Recording audio for DSLR video production

There’s no way to have quality sound for DSLR Video production without a good mic. Since weight is a consideration you want to have something that has a good range, offers broadcast quality, and easy mounting. Finding the best is often the matter of knowing what you truly need for your own projects.

The Top Reason for Mic with Good Range

There are many loaded mics that you might consider, but recording when standing back a distance from a subject you still need to get the quality recording you want.

Those without a good range, usually also have some unwanted noise, or trouble with picking up nearby noises while muffling the very audio you want to record.

Broadcast Quality Recording

While a good range is necessary, so too is audio that’s free of buzzing, and frying. While broadcast quality is a vague term you want the mic to give you audio that stands up to commercial recordings.

There should be no distortion, and a suitable range of sounds without the pertinent audio being drowned out.

Easy Mounting

With easy mounting onto the camera you will spend less time having to make adjustments, or fumbling with the mic delaying the recording.

Easy mounts also make it easier to set up and move the equipment faster. This will keep the mic from moving, and picking up additional busy noise.

Recording University/College Lectures – What to buy?

If you are heading to university or college and need a  device to record your classes with – how to you make the right choice of the hundreds of voice recorders on the market?  Here are a few things to think about:

You will need a reliable recording device for recording lectures, as well as taking the usual notes. What you will need for great note taking is a device with a good battery life, a mic that will pick up what is said in the lecture hall easily even from the back of the room, and one that’s easy to use.

The Importance of Battery Life

Everyone has experienced the frustration of a cell phone or recorder with a low battery life. Often while going to school it’s hard to find a way to recharge a device or its batteries.

A device with a strong internal battery, or one which allows reliable rechargeable batteries is the safest option.

A Strong Microphone

You can’t ask a professor to hold the recorder while giving his lecture. The best selection in recorders or mic is one capable of picking up voices from as far away as the back of a lecture hall.

While it should pick up voices easily, there shouldn’t be any distortion, or feedback while in use, allowing for a quietly running recorder.

Ease of Use

The best recorders are those you find easy to use. An easy to use device will start quickly, and you will not need to make adjustments often.

Plug and play options are the best, since there’s no drive necessary. You can concentrate on the lecture, and not the recorder when you have one with easy to use features.

Best Options for Recording Devices

Review: Sony PCM-D100 Portable High Resolution Recorder

Starting up my own podcast I wanted a high resolution recorder, with stereo mics, that was easy to use, and that I could upload to my PC easily. I’m new to podcasting, and after getting tired of blogging I was hoping to make this as easy as possible. I knew I’d make my share of mistakes, so I wanted to be able start and stop with no time lag. After considering other devices like the Zoom H6, I took a look as the Sony PCM-D100.  After researching a bit, so far I like it.

It’s easy to use and uploads fast, which is good since I don’t want to spend too much time fussing with the configuration. The other thing I found was that the quality was much better than I could have hoped for, and I seldom have to do any real editing except for my own mistakes. Files copied with no problem, and I noticed that when I use the editing software the resolution makes the sound clear. With the stereo mics my voice doesn’t sound “tinny”. The features are simple, and I don’t have to keep searching for the controls to start, stop, or make a change. The battery life is also good, which is also a big plus for this recorder.

The problems I had is the USB port being on the left side. This made it harder to plug in especially since this USB cable isn’t very long. I did a bit more research and got a longer cable. The windscreen, which I sometimes need when working outside or in the car isn’t the best. It’s hard to fit back on, and once on it pops off too easily. Since I am new to this I’ve had some issues with the balance control and I wish this was a bit simpler to use. These are the only issues I’ve encountered so far.

Review: Sennheiser EW 112P G3-A Omni Directional EW System

For the past few weeks we have playing with wireless lav microphone systems for public speakers.  To be honest the one that came out on top of the few we looked at was the Sennheiser EW 112P Omni Directional wireless system.

First, this is a great “go-to” system if you need more coverage, or if you are looking for more features than many other systems offer. Most people will be more interested in the sound, and being able to make fine grade adjustments when using it.

What we found is that it works well with the frequency we are allowed locally. The sound is great, and very clear so we are not left having to constantly repeat transmissions over a distance. There is a body pack transmitter that those in the field can use, and there’s several important features such as the mute function, and an automatic frequency scan. The menu’s easy to use and there’s no issue with reading it.

There are the same problems you will find with any system. In some areas you will need a license to operate this system. Clip-ons can break, and you can find yourself needing a new battery while the other one is still recharging in the pack. The construction is fairly rugged, but with anything wireless the first thing that will be damaged is usually the receiver. It’s not easy to operate in low lighting without a flashlight.

Anyone who’s using this for field recording will probably be used to dealing with these issues, and the important thing is this system does work well, and you can synchronize the channel and frequency with a button that’s simple to use in the dark once you know where it is located. The black-lit display is good in dim light, and if you are familiar with it you following the menu is fairly simple, even in poor lighting if you are familiar with the device.

