3 posts

  • avatar
    172 sounds
    47 posts
    Recording woods ambience w/LEAST amount of HISS

    I need some operational suggestions for recording the sound of birds in the woods, with the least amount of hiss.; and, more importantly, without spending a HUGE amount of money. (*obviously the quick answer would be for me to buy one of the incredible Sound Devices 700 series recorders, but right now I don't have that kind of play money.....YET!)

    My equipment is: (1) Handy 4N Zoom recorder (2) I alternate between the following mics: (2A) Samson CO2 stereo mics (2B) Rode NTG-2 shotgun mic.
    In addition to using the above-mentioned microphones by themselves, I will ALSO use them on my parabolic mic set-up that I have.
    I almost always use bit rates of 48HZ and 96HZ.

    The recordings are good, BUT, they do have HISS in them, which, I can eq it out on my Adobe Audition software.

    BUT, I would still prefer to get as clean a field recording in the first place.

    I have been experimenting with my input/record levels. For example if I record a wood thrush with my parabolic using a fairly low level - say 70 on a scale of 100 -- I do cut down on the hiss, but of course at the same time I need to boost the level in the editing suite; when I crank up the record level of course I get more hiss, BUT at the same my target sound is louder as well.

    I also have been reading blogs suggesting that my Zoom recorder has a noisy preamp that I can modify to make it quieter, but, since I am not that technical, that it not an option.

    SO....what should I do ? (1) Record using a low volume and just live with boosting it in my edit suite ? (2) Record using a high volume and eqing out the hiss in my edit suite ? (3) buy a different mic??

    Thanks very much in advance for any suggestions you can give.

    P.S. This past May I received my Master's Degree in Media Studies after producing a sound-rich 15 minute audio nature documentary....even though I have my degree, I want to continue recording and learning and taking my recording to the next level.....without spending 7-thousand dollars on a cool Sound Devices recorder!)


  • avatar
    3338 sounds
    505 posts


    answering your question would need a very long response... and I'm not in the mood. But browse this forum and you'll find a lot info on this long-discussed subject. Just a couple tips:

    1) hiss-wise: forget the recorder, most hiss comes from the mics. It is the combination of quietness (low selfnoise) + high sensitivity what makes some mics expensive. There are exceptions, though:

    2) don't 'retouch' your sample excesively in post, filter out below 150 Hz and done with it. Please, please, don't perform any digital amplification of the sample(this is useless, you are not adding any real information). Instead, let the user crank his/her amp up

    3) while recording, get as close as possible to your source. Obvious? Often neglected


    Ps, this was all very abstract, advice can be more specific if you upload some of your recordings, don't be shy!

  • avatar
    172 sounds
    47 posts


    Your reply helps a lot....I can now at least narrow down my list of causes and forget trying to save up several THOUSAND dollars for a better recorder...I'll browse other topics on this forum.

    As far as posting my sound -- working on it. Having a bit of trouble in getting the Applet FTP to work but I'll get there.

    I'll continue to look on this forum for answers about mics...

    Looking forward to hearing other responses, especially as far as suggestions on good mics out there that (1) have low selfnoise and (2) high sensitivity.


    3 posts