Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Non-shotgun boom mics for interiors (and exteriors)

I get a lot of repeat questions about which mic other than a shotgun to put on a boom, especially when working inside. The answer is a hypercardioid or supercardioid. You can also easily use these mics outside and they work very well in outside situations with hard surfaces, e.g. streets, buildings, walls, windows.

Here's a little video that explains why. Listen with really good headphones or on good monitors.

BTW, cardioid is pronounced like cardiac, but with an oid at the end. Car-Dee-Oyed. The name comes from the root cardio and in this case refers to the heart-shaped pattern the mic makes if you're looking down over it and it is positioned parallel to the ground.

I have listened to the others including the Sennheiser 8050 and, while it is a very nice mic, I didn't care for the EQ curve on it for boom work. My choice of these mics from the best down are:

Schoeps cmc641

And get the more expensive B5D pop filter shown here.

Sennheiser MKH50

Audio Techica 4053b

Audix SCX-1 HC

Oktava MK012 HC


  1. Hi Ty, great article and I love this video as it explains by example what can never be done with mere words or pictures. I first saw it 4 or 5 years ago on your mobileme site and immediately bought your field guide.

    One question for you, for various reasons I ended up with a pair of Nuemann KM 184 cardioids, not hyper-cardioids. Everyone (you included) seems to recommend hypers for indoor booming. Intuitively I would think the full rear field rejection of a cardioid would actually be better than a hyper since it would reject crew noise or ceiling reflections. Are these still useable for booming?

  2. Thanks gman,

    It's a tradeoff between full field rejection and width of front pattern. Most folks, me among them, will take the rear bounce to keep the pattern tight, but I do know a few people who have used a cardioid on a two shot so they won't have to be as accurate with the boom.

  3. Hi Ty! Thanks for the great video! So hard to explain to people that if you bought the longest gun, Mother of All-guns, it does not mean that you will have a good sound in the interior. I often used Shoeps MK 41, and is a great choice. Now I have a Neumann KM 185, it sounds very much like Shoeps - Shoeps for the poor)