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Old February 9th, 2012, 10:25 AM   #16
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Re: A Crazy Idea, is it workable ?

Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
I would be interested to hear what tone an old sat disk has, the dedicated audio ones tend to be smooth plastic so a perforated old SKY dish will be interesting and will also pick-up sound from behind the dish!
Not all satellite dishes are perforated. Some manufacturers (those with no scientific background) thought this would reduce wind resistance and prevent flying dishes; however, at any significant wind speed, the turbulence through the perforations creates nearly as much wind load as a solid dish. Some manufacturers just made them perforated to reduce manufacturing and shipping costs.

Better dishes are solid.
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Old February 9th, 2012, 11:09 AM   #17
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Re: A Crazy Idea, is it workable ?

Ok now few more hours of reading done and trying to list out the combo

Base recorder as Zoom H4N

Micro Boompole - 3-Section Boom Pole

Rode NTG-2 x2

Dead Cat Wind Muff for NTG-2 Microphones x2

Pearstone - 3-Pin XLR Male to 3-Pin XLR Female Audio Cable (6') X 2

some adaptor which can fit 2 of the NTG 2 on top and the zoomh4n in the middle

does this look decent to record on the 4 channel active recording on the zoom 4 n

the microboom pole may be even a 3 stage pole with a tripod base
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Old February 9th, 2012, 02:39 PM   #18
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Re: A Crazy Idea, is it workable ?


I'm struggling to understand what you're trying to achieve here.

Why two Rhode mic's? You can't get stereo no matter how many mic's you use.

If you mount the H4n some distance behind the Rhodes, should all four mic's pick up the same sound, the H4n sound will be out of phase with that from the Rhodes. If you're going to mix this down to two tracks there's no telling what issues you're going to have.

Given that the pre - amps in the H4n aren't exactly stellar, you'd be better off using one Rhode mic and feeding it into a mixer with known excellent pre - amps and feeding the o/p to both inputs of the recorder at line level.

Just to make matters worse, two Rhode mics on the end of a boom pole, with a H4n half way down it, plus cabling and the boom pole itself, is one heck of a handfull, no matter how you look at it.

Trying to navigate anything but totally level flat ground is going to be a nightmare, and don't even think of "going bush" with it.

[I have tried the whole "bird song" thing with a Rhode boom and one (1) mic cabled to a Zoom H4 on my belt. Nearly broke my damn fool neck just trying to negotiate my own garden. That both mic and boom survived the experience unscathed I put down to Divine intervention.]

Then there's the mention of a tripod base. Something else to carry.

Then, how are you going to cantilever all that mass on a tripod base without using counterbalance weights?

Even more weight to carry.


1 X Rhode on the end of the boom pole. No H4n anywhere near it.

1 X Excellent mixer and H4n in a shoulder carry bag.

If you want second channel sound, mount the other Rhode (or something) on a super light mic stand and place it "somewhere", but cabled or wireless to the second mixer i/p.

"Butt plug" wireless transmitters for both mics sure is going to save some nasty cable related moments, at the cost of the noise floor, but you can't have everything.

I think you're going to have to accept the fact that stereo is off the table unless the bird (or birds) is captive and in a controlled environment, hardly the "wild bird song" I assume you're after.

Back to the drawing board time?

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Old February 10th, 2012, 09:37 AM   #19
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Re: A Crazy Idea, is it workable ?

Yes i guess its right Chris, i need to go back to the drawing board and come up with something that can work more efficiently
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Old February 10th, 2012, 03:31 PM   #20
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Re: A Crazy Idea, is it workable ?

OK, Vishal, time to press the "Reset" button on this and go back to first pricipals.

First Question: Is this an Audio only venture or are/ will you attempt to do Video at the same time?

If it's the former, I can see it doable for one person, if it's the latter, it's looking pretty iffy.

Second Question: What is the total budget figure you can throw at this, absolute top whack?

No point designing a Rolls Royce solution for a Penny Farthing budget.

Third Question: What Audio gear do you currently posses, and I mean "all of it"?

There may be something in there that can be pulled in to make up the numbers and keep the budget from blowing out.

Fourth Question: This is bird song specific, right?

If you're going after tigers & elephants as well, this gets a bit tricky.

For the rest of this post I'm going to make some assumptions regarding the above questions and the answers thereof, they may be wrong but, if so, let me know.

Let me use: Audio only; $5,000US; None. Bird Song only.

