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Topic: A Cheap way to record on location?

  1. #1

    A Cheap way to record on location?

    I\'ve been considering expanding my Audio repertoire. Expanding beyond the studio/music composition and into location recording. Mainly for sound FX.

    I have looked at a few portable DAT machines and the price basically killed me. Not that I didn\'t expect it. However Im basically looking at this venture as a secondary avenue. (#1: all my money goes into sound libraries, LOL)

    I need something to start me off. If I get good enough, sure I will pay for the top of the range portable DAT. But I course I would have to actually make money from sound FX for that to happen.

    Would a minidisc with a good mic do the job? A Rode NT3 seems like a good cheap mic that i could even use in the studio. What are your thoughts on the NT3 for location recording?

    What recording device do people recommend?
    What Mic do people recommend?

    I obviously have all the software and hardware to edit the sounds. Plus a good ear always helps [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img].


  2. #2

    Re: A Cheap way to record on location?

    Hi Wayne,

    Can\'t help you much on the equipment except to comment that my little portable DAT (cost was under $200) sounds just as good as my studio more expensive DAT - at least to my ear.

    Curious and wonder what sort of location sounds you want to capture?

  3. #3

    Re: A Cheap way to record on location?

    Hi Joanne,

    Thanks for your reply.

    The sounds could be for anything... I basically want to do sound FX for games. Think of it this way - within a game. You could be in a jungle with birds singing and plenty of atmosphere type sounds. Then you crawl into a hut and it starts to rain. A 747 roars past. A monster jumps out from the bushes and tries to grab you. You run for your life or shoot it down. LOL.... Can you hear all the sound FX needed for that small scenario i just made up.

    To answer your question - everything that makes a sound....

    A portable DAT for under $200... What model? What mic do you use?

  4. #4

    Re: A Cheap way to record on location?

    i\'m very happy using a mini disc.. and a little stereo mic..

    especially for FX.. you\'re going to be doing loads of mangleing anyway..

    sounds lovely and dirty..

    if you wanted to record instruments in their full glory though, i would go for a DAT maybe..

    although.. i would use my laptop and an audio interface with a nice mic..

    depends on how much you want to carry round

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: A Cheap way to record on location?

    My little Casio DAT cost me about $1200 when I bought it many moons ago. It has given me pretty excellent service, though.

    MDs are cheaper, but not as good sounding.

    Some of the hard-drive based MP3 players will record full-res audio direct to disk, but you\'re dealing with some disk-whine there.

    Mic preamps in portable recording are always the problem. Built-ins on little DAT decks, etc., have a lot of hiss. A hot mic like a Rode actually helps--they have very high output. But there\'s also impedance matching issues. Shure makes a great little portable preamp, but it is costly.

    The Rode NT-4 is a nice ambient capture mic. The Audio Technica 822 is a lower priced mic, but it also does a good job of capturing ambient content.

    If you\'re really serious about building an FX library, you\'d want to get a location audio kit, boom, zeppelin, etc., so you can really get physical with what you\'re capturing. Imagine it as a tripod compared to a steady-cam (or at least a glide-cam) with a camera. Sometimes the still shot doesn\'t capture a dynamic enough picture of the sound.

    There is a whole lot you can catch with just a portable DAT and a decent mic, though. I have about a 100-DAT tape FX collection myself, and I am always dipping into them. I have been gradually cataloguing them for years...whenever I use something, I go ahead and make a file.

    Joanne, I\'m interested in the $200 DAT deck, too!! That\'s way cheap...I would probably pick one of those up to have a spare in case my Casio ever goes buns-up. I still have my trusty DA-30 in the studio.

  6. #6

    Re: A Cheap way to record on location?

    I have a Sony Walkman Dat that I bought used on Ebay. Runs on 4 AA batteries or AC. Great quality and I can\'t tell the difference in recording/play quality between this and the larger stationary decks. New Sony Walkmans (depending on model) sell from 350 - 600.

  7. #7

    Re: A Cheap way to record on location?

    Hi, WayneSim. I am also doing sound design for games. Here is my setup:

    Pre-Amp: Core Sound Mic2496. It is a stereo 24bit 96kHz A/D converter/pre-amp. It has digital coax and optical output, and runs on a single 9v battery. It also support 9 or 48v phantom power, depending on what you request it uses. I like it. It\'s very clean sounding, and has a very low noise floor. (-140dB at minimal gain, I believe.)

    Mic: Rode NT-4 Stereo Mic. It supports a 9v battery, so you won\'t necessarily need phantom power from an external source. I\'ts a very nice mic with a good stereo image. The only drawback is that the stereo field is fixed. The capsules do not move.

    HardDisk Recorder: Creative Nomad Jukebox 3 20GB. It supports analog fiber-optic digital inputs. It records to a 16/44.1 .wav file. It can also record to .mp3 with bitrates up to 320kbp/s. It has firewire and USB 1.0 outputs for connections to your PC. The drawback with this unit is noise from the HD. The HD is not terribly noisy, but it is audible when nearby. You could place the unit inside of a backpack and cover it with a coat, or something, though. That method works for me.

    Also check the phonography (the art of sampling real world places and things) groups on Yahoo!.

    Good luck!

  8. #8

    Re: A Cheap way to record on location?

    I also do sound FX for games.

    I have a portable MD recorder and use a Rode NT-3 mic. The NT-3 has a hypercardioid pattern so you can kind of point it at the sound source you want. It also takes a 9v battery so no need to lug phantom power around.

  9. #9

    Re: A Cheap way to record on location?

    Thanks to fitch, Bruce, Joanne, unconscious sound & Scott for your advice and comments.

    Unconscious sound - you have a very nice setup! Can I have it?... [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img].

    What model MD do you use Scott? Do you have to record the sounds onto your PC via an input or can you dump the files across somehow?

    I have come to the conclusion that I really want something that can record in at least 16/44.1 .WAV or at worst 320kb MP3. Becasue I think it would make everything so much easier to record the sounds to a \"file\". Then it\'s just a simple dump onto the PC for editing, most likely via USB. Now it\'s just the hard part to find that perfect device! A clean mic pre built in and we are set! (Although, i\'m hoping it wont be too expensive)

    I think i\'m set on getting a Rode NT3. However if I had a little more money there is not doubt I would go for the NT4. ummmm.... maybe I need to save a little more! Ahhh....

  10. #10

    Re: A Cheap way to record on location?

    Has someone tried the Marantz PMD 670?
    Not in the cheap side (around 1200€), but it has almost everything and looks as a good choice if you get serious about FX recording.

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