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For those interested in (field) recording...


cfmsp
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Field recording means anywhere, anytime recording of the sounds that move you. In my case, it's the sound of nature.

 

Getting started in computer audio recording is very easy - get a portable Mac, a couple of microphones (or a single stereo mic) and a portable Firewire ADC/DAC with Mic pres in your price range. Then, have fun gathering sounds and experience.

 

I purchased a ULN-2 ($1495) from Metric Halo, but that's a significant investment for someone just starting out. Perhaps the Apogee Duet (at $500) is a better place to start. Both of these work well with a computer.

 

For totally self-contained (i.e. no computer needed during) recording, there are many portable devices available, most with internal mics. These are probably even better for someone starting out. Check out Zoom, Sony, Olympus, etc.

 

The very affordable Zoom H2 even offers 4 channel surround recording with internal mics.

 

Read this book by Bob Katz

 

http://www.digido.com/mastering-audio-book.html

 

Read up at gearslutz.com for thoughts on pro audio microphones, preamps, and DACs.

 

Also the tapersection.com forum, which is geared more toward concert recorders.

 

If you want to do field recording, perhaps try the nature recordists yahoo group, where very high quality (read lowest possible noise) portable gear is discussed.

 

Or check out Aaron Ximm's site http://quietamerican.org/links.html

 

All of these groups have been doing digital for quite some time. Even if you don't ever record, you can learn a lot about computer digital audio - and have a more well rounded viewpoint than that of the 'audiophile'.

 

I've been down this path, ping me if interested.

 

clay

 

 

 

 

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Chris,

 

we seem to have lost the ability to edit an opening post. There are a couple of typos above.

 

Perhaps this is a new feature?

 

clay

 

PS< If this post is inappropriate, please just delete it. I posted it over on AA before I realized the questioner was not interested in recording, but rather 'recordings'.

 

So, rather than waste the info, I thought to post it here in the event we have intrepid field recordists.

 

 

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So, I just got the Zoom H2 with the intent of recording in nature. Ocean waves, babbling brook, etc. I am a total newby at this, so please bear with me. So Here are my questions for ya:

 

1. Is it better to use the H2 independant of a laptop, or connected to the laptop?

 

2. When using the H2, what is the best way to physically position the mic to get the best stereo recoding?

 

3. Do I need special software to do this? I don't want to spend a bunch on this project, if I can. :-)

 

Thanks for your help man.

Mot

 

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1. Is it better to use the H2 independant of a laptop, or connected to the laptop?

 

Independently, it records to SDHC cards. You only need to download to the laptop if you want to listen other than via the H2. You can, of course, monitor and playback directly from the H2 (e.g. using a 1/8" stereo mini cord into your car audio system, or home rig).

 

2. When using the H2, what is the best way to physically position the mic to get the best stereo recoding?

 

That will depend on what 'effect' you are going for, and also whether you're using the 2 channel or 4 channel capability. ESPECIALLY for babbling brooks, you'll need to experiment, and try multiple locations at a single spot. Place for the desired stereo effect.

For example, you might want to place the H2 between two distinct 'sounds' for wide stereo separation, or perhaps just the opposite. This is the fun part - unlike with recording music, you can do whatever you think sounds the most pleasing.

 

You''l have to learn to 'listen' to what might be captured by the H2, in the same way that one has to learn to 'see' what a camera will capture. You can monitor via the headphones (without recording) while you determine proper location. Then I recommend, you place the H2 on a small (pocket sized) mic stand to avoid handling noise. Since the mics are internal, you don't want anything touching the H2 between the start/stop of recording. Do NOT lose your windscreen (as I did) and use it one even slightly windy days.

 

Often the best effect will be obtained from placement IN the stream. Another reason for a small tripod - obviously the upstream leg is directly upstream (against the current) so that the other two legs are in their most table position against the current.

 

3. Do I need special software to do this? I don't want to spend a bunch on this project, if I can.

 

No special software is required, but is advisable. There are free software editors out there. I use Wave Editor - which is WORLD CLASS in sound quality for only $79. Each editor has it's own set of features, etc.

 

But just download and listen works to.

 

You will need software for the 4 channel sound.

If you decide to try 4 channel (ambisonic layout), you'll need a device for getting the four channels out of your computer. If you have a Mac, the cheapest way is the Griffin firewave, now discontinued.

 

I bought a couple for $20 when they were closeouts. YOu might pay a little more on ebay.

 

http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/firewave

 

Start out with 2 channel, and if you decide to try 4channel, let me know, and I'll provide more info.

 

The Zoom H2's mics are not the best in the world, but for a pocket recorders they are not bad. They are the absolute cheapest way to record 4 channel audio, which is why I bought it.

 

enjoy, and don't be afraid to ask more questions.

 

clay

 

PS, surf is hard to capture fully.

 

PPS, water sounds can come out like pink/white noise if you're not careful, e.g. a monotonous roaring creek. Make sure the brook is actually babbling. :)

 

 

 

 

 

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