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Field recorder suggestions?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.

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KVRAF
 
4758 posts since 10 Aug, 2004, from Colorado Springs
 

Postby rockstar_not; Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:59 am

Winstontaneous wrote:
Curious, has anyone investigated the sonics/noise floor of the most recent crop of iPhone mics in comparison with budget recorders?


I have a BLUE Mikey Digital that I've used with my iPhone4S, and I have to admit, that when I've tried to do some field recording with it, handling noise is fairly high, and stereo imaging is really lacking. I'm not sure about noise floor comparisons.

I've been tempted to make some type of Jecklin disc for it to help improve the stereo imaging, but that thing will end up much larger than the iPhone/Mikey Digital combination.

I think BLUE went 'flat' with the side by side arrangement of the capsules to try to keep the package size small, but unfortunately, in my opinion, this severely limits imaging.

I was in Nashville at a convention this past August and there was some very magical cricket/cicada sounds going on in the forest right beside the hotel that I wanted to capture. Very distinctive 'buzz' from the insects as a general ambience, and then very loud call and response in the trees to my left and right from some other critters (perhaps tree frogs?) should have been somewhat apparent in the recording but it was all pretty resolved down to mono - even listening on my Westone ES5 in ear monitors.

I bought this particular mic for the iPhone because it also allows me to plug in my electric guitar and use the amp simulation in Garageband - so it's almost a mini interface with a built in 'stereo' mic.

I might have to check out the Rode iXY now! Thanks for the GAS!

-Scott
User avatar
KVRian
 
1180 posts since 28 Oct, 2007, from michigan

Postby Mister Natural; Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:39 am

if you want super-cheap solution(being the cheap bastard I am) - try one of these on your iPhone : http://tascam.com/product/im2/

peace
an expert on what it feels like to be me
& you are who you google

https://soundcloud.com/mrnatural-1/tracks
KVRAF
 
2306 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Postby BBFG#; Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:43 am

Not looking for cheap, just a good starter price. And a shudder hits my spine when I see an 'iAnything'.
KVRAF
 
4758 posts since 10 Aug, 2004, from Colorado Springs
 

Postby rockstar_not; Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:19 pm

Mister Natural wrote:if you want super-cheap solution(being the cheap bastard I am) - try one of these on your iPhone : http://tascam.com/product/im2/

peace


No thank you. I will never buy another TASCAM product as long as I live because of their general disregard for their existing customer base. Rather than pull defective product/drivers from the market, they simply allow their distributors to put it on fire-sale and hope that nobody notices that the hardware/software is broken. Case and point: TASCAM US-800. Yes, I have one. Yes it has a memory leak in the Windows driver that TASCAM simply has refused to fix. Giant pain in the rear end.

So, I would pay double that price for the Rode mic just out of spite alone to avoid buying anything with TASCAM/TEAC branding ever again. Far too many choices out there to give money to a company which behaves in the way that TASCAM seem to have done with the US-800, which disappeared from the market soon after the firesale at all of the big distributors cleared them out of inventory, while most of the other products in the US-wxyz lineup continued on.
KVRian
 
1401 posts since 9 Dec, 2008, from Berlin
 

Postby ThomasHelzle; Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:28 pm

I was eyeing that one for a while, for my DSLR as well as for my Sony PCM:
http://queaudiousa.com/PortfolioItems/q ... video-kit/

Image

Couldn't find a german distributor though, where I could give it a spin...

Cheers,

Tom
KVRist
 
261 posts since 27 Nov, 2011, from Hollywood, CA

Postby optofonik; Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:42 pm

It's not as cumbersome as you might think. It's certainly light enough to dance with Steadicam on 2nd unit.

Image
"Let us wander through a great modern city with our ears more alert than our eyes..." Luigi Russolo, 1913
KVRAF
 
2306 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Postby BBFG#; Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:59 pm

This has been a very informative thread, and I'm 'indirectly bumping' it to keep as a reference while I shop.

So far, going through the posts, these are the ones mentioned (I omitted the PCM-D1 though as it seems mostly unavailable.)

Handheld:
Tascam DR-40
Zoom H4N
Zoom H2
Sony PCM-M10
Sony PCM-D50

High End:
Tascam HD-P2
Marantz PMD 671
Sound Devices 702

Thanks!
Shopping now!
:)
KVRAF
 
2306 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Postby BBFG#; Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:53 pm

Seems to have come down to the Sony PCM-M10 and the Zoom H4N.

The one thing putting me off a little on the Sony is the mic/line inputs being only 1/8" whereas the Zoom has the multi up to XLR.

