Interior Dialog Boompole Microphone Roundup

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When you’re operating a boompole to capture dialog for a video or film production indoors, it’s often best not to use a shotgun microphone. The kind of microphone that you want to use is a small diaphragm condenser with either a hypercardioid or a supercardioid pick-up pattern. More specifically, there are only a handful of microphone models that are preferred for this task. In this roundup, we’ll discuss every model that’s available at B&H, and explain what makes each one desirable.

The main reason to use a hyper- or supercardioid small diaphragm condenser is that shotgun microphones tend to pick up more distracting echoes and sound reflections when used for interior dialog. 

Schoeps CMC6 MK41

The Schoeps CMC6 MK41 is considered by many to be the finest tool available for booming interior dialog. Consisting of the CMC6 amplifier module and the MK41 supercardioid capsule, it is part of the Colette Series, which has remained one of the main product categories for the German manufacturer since its introduction in 1973. There are several other modular accessories available for the Colette Series, such as capsules with different pick-up patterns, low cut filters, pads and more. If you’re booming dialog in a tight space, it’s possible to use a Schoeps Active Extension Cable between the CMC6 and the MK41 capsule. This effectively reduces the amount of microphone on the boom to just the capsule, allowing the operator to squeeze it into smaller spaces. If you seek the utmost in sound quality, look no further than the Schoeps CMC6 MK41. This microphone is also available in a matched stereo set.

Audix SCX1/HC

If you don't have the cash for a top-of-the-line microphone, a more budget-friendly (yet still excellent-sounding) option for interior dialog booming is the hypercardioid Audix SCX1/HC. Of all of the microphones that have earned a reputation for being good interior dialog microphones, the SCX1/HC is the only one that has the distinction of being manufactured in the USA, at the company's headquarters in Oregon. Also a modular system, there are two other capsules available for this microphone (cardioid and omni). The SCX1/HC is available in a complete B&H interior dialog kit which includes a K-Tek cabled boompole, shock mount, microphone cable and boompole bag.

Sennheiser MKH 50

Short in size, rich in sound and solidly built, the Sennheiser MKH 50 is known for having a slightly more narrow focus than the Schoeps CMC6 MK41 (meaning that it will be a little more directional). This supercardioid microphone is an excellent companion to the Sennheiser MKH 60 short shotgun (when wide and tight shots are cut together). On a quiet set with proper wind protection, the MKH 50 is also sometimes used outdoors when the subjects can be closely boomed. It features switches for a -10dB pad (to tame loud sounds) and roll-off filter (to cut low the frequencies of footsteps and rumble). The MZS40 shock mount is included.

Audio-Technica AT4053b

The Audio-Technica AT4053b is another great option for people who need to capture exceptional sounding interior dialog without spending a great deal of money. Also a modular system, the AT4053b has a hypercardioid capsule, and the AT4051b-EL cardioid and AT4049b-EL omni capsules are available separately. Like the MKH 50, the AT4053b features a -10dB pad and a roll-off filter to cut unwanted rumble. This microphone is available individually and in two different complete B&H interior dialog kits. Both kits come with a K-Tek cabled boompole, a microphone cable and a boompole bag. What makes them different is that one kit comes with a Pearstone shock mount, and the other kit comes with a Rycote InVision Series shock mount.

Neumann KM 185

An excellent option, price-wise, between the entry level and higher end interior dialog boompole microphones, the hypercardioid Neumann KM 185 (available in a black matte or nickel finish) is well known for capturing first-rate sound quality and being fairly immune to RF interference. The KM Series from Neumann is modular, and there’s a full suite of capsules available for it, including the KK 120 (with a Figure 8 pick-up pattern) and the cardioid KK184 (excellent sound capture for drum overheads). There is also a digital version of this microphone, the KM 185D, which outputs an AES/EBU 42 signal and requires the Neumann DMI-2 interface for operation (which is available in a regular or portable version). The KM 185 is also available in matched stereo pairs in a matte black or nickel finish.

