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Re: Entry Level Sound Recorder Purchasing Advice?

Subject: Re: Entry Level Sound Recorder Purchasing Advice?
From: "Avocet" madl74
Date: Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:12 am ((PDT))
> I am just going to buy a recorder for now and borrow microphones for 
> the time being.


An excellent plan. Bear in mind you are likely to get hooked and will 
want to keep adding to your kit.

I use a Tascam DR-100 which has XLR inputs with or without power, but 
which features rarely on this list. However I would look out for the 
facilites on a recorder first rather than sheer specs. Powered XLR's 
are a must to avoid having to use external power and adaptors. 
Pre-record is handy but at only 2 secs for the Tascam, you need to 
keep your finger on the button literally.

For night work, I leave my recorder running for long periods as I 
don't know what is going to come up, and a recorder which splits up a 
recording into set length files is very handy for listening 

Forget the built-in mics. They are a sales feature and almost always 
disappointing in practice for a number of reasons, if only for 
handling and wind noise. Input noise specs are notoriously difficult 
to pin down and different mics give different results according to 
practical input and uutput impedances which are often very different 
from the "matching impedances" of around 200 ohms. Much more important 
is to use mics (think stereo) with a high output like the Senneisers.

Noise is important, but what you want to aim for is a machine plus mic 
noise level as low as or lower than the natural background noise. 
Unless you have a very quiet acoustic background, low to mid frequency 
noise is not going to be your main problem. Quoted noise levels are 
usually A-weighted but should be "468" weighted which is the high 
frequency more annoying hiss.

I sometimes have a very low acoustic background noise level here 
getting towards the thermal noise level on the air, but the best mics 
you can get are something like 12 dbs worse. Testing my Sennheisers 
under a pile of bedclothes, their hiss level is on a par with the 
DR-100, so I'm near nirvana on that.

However, at the beginner or indeed at any price level, you can reduce 
hiss using a good noise reduction algorithm without affecting the 
subject quality. I use the one in Audacity 1.3 with a high frequency 
filtered sample of noise. Before the purists throw up their hands in 
horror, professionals also use noise reduction and we don't complain.


David Brinicombe
North Devon, UK
Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum - Ambrose Bierce

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