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Old April 20th, 2009, 08:43 AM   #16
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Hi Chad,

I think that's good advice, and given that's something I already have it makes sense to start there and use that as a baseline to compare against perhaps some of the more sophisticated options described here going forward.

I assume that all of the mics out there could be connected to the Zoom-- with some kind of adapter if needed? Or would that not necessarily gain me anything (pun intended)?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Johnson View Post
I think your zoom, with the gain set to "High" would be good enough for your needs. Best to do it when there's no wind. If you have a bass rolloff even better. You can do that in post though too.

Get as close as you can. Use headphones. Set the unit down or put on a tripod. Handling noise is bad.

Good luck!
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Old April 20th, 2009, 12:13 PM   #17
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Microphones

Hi Tim

I wouldn't suggest buying a mic for what you need in one project. You should buy based on what you need in general.

Generally speaking: Shotgun mics are for outdoor use. All other condensers are best for inside, or wherever there is NO WIND. Shotguns are designed to reject side noise, that's what those little slits on the side are for. Inside those interact badly with the reflection of the walls and give you less than stellar results. So if you think you will be recording people inside normally, I suggest a nice "Hypercardioid" type mic. In reality you will need both kinds of mics to cover any situation, and throw in a wireless unit too for your basic trinity of audio coverage.

Thinking in terms of budget I suggest Rode mics for a good bang/buck ratio. I own a Rode NTG-2 Shotgun for outdoor use (which I rarely ever do) and the Rode NT3 Hyper for indoor. The NT3 sounds better, and for nature I would try to use that if there was no wind. You will also need (for shotgun mics) a "dead cat" fuzzy. It's a furry cover that goes over the black foam slip that usually comes with most mics. This will cut moderate wind. Both mics work great for dialog on a boom pole (if video is your game). A pair of NT3s work well for capturing a band live. But don't discount the Zoom's built in mics. They aren't the greatist, but they may work for a little background bird action.

Outside: You have to listen to what is REALLY going on, rather than what you focus on, like the pretty birds. What you usually ignore (with your ears) is the trucks driving buy in the distance, the dryer vent from your house, the constant breeze. All these will be amplified in your recording. The best thing you can do is get as close to the source as possible so the birds are louder than the rest of the area. Next you can gut out much low rumble noise in post with some simple EQ, as birds only use the high frequency you don't need it.

So first: Test record with your Zoom. Use Headphones probably turned up all the way, and your gain set to high. Forget about the surround BS, just use the stereo on the H2, and aim it at the birds, or better yet climb up there and leave it running for a while. The birds will come back and make noise eventually if you leave the yard.

2nd: Shotgun. The NTG-2 has a battery, and can record without 48v phantom, though things are better if you do as there is less noise. Personally I would use a mixer to bump up the mic volume, and allowing you to record quieter on your H2, and achieve less noise. I use the Sound Devices MixPre, but that's $665.00

3rd: Get a Rode NT3 as close to the birds as possible. That mic also takes a battery (9v) and with an xlr/mini st you can get into your zoom. Make sure your adaptor goes to mini STEREO so your signal goes to both channels rather than just left or right.

4th: Just find some nice bird recordings from a library. Chances are they sound better, and will work for your project.

Remember: Buy for what you need in general. YOu want something you can use for years. For me to give you any more info I need a full rundown of what your audio needs are.

Take care

Chadfish.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 09:43 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Johnson View Post
But don't discount the Zoom's built in mics. They aren't the greatist, but they may work for a little background bird action.

So first: Test record with your Zoom. Use Headphones probably turned up all the way, and your gain set to high. Forget about the surround BS, just use the stereo on the H2, and aim it at the birds,

Chadfish.
Chad,

Well, I tried your advice and am generally pleased with the first effort. Instead of birds, I walked up to one of the ponds here and recorded some "peepers".

Spring Peeper Frog Printout- Enchanted Learning Software

Just set the Zoom to 120 degree coverage at max gain and turned the headphones up as you suggested.

As there's a stream close to the pond I picked up that sound as well but I think the water part of the file only muddies the frog sounds and one can't really distinguish it as being running water.

But in general, considering this is a first quick test, I'm encouraged enough to keep experimenting and learning. Here's a short clip which I just added a fade in/out and normalized in Soundbooth:

http://byz.com/sound/peeper.wav (4MB file)
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Old April 27th, 2009, 11:24 AM   #19
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Tim

The file you attached seems to be blank. I can't hear any sound. I may be mistaken, but check the file yourself to make sure.

As far as hearing the stream, yes, sounds you don't notice as much with your ears get amplified on recordings. The brain amazingly focuses on what we want to hear while turning down what we don't. Just yesterday my girlfriend told me to take out the trash, and somehow I didn't even hear it!

Keep practicing. Always use headphones.

Chad
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Old April 27th, 2009, 09:11 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Johnson View Post
Tim

The file you attached seems to be blank. I can't hear any sound. I may be mistaken, but check the file yourself to make sure.
Chad
Hmmm... it does take awhile to download as it's just a .wav file, but it comes up in QuickTime for me. At least in IE the screen seems to do nothing for a few minutes-- depending on your d/l speed I'm sure, then finally pops up. Not that it's anything worth waiting for!

I bought this Sony MDR-7506 headphone unit after reading favorable reviews here. I expect one could spend a lot more but I'm quite satisfied for my purposes.

