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Which Sound Recorder to buy? A guide to various indie priced sound recorders in 2017

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17 hours ago, TheRenaissanceMan said:

Not sure why people are so confused by this article... Maybe it's just a reflection on EOSHD's demographic. Clearly more videographers, hobbyists, and people that shoot MOS material/b-roll.

Yeah, although I see EOSHD's demographic as just being all sorts of filmmakers (on the technical side of filmmaking) who in general who cover the spectrum of just starting out and up to semi-pro/indie/corporate level (with also a good scattering above this as well. I'm sure we probably have a few people lurking who never use anything less than an Arri Alexa! ha).

And as location sound recordists fit very much within the technical side of filmmaking it seemed appropriate to share this article here, which is aimed at the just starting out and up to semi-pro/indie/corporate level sound recordist. 

 

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17 hours ago, TheRenaissanceMan said:

Incredibly useful suggestions, IronFilm. Been meaning to pick your brain on audio for a while, so this saves me some effort. Would love to see another topic/post on what mics to pair with these sexy recorders, and maybe even some pointers on boom/lav technique. Keep up the good work!

I think the Zoom F4 is a pretty sexy recorder! Although I still lust over the likes of a SX-R4+...   a friend just put the deposit down on one! :-o  Hopefully I'll get a chance to check out the SX-R4+ in person.

Yes, there are heaps more topics I still need to cover! Have been meaning to blog (and vblog, although my vblog is almost empty) more on this, but this was my first post in a very looooooooong time on my blog at IronFilm.co.nz

There is this problem where there is this wealth of information for aspiring DoPs to learn from which is targeted at the indie level (and the indie level is the vast majority of the world!), but when it comes to sound....    *crickets*.

Heck, even at the full on professional level for sound there is almost nothing!

You have jwsoundgroup (which is a forum that is very unfriendly to n00bs), Sound Rolling (best vBlog on the planet! Ha. Welll... his is the only one on this topic), and WavReport (a blog Andrew Jones just started up this year). Plus of course the usual retailers and brands' YouTube channels and articles they publish (but of course you should take all of those with a big grain of salt).

 

And underneath this, what is there? Basically nothing at all, until you reach the level of videographers who of course are not doing sound as their core focus. Thus if you're a sound recordist starting out and looking around at those kinds of people (videographers) the amount of information which is spread that is a bit odd, irrelevant, upside down, clueless, missing the point, plain outright wrong, or just simply outdated is a LOT

Curtis Judd is the rare exception to this, a videographer who puts out regular content about sound recording that is actually pretty good (although even he now and then occasionally says something which is a bit odd I think or just is omitting info, because he is saying everything from a videographer's perceptive)

The final option a budding new location sound recordist would try and check out is the various musician and other non-film sound recording websites (forums such as gearslutz / taperssection / soundsonsound / prosoundweb / indierecordingdepot / homerecording / mixonline / tweakheadz / etc... ), there are TONNES of sites out there! About sound, but sadly without a focus on filmmaking. Which means while useful 


I hope to fill in some of these gaps in the future to cover the huge area there is between a just starting out sound recordist and a jwsoungroup regular! :-)
From my knowledge I've gained picking together these scattered bits of knowledge spread in random parts of the internet, together with my experience in just going out and doing this every single week.
Hopefully it won't be 2018 when I write my next blog article.... :-o 

But very briefly, there are three kinds of mics you'll want in any basic sound recordist's kit:

1) indoor boom mic (rather than list a bunch of options, the quickest summary I'll give is this link to Curtis Judd's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-b_1gOYOEQ although, I might add one more to consider if you're on a super frugal budget: iSK Little Gem. Thinking about buying it to give the Little Peal a spin, also might get the iSK Pearl)

2) shotgun mic for outdoors (Rode NTG3 is a popular cheaper alternative to the ubiquitous Sennheiser 416, a new player to consider is the Aputure Deity. If you're being super cheap, then there is the Audio-Technica AT875R. Or if it is a choice between nothing or a microphone could go for Azden SGM-1X or even Vidpro XM-55, if you're being really cheap but you're only excused if you're also shooting on a Panasonic GH1 with a kit lens).

