The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Field Audio Recording Equipment Advice Condenser Microphones
Old 2 days ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Thread Starter
Field Audio Recording Equipment Advice

I will be traveling to Bhutan to do a video recording of a tradition male musician. The musician will sing and play a stringed instrument called the dramyen.

The recording will be indoors in a room w/ wood/clay walls and a stone or clay floor. There will not be an audience. I would prefer the recording to have a warm sound.

Please review the audio gear list below and recommend some options. Feel free to make other suggestions.

Budget < $1000 for recorder and 2 mics, mike stands

Recorder
Option 1 - Zoom H4n - $200
Option 2 - Zoom H5 - $250
Option 3 - F1-LP - $200
- No phantom power, would not be able to use condenser mics.

Microphones
Option 1 - AKG C451 - $250-300, used
Option 2 - AKG perception 170 - $99, new
Option 3 - Rode NTG 2 - $150-200, new
- Is it worth spending the extra money on the NTG 3, 4, 5 ?
Option 4 - Rode Stereo Video Mic Pro - $300, new
Option 5 - Rode Stereo Video mic x - $450-500, new
Option 6 - Zoom SSH-6 - $150, new
Old 2 days ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 

We have an H4n and it works well. I saw a video that compared the H4n and the H5 and the takeaway is the preamps on the H5 are quieter.

It might help to know how you're planning on mic'ing the musician. If you're close mic'ing the instrument and the vocal, then you might want two different mics. If you're mic'ing the room, then the shotguns probably aren't useful. A pair of Shure SM-81 ($350 new) and the H5 would fit your budget and offer a lot of flexibility. The SM81 has a really flat response and is frequently used for recording violin.
Old 1 day ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

I bought a Zoom H5 for a recent trip to the Borneo rainforest.

It's an excellent unit - very easy to use and robust so far.

For very quiet field-recording work the internal and external preamps are a bit noisy - in other words it's never going to be good enough for ambient sound-library work.

But as a lightweight, cheap travel unit it's great.

There's no substitute for actual auditory evidence so here you go - this is the H5 using its built-in mics:



If I was looking to do serious library work or release quality music recording the next step up would be a Sound Devices 302.

For mics, I'm not convinced that some of the cheaper Rodes on your list will get you enough subjective fidelity improvement to make it worth carrying them vs just using the H5 built-in mics. I like the above suggestion of a pair of SM81s.

That said, I must admit to having a soft spot for the stereo NT4 - it's an extremely convenient form factor and crucially it will work on batteries meaning you won't run down the recorder's own power. The sound is the same as a pair of NT5s in XY - and I'm not a particular fan of these - but somehow the stereo package makes the whole a bit more appealing and I can overlook the inherent boxiness of those capsules. Just don't lose the 5-pin stereo cable!

Last edited by James Lehmann; 1 day ago at 09:09 AM..
Old 1 day ago
  #4
Here for the gear
Sound Devices Mixpre 3 649$
Blue Hummingbird x2 350$ (there is a buy 1 get 1 for free deal here in Europe right now, maybe the US too?)
The Mixpre 3 is really quiet and has lots of clean gain.
The Hummingbirds has 8,5dB self noise and translates field recordings extremely well (smooth highs, excellent mids and realistic lows, IMO)
Old 1 day ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Lehmann View Post

That said, I must admit to having a soft spot for the stereo NT4 - it's an extremely convenient form factor and crucially it will work on batteries meaning you won't run down the recorder's own power. The sound is the same as a pair of NT5s in XY - and I'm not a particular fan of these - but somehow the stereo package makes the whole a bit more appealing and I can overlook the inherent boxiness of those capsules. Just don't lose the 5-pin stereo cable!
Would the NT4 offer a significant improvement over the Zoom's built in XY mics?
Old 1 day ago
  #6
Lives for gear
 
DirkP's Avatar
 

If you already own an iPhone or iPad - even an older model - don't buy a recorder, buy a Lewitt DGT650 for about 600,- instead. Would also work with a laptop. Don't know about Android.
Old 1 day ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
matucha's Avatar
Sound devices recorder
Line Audio mics (super cheap and really good) or old Sennheiser MKHs (very under the radar, often very cheap and still very relevant sounding - not all of them work from phantom so you'd need some power conversion barells - no biggie)
Old 1 day ago
  #8

A pair of PR30 would be more robust for traveling than capacitor mics...





