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Low cost field recording rig?

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Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:28 am

I don’t want to use my Sennheiser MKH mics for field recording, as it’s too much of a faff, I’d have to buy something like a Rycote Blimp to make them windproof, as an M&S pair.
That’s expensive, I’ve thought of the DIY route, but I’m not sure, plus I don’t really want to use M&S, but can’t think any other stereo combinations to use outdoors using the MKH's.
My solution is to get a Rode NT4 in a Rode blimp, as a one stop solution.
I’ve made quite a few outside field recordings, birdsong, sound effects etc, but they’re all in mono, using a single shotgun mic, and I want to record in stereo.
Any advice about this much appreciated.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:06 am

I spent ages researching and trying different stereo recording options to record ambient outside sounds (New Zealand bush and bird sounds).

In the end I’ve settled on a pair of MKH8090s in a (quasi) ORTF setup in a bespoke Rycote blimp complete with ORTF configured mic clips. This into a MixPre 3.

This is most likely over the top but does sound wonderful!

Of the cheaper variety I have tried the Zoom H6 with the M/S capsule which works rather well and, if you have an iPhone, the Shure MV88 M/S mic is equally as good, but there is a noise penalty with both.

Haven’t tried the NT4, but I’m wondering about a pair of Line Audio CM3 or CM4s in a blimp - would probably be more neutral than the NT4.

Bob
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:23 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:I spent ages researching and trying different stereo recording options to record ambient outside sounds (New Zealand bush and bird sounds).

In the end I’ve settled on a pair of MKH8090s in a (quasi) ORTF setup in a bespoke Rycote blimp complete with ORTF configured mic clips. This into a MixPre 3.

This is most likely over the top but does sound wonderful!

Of the cheaper variety I have tried the Zoom H6 with the M/S capsule which works rather well and, if you have an iPhone, the Shure MV88 M/S mic is equally as good, but there is a noise penalty with both.

Haven’t tried the NT4, but I’m wondering about a pair of Line Audio CM3 or CM4s in a blimp - would probably be more neutral than the NT4.

Bob

Yes! Hardly budget! :)
Then there's the issue of polar patterns, for localised sources I tend to use cardioids, or shotguns, omni's I find are a bit of a nightmare in busy situations, and they have way too much bass normally.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby The Elf » Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:41 am

Zoom H5 - gives you a few clip-on options, and/or your own mic's when you feel the need. The M/S clip-on is actually really good.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:42 am

For low-budget, what about a Zoom H3-VR with an additional hairy windshield? https://www.zoom-na.com/products/field- ... y-recorder

Or for a step up in quality, the Rode NT-SF1? https://en.rode.com/ntsf1 (this comes with a furry windshield).

The Zoom has the benefit of being self-contained so no external recorder needed.

And with these ambisonic mics, you're pretty much free to choose the polar pattern and directionality you want.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:19 am

Wonks wrote:Or for a step up in quality, the Rode NT-SF1? https://en.rode.com/ntsf1 (this comes with a furry windshield).

Yes, I was going to recommend that if you can record 4 tracks and have the budget. Being able to select polar patterns during mixdown is really quite liberating and the quality is high.

Zoom H3-VR. I used it last weekend alongside my Olympus LS-10 to record the carols session I was helping run in a pub. I couldn't give either recorder much attention, being one of the organisers, so I stuck both to one side, set them going and left them to it for the next two hours. Both produced usable recordings but I ended up using the LS-10 because it had the edge in quality and clarity. The H3-VR packs an amazing amount in for the price but sometimes the compromises show a bit.

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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:43 am

I think I ought to back that statement up. Here's two recordings of the same carol made simultaneously with the LS-10 and the H3-VR next to each other. The H3-VR recorded in Ambix B format which I decoded using Soundfield by Rode into a simple stereo pair, otherwise I have done no processing on either recording. Both files are 24 bit 44.1kHz wavs.

The carol is I Hear along Our Street from Dunster in Somerset.