Zoom seems a little flexible in that it allows the built in mics to have the two different sets of degree positioning too.
User avatar
KVRian
 
1021 posts since 3 Jul, 2007, from Denmark
 

Postby Luftrum; Thu Dec 19, 2013 8:57 pm

BBFG# wrote:Seems to have come down to the Sony PCM-M10 and the Zoom H4N.

The one thing putting me off a little on the Sony is the mic/line inputs being only 1/8" whereas the Zoom has the multi up to XLR.

Zoom seems a little flexible in that it allows the built in mics to have the two different sets of degree positioning too.


Either choices are great and will not disappoint you... :tu:

If in doubt let this chart help you out: http://www.avisoft.com/recordertests.htm

Looking forward to hear recordings from either one you choose.

Merry Christmas :-)
Luftrum Sound Designer, Field Recordist, Philanthropist.
Sounds For Synth Soundbanks to 36 different synths!
KVRist
 
261 posts since 27 Nov, 2011, from Hollywood, CA

Postby optofonik; Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:59 am

Luftrum wrote:
BBFG# wrote:Seems to have come down to the Sony PCM-M10 and the Zoom H4N.

The one thing putting me off a little on the Sony is the mic/line inputs being only 1/8" whereas the Zoom has the multi up to XLR.

Zoom seems a little flexible in that it allows the built in mics to have the two different sets of degree positioning too.


Either choices are great and will not disappoint you... :tu:

If in doubt let this chart help you out: http://www.avisoft.com/recordertests.htm

Looking forward to hear recordings from either one you choose.

Merry Christmas :-)


Critically listen to all the audio samples on the Wingfield website and I think the choice will be clear.

Here's someone else's opinion on the M10 & H4n:

http://bgilbertsound.wordpress.com/2011 ... -zoom-h4n/
"Let us wander through a great modern city with our ears more alert than our eyes..." Luigi Russolo, 1913
KVRian
 
1401 posts since 9 Dec, 2008, from Berlin
 

Postby ThomasHelzle; Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:28 am

optofonik wrote:Here's someone else's opinion on the M10 & H4n:

http://bgilbertsound.wordpress.com/2011 ... -zoom-h4n/


I would agree with all the points in that review.
- The Sony feels built like a tank.
- Battery life is fantastic with the "Eneloop" accumulators I am using. You hardly need to think about batteries at all.
- I really like the very wide spacious sound of the recordings with the internal mics - puts me right back into the recorded situation.
- The completely hidden microphones add to the sturdiness and make it very smooth to handle and inconspicuous.
- If you put your music in a specific "music" folder, the Sony recognizes it as separate from your recordings. I love the audio quality of the headphone out and use it as my main "walkman". If you are in a folder with some music you are listening to, hitting "record" will put the new files in the correct recording folders for you without you having to go there first.
- I really dig the pre-record buffer of 5 seconds. I guess most better units have that, but in the Sony you clearly see the buffer being filled and can confidently stand there in rec-pause mode without any fear of missing the action.
- I like how the record level knob is put in at the side and that it has enough resistance against being moved accidentally.
- What I didn't know initially: when you connect it to your computer via USB, the batteries get charged too.
- The battery cover doesn't get off completely but has hinges - less potential to getting lost.
- It's relatively heavy, which I love for handling.
- The small built in loudspeaker isn't up to pumping up any jam ;-) but sometimes it's nice to have.

Not so good:
- The bigger your SD card and the more files there are on it, the longer it takes to startup. If you want best startup speed and don't need days of recording or music, you may just go with the internal 4GB.

After my first recorder, a Zoom H2 (the original, ugly, plasticy, noisy thing with a rather bad display) it feels like a Mercedes ;-)

Cheers,

Tom
KVRAF
 
2306 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Postby BBFG#; Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:30 am

Thanks Tom!

I have a couple of questions that were leading me away from the Sony, although it does seem like the better machine.

1. Concerning the 1/8" external mic & line inputs, what external mic do you use with those and do you use an additional adaptor to reduce to that are what?

2. Concerning the built in mics, when you put a Dead Kitten on it (or other), does it also end up covering the screen?

I like its specs, its price is cheaper and includes the remote, I also still have a couple of those 'Sony memory sticks' that I originally bought for my Sony Reader, now pretty much dead, so it would be nice to actually have a use for them. Those two questions seem to be my only real concern in considering it ATM.
KVRian
 
1401 posts since 9 Dec, 2008, from Berlin
 

Postby ThomasHelzle; Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:46 am

BBFG# wrote:Thanks Tom!

