Field recording



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.


I’d certainly second this. With earlier H4’s and similar Tascam I’ve lost quite significant material
because of poor digital limiting which masked overloading of the capsules pre limiters. Unless you are using higher end gear like Sound Devices which have lovely limiters on the input stage I’d leave limiters and compressors off.


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?


Cool! Then you could leave your H4n in your pocket/bag, have the mics discreetly poking out, and then you could use something like this:

Has control over gain, and has a light to show if you’re peaking :slight_smile:


I’m happy with the Telinga clip-on microphones. They are quite, with ~14 dBA noise level.


I’m using them along with a FEL BMA2 stereo battery mic amplifier (I think it’s out of production now)


I can speak to this a bit. Compared to larger diaphragm mikes from DPA, Sennheiser and the like, the small DPAs are “noisy”. And if you’re in wilderness and catch that rare moment when no airplane is passing by and the acoustics of the space are sparse, and you crank the gain to 9, then you’ll hear noise. But then again, you’ll hear some with other mikes as well.

For me it’s a non-issue for a few reasons. One, I never want to hear such spaces played back at a volume high enough that the noise of the mikes is noticeably annoying. If the space is quiet, then I’m happy to let its recording reflect that. Two, the noise is nice. Really, the few times that I’ve noticed it, I’ve found it to add a sonic character to the recording that is often pleasant. And lastly, three: what the DPAs achieve technically in their near-perfect omni presentation is worth pretty much any drawback in my opinion. I run them A-B and am regularly amazed at their presentation. Assuming you like what omnis do, they achieve it all: solid stereo information along with height and depth.


the old Chris Watson coat hanger trick using a pair of Uši Pro.


Amazing how that has actually become a recording technique! I use it too…