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can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?

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david payne
can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Sep 12, 2010 at 7:13:18 pm

hi all, i was thinking of getting a zoom h4n or similar (http://www.solidstatesound.co.uk/zoomh4n.htm) to put on the top table to record wedding speeches. I'm concerned that this one might have too wide a field when recording, is this called a polar field?

anway if anyone can recommend something like this that is small and also quite versatile (i like the aux in and xlr in too) that might beat the h4n before I make my purchase?

i was planning on moving it down the table between speeches so that it is always pointing directly at the speaker in an attempt to pick up as little background/ambient sound as possible, having said that id like it to be adjustable like the h4n so take on a wider field of audio when required.

many thanks


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Ty Ford
Re: can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Sep 13, 2010 at 11:33:49 am

Hello David,

In essence, you're asking for success with an untended mic at a wedding. I think the premise is highly chancy. You're in an already noisy sound field so, sure, some sort of directionality seem appropriate.

Some of the other recorders like the Sony PCM D 10 or PCM D50 do have directional mics mounted on the recorder. The D50 mics are adjustable.

Regardless, the idea makes me nervous.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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david payne
Re: can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Sep 13, 2010 at 3:01:23 pm

Ty,

thanks for your reply as always.

I would use the recorder in conjunction with a shotgun mic on the camera (ME66) usually about 15ft from the subject.

For the first time I tried a sennheiser wireless transmitter attached to a stand and holding the ME66 (as suggested by yourself in a previous thread I believe) and it worked well, however as the speaker was also holding a PA mic, I seemed to get some light echo & feedback. I'm yet to listen to this audio to confirm this.

I like the idea of having the recorder with a 1/4" or XLR available to plug into a desk output to record when using a house mic. In this situation I would use the ME66 on camera in conjunction with this solution. Where the house PA/outputs/DJ or staff knowledge or willingness to help out is missing, I'll put it on the desk.

I know you've mentioned taking a field mixer with me in the past, but when i do a wedding on my own I simply can't afford to have all of this extra equipment to manage, which is why the practicality of the (albeit not perfect) portable recorder solution jumped out at me.

I will look into these sony recorders you mention now, however if they don't have the XLR and 1/4" jacks I feel I'm likely to want to go with the zoom.

In future I also plan on buying a DSLR to shoot some video and as these are known for their lacking audio abilities, I thought the Zoom mounted on the camera hotshoe with a rode video mic attached might give me a good option?

i hope to hear some more of your thoughts Ty.

David



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Ty Ford
Re: can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Sep 13, 2010 at 3:32:57 pm

Thanks David,

If the echo was apparent during the recording, it may be due to the different arrival times of the audio to your ears. The PA would get there later because sound in air travels about 1 foot per millisecond. The mic you use would be closer to the talent and electronically the signal would arrive in your headphones almost at the speed of light unless your camera has some other latency issues.

I recall that a PD 150 or PD170 exhibited noticeable latency when in 24fps mode. That could mess with you big time.

Don't know what to say about the feedback. If you weren't connected to the PA system, any feedback would simply be PA feedback picked up by the other mic connected to your camera.

-----I will look into these sony recorders you mention now, however if they don't have the XLR and 1/4" jacks I feel I'm likely to want to go with the zoom.---

The D50 has XLR I think.

-----In future I also plan on buying a DSLR to shoot some video and as these are known for their lacking audio abilities, I thought the Zoom mounted on the camera hotshoe with a rode video mic attached might give me a good option?

Better than what?

Regards,

Ty

PS: A good sound person can help--- a LOT. I know this is means more money, but at some point you have to grow. That means getting bigger and involving more people. I know the thought may be alien to you now, but I need to plant the seed.

I work with several shooter/editors as a utility guy. I do the audio, but I also help grip and gaff and am asked for input on composition and exposure. Finding someone like this can really make things go more easily. I move and set up camera and lighting gear, monitors and whatever we need to get the job done. My partner/boss tweeks as necessary and deals with the client more.

There are other times when a job comes to me that requires two cameras and other aspects and these guys are the ones I call to help me.

I'm just saying....

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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david payne
Re: can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Sep 14, 2010 at 6:10:32 am

Ty, I appreciate your point about a sound guy and I certainly would do so if I wasn't shooting weddings. I'm mid level price wise and I simply cant afford to pay somebody else. In the past I have employed a sound guy when doing better paid corporate jobs and its something I'd certainly do again in future.

-----In future I also plan on buying a DSLR to shoot some video and as these are known for their lacking audio abilities, I thought the Zoom mounted on the camera hotshoe with a rode video mic attached might give me a good option?

Better than what?

------------

Well I guess I meant better than just connecting the rode mic straight to the camera input and recording the audio along with the video. I suppose its safer to have audio and video on two different sources? I could then capture ambient sound with the dodgy camera mic and at least have a back up in case of a disaster.