Tim
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Old April 29th, 2009, 03:56 PM   #21
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Hi Tim

I downloaded the .wav and I heard nothing. Not sure why...

I too have Sony 7506 headphones - 2 pair. They are great, accurate, and an industry standard. Many more expensive headphones are hyped for a nicer listening experience, but that's not necessarily what you want when monitoring a recording. You want to hear exactly what you are recording, not something with the bass bumped up.

Take care

Chad

{{{{EDIT}}}}

I just tried again, and did hear the birds. Not too bad of a recording! I heard dome low rumble, that can easily be EQed out. And if you were using this as a bed to talk over I think it will be fine. When you turn it down all you hear is the birds. You could do better with better mics etc., but then you have to ask what the final purpose is for this recording. If it's worth the money, and you plan on using the new mic for other purposes too - then go for it!
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 09:36 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Hi Tim


{{{{EDIT}}}}

I just tried again, and did hear the birds. Not too bad of a recording! I heard dome low rumble, that can easily be EQed out.
Hi Chad,

Glad you were able to download. Couple of clarifications...

Perhaps you missed the earlier post where I mentioned I recorded peepers instead of birds for the test? Peepers = small but noisy frogs. And perhaps what you heard as rumble was the nearby stream which didn't go very well with the amphibian chorus. [g]

I expect I'll be back with additional questions when I do some more testing! Thanks much for your input.

Tim
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Old May 4th, 2009, 12:12 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Ribich View Post
Hi Chad,

Glad you were able to download. Couple of clarifications...

Perhaps you missed the earlier post where I mentioned I recorded peepers instead of birds for the test?

Tim
You did mention peepers, but I wouldn't know that peepers aren't birds. They sounded like birds to me! Here we just call them frogs, and they sound like frogs. Either way, your test seemed to work. And there was a slight wind rumble here and there, which can be overcome with a little wind muff. But also since that rumble is low, and the birds/frogs are in a high register, you can EQ out any low sounds without affecting the sound your after.

If you don't get a wind muff, just try for a windless day, and you should get some great recordings.

Chad
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Old June 15th, 2009, 07:00 AM   #24
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For the purposes of background ambience isn't there anyone who would try to capture the sounds in stereo? I was under the impression that it would allow the foreground voice to stand out more? It would mean you couldn't use the parabolic devices, you would simly have to get your mics into a good spot and get yourself as far away as your cables would let you before recording. I expect you wouldn't get big levels, but that isn't the point is it?

Jon
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Old June 15th, 2009, 07:26 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Morrow View Post
For the purposes of background ambience isn't there anyone who would try to capture the sounds in stereo? I was under the impression that it would allow the foreground voice to stand out more? It would mean you couldn't use the parabolic devices, you would simly have to get your mics into a good spot and get yourself as far away as your cables would let you before recording. I expect you wouldn't get big levels, but that isn't the point is it?
As the correct line-up of a mic. on a parabolic reflector is level with the face, I have seen people clip an MKH 30 fig-8 mic. to the main mic. and do MS stereo with a reflector.

If it's just for ambience an MS pair in a Rycote will work well and you can probably use a cardioid or super-cardioid for the mid.

I have an MKH 30/40 rig in a Rycote stereo windshield.
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Old June 16th, 2009, 01:09 AM   #26
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Check out the parabolics by Telinga out of Sweden. I have one and they are great bang for the buck when compared to lil ears etc
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Old June 16th, 2009, 11:51 AM   #27
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Do we really need to go parabolic to get some birds recorded?

You can stand semi-near a tree with a decent mic and get background "nat sound" as we say in the biz, of bird tweets. And doesn't a parabolic sacrifice fidelity in order to have further reach? It just seems a tad extreme to achieve what the guy wants. He already got a decent recording with a Zoom H2.

If the recording hasn't been made by now I feel that this is more about playing with gear and techie "what if" scenarios than getting the job done. It's a simple bird background bed. Do it and let's move on to the content.

Just keepin' it real here...

Chadfish
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Old June 16th, 2009, 10:10 PM   #28
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Check this out: CRYSTAL PARTNERS "BIG EARS" PARABOLIC MIC REFLECTOR - eBay (item 330335305917 end time Jul-03-09 11:16:45 PDT)
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Old June 17th, 2009, 05:41 AM   #29
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If one was to go down the route of an M-S set up is there a windshield other than the Rycote which can accommodate 2 mics? I have been looking long and hard but all blimps seem to be single microphone only, except the Rycote, and that is hideously expensive. Jon
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Old June 17th, 2009, 06:00 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Jonathan Morrow View Post
If one was to go down the route of an M-S set up is there a windshield other than the Rycote which can accommodate 2 mics? I have been looking long and hard but all blimps seem to be single microphone only, except the Rycote, and that is hideously expensive. Jon
If it's MS with a single mic. (EG: MKH 418-S or Neumann RSM 191) then these will fit into a mono windshield - - and in the case of the 418-S even into an S-series.

If it's piggy-backed MS (EG: MKH 30/40, 30/50 or 30/60) then you really need a Rycote stereo basket (I have one for my 30/40 kit).

If you use remote capsule heads (EG: Schoeps or Neumann), then the Rycote Stereo Ball Gag will do the job.

I hope this helps.
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