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Inexpensive field recording?

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Inexpensive field recording?
on Sep 24, 2005 at 12:47:51 am

Hi Audio Cows!

My first post in the audio forum, but I'm burning with curiosity about something.

I used to lust for a field DAT recorder, and have lusted for a decent microphone for longer. I work in video post production and from time to time I have the need to record things "in the field" as research into concepts and such.

It seems that field DAT recorders are pretty much outdated now (and still very expensive, regardless) with flash card recorders and laptop field packs taking over.

I own a Sony Vaio laptop, GRX560k, and it appears to have mini mic and line inputs as well as headphone and a line out. It has Yamaha AC-XG as the audio device in HW manager.

What kind of microphone(s) would be best suited to recording to this laptop either via 1/8th inch analog or via a USB breakout? On Battery power, a USB breakout might reduce recording time and add to the expense and such.

Could any of you suggest a good and current FAQ or offer a starting point as to what it would take to use this machine for audio recording?

Up until now I've been using a DV videocamera's built in mic, but this method rarely produces a recording with sufficient S/N ratio.

Mostly, I am hoping to be able to use it for some foley work.

Thanks for any info. All the best!

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Ty Ford
Re: Inexpensive field recording?
on Sep 24, 2005 at 11:22:33 am

I think Samson is first to market a large diameter condenser mic with USB cable.

Your 1/8" jack is probably stereo. The Rode VideoMic is a mono mic wired for those stereo inputs. It uses a 9VDC battery in its case. Try that.

Audio technica makes a Pro 24 stereo mic with 1/8" plug. It uses a hearing aid battery.

The AT822 will also work if you get an RCA to 1/8" Y cord.

All provided that your Vaio input will work with mics and not just line level sources.


Ty Ford

Ty Ford's "Audio Bootcamp Field Guide" was written for video people who want better audio. Find out more at

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glenn chan
Re: Inexpensive field recording?
on Sep 26, 2005 at 3:43:59 am

The laptop may have really poor S/N ratio because laptops have to cram all the electronics in a small space, and this makes the analog-digital converters more prone to interference.

2- Your best bet may be to record sound into the camera (it'll be synced, which saves you time). The Rode Videomic is affordable and a great microphone from what other people are saying about it.
The boom for it may be good too, and it's also affordable (about half the cost of other products). Using the boom to get closer to the sound source will improve your audio dramatically.

3- If your camera has XLR inputs, that opens you up to world of (slightly) better and pricier equipment.

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