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    Portable Recorder Recommendation


    Hello, I am a nature videographer that does web and DVD projects. I am trying to step up my game with better ambient background audio and need help since I am a novice with sound recording. Specifically I am starting a new DVD project that will contain prominent ambient background sound around rivers and streams. What I get off my camera built in stereo mic (Panasonic HPx170) sounds mostly like "frying bacon". I thought maybe one of the portable recorders with built in mics might do better or go for a used stereo mic like the AT8022 or Rode NT4 and connect to my camera XLRs but I don't know how good my camera audio circuitry is. I am willing to learn how to get better audio, just need for someone to steer me in the right direction. I have a budget of about $300. Here is a link to some of my work.

    http://vimeo.com/channels/3523

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    A Panasonic HPx170 is a pro recorder. I use a NT4 on a Sony PCM D50 and he recordings are great. A very quiet mic.
    Here are some 'quiet' examples:
    http://www.freesound.org/search/?q=quiet+nt4+klankbeeld&f;=duration%3A[0+TO+*]&s;=score+desc&advanced;=1&g;=

    regards klankbeeld

    To hear, you first have to listen
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    Thank you for your response. It was helpful.

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    I recommend the Zoom series, such as the Zoom H1, H2, and H4. Completely portable and battery operated with stereo recording. Cheapest is the H1 at 100 USD.

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    Rode NT4 will "kill" any built in electrets. D50 has decent built in mics, sometimes it surprises me how good and noiseless it is.

    Though when shooting video, microphone needs to be at different spot than on the top of the camera... more often than not. Either shotgun on a boom or (radio) lav for dialogue. NT4 on camera will work well for some general shooting without people talking or as secondary mic.
    In terms of processing, handhelds will be much more problematic than dedicated mics. It will very often sound unheathy (broken glass highs, smeared muddy midrange, unclear bass). Great mics can take EQ so much better allowing you to save some not so ideal takes.

    Step up would be MS rig with Sennheiser MKH40 and MKH30. Or MKH8040 and MKH30. Or schoeps CMC6+MK4+MK3. Sometimes people use hypercardiods too for the M. That would substitute MKH40 for MKH50, MKH8040 for MKH8050, MK4 for MK41.

    Zooms... the ones I've heard (sorry can't remember the model #s) were noisy and not very detailed sounding. OK for band rehersal recording and perhaps usefull when placed extremely well in ideal conditions (which won't happen much when shooting video).

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    The two main things to consider are the microphone, and pre-amps in the recording device. Unfortunately for your budget you're not going to be able to get much, you'll be looking at something which has mics built-in.

    The Zoom recorders have quite lousy pre-amps, they have lots of great features but for nature recording you want low noise. I would suggest checking out the Roland R09-HR discontinued now, but seek on ebay.

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    The two main things to consider are the microphone, and pre-amps in the recording device. Unfortunately for your budget you're not going to be able to get much, you'll be looking at something which has mics built-in.

    The Zoom recorders have quite lousy pre-amps, they have lots of great features but for nature recording you want low noise. I would suggest checking out the Roland R09-HR discontinued now, but seek on ebay.

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    Agree, forget about Zoom and the Preamps! Even a Behringer Mic 100 sounds better (Signal to Noise Ratio) and has a Pricetag of 30$

    I've tried the Tascam Dr-40 /100. Same. Both Crap!

    Save the Money!

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    thank you for tips..

    save money forever. grin grin

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    I own a zoom H2N and I love this little device. If you want to hear it, go to my sounds, they have almost all been recorded with it. I set it up to be used as an external mic for my nikon D7100 DSLR and I consider it to be a MAJOR improvement in my video setup. It has 5 built-in mics and can do both X/Y or MS stereo (which can be reduced to mono if needed). The preamps are not perfect, but they are good. In my particular case, the main limitation is not the preamps but the external audio recording capabilities of the DSLR (really noisy). Remember: in audio, your only as good as your weakest link. That particular problem can be worked around by recording the sound of my videos directly in the zoom's SD card, thus bypassing the DSLR's recorder, and resyncing the whole thing in Imovie.

    Hope this helps,

    D.S

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