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Interview mics: M88 vs MD46 vs SM63. Which one?
Old 17th April 2012
  #1
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Interview mics: M88 vs MD46 vs SM63. Which one?

Hi.

I'm looking for a good dynamic interview mic that can also double as a voice over mic on the go.

I've been using the Shure VP64AL plugged into a Sound Devices machine for some time and I like its sound. Vey clean and upfront. But it's a nightmare to get on-axis consistency. One inch to the side and it's way off in level and high frequency content, which gets annoying when interviewing people that can't stand still.

Again, I understand it's behaving how it's supposed to, the idea of these mics would be to give you some isolation from the environment around you, thereby improving speech inteligibility.
But I'm wondering if one of of these other mics (Beyer M88 or Shure SM63L or Sennheiser MD46) would be a bit more forgiving and allow the interviewer and interviewee to move a few inches before almost cutting them off.

Any opinions?

For the price they cost, I'm basically up to buy one of each and make my own tests.
But if there's *some* kind of agreement here as to which mic I should invest in first, that would be a good first step.

Thanks!

Toscano
Old 17th April 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
huub's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
We use the sennheiser MD431 MKII, which is great. However, I really like the MD46!
It sounds great for interviews without any EQ.
Old 17th April 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Omnis best for IVs
No handling noise ,little popping or wind noise
Those long Beyers M58 dynamic or electret
The old STC 4027 stick was brilliant, sometimes better than a MKH 816 in noisy vox popping (FI pits )
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by huub ➑️
We use the sennheiser MD431 MKII, which is great. However, I really like the MD46!
It sounds great for interviews without any EQ.
Thanks. I'll have to look into the MD431.

How would you say both mics behave regarding sound coming just slightly off-axis (10 to 15 cm out of the front of the mic).
Do you loose *a lot* of high frequencies and level like it happens on the Shure VP64?
Or are they a bit more forgiving?
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 ➑️
Omnis best for IVs
No handling noise ,little popping or wind noise
Those long Beyers M58 dynamic or electret
The old STC 4027 stick was brilliant, sometimes better than a MKH 816 in noisy vox popping (FI pits )
The Shure VP64AL I'm using now is an omni mic (supposedly...). Although, being a dynamic microphone, of course it only really sounds like an omni at low/low-mid frequencies. High frequency content gets lost just a few centimeters off the main axis.

I like the sound of this mic, although it's a bit sibilant. But one other thing that bothers me is the extremely annoying handling noise! I can listen to my hands gripping the mic in my recordings, my fingers moving slightly, I can listen to the cable, etc.
I know there is no perfect microphone, so I was hopping that maybe the MD46 or the M88 would make up for that.

I'm not very interested in using condenser microphones for voice work and interviews anymore. They sound very bright and crisp and sibilant and they capture everything. I like more the way voices sound with dynamic microphones.
(don't get me wrong, I also use a few condenser mics, but not for voice work. Dynamics help me "clean up" the voice sound a bit).
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
huub's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
pretty forgiving.. You still need an interviewer with half-decent mic technique
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
huub's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
An omni is more forgiving, but I like the sound of cardioids better..
UK and US are mostly omni for interviews, mainland europe tends a bit more towards cardioids it seems.
The guys from Sky sports UK are pretty happy with our MD431's though.
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by huub ➑️
An omni is more forgiving, but I like the sound of cardioids better..
UK and US are mostly omni for interviews, mainland europe tends a bit more towards cardioids it seems.
The guys from Sky sports UK are pretty happy with our MD431's though.
Well, the Shure VP64AL I'm using is supposedly an omni, but not very forgiving at that.
So one really has to try the gear to find out...

Thanks!
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
huub's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The MD46 (cardioid) and MD42 (omni) are the only mics that I know of that were actually designed specifically for interviews/reporters (for NBC olympics).
So they're probably the best choice, but certainly not the only choice..
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by huub ➑️
The MD46 (cardioid) and MD42 (omni) are the only mics that I know of that were actually designed specifically for interviews/reporters (for NBC olympics).
So they're probably the best choice, but certainly not the only choice..
Thanks!

I'll start with the MD46 and MD42 and see how it goes from there.
Nowadays, for the price of a decent condenser, I can buy three or four good dynamic mics until I find what I'm looking for.
Old 17th April 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Why not hire ?
Old 17th April 2012
  #12
Lives for gear
 
jnorman's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
EV 635A or EV RE50B
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 ➑️
Why not hire ?
Well... small country, small market, no easy availability, no stock anywhere...
It's easier to buy them online, test them, and send them back for an exchange if it's not really what I'm looking for.