3) wireless lavs as insurance (as while Boom is King, there will often be times when production will force you against your will to compromise and you'll need need to rely on you lavs. This why I call them "insurance", you never want to use your insurance, but when you have to.... you're very bloody glad indeed that you have insurance!! Although just like insurance in real life, there are times when you think you're covered by the insurance company.... but you're not. So it is best not to take the risk and gamble on insurance if you don't have to. When it comes to considering wireless lavs to buy that is not the usual pro industry standard of Lectrosonics/Zaxcom/Wyscom/etc, then I recommend Sony UWP-D11. As they're the same price as the ubiquitous Sennheiser G3 but better. I recommend to have at least two, but three or four is even better. The next step is to upgrade the stock lavs which come with the kit, two common industry standards is Tram TR50 and Sanken COS-11D. Oscar SoundTech is a cheaper alternative: http://www.oscarsoundtech.com/services.html)

4) a bonus 4th item I'll list to have... not so essential in a sound recordist's kit as the first 3 listed, but often oh so useful as it is absolutely shocking how often (a LOT!) the camera crew will show up and not even have a microphone in their kit for their own camera!! (and this for cameras which don't an ANY internal mics at all! Such as a RED or Arri or FS7 or many many others) Thus the 4th item I suggest you have is some kind of on camera mic plus a large variety of cables to work with various cameras, as it is just for scratch reference all sorts of mics could fill this role. Usually your back up boom mic could fill this role in a pinch. 

 

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On 7/22/2017 at 10:56 AM, mercer said:

I am interested in the Tascam 10L recorders... they seems to be a great size with decent specs... how are they rated on the Ironfilm scale?

I think they're absolutely great from what I've read about them, and they are the best for their particular niche.

Note very carefully those last four words: that niche is those who don't wish to monitor their lavs!! :-o *AND* have an extremely constrained budget (otherwise you'd go with Zaxcom or Lectrosonics PDR)
Of course I don't recommend this, you should always use quality wireless instead if you can. 

However there are some unusual circumstances where this is not possible (I read about this doco of the CIA, where amazingly they got granted some incredible access inside classified areas....  *BUT* couldn't bring any wireless gear in whatsoever! Due to the security level of the location. So the poor soundie had to rely upon something like this instead). 

Another example from just this morning, I was talking to a guy who is doing a self funded doco about climbing. Thus they simply can't get an experienced soundie and train him up to climb up and down the extreme cliffs they'll be scaling. And without a soundie, and him already trying to juggle the camera side himself, plus their extremely limited budget, I did suggest to him that he is probably one of those rare exceptions where it would make a lot of sense to use a bunch of Tascam DR10L recorders.

If that is your circumstances, and you're on a budget, then this is the best you can do!

If you're even more constrained by budget than what can afford a Tascam DR10L, then the next step down is to use an Aputure A.Lav (this is what I use myself, when filming myself with my cellphone for my vBlog, that I'll then upload directly to YouTube):
https://www.aputure.com/products/a-lav-1
Then you can just use everyone's smartphone (as everyone has one!) as a recorder, but the huge headache and hassle of getting an audio recorder app installed on everyone's phones, making sure they have enough space for recordings, and getting it off them at the end of the day. AARRRRGGGHHH... would be a nightmare! But if you're stuck between that or *NOTHING*, then this would be a good approach to take with Aputure A.Lavs if you have the patience.

One final point I'll make about the Tascam DR10L, and a point I was making throughout my article, is I wrote the article targeted at the aspiring location sound recordist. 

Thus for their needs, getting a Tascam DR10L is a terrible idea. They should be focused on first getting a sound recorder suitable for them (which is what I was covering), and then picking up several wireless (such as Sony UWP-D11).

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On 7/22/2017 at 10:56 AM, mercer said:

Yeah, unfortunately and probably stupidly, I will go for smaller and discrete every day of the week over large and cumbersome, but I am shooting literal no budget films, where I don't have a sound guy. It needs to be simple and small, something I can attach to an L-Bracket with a small shotgun but can also do double duty as a pocket recorder for a lav.

Sorry to hear :-( 
If you're not using a soundie at all, then this article wasn't really for you? :-/
If you're a one person band trying to juggle audio as well, welllll.... that is an article for another day?

However it isn't even article I'd really want to write.... :-o

It is a bit like those guides to shooting a film with an iPhone. Ok, so some people do that. And you can, it is possible. But it is not something I want to encourage!

