Welcome Guests and Members

WELCOME VISITORS AND NEW MEMBERS!

Login to:

  • View Attachments and Other Features
  • Post Topics
  • Reply to Posts
  • Access the "Give Away of the Day" - Below the Shoutbox
  • Share tips and good company

Login          Register


gmhCafe Shoutbox

Last 15 Shouts:

 

Glenn

April 24, 2017, 03:07:14 AM
Hey all, hope you have a good one!  :)
 

Maureen

April 21, 2017, 09:54:15 PM
Hi Pete - Post your questions in the forum.  We finally have reasonable internet, and will be stopping by more often. :)
 

petenoak

April 04, 2017, 07:34:27 PM
Forums pretty inactive. What's the best way to ask some easy questions re Audacity?? ;)
 

petenoak

April 04, 2017, 07:31:26 PM
Oops! Yes, I haven't checked back in a few weeks. Got some questions. :D
 

Maureen

April 03, 2017, 12:33:05 AM
The snow is leaving - uncovering the ground.  Time to start planning the garden.  :)
 

way2lon

March 14, 2017, 06:16:03 AM
This months April challenge is up following lst years April Challenge. http://www.gmhcafe.ca/gforums/index.php?topic=1570.new#new
 

Glenn

March 12, 2017, 05:40:31 PM
Hey Pete, yes... back online and getting re connected, great to see you here.  :)
 

petenoak

March 12, 2017, 02:34:12 PM
Welcome back to the 'grid'!
 ;)
 

Glenn

March 11, 2017, 10:55:32 PM
HEY ALL ... just 'shouting' out that we're back!!!! great to be here.  Hoping all is well.  :)   8)
 

Maureen

March 11, 2017, 04:55:49 PM
Hi everyone!  :)  Hope all is well.  We're finally set up in our new home.  Over the next few days we'll be online catching up and posting about our adventure.  
 

Glenn

January 26, 2017, 04:28:58 PM
Just stopped by to say "Hey" from the library... hoping to have the net set up at home soon.  :)
 

Agradeleous

September 24, 2016, 10:29:46 AM
Good Saturday morning ;)
One pot of coffee down now to work it off lol
I'm going to post a song nut by me though I wish but I think many will like check it out and have a great day ;)
 

Agradeleous

September 22, 2016, 02:50:51 PM
Hey I see lots guests do I thought I'd say hello . Your all welcome join up and share music or love of outdoors , coffee''s on :)
 

Agradeleous

September 22, 2016, 02:46:56 PM
Hey folks , first day of fall here in NC Broken rain and clouds all day .
Hope everyone's good ;)
 

Agradeleous

September 21, 2016, 02:21:59 PM
Hey there ;) where's everyone at ?  ;D

Show 50 latest

Author Topic: Field Recording - Starter equipment / kit  (Read 1513 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline cortech

  • Rookie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Karma: 3
  • Nature's Friend
    • My blog about my (brand new) adventure in natural field recording.
Field Recording - Starter equipment / kit
« on: September 11, 2013, 10:55:11 PM »
I'm a new member to the forums - and it was suggested I post to this particular topic.  Firstly, wanted to ask some advice from those of you who have done some field recording, specifically nature related.
[/size]
[/size]I'm just getting in to field recording, in fact I have not yet purchased the equipment and that's why I'm reaching out to those of you who have some experience.  I'm looking for some recommendations on gear.  Specifically enough to get me started and dangerous :)  i.e. a shotgun mic, digital recorder and monitor headphones.  I'll be considering both new and used.
[/size]
[/size]Based on some preliminary research... I've narrowed my choices down, but I'm totally open to hearing opinions on what's worked/hasn't worked etc.  Keep in mind my focus will be to record outdoors in all kinds of weather and locales, not in a recording studio.  I'm hopeful to land this startup kit for just shy of $750, adding to the gear as time goes on.
[/size]
[/size]My short list:
[/size]Shotgun mics: Audio-Technica AT897, rode ntg-2, ?
[/size]Recorder: zoom h4n , tascam dr-100 mkII, roland r26 (if I can find a good used one), ?
[/size]Headphones: Sony MDR-7510, ?
[/size]Editing software: Audacity, ?
[/size]
[/size]Are there any others I should be considering?  I haven't yet done the research on a parabolic mic setup, but I know that's ultimately a must-have down the road...Any suggestions/questions on gear would be well received!Cheers

