Peachydingo asks: ” I wou


Peachydingo asks: ” I would like to do field recordings of nature sounds here in Florida (birds, frogs, etc.) The conditions can be hot and humid, and I need to work at night.

What types of mikes and recorders would you recommend?

I like the idea of the zoom H4n with phantom powered shotguns, but should I also consider a high end stereo mic for ambient? “

There are a couple dozen or more decent small, portable digital audio recorders. I haven’t had enough experience with them so I can’t make any recommendations other than the Korg MR-1000 which I have owned for a couple years. Phantom power at the mic jacks is a good thing, but be sure the available voltage will power your mic of choice; ie, some ” Phantom power ” is only 12 volts, whereas most of the better condenser mics require 48 volts. I’m not a fan of pocket recorders which feature automatic level control. If one is not careful, a recording may come out squashed; ie, obviously compressed dynamic range . . .

My preference for ” ambiences ” would be a pair of good omni-directional condenser mics, spaced ten or twelve feet. ( Gee, I hope you’re not considering surround sound! ) Coincident stereo mics, shotgun or otherwise, simply do not provide the sense of space an omni pair can provide. ( doubling up a mono track is poor man’s faux stereo which went out a couple decades ago ) There is no need for tall mic stands when recording BG’s ( less gear to tote ). The mics should be as close to the ground as possible w/o getting em wet!

As for recording specific critter noises, it’s hard to beat something like the Sennheiser 815 long shotgun. You’ll need only one mic here, to record your critter in mono, which will presumably be mixed into the stereo BG bed you have recorded, when you get to the sound mix on your project. Parabolic mics color the sound too much in my opinion.

Try to keep your gear to a minimum and your setups simple as possible out there in the boonies!

R Crampton

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