Anyway, if you are going to take that approach I can still still give some recommendations anyway that will improve your audio:
1) rely heavily upon voice overs instead if you can, those you can record later on in post
2) put lavs on everyone and cross your fingers while you pray to your favorite deity! Having exposed rather than hidden lavs will greatly improve your odds of success.
3) film people stationary rather than have them walking around, that way you can use a C-stand and boom them from above. Or sneak in a plant mic.
4) abuse the safety track feature that Tascams and some Zooms have, and use them on everything all the time.
5) learn post production as well as you can! Such as CEDAR and iZotope RX. For instance, watch this review of the latest iZotope RX6 (yup version 6! iZotope RX has been around for many years): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EZ4KCMBi1Y

 

6) final but most important suggestion: if you can't find any soundie at all to work with, then pick a PA / friend / 3rd AC / "someone", give them a secondhand DR60D + Audio-Technica AT875R + iSK Little Gem and wish them luck! (this is at a bare minimum, if you have even just a tiny bit more of a budget, at least get a Zoom F4 + Aputure Deity + blimp + iSK Little Gem + 2x Sony UWP-D11 + Tentacle Sync. This will enable your soundie to do a LOT more, and give a much better platform to expand upwards from in the future). 

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4 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

Sorry to hear :-( 
If you're not using a soundie at all, then this article wasn't really for you? :-/
If you're a one person band trying to juggle audio as well, welllll.... that is an article for another day?

However it isn't even article I'd really want to write.... :-o

It is a bit like those guides to shooting a film with an iPhone. Ok, so some people do that. And you can, it is possible. But it is not something I want to encourage!

Anyway, if you are going to take that approach I can still still give some recommendations anyway that will improve your audio:
1) rely heavily upon voice overs instead if you can, those you can record later on in post
2) put lavs on everyone and cross your fingers while you pray to your favorite deity! Having exposed rather than hidden lavs will greatly improve your odds of success.
3) film people stationary rather than have them walking around, that way you can use a C-stand and boom them from above. Or sneak in a plant mic.
4) abuse the safety track feature that Tascams and some Zooms have, and use them on everything all the time.
5) learn post production as well as you can! Such as CEDAR and iZotope RX. For instance, watch this review of the latest iZotope RX6 (yup version 6! iZotope RX has been around for many years): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EZ4KCMBi1Y

 

Yes, I understand this one wasn't written for my productions, but it is a very interesting read nonetheless and I appreciate you taking the time for a couple tips... I learned a ton just from your reply. Thanks!!!

To add, I have been using the Rode Micro on camera for ambient sound and as a scratch track and using the Olympus LS7 field recorders for a pocket lav recording but I am thinking about selling them and going with the Tascam 10L for the safety track.

But I also noticed that Tascam sells a small XLR recorder that attaches to the back of a microphone... the DR-10X. Would something like that, or another brand, be useful to attach to an NTG to keep the setup as compact and cord free as possible, or is the quality just too low?

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5 minutes ago, mercer said:

To add, I have been using the Rode Micro on camera for ambient sound and as a scratch track and using the Olympus LS7 field recorders for a pocket lav recording but I am thinking about selling them and going with the Tascam 10L for the safety track.

 

Tascam DR10L would be a big leap forward from the  Olympus LS7 in terms of features and ergonomics. 

However.... you're still quite badly constrained by the fact we're talking about unmonitored recorders. Dunno if it is worth the cost and hassle of selling/re-buying, that would be a question for you to answer for yourself. 

7 minutes ago, mercer said:

But I also noticed that Tascam sells a small XLR recorder that attaches to the back of a microphone... the DR-10X. Would something like that, or another brand, be useful to attach to an NTG to keep the setup as compact and cord free as possible, or is the quality just too low?

I see two core use cases for the DR10X:

1) reporter's stick mic
2) plant mics

I don't think you're doing either of those with it?

Of course the DR10X has the same core problem of the DR10L: unmonitored sound recordings. 

Oh hey, I just noticed the DR10X does have a 3.5 mm stereo mini jack, sweet! Had a nagging suspicion it did have this (because the DR10SC has an output), thus I thought to google and check before I submitted this post. Thus I guess if you're in say Use Case #1, you could have the reporter monitoring their own recordings (wouldn't be a terribly bad thing, would help make sure they're pointing the mic right! Something new reporters often forget to do), while you're filming them interviewing people.  Anyway....  just a quick side point, but I think not relevant to what you want to do?