LS-10
https://www.dropbox.com/s/um1ixncg3gwpl ... 0.wav?dl=0

H3-VR
https://www.dropbox.com/s/tebufg995ijm1 ... R.wav?dl=0

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PS I've done a few recordings with an NT4 feeding the LS-10 and that's pretty good.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby The Elf » Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:16 pm

The H3-VR is a pleasing and involving recording. It's a good feeling to be pulled into that joyful atmosphere - love it!

:clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:14 pm

One man's meat ... I actually found the sound a little dull and uninvolving as compared with the LS-10. However by using the DearVR Ambi Micro plugin on it is a simple matter to turn it into a binaural recording and then it rather does surround you in an amazing way. I'll produce a binaural version later, just going out now to sing carols ...

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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:24 pm

I preferred the Zoom as well. The LS-10 always needs the bass-end boosting as it has quite a noticeable bass drop-off. Probably a legacy of making voice memo recorders to reduce the proximity effect.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby The Elf » Sun Dec 22, 2019 4:25 pm

The LS-10 sound is pushy in the upper mids. It makes it quite tiring to listen to.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Dec 22, 2019 6:29 pm

ConcertinaChap wrote:I think I ought to back that statement up. Here's two recordings of the same carol made simultaneously with the LS-10 and the H3-VR next to each other. The H3-VR recorded in Ambix B format which I decoded using Soundfield by Rode into a simple stereo pair, otherwise I have done no processing on either recording. Both files are 24 bit 44.1kHz wavs.

The carol is I Hear along Our Street from Dunster in Somerset.

LS-10
https://www.dropbox.com/s/um1ixncg3gwpl ... 0.wav?dl=0

H3-VR
https://www.dropbox.com/s/tebufg995ijm1 ... R.wav?dl=0

CC

PS I've done a few recordings with an NT4 feeding the LS-10 and that's pretty good.

Thanks for doing this Chap, out of these two recordings I definitely prefer the Zoom, smother, and more involving. The Olympus sounds quit harsh and shrill in comparison.
I really want to muse external mics, I’ve tried built in ones on all sorts of things and they always sound....er......like built in mics! :D
I thought about the NTSF1 too, I may have to push my budget, as usual :crazy:
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sun Dec 22, 2019 7:28 pm

Arpangel wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:I spent ages researching and trying different stereo recording options to record ambient outside sounds (New Zealand bush and bird sounds).

In the end I’ve settled on a pair of MKH8090s in a (quasi) ORTF setup in a bespoke Rycote blimp complete with ORTF configured mic clips. This into a MixPre 3.

This is most likely over the top but does sound wonderful!

Of the cheaper variety I have tried the Zoom H6 with the M/S capsule which works rather well and, if you have an iPhone, the Shure MV88 M/S mic is equally as good, but there is a noise penalty with both.

Haven’t tried the NT4, but I’m wondering about a pair of Line Audio CM3 or CM4s in a blimp - would probably be more neutral than the NT4.

Bob

Yes! Hardly budget! :)
Then there's the issue of polar patterns, for localised sources I tend to use cardioids, or shotguns, omni's I find are a bit of a nightmare in busy situations, and they have way too much bass normally.

Perhaps I wasn’t clear - I was suggesting the CM4 ORTF setup as an alternative to the MKH8090 set up which I’ve found the best - for my purposes - and at under 200 quid could be deemed ‘budget’. You’d still need some sort of blimp of course, and I was assuming you already have a portable recording device, given you’re already active in field recording.

I’m just wondering quite what you have in mind - does your comment regarding cardioid/shotguns/omnis refer to your mono recordings? Everything changes when you move to stereo and I wouldn’t want to use shotguns or omnis for stereo field recording (unless you’re thinking binaural).

Perhaps some more information would be useful.

Bob
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:24 am

The Elf wrote:The LS-10 sound is pushy in the upper mids. It makes it quite tiring to listen to.

The LS 10 recording sounds very treble heavy/bass light to me, and very distorted on loud notes.

