Submitted August 25, 2009 by a customer from sound-baord.com
"Rode NTG 2 great for Voice Over"
We recently bought a Rode NTG2 shotgun microphone; mainly because I'd read some good reviews but also as it was probably the least expensive shotgun mic I could find that had dual powered circuitry (battery and phantom power) and was from my favourite mic. manufacturer, Rode, who were offering a buy one mic. and get the new M3 (live condenser mic) for a $1AUS, how could we resist! The intended use of the NTG2 was location audio recording on the end of a pole for video work, but since it's been described as a good mic for voice it was worth testing for this purpose.
Ease of Use
I set up three mics for the session as follows (Note: these mics were set up in the control room of the studio and not the live room. These V/O sessions have, in the past, involved on the fly re-writes of the script and so I thought I'd keep the talent close by so we could chop and change "on the fly"):
Mic 1. Rode NT2 on a SE electronics heavy duty stand, SE Reflexion Filter and a regular pop shield.
Mic 2. Rode NT2 on a Red5 Audio mic stand and acoustic device (kindly provided by the client) and a regular pop shield.
Mic 3. Rode NTG2 in a Studio-Spares budget mic stand in a Rode SM4 suspension mount, regular pop shield and a lump of Auralex foam on the back end of the mic, as a surrogate for a Reflexion filter.
All three mics were interfaced directly into the DAW (via a Fireface800) which also provided the phantom power so I was using the same preamps with each mic. The audio was fed back digitally through the monitor mixer to the talents ears and also sent dry to Cubase for recording. I didn't want to put the two NT2s through the usual Toft preamps and not offer the NTG the same service, so i just thought "stuff it" and record the three mics dry to the DAW. First, we did a level test to get all threee mics to the same gain at the same distance (8" from the mic) using a metronome clicker held the same distance away. The NTG required slightly less gain that the NT2s using the same preamps which would be expected owing to the directional nature of the mic. This reduction in gain made little difference to the ambient noise in the room, however, as the control room is well treated and all the computers and devices run very quiet.
We did a voice test with the three artists (Steve, David and Brian) just to see which voice suited which mic, it was hard to tell the difference between the two NT2s, MIC1 certainly was a little dryer that MIC2, with less ambience; thus proving that spending the extra on the SE Electronics Reflexion filter was worth it. However the Red5 Audio filter was effective and it was nice to be able to open and close it, which had an effect of the tone of the signal, which is something the SE Reflexion filter cannot do. MIC3 was noticeably less bright than the two NT2s but looking at the specs of the two mics the NT2 does have a presence spike so I'd expect it to require a little more top end taming for voice compared to the NTG. What did surprise me, though, was the sheer quality and depth of the recording from MIC3, there was very little colouration of the voice compared to the other two mics which seem to exaggerate all the highs and boost the lows (which is why it's great for sung vocals as it just cuts through). The NTG2 on the other hand was very natural and true to life. We actually used it later in the session to record some swannie whistle samples as it was far better than the NT2s at producing a natural tone. One thing I did notice was the sensitivity of the NTG2 to plosives despite the pop shield. a quick fix for this was to have the mic angled slightly (about 15 degrees) away from the mouth, in fact i pointed it at the chin of the artist, not only did this remove the plosive effect but also made the mic even more warm and seemed to increase the gain a little; surprise number two! The session went well and all three artists did a good job, little did they know that i was using them an guinea-pigs!
I wanted to test the directionality of the NTG2, since it's a shotgun mic it was worth having a play. So we set up an NT2 and the NTG2 back-to-back without the benefit of Reflexion Filter with two voices facing each other having a conversation; one talking 8" from the front of the NT2 (and about 24" from the back of the NTG2) and the opposite way for the other mic This is where the NTG2 excelled.. I didn't need to play back the test as it was obvious from the waveforms on the PC monitor: despite the cardioid pattern of the NT2 there was a lot of bleed from the other voice coming through the back of the mic, although it was attenuated and has very little bottom and mid response it was noticeable and the audio would have require editing to remove the other voice from the recording, the NTG2 on the other hand was very good at eliminating the off axis sound, since it claims to have a true hyper-cardioid pattern .In fact I had noticed this while we were recording the V/O project; when David bellowed out his lines the TNG2 which was 8 feet away angled about 45 degrees away from him and towards the other artist, was picking very little up.
When you compare the financial outlay of the three systems, for voice recording at least (I would not want to attempt to use the NTG2 for sung vocals) this little shotgun mic wins the day without a doubt, in fact i wish I'd had three to use on the day!
The Wow Factor
So, to conclude: I would heartily recommend anyone adding this mic to their collection, its not expensive and the quality of the recording justifies the outlay instantly. If you're used to taking out your favourite large diaphragm condenser whenever you consider a voice recording.. think again!
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