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3 hours ago, IronFilm said:

I think the Zoom F4 is a pretty sexy recorder! Although I still lust over the likes of a SX-R4+...   a friend just put the deposit down on one! :-o  Hopefully I'll get a chance to check out the SX-R4+ in person.

Yes, there are heaps more topics I still need to cover! Have been meaning to blog (and vblog, although my vblog is almost empty) more on this, but this was my first post in a very looooooooong time on my blog at IronFilm.co.nz

There is this problem where there is this wealth of information for aspiring DoPs to learn from which is targeted at the indie level (and the indie level is the vast majority of the world!), but when it comes to sound....    *crickets*.

Heck, even at the full on professional level for sound there is almost nothing!

You have jwsoundgroup (which is a forum that is very unfriendly to n00bs), Sound Rolling (best vBlog on the planet! Ha. Welll... his is the only one on this topic), and WavReport (a blog Andrew Jones just started up this year). Plus of course the usual retailers and brands' YouTube channels and articles they publish (but of course you should take all of those with a big grain of salt).

 

And underneath this, what is there? Basically nothing at all, until you reach the level of videographers who of course are not doing sound as their core focus. Thus if you're a sound recordist starting out and looking around at those kinds of people (videographers) the amount of information which is spread that is a bit odd, irrelevant, upside down, clueless, missing the point, plain outright wrong, or just simply outdated is a LOT

Curtis Judd is the rare exception to this, a videographer who puts out regular content about sound recording that is actually pretty good (although even he now and then occasionally says something which is a bit odd I think or just is omitting info, because he is saying everything from a videographer's perceptive)

The final option a budding new location sound recordist would try and check out is the various musician and other non-film sound recording websites (forums such as gearslutz / taperssection / soundsonsound / prosoundweb / indierecordingdepot / homerecording / mixonline / tweakheadz / etc... ), there are TONNES of sites out there! About sound, but sadly without a focus on filmmaking. Which means while useful 


I hope to fill in some of these gaps in the future to cover the huge area there is between a just starting out sound recordist and a jwsoungroup regular! :-)
From my knowledge I've gained picking together these scattered bits of knowledge spread in random parts of the internet, together with my experience in just going out and doing this every single week.
Hopefully it won't be 2018 when I write my next blog article.... :-o 

But very briefly, there are three kinds of mics you'll want in any basic sound recordist's kit:

1) indoor boom mic (rather than list a bunch of options, the quickest summary I'll give is this link to Curtis Judd's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-b_1gOYOEQ although, I might add one more to consider if you're on a super frugal budget: iSK Little Gem. Thinking about buying it to give the Little Peal a spin, also might get the iSK Pearl)

2) shotgun mic for outdoors (Rode NTG3 is a popular cheaper alternative to the ubiquitous Sennheiser 416, a new player to consider is the Aputure Deity. If you're being super cheap, then there is the Audio-Technica AT875R. Or if it is a choice between nothing or a microphone could go for Azden SGM-1X or even Vidpro XM-55, if you're being really cheap but you're only excused if you're also shooting on a Panasonic GH1 with a kit lens).

3) wireless lavs as insurance (as while Boom is King, there will often be times when production will force you against your will to compromise and you'll need need to rely on you lavs. This why I call them "insurance", you never want to use your insurance, but when you have to.... you're very bloody glad indeed that you have insurance!! Although just like insurance in real life, there are times when you think you're covered by the insurance company.... but you're not. So it is best not to take the risk and gamble on insurance if you don't have to. When it comes to considering wireless lavs to buy that is not the usual pro industry standard of Lectrosonics/Zaxcom/Wyscom/etc, then I recommend Sony UWP-D11. As they're the same price as the ubiquitous Sennheiser G3 but better. I recommend to have at least two, but three or four is even better. The next step is to upgrade the stock lavs which come with the kit, two common industry standards is Tram TR50 and Sanken COS-11D. Oscar SoundTech is a cheaper alternative: http://www.oscarsoundtech.com/services.html)

4) a bonus 4th item I'll list to have... not so essential in a sound recordist's kit as the first 3 listed, but often oh so useful as it is absolutely shocking how often (a LOT!) the camera crew will show up and not even have a microphone in their kit for their own camera!! (and this for cameras which don't an ANY internal mics at all! Such as a RED or Arri or FS7 or many many others) Thus the 4th item I suggest you have is some kind of on camera mic plus a large variety of cables to work with various cameras, as it is just for scratch reference all sorts of mics could fill this role. Usually your back up boom mic could fill this role in a pinch. 

