Which microphone to take to India

topic posted Thu, August 31, 2006 - 1:38 AM by  Sean
I am planning a trip to India soon, and am curious which one or two specific mic models you all would recommend I take to record ambient sounds and musicians/vocalists i encounter along the way. Thanks!
posted by:
SF Bay Area
  • Re: Which microphone to take to India

    Thu, August 31, 2006 - 3:51 AM
    I already posted this at the Sample Resources tribe but will post here to because
    it's relevant to anyone considering inexpensive alternatives for micing things:
    Hey Sean,

    Of all odd things, Sony makes a stereo condenser microphone (the ECM MS907) that although very inexpensive ($80 online)
    has perfectly flat specs from 20 to 20,000 hz.

    I just found it at a company called Etronics online , delivered to your door for $68. That's stupid cheap.

    Go down lower on the page to find the Etronics option.

    That's exceptional. It's also a very compact microphone so it travels well. It's called a consumer microphone
    but it is incredible for the reasons I list below.

    Now, the world's greatest microphones have what they call color, or a boost or dip in certain frequency ranges
    so a perfectly flat microphone is not always advantageous.

    However, now due to the advent of incredible acoustic modelling programs (like the one Antares sells for microphones)
    a perfectly flat microphone is perfect because then you can run these programs and make it sound like any microphone
    on the market (including rare $7, 000 RCA tube mics, B&K matching $3,000 mic, pricey tube condenser mics like Neumanns,
    et. al.)

    Antares Mic Modeller software:

    It's fairly pricey at $249 but nothing compared to the price of a decent tube condesnser microphone and check out the list
    of microphones you can model.

    This combination yields world class mic results for a total investment of around $320...................not bad and the mic itself sounds great
    without the software.

    Best of luck. Enjoy India................what an amazing place!!!
    • Unsu...

      Re: Which microphone to take to India

      Thu, August 31, 2006 - 5:22 AM
      Just a note - it's not really true that mic modelling software can turn a cheap mic into an expensive one. It just applies a envelope to the spectrum, and maybe adds some distortion as well. A huge part of a physical mic is its response curve in 3-D space. How does it handle noise and sources from behind, from off-center, from center. It's not as simple as saying it's cardoid or figure-8 either, that's just the first approximation, and it still tells you little about the precise curves.

      For ambient street sounds, I think you want a directional mic and I'd try different ones to find one that captures ambient space well. And I'd recommend a mic that can run off of a battery in addition to phantom power. If possible, you can do more with two mono mics than with a single stereo, but this is a matter of space and weight when you're travelling.
      • Re: Which microphone to take to India

        Sat, September 2, 2006 - 6:41 AM
        What is your budget?

        Are you trying to do more foley-like sounds, or just a general street ambience?

        What are you using for a recording device?

        I can attest that the sony stereo mics are FAR from flat, despite what their fabricated spec sheets show. They barely pick up anything accurately below 100hz.
        • Re: Which microphone to take to India

          Sat, September 2, 2006 - 10:11 AM
          i would like to spend as little as possible, but would be willing to spend more if necessary to obtain a quality that is mixible into an album. I would like to record general street ambience, as well as specific sounds. when i was in istanbul, i wish i had something to record the chanting coming from the top of the mosques. I would also love to record any singing or instruments that i come across, and bug sounds, bird calls, or any other specific sounds that grab my attention. Is it possible for maybe 2 microphones to cover all these purposes? for a recording device, people have recommended the new m-audio digital recorder, which i will get unless a better one is recommended. thanks for all the tips!
          • Re: Which microphone to take to India

            Sat, September 2, 2006 - 8:58 PM
            I just purchased the ECM S907 (I think I have the title correctly) tp piggy back with velcro on
            my new Canon miniDV camcorder, so when it comes in in a few days
            I'll do a test with it up against some really good mics (Neumanns, Audio Technicas,
            et. al.) and let you know how it does.

            I have a lot of drums with consdierable low end in them so I'll particularly watch out for the assertion
            that the mic doesn't reproduce below 100 hz.

            We'll see.
            • Unsu...

              Re: Which microphone to take to India

              Tue, September 5, 2006 - 10:49 PM
              if you want a quality piece of gear for field recording and are not as concerned about price, go with a Marantz solid state recorder. These are quickly becoming the standard for field journalists. I just got back from Mexico doing documentary work about the recent elections, and used this recorder to record all my audio, including field recordings of rain, crickets, church bells, etc. This piece of gear rocks! Since it's solid state, you can plug in any size Compact Flash card (I picked up a 4 Gig(!) card for less than a hundred bucks at Fry's), and any mic you want. it also has line inputs, and can record in MP3 or WAV formats. with a 4G card i could record 14 hours of uncompressed WAV audio at a time before having to dump it off onto the laptop. i think they run about 500-600 bucks but its well worth it. oh, and it has USB outs so you can just open your CF card right on your computer desktop and drag it onto your hard drive...

              hope that's helpful,


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