CategoryAudio for Fun

Record like Casey Neistat – we set up our own vlogging rig

caseyrigOne of the things we have been experimenting with here at TheBestVoiceRecorder.com is how to capture thoughts that we might traditionally record using text or audio, and turn them into a video blog, or vlog, or just some kind of regular video published on YouTube.

Without a doubt one of the most successful and respected Youtubers currently practising their craft is Casey Neistat.  His particular style works incredibly well to tell his stories – one that we wanted to emulate.  Whilst our budget did not extend to the awesome DJI Phantom 4 drone which he uses to capture the sweeping aerial shots… or the Samsumg Gear 360 camera to produce 360 degree immersive video and audio experiences… they are still on our wish list!

What we did do however is build a simple but effective camera and most importantly microphone set up for our daily vlog – inspired by Casey!  Over the next few months we will be building up video content for a number of our different ventures focused on niche topics.  We wanted to ensure we had a reliable and robust solution that could be used to shoot high quality video, and most importantly high quality audio as well.

Here is our shopping list to build that you can use to build your own Casey Neistat video blog set up:

  • Camera: The Canon 70D or 80D.  Both a great cameras capable of high definition (1080p) video.  We purchased our 70D a few month ago before the 80D was released… but if we were starting from scratch today the 80D would have been our primary camera.
  • Lens: The 18-135 kit lens that you can get with the 70D or 80D works well (pictured above with our 70D) if you are on a budget, but for wider angle shots (or if you have short arms or a big head!) then you will need to invest in either the Canon 10-18mm or 10-22mm lens.
  • External Microphone:  The most important part of this rig as far as we are concerned.  No matter how nice the video is unless the audio quality can match it, then your video efforts will be a waste of time.  The Rode VideoPro with Rycote Shockmount attaches using the hot shoe on top of our Canon 70D DSLR and connects using the external microphone port… and gives clear audio for when you are talking directly to camera.  We have played around with the audio settings on the camera to leverage the gain available from the Microphone itself, improving the quality of the recording.
  • Tripod:  The Joby Gorrillapod Focus with Ball Head… adds a bit of weight to the rig which will minimise shake.  The flexible nature of the tripod means you can use it handheld to shoot yourself talking straight to camera, or set up your camera handing from a tree, a rail, or any weird or wonderful location to get that perfect Casey’esque time lapse shot!

Picking the best microphone

Now that you have the best voice recorder… usually most buyer’s attention goes to the next piece of kit in any producers arsenal – the microphone (or microphones).  There are so many options when it comes to picking the right microphone for the job.  Is it for a studio?  Is is for in the field?  Are you connecting it to a computer, or are you just connecting it to your recording device?  What is the difference between uni-directional, omni-directional, cardioid or dynamic?  USB or XLR?  Shotgun or Lavalier?

So many questions that you need to answer, and so many choices to sift through to find the best microphone for the job.

To help you navigate the microphone market, we have set up a sister product review site just for microphones.  The Best Microphone is all about helping you find exactly that – the best microphone for the job.

Check them out once you have picked the best voice recorder for your job!

Zoom H2 vs Zoom H1

When it comes to buying Zoom Digital Audio Recorders, discount some people often mull over, there whether Zoom H1 would be better than H2. Even though one is the predecessor of another, decease 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, clinic the Tascam DR44WL and the Tascam DR100 MkII.

The Tascam DR44WL and the Tascam DR100MkII are both very similar in rugged construction, pilule 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 2017

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, cialis sounds of any kind, pilule conversations, buy 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.

Is the ZoomH4n any good for recording the sounds of nature?

If you have been reading any of the other articles at The Best Voice Recorder you will know that the Zoom H4N Portable Digital Recorder
is a great piece of kit for recording research interviews, podcasts, or your kids first off key notes 🙂

This week I am on leave from my day job, and have a great opportunity to see how the Zoom H4N
goes recording the sounds of nature.  I will be at Hamilton Island, which is in the Whitsunday Islands off the Queensland Coast in Australia.  A beautiful part of the world.   I am going to put the Zoom to the test to capture the sounds of the beach, the rain forest, the birds in the sky and a lot more.  Not only that, I will capture some of the ambient sounds around the island. The goal is to see how the ZoomH4n handles different ambient sound recording scenarios.

Whilst I would love to be recording with microphones like the Rode NTG2 Condenser Shotgun Microphone, on this field trip I will be simply putting the Zoom H4n’s built in stereo microphone goes in the wild.

I will post the results and sample recordings from the trip once I am back!

Recording your kids singing with the Zoom H4n

Today was a pretty lazy Saturday and my girls wanted to put on a “singing show”. Usually I just sit on the couch and watch (after one of them charges me a pretend admission) but today I thought I would step it up a bit and let them loose with the Zoom H4n and my microphones.

It was a lot of fun. After turning the ZoomH4n on and then plugging in the Behringer XM8500 microphone into plug number one (held by the little tiara wearing princess on the left hand side), and the Audio-Technica AT2005USB into plug number two (held by the street smart hoodie wearing princess on the right hand side) I checked the levels and then started recording. For this I had the recording level set at around 80

The biggest challenge with four year olds and microphones is ensuring that they have them close to their mouth as much as possible so you can capture their voice consistently. My two in particular decided they wanted to throw some dance moves in which impacted the volume of the recording as they moved the microphones away from their mouths… but to be honest that doesn’t really matter does it!

After our puppy got tangled up in the XLR cables we decided to try singing using the built in stereo microphones on the ZoomH4n. After packing all the microphones and cables away, I sat with one of my daughters on the couch to record her tunes. The first thing to remember is that when you switch from external microphones to the built in microphones on the Zoom, you need to press the “Mic” button (the small red button on the left hand side of the Zoom in picture). Otherwise you will not capture any audio at all!

In this scenario where I had a very enthusiastic four year old, with the microphones so close to her mouth I needed to reduce the recording level down to about 40. Otherwise it was just hitting the limits when she was starting to belt out a tune!

//Track outbounds