Offline Glenn

  • Alpha Wolf (when she's not around...lol)
  • The Crew
  • Commited Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 2323
  • Karma: 21
  • Music and Nature's Harmony
    • gmhCafe
Re: Field Recording - Starter equipment / kit
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2013, 01:40:40 PM »
Hey cortech  :)
 
I think it's great that you're taking up nature field recording as a hobby and possible future commercial endeavour.  The more people who can bring the appreciation of nature to more listeners, the better our world will be.
 
I'd be happy to share some of my experiences, tips etc with you, if you have the interest.
 
The equipment you listed above is an excellent starting point IMO... good quality gear and not too pricey.   
 
yep, a good mic that does what you want for the application is key!
The H4N and Tascam 100 mk II are really good choices. 
While the shotgun is cool, and a great tool to have in the arsenal of gear, it's a more specific piece of gear that comes in handy only in certain situations, so - for me, it would be something to aquire later down the road.
 
The parabolas are also another choice to consider, and have their own specific application as well, depending on what sound you are going for and what the subject matter is you are trying to record.
 
I'd go for a mic that has the features you want for the job you're doing... and while the Zoom H4N may be a great choice, it has a lot of 'musician' type features that aren't needed for nature feild work.  The Tascam has some great features too, and many may be more geared for your application.   
 
both those mics have good pre-amps in them, have good storage capacity, etc.. I'd be looking at a way of getting 'long record' times from the system... personally, I'm on a quest to getting 40 or 50 hours of recording time from a 'session' before I have to off load to the computer for editing.
 
I'd look for a good mic with a 'good preamp' - that delivers the stereo imagery you want. A transparent sound, that captures the left right easily, and pinpoints where the sound source is coming from. Some mics do this better than others, but it depends on what you want in the end.
 
I've been looking at using a separate mic array to plug in as external mics to a good drive with a good pre-amp.. as an option to my regular set up.
 
We can discuss types of recorders here in more detail if you like. that would be cool.
 
Monitors -  Personally, I find that headphones with lots of bass are NOT essential while listening and recording .. and I've actually used various types that deliver varying (less) amounts of bottom end (rolling off below 40Hz)... and sometimes, I don't want to hear the bottom end while I monitor the recording, but I do want to monitor the bass end while editing what's been recorded ...I find a lot of the bass signal can muddy up what I'm hearing, and that much of nature doesn't 'happen' below the 100Hz frequency region .. with exceptions in the case of some animal calls and thunderstorms, of course.  You DO want good low mid, mid, and high end frequency response to monitor accurately, what nature delivers.
 
 
I prefer a 'comfortable' set of closed air headphones, that I can wear for periods of 8 hours or longer... that have a volume control on the cable for easy adjustment.
 
 
Editors - I'd highly recommend Audacity for an audio editor. It's very high quality, and can deliver great sounding masters and audio files, and you can import your favourite vst's too.
I'd be happy to work with you on using audacity as time goes on, if this is something you'd like to get into more.
 
as time goes on, we can address things like signal to noise ratio, noise floor, the use (and mis-use ) of compression in nature recording, preserving dynamics, Equalization, mic placement, and various recording techniques to get the most out of each 'session'.
 
Welcome to the forum,  :)
 
I'd be happy to go into more detail on any of the gear and stuff mentioned above, as time permits.
While I may be 'logged in' here, I may not actually be on the site, and probably I'm out in the field recording, or sitting and editing files that I've just brought back from the field.  8)  but I do check in on a regular basis, as time permits.
 
I hope this helps... as a starter anyway.
Glenn
 :)
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 02:37:27 PM by Glenn »
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline cortech

  • Rookie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Karma: 3
  • Nature's Friend
    • My blog about my (brand new) adventure in natural field recording.
Re: Field Recording - Starter equipment / kit
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2013, 06:39:06 PM »
Glenn,


You've been very gracious, thank you.  It's obvious there is a LOT to learn, probably enough for a lifetime or more!  I look forward to many meaningful and rewarding discussions in this forum as time goes on. 


