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Thread: Professional Quality On-Location Podcasting Equipment

  1. #1
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    Red face Professional Quality On-Location Podcasting Equipment

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    Hi All!

    I'm coming to you with a film background--lots of documentary and promotional stuff--so most of my knowledge of audio is based on recording for camera (either wireless lavs or boom mics).

    I've recorded and editing a podcast for work in the past, but this week I decided that I wanted to start my own podcast (with my own gear) interviewing people with type 1 diabetes on their life story. It would be a one-on-one interview in the vein of Death, Sex, and Money, StoryCorps, and Fresh Air. While I'll probably record a bit in my apartment, mostly the intros and outros, more often than not I imagine I'll be on location in someone else's place. The setup would be me with one microphone and the guest with another microphone both feeding into a recorder that I (or someone else) is monitoring.

    The audio gear that I currently have is:
    Marantz PMD661 MkII recorder
    Audio Technica AT897 shotgun microphone
    Sennheiser ew 100 ENG G3 Wireless microphone

    I've experimented with using my AT897, but it doesn't seem to have the fullness that I want--which might be a limitation of my mic, not necessarily shotguns in general. I've done a lot of research on gear so far, and everything I've read seems to point to the Electro Voice RE20 as "the mic" for radio because of the quality of the sound and the large sweet spot. But because it's so quiet, it seems like I'll need a preamp to bring the levels up high enough for my recorder. I've seen people recommend the Cloudlifter CL-2 or the Sound Devices PreAmp-D, with either going into my Marantz to record. The advantage of the Sound Devices is that it has a built in mixer, something the Marantz struggles with because both channel knobs are connecting (making for awkward two-handed adjustments. Alternately, would upgrading to a Sound Devices 702 make more sense? Are the preamps on the 702 good enough that I could just use one of those instead of using a separate preamp and my Marantz?

    Do you think that the RE20 is worth the trouble of needing an additional preamp/recorder? I considered using shotgun microphones, like getting another AT897, but I think the RE20 is in a whole separate class.

    I'd rather spend more money and get quality equipment now than get something cheaper and wanting to upgrade down the road.

    Thanks so much for your help!

  2. #2
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    Feb 2009
    northampton uk home of Dr Who and Blackstar Amps!
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    Just looking at specifications Graig, the 702 appears to have incredibly quiet mic pres near the theoretical physical limit of -130dBu. The Pre D is not quite so startling at -126dBu but I doubt you will ever be anywhere quiet enough for that to matter!

    I do like the fact that the pre amp has transformer mic inputs. On location you can find yourself close to powerful RF sources and nothing beats traffs for rejecting RF.

    The Cloudlifters are said to be excellent but do remember that they will be an additional battery load on the recorder?

    Finally, don't desert HR but, ask over at Sound On Sound | Recording Techniques | Audio Technology | Music Production | Computer Music | Video Media. Lot of ex BBC types there and they should have the full SP. (Bobbsy also has the BBC props and will surely chip in?)


  3. #3
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    Thanks, Dave!

    I've seen the Sound Devices recorders used on film sets a lot, which is why I looked into them.

    I'll check out Sound On Sound too, but if anyone else has thoughts on if the RE20 should even be used for on-location recording, I'd love to hear them. They seem to be mostly used in studio, but I'm not sure if that's because most people record in studio or because they are just hard to use in the field because they need so much gain.

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