I am now the proud ownder of a brand spanking new XM2! I need help to choose an external mic. I am going to be using it for weddings/events which I am currently filming free of charge as a hobby.
I have up to £200, but don't necessarily want to part with all that cash. I have, so far, looked at the Rode vidoemic and the canon DM50 (although I can't find many reviews on this, its just what the XM2 manual suggests). Althought the Rode isn't stereo! Think I need a stereo mic?
Please can you suggest/recommend which mic I should get?
Phantom Power. Condenser (sometimes called capacitor) mics require some power to run their internal circuitry and this can be provided either by a small AA or AAA battery (which is the case for this AT mic) or as a 48v signal down the XLR mic cable. Many pro audio mics can only be powered this way and don't have any battery. The MA 300 from what I can fond on the web DOES NOT provide any phantom power so although you can plug XLR mics into it, any that require phantom power won't work with it.
I know some people around here don't like the Rode Videomic, but I have heard plenty of good reports for it elsewhere. I have no first hand experience of it. SOme of the more expensive Rode shotgun mics have a good rep, but are mostly phantom power only the NTG2 is an exception (Rode NTG-2 Lightweight Condenser Shotgun Microphon at DV247.COM).
I do generally like AT mics (and I use them a lot in live sound - I do FOH sound for a church) I have a cheapish ATR25 for my little Canon HV30.
Thank you, thats very useful info.
My XM2 does not have the XLR input for the AT897 mic. I believe the only way around this is to fork out for the MA300 adaptor at about £150. This obviously pushes up the price for me considerably.
I will have a look at your other suggestiions.
I must admit, reading lots of online reviews of the videomic by rode I was almost decided, until I read some posts here that was, warning to stay clear of it.
Does the AT897 only run off of phantom power then?
Getting more confused bt the min. Ha ha.
It isn't an optimum solution, because the design of the pro mic XLR connection actually helps with noise reduction, because the signal is balanced (a technical way of making the mic immune to noise picked up in the cable) but for the short run to the camcorder you shouldn't actually come across much of a problem.
as far as the Rode VM is concerned, like I said, I have no experience of it, but I do like their pro audio large diaphragm mics and in the audio world Rode have a great reputation. It may well be worth seeing if someone can demo one for you (or like I said, get one on Sale or return) That mic already has the mini-jack connection required by your camera
In the music world, Rode have a good reputation however their video range doesn't really seem to hit the mark. Their video microphones are the "NTG" range and it was said that it stood for "Not Too Good". However their latest video mic, the NTG3 does seem to be something special, but then it does cost £500.
You can pick-up xlr-minijack adapters for a few quid and the at897 will run off an AA battery, so you don't have to worry about providing phantom power.
It's really worth forking out for a decent mic as you'll be using it for years to come. The Videomic and the Sennheiser 300 are really limited to on-board camera microphones whereas you can deploy the at897 in a variety of ways. At the end of a long cable, or on a boom, for example. It's not the "absolute best" microphone but it is the best value for money in your £200 price range and certainly better than the videomic or 300.
Beyerdynamic also have a good reputation and their MCE 86 is supposed to be a decent microphone however I've never used one so I can't comment on it and it's a bit outside your price range.
So, if I go for the AT897. Buy a mini jack to XLR adaptor and a shockmount to attach it to the camera with (as it doesn't attach to the shoe), I should be ok? Does the mini jack to XLR have to be balanced or something?
That would be my recommendation. As with all things in this area, it's a matter of opinion and there are those who will suggest that you sell the kids, go on the game and re-mortgage the house to buy a Sennheiser mkh60 microphone for £1500 but, for what you're doing, the at897 will do the job admirably. It will also outlast your camcorder!
It's worth taking a bit of time to play with the mic and find out what it does and what its weaknesses are but it will still sound much, much better than your camera's in-built mic.
As for the stereo vs mono arguement... top quality mono sounds better than poor stereo every time.
Have a look at the prices from www.thomann.de before buying. I can heartily recommend them for price and service.
Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 11-14-2008 at 02:24 PM.