A dear old friend recently sent me an email asking which mic I recommended using with the Zoom H5. It was an old roommate of mine who had played drums in my band. She continues to bang the drums professionally to this day. This person is also an excellent sound recordist, songwriter, guitarist, and several other awesome things.
She was writing me from Ireland of all places, where she was working on some kind of audio-related job. The question about the mic came up because her associate was working on a video project Paris. The French person had a Zoom H5, and they needed to record interviews in a “live” sounding space (likely a noisy, large area).
This old friend of mine hopped on the internet to research what mic to suggest they use, and before long she found herself on my website, which I assume made her chuckle. :)
So… what kind of mic should a French person use to record interviews in a noisy environment with a Zoom H5? Like most people, this person didn’t have a large budget to work with. They needed the least expensive option that could still capture excellent sound.
One way to go would be to use the Zoom SGH-6 shotgun module. This is the long, skinny thing that attaches to the front of the H5. They actually sound pretty decent, BUT, they are tricky to properly shock-mount. Since the mic is hard-mounted to the recorder, it’s very easy to accidentally record distracting-sounding vibration and handling noises.
The solution is to use a shockmount that was made specifically for the purpose of supporting a handheld recorder. There is a good one made by Rycote that comes in a kit which includes a pistol grip, and a fluffy windscreen. And lo and behold, it’s available in France! You can also buy it in the US, Germany, and the UK.
The accessories that come in the Rycote kit are useful. You screw the pistol grip to the base of the shockmount, which enables you to hold the recorder while it’s recording, and carefully move it around — keeping the built-in mics pointed it at the sounds you want to clearly capture. This kit is marketed as being compatible with the Zoom H4n, but it will work equally as well with the H5.
There is a cheaper shockmount that was designed to hold a portable recorder made by a company called Movo (the item is the SMM5-V2 Dual Suspension Mount). However, I’ve never tried this one, so I can’t guarantee it will do the job. I’m also not sure if it’s available in Europe.
So, if you’re a French video person in Paris on a tight budget, what does this option cost you? The SGH-6 and the Rycote kit will set you back around 250 euro.
You could also opt for an Audio-Technica AT875R shotgun. This is the best sounding low-budget shotgun in my opinion, and, yay! It’s available in France. You can also buy it in the US, Germany, and the UK.
It’s usually not a good idea to hold a shotgun mic in your hand while you’re recording. They’re too sensitive. They’ll pick up a lot of handling noise. You will need to get a shockmount for the mic, and a pistol grip to screw into the base of the shockmount. If you’re a video person on a tight budget in France, this shockmount kit is worth a try.
The AT875R mic is going to need phantom power to operate, so you need to be sure to turn that on on the H5. You will also need a mic cable, and extra wind protection if you ever need to shoot outdoors, such as interviewing tourists in front of the Notre Dame cathedral.
How does this option suit a tight budget? 159 for the mic + 15.60 for the shockmount + 9.14 for the cable = 183.74 euro. Plus an extra 38 euro if they’re shooting outside and need the wind protection.
So there you have it. That’s my two cents on the subject (or two euro pennies, in this case). Au revoir, artistes!