AKG Blue Line CK93 and SE-300B

The Blue Line series CK93 and SE-300B kit from AKG offers a unique solution for sound capture in video and film production. A modular system, the CK93 capsule is hypercardioid, and well regarded by many for interior dialog boompole work. An interesting twist here is that AKG also offers a separately available short shotgun capsule in the Blue Line series (the CK98) which makes it possible to have one microphone system to use for both interior and exterior booming. The included SE-300B power supply features a combined roll-off filter and -10dB pad. There are a number of other capsules available, as well as compatible shock mounts, such as the popular Rycote InVision INV-7.

  Pick-Up Pattern Frequency Response SPL Low Cut Pad Phantom Power Length x Diameter Weight
Schoeps CMC6 MK41 Supercardioid 40 Hz -
20 kHz
132 dB 20 Hz No, optional 12 - 48 V required 5.4 x 0.8" (138 x 20mm) 2.7 oz (77 g)
Audix SCX1/HC Hypercardioid 40 Hz -
20 kHz
130 dB No No 48 - 52 V required 4.1 x 0.8" (104 x 21mm) 4 oz (114 g)
Sennheiser MKH 50 Supercardioid 40 Hz -
20 kHz
134 dB 30 Hz Yes, -10 dB 48 V required 6 x 1" (153 x 25mm) 3.5 oz (100 g)
Audio-Techncia AT4053b Hypercardioid 20 Hz -
20 kHz
145 dB 80 Hz Yes, -10 dB 48 V required 6.1 x 0.8" (155 x 21mm) 4.5 oz (127 g)
Neumann KM 185 Hypercardioid 20 Hz -
20 kHz
142 dB No No 48 V required 4.3 x 0.9" (108 x 22mm) 2.82 oz (80 g)
AKG CK 93 Hypercardioid 20 Hz -
20 kHz
132 dB 75 Hz Yes, -10 dB 9 - 52 V required 6.4 x 0.7" (162 x 19mm ) 4 oz (114 g)

Thanks for checking out this B&H InDepth Roundup. If you have any more questions about microphones used for interior dialog boompole work, we encourage you to submit a Comment below.

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Thanks for this review. But wondering what to think about Rode NT5 and NT55 ?

Hello Wondering -

I like the the RODE NT55 better for vocals then the RODE NT5 which was developed for general instrument recording and sound reinforcement. The NT55 feature a 3 position Pad switch for added headroom while capturing loud, peaking audio signal. A 3-position low-cut filter switch eliminates low frequency noise. The NT55 is an ideal choice for vocals, guitar, drums, cabinets and more. The NT55 includes interchangeable omnidirectional and cardioid capsules for even further flexibility.

More questions?  Please e-mail us at:  AskBH@BandH.com

The NT55 is a cardioid pattern, rather than hypercardioid, as the rest of the mics in this roundup are. The NT55 is a nice mic (I own one) but not the right choice for dialog in film.

The NT5 or the 55 both perfect for indoor, the NT3 isn't and you may not get what you're after with the shotgun NTG3 or you might.
For the money the NT5 is great and if money no object then the NT5 is still awesome, basically Rode made the Shoeps and sold it for bargain as the NT5, sometimes you have to ask yourself if the internals of a microphone cost the manufacturer $2000? of course not but some people prefer to pay for that perception.
Rode is professional all the way but they have that Black Magic Design forward thinking "good of mankind" mentality they'll sell for a bargain an awesome product their margins are small but they'll make the money selling quantity, they win we win - that's how it's done in 2013! Rode as Steve Jobs would say are the crazy ones, and the crazy ones get my money Chad Johnson.

Hello Wondering -

Both the RODE NT5 and RODE NT55 are excellent mics and offer amazing performance and build characteristics for the money.  These Rode mics seem to be best suited for capturing live musical instrument performances.  I favor the NT5 for general instrument recording, orchestral string sections and acoustic guitars. I like the NT55 for live big band, small percussion and general orchestral work where clarity and differentiation among instruments is desired. That said - the NT55 would not be a bad choice for interior dialog boom recording and certainly is a winner at its offering price.

What about the Senheiser MKH-8050? I was thinking of getting the 8050 for interior and the 8060 for exteriors. What would make someone go for the older MKH-50 vs. the MKH-8050?

Your choice of the 8050 for interiors and 8060 for exteriors is solid. The MKH 50 would be better for dialog because of its 40Hz to 20kHz response, built in pad, and low frequency roll-off. It is also less likely to pick up reflected audio in an enclosed space.

