Field recording



Here’s a short, late-afternoon sketch of the birdbath in my yard. After getting a steady drip of water going, there’s been quite a bit interest in the bath.

This was done with the DPA 4060 on a Jecklin disk. As I understand it, the disk wants an omni with a slight emphasis in the higher frequencies. I think the DPAs work nicely in this configuration.


I use a Sony D-100. It’s just a really wonderful recorder and recordings made with it just sound lovely. Way better then I previously got with my h1 and h4. Also better then recordings from friends with H6n I compared it with.
It’s to bad there is no XLR inputs on it especially for the size. But i must say I like these kind of recorders also a lot for the ease of use. Take out of the bag and press record.
I also use it with external diy binaurals, piezo contact mics and hydrophones.
It’s got a use range of gain which comes in handy. At the plus 10 setting it can get noisy but it might also help you get the almost impossible to get soft sounds.
One of the best investments I made.
I also still use my h1 for the the reason it’s just very light and cheap. I just use it recording unattended for some hours sometimes. I wouldn’t do that with my d-100


I’ve been keeping my eyes open for something used and cheaper so I can just hit record and leave it in the woods while I go for a hike up the mountain and pick it up on the way down…


Are you connecting your contact mics and hydrophones directly?

I keep coming back to the PCM-D100. Paul Virostek’s recordings with it have largely sold me on it.


Yes you can use the external in for piezos and hydrophones. It works great, I think it uses the same preamp as in internal mics. I’m also thinking of getting an external portable phantom power pack to use it with other condenser mice. I have a parabolic mic i want to use with it some times.


Oh, so you haven’t needed to use any external amplifiers? My JrF contact mic has a 1/4" TS jack, so if all I need to do is convert that down to a 1/8" TRS equivalent then I’ll probably save and buy it. I suppose I’m keen to avoid juggling potentially unnecessary handfuls of extra equipment when using a handheld recorder.


Yes, you may want a 1/4 to 1/8 jack that is mono to dual mono.

That way you’ll record your mono input on both tracks. And you’ll also hear the track on both sides of your headphones. But maybe there is a setting to have it to mono input. I’ll check.


Oh and i can really recommend this Rycote kit for the D100.
It’s invaluable for getting out of the D100 what it can be.


A couple of recordings I made last summer are available on Impulsive Habitat. Recordings of rain, real and imagined:


@marcus_fischer @vals @KristofferLislegaard
I see that you are all using either usi or telinga, any suggestions on something obtainable (not constantly sold out) and usi price range (telinga looks great but a bit steep for me). I realise it’s strange question for you all as you are using the exact mics I can’t get hold of but I thought you might have tried something close before settling on these. Interested in recording quite subtle quiet sounds in stereo, mostly fairly close up I guess. Thanks


That’s a really beautiful film. What a great process.


You might look into the Naiant x-x pair. I think they are comparable in quality and a similar price (if I recall).


The usi mics do appear with regularity. The key to buying them is to get on the mailing list. They will let you know the exact date and time they will be up for sale.

I don’t have experience with Naiant—they look interesting. For the price of a pair of usis, you can get a used Røde NT4 or a pair of NT5s. For stereo recording convenience, the NT4s are very easy to use and sound really great. If you are recording outdoors, because they are super sensitive, you will absolutely need to buy a windscreen or a blimp.


i’m looking to upgrade from my tascam dr07ii to something a bit better quality that i can also use to record tracks into when i am out in the woods/on the beach and don’t have my computer (nornssssss/op1/volca)

would the zoom h5 be a reasonable choice for this? i also love getting field recordings and want to continue to do that at a reasonably nice quality of sound but i am by no means about to invest in a large rig for it


Thanks, I’m not in a rush so I’ll get on the usi mailing list as I’ve really liked a lot of recordings made by folks here on lines using them (though I know mics are just a small part of that story). I was absolutely planning on windscreens. Apart from size (I do like how small usi are) what would be the difference between using usi and a pair of nt5s? Now I’ve just got to make sure I breathe through my mouth when recording as I’m hearing my nose whistling in everything I’ve made in the past year, it’d be more annoying if it didn’t sound so funny.


I was looking at getting one of these earlier in the year for field recording, and for my girlfriend to record interviews for her fieldwork, but ended up getting a dr70d to use with a couple of pencil condensers that I already had in the studio. For me I just couldn’t stand getting handling noise every time I adjust the volume on the hand held recorders, plus it has 4 channels and quieter preamps… But yea its definitely less portable with the offboard microphones, but feels like a mini studio wherever I take it :slight_smile:

Sorry that probably wasn’t helpful!!


I think that’s a fair rundown of the h5. It does have lots of handling noise when adjusting and the preamplifier aren’t spectacularly quiet.

That said, the interchangeable mic system and small size are really convenient. It’s definitely high enough quality for field recordings that’ll be mixed in alongside other sounds.


I’ve owned a zoom h4, h4n and now and H6 and with every generation they’ve gotten better quality. I like the ability to record external line/mic as well as the built in mic to multiple channels at the same time. Really useful for documenting live performances.
I know people shit on their stuff for various reasons but I’ve never had a problem.

That being said, I am curious about upgrading to a sound devices mix-pre 3 (or 6). But I’m holding out for now.


Thats the dream! (I may have subconsciously gone for the dr70d because its UI resembles the sound devices more)


yeah, i think the bigger audio recorders that aren’t handheld just exceed my needs. if you mount the h5 on a short little tripod or monopod and hold it, say, as you’re walking, is there still handing noise?