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Re: [microsound] field recording Q

At 4:48 PM +0200 4/9/06, Gafner Amir wrote:
Im plannig on doing some field recording looking for recommended solution
my md just died and im wondering what can replce it in the most efficient way.
i have stereo mic ecm-mf907. ill be happy to hear just about anything.
is there any other solution beside the md option that will be at the same dynamic range and same price range?

Hi Gafner--
Sorry to hear about the loss. You are wise to ask because manufacturer/product reputation and advertising claims can be very misleading these days.

The dynamic range of most recorders will provide you enough spread unless you are going to concentrate on thunderstorms, pile driving and motor/jet racing. For music, ambience etc, you can look at the your next priority.

With all of the amazing changes in tech these days, it easy to see why people look at the latest developments first. Currently, in field recording, it is recording to a chip or a hard drive. Before jumping on one of these bandwagons, one should ask a very logical question: How does the feature impact quality, portability or any other factors important to me? One could also ask, "How do the media costs compare?" The answers I get are: "no impacts" and "chips are quite expensive" As for hard-drive recording, how about adding removable cheap media and thats what MD disks are,..

Quality recordings in the field start with the mics-- there's no way around this. I have come across some great recordings made with a 907 but, boy, I have come across a bunch more that were loaded with hiss and and low end grunge due to the high self noise and low output of this mic.

The next most important factor is probably mic preamplification-- you want low noise, sufficient gain and low distortion. That's why I do the "listen for yourself" tests, to be able to judge this a bit.

If the analog-digital conversion quality in a recorder that meets your "front end" criteria is acceptable and its easy to operate in the field, you've found a winner (assuming any recorder you're looking at uses a digital recording medium you can upload into your computer easily).

When I follow this progression, HiMD comes out on top. It happens to also the cheapest and as I never have enough money for mics,..!

The biggest complaint about HiMD is operability and the faint disk writing sound it produces. The disk clicking can be absorbed with a layer of leather or heavy canvas. I've memorized the button sequence to get into manual gain and I can easily tell when its recording, thank goodness!

The mic pres on the so called "pro" recorders like the Tascam HD-P2, the Microtracker 24/96, the Maranatz 670/671, the Edirol R-1 and R-4 are all considerably noisier than lowly HiMD. They all have much less record gain which may be more important if you plan to ever record in quiet places. [In one of the tests, I was able to compare the sound files produced using maximum mic pre gains (as with recording ambience in quiet places). The 16bit NH-900 HiMD produced more effective bits of resolution than the 24 bit Microtrack 24/96. For loud sounds, the MT's 24 bits come into play but I find it pretty hard to hear differences between 16/24 with robust sounds.]

Hey, you'd buy a new bike just like your old one, why not an audio recorder? Okay, enough, I need to edit. Rob D.

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