Recommendation for a recording microphone

I am new to the audio world and would like to seek advice from audio experts on selecting a microphone that is sensitive enough to record a conversation in a noisy place. The microphone will be connected to my camcorder that is located about 30 feet away via a cable. The conversation is between my coach and me ( I would like to record his comments and instructions). The microphone will be mounted about 5 to 10 feet away from us.
Your help is greatly appreciated.



This is a common misconception. A sensitive microphone will pick up the noise just as well as it picks up the “non-noise”. It’s all sound. The fact that you can pick out a conversation in a noisy room has little to do with the sensitivity of your hearing and much to do with how your brain processes sound.

The microphone will be mounted about 5 to 10 feet away from us.

Bad idea. Ever notice those interviews on TV? The interviewer is holding the microphone and moving it back and forth. There’s a reason for that.

How do they do it in the movies, or documentaries? There’s a boom mic operator who is controlling a highly directional microphone on a boom pole above the speakers, pointing it back and forth as people talk. And that’s in a relatively quiet environment. In a noisy environment it would not be sufficient, and you’d have to use the “microphone in your face” technique.

One other alternative is to use lavalier (“tie tack”) microphones for each speaker. But then the mics will be in the shot, and it requires a bit of setup, not to mention a mixer. Probably not an option with your camcorder.

If you don’t want the microphone in the shot, choose a “shotgun” microphone and get it as close to the speakers as possible. Just don’t expect documentary-quality audio.

– Bill

PS: I’m sure Koz will jump in here with his opinions. Pay attention - he does this kind of thing for a living.

The microphone normally found inside the “furry animal on a stick” (or “wookie”)…

…is one of the Shoeps shotguns…

There is a lot of good field capture information in that web site. Scroll around.

The Sennheiser MKH 416 gets mentioned a lot.

There’s another one that comes apart. I don’t mean it’s badly made, I mean it has parts and you can screw together a shotgun depending on your needs. Extreme directionality does not tend to go together with good sound quality.

That number I can’t find without digging a bit. My friend in Florida Production uses one of those. I want to say the Sennheiser MKH-60, but that one doesn’t unscrew.

I’m partial to sound-proof rooms myself. I haven’t done shot gun field work in ages.


I’m probably thinking of the ME66 and the ME80 microphones which haven’t been made in a long time. They’ve been replaced with the MKH 416. I like the opinions of the guy in Florida because he has the moisture and salt problems. He used to run into problems with the screw-together systems because of corrosion.