 

Thank you so much, IronFilm. All this is incredibly valuable. Indeed, there's a severe lack of info out there on the audio side of filmmaking. Sad, since bad audio will ruin a film far sooner and more definitively than foibles with the picture. 

Do you have any experience with the MKE600? If so, what's your opinion of it?

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10 minutes ago, TheRenaissanceMan said:

Do you have any experience with the MKE600? If so, what's your opinion of it?

Nope. Sorry, never used it. But when I've looked at reviews online it seems to get favorable comments from owners (but as 99% of their owners are non-sound experts, perhaps take that with a grain of salt? Hard to say, but seems like a solid buy at the very low end range of shotguns).


The ones I "own" (or kinda almost own) are, in order from first to latest: "some cheap chinese rubbish for twenty bucks that was my first ever shotgun", Rode NTG2, Sennheiser 416, Sennheiser ME66/K6, Sanken CS3e, Aputure Deity, Audio-Technica AT4073a.

Don't know anyone either with a MKE600, as would be fun to include it in a shoot out. 

My personal recommendations here when it comes to buying a shotgun on an low budget (so if you can't afford a 416 or Sanken etc) is:

If buying new: Aputure Deity (but I might be a bit biased here... full disclosure, I'm an Aputure Brand Ambassador)

If buying secondhand and you have lots of patience: Audio-Technica AT4073a.

If buying secondhand and you're in a rush: Sennheiser ME66/K6

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I roll with a Mixpre-D, tracking with a Sony PCM-D50, 2 custom modded (Schoeps-ish sounding) AKG C 460 B with CK 63-ULS caps, and an NTG-3. I'm looking at replacing the Mixpre-D with a Mixpre-3 to free up the PCM-D50 for ambience recording. Also getting a couple of the new Rode lavs.

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36 minutes ago, squig said:

I'm looking at replacing the Mixpre-D with a Mixpre-3 to free up the PCM-D50 for ambience recording.

Please spend the relatively small extra $250 to get the MixPre6 instead of the MixPre3. Or if cost is a factor, just get the Zoom F4 instead. (which is a better unit at the same price, and can take 6 inputs at once to record, just like the MixPre6)

As the MixPre6 has double the number of usable inputs vs the MixPre3, and I really think for anything but the smallest of smallest shoots that 3 is simply far too little. And it will hamper your growth in the long run if you have a hard cap at 3 as your max.

 

36 minutes ago, squig said:

Also getting a couple of the new Rode lavs

Are you meaning the RodeLink Filmmakers Kit?

That was my first ever wireless, I purchased it immediately when it got announced, and regretted it ever since. 
They live life as my camera hops now.
Because the RodeLink TX packs are just too damn big to ever use on talent!

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27 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

Please spend the relatively small extra $250 to get the MixPre6 instead of the MixPre3. Or if cost is a factor, just get the Zoom F4 instead. (which is a better unit at the same price, and can take 6 inputs at once to record, just like the MixPre6)

Are you meaning the RodeLink Filmmakers Kit?

I wouldn't trade a Sound Devices pre-amp for a Zoom. You're right on the growth aspect; if I can scrape up the extra $ for the 6 I will, but SD resale value is very good so I can always upgrade when I need to.

Yeah the RodeLink. The talent's going to be rugged up in winter gear so size isn't really an issue; I'm more concerned with sound quality, and they don't sound too bad to me.

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+1 for MixPre6 over MixPre3 and SD over Zoom preamps.

For wireless we've been using the Sennheiser G3 with Sennheiser and OscarSoundTech lavs. They have worked very well. We also use the ENG plug with the Rode NTG2 and it works well as a wireless shotgun.

For those wanting or needing stereo sound, the Audio Technica BP4029 is a really nice mid-side stereo shotgun mic (5 star rating). You record two channels and can convert from mono to ultra-wide stereo in post and anything in between, using a plugin like MSED (free). Recordings with this mic can have a 3D effect when listening with headphones. For full 3D recording, the Sennheiser Ambeo works really well to capture Ambisonic recordings for 3D manipulation in post (or for real-time VR apps). Ambisonic recordings can be mixed down to stereo with an HRTF, providing excellent 3D spatialization when wearing headphones.