As a follow up to your reply, I do have another question... you mention that a shotgun mic would be something to acquire down the road...can I take that to mean that you suggest that I use the x-y mics built in to the recorder?  Do/did you find the quality & depth sufficient enough for most uses when you are in the field?  I automatically assumed they wouldn't do the job for nature field recording - perhaps I'm wrong?


Cheers,
Cory

Offline Glenn

  • Alpha Wolf (when she's not around...lol)
  • The Crew
  • Commited Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 2323
  • Karma: 21
  • Music and Nature's Harmony
    • gmhCafe
Re: Field Recording - Starter equipment / kit
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2013, 01:09:26 PM »
Glenn,


You've been very gracious, thank you.  It's obvious there is a LOT to learn, probably enough for a lifetime or more!  I look forward to many meaningful and rewarding discussions in this forum as time goes on. 


As a follow up to your reply, I do have another question... you mention that a shotgun mic would be something to acquire down the road...can I take that to mean that you suggest that I use the x-y mics built in to the recorder?  Do/did you find the quality & depth sufficient enough for most uses when you are in the field?  I automatically assumed they wouldn't do the job for nature field recording - perhaps I'm wrong?


Cheers,
Cory

Hey Cory,
I was thinking, that from a 'starter' point of view, - that a standard L/R or "XY" configuration would allow you to get experience with the system and general recording, capturing 'close' range sound sources with a measure of 'ambience'. Recording distant sound sources proves more challenging with this arrangement, but it also can be an opportunity to learn how sound acts, how it falls away with distance, how it does what it does in the natural world.  If you can use a mic like this and acquire good recordings this way.. then the shotgun mic and other specialized gear will really come into it's own.
 
If you have the $ for a shotgun in stereo, that's a great tool to have handy.  I haven't had the $ to put into a shotgun arrangement - but if I did, I would definitely consider the purchase, so I could focus in on certain individual sounds in the field, especially birds - you can get some very clear sounds, but the drawback with this type of mic, could be that it is so focused, that it excludes much of the ambience, and surrounding sound (but that's exactly what it's supposed to do) lol.   
 
I have bird calls that have been recorded with a regular L/R and 'xy' ... and as long as I can get close enough to the source, the calls can come out quite good.  In fact, you can almost achieve a 'shotgun' type of recording by getting as close as possible to the source .... and pick the 'location' for the type of mic you are using.
 
In night recording, a shotgun mic is more of a challenge to use, as it helps if you can actually see the sound source... then you can 'aim' the mic at it - but most night recording does not allow that luxury.
 
I'd love to have a shotgun mic, handy in my bag of cables and batteries etc... so if the opportunity presented itself, I could switch mics and capture something that I want to focus on, but often, the sound doesn't wait for you to change mics, so that could be tricky...  answer to this would be.... run another recorder WITH the shotguns attached... then use the 'ambient' mics for general sound capture, and shotgun (working it with your hands on a boom perhaps) pointing it at what you are monitoring.
 
Having said all that, I made my own parabola mics - a left and a right ...and set an electret condenser (omni-directional) mic in each - and while it's not exactly the same as a shotgun mic, it approaches that type of recording, by focusing the signal a bit more, while still maintaining 'ambience' and at the same time enhances the left right stereo field imagery.  I've used the parabolas to replace the built in mics on the Tascam DR05 (as the stereo field isn't as pronounced as I'd like with that built in mic array) and absolutely LOVE the results!!! 
 
The parabolas increase the signal by about 3-4dB - enhance the 'directionality' of what you hear, and still keep a good measure of ambience in the recording ... for me, this is a good 'happy medium' for the type of recording that I do.
 
I'll have to post some pics etc and sound clips of what the parabolas deliver compared to the DR-05 and the Zoom.
 
I hope this helps.
(P.S. > I replied to your email in a PM here in the forum, in case you didn't see it.)
 
have a good day.
Glenn
 
 
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 01:38:52 PM by Glenn »
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)

Offline cortech

  • Rookie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Karma: 3
  • Nature's Friend
    • My blog about my (brand new) adventure in natural field recording.
Re: Field Recording - Starter equipment / kit
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 10:49:59 AM »
Glenn,

You're passing along some tremendous information so thanks again for taking the time.  Your advice is invaluable.  I'm benefitting from your experience out in the field already.  I hear what you're saying about starting out with the x-y.  I managed to get some starter gear (I bought the Zoom H4n, and Sennheiser HD280 monitors) as a start.  Love the recorder, and have read plenty of positive reviews about it.  Was outdoors a few days ago locally near the Credit river to get myself comfortable with the operation of the unit and get some quality recording time.  Managed to get about 40 minutes of river audio which I'm very happy with.