OK, so I think we've established that the boom pole/ end mic thing isn't exactly what might be termed a "stellar idea" for a number of reasons.

So, back to what is required.

Must be one man transportable and operable, max. weight, all up, no more than, ooh, say, 6 kilos.

Now, I think it fairly safe to say that getting the mic to the birds isn't as easy as it sounds (see boom/mic above), and that the birds aren't going to come to you, unless you have nectar feeders that will come to sugar sources when times are hard, as we have here.

So, the sound needs to to be collected at some distance removed from the target.

The only collection method I can think of that falls in the "under 6 kilo" and "under $5000" and has the collection ability to get sound from a distance, is something like this:

Jony JonyShot Parabolic Microphone Dish JONYSHOT B&H Photo Video

Note that the price shown is for the dish only, no mic, pre - amp or anything else, so add $1000 plus to that figure to get a working system.

Upside, it's a 24" dish, good, it's getting up there for useabilty,not so good. It weighs 6lbs/ 2.7kilos, not so good, but does have a tripod fixing, good.

The only other one I can find is this one:

Crystal Partners Lil' Ears Parabolic Microphone Kit BE4KSCLEAR

This is a complete, out of the box, working system, nothing else to add but an operator and recorder.

It's a 13" dish, not so good, but very easy to handle, good. Weighs 2lbs, very good and has a tripod fixing, good.

Now, before someone fires the "bass roll off" torpedo, just think about it for a moment.

Unless the bird in question is very, very large (think Ostrich), it's vocal chords in comparison to a humans are going to be minute, bottom line, the bass roll off has happened even before it's left the birds mouth, as in, there isn't much, if any, to start with (depending on what is termed "bass" of course).

The Lil Ears specifies a frequency response of 100Hz - 15Khz dependant on micophone, though there's no frequency plot so is a bit meaningless.

The Jony, being a 24", should have a better bass response, though "better" without data is a pretty nebulous term.

Whatever, if anything, the problem as I see it is at the other end of the spectrum, at the top end.

15Khz may well not rock your boat Vishal, as I don't know what application you have for this audio, nor do I know where this 15Khz is happening, dish geometry or material? Lav mic? Where?

[Edit: Well, it isn't the lav, Senny quote 20Hz - 20Khz. It might be a product of their chosen pre amp, it's down -2db at 20Khz. The Sound Devices MM1 seems to have better specs in this regard. If you'd still like a second "wide field" mic, you could always ditch the chosen amp and go for a decent 2 channel mixer instead, check out Sound Devices options]

Something you may wish to investigate in more depth and decide just how high you want to go and what's required to get there, remembering that whatever target you set for this upper limit must work throughout the entire audio chain.

So, those, as I see it, are your two easily available options.

All up, with all necessary additions if applicable, shipping, insurance, import duties etc say, $4000US.

You're under the $5000US budget I set, but it's still one heck of a lot of money.

If you can source such a dish in India you could probably knock up something similar for much less than half of that I reckon, it's, well, where to get a dish?

Forget satellite dishes, it needs to be transparent so you can see through it, it can't be an offset dish as most of them are and it must be much, much lighter than a sat dish.

So, there's a bit of stuff to be thinking about. Mull it over and tell us if it rings any bells or we have to hit that reset button once again.

Some links:





and on and on it goes.......


PS: If you really feel like nudging that budget figure, well, no, actually, giving it a good thump, more like, the big brother to the Lil Ears was hiding:

Crystal Partners Big Ears Parabolic Microphone Kit BE3KSCLEAR

Now you're talking SERIOUS money!

Last edited by Chris Soucy; February 11th, 2012 at 01:17 PM. Reason: +
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Old February 12th, 2012, 03:48 AM   #21
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Re: A Crazy Idea, is it workable ?


Let me get this right and give some background

i am into making a documentary and record videos with my DSLRs , 3 of them in all. Additionally i carry a wide, 17-40, a zoom 100-400 and a tele 800 along with a video tripod that can take the pain of all this on it.
yes i am a single man team and probably my SUV takes most of the load all the time :)

i am not trying to have a sound equipment in the 5-6 kg mark as it would not be possible for me to do all of it, and yes its a thought that came to me now after the feedbacks

The major reason of capturing audio is since the DSLR audio is crappy .

my aim is to get the surrounding sounds in the area, more of the morning breaking out, the day, the evening closing in. I know the sounds very well when it comes to where, how and when type however me never making any effort on recording of them makes it bad on my side.

