thoughts and decisions for a creative edge

And then the mic goes BOOM! with K-Tek Avalon KE-144CCR.

New Mic Boom. K-Tek Avalon KE-144 CCR.

K-Tek + Rode Blimp

I love going out audio hunting for soundscapes. Sennheiser’s MKH416 shotgun with Roland’s R-26 Field Recorder have been working surprising great with each other. The battery power of 4x AA Alkali / NiMH lasts surprisingly well considering that the R-26 provides 48v phantom power to the mic. I’ve been out in winter cold for as long as 4 hours, and there’s still juice left with 1.2v 2700mAh NiMH cells. I suppose they could go even longer if Alkaline batteries were used. Somehow NiMH batts drain out faster then the latter mentioned. The only issue with the current setup is that I cannot reach further to a distant source. All due to the simple reason that it’s reach is pretty limited hand-held. Great for maneuverability, but for TV use, I would be a sore thumb in camera frames. Need to get out of the shot!

You get good directional audio with shotgun mics, but to get that proximity sounds, one needs to get closer and this is where a wireless lavalier mic or a shotgun on boompole is highly required. There are various lengths and materials of boom poles in the market. But since this next project involves field recording for a broadcast crew, it needs to be able to stretch the distance, literally.

With the choices of the current boom poles out in market, I decided to note down the PROS and CONS upon deciding which one to fit the job. We’re gonna go tight on the budget.

PROs :

  • Get closer to sound sources with least hassle of cabling (noise + drag).
  • Boompole hangar makes a modular mic stand without having to manually muscle its mass over long period of capture.
  • Look professional. This normally keeps bystanders away from coming close observing what you’re doing, which of course destroys the audio with their chit chat.

CONs :

  • Extreme hyper-cardioid polar pattern on shotgun mic means that the mic needs to always be directed to the sweet spot to get optimal recordings.
  • Mic placement gets even more critical as changing ambiance and mic distances means constantly changing levels that needs to be corrected in post.
  • Constant monitoring required should the sound starts to drift.
  • Dedicated and able field engineer to do the job.
  • Well shielded long XLR cable between mic – field recorder.
K-Tek Avalon

K-Tek Avalon Series

It may seem skeptical that there is actually more Cons than Pro to why we should get the pole. But having a good audio person to handle the job would actually eliminate all of the issues we might have. In short, you have to know what you doing when handling a job with the boom pole. With all the above factors in mind, we decided to go with K-Tek’s KE-144 CCR Avalon boom pole.

  • It was one with the longest reach of 144″ or 3.6m.
  • Comes assembled with noiseless internal coil cable for easy connectivity.
  • CCR meant that it comes with a bottom side XLR connector, which makes it easier to be rested on the ground in between takes.
  • Usable with shorter XLR cable from the CCR connector to the manned Field Recorder. We use it with a 1.5m XLR cable.

Fast forward >>>>

It’s been a couple of weeks since we have this boom pole and I can tell you it’s been great pleasure putting it to use. For field recordings and foley work, it’s been a priceless addition to the studio gear. Due to its long reach, we now easily get close to almost any sound source as long as its blimp accessible. And of course it’s not limited to a shortgun mic alone that goes on the end of the pole. It instantly becomes a multi-purpose pole for both light weight cameras and any microphone as long as you have the right mic holder on the other end. The inner wire coil inside the pole is a great help with this mics as it could add quite a lot of cable stress with the cable weight if they were done externally.

Got the unit from DVeStore which have been giving good tips online for professional audio capture. K-Tek have been a trusted name in field recording gears. Seeing their product on IBC Amsterdam 2012 gave solid impression on the products they make. I hope to have good long years with our new KE-144CCR. Let’s get tape rolling..

Thanks for reading this post.

K-Tek CCR Connection

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