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4 hours ago, squig said:

I roll with a Mixpre-D, tracking with a Sony PCM-D50, 2 custom modded (Schoeps-ish sounding) AKG C 460 B with CK 63-ULS caps, and an NTG-3. I'm looking at replacing the Mixpre-D with a Mixpre-3 to free up the PCM-D50 for ambience recording. Also getting a couple of the new Rode lavs.

I'll second the D50 (and now D100) as a very, very good relatively small recorder. Good features, good build quality, great sound. Despite the lack of XLR it can be used with external microphones that have a 3.5mm plug, such as the Rode NT4 (stereo), NTG4, or the Rodelink receiver for example. As you suggest it can be used with a mixer as the recorder. It seemed to be pretty expensive for me when I bought it, but it's one of those things you buy once and it will do the job for decades. It works well on top of my camera for general run-and-gun shooting, either as second sound, or simply as a mic feed with a cable into the camera. It's great for chasing the kids around! I was wondering what the modification for the AKG was that you mentioned and how it stacks up compared with other hypercardioids such as the schoeps CMC641. I've also been considering the Gefell M310 as a more economical alternative to the Schoeps. It gets a pretty good wrap here. I'm not sure I really need a hypercardioid as the NTG3 seems to be pretty good for sit down interviews indoors so I'm equivocating a bit. In the end I'll probably spring for the Gefell.

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3 hours ago, squig said:

I wouldn't trade a Sound Devices pre-amp for a Zoom.

2 hours ago, jcs said:

+1 for MixPre6 over MixPre3 and SD over Zoom preamps.

Don't make the mistake of thinking the Zoom F4/F8 pre amps are in the same quality league as the old Zoom H4n era pre amps. 

Not at all! The Zoom F8/F4 is unlike anything else Zoom (if it had a "Sound Devices" label people would be climbing over each other to buy it!!) has ever made before, it is nearing the same broad class as various Sound Device pre amps are in. 

 

3 hours ago, squig said:

Yeah the RodeLink. The talent's going to be rugged up in winter gear so size isn't really an issue; I'm more concerned with sound quality, and they don't sound too bad to me.

But that won't be the only project you'll ever use it for? Think about future uses you'll have for it in the years to come (as audio gear will last you years and years, unlike cameras).

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2 minutes ago, Richard Bugg said:

I'll second the D50 (and now D100) as a very, very good relatively small recorder. Good features, good build quality, great sound. Despite the lack of XLR it can be used with external microphones that have a 3.5mm plug, such as the Rode NT4 (stereo), NTG4, or the Rodelink receiver for example. As you suggest it can be used with a mixer as the recorder. It seemed to be pretty expensive for me when I bought it, but it's one of those things you buy once and it will do the job for decades. It works well on top of my camera for general run-and-gun shooting, either as second sound, or simply as a mic feed with a cable into the camera. It's great for chasing the kids around! I was wondering what the modification for the AKG was that you mentioned and how it stacks up compared with other hypercardioids such as the schoeps CMC641. I've also been considering the Gefell M310 as a more economical alternative to the Schoeps. It gets a pretty good wrap here. I'm not sure I really need a hypercardioid as the NTG3 seems to be pretty good for sit down interviews indoors so I'm equivocating a bit. In the end I'll probably spring for the Gefell.

The D50 is a very good recorder but the weak link is the mini jack. I got a custom cable made for it with a locking jack on the Mixpre-D end, but mini jacks suck arse and I'll never be comfortable with it.

The AKG mod was done by Jim Williams, something I came across after a lot of research when I was looking at getting a Schoeps, I was lucky to pick up a pair of them pretty cheap. I don't have a Schoeps  to compare the AKG to, but I do have an AKG C 480 and the modded C 460s blow the C 480 away. The C 480 isn't bad at all though.

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18 minutes ago, Richard Bugg said:

I'm not sure I really need a hypercardioid as the NTG3 seems to be pretty good for sit down interviews indoors so I'm equivocating a bit.

Sometimes a shotgun can sound ok indoors, but at their core shotgun exist to because they reject (to an extent) the sound coming in from the sides.

Think about a room with a lot of hard reflections, think about all that sound coming back as reflections and hitting the microphone, do you really want to be rejecting the actual sound you want to record??

I probably need to do a vBlog one day in a super bad room, showing side by side a shotgun vs hypercardioid. As I suppose if you've never ever tried it before, you might not notice it in isolation. 

