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Thread: 2 Mics for field recording? Seriously... stuck on a desert island mics lol

  1. #1
    santiu is offline Rock-scientist
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    I think i'll be able to carry 2 mics (asuming both aren't large LDCs), 1 fuzzy windscreen, and maybe a mini tripod with me, but that's about all (maybe, just maybe, I can pack in something like the porta-booth if i can figure out a way to make it tiny and it makes a noticeable difference). Small, light, and rugged are probably the most important things. I hope to record all sorts of things, street performers, various live (soft and loud) music i encounter, people and musicians i meet, nature... really anything I happen to come across that I find interesting. But I'd like to get the cleanest recordings I can get. Budget for mic(s): ~$350 (although I'm more than happy to spend as little as possible).

    Anybody have any suggestions on what mic or mics I should bring with me on my adventures? I think I'd like to stick with condensers, as supposedly the mic pre's on the M-Audio Microtrack (the recorder I plan on getting) don't have much gain, and aren't the greatest when you have to crank them up. Also any non-self powered condensers will need to be able to run on only 30V of phantom power.

    I'm thinking about something like an AT825 to get stereo in one nice package that is self powered (so it'll save batteries). This would be my entire mic budget, so my only mic.

    But I'm open to whatever ideas you guys can think of.

    I imagine since there will be no multi-tracking, that I should pretty much record everything in stereo? Anybody out there with some field recording experience wanna give me some suggestions (both about mics, and just about field recording in general)?

    thanks

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    rmaier's Avatar
    rmaier is offline Senior Member
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    Check out the Naiants. Clean, quiet, very small, very inexpensive, and they'll run on 9-45v . I have 4 X-Qs that I really like. You might consider going with a stereo pair to use as spaced omnis or even a jecklin disk. I made one out of an old mic clip and a couple of mousepads.

    http://www.naiant.com/studiostore/microphones.html

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    leddy is offline 1K Silver Member
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    I'd grab something like a used Shure VP88. A single, stereo mic. It's mid-side, but decodes it for you into the recorder. Walking around with any other stereo configuration would be near-impossible.

    If you can't find a used VP88 in your budget, I think Rode makes a stereo mic that uses X-Y cardioids for about $250.

    I like the Niants in Jecklin suggestion, but it may not be very portable or sonically forgiving in some situations.

    (& I paid nearly $300 just for a Jecklin disc - not that you can't build them cheaper. Maybe tough for someone starting out though).

  4. #4
    MartinKantola's Avatar
    MartinKantola is offline Mixologist
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    Did some field recording as part of a microphone project and learned that microphone, wind, cable and stand noise all need to be dealt with. Omni mikes (with or without Jecklin disc) are less sensitive to wind by nature.

    Posted a few examples of what I recorded, if you're interested, at http://www.panphonic.com

    Martin

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    MessianicDreams's Avatar
    MessianicDreams is offline Throbbing Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartinKantola View Post
    Did some field recording as part of a microphone project and learned that microphone, wind, cable and stand noise all need to be dealt with. Omni mikes (with or without Jecklin disc) are less sensitive to wind by nature.

    Posted a few examples of what I recorded, if you're interested, at http://www.panphonic.com

    Martin
    What microphone is that on your website?

    It looks like the Neumann badge..but its no Neumann that I know! I thought it might be their USM-69 but it isn't.
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  6. #6
    MartinKantola's Avatar
    MartinKantola is offline Mixologist
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    Quote Originally Posted by MessianicDreams View Post
    What microphone is that on your website?

    It looks like the Neumann badge..but its no Neumann that I know! I thought it might be their USM-69 but it isn't.
    It's one I designed and built, a prototype. It does both stereo and surround. Planning to update the page with some basic info. Sorry about the confusing diamond-shaped logo, but that's just a very good looking shape on a mic body :-)

    Did you have a listen?

    Martin

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    santiu is offline Rock-scientist
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    wow Martin, that stuff sounds amazing!!!! I would be stoked beyond belief if I could get sound of that quality (although being realistic, i know it's not gonna even come close). The recordings are just so clean and quiet. I never heard field recordings that are so quiet.

    Could you elaborate on dealing with "microphone, wind, cable and stand noise"?

    As for the naiants, those look good and small I've never really thought of using omnis (I haven't tried using omnis for stereo recordings before). The naiant + Jecklin/baffle idea is very appealing to me right now.

    Thanks for the suggestions so far guys! if you have more, keep them coming!

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    santiu is offline Rock-scientist
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    boy, martin, listening to the recordings again ... The recordings are just so clean and quiet. I never heard field recordings that are so quiet. Almost every field recording i've heard has a fair amount of hiss, even the good ones. Yours are dead silent. How do you do it?

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    MessianicDreams's Avatar
    MessianicDreams is offline Throbbing Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartinKantola View Post
    It's one I designed and built, a prototype. It does both stereo and surround. Planning to update the page with some basic info. Sorry about the confusing diamond-shaped logo, but that's just a very good looking shape on a mic body :-)

    Did you have a listen?

    Martin
    Yes I had a listen to the stereo recordings (not having a surround sound setup and couldn't audition those). Very nice strong stereo imaging, quite impressive. I'd be very interested to hear more about the design of your microphoe. Is it based on another microphone or is it an entirely original design? How many diaphragms do you have in it? I would love to see some pics of the insides...

    For anyone interested, my father does a lot of field recording using a stereo microphone and a parabola. He's in the process of setting up a website with all the recordings etc on it, which you can see here www.wildechoes.org . For some reason the flash player was being a bit wierd with me, it was very stuttery (i tried it both in Safari and Firefox) but maybe that's some problem on my end - i'm running a Mac.
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  10. #10
    MartinKantola's Avatar
    MartinKantola is offline Mixologist
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    Thank you so much for the kind words Santiu! Means a lot to me, thank you for taking the time to listen.

    Lack of hiss is what I'm talking about when I say that microphone noise is an issue. Looking at the reported dB(A) noise specs helps, but listening is much better. The single number doesn't tell you how the noise sounds. High frequency hiss is very annoying.

    You will also need a good windscreen for wind noise. The one in my picture from DPA is great, but far too expensive. Someone suggested a small tent instead! Not kidding, it could work!

    Finally we have the noises reaching the microphone from the stand and cable. A good suspension mount/cradle helps, but I noticed that it's also important to use a soft or flexible cable, otherwise you might get noises that way.

    Just picked up a small, cheap recorder, the Zoom H2. Wanted to see how good results I can get with that one. Will report back with any useful findings...

    Martin

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