We are starting to use the Sennheiser 112P in presentations… it is reliable with great sound.  The perfect wireless lav microphone for any professional speaker!

Zoom H5 vs Zoom H6 Digital Recorder

Zoom H6 Digital Recorder vs Zoom H5 Digital Recorder

In searching for a high-quality digital recorder, there’s no better name than Zoom. In looking at the H6 Digital Recorder versus the H5 Digital Recorder, you will find both have great features. The selection here comes down to what’s important to you when recording.

The Zoom H6 Digital Recorder

This a great recorder right out of the box. Capable of recording with crystal clarity, it’s surprisingly easy to use considering its complex appearance. Often used by those interested in recording live music it is easy to set up. An easy to use set of features, and excellent display make it simple, even for those who haven’t used a recorder in the past. It does have a noise issues at high input levels, and a lower battery life when used without a USB power adapter.

The Zoom H5 Digital Recorder

This recorder has longer battery life, and uses rechargeable batteries. Like the H6 its switchblade microphone capsules make getting a quality recording easy. The H5 is considered by some long-time users as somewhere between the Zoom H4 and the H6. The features are easy to use, and the quality is good.

Is the H6 or H5 Right for You?

The biggest difference between the H6 and H5 is that the features of the H6 are a bit better than the H5. There’s also more power to the Zoom H6 than H5. All the power and features could be the reason some battery life is sacrificed with the H6. Both are built to much the same specifics, including a stereo line for output to connect a camera. For those interested in high quality recordings for podcasts, both of these devices are good choices. If battery life is the key element than the H5 is the winner, but for the most features, and quality H6 is the better choice.

Zoom H2 vs Zoom H1

When it comes to buying Zoom Digital Audio Recorders, some people often mull over, whether Zoom H1 would be better than H2. Even though one is the predecessor of another, some often wonder which one is better given the price range and the features.

Indeed, both of them have their own advantages, but when put side by side, does H1 surpass H2 in its reliability? Or does H2 come off as the stronger bet among the two? Let us assess their strengths and weaknesses in detail.

Pros and Cons:

    1. Battery life: H1 has a serious issue with battery drains. Even though the equipment itself works pretty well, the battery not being able to put out longer is a major issue with the recorder. In this aspect, H2 as not faced such issues or complaints from the users yet.
    2. USB support: In the previous version, there was not firmware that supported the USB cable, but they have released a latest firmware which supports this feature perfectly in H1. While H1 has been having upgrades, you can swiftly change the SD card of your H2 recorder and install things into it by connecting it to your PC.
    3. Ease of use: Let’s face it, how many times have we actually tried to read the manual, but ended up taking advice from our teenage son on how to use it? So the ease of use and the interface matters a lot. In our opinion, H2 is more easy to use and simple. H1 has chunks of features, but at times it can become a little difficult to access these features due to its complicated workings.
    4. Metronome feature: If you are a musician looking to buy a decent recorder, then beware. H1 does not have the metronome feature which some might find very important. H2, however, does have it. Also, there is no pitch tester in H1 which the audio people might need so much.

Tascam DR44WL vs DR100MkII

Thinking about buying a digital voice recorder?  We compare two popular options, the Tascam DR44WL and the Tascam DR100 MkII.

The Tascam DR44WL and the Tascam DR100MkII are both very similar in rugged construction, and design. Each has unique features, and both have a few issues that separate them.

The DR-44WL

The Tascam DR-44WL allows you Wi-Fi transport control from a remote start so you can set up and walk away before recording. The sound is comparable with other more expensive recorders, and you can transfer files and stream to smartphones or computers over Wi-Fi. If recording with four channels or dual recording mode to create a safety track are among the features important for your purpose this is a good choice for the price. You can also create a 96kHz/24-bit recording for an MP3, but you also have the option to create a WAV or BMF. You have options when transferring files of popular OS software, including Windows, iOS, Mac, and Android. The issues for some are the “click” wheel instead of button menu, it uses only 2 batteries, the SD cover is not well protected, “real-time” is often difficult to use, and some have had issues with the Android app.

The Tascam DR-100mkII

Two sets of microphones and a dual battery system, giving you hours of play are strong pluses for the DR-100mk. This device also has a rugged construction giving those who need to use it in the field a better opportunity for clear recording. While it does have wireless remote control (RC-10) it is more limited than the DR-44WL. A windsock does offer you a better chance of getting solid, great recordings no matter the conditions, and omnidirectional pickup makes it a great choice for the outdoors.

Looking at the Choices

In looking for a recorder that has the quality of preamps, and can match the abilities of more expensive recorders both are good buys. The differences between the two will mean taking a good look at what you need, and which is more suited to your needs.