Hello -

A Shure SM81-LC - Cardioid Instrument Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone may be just what you are looking for. Its flat, neutral frequency response, makes it particularly well-suited for use on acoustic guitar, piano, cymbals and choirs.

The Audio-Technica AT8022 X/Y Stereo Phantom and Battery Powered Field Microphone would be my recommendation for a single handle, dual capsule stereo microphone. It captures ambiance, live performances and any audio source with accurate stereo imaging and detailed frequency response.

The microphone is powered with external phantom power or a 1.5V AA battery making it ideal for use with cameras and portable recording devices. The capsule features two condenser capsules mounted in an X/Y configuration. Its innovative coincident capsule configuration produces accurate stereo image in a smaller housing. The microphone features a 5-pin XLR output connector. Dual 3-pin XLR and single 1/8" (1.5mm) stereo mini cables are supplied. Also included is a stand adapter, windscreen and protective pouch.

If you have additional questions, please e-mail us at: AskBH@BandH.com

I'm looking for a mic for live acoustic music. Would a small diaphragm condenser work in this situation?
The other thing I was looking at was a stereo mic, but I am on a tight budget. The Rode Video mic fits the budget but isn't XLR.
So I guess the question is, should I go with a small diaphragm condenser or a stereo mic, and what would you recommend for someone on a budget. $400 would be the ceiling and that might be pushing it.

Thanks.

Hello -

A Shure SM81-LC - Cardioid Instrument Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphone may be just what you are looking for. Its flat, neutral frequency response, makes it particularly well-suited for use on acoustic guitar, piano, cymbals and choirs. 

The Audio-Technica AT8022 X/Y Stereo Phantom and Battery Powered Field Microphone would be my recommendation for a single handle, dual capsule stereo microphone.  It captures ambiance, live performances and any audio source with accurate stereo imaging and detailed frequency response. The microphone is powered with external phantom power or a 1.5V AA battery making it ideal for use with cameras and portable recording devices.

The capsule features two condenser capsules mounted in an X/Y configuration. Its innovative coincident capsule configuration produces accurate stereo image in a smaller housing. The microphone features a 5-pin XLR output connector. Dual 3-pin XLR and single 1/8" (1.5mm) stereo mini cables are supplied. Also included is a stand adapter, windscreen and protective pouch.  If you have additional questions, please e-mail us at:  AskBH@BandH.com

It's not correct on the whole to say "the KM series is modular". The Neumann KM 185 as shown is not modular. If you want to be able to switch capsules, you purchase the newer KM A output stage:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/838463-REG/Neumann_KM_A_NX_KM_A_Ou...
Or the digital output version. That would allow you to switch between KK 185 and KK 184 capsules as described, whereas purchasing the KM 185 or KM 184 provides a lower cost version with only the one capsule attached.

Hello just wanted to say this a great article I have been waiting for an arctile that clearly explain the best mics for interior work. I would to know if a RODE NT3 would be a good interior mic or not even though heavy for booming. Thank you in advance.

Hello -

The Rode NTG-3B is a professional shotgun microphone that delivers a few unique qualities in order to meet the demands of today's broadcast audio engineers and boom operators. The microphone features radio-frequency (RF) interference properties that avoid annoying noise and interference caused by nearby RF sources such as radio antennas, WIFI networks, internet devices, power lines, etc. The microphone is also built to withstand the rigors of adverse weather conditions.

Of course special attention is paid to the accurate, directional pickup characteristics and its frequency response, sensitivity and low noise floor, which result in pristine audio quality. The NTG-3 shotgun microphone is an ideal solution for outdoor ENG and studio applications.

That said - with careful placement , many have used the NTG-3 successfully indoors when necessary,.  but it is not typically a first choice.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

I didn't mean the NTG-3, i was asking about the NT3.

Hello Cameradude -

I am so sorry - I missed that.  In the case of the Rode NT3 I feel it's cardioid pattern is best suited for close voice over work and musical instruments.  It's cardioid pattern, however, is ill-suited to minimize reflected sound from  walls, floors and ceilings.  The mics featured in our article above offer super and hyper-cardioid polar patterns that  offer far more efficacy against sonic reflection indoors.

Pretty sure the Rode NT3 is hyper-cardioid. Heard that its not bad for indoor booming but it's quite heavy being around 500g.