Microphone for field recordings?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by OldCorpse, Jun 8, 2006.

  1. OldCorpse macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #1
    Hi, I'm interested in buying a mic I can use to record enviromental sounds... stuff like bird calls, insects, rain, streams, ambient voices, machinery, traffic etc.

    Now, since I'm going to be out in the field with this, my idea was to use my ibook (see sig) to record to, though I guess I'd need something like a light/portable mic pre, or maybe even a small mixer (overkill?). Obviously, I'd like something that I can carry without too much trouble (ibook, headphones, mic, boom, pre/mix), and that won't break the bank...

    The quality should be reasonable though it need not be CIA quality... basically, I wanted to use this to build a sound library for my various music/film projects...

    So, what recoms for field mics and pre/mix that'll work with the ibook?

    TIA!
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #2
    you don't mention a budget, but...

    for excellent sounds, i'd suggest a pair of small diaphragm omnis, like the avenson sto-2's (or earthworks if you're feeling saucy). match 'em with good pre's and converters (like the apogee mini-mi) and you're good to go.

    OR

    check out some of the handheld recorders, such as those which record to flash memory. some even have built-in stereo mics (though i'd approach that with skepticism). i haven't used them, but if i were going in the wild to capture sounds, i'd definitely concentrate my research efforts in that direction.
     
  3. beatsme macrumors 65816

    beatsme

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    #3
  4. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #4
    Thanks for the suggestions, zimv20, though I wish I had a bit more $ for your suggestions, as I'm sure they rock...

    beatsme, thanks for the link and those look interesting and affordable, but I need this for my projects where I'll be recording very specific things...

    Anyway, if anyone else has any more suggestions, keep 'em coming!
     
  5. chasemac macrumors 6502a

    chasemac

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  6. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #6
    though i am a fan of the at 2020, i think it's important to remember that he's going for field recordings, which implies accuracy and non-directionality. that's why i suggested a small diaphragm omni -- small for the accuracy, omni for the pickup pattern and lack of distortion.
     
  7. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #7
    Does he want an omni, for ambient sounds, or a directional mic to pick up specific sounds and reject surrounding sounds (traffic, airplane, etc)
     
  8. sorryiwasdreami macrumors 6502a

    sorryiwasdreami

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    #8
    I'd recommend the Audio Technica AT825.

    I've had a lot of success with this stereo mic in achieving very life-like recordings that form a panorama of sound around your head. It is very sensitive and high quality. You won't be disappointed with this one and won't believe how real the recording sounds.

    You can also find these new on ebay and other places for much less than the list price.
     
  9. chasemac macrumors 6502a

    chasemac

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    #9

    So this wouldn't be good for stuff like bird calls, insects, rain, streams, ambient voices, machinery, traffic. Maybe insects but I think it would do the job well. I'm curious to know why an omni mic wouldn't do all of these variations?

    Edit: Okay, I see its a small diaphragm omni mic. Still though?
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #10
    *i* would want an omni (pair, actually), but i'm thinking of applications like ambient noise for a film. i suppose if i were making a CD of bird calls for teaching, i'd want a super-cardioid.

    so what's the application, corpse?
     
  11. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #11
    i may be jumping the gun with an assumed application, but for accuracy's sake, you want a smaller diaphagm. the application and effect desired should drive the kind of mic and pickup pattern you want to use.

    i suppose if you want to record a barbershop quartet on location, an LDC in cardioid mode would be a valid choice.
     
  12. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #12
    Wow, great discussion... I guess, since my budget is a bit limited, I was trying to get away from having to purchase multiple mics...

    Here's what I need for the film project: I need to pick up specific sounds (foley) such as car door slamming, running feet, chair moved etc., as well as more ambient sounds such as distant traffic (say through a closed window), and stuff like room tone (basically, you record the sound of a room when nothing is happening, and use that on a separate track as background when you mix dialogue etc.... you need it, otherwise the dialogue sounds too "clean" when recorded in a voiceover studio).

    For music: this is more general, I'd just like to go out and record interesting sounds which I can then mix into my music (literally anything, like f.ex. crickets outside my window which sound awesome right now!). I frequently find myself thinking "wow that's an interesting sound, I wish I could record it"... well, time to act on that.

    My secret fear is that I may need several mics, and my credit cards are dead opposed to buying more than one mic, so that's my dilemma...
     
