Telinga Parabolic Microphone System
Several forums have mentioned it but no slutz have yet reviewed it! The Telinga parabolic microphone is manufactured by the Swedish father and son team of Klaus and Jon Strandberg (Start - Telinga Microphones). Unlike a shotgun that rejects sound from all directions but one, a parabolic amplifies the sound from one direction. The result is a lifelike ‘presence’
The Telinga is the only parabolic mic ‘system,’ offering several mix-and-match choices of dish, microphone and handle. The dish has a hole through which you insert your choice of microphone. A foam-covered handle clamps around a sleeve that holds the microphone base against the dish. The handle also houses a short cable from the microphone to a female socket, to eliminate cable stress. The system is light (<3lbs), ergonomic when held upright or upside down, and can be assembled in minutes. I have spent hours walking with no fatigue.
In assembling a system you choose from:
• Two parabolic dishes: a transparent foldable or rigid 22” dish. If you use a parabolic regularly, a transparent dish becomes necessary. By sighting along the microphone you can accurately target distant sources, follow their movement, and remain behind the dish so sound leakage from open-back headphones does not cause feedback (more on headphones later). The dish is foldable with the microphone mounted. It can be disassembled and rolled into a 9” diameter cigar in the lined nylon carrying case with shoulder strap, for hiking through brush.
• Four microphone/handle combinations that include two single capsule mono mics, a dual capsule cardiod/omni mono mic, a stereo mic, and a complete kit with a Zeppelin housing for your own cardioid or omni mic, handle and housing ($800 with shipping).
I chose the Telinga Stereo microphone, which has capsules facing out from a 5” Jecklin disk that slightly protrudes from a 3” foam windscreen. The stereo has strong separation when used without the dish. When mounted in the dish, the change in ambience from mono to stereo is striking when recording a moving flock of birds or environmental sounds, but less noticeable with a single unmoving source
The Pro Mk2 handle has improved RF shielding, and toggles between a high-pass filter in stereo or mono, and unfiltered. The high-pass stereo is effective for reducing wind and traffic sound from a downwind source, and the high-pass mono (‘storm mode’) also eliminates the whirling between stereo channels when the dish is facing upwind. The stereo mic/handle/dish with shipping is $1460 USD.
A phantom power box with 7-pole tuchel to 1/8” adaptor. I use it when recording to my Sony PCM-D50.
A tripod mount that fits into a handle hole at the unit’s center of gravity,
A windscreen that reduces the aforementioned wind in the dish.
Headphones are a critical choice. I have used in-ear, closed and open back phones. I prefer open-back Audio Technica ATH-AD700 because: they are very comfortable so I don’t need to take them off or carry a case; they have excellent detail in the highs and midrange, they are open back so I can hear all environmental sounds while I focus on my current source, and the screen over the open back blocks wind rumbling common with on- and in-ear phones, so I can hear clearly even on very windy days.
Some benefits of parabolic amplification are revealed through spectrograms:
1. Harmonics. Amplification reveals the harmonics of birds, and the different frequencies in a group of howling dingoes.
2. Textures. It captures details such as the friction of leaves that create the sound of wind through the trees.
3. Ecology. It reveals the separate frequencies of different insects and birds that call at the same time.
This is a long-term investment useful for recordists who intend to use a parabolic regularly and will appreciate the transparent dish, ease of assembly, interchangeable microphones, and accessories.