then the Electro-Voice 635A you seek. Good close up mic and >you can hammer nails with them...

--- And here I thought that using expensive mics to hammer nails was a disease limited to rock and roll roadies.

Jeffery Haas
freelance editor, camera operator, rock video veteran
Dallas, Texas


I won't disagree with anyone about the ruggedness of the EV and it is a good choice, but depending on whether this is to be an "on camera" mic used by a "professional" or thrust into the hands of amateurs, you might consider a couple of others as well - If you like the SM58 which is a pretty darned rugged dynamic mic with a cardioid pattern, (if my dazed brain recalls) you may notice two things about it - one is that as with all dynamic mics, there is something called the bass proximity effect (used to advantage by many singers) As you get closer to the mic, the proportion of bass response increases. This can get weird with untrained talent - as they get closer and further from the actual mic capsule, the timbre of their voice can change quite a bit. Omni-directional mics are good to have, but I prefer a directional pattern for on camera stuff where there is ambient noise

If you want a slightly more elegant but still pretty rugged dynamic mic, you might consider a Shure SM54 (I don't know if it is still available) which is still economically priced compared to a lot of the European product - the capsule is a little further from the pop filter surface so the bass proximity effect is a little less apparent (the old inverse square law again?)

In a cardioid pattern, there is also an AKG hand mic that is elegant and rugged - less rugged than the EV mic or its brethren but much more elegant (if that is a concern) Nice frequency response too.

I think it was an Akg 2000 but I wouldn't swear by it and can't really search right now.

I really always liked the sound of the Beyer 500 from Beyer Dynamic - great round tone but quite a bit more fragile regarding physical shock as it is a carbon ribbon mic instead of a dynamic.

I hope I haven't just muddied the waters (or the track)

Mark Weingartner
(left sound for lighting but not before mixing for a jazz festival)


I have to agree about the EV635.

In all the time I was shooting docs it was the mic that would get us out of trouble.

The Sennheiser 416 overloading shooting Nazerath? no prob's use the 635

Need close up sound of the Ferrari F40 for it's launch, no prob’s, strap the 635 to the engine!

It had good clean neutral sound and was impossible to overload or damage!

Cheers

Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based
www.cinematography.net


Geoff Boyle wrote:

>Need close up sound of the Ferrari F40 for it's launch, no prob's, strap >the 635 to the engine!

Wow, did you just plug it into your mixer's or camera's LINE level input? A dynamic mic would have put out VOLTS rather than microvolts in that situation!

>It had good clean neutral sound and was impossible to overload or >damage!

And the pit crew could have used it as a wheel chock too...

Cheers,

Clive Woodward,
Perth, Western Australia.


>Wow, did you just plug it into your mixer's or camera's LINE level input? >A dynamic mic would have put out VOLTS rather than microvolts in that >situation!

Mic but with a hell of a pad.

Sounded amazing! we tried various positions and recorded a selection then the post mixer went mad.

I used to do a lot of motor racing and car launches and it was always the mic we brought out when all else failed.

Piece to camera in the F1 pits standing right next to a car? no prob’s, just stuff the mic down the reporters throat.

John, my recordist carried all kinds of pads and bass cuts that got us out of most situations.

Cheers

Geoff Boyle FBKS
Director of Photography
EU Based


If I had to choose only one mic to carry with me to the top of Mt. Everest or the bottom of Death Valley it would be an Electro-Voice 635A -- but with the addition of a good foam windscreen, a decent lightweight shock mount, and some means of cutting low frequencies when needed. There's also a high-output version that uses a powerful neodymium magnet, the 635ND.

The RE50 is essentially a 635A shock mounted inside a larger housing that has an integral windscreen, so it's a neat package. But then you're stuck with the larger size, the heavier weight, and the slightly duller sound imposed by the non-removable windscreen. And the internal shock mounting just isn't as good as a good external shock mount so you'll still get a bit of handling noise. There's no high-output version of the RE50.

It should be noted that both of these mics are nominally omnidirectional (though they do sound crisper on-axis than to the side or back) so unlike cardioids, super cardioids, hyper cardioids and shotgun mics they don't have any "reach" -- you've got to get fairly close to the source of sound with them.

The Shure SM58 is just as rugged, and has fairly low handling noise, good wind screening and very good vocal response. It has a cardioid (heart-shaped) pickup pattern (more sensitive in front than behind, so it has a bit of reach.) But as has been said, its proximity effect means it should not be stuck into anyone's face, or you'll get disproportionate boominess in the voice.

If I had to choose two mics to take to the ends of the earth they'd probably be the Electro-Voice 635ND/B (black) and the high-end version of the Shure SM58 called the Beta 58.

None of the mics mentioned above require batteries or other power supplies because they're dynamic, and (like dynamos) convert sound waves directly into electricity. Dynamics are generally rugged, but most of them lack the sensitivity, output level and sonic finesse of condenser mics.

Mark Weingartner writes :

>as with all dynamic mics, there is something called the bass proximity >effect (used to advantage by many singers) As you get closer to the mic, >the proportion of bass response increases.

Proximity effect is mainly a characteristic of cardioid (directional) mics, regardless of their electrical basis (dynamic vs. condenser, etc.).

Dan Drasin
Producer/DP
Marin County, CA


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