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Re: First-timer looking for advice

Subject: Re: First-timer looking for advice
From: "Rob Danielson" danielson_rob
Date: Sat Sep 1, 2007 8:07 am ((PDT))
At 12:27 AM +0000 9/1/07, paulmcnelis wrote:
>And then there is the Edirol R09 for $399 so it's going to be a tough
>call. Edirol or Zoom.

Hello and welcome to the list, Paul.

You'll probably have to experiment with some of the options before
you come-up with a rig you will be happy with for a long time. Most
folks end-up with two or more rigs with some interchangeable
components. Here are some factors I'd first consider:

1) Recording style. There are many ways to hand-hold mics, tripod
mount mics, and mount mics on your body.  All of the above require
effective wind protection and shock-mounting that must be worked-in
to the options you want to first try. Stereo imaging is likely to
become very important to you and this requires considerable research
just to grasp what kind(s) of imagery you prefer are and the
combinations of mics, mounts and positioning arrays that support them.

2) Microphone quality/performance is the most important determinant
by far-- especially if one is interested in recording spatial
ambience in quiet locations. A mic with 14dBA or lower self noise and
10dBA or higher sensitivity, for example, will produce much less hiss
with most digital recorders than one with 23dBA noise and comparable
or higher sensitivity. Manufacturer specs are not 100% reliable, but
they do help one sort through options more quickly:

Its probably more efficient to determine #1 and #2 first and  then
look at your total budget and address the recorder choice. If you
rent/borrow mics rigs from a dealer or friends to try out first, that
might greatly increase your confidence.

3) The lower cost recorders you list should work fine with mics with
16dBA or higher self-noise. If you decide to invest in mics with
lower self-noise, the lower noise of the mic Fostex FR2-LE should
produce recordings with a little less self noise. The role of the
recorder is often over-emphasized.

It takes some time to introduce oneself to the many mic rig options
even through the web. Perhaps someone has created a page with links
to many of the informative web sites list members have created? Aaron
Ximm's site has a great deal of information.

This list has a very search-friendly archive of all of the posts made
since 2001. If you are curious about a particular technique or gear
item,enter an _exact_ string like "parabolic" or "AT-3032"
or One can search multiple terms like "body
worn mic ambience" as well.

These are not easy decisions, especially if you are able to spend
some money. You cannot make decisions that work for you in the long
term on the basis or what you read or others say. You have to take
some rigs out into the field and put them to work for you. If you
must take an initial plunge and buy a "best guess" rig and then
change your mind, more expensive equipment does hold its value quite
well whereas cheaper gear loses more of its value quickly. Top of the
end gear holds its value very well, just save all the original boxes
and receipts. One can acquire a very workable rig in the $700-$1000
range but its easy to spend $5000 too. Rob D.


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