  13. chasemac macrumors 6502a

    chasemac

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    #13
    Hey, zimv20 I agree with you. But I think that the all around good budget mic is what he may need and then move forward when needed.:)
     
  14. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #14
    ah. well, yeah, that's something entirely different. really, do yourself a favor and find some sfx CD's for that.

    <edit>
    that's assuming, by "foley", you mean you're going to drop in sounds later. if the action is happening on screen, then by all means use the dialogue mic to capture those sounds as filmed.
    </edit>

    you can use the dialogue mic for both those. the sound gear should be supplied by the production. fwiw, my favorite location mic for film/video is the schoeps with the mk41 capsule.

    mic depends on what kind of sound you want. for something like the thunderclap and rain at the end of Queen's "Dead on Time", you'll need a stereo setup as i described above. if you just want a cricket chirp over in the left speaker, then you can get away with something like an AT 2020.
     
  15. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #15
    no! i demand a forum rule that no question can be asked unless the poster has a $10k budget, minimum!

    :D
     
  16. chasemac macrumors 6502a

    chasemac

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    #16
    I read alot of posts here and try to gain as much as I can. To let anyone know, zimv20 is a great help. Thank you for helping me awhile back with my monitors. The buzz noise I got was driving me nuts. I fixed by tuning down the volume on the Event monitoirs manually. Duhh!:) Thanks.
     
  17. chasemac macrumors 6502a

    chasemac

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    #17
    Ha! Ha!:) Yur great help. Really, thanks.:) I've got $2 dollars!:)
     
  18. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #18
    you are welcome
     
  19. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    #19
    Sorry missed this one...:D

    Zim's advice is solid, but I'd like to add a few wrinkles. We've been working with binaural recording techniques for a while, using the DPA 4060 range of miniature omni capsules, our favourite technique so far for location stereo is to tape them to the sides of sunglasses and record to DAT or to a laptop, the results are excellent from these astonishing little mics.

    Foley is a different matter, it's possible to record perfectly acceptable foley on almost any decent condensor, we use U87's and TLM103's with a mixture of Scheops, AKG and DPA. Cardioid is the usual pattern unless you have a good room and are looking for some ambience.

    The fun really begins when you start to develop 4 channel DPA systems for recording industrial locations for surround wildtracks...:D
     
  20. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #20
    <drool>
     
  21. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #21
    Some great suggestions here, and a lot of food for thought. I'll have to do some research and digest the info here. Thank you everybody who contributed, it helped me crystallize my thoughts on the issue...
     
  22. caseyjones132 macrumors newbie

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    #22
    M-Audio is selling a portable stereo digital recorder. Its really cool, its cheap and its about the size of a cell phone. I haven't heard it before but the reviews are pretty cool. You can just download the stuff tou your computer and it comes with 2 tiny mics stock
     
  23. OldCorpse thread starter macrumors 65816

    OldCorpse

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    #23
    Are you talking about this?

    http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/MicroTrack2496-main.html
     
  24. Kalns macrumors regular

    Kalns

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    #25
    On a Budget, go with an Oktava MC012 (with wind protection of course) and also a Tascam HDP2 with a Sound Devices MM1 in front of it.

    Oktava MC012: 180.00
    Rycote Baby Ball gag: 130.00
    Wind Jammer: 70.00
    Sabra Som KSSM shockmount: 40.00
    Cannare star quad XLR cable: 20.00
    Tascam HDP2: 900.00
    2 gig Compact flash Card: 50.00
    Sound Devices MM1: 350.00

    Price: roughly 1,700.00

    If you have some cash to spend, go with a Schoeps CMC641 (also with wind protection), a Sound Devices 702 and a Sound Devices 302.

    Schoeps CMC641: 1,500.00
    Rycote BBG: 130.00
    Wind Jammer: 70.00
    Shock Mount: 70.00
    Sound Devices 702: 1,800.00
    Sound devices 302: 1,200.00
    Compact Flash Cards: 100.00
    Batteries: 120.00
    Cannare star Quad cable: 20.00

    Price: roughly 5,000.00

    Of course if you want a full sound production kit, you also need a good shotgun. For the lower kit go with an Audio Technica 4073A and with the higher kit, you have the Sennheiser 416, the Sanken CS3 or the Schoeps CMIT.
     

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