TagMicrophone

Tascam DR-05 Review

My wife needed a good portable digital recorder for work, so I set out to find one in our price range. Naturally, since this was for a work project I did some extra research. Battery life was an important criteria, and it needed to be easy to use.

I was relieved when she started using the Tascam DR-05 to find it does have a long battery life, and the features are easy to use. She found the menu is simple, and she was able to transfer the files onto his PC with no problems. All hse has to do is drop and drag the files she wants. For the most part sound quality is good in that she can easily hear everything she needed to record as long as she carries earphones for the playback.

There are a few annoyances such as it picks up more background noise than she anticipated. Also, she needs to use earbuds to hear the playback until she’s moved it to her PC. She can’t really allow people to listen to the recording on the device as the speaker is very small. The device is a little bigger than she thought it would be, so she can’t put it in her front pocket. She discovered while making recordings that it does pick up some interference from nearby devices like cell phones, if these are too close while she’s recording. You can’t plug in another mic and make it work, and you can’t change the angles of the mic, so you need to line it up correctly to record.

Overall, for the price you really can’t expect any better this recorder. Expect to need a small case to carry it in, and some type of good quality earphones in order to record and playback.

 

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!

Review: Rode NTG2 Shotgun Microphone

My school needed a “boom mic”. My club was given the assignment of finding something that was lightweight enough for anyone using it to hold, but still give us broadcast quality. We also couldn’t spend too much money, so we had to keep costs low. After looking around locally, we decided we could do better online. Seeing that the Rode NTG2 Condenser Shotgun was used for video engineering, and was light enough to mount directly to our video camera we selected this one. We were also interested because it said this one had rugged construction, so when out recording we didn’t have to worry about it getting broken when someone jostled it, or it got dropped.

From what we have seen this is a good mic, and it’s tough. It’s already been dropped once, but worked fine afterward. It’s mounted on the school’s Canon 7D with no problems, and does give us the broadcast quality we were looking for in the mic. It’s light which, makes it easy when other students use it, which was important for us. It’s also helped that it uses only one 1 AA battery that aren’t expensive.

The only problems we have are with keeping it in on the stand when there’s a lot of movement nearby. The windshield is hard for some people to get on and off, and it’s not effect in the high winds we have here. It does cut out the background noise, but some people have trouble holding all the gear and using the controls on the mic as well as the camera. While it’s great that it runs off a battery, it would be better if it lasted a little longer with each battery. We use a rechargeable, but it does die, if we don’t keep enough on hand.

 

How to record your stand up comedy gig

Recently I have been listening to a lot of stand up comedy — and trying to understand how stand up comics refine their material… and nail the delivery every time – night after night.  The best thing about comedians hosting podcasts is that they regularly let a few of their tricks of the trade, unhealthy or processes out of the bag in their conversations.  Recently a number of comics have talked about their habit of recording every single gig they perform.  They record their performances proactively with the intent of replaying what happened if a particular joke got an extra laugh, sovaldi or a section of their show was a bit of a lull.

So what do comics use to record their stand up comedy shows?  Most are simply using the voice memo or sound recorder function on their phone, purchase with the phone simply sitting in their pocket.  Whilst convenient, most however suggest that whilst the audio quality is ok, managing the sound files can become tedious with the phone.  A number – particularly those that are crossing over into producing podcasts as well – have graduated from phone recordings to using a portable digital recorder like the Zoom H4n, or Zoom H6.  Better sound quality, you can hook it into the PA system at the club you are playing, and you can use it for other publishing or broadcasting activity as well.  The perfect way to raise your profile as a comic, and reflect on your practice after every show!

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, stuff 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.

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, pills there’s no better name than Zoom. In looking at the H6 Digital Recorder versus the H5 Digital Recorder, cure 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, 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.

Creating a Blockbuster Podcast – Alex Blumberg on the Tim Ferriss Show

This evening I was listening to the Tim Ferriss show – and for anyone who is interested in creating podcasts I highly recommend you listen to this episode. Alex recently started Gimlet Media, and before that was on the team at one of the most popular documentary style radio/podcast shows – This American Life.

Tim’s interview with Alex goes under the covers of the long form documentary style of production – which includes great insights into how to structure, edit, and ultimately produce very high quality shows. Early in the episode, Tim and Alex discuss podcasting equipment. Whilst Tim uses the ZoomH4n
voice recorder (as I mentioned in the post about recording my first podcast), Alex uses the TASCAM DR-100mkII Portable Digital Recorder
. Bottom line from the discussion is that the recording device at that level of quality doesn’t really make a difference…. They are both equally as good! As Alex suggests, the more important focus is the microphone you select. For example – make sure you use a uni-directional microphone, not an omni-directional microphone to ensure that you capture a better recording in the field. Specifically Alex uses the Audio-Technica AT8035 Shotgun Microphone
, which is a different style of Microphone from what I use for recording my podcast about Yammer Community Management (and also different from what Tim uses for the Tim Ferriss Show).

The advantage of a shotgun microphone like the AT8035 is that you can focus in very closely on your interviewee’s voice and drown out all other background noises. It gives you more control over what you are recording.

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