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Old June 26th, 2005, 01:51 PM   #1
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Cheap sound recording?

Hey all,
I want to get into recording sound seperately from the camera. Actually I do already, but mostly just using a second camera set-up closer to the subject. Anyways, I have purchased a cheap shotgun stereo mic and want to know a cheap way to recording sound. I have been looking into picking up a 100-200 dollar mini disc recorder. Is this a good idea? I simply want quality sound for a good price. Any suggestions?

Thanks
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Old June 26th, 2005, 05:19 PM   #2
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What camera(s) do you have? Some have good analog inputs (DVX100)... others don't. Some have auto-gain control which you can't disable (which is bad.. because you'll get the background breathing noise).
Do they accept XLR inputs?

Generally the two biggest problems with sound are:
Too much background noise. The best way to fix this is to get the mic closer... use a boom-mounted mic if possible. Lav (wired or wireless) will also work, but won't sound as natural. You'd need to add reverb and ambience in post. The ambience you can record on location... you may need yet another microphone for that.
If you don't have the budget for that, a possible workaround is to shoot very close to the actors and use a wide-angle adapter if necessary. This may be a little bizarre though... and will limit your framing options.

The other problem you're likely to encounter is too much echo/reverb. Distance helps.
A room that doesn't echo much helps. You can find a room like this, or add sound absorption.
Indoors, a cheap hypercardioid will sound better than a shotgun.


At the end of the day, you might decide to go for good enough. It may be a Rode Videomic mounted on your camera with a wide-angle adapter so you can shoot close. The Rode Videomic is a shotgun microphone and should work well with consumer equipment. It has mini-plug connector, so you don't need a $200ish XLR adapter box. It has a shockmount that's high enough to put the mic out of frame. It comes with a windscreen too.

Not sure how good a cheap shotgun stereo mic will sound in comparison to the rode videomic. I don't know of any cheap shotgun stereo mics that are any good.

A mini-disc would probably do very little for you. It would only improve on the analog-->digital converters of your camera. However, you are probably bottlenecked in other ways. Background noise (from the location) may be higher than your camera's A-->D conveter's noise. Or your microphone's self-noise may be higher. I could very well be wrong though... it depends on what you have.
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Old June 26th, 2005, 06:36 PM   #3
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A lot of people seem to be using iRiver HDD music player things for this. Depending on the quality and run time you require and your budget you might even be able to use a solid state mp3 player with line in recording - i think some are switchable between mic and line inputs and some can record to wav. They might have noisy input stages though.
I've never tried it, just an idea.
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Old June 26th, 2005, 10:56 PM   #4
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iRiver-----not noisy
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Old June 27th, 2005, 07:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Smith
iRiver-----not noisy
Hmmm. I guess it depends on the particular iRiver, the microphone you use, the recording conditions and most of all, your expectations. I tried an IFP-790 iRiver with an AT822, an AT897 and Giant Squid mics, and was not able to find a resonable balance between hiss and recording level. Others have reported reasonable performance with hotter mics or in loud recording conditions.

I got much better results with the same microphones and a Hi-MD minidisc.

On the other hand, no matter how good the recording device, if you are feeding it with a cheap microphone, don’t expect great quality either.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 11:13 AM   #6
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Well, I purchased an ATR55. Not top of the line by any means. But like I said before I want don't want to record sound coming into the camera I am shooting images with. I find it very cumbersome and restricting in terms of camera moves and such. So a minidisc recorder does a decent job? or something like that?
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Old June 27th, 2005, 11:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Francis
So a minidisc recorder does a decent job?
IMO, yes. If you choose to go that way, I suggest you look at the newer Hi-MD units. They allow you to digitally transfer your recordings to your PC (the older MD units only allowed analog transfer, which means you have to redigitize your recordings through your PC sound card). And, of course, you’ll want a model with a MIC input.
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Old June 27th, 2005, 02:28 PM   #8
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I would agree with the rest, an MD device is probably the way to go, however, the ATR-55 isn't all that great... you might consider getting a rode video mic. It will make your life sooooo much simpler. it mounts on the cam, has a built in Shock mount, you can mount it on an L flash bracket and will have virtually no motor noise whatsoever, (even mounted on the cam hotshoe the motor noise is very very slight). It'll probably cost you less than the MD recorder too. I has a mini-plug so it'll plug right into the mic input of your camcorder... the Videomic and the ATR-55 aren't even comparable in terms of sound quality. Guy Bruner did a great review of it with sound clips:

http://www.pana3ccduser.com/article....-RØDE-Videomic

Just a thought... Mark
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Old June 27th, 2005, 11:21 PM   #9
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If Jamie has a larger budget than 100- 200 there are many solutions
The iRiver does fit that budget request.
Francois, I do agree that expectation is a factor and an iRiver is not a studio recording device however I get no hiss from any of the units (less than -60db as tested using sound forge) and once I learned how to set levels I get excellent recordings.Not sure why others don't.
Anyway Jamie microphone selection for the situation will make a huge difference in the quality so choose wisely
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Old June 28th, 2005, 01:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Francois Poitras
IMO, yes. If you choose to go that way, I suggest you look at the newer Hi-MD units.
François,

Can you recommend a specific model and vendor for this?
A link would be great!

Thanks.
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Old June 28th, 2005, 08:04 AM   #11
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Jack, I think it depends also on the specific mic and iRiver you’re using. Other people have reported satisfactory performance with higher quality and more sensitive microphones than my own (I believe these were Sennheiser). Believe me, I have tried many different gain settings and I wish it had worked for me because I otherwise liked the iRiver quite a lot, especially the size. What microphone and iRiver model are you using?

Pete, I have tried the Sony MZ-NH900. This is the first Hi-MD generation and I believe there are a few more models with MIC IN in that line. In the last generation models, there is the MZ-RH910 that you can find under $200 (US) and the MZ-RH10. There might be other brands and models. Other than the manufacturer site, minidisc.org is a good resource.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 03:32 AM   #12
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Which iRiver/mic do you use?

Jack, what is your recording configuration (which iRiver with which microphone)?

Thanks!
-- Andre


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Smith
If Jamie has a larger budget than 100- 200 there are many solutions
The iRiver does fit that budget request.
Francois, I do agree that expectation is a factor and an iRiver is not a studio recording device however I get no hiss from any of the units (less than -60db as tested using sound forge) and once I learned how to set levels I get excellent recordings.Not sure why others don't.
Anyway Jamie microphone selection for the situation will make a huge difference in the quality so choose wisely
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Old February 7th, 2006, 01:59 AM   #13
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http://www.giant-squid-audio-lab.com...oidstereo.html

Is this the mic to use??? I was needing something for my iRiver iFP-790 other than my big mics... Thanks
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Old February 7th, 2006, 03:56 AM   #14
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Hi jamie

Hi Jamie.

might be a little out of your price range but have a look at edirol r1 and m-audio micro track thay use solid state flash and micro drives. Steve House kindly pointed me in this direction a few weeks back. I'm probablty gonna be purchasing one or the other next week. I'm giong to the video forum at Earl's court tomorrow . there is an Edirol stand there. If I get time I'll post any additional stuff I can glean from there.


Regards Greg
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Old February 7th, 2006, 06:38 AM   #15
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John, I tried both the GS omni and cardioid mics and the omni sounded much better IMO, as a lavalier. The music recordings with the omnis on the GS site also sound very good. I basically returned the cardioid. But that was last year and things may have changed since then.

HTH,
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