Field Recording Suggestions

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Member Since: Sep 06, 2006

Hello everyone!

I recently devellopped a passion for field recording and making music from found sounds. I am looking for field/portable recorders but have no idea where to direct myself. Do i go digital, analog? DAT? Direct to CD recorders?
I don't want to skimp on the portable recorder, but I definatly dont need the top of the line stuff...
Also, what do you guys suggest for microphones? Do they have single insert mics that record a stereo image?
Get back at me guys! I appreciate the feedback!


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Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Sep 06, 2006 03:45 pm

We just had a thread on that very subject. I think the consensus is that Sony MD players/recorders are the bee's knees. I had one a while ago, it was great for recording, but you had to play the file to record it into a PC.

Now-a-days, the Hi-MD records can send the file over to the PC without having to play back the whole file.

They also store a lot more data, i believe.

I used a stereo electret mic - ecm907, i believe. I've recorded a few outdoor things with it, and had great results.

Welcome to HRC, and look through some of the old posts, there's some good info in there.

Since: Sep 06, 2006

Sep 06, 2006 06:37 pm

What about straight to cd recorders? I'm looking for something a little more hi-end than a minidisc recorder, which is digital im assuming?

What I'm looking for will be used indoors as well as outdoors...

Anyways, do you suggest a shotgun microphone?

Prince CZAR-ming
Since: Apr 08, 2004

Sep 07, 2006 09:08 am

well, i'm kinda limited on my knowledge, as I was just using the MD recorder, and reading other's opinions.

er, straight to CD recorder will be the same digital as a MD recorder, so I'm not sure if you'd be any better. It all depends on the sampling frequency, and the converter quality.

I've had very good quality with mine, and it was one of the earlier ones.

Maudio makes a microtrack, which is for handheld recording. It's gotten very good reviews, but I haven't seen one.

I can see the usefullness of a shotgun mic, but I haven't dealt with any, so have no real opinions there.

Hopefully someone else can chime in.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Sep 07, 2006 07:36 pm

Hey Jon, welcome to HRC. Pardon my late entry here, been a tad busy.

I'll come right out and ask if you have set a total budget yet for mic or mic's and recorder.

I personally still use the MD with a stereo condenser mic. To me the small size and ultimate portability and durability are what I need. The fidelity is more then adequate as well.

But I would certainly switch if that day ever comes.

I would also ask if you have a preferance for media, Direct CD, Hard disc recorders, memory card recorders? There are many choices out there at the moment. Minutes or hours of content you would like to record will definately come into play as well.

A shotgun mic is going to give you a good mono signal, there are a couple of stereo shotgun condensers out there. But the price is not for the faint of heart on those units. Although used ones can be found they are not easily come by.

I will try and get a small list of some decent stereo condeser mics that are self powered or low poer consuming if to be powered by the recorder.

And let us know if you have a format of choice and we can get a list together of some options.


Since: Sep 06, 2006

Sep 09, 2006 01:42 pm

Hey, thanks for your time noize...
Ya you see, the thing is, (and I should know this from graduating from an audio recording class)i want the BEST quality possible, which is direct to tape analog style, correct me if I'm wrong. However, I dont mind using a minidisc, as long as there is no audible data loss during transfer to my computer....

Also, all these fancy field recorders with 4 inputs, and screens, i guess your jsut paying more for the interface and inputs/outputs? The screen is an onboard wave editor if I'm not mistaken right?

Im planning on having at least an hour of record time, so im assuming flash cards is where it's at....

Also, from what you've told me, I'm assuming i should record in stereo for a better image, hence a stereo microphone? (by the way, are these single xlr input?)

As for price, Im willing to spend upto 1500-1800 dollars on this equipement, and I'm leaning on the idea of spending more on a microphone....

Get back at me with some suggestions! Thanks alot!

P.s.: If it helps, my main use for field recorindg is integrating sounds into music, and using it to foley sound effects of various sorts.!

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Sep 10, 2006 03:59 pm

In my case the use of the MD works out very well. Since in the end there is usually not much left of the original sound when I'm done twisting into another sample. On very rare occasion you may find an original unaltered sample but they are usually turned into something to be used as a synth type sound, ambient pad or percusion.

For what you are looking to do I would guess that most samples taken would be better recorded in mono. Then a stereo image can be created if needed after the fact. So a shotgun type mic would be the best route for you. They do have ultimately the best outside noise cancelling of all mic's. And are much more directional, some even from great distances. As time permits I will point you to a few of the better units.

As for the recorder itself indeed the flash memory or internal HD are going to be your best choices. With the flash memory unit being a bit more durable as far as getting jarred around without any ill effects. But that said, some of the bigger Marantz units that record direct to HD are very well built for just this purpose. Some do CDR or connect to drag your wave files to the PC. They are a bit larger then something along the lines of their PMD-660 but offer a good deal more with the package. And in the case of the 660, you will want to possibly have some modifacations that are listed on a website done to up the audio quality of the unit. My only concern with the unit would be the 4 AA batteries it runs on. I would be guessing that running it with 48v phantom on would drain them pretty quickly. But carrying spare rechargables wouldn't be a problem.

Again when time permits I'll try and point to some recomended units. Then you can browse a few of the details and see what might appeal to you.


Brink of Sanity Recording
Since: Nov 27, 2008

Nov 27, 2008 03:24 am

I bought A Samson Zoom H4 a few months cost me $300 and it kills the Fostex FR2, and the TASCAM D2. Uses SD cards, the internal mics are awesome, has built in compression, limiting, mic modelers, EQ, and effects. Works as a 4track recorder, has 2 mic inputs which use either XLR or 1/4" cable. I'm happy and made all $300 back after my first job. Dont waste your money on all the high end, easy to break, overpriced field gear.
For my mics i've been using MXL 990 and 991. Pay attention to your gain controls and they work fine.
The only drawback i found is handling noise, but to fix that i put a strip of velcrow on the bottom and a strip on the holder it comes with...handling noise gone.
It also works as an interface and comes with the latest Cubase LE.

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