East Hartford, CT – January 2017… Describing himself as a Forensic Historian and Conceptual Artist, Richard Grove frames his groundbreaking research into epic artistic representations to educate his audience. As the co-owner of Tragedy and Hope Communications, he publishes articles, podcasts, videos, and documentary films relating to Cognitive Liberty and American History. His podcast, The Peace Revolution, is consistently ranked #1 in Higher-Education by PodOmatic, and provides listeners with a world-class education. Capturing audio for his projects, which are viewed by individuals in over 186 countries, is no small matter. To ensure stellar audio quality for his film and video projects, Grove relies on the proven performance of the B3 Omnidirectional Lavalier microphone from Menlo Park, CA-based Countryman Associates.
Grove reports that, over the past ten years, he has used the Countryman B3 XLR (model # B3P4FF05B) Lavalier microphones for all wired studio applications. “I’ve had a total of six over the past decade,” he reports, “and I’ve never encountered a technical issue with any of them. I was first introduced to the Countryman B3 in 2007 by a local Connecticut television station where I was a guest on one of their shows. I was impressed with the mic’s build and sound quality and, after borrowing some of their equipment, I continued to be fascinated by how rich the B3’s sound quality was. When I started building my own studio in 2008 and assembling equipment for use during film interviews, I chose the B3.”
Grove finds that wired microphones, such as his version of the B3, continue to deliver the best overall audio performance for documentary interviews. “I’ve found that the best performance comes from using XLR cables and not wireless mic packs,” he explained. “That way, I avoid the risk of wireless interference, I don’t have to keep an eye on the battery levels, and I can consistently focus on the interview and not the performance of the microphones. Presently, I capture the B3’s audio with a TASCAM recorder. I also have dual backup systems, but I’ve never needed to use anything but the B3 audio.”
When asked about those attributes that make the Countryman B3 the ideal microphone for his work, Grove offered the following thoughts, “Primarily, I value the true-to life sound. The B3 delivers just that, leaving very little need to ‘tweak’ the audio, which makes it quick and easy to get the consistent sound quality I’m looking for across interviews. The B3 is also a great choice for outdoor applications beyond the sanctity of a studio. In my experience, it’s practically weatherproof. I’ve used the B3 in rain, sleet, and snow—and the most I’ve had to do is mount it upside down so that water doesn’t collect in the diaphragm. It’s virtually indestructible, which is quite remarkable considering that it looks like it would be quite fragile given its diminutive size.”
The B3 proved its value and versatility during a recent interview, as Grove described. “I recently did a joint-project with another director where we conducted six filmed interviews over a weekend with experts in U.S. Foreign Policy and a CIA whistleblower,” Grove reports. “My colleague was adamant that we use shotgun mics aimed down from a boom pole. I insisted we should also use the B3 ‘just in case.’ My colleague didn’t want a mic to be seen in the shot. I explained that the B3 is so small nobody would notice and, that for documentary interviews, its standard equipment.”
“As it turned out,” Grove continued, “the B3 had the clearest sound. By contrast, the shotgun mics were so sensitive that they picked up the constant vibration of the hotel’s concrete floor from the nearby elevator shaft. Had it not been for the performance of my Countryman B3, we would have blown the entire weekend, and many thousands of dollars – great footage with sub-par audio is a disaster. Using the B3 is like having disaster-avoidance insurance.”
For anyone involved in documentary work, quality and responsive technical support are important matters when it comes to choosing production equipment. Here, again, Grove rates Countryman best-in-class, “My experience with Countryman customer and tech support services has been exemplary. As noted previously, I’ve been using their mics for a good ten years and have never had a failure. During that time, I’ve had some questions and Rosa and her colleagues have consistently been quick to reply and very courteous. I couldn’t be more impressed with Countryman’s tech and customer support.”
Before turning his attention back to the business of the day, Grove offered these parting thoughts regarding his experience with Countryman Associates. “I can’t imagine any other vendor taking the time to actually hear my concerns, value my input, and help resolve questions,” he said. “I’ve been singing the praises of Countryman to my colleagues and my audience, and will insist on Countryman B3’s being used on every production set I’m on. I’ve already had a colleague buy some B3’s for his productions, and the quality of my productions will inspire many more to do likewise.”
To learn more about Richard Grove, visit his website at https://tragedyandhope.com/.
About Countryman Associates
For more than 30 years, Countryman has focused on developing microphones and accessories that deliver maximum gain before feedback, with the highest possible rejection of wind, vibration, interference, and other unwanted sounds. The result is warm, clear vocals in speaking and singing applications, delivering natural audio reinforcement that requires almost no attention from the sound engineer or the performer. For additional information about Countryman Associates, visit the company online at www.countryman.com.
Photo Information: Richard Grove