THe sony units are a little more expensive than I thought. Do you think the directionality (have I invented that word) is much better than the Zooms? What about buying 3 cheaper recorders (small & lightweight to put in jacket pockets?) o use with lav mics during ceremony & speeches? I know id lose the xlr but would this give better sound?



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david payne
Re: can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Sep 14, 2010 at 9:35:21 am

One more question if I may. I have been researching the idea of buying 3 smaller recorders and found that many people recommend a cheap omnidirectional lav mic. Does it not make sense to get a unidirectional lav mic for use during speeches as I really only want to pick up the speaker?



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Ty Ford
Re: can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Sep 14, 2010 at 11:49:58 am

David,

You have to be really careful with cardioid lavs. Because they are directional they can easily be positioned away from what you want to catch. Because they are directional, they are easier to pop; not only with voice, but with HVAC systems or any air moving source.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Ty Ford
Re: can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Sep 14, 2010 at 11:47:29 am

>>>Well I guess I meant better than just connecting the rode mic straight to the camera input and recording the audio along with the video. I suppose its safer to have audio and video on two different sources? I could then capture ambient sound with the dodgy camera mic and at least have a back up in case of a disaster.

David, we're wandering a bit. I don't know what camera or mic you're actually using. Is that mic dodgy or is any mic used the way you're trying to use it going to underperform? Having a backup is always a good idea, but it sounds more like you want to use it as the primary audio and forget about the camera audio. In addition, if you're a one person operation, keeping it simple is usually the best way to go. Your camera audio may be just fine for your jobs. I do avoid compressed audio as much as possible. HDV cameras use compressed audio, for example.


>>>THe sony units are a little more expensive than I thought. Do you think the directionality (have I invented that word) is much better than the Zooms? What about buying 3 cheaper recorders (small & lightweight to put in jacket pockets?) o use with lav mics during ceremony & speeches? I know id lose the xlr but would this give better sound?

David, as has been covered here before, to date, no one has found a good lav that will work with one of those recorders. I suggested the Sony HIMD recorder for pocket use because it comes with a stereo lav and records wav files. I have made inquiries to some of the lav companies recently to see if they can make such a mic. We'll see.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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david payne
Re: can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Sep 14, 2010 at 2:21:20 pm

thanks Ty. With regards to the 'dodgy mic' I refer to the built in audio in for example the canon 5D mkII DSLR camera. I do not own a DSLR for video yet but its something im considering for the future but I have heard that you should not really use the on board sound.

Thanks for the advice on the directional mics. I realised after posting that the grooms lav mic is to pick up the bride as well (with some tweaking of levels afterwards to get them equal) so therefore unidirectional would as you say be a mistake.

I have ordered a cheap Zoom H1 to try out with the Audio Technica ATR3350 mono omnidirectional lav mic. It has a small battery and a on/off switch and I've read that it is compatible with the H1 although obviously only being mono I know I'm not going to get great sound from it.

The benefit of having 3 of these with a 6 hour battery life and 4 hour record time at 96khz wav appeals to me for a no fuss no risk speeches audio solution when used in conjunction with my Sennheiser ME66 15 ft from the speaker. it is just the microphone that I'm slightly worried about so I wont be buying all three until I do some tests.

Sorry to ask another question, but if I were to use an XLR to 3.5mm stereo adapter cable and run it into the H1 (set to line) could I in theory capture sound from a desk/pa system? This was why I originally wanted the H4 but if I can do this without losing too much quality with the H1 then it would save me a few hundred pounds.

Thanks for the continued help Ty.



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Ty Ford
Re: can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Sep 14, 2010 at 2:31:51 pm

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/158476-REG/Hosa_Technology_XVM_101F_M...

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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david payne
Re: can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Sep 16, 2010 at 7:00:12 pm

great, I already have one of those so next time the opportunity arrises I'll do some line tests.

To be honest I'm quite happy with the sound from the Audio Technica ATR3350 through the Zoom H1, however I didnt realise the mic comes with a 6 METER cable!! Its so bulky when combined with the Zoom H1 that I dont think I'll be able to coil it up and put it in an inside pocket without getting some grunts of disapproval...

Is there something similar to an electrical choc block that I could put in line after cutting the cable and removing 5 meters of unwanted length?



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david payne
Re: can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Jan 26, 2011 at 10:24:01 am

Sorry to dig up this old thread again, hopefully you can help Ty.

Basically I now have 3x Zoom H1's with Audio Technika 3350 lav mics which are fine for speeches, however the quality isn't quite there for the ceremony when compared to my sennheiser G3 EW100 wireless.

Could you recommend a hard drive or SD card portable recorder and mic combo that will give good uni directional sound so I can pick up the vicar, bride and groom like my Sennheiser does?

Price isn't really a big problem (within reason) but size is crucial. The smaller the better as I need to put it in a grooms jacket or trouser pocket without causing a huge visible shape in the clothing.

Many thanks



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Ty Ford
Re: can anyone recommend a good directional portable recorder?
on Jan 26, 2011 at 2:34:25 pm

David,

I still can not.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide





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