The H3 recording not as bad. At least some of the accordian bass notes can be heard but it still sounds a little distorted although not as badly as the LS 10.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Dec 23, 2019 7:23 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:
Arpangel wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:I spent ages researching and trying different stereo recording options to record ambient outside sounds (New Zealand bush and bird sounds).

In the end I’ve settled on a pair of MKH8090s in a (quasi) ORTF setup in a bespoke Rycote blimp complete with ORTF configured mic clips. This into a MixPre 3.

This is most likely over the top but does sound wonderful!

Of the cheaper variety I have tried the Zoom H6 with the M/S capsule which works rather well and, if you have an iPhone, the Shure MV88 M/S mic is equally as good, but there is a noise penalty with both.

Haven’t tried the NT4, but I’m wondering about a pair of Line Audio CM3 or CM4s in a blimp - would probably be more neutral than the NT4.

Bob

Yes! Hardly budget! :)
Then there's the issue of polar patterns, for localised sources I tend to use cardioids, or shotguns, omni's I find are a bit of a nightmare in busy situations, and they have way too much bass normally.

Perhaps I wasn’t clear - I was suggesting the CM4 ORTF setup as an alternative to the MKH8090 set up which I’ve found the best - for my purposes - and at under 200 quid could be deemed ‘budget’. You’d still need some sort of blimp of course, and I was assuming you already have a portable recording device, given you’re already active in field recording.

I’m just wondering quite what you have in mind - does your comment regarding cardioid/shotguns/omnis refer to your mono recordings? Everything changes when you move to stereo and I wouldn’t want to use shotguns or omnis for stereo field recording (unless you’re thinking binaural).

Perhaps some more information would be useful.

Bob

I have been using a Tascam DR100 MK11 with a single mono mic plugged into the onboard XLR socket. Results have been very good, but I’d like to go stereo.
I’ve been recording trains, sound effects, birdsong, fireworks etc.
Most of my mic's are SDC's but difficult to mount in blimps in an ORTF configuration.
I could go M&S as that’s easier to mount, butI don’t want to bother with decoding etc.
I find it a bit much to spend around £500 on a blimp, I can't see where that money actually goes, it must be easy to DIY a decent windshield.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Dec 23, 2019 9:41 am

I know what you mean about the cost of those blimps but you do get what you pay for.

Prior to buying the Rycote ORTF windshield, I was using a couple of their 5cm Super Softies https://www.thomann.de/gb/rycote_super_softie_5cm_24_25.htm. Not quite as good as the full blown windshield but still very effective.

If you were interested I could record a few things with my CM3s to give you an idea of how they behave (I haven’t tried them myself for ambient recording as I have the MKHs - but I am curious to know if my prediction is workable!)

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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby wireman » Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:06 am

I have a Rycote Baby Ball Gag Windshield which would be intermediate in size but I don't know much about the relative performance of the various wind isolation options.
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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby ConcertinaChap » Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:13 am

As promised here is the binaural version of the carol. As before no processing has been applied at all apart from the DearVR Ambi Micro plugin which converts the ambisonic B format output of the Hr-VR into stereo binaural. Obviously best listened to on headphones but doesn't sound unreasonable on speakers.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/t9hd4c9ycgoi9 ... l.wav?dl=0

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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:19 am

wireman wrote:I have a Rycote Baby Ball Gag Windshield which would be intermediate in size but I don't know much about the relative performance of the various wind isolation options.

I had both the baby ball gag and super softie. The baby ball gag was more effective but the difference was fairly minimal and from memory somewhat frequency dependent. There’s an A/B comparison somewhere online.

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Re: Low cost field recording rig?

Postby The Elf » Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:26 am

Arpangel wrote:I could go M&S as that’s easier to mount, butI don’t want to bother with decoding etc.
Don't know why you feel this is a 'bother'?

If the device you're recording with supports M/S it will do the decoding for you, back in your DAW you just insert the free MSED plug-in - job done. From your point of view it's just 'normal' stereo.
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