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Advice needed for recording nature audio on budget
Old 30th April 2022
  #1
Advice needed for recording nature audio on budget

Hi guys

Looking for some advice for a basic field/nature recording setup on a very low budget. I currently have a Tascam DR-40x and a AKG C1000s mic. I'm looking to record nature environments e.g. forests, streams, birds singing, etc.

I am guessing the AKG is completely the wrong type of mic for this, and since the Tascam has a terrible noise floor, I would need a fethead, rather than trying to remove hiss post recording, correct?

Are there any cheap mics that would be ok to use? For example, would a standard SM58 be ok for this?

I've only got a couple of hundred bucks max to spend at the moment, hence why I am hoping an SM58 would be fine, but since it isn't omnidirectional, this maybe wouldn't be such a good choice?

The resulting audio doesn't have to be ultra-pro - just as good as I can make it.

Any advice would be great, thanks!
Old 30th April 2022
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
A 58 would not be fine no. You at least need a condenser mic, better still a shot gun. You will also need a wind cover (gag) if you record outside. A pistol grip maybe too if you plan to suspend the mic.

A used senhieser 416 might be achievable although it’s cardioid not omni
Old 30th April 2022
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I assume you tried the Tascam's built-in mics in A/B stereo orientation and that didn't cut it, yes? If you're recording natural environments you'd normally want to record them in stereo.

Back in the 1990s I remember doing some quite acceptable nature recordings with a Sharp minidisc recorder with the cheap Sound Professionals T-shaped omni mic. You could probably find a minidisc recorder and that mic on the used market within your budget; it's obsolete technology but still works. One minidisc can be re-recorded thousands of times. I still have and use that minidisc recorder myself in fact. You can even get Rycote or similar "dead cat" windscreens for that little T mic; I bought them for mine a few years back.

However, unless you are lucky enough to find the last generation of Sony minidisc recorders, there's no way to transfer the recorded files digitally; you have to play them back into an interface and capture the audio real-time. Just an inconvenience, not a deal-breaker.

The only other option I can think of within your price range is something like the LOM Micro-Usi Pro, currently sold out but they should be available again. That's a low-noise, low-price omni pair for field recording. Check out the LOM mics at https://store.lom.audio/collections/...es-accessories
Old 30th April 2022 | Show parent
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by henry miller ➡️
A 58 would not be fine no. You at least need a condenser mic, better still a shot gun. You will also need a wind cover (gag) if you record outside. A pistol grip maybe too if you plan to suspend the mic.

A used senhieser 416 might be achievable although it’s cardioid not omni
Interesting, thanks. There's no senhieser 416 on eBay UK right now, unfortunately.

I am thinking that omni would be best for general "outside ambience" though.

EDIT: Just noticed it is an "MKH416" mic, on eBay for around £400 - bit too expensive, and not sure shotgun is the way to go. But thanks
Old 30th April 2022 | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh ➡️
I assume you tried the Tascam's built-in mics in A/B stereo orientation and that didn't cut it, yes? If you're recording natural environments you'd normally want to record them in stereo.

Back in the 1990s I remember doing some quite acceptable nature recordings with a Sharp minidisc recorder with the cheap Sound Professionals T-shaped omni mic. You could probably find a minidisc recorder and that mic on the used market within your budget; it's obsolete technology but still works. One minidisc can be re-recorded thousands of times. I still have and use that minidisc recorder myself in fact. You can even get Rycote or similar "dead cat" windscreens for that little T mic; I bought them for mine a few years back.

However, unless you are lucky enough to find the last generation of Sony minidisc recorders, there's no way to transfer the recorded files digitally; you have to play them back into an interface and capture the audio real-time. Just an inconvenience, not a deal-breaker.

The only other option I can think of within your price range is something like the LOM Micro-Usi Pro, currently sold out but they should be available again. That's a low-noise, low-price omni pair for field recording. Check out the LOM mics at https://store.lom.audio/collections/...es-accessories
The Tascam mics suffer from the really bad noise floor, hence why I thought it would be a good idea to use an external mic with a fethead.

The Tascam would be fine for actual "recording" this way, so I think it is probably preferable to trying to use a minidisc system. The fact you can't transfer easily too is a bit of an issue.

It's a pity those mics are sold out, as low-noise omni would be good
Old 30th April 2022 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Konsider ➡️
Interesting, thanks. There's no senhieser 416 on eBay UK right now, unfortunately.

I am thinking that omni would be best for general "outside ambience" though.

EDIT: Just noticed it is an "MKH416" mic, on eBay for around £400 - bit too expensive, and not sure shotgun is the way to go. But thanks
You could see if their is a small diagram condenser mic that fits your budget that you can switch the polar patterns on. For me I wouldn’t want to be stuck with just an omni mic. Have a look at the ovtavia mics (Russian) there are plenty used on the market. I’ve never been ballsy enough to buy a used mic tho, unless I know it’s history
Old 30th April 2022 | Show parent
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by henry miller ➡️
You could see if their is a small diagram condenser mic that fits your budget that you can switch the polar patterns on. For me I wouldn’t want to be stuck with just an omni mic. Have a look at the ovtavia mics (Russian) there are plenty used on the market. I’ve never been ballsy enough to buy a used mic tho, unless I know it’s history
Lol, I know what you mean about the used mics It might be my only option though. I will check out the Oktava situation, cheers for the advice
Old 30th April 2022
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Also check out this list:

https://www.creativefieldrecording.c..._1000_and_Less

The Line Audio mics (first on the list) are not the best choice for field recording, though: the CM4 is very sensitive to wind and handling noise, and the Omni1 is a near-field omni. But they're great mics in general.

