Field recording



I think it’s a bit obvious to state this, but a lot of 12k’s catalog falls in this category, see for example Taylor Deupree and of course @marcus_fischer.

A friend of mine runs a small label called Kohlhaas, a lot of the albums published by him focus on the creative use and mangling of field recordings, often put in relation with other instruments and musical materials:

See for example Nicola di Croce, Simon Whetham and Stefano de Ponti



This thread just reminded me that I should either get my Zoom H2 repaired or finally upgrade to something bigger and better (read: more inputs, especially XLR inputs). I’ll be revisiting this thread for recommendations if and when I finally take the plunge on a new portable recorder.


Apparently the mic pres on the H4N MkII are much improved, but I’ve never tried one to confirm.


I’m also shopping for a new recorder, my current Tascam doesn’t support external mics, and I want one that can power binaural headphones through a 1/8" input jack as well…


apparently the H4N pro has the same pre-amps as the H5 & H6. There’s limited real-world reviews of the H4N Pro, which makes me suspicious, didn’t look for any on the H5. There would need to be serious improvement. But personally I would never choose zoom again. Testing some different brands in-store might help clear up noise related questions.


if you do, and wanting more inputs, the Sound Devices Mix-Pre 6 is a good way to go. Having 4 high quality XLR inputs has brought me new found happiness :slight_smile:



If you only need two XLR ins, the Mix-Pre 3 is good too.

New Mix-Pre 10 is out as well, if you need, well, lots of inputs.


The MixPre-6 is a bit out of my current price range but it does look like something I’ll need at some point.


The MixPre definitely looks cool, but it seems pretty unwieldily for portable recording. How would one use this while walking around? Carry it in a bag with a battery and then just hold the microphones?


They are much, much smaller than they appear in pictures. Not pocketable, but very small.

My pocket recorder would be the Nagra SD. Glorious little machine, with a far better OS than the Sony PCM-M10 I used to have…and switchable mics, including the ability to use balanced ins from an external pre (so you can use whatever pro level mics you want, if you need that).


They are smaller/ lighter than you think but yes thats what what you need to do. or have two mics on a stereo bar on a tripod.You need to decide you are going out to record - its not like you happen to have all this on you when you accidentally come across a great set of sounds.


I got a super good deal on a used H6 and so far it’s been great. I have also been using it as an audio interface when traveling.


Via LOM newsletter – Field recording in Southeast Asia:

Some nice practical advice there, e.g. which kind of microphones are sensitive to humidity.


Came here to post that link… let’s hear some field recordings and less gear talk!


More gear talk and more recordings!



These are pretty cool, but somehow in their sound examples, everything seems to happen either to my side or behind me. I don’t seem to get any sound coming “from the front”. Is this just me? Would you have any examples that can prove me wrong?


For now I got a Zoom H6. It’s no MixPre but a big step up from my lowly Tascam Dr5 which doesn’t even have XLRs. I traded it for a module I wasn’t using so I think it worked out well :slight_smile:


I wanted to share this thought…
In a recent Q&A session on Twitter Four Tet mentioned that the field recording sounds he used were just recorded with his iphone. I listened to this bit on the album and its sounds fine, well recorded and the simple phone seems to have done the job.

As field recording is often only a small part of my work and sits alongside other ‘studio’ sound then it made me think what’s the point of all the equipment and investment?
If an artist such as Four Tet is using fairly basic equipment and it sounds fine then I’ll stick with my Tascam and additional omni-mics!