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Help with Field Recording Configuration


timeforest
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I’m having a tough time settling on a configuration for an archival field recording project.

 

Some context: currently my only recording gear is a D100 and a pair of LOM Usis. 

 

Use case: recording ambiences for an acoustic ecology project (and, as a secondary, as textures and samples for musique concrete compositions). 

 

I’ve been going over and over ORTF vs M/S and I think I’ve decided on the former. Budget is capped at $5000. Right now I’m considering: 2x MKH8040, Cinela Albert, and a Mixpre 2 but reading about handling problems and general gripes about the 8040s has me a bit concerned. Renting in my area isn’t really an option. 

 

Would love some suggestions and feedback :)

 

 

Thanks much 

 

 

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Hi Timeforest,

 

5k is a decent budget for a stereo rig that many even here might wish for. Personally I bought my 8040 pair as soon as they came out and I have no issues with them (my fig 8 Schoeps being more susceptible to handling). In fact, after a DPA 4060 pair, they are what I use most for stereo FX and ambience recording. Once in a decent mount there is no problem with the low end / handling. The MKH series in general are pretty much 'bulletproof' in the field against bad conditions, especially humidity. The only thing I might throw into the arena apart from commending your choice is considering omni mics against cardioid for "an acoustic ecology project" but if I was going to purchase a 'general purpose' high quality pair of mics I would (and did) opt for the cardioids.

 

Jez Adamson

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Is handling noise really a concern for ambiance recording?

 

Normally I would set the mics up on a stationary stand somewhere and let them roll for awhile, if possible after walking away (so you don’t get human breaths or movement in the recordings). 
 

For recording ambiance’s I’d also recommend spaced Omni’s instead of a cardioid-based stereo technique. Techniques like ORTF, MS, and NOS are fantastic if you are focusing on a source that is in front of the mic, like recording a musical ensemble, or recording sound effects. However for ambiances your source is 360° around you, so omnis will give you a more spacious, enveloping sound IMO. MKH8020’s are fantastic, and I also really like the Sony ECM100N at a lower price point. Both have extended high frequency responses up to (I believe) 50kHz. 

You’ll definitely need to invest in good wind protection too, so figure that into the budget. Omnis are a little more forgiving than cardioids in that respect but still need good protection.  
 

-Mike

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Hey, you definitely made the right choice picking ORTF against MS. MS is quite blurry in the rendition of space, To me it is more the feeling of a spacial soundscape than an immersive rendition.

you should try as best as possible to listen before you buy. Because in your budget you can definitely be picky and choose according to your own taste.

 I personally prefer the good old Schoeps ortf (with 2 mk4 or wider) over any other, and not crazy about the Sennheiser 8040. Try Dpa as well, now that they make modular and short body. With these 3 you will already have a hard time choosing but it is worth it because they are all great AND all different so it really is a matter of personal taste at that level.

I concur with all other advices given here regarding accessories. Add a good earphone! Again a matter of taste and a topic on its own.

 

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I've worked with MK4 in the Albert (older model with acryl(?) skeleton) on a boom, because there was no point to carry an extra tripod into nature. 

On the show I am currently on, there is an MKH8040 pair in a Rycote WS, stationary on the sound cart. The WS is infamous for resonating handling noises, but it works and 8040 sound excellent, if you only operate stationary. 

23 hours ago, Mobilemike said:

Is handling noise really a concern for ambiance recording?

 

Normally I would set the mics up on a stationary stand somewhere and let them roll for awhile, if possible after walking away (so you don’t get human breaths or movement in the recordings). 

There are situations/locations/conditions, where you can't or don't want to use a stand, especially when nature is involved or hiking is required. 

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1 hour ago, DanieldH said:

because there was no point to carry an extra tripod into nature. 

I've seen a few field recordists use the Manfrotto Nanopole for their trips. It's a pretty light-weight stand with an integrated boom so you can just dettach the feet. I think it's originally meant to be used by photographers. I haven't tried it myself and don't do a lot of field recording but it seems like a pretty handy tool especially when travelling.

 

EDIT: Apparently some of the Manfrotto lightstands are also called Nanopole but that's not what I meant. The one I saw people use is the MS0490c I believe.

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Jepp, I thought about the Nanopole (carbon version) and might even get one eventually. You won't put that on slopes, the wadden sea, thicket or in significant wind though. I am not mainly a nature recordist but a filmsound guy. So I usually have a boom around and it was the easiest to just use that.

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5 hours ago, Sebi said:

I've seen a few field recordists use the Manfrotto Nanopole for their trips. It's a pretty light-weight stand with an integrated boom so you can just dettach the feet. I think it's originally meant to be used by photographers. I haven't tried it myself and don't do a lot of field recording but it seems like a pretty handy tool especially when travelling.

 

EDIT: Apparently some of the Manfrotto lightstands are also called Nanopole but that's not what I meant. The one I saw people use is the MS0490c I believe.

The MS0490c is very lightweight/flimsy and the removable boompole is not great (compared to a proper boompole). For field recording when hiking, I have found the Nano Plus Stand 5002BL much more use: a little heavier (1.35kg), but so much stronger (4kg payload vs 1.5kg) and more solid, and still fits in a smallish backpack (almost identical closed length).

 

Cheers,

 

Roland

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1 hour ago, timeforest said:

Thanks sincerely for the thoughts thus far. I think Ive settled on doing the 8040 pair. 

 

Now my question is: should i shell out for the Cinela Albert or go with the Rycote WS AE ORTF kit? Seems to be about $500 difference. 


Normally I would not recommend the 8040‘s based purely on my personal taste. But for ambiances, especially really quiet ones, the 8040 or 8020 would be you quietest and most suitable  choice. 
Regarding your wind protection question: without a doubt, out of those two, pick the Cinela. It is worth every penny of the difference between those two. Even in a stationary situation 

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