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4 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

Don't make the mistake of thinking the Zoom F4/F8 pre amps are in the same quality league as the old Zoom H4n era pre amps. 

Not at all! The Zoom F8/F4 is unlike anything else Zoom (if it had a "Sound Devices" label people would be climbing over each other to buy it!!) has ever made before, it is nearing the same broad class as various Sound Device pre amps are in. 

 

But that won't be the only project you'll ever use it for? Think about future uses you'll have for it in the years to come (as audio gear will last you years and years, unlike cameras).

Hehe, I've still got my H4n, haven't used it since film school. I know the new Zooms sound way better, but I've got very good ears (I was a record producer in a past life) and I love the sound of Sound Devices. I was doing 16 track digital recording in the 90s and we used to put everything through valves to warm up the harshness of 16 bit.

I've been working on this feature for seven years, it's hard to think of anything beyond that.

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@TheRenaissanceMan My recommendation for a cheap shotgun is the 600. Buy with no fear at all, the value for money is incredible, there is also a softie kind of wind reduction accessory sold by Sennheiser for cheap. ME66 were my previous recommendation a decade ago, but right now, for most people I believe the 600 is just perfect.

The 440 is a very interesting microphone for camera people, is a stereo mic consisting with 2 shotgun mics. From a closer distance it can be all you need for a small group of people (2-3 people), or more directional scratch/atmosphere sound.

From whatever I have heard on the internet I wouldn't buy a Deity microphone, I would prefer a Rode, or a Sennheiser (I do buy Sennheiser mostly, but sadly, I am not a brand ambassador).

@squig If you don't mind size, the Rodes are excellent (and very cheap) wireless systems.

For videographers out there, the Sennheiser AVX is an amazing little (literally) wireless system, and if you buy the expensive version, comes with an amazing lavalier mic.

@Richard Bugg try to avoid a shotgun for indoors. Too much hassle later on and reflection issues would be a 70%-80% certainty. If you can't afford expensive, an Audix or an Oktava can be a better solution.

Here in Europe we are using the DR10 as safety recorders together with G3 wireless systems (they have an IN and OUT connection, so you record whatever comes from the G3, and then send the sound to the wireless receiver). Because of Zaxcom law suit, they had to remove this ability to US products. They are good as stand alone recorders, and some times if you wouldn't do anything in any way (let's say, in a wedding, usually you can't stop the ceremony just to fix the microphone), then it is an ok solution, and cheaper than any wireless system.

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14 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

Sometimes a shotgun can sound ok indoors, but at their core shotgun exist to because they reject (to an extent) the sound coming in from the sides.

Think about a room with a lot of hard reflections, think about all that sound coming back as reflections and hitting the microphone, do you really want to be rejecting the actual sound you want to record??

I probably need to do a vBlog one day in a super bad room, showing side by side a shotgun vs hypercardioid. As I suppose if you've never ever tried it before, you might not notice it in isolation. 

The NTG-3 has a fairly wide pickup pattern compared to a 416, which is party the reason I bought one, you don't have to be quite as precise booming. I haven't used it indoors but I did try my NTG-1 indoors and it wasn't great. I used an NT-3 instead, quite heavy but it sounded OK.

32 minutes ago, Richard Bugg said:

 I'm not sure I really need a hypercardioid as the NTG3 seems to be pretty good for sit down interviews indoors so I'm equivocating a bit. In the end I'll probably spring for the Gefell.

The Audix SCX1-HC is a pretty cool little mic for indoors too, I've got one in my kit. It's small enough to hide too.

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2 minutes ago, squig said:

The NTG-3 has a fairly wide pickup pattern compared to a 416, which is party the reason I bought one, you don't have to be quite as precise. I haven't used it indoors but I did try my NTG-1 indoors and it wasn't great. I used an NT-3 instead, quite heavy but it sounded OK.

For people not having a good experience with booming, this is an advantage. For me, soundman since 1999, I would prefer the 416 anytime. I used the NTG-3 for a couple of years when it was first out, and then I bought the 416 and never looked back again. Rode is an excellent brand, and I would recommend their products easily, but Sennheiser is my go to brand. Very serious about sound for a century now!

You need a different microphone for indoors, this is like the mistake 101 most people do, even if a shotgun sounds ok on 1 room, 8 out of 10 it could be a nightmarish experience. It is just physics.

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