I have a couple of questions that were leading me away from the Sony, although it does seem like the better machine.

1. Concerning the 1/8" external mic & line inputs, what external mic do you use with those and do you use an additional adaptor to reduce to that are what?

2. Concerning the built in mics, when you put a Dead Kitten on it (or other), does it also end up covering the screen?

I like its specs, its price is cheaper and includes the remote, I also still have a couple of those 'Sony memory sticks' that I originally bought for my Sony Reader, now pretty much dead, so it would be nice to actually have a use for them. Those two questions seem to be my only real concern in considering it ATM.


1.) I only use it with a contact microphone from Schertler: http://www.schertler.com/pickups/basik- ... universal/
That works perfectly without adaptor.
Otherwise I use the internal mics (that is my main use of it - always on, not dragging big gear around).
Depends on what you have and want to use with it I guess.

2.) I didn't buy the original kitten since it didn't convince me and was quite expensive, but a generic one with longer hair I like much better that was originally for a different recorder. It also is deeper, so yes, if I don't pay attention, I can pull it almost completely over the screen ;-)
That isn't needed for it to work properly of course. Since the mics are at the upper edges, it only needs to cover those.
But yes, that could be a concern I guess, never bothered me though.
I sometimes even use it as a "screen-saver"... ;-)

YMMV of course.

Cheers,

Tom
KVRist
 
261 posts since 27 Nov, 2011, from Hollywood, CA

Postby optofonik; Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:37 pm

BBFG# wrote:1. Concerning the 1/8" external mic & line inputs, what external mic do you use with those and do you use an additional adaptor to reduce to that are what?


If you're using an external capacitor mic you would have to take the output of an external preamp and go line in with an appropriate 1/4 to 1/8 adapter.

This might seem to go against the grain of a lot of suggestions, including my own, but considering your budget, for your mics starting out, I'm actually going to suggest the two mics I've linked to below. Both are battery powered electrets so you'll not need a preamp, you won't break the bank, and you can get out into the field straight away. The ATR6550 will help you get a sense of what you can do with a shotgun mic and the ECM-MS907 will provide you with a different stereo soundfield from the built in mics which are omnis. I have a ECM-MS907 as a sort of "ballistic" mic. It, like the M10, stays in my backpack and it sounds fine. The ATR6550 shotgun mic is also fine to start out; I see a few ENG/EPK guys on the occasional low budget, non-union, shoot who are just starting out using them.


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/control ... &A=details

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Nt ... av-Search=


If you get the M10, it can be the foundation of everything you do for awhile and if you do upgrade at some point you'll still want to have it around. It's solid and reliable with good fidelity and I don' think you'll feel the need to upgrade it for awhile. It's something you can build a strong foundation on.

If you get the mics above you can be out and about making recordings right away for around $100.00US. You'll have money remaining to buy the requisite zeppelin and widnjammer as well. The zep and windjammer is something you'll keep as time goes on since you can add various clips for different mics. Later, when funds become available, you can add a good battery powered preamp (as previously mentioned), and different, better quality, mics for different purposes (ribbon, boundary layer, dynamics) as your recording subjects become more diverse and your ear more trained. Even then the two above mics can still be part of your kit as "ballistic" mics.

The real bottom line is once you get out there and. "wander... with (y)our ears more alert than (y)our eyes..." you'll be happy with just about any of the suggestions made here.

I hope I don't sound too evangelical but it's one of the few areas I can actually share some professional knowledge about here on KVR. It's what I do for a living and I've done it at just about every level from 80 million dollar feature films to "24 Hour Film Festival" no budget shorts.

I also needed a break from wrapping Christmas gifts. ;)
"Let us wander through a great modern city with our ears more alert than our eyes..." Luigi Russolo, 1913
KVRAF
 
2306 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Postby BBFG#; Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:24 pm Re: Field recorder suggestions?

Bumping the thread to check out some of the mic suggestions.

I am extremely pleased with the Sony PCM M10!
Only have a handful of recordings I've done and the clarity and sound quality is unbelievable! I figured out fairly quick that the the auto level is not really a friend for what I'm recording but got caught some other 'things' that came from elsewhere while waiting for a mockingbird(?) to repeat itself a few times.
Nice thing about mockingbirds, you never know what sound they plan on bringing until they do it. The noise level was minimal and only when finding a better level for the mic.

I'm just amazed at all this and it is far exceeding any expectations I had.
Thanks everyone for all your input here!
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