So yeah, technically I'm not renting them, but it ends up the same.
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman ➑️
EV 635A or EV RE50B
I'll look into those too.
Thanks!
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Don S's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre Toscano ➑️
I'll look into those too.
Thanks!
I like cardioids. This is great mic. Cheap too!
ElectroVoice RE15 EV RE15 Vinatge - Mint | eBay
Old 20th April 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I am always struck by how clear the LEM DO-21Bs sound on French TV news reporting etc.

http://www.lemindus.com/us/do21b.php

Not widely used or even known-about outside France but you can get them from UK supplier Canford here: LEM DO 21B MICROPHONE
Old 20th April 2012 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➑️
I am always struck by how clear the LEM DO-21Bs sound on French TV news reporting etc.

http://www.lemindus.com/us/do21b.php

Not widely used or even known-about outside France but you can get them from UK supplier Canford here: LEM DO 21B MICROPHONE
Interesting... never heard of those.
I'll definitely check them out.

Thanks!
Old 21st April 2012 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman ➑️
EV 635A or EV RE50B
I have used the 635A for 30 years - still good. The RE50B is also OK but I find that the internal shock mounting generates high amplitude low frequency thumps when the mic is moved. Yes one can stick in the 80Hz or 160Hz hpf, which reduces the audibility, but it is inconvenient. When properly held, the 635A is preferable. It also has an optimally sculptured frequency response. (I find the RE50/ND not quite as good.) And you can accidentally drop it on concrete floors without suffering cardiac arrest.
Old 21st April 2012 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann ➑️
I am always struck by how clear the LEM DO-21Bs sound on French TV news reporting etc.

http://www.lemindus.com/us/do21b.php

Not widely used or even known-about outside France but you can get them from UK supplier Canford here: LEM DO 21B MICROPHONE
That looks like a knock-off of the Sennheiser MD-21, which has been around for decades:

Sennheiser Worldwide - MD 21-U

There is the Sennheiser e935. As a general rule, you'll get more handling noise from a cardioid than from an omni.

As to the OP's original complaint, there is no magic mic that will compensate for poor mic technique.
Old 21st April 2012 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by panatrope ➑️
I have used the 635A for 30 years - still good. The RE50B is also OK but I find that the internal shock mounting generates high amplitude low frequency thumps when the mic is moved.
I agree that the 635A is a very forgiving mic, although I'm a bit surprised at your conclusions about the RE50. EV claims the RE50 is nothing more than a 635 in a larger, shock mounted case, but I haven't actually used one much, so I'll defer to you on that one.

I've also used the MD431. It is a hyper-card mic, and in my opinion, not very tolerant of less than perfect mic technique. It does tend to make a field interview sound like it was done in the studio though (good rejection of off-axis sound), not always the effect you're after.

Our serious reporters tend to go out with three mics: a 635, SM58, and a short shotgun of some kind. In general, one model would be selected based on the ambient noise in the environment (more noisy = more directional). The EV RE45N/D dynamic shotgun was a favourite, but it has been discontinued for a few years. The cheap A-T or Sennheiser shotguns now get used.

GTD
Old 21st April 2012
  #21
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
It's quickly becoming apparent that, like with many other things in life, everyone will have had different experiences with different microphones, so there will never be one product that keeps everyone satisfied.

Coupled with the fact that I'm finding a new kind of respect for these dynamic mics and a sincere joy and pleasure in using and testing them, that leads me to believe there is only one sane thing to do right now: start a collection!

Lets just get the facts right, since I'm sharing this with a lot of people I don't know.
I'm not rich or anything like that. I don't mean I will "buy a collection". Very different things. This will be a process, not a mere one-off acquisition.

Truthfully, nowadays for the price of a good condenser or ribbon mic, you can probably get three or four decent dynamic mics that will stand the test of time. So it's not really *that* expensive to build a collection of dynamic speech/interview microphones.

Also, one thing I plan on doing during this quest is to make some test recordings of all the microphones I end up with, and post those tests here.
Everyone's voice and dictation is different, and I'll only have mine to offer. But I'm planning on doing some extensive close up tests, at a small distance, a little off-axis, test for sibilance reaction, record indoors and outdoors, ambient noise, etc.

So at the very least, we will be getting an idea of how these microphones compare to each other under the same conditions.

I will leave a new reply (so as to not make this one massive) with a small list of potential future buys.

Feel free to add any microphone model that you use and like to that list - new or "vintage" - and I will check it out.

My only request: should be a dynamic microphone for speech/spoken word/broadcast/interview. (do you know from personal experience of a fantastic dynamic mic that was built for recording dulcimer or bird songs but that happens to work amazingly well with human voices? Well, put that in too, please!)


Thanks for reading this, fellow recording gear sluts! I won't let you down.