Portable Digital Voice Recorder Buyers Guide

A portable recording device is useful for on the go recordings of any kind. These are usually handheld devices that can be used to record music, sounds of any kind, conversations, and thoughts – just about anything. Of course professionals require it to tape interviews or to record their music. So what are the top three essential things which you should be looking out for when buying these digital recorders?

  1. Internal or external microphone: Do you want an internal microphone or an external one is more appealing to you? Take a closer look at your work field and find out which one your nature of job requires more. Some devices have both internal and external microphone while some have only one. Others have built in microphones so you don’t have to worry about carying additional gear.
  2. Memory: How much memory do you need? Do you use and store a lot in your device? Again, assess your requirement to come to a conclusion about it. Pay attention while buying though, because many come with microSD or SD card support, while others do not. It is always good to have some additional features. Not having a microSD or SD slot may be a disadvantage.
  3. Accessories: Do you need a tripod, a Pop Filter or windscreens for better recording? Make sure all your necessary accessories are present in your device before purchasing it. If you need only one accessory then pick any one that has it, but we suggest you always pick the ones which come in a wide range of accessories.

Top 3 voice recorders which have these features:

  • Etekcity Dictaphone/Pen: This device is on the lower budget end and has all the basic features including 8GB memory drive. If you want a simple voice recorder with just plug and play feature, then this is the best one. It costs only 16 USD.

 

 

  • Zoom H4: The Zoom H4 is our favourite portable recording devices in the 200 USD price range.  and comes with prominent features such as noise cancellation, windscreen, etc.

The recording gear you need to start your Podcast

A lot of people ask me what recording gear would I recommend if you are starting a podcast.  Now to be completely honest, simply using the recorder on your iPhone is a good start!  But what if you want to take it to the next level.  Here is a list of recording gear that could be on your shopping list

  1. Hardware voice recorder

    For the perfect balance of robust recording capability, as well as the flexibility to have more control over your recording when you improve your skills… the Zoom H5 Four-Track Portable Recorder is a great place to start.  It has a great on-board microphone, as well as the ability to add specialist microphones via the XLR inputs… or as a capsule attached directly to the recorder.
    is a great place to start.  Recorders like the H5 make it easy to record anywhere!

  2. Microphones

    My “go to” microphone I use now for almost every podcast I record – whether I am out in the field interviewing people in their office, or at home connected to my PC… is the Audio-Technica AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone.  Great sound quality, with the flexibility of an XLR input (for your hardware voice recorder) and USB connectivity (to connect it to your PC or Mac).  I now have a couple of them which enables good quality two person recordings.If you are using the Zoom H5 and you want a great way to capture voice in crowded or public spaces whilst minimising the need for bulky microphones or cables, I really like the Shotgun Microphone Capsule you can attach directly to the Zoom H5 (or the Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder).  It is small, portable and doesn’t draw attention — and enables you to capture great voice from yourself or your talent

We are all looking forward to hearing your podcast!

Zoom H6 vs Zoom H4n

So, you are thinking of buying your first (or next) digital audio recorder. Which one should you pick? The Zoom H4N, or the Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder? Let’s explore the pros and cons of each model and help you decide which portable digital recorder meets your needs.

What is the difference between the Zoom H4N and the Zoom H6?

Apart from price – the Zoom H6 is around 180-200 dollars more expensive – there are some features which set the H6 apart.

  • You get six recording channels with the Zoom H6 – four XLR inputs, and two on device microphones. On the Zoom H4n you only get four channels – two XLR inputs, and two on device microphones
  • You can use an SD card to record up to 128 GB of audio data on the Zoom H6. On the Zoom H4n you can only record up to 32 GB of audio data on a single SD card
  • There are physical gain knobs and pads for each XLR input on the Zoom H6. On the Zoom H4n you can control gain through the on board menu system
  • You can detach the on device X/Y stereo microphone from the Zoom H6. On the Zoom H4n the stereo X/Y microphone is permanently attached
  • You can purchase additional microphone capsules for the Zoom H6 to extend the versatility of the device. For example, the Zoom SGH-6 Shotgun Microphone Capsule can give your Zoom H6 a highly directional shotgun microphone. The Zoom XYH-5 Shock Mounted Stereo Microphone Capsule can minimise vibration and handling noise, perfect if you are capturing audio whilst the Zoom H6 is attached to a camera. The Zoom EXH-6 Dual XLR/TRS Capsule adds an additional two inputs so you can capture more lines in.
  • The Zoom H6 has a separate line out, whereas the Zoom H4n just has a Microphone Out option
  • Finally, you should get about twice the battery life out of a Zoom H6 than a Zoom H4n

So which one should you pick? Here is how I would decide. If you are just starting out, looking for an affordable portable digital audio recorder with the option of XLR inputs and good quality on board microphone recording, you can’t go past the Zoom H4N. It is a great device.

However, if you are looking to get into videography, and want to attach the audio recorder to the top of your camera rig – or are looking to record many different inputs, like different instruments in a live band set up, the Zoom H6 is worth the extra investment.