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    About to dive into the world of audio recording - need tips

    I've always been interested in music and audio production, but never had the equipment to do my own recording. Recently I've gotten involved in doing the sound effects for a video game, so I have decided to jump right in and start figuring things out.

    The game will have sound effects from nature, urban environments, and plenty of sounds that I'll have to put together myself (punches, lasers, etc). I'm in it for the long run though; after this game is finished, I want to keep learning and exploring this field.

    My plan for now is to purchase a portable recorder and just using the built in mics. I don't foresee needing additional inputs in the near future. I've narrowed it down to 2 options (additional suggestions are welcome):
    Sony PCM-D50 or Zoom H4n

    The Zoom is cheaper but I'm willing to get the Sony if it's worth it. I hear the Sony's built in mics are better. It's nice that the Zoom can use SD cards though. I couldn't find much info about Sony's memory stick format. How much more expensive are they? How big do they get? Is the 4GB built in memory enough for a few hours of recording?
    I guess I'll also pick up a windscreen (Dead Kitten or Rycote?). And what are some good monitor headphones to bring with me? lastly, what do you guys carry your stuff in? Can I just through this in a backpack, or should I get a special case for it?

    As far as recording goes, do I pretty much just go around and find something that sounds interesting, and then point my recorder at it? Are there any important techniques that I should know? It seems simple enough, but I feel like I'm going to be overwhelmed. I know what to do after the audio has been recorded, but getting started with expensive equipment is a bit intimidating.

    Thanks for any help or advice you guys can give!

  • avatar
    171 sounds
    379 posts

    Sony PCM-D50. When you have it - you know why you love it. To know the sound differences - use FS search engine, typing the name of one or another recorder.

    Deadkitten from Rode has longer hairs, but according to measurements/tests - performs much better. Will know it next week.

    4GB per session should be enough. You don't need 96kHz, since 44.1kHz is a CD standard. 16 or 24bit depth is enough. At 44.1kHz/16bit - 1 hour of sonic material takes about 600MB of space. Today - memory sticks are not expensive.

    If you eliminate wind and touch noise - just direct your recorder, setting up your gain, and record. 90 degree mic pattern will give you centered sound, 120 degree mic pattern will give you regular stereo panorama with all sounds inside.

    Good monitor headphones - Audio Technica ATH-M50. Big but good, worth their price (you asked for monitor headphones, not just headphones).

    Case - just make something useful.

    Just begin, and then you will know your next step.

    Else things you need: patience. Read some of my posts here about it.

    (-; - independent research on sound and consciousness - best sounds for extraordinary inner experiences
  • avatar
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    Yeah, I'm leaning towards the Sony PCM-D50, it really does sound amazing.

    Do you use large monitor headphones out in the field or just small earbud-style ones? If the later, is there anything particular I should look for in earbuds in regards to the nature of field recording? I'm hoping I can get something decent without spending too much.

    Thanks for your suggestions. I'm reading your other posts now.
    I think this will be pretty fun!

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    1082 posts

    I have a Sony pcm D50. mutch better than my Zoom H1 in quiet environment, less mic noise.

    Headphones: I've uses in ear phones but than I miss the low freq. Now use a cheap closed headphone from Philips shp 2000 (€25,--). many recordist will start to cry now sad good for monitoring what I'm recording. Not a HIFI-phone. But good... :lol:

    To hear, you first have to listen
  • avatar
    171 sounds
    379 posts

    Generally regarding monitor headphones/speakers:

    - flat frequency response (not band punched nor band coloured), analytic sounding
    - good details, good enough to perceive sound sources as "independent" and not "blended" into one soundspace, but not overdetailed,
    - good dynamic range and vide frequency range (incl. bass, but not overpunched),
    - good "translation" if the result should be produced for both - hi-fi/hi-end systems and average multimedia systems.

    In the field - you just record, and you record what you hear. "Monitor Headphones" are for mixing and mastering.

    You don't manipulate the sound on-the-fly in the field, therefore - for such kind of "monitoring" - anything small and cheap will be suitable. Headphones in the field - will show you the direction of recording and sonic details (incl. distance) you catch. Look for something comfortable and durable, longer durable cable and touch-noise free if you ask for such kind of details. - independent research on sound and consciousness - best sounds for extraordinary inner experiences

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