Most professional production equipment claims to be designed to withstand harsh environments, but how often does this gear actually get put to the test? I recently had the chance to torture a Rode NTG-3 shotgun microphone. I subjected it to a nightmare scenario that would make even the strongest microphone capsules shriek in fear!
When you attach a meat thermometer to a shotgun microphone, you know things are going to get ugly. First I waved the NTG-3 above a running humidifier for several minutes. The temperature of the mic rose to the mid eighties (29.4° C), and it was completely covered in condensation. I immediately transferred it to a freezer where the temperature was below zero. Here’s a video that will give you an idea of what went down:
Did the NTG-3 survive the abuse? Well, as you can see in the video, it did pretty well. But there was a little more to this test. I made a recording on the Zoom H4n inside the freezer, so I could hear how the mic performed as it transitioned from hot & wet to cold & frozen.
This test wasn’t just about the Rode NTG-3. I also subjected my Zoom H4n and my Edirol R-09HR to the harsh world inside my freezer. I cut this portion out of the video because it was just a little too nerdy and boring to watch. I placed my Edirol R-09HR on the freezer door. It was playing a loop of my voice saying “testing one, two, three.” The NTG-3 was plugged into the the Zoom H4n and pointed directly at the speaker on the R-09HR. The recording came out fine. I mean, it was a little on the monotonous side content wise, but the NTG-3 and the Zoom H4n stepped up to the challenge beautifully.
I was pleased with how all of the equipment preformed in the test. Nothing failed. Even the batteries stood up to the cold. The Edirol kept on playing back the sound file unabated. The Zoom H4n hung in there and kept recording the entire time (its display got a little sluggish, and it sort of froze at one point, but the recording did not stop). The Rode NTG-3 also kept working throughout the process. It sounded great when it was soaking wet, and when it was frozen solid. Pretty impressive stuff.
I’m heading off to NAB 2011 in Las Vegas, so I won’t be able to post for a week or so, but check back soon. I have another microphone shootout coming up between the Rode VideoMic Pro and the Sennheiser MKE 400. To make things interesting the shootout takes place both indoors and out. See you soon!