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Old July 2nd, 2013, 07:28 PM   #1
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Assembling an audio kit on a budget

As the thread title says, I want to put together a sound recordist kit from scratch. I am considering buy some of the items needed used, and others new. Perhaps a boom pole used, digital recorder new, Lavs some new, some used, cables used, mixer used if I can find one cheap and in great condition, otherwise a new mixer.

I am interested in doing sound for interviews, indie films, and some performance / concert / stage type productions. So some studio environments, some locations as well, doing good work on the cheap.

Can someone help me with price ranges I should expect to pay on a tight budget for these items. And any items I might need that I did not think of, like cases, or extra batteries, chargers, etc.

I have read up on some of the items I need and gotten prices, but I want ideas on used vs. new as well.


Mixer

Wired & wireless lav mics

Zoom digital recorder

boom mic

boom pole

headphones

cables

batteries / charger

cases

what else might I be missing?
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 10:27 PM   #2
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

Mixer - Sound Devices 302.

Wired & wireless lav mics - Sony ECM-55, Rode lav mic, Tram TR-50 and a Tram TR-79+ power supply (for wired use), Countryman B3. Sennheiser G2 or G3 wireless system.

Zoom digital recorder - Looks like you have already decided on the Zoom, the new H6 might be worth looking at, or a used H4n.

boom mic - Not sure what you mean, maybe a shotgun mic? Rode NTG-1 or -3, or Sennheiser 416.

boom pole - Anything from a painter's pole to a used K-tek Avalon.

headphones - Sony MDR-7506 or Sennheiser HD280.

cables - XLR to XLR. I make my own. If you know how to solder, it's cheaper and you can make them exactly how you want them. I made a cable the perfect length for my boom.

batteries / charger - Sanyo Eneloop and a charger for them.

cases - I use an old camera bag, but you could be fancy and get a Pelican case. You will probably want a mixer bag to throw over your shoulder when you're booming and mixing.

You didn't list a shock mount for the mic. I really really like the Rycote InVision series. You'll also want a slate to sync your sound.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 10:36 PM   #3
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

Thanks, very helpful.

Exactly the kind of info I wanted, or needed.

Jeff
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 11:21 PM   #4
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Carlson View Post
Zoom digital recorder - Looks like you have already decided on the Zoom, the new H6 might be worth looking at, or a used H4n.
The Zoom H4n was the lowest level recorder I was hoping was acceptable. If you have another slightly higher end model (another brand) please suggest. I will look into the H6.
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 12:13 PM   #5
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

You should read the sticky : "The $500 Wireless Question" and "The $300 Recorder Question" at: Location Sound / Post Audio
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Old July 3rd, 2013, 02:27 PM   #6
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

Thank you Rick, great stuff in those threads.

Jeff
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Old July 5th, 2013, 06:04 AM   #7
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Turkali View Post
The Zoom H4n was the lowest level recorder I was hoping was acceptable. If you have another slightly higher end model (another brand) please suggest. I will look into the H6.
I use a Fostex FR-2LE. I don't use a mixer. The FR-2LE controls the levels nicely. The strap, meters, and levels make it perfect to hang around your neck.

$599 at B&H:
Fostex FR-2 LE - 2-Channel Compact Flash Field Recorder FR2 LE

Last edited by Dave Gish; July 5th, 2013 at 07:37 AM.
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Old July 5th, 2013, 03:04 PM   #8
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

Thanks Dave, I was considering starting out w/o a mixer since that is one of the most expensive pieces of gear if one wants a good one. And you still get two channels to work with which is very often all one needs. Seems practical to me.

I just need to see more on the newest Zoom model coming this month, and make up my mind.
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Old July 5th, 2013, 08:43 PM   #9
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

Without a mixer? what...... you might as well turn up to a job with no pants on!!!!!
It might work in DSLR world but in PRO world it won't.
How are you going to get the signal from the mic to the PRO camera?
How do you know the signal is not distorting in the camera?
How do you monitor the signal coming from the camera?
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Old July 5th, 2013, 09:44 PM   #10
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

The DSLR world might not be all that small. I think a lot of people are using DSLRs as a matter of fact.

And if the sound is rich and clear on my recording, I would not be as concerned about camera sound, that is why I am recording "externally" to get the "good" sound. This is on the lower budget projects, but a mixer of course would be ideal.

Can't headphones be used to monitor the video camera's sound, I thought that they always have a headphone jack, no?
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Old July 6th, 2013, 05:12 AM   #11
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
How are you going to get the signal from the mic to the PRO camera?
The recorder has line outs.

Obviously, a pro sound guy is going to want a mixer, but for lower budget stuff, that's the last thing I would buy.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 08:38 AM   #12
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Turkali View Post
I think a lot of people are using DSLRs as a matter of fact.

Can't headphones be used to monitor the video camera''ts sound, I thought that they always have a headphone jack, no?
Lots of DSLRs in use, but have generally poor audio quality and important audio is usually recorded separately. An external mixer can help a little, but DSLRs don't have a headphone circuit.. or a direct audio output, so one can't actually hear what's being recorded. OTOH, budget recorders and normal video cameras do have HP jacks, but the amps are usually low powered and noisy.... you get what you pay for.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 07:00 PM   #13
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

Please visit JuicedLink.com, and read his material. I now use a JL RA333 with my Canon 7D, and gave up the hassle of dual sound with my Zoom H4n.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 07:48 PM   #14
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Turkali View Post
As the thread title says, I want to put together a sound recordist kit from scratch. I am considering buy some of the items needed used, and others new. Perhaps a boom pole used, digital recorder new, Lavs some new, some used, cables used, mixer used if I can find one cheap and in great condition, otherwise a new mixer.

I am interested in doing sound for interviews, indie films, and some performance / concert / stage type productions. So some studio environments, some locations as well, doing good work on the cheap.
Screwing a mixer / recorder underneath a camera is one thing for a single operator but this thread started (in my belief) was for a kit to enable a person to become a sound recordist, earn an income and pay off the gear.

Using 'unbalanced' outputs of a recorder to feed a camera for anymore than a few inches is less than acceptable in 'real world' productions.

Part of the role of a sound recordist / operator is to ride levels not just set and forget, If you think the role of a sound op is set and forget you are a long way off the mark. Just like a the role of a camera op is a long way from just point and shoot person.

Last edited by Brian P. Reynolds; July 7th, 2013 at 03:10 AM.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 02:26 PM   #15
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Re: Assembling an audio kit on a budget

Don - welcome aboard!

Just read your post and followed up on the suggestion.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Benefiel View Post
Please visit JuicedLink.com, and read his material. I now use a JL RA333 with my Canon 7D, and gave up the hassle of dual sound with my Zoom H4n.
Because I also have a JuicedLink pre that I've had for awhile, I decided to see what there was on their web site. There are some good tutorials that provide a lot of basics and good tips in a very compressed time-frame. While a lot of the info was a good refresher, there were several tips that pere presented in a way that make it easier to remember.

Of course it is his business, but Robert does well when pointing out various features or things to think of with regard equipment, many of which I could easily overlook when using or selecting equipment.
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