Field recording



I suspect they’ve not thought this all the way through. Or maybe it’s a don’t ask, don’t tell situation. Feels fumbled to me, because I see musicians all over the internet getting excited about it.


Looks like BBC might have just clarified this in a comment on CDM.


heh - not really much clarification there: Kirn writes a whole post explaining why the license terms make the concept of “non-commercial” murky(1), and the BBC clarifies by reiterating “just not commercialised works”.

1: For example: Is putting your track on Soundcloud or Spotify “commercialised”? I’ll get streaming revenue (if in fractions of a penny) from both, and both have ads. This seems to violate the license.


I read the article before the correction was added, at which point there was no indication that derivative works of any form were allowed. Fair point re Soundcloud (I didn’t realise there was any revenue stream on that platform), or Spotify.


Hello all- this my first post here, after lurking for a few months. I’ve been experimenting with field recordings and tape manipulation recently and I’ve come to really enjoy walking around London, capturing new sounds. Sadly I’m beginning to hear some of the limitations of my equipment, especially when I try to record sounds from nature.

I’m considering a Sony PCM-D100 as an upgrade from my trusty Zoom H1 but the lack of XLR inputs (and the expensive and discontinued adapter) suggest a limited upgrade path if I want to start using external mics beyond my JrF contact mic, especially ones that require phantom power. Are there any good alternative handheld recorders that offer similar sound quality with XLR connections as well? I’ve considered the Olympus LS-100 but the proprietary rechargeable battery is off-putting and mentions of menu diving I’ve read in reviews leave me a little bit cold. I’m staying away from Zoom after reading lots of accounts of noisy preamps. The MixPre3 looks enticing but the initial outlay would require external mics and a power solution as well, so it may be out of my budget.

The lack of a clear choice is a bit perplexing, as the PCM-D100 would be an obvious candidate if it just had the extra connectivity. I expect to start using external mics in future but it’d be ideal if I didn’t have to replace the recorder itself when I want to do so.


i tend to consider mics as lifetime items and recorders as “convenience” (well, use and upgrade every 8-10 years) items.
External mics imply that the recorder doesn’t have to (can’t ?) be of the handheld type. They also imply wind protection, not much less expensive than the MixPre3 itself.
It’s maybe worth searching in the 200-300€ recorders category for the least noisy mic preamps and put more money towards quality mics; and significantly upgrade the recorder later.

My path to avoid a very expensive recorder has been to buy a field mixer for my mics, and to use my handheld line-in to record the mixer.
Anyways, i’ll probably end up with a swiss recorder (no, the other brand) if my car lasts another 200.000 km.


Imagine hiking 100 miles with a Zoom Recorder and cut everything to samples and release a record with it.

Julian Sartorius - Hidden Tracks


Thanks. A field mixer is probably a good next step for using good quality external mics and not one that I’d considered at this stage. I also think of mics as a long-term investment, so perhaps a field mixer into a PCM-D100 is a good bridge between relying solely on internal mics and integrating external ones, although it’s a shame that it becomes a necessity sooner rather than later. I suppose I can use a 1/4" > 3.5mm adapter for the contact mic until then.


I use DPAs into a Mix Pre D and my iPhone using Twisted Wave software, works a treat


Anyone used the new Zoom H1n?

Would you recommend it for something small and portable?


Lom Usi Pro and Line Audio Cm 3 are my prefered mics for the task st the moment.


hadn’t seen that second video, really cool


Going out soon and will be making my first real attempt at field recordings but would like some advice from a couple of the more experienced artists here. Part of the criteria is that I won’t have the luxury of always monitoring what I’m recording nor will I want to always be making subtle adjustments. With that in mind, what I’m looking for are some good “walking around” settings that should work in most settings with my Zoom H4N Pro:

  1. I could set Lo-Cut and at the moment I set it to 98Hz, should I?

  2. I set the Limiter to “General” in the hopes of mitigating clipping.

  3. I have the choice between Limiter or Compressor or setting both to off.

  4. I set the recorder to 48kHz/24bit .WAV but I could set it to 96kHz/24bit or 16bit for either of the settings.



Kind of depends on what you’re recording, and what resources you have. Personally I would never use any compressor, limiter or low-cut generally. You can de-clip a signal that is digitally clipped easily with Izotope RX or Audition de-clip (I think but I’m an RX user), but not if analog limiting etc has taken place.


As far as I know all the things you listed are in the digital domain on the Zoom. So they don’t really matter. If anything is clipping it is clipping on the way in anyways. Are you using an external mic setup or the internal mics?

I would personally leave everything off, set it to 96 if you want to be able to pitch it a bit around and 24 bit in any case.

Then do a few test on where you can put the gain without clipping.


I’m using external mics from Core Sound out of Chicago.

Thanks for the tip on the 96kHz as I will certainly want to pitch the audio.

Regarding gain, I’ve found that 80 on the scale of 0 - 100 on the Zoom is a safe bet.


I think they would still prevent a de-clip process being able to rescue the waveform… could be wrong though as I’ve never tried.


Yes, all processing is in the DD, so best try get things under control without any processing. Took me a while to understand this; filters on, barely registering level but monitor lights still overload flashing. Super frustrating, but a H4N is what it is…(insert ****). Go over 60 on the record level and you’re adding noise.


Does anyone know of a good free or low cost de-clip plugin?


how’s the noise on the Dpa’s when recording in quiet places?