Toscano
Old 21st April 2012
  #22
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
The Toscano's list

Following up from my previous reply, here's a list of candidate mics that I've sampled so far.

Feel free to add any dynamic speech/broadcast/interview microphones that you use(d), or some dynamic mic that just so happens to work extremely well for spoken word.

Thanks.

The Toscano's List

Shure VP64AL *got it*
Shure SM63L *got it*
Shure SM7B

Sennheiser MD46
Sennheiser MD421
Sennheiser MD431
Sennheiser MD441

Beyerdynamic M58
Beyerdynamic M69TG
Beyerdynamic M88TG

AKG D230

Electrovoice 635a
Electrovoice 635 N/DYM
Electrovoice RE50B N/DYM
Electrovoice RE20

Audio Technica AT8004L
*got it*
Audio Technica BP4002

RΓΈde Procaster
*got it*
Old 21st April 2012
  #23
Gear Guru
 
John Willett's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
In my radio days my interview mic of choice was the Sennheiser MD421, which I used all the time.

The MD21 is also a superb speech mic.

The new MD42 and 46 are also good.

Though my personal choice would still be the 421.
Old 23rd April 2012 | Show parent
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett ➑️
The MD21 is also a superb speech mic.
The famous frog (it looked like one sitting on the supplied desk stand)! Rugged, sat nicely in the hand, except for the little wedge for the stand clamp. Still have mine (for about the same time as the 635a) and I get it out from time to time to compare on new portables, but the 635a response still makes it preferred. But the MD21 is now a much neglected gem.

Rugged. It was ubiquitous for hand held vocals especially on TV. Survived dunking in the fish pond at one venue. The optional basket windscreen was very effective.
Old 23rd April 2012 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by panatrope ➑️
I have used the 635A for 30 years - still good. The RE50B is also OK but I find that the internal shock mounting generates high amplitude low frequency thumps when the mic is moved. Yes one can stick in the 80Hz or 160Hz hpf, which reduces the audibility, but it is inconvenient. When properly held, the 635A is preferable. It also has an optimally sculptured frequency response. (I find the RE50/ND not quite as good.) And you can accidentally drop it on concrete floors without suffering cardiac arrest.
Have you tried both the original models (635a and RE50B) against the newer N/D models (635 N/D and RE50B N/D)?
Electrovoice claims they're essentially the same mics, but with higher output levels.
Do you find that to be a true statement?

Only asking this because you seemed skeptical as to the RE50 N/D, so maybe you could elaborate on what you didn't like in that model.
Old 23rd April 2012 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Willett ➑️
The new MD42 and 46 are also good.
I was under the impression that the MD42 was a scaled down version of the MD46. But now I realize they're more or less the same thing, price and spec wise (at least according to the Sennheiser website at the moment).

Do you know both these mics?
Being so similarly priced and having kind of the same specs, I wonder what their real differences are in terms of sound?
Old 23rd April 2012 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
huub's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
one is omni, other one cardioid.
Old 23rd April 2012 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by huub ➑️
one is omni, other one cardioid.
You're right. I should have looked more carefully at the specs list.
Thanks!
Old 23rd April 2012 | Show parent
  #29
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by panatrope ➑️
[snip] The RE50B is also OK but I find that the internal shock mounting generates high amplitude low frequency thumps when the mic is moved. [snip]
You made me curious with this claim because I never hear anything like that with my new-ish RE50N/D. The waveforms do show this but only when really yanking the mic around, not the sort of motion that one would normally make (unless using the microphone to -interview- a hostile party)!

Perhaps the internal mounting on your mic has softened or degenerated in some way?

--allan
Old 24th April 2012
  #30
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
@amcl

The RE50/ND has shown this behaviour since new. I also observed it many years ago on an RE50 when I had one for evaluation.

It is evident on normal movement when doing a normal to-and-fro stand-up interview at a reasonable distance (30-40cm) from the subject's face. At least a 75 Hz 18dB/8ve roll-off is required. (Field use for TV stand-ups seem to use 150Hz.) The LFA on the Nagra V is not enough

The RE50/ND gets a guernsey when it can be put on a stand as it will isolate conducted mechanical noise quite well. Hand-held, it just seems to move about too much inside the shock mount, and it seems to generate enough air movement to cause a subsonic spike. It sounds quite nasty on headphones and the waveform is quite frightening.

It is also useful for gaining access - if you turn up with one of those in your hand, everybody recognises it as what the pros use on TV, so you must be one also.

@OP

The N/Ds do show higher output (a few dB). I have also compared the original 635 against the N/D version and there was a slight difference in response. I prefer the original 635a probably because I'm used to it. (Sings: We've been together now for forty years ... )
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