The importance of wind protection can't be emphasized enough, and unfortunately it can cost as much or more than the mics.
Old 30th April 2022 | Show parent
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh ➡️
Also check out this list:

https://www.creativefieldrecording.c..._1000_and_Less

The Line Audio mics (first on the list) are not the best choice for field recording, though: the CM4 is very sensitive to wind and handling noise, and the Omni1 is a near-field omni. But they're great mics in general.

The importance of wind protection can't be emphasized enough, and unfortunately it can cost as much or more than the mics.
Interesting article, especially the "matched pairs", as I was just looking at a pair of Rode NT5 - they seem to be cheap enough and good enough quality. Thanks a lot for the advice about the wind!
Old 30th April 2022
  #10
I use a DR-70D and a pair of $39 MCA SP-1 mics with improved circuits and mic parts rk-12 capsules. Self noise is extremely low, distance pickup is very good.
Old 3rd May 2022 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
norfolksoundman9's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Konsider ➡️
I am thinking that omni would be best for general "outside ambience" though.
Exactly. Without changing your recorder to something with lower self-noise, and sticking with a modest budget, I would get a stereo pair of Primo EM272 or equivalent capsule-based mics: 14dBA and quite high output. See Micbooster Clippy mics, Lom Usi Pro, or EarSight mics: the latter are more sensitive.

If that doesn't give you the self-noise you want, sell the DR40x and buy something affordable such as the DR70D: you'll still be in budget.

Cheers,

Roland
Old 3rd May 2022 | Show parent
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 ➡️
Exactly. Without changing your recorder to something with lower self-noise, and sticking with a modest budget, I would get a stereo pair of Primo EM272 or equivalent capsule-based mics: 14dBA and quite high output. See Micbooster Clippy mics, Lom Usi Pro, or EarSight mics: the latter are more sensitive.

If that doesn't give you the self-noise you want, sell the DR40x and buy something affordable such as the DR70D: you'll still be in budget.

Cheers,

Roland
Great advice, thanks a lot
Old 3rd May 2022
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
FYI, just today, LOM announced a new affordable omni microphone; the design very closely resembles that of the Line Audio Omni1:

https://store.lom.audio/products/bas...41645264011422

With a pair of these and the mounts and windshields, you'd likely have a good setup.

They'll be available to order starting tomorrow.
Old 3rd May 2022 | Show parent
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh ➡️
FYI, just today, LOM announced a new affordable omni microphone; the design very closely resembles that of the Line Audio Omni1:

https://store.lom.audio/products/bas...41645264011422

With a pair of these and the mounts and windshields, you'd likely have a good setup.

They'll be available to order starting tomorrow.

Very interesting! Thanks a lot for the info! They are certainly worth considering! Cheers!
Old 3rd May 2022 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
norfolksoundman9's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradh ➡️
FYI, just today, LOM announced a new affordable omni microphone; the design very closely resembles that of the Line Audio Omni1:

https://store.lom.audio/products/bas...41645264011422

With a pair of these and the mounts and windshields, you'd likely have a good setup.

They'll be available to order starting tomorrow.
The LOM basicUcho is closer to the Micbooster Pluggy, but, unlike the latter (which has an EM272 capsule) the appearance and specs of the LOM basicUcho show use of the similar AOM-5024L-HD-R capsule: same self-noise, but more sensitive - and with lower max SPL. The Pluggy mics, which have been around a few years, are similarly priced (£56 each). EarSight mics (at €85 for a pair of the XLR P48 version) are better value for the same performance as the LOM basicUcho (€60 each).

Both Micbooster and EarSight don't seem to have the seemingly continually sold out problem that LOM has!

Cheers,

Roland
Old 4th May 2022
  #16
Thanks to everyone who gave me such great advice. After consideration, I decided to go with the LOM Uši Pro option. They went on sale at 9pm GMT, and sold out exactly 2 minutes later! I managed to get my order in, so hopefully they will be great mics Cheers!
Old 5th May 2022 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
norfolksoundman9's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Konsider ➡️
Thanks to everyone who gave me such great advice. After consideration, I decided to go with the LOM Uši Pro option. They went on sale at 9pm GMT, and sold out exactly 2 minutes later! I managed to get my order in, so hopefully they will be great mics Cheers!
Glad you got some. The Lom mics look nicely put together and, like the EarSight mics, better if you want a bit more heft than the smaller (large lav-style) Clippy mics. Not quite sure why the Lom mics have this out-of-stock and available for 2 mins modus operandi, just for a housed Primo EM272 capsule, but they seem to have a keen following!

Cheers,

Roland
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #18
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Konsider ➡️
Interesting article, especially the "matched pairs", as I was just looking at a pair of Rode NT5 - they seem to be cheap enough and good enough quality. Thanks a lot for the advice about the wind!
I can attest to the quality of the Rode NT5s. I’ve been getting nice nature recordings with my Matched pair of Rode NT5s using a Marantz PMD661 recorder. Last time I checked the price of the Marantz PMD661 it was 300 dollars.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #19
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolksoundman9 ➡️
Exactly. Without changing your recorder to something with lower self-noise, and sticking with a modest budget, I would get a stereo pair of Primo EM272 or equivalent capsule-based mics: 14dBA and quite high output. See Micbooster Clippy mics
+1 for Micbooster
And don't forget the windscreen.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #20
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Konsider ➡️
Thanks to everyone who gave me such great advice. After consideration, I decided to go with the LOM Uši Pro option. They went on sale at 9pm GMT, and sold out exactly 2 minutes later! I managed to get my order in, so hopefully they will be great mics Cheers!
I have been using my LOM Usi Pros for several years getting fantastic nature audio. You will definitely NOT be disappointed in them. Have fun.
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