Currently for sound i have the Zoom H4N and a Rode N3594 video mic, the zoom h4n with a good dead cat on it is interesting to record the surrounding sounds ,
There is a specific need to record the sounds of the birds around the area i am shooting , in particular a kingfisher in the ever green forests. Thats what is making it challenging hence wanted to attach a shot gun to it to be able to pinpoint more of a sound from one direction as i can see what i want to record in my case. ( Hence even am reviewing the NTG 3)

I am not currently even aiming to do sound recording for all the time but have a decent equipment to support me recording the surround sounds , yes in 4 months i am planning to record 4 different frogs :)
hence thought a shotgun of decent quality should be required. And yes most of the times where i will record i have streams and rains even though i will manage to keep the equipment dry.
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Old February 12th, 2012, 05:41 AM   #22
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Re: A Crazy Idea, is it workable ?

Hi again Vishal,

What you are trying to do sounds easy but is in fact usually very difficult. The main problem is getting close to your sound source without either scaring it away or causing it to change its behaviour in some way. If you do use a shotgun mic, a parabolic dish or boom to reduce the effect of distance you still have to contend with wind and other noises. Even the best dead cat will do nothing to mask the sounds produced by wind as it passes through vegetation.

An alternative is to set your Zoom H4N to record at a suitable location and let the animals resume their normal activities while you back off for a while. This would require no new equipment unless you forget where you left it.

I have used this “let it run” technique for recording infrared videos of some of our local small nocturnal mammals. In this case I got the animals used to being fed at a convenient site and at a particular time. I then focused the camera on a branch that I knew they used, turned on my “lights”, adjusted my exposure with the aid of a fluffy toy animal and started recording. I would return when my media was all used. The first time I tried this I recorded a sugar glider within a minute of pressing the record button.

I am planning to do something similar for sound recording and have a recorder with a built-in timer so that I can, for example, record the dawn chorus without getting out of bed. I also have a long lead so that I can set my microphone a likely site while I operate the recorder at a distance.
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Old February 12th, 2012, 09:36 AM   #23
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Re: A Crazy Idea, is it workable ?

Alastair thanks again for the reply , each of the replies is really teaching me something new and giving me better perspective by the day.

I can reach very close to the sounds i want, i do manage to sit in a hide set up very early in the morning and the mornings exactly sound as they do normally.
Actually now i am so used to it is that in the morning i now tend to write the sequence of how the morning breaks and the night is taken over by the advent of the day.
"The last bird of the night where i record is a collared scoops owl, the call of it is broken in the morning by a screech of a Malabar whistling thrush which actually is more of drawing the line, then the Malabar whistling starts singing and continues and normally joined by another. This duet can continue sometimes for nearly 20 odd minutes and it is a completely dominating voice. then the bull bulls come in and mingle before the confusing sounds of the malabar pied and the Malabar grey hornbills get in. " actually i can go on :) this is all i need it on the digital media, something which my ears can hear.

after the suggestions here i have been reading the Birdforum , wildlilfe sound forums and many more and getting hints of the Sennheiser ME66/K6 being one of the best to capture the specific focused sounds. however i will keep on reading.
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Old February 12th, 2012, 05:47 PM   #24
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Re: A Crazy Idea, is it workable ?

OK, think I get the picture.

Interesting you mention the ME 66/ K 6.

My standard "on camera" mic is a ME67/ K6 long shotgun, backed up by a ME66/ K6 medium shotgun and a ME64/ K6 cardioid.

I must admit, the ME64 hardly gets a look in in urban environments, as it picks up stuff from absolutely everywhere, making the soundscape terribly confusing, surreal even.

Very handy for atmosphere applications in remote locations where there is no man made noise of any sort.

The 67/ 66 combo are the real workhorses, the 67 especially, for keeping the sound where I'm shooting and nowhere else.

The 66 really comes into it's own, hand held, for street interview work in noisy urban environments.

Both can be, and are, used occasionally "off camera" on mic stands, either tethered or wireless, depending on distance, terrain and requirements.

Probably getting a bit long in the tooth as technology goes, but they sure get the job done, and with the Senny lav for my wireless setup, make a perfect "do anything" system.


Last edited by Chris Soucy; February 12th, 2012 at 08:22 PM.
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