sound recording

To: "Peter Adderley" <>, <>
Subject: sound recording
From: "Birds of Perth" <>
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 13:34:09 +0800
Hi Peter & Others,

I am also looking forward to seeing more info on Birding-aus regarding new
sound recording techniques as it is something I'm trying to get my hands and
ears around. I am just starting out and I'm using a Sony MDLP MZ-R500
(Recordable Minidisk player). If find the system very easy to use with the
exception that it automatically puts in breaks if there is 10 seconds of
silence or more which can be annoying, and in some cases turns itself off.
This is a battery-saving feature of the mechanism and the only way I've
found to get around it so far is to pause the recording while searching for
birds. As far as price goes, its an excellent system the recorder was $499
and AFAIK MD recorders are getting cheaper as technology gets better, as I
bought the same model for my sister as a car unit a year later for almost
$100 cheaper. The Minidiscs themselves are very inexpensive ($10 for 5x70min
discs) for the amount of data that they can hold, although I have been
warned by other people involved in MD sound recording (not birds) that even
though the system offers up to 4xlongplay, to only record up to 2xLP
otherwise the recording may be corrupted when uploading to PC or converting
to MP3 format.

As for micorphones, I was a little tight money wise when I sought out my
microphone. I have a SONY ECM-MS907 stereo directional mic which was about
$299. We made a make-shift boom out of an adjustable mop handle we bought
from Bunnings for $10! It is fantastic to pick up high-frequency bird calls
such as the honeyeaters, willie wags and mudlarks, but I have found it is
difficult to get good recordings of low-frequency calls, such as the
turtle-doves, even when at a close distance. Another fault I have found with
this mic is that the MD has to be recording at maximum volume otherwise if
the birds are soft you won't hear anything without straining. My other
option in mics was to go for a similarily priced SONY zoom mic - apparently
these give a clearer sound, however they are recorded in Mono and give the
appearance that the bird calling is in a room or cage as it blocks out all
background noise. I haven't actually used this mic so I can give no further
details. I think with mics the more you pay the better quality you are going
to get and in future I will be putting my money towards a higher end model,
but for puttering around the little SONY  does the job.

On the software side, two shareware programs for sound-manipulation are
available to download off the net and are easy to use. These are Soundforge
and Goldwave.

Looking forward to more info!

Claire Stevenson

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