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12-17-2014, 07:55 AM   #1
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Best Audio Recording Device for Nature Sounds?

Hi All!

I'm going to upgrade my trusty old K10D to one of the newer camera bodies so that I can finally shoot some video, but what I'm trying to sort out is which audio recording device I should be using for my specific purpose.

I know I need to get something an external audio recording device, but I'd love to get some advice from the forum.

I want to record nature sounds, while backpacking/camping/fishing/hiking. I'll be setting up the camera and audio recording device to shoot interesting scenes (sunrises and sunsets, waterfalls, clouds rolling in, thunderstorms, etc.).

I've been reading up about the Zoom H4 and Tascam DR-100mkII, and these seem to be two of the better options out there? What I'm wondering is... are there any devices that are smaller? Weatherproof? How could I weatherproof one of these if I were to get one?

Anyone have direct advice with this stuff and able to offer some assistance? Thank you so much in advance!

(BTW, I'm not doing this commercially, so quality doesn't have to be PERFECT, but I would like to use the audio recordings for meditation purposes, so quality, non-hissy audio is certainly needed).

12-17-2014, 08:39 AM   #2
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I bought a Tascam DR-05 for recording ambient nature sounds(bugs, birds, thunderstorms, etc.) and it works flawlessly. I suggest getting a deadcat windscreen and a small tripod so you can set it up and walk away for a while. It will pick up every breath and little movements otherwise. Crystal clear sound.
12-17-2014, 08:53 AM   #3
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This deal at Adorama on the Tascam DR-05 and some Audio Technica phones is still current. $169-$25 rebate/free shipping=$144. The recorder is $94 and the phones $169 on Amazon. Both are highly rated.

Chris, can you comment on the price compared to what you paid?
12-17-2014, 09:46 AM   #4
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I would suggest TASCAM DR-70D

This is also in my shopping list.

12-17-2014, 12:04 PM   #5
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Another option is the Tascam DR-40: it can be purchased for the same price. I don't know much about the 100mkII, but I noticed the microphones are fixed: the DR-40 microphones can be adjusted for a wider "field of view" or a more narrow one.

If you can afford it, instead of the Zoom H4n, you could go for the more expensive, but newer, Zoom h5. It's the updated model.

I believe the Tascams are more flimsy build than the Zoom (at least the DR-40 vs. the H4n), so if you are planning on hiking perhaps you should look more at the zooms
12-17-2014, 12:57 PM   #6
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FWIW I use a Zoom H1 because my camera can't cope with the peaks in sound that I'm trying to record (drag racing trackside) It's light, it works well in a difficult situation and I've used it for many other recordings with general success.
12-17-2014, 01:05 PM   #7
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Original Poster
Thanks everyone for the awesome input!

I'll keep looking and researching and thinking about this. I'm trying to figure out now how important it will be to be able to change the field of view. I am new to the audio stuff, but that seemed like a great feature on the Zoom when I was first thinking about it.

I'll let you guys know what I end up going with, and if anyone else has any other advice please feel free to chime in! The assistance is MOST appreciated!
12-17-2014, 02:45 PM   #8
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I recently did some sound recordings in nature. My application was very specific and I needed a directional microphone, that was light and had good frequency range.

I used successfully the Rode VideoMic Pro shotgun and I can recommend it. I place my experience in the Accessory review section and a summary at:

Hope that the experience may help.

12-17-2014, 06:34 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
I recently did some sound recordings in nature. My application was very specific and I needed a directional microphone, that was light and had good frequency range.
I've got both the original VideoMic and the Stereo VideoMic. If you were after capturing a specific animal sound, I'd use the VM. But if you want the immersive soundscape experience, want a more thrilling aural experience e.g. a brass marching band passing your location, or can get close to the animal, I greatly prefer the SVM. With either the Dead Cat (VM) or Dead Kitten (SVM) windmuff.

Be aware that if the environment is very humid or drizzly, standard condendor mics. can pop, crackle and sizzle. In such cases, Senneheiser RF modulation mics (very expensive) are best:

Sennheiser - Headphones & Headsets - Microphones - Integrated Systems


Last edited by dosdan; 12-17-2014 at 06:59 PM.
12-18-2014, 02:06 AM   #10

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QuoteOriginally posted by Hannican Quote
and if anyone else has any other advice please feel free to chime in
I bought an Azden FMX "dslr" audio tool combined with a standard sony mic. Especially there is an option to turn the AGC control of the camera off. i.e. hissing sound.. & it is sent directly to the camera.
the sound is great and you can monitor it quite well on the K3.

I don't know how this compares to videostereomic and so on.

Maybe for your purpose a separate handheld (tascam, zoom as mentioned above) might be better though.
But i just wanted to bring its existence up :-)
12-22-2014, 03:29 AM   #11
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I have a DR100 sitting on the table beside me from todays youtube shoot,... love it, has better record quality then the H4n, easier level control, only downside is no internal 2 channel recording from single channel input With separate channel input level control to do the 20dB lower on the second channel recording technique.
The DR100 is Stereo in, or one input to both channels at same level.

The junior versions of the Tascam and Zoom recorders are really meant for radio and newspaper journo's, not so much for recording wildlife sounds.

The DR60 is good kit too, I'll be getting one of the DR70's in the new year.

Strangely enough, for the described recording type, I'd actually suggest the single channel mic input on a tablet or phone, with appropriate cable - like the Rode lapel mic for Phones - but using a cable and shotgun mic and/or parabolic reflector.

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