-tINY

Old 1 day ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by piper View Post
Would the NT4 offer a significant improvement over the Zoom's built in XY mics?
Unfortunately I no longer have an NT4 so I can't offer some WAVs to determine that, and I haven't really used the H5 enough to pass judgement yet.

Hoping to use it a bit more soon!

I was thinking more in terms recording musicians it might be neater to place a separate mic closer to them and monitor the actual recorder next to you at a distance with cans, i.e. in the traditional fashion.
Old 1 day ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
matucha's Avatar
So far I haven't heard any built-in mics to sound at the level of even Rode NT SDC series. It's a different class of mics, the resolution, sound size and noise figs are worth going external anytime you can.

Don't get me wrong, the built-in mics are very useful. Esp. when you need to travel light. I use my sony d50 (which has one of the better int mics) quit a lot on random sfx or atmos. Can't complain about the results, but in comparison to my full rig (nagra lb with various sennheiser mkh or schoeps mk21 mics) it's like a smartphone audio. Lowress, tiny, metalic, brittle transients with little weight. Line audio CM3 are notoriously compared to Schoeps MK21 and these are one of the easiest mics to get great sound with in "just one stereo pair aimed at musicians" type of sessions.
Old 1 day ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tINY View Post

A pair of PR30 would be more robust for traveling than capacitor mics...

-tINY

I've only followed tINY's advice once, but it was the best purchase I ever made.
Old 15 hours ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
3rd Degree's Avatar
 

I haven't done a lot of field recording so take my advice with a grain of salt. However, I have recorded various sounds with an NT1a at various places I lived (birds, city noise, trains, etc) and was more impressed by any field recorder I have used. You can buy an M-Audio Profire 2626 for $100 used with 8 pretty decent preamps. You could get a 3 rack space case and carry a laptop, the interface racked, and whatever mics you would need in a not compact, but portable setup. You could then use that interface, and chosen mics for other studio uses as well. The only issue is if you won't have power, and needing a laptop with Firewire.

Field recorders are great for when you need something compact but are far from the only portable option. I used a similar setup for just taking trips, but for a hardware sampler. Easy to transport, just not something you can easily pull out, but if you know where you will be, it will work great. I only think an actual field recorder is worthwhile if you need to pull it out and use the built in mics all the time. That said, I was impressed by the clarity of a cheaper Olympic recorder, but it would not sound good for your purposes, just saying even a lower end, more consumer based unit did capture audio better than expected, and better than I recall a purpose built M-Audio (I believe) field recorder sounded. That was just for the purpose of capturing audio to be transcribed, not for music, however.
Old 13 hours ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
matucha's Avatar
Field recorders make it for more compact solutions, designed to run on batteries. Soundcards and notebooks can work well for some more fixed remote setups, but generally it's a bit impractical and with more piece to the puzzle you have more points of potential failiure. Reliability is very important once you're "in the wilderness".

While LDCs can sound good and generally have lower noise figures, the off axis coloration that may lead to problematic sounding atmospheres or acoustics/"reverb". It's similar problem as with shotgun mics. Yes you can get a good results at times, but other times you get mixture of well balanced direct (on axis) sound and some weird color (freq response) on room or on some sounds comming from the sides. It's hard to eq that out because you're hurting the direct sound by doing so. Sometimes it's totaly cool or usefull though
Old 13 hours ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rd Degree View Post
The only issue is if you won't have power, and needing a laptop with Firewire.
I went to record something with my laptop once and driver for the sound card had gotten messed up. Couldn't record.

If you do get a filed recorder, and if you are going to use rechargable batteries, the panasonic eneloops are really better than most other choices. More power.
Old 13 hours ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
3rd Degree's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by piper View Post
I went to record something with my laptop once and driver for the sound card had gotten messed up. Couldn't record.

If you do get a filed recorder, and if you are going to use rechargable batteries, the panasonic eneloops are really better than most other choices. More power.
Well, not that driver issues don't just happen every now and then but your portable setup should be dialed in like your studio setup. As said, I don't do field recordings but I do have a portable setup. I test it before I leave town as well as make sure to load a heavy session to make sure I have no hardware or software issues. Not to say things don't come up but my portable setup has never given me issues.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump