January 11, 2016 at 5:26PM


Gear Wish List

I'm working on creating an internal communications group at the company I work for. This team will be responsible for creating and distributing video content for thousands of employees. If you had the opportunity to outfit this team with gear, what would you get? Consider we're a small franchisor, so think middle of the road budget. Content would be instructional and talking heads mostly, with a couple of live events ever year.

Our current gear:
Maxed out Macbook Pro (2014) running Final Cut Pro X and Motion (will likely be buying an Adobe Suite sub as well)
2 Canon XF 100 cameras
Rode NTG 2 Shotgun Mic
2 Senheisser Lav Mics and radios
Tascam DR-60D Recorder
3 Unknown make LED lights (I don't like them as the cameras pickup flicker even after adjusting shutter for it)
Green Screen
ipad teleprompter



A lot will depend on what you want to do that you can't do right now with the gear you already have, and what sort of budget you have to work with.

Looking at your gear list, here are basic changes I would make...

Canon XF100 cameras
- These are fine ( unless you want to shoot shallow DOF in small rooms )

Rode NTG-2 mic
- Not good indoors, I would replace this mic with the NTG-3 which is much better both indoors and outdoors. Make sure you have a good shock-mount to hold it. I like to use a Rycote pistol-grip with a Rycote softie indoors.

Sennheiser UHF lav systems
- The lav mics that come with these systems are not great, so I would look at replacing just the mics for these systems. My favorite cheap lav mics are the Oscar SoundTech lav mics that cost less than $100 each. ( you have to order directly from their website )

Tascam DR-60D
- Good recorder when used correctly. If you want better audio with your shotgun mic I would get a Sound Devices mixer ( either a used MixPre or the new MixPre-D ) and feed the output from the SD mixer directly to your Tascam DR-60D at LINE level.

I would consider replacing your lights with Aputure LED 95+ CRI LED lights, there are two main models from Aputure to look at, one is priced less than $300 ( about the size of an iPad ) and the newer "Light Storm" model is priced at $600. These lights produce great color, are very bright but dimmable, and do not flicker.

I would also consider a more powerful iMac to replace your Macbook Pro and a Thunderbolt 2 storage drive.

January 12, 2016 at 6:19AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Thanks for the feedback. The NTG-2 shotgun mic is basically unusable inside the office due to our HVAC and white noise generators. Would the NTG-3 have better off-axis isolation?

Kyle Tam

January 12, 2016 at 7:24AM

>>>The NTG-2 shotgun mic is basically unusable inside the office due to our HVAC and white noise generators. Would the NTG-3 have better off-axis isolation?

Yes, it's much less sensitive to off-axis sound. If you really want to get the best medium priced mic for indoor dialog, then I would look at the Audio Technica AT4053b "pencil" mic which is a hyper-cardioid mic that has excellent off-axis sound rejection. I use an AT4053b and some older AT3031 cardioid mics when doing a proper audio set-up indoors.

The Rode NTG-3 is a pretty good indoor/outdoor mic when you want a quick set-up. There are even better indoor shotgun mics, but then you're well over $1,000+ just for the mic.

Also, I was recently told about a $60 Chinese cardioid mic that is supposed to be pretty good for indoor dialog, so I've got one on order but it might not arrive until the end of January. ( I was curious to see how good a $60 indoor mic would sound )

Takstar CM63 Small-Diaphragm Condenser Mic

I am going to test it against my AT4053b and AT3031 mics. ( the AT3031 mics I bought used for $100 each, and they are also pretty good for indoor dialog )

January 12, 2016 at 11:37AM, Edited January 12, 11:39AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Guy, when you get that Takstar, could you post something to the boards with your thoughts?

David S.

January 12, 2016 at 1:59PM

Yes, definitely. I might even get a guitarist friend to record some samples of guitar and vocals, along with regular dialog.

Guy McLoughlin

January 13, 2016 at 7:42AM

My Takstar CM63 "pencil" mic arrived today. The physical design is absolutely identical to the discontinued AT3031 "pencil" mic which was a very good $200 mic that Audio Technica made for more than a decade. Overall the construction and finish look and feel very solid. ( I bought two of the AT3031 mics used for $100 each a few years ago )

Using my Sound Devices MixPre-D mixer I have to say that the Takstar CM63 mic sounds very good. It's quite sensitive, puts out a strong signal, and has a better lower range than my AT3031 mics.

The built-in "100 Hz" bass roll-off filter sounds more like a "200 Hz" roll-off filter, so I would try and use the roll-off filter in your mixer or recorder, or simply EQ your audio in post.

I will try and do a proper test against my AT3031 and AT4053b mics over the next week, but right now I can say that this $60 Takstar mic is a total steal. Really good sound for such a low price.

January 25, 2016 at 2:32PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Hello, I am interested in the Takstar cm-63, and would be useful for me to know how resulted the test against the other microphones. Thank you very much!

jose salazar

April 16, 2016 at 6:26AM

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