I think I'm going to take your advice and test the limits of the x-y mics before making a shotgun mic purchase.  As you suggest I should take this opportunity to learn the limits of the on-board mics, determining how close to get to the target source, where to place myself relative to the sound, whether to use a 120 degree or 90 degree pickup pattern, understanding the value of ambient sounds, etc.  Once I get comfortable understanding the limitations, I can then build from there.

Would really like to hear (or see) more of your parabolic setup.  I've done some research on parabolic and MAN is it expensive unless it's a DIY situation... even just sourcing the parabolas isn't cheap let alone the mic & associated electronics.  I'd prefer to buy, but don't think my budget will allow it at the moment... I think building my own might be the way to go for now - as always any tips or tricks you can provide would be much appreciated.   ;D

BTW, I did get your PM... thanks again.

Offline Glenn

  • Alpha Wolf (when she's not around...lol)
  • The Crew
  • Commited Poster
  • *****
  • Posts: 2323
  • Karma: 21
  • Music and Nature's Harmony
    • gmhCafe
Re: Field Recording - Starter equipment / kit
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2013, 03:18:03 PM »
Hey Cory  :)
 
I'm glad you are finding the info and banter helpful.
 
That's great that you got the Zoom H4N - that's quite a little machine!  8)  I think you'll be really happy with that one, and I'm looking forward to hearing some of your recordings too.
 
I'll go back to my files and see about listing a few soundclips for you, that were recorded with the various systems I have.
 
besides the Zoom H2, Tascam Dr-05 (I have two), and the Sony MD MZ-R70 (I have 3 of these recorders), which I use out in the field, .....
 
I also have a 'stay at home' system that utilizes 2 EV mics, they're old brutes, but they do the job. They're XLR (low impedence) mics, that I once used in the recording studio ... but these days, they're often left outside in the backyard and run to my Peavy mixer then sent to the computer into audacity (which is the recorder) ... I often run this system all night or day (especially when I'm away), to catch bird song, geese, the pond, etc etc. 
I usually set the EV mics up as a 'spaced pair' - Left / Right - arrangement, where the mics are placed about 6 feet apart from one another, and angled slightly away from centre, - since these mics are omni-directional, this arrangement yeilds good stereo with a lot of ambience.
 
here's a link to our main HowlingThunderProductions page: you can then click on various categories from there.  This site is new and still in the process of being constructed... and while there's only a handlful of soundclips there, it should give you a sampling of what the mics do.
 
http://www.howlingthunderproductions.ca/
 
The soundclip "Alpha Wolf" #p 1035 was recorded with the above EV mics.
you can listen to it here, click the 'wolves' category to bring you to the wolves page.
 
The loon soundclips are recorded with the parabola set up, with a boom on the front of the canoe for extra reach and to 'dampen' sound that may come from the canoe itself.
Loons  #498 gives a good idea of the stereo effect and ambience captured by this set up.
 
in the "Birds" category, #368 is the Zoom H2 in a 120 degree configuration. note the great stereo effect of the bird flying left to right, and the stereo 'bird calls' too. Most of the bird clips are recorded with the Zoom, in wide stereo mode.
 
In the "Water" category, you can hear creeks, and lapping waves, recorded with the Zoom H2, wide array. 
 
 I attached a few pics, of the Zoom - one of the ways I situate it, is with a small raft for lake recording .... another way is to set it on shore or in the bush.
 
The parabolas, while not looking very pretty, do a reasonable job of capturing the sounds, while rejecting some of the extraneous sounds from the rear (canoe).  8)
 
 :)
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 03:21:52 PM by Glenn »
Old Eastern saying "Man who run in front of car, - get tired .... man who run behind car, get exhausted"
I like to ride IN cars, it's less tiring and less exhausting :)