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ShadowMystic
01-09-2012, 12:25 AM
I feel like I post too often , but I guess this is what forums are for.

I want to know if anyone records their own sound effects, and what equipment those that do use. Preferable I'm looking for a stand-alone device with ease of transfer to a PC in a working file format.

I know creative sound effect work is necessary and would prefer a sound capture setup that is relatively portable for ease of collecting a variety of clips.

You may ask, what brought this curiosity? Well, I decided a cellphone vibration on my desk would make near-perfect sound effect for rotary cannons in an animation I'm beginning, and now I need something to capture it!

wibly wobly
01-09-2012, 08:03 AM
It depends on your quality needs really. You could go out and get a digital recorder for hundreds of dollars and then spend hundreds on a good mic (up near $1k range for the two) then go from there with your fav software. Or you could just get a $60 voice recorder and a half decent mic for it and it could be fine. It depends if you need a low noise floor and 24-bit/192kHz or can deal with 192 kbps mp3 with some hum. If you're going to wander around outside and record sound, make or buy a good dead cat or make or buy a blimp. Wind is a killer when recording sound.

Rayek
01-09-2012, 09:10 AM
A friend of mine uses a Zoom H4 for field work and environment/ambient sound recording. Great sound.

More here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-H4n-professional-digital-recorder/dp/B001QWBM62

Dexter2999
01-09-2012, 09:11 AM
"Dead cat" we called them Tribbles when I was in film school. They are faux fur coats that break up the wind. Yes, wind is a killer.

As for sound FX, what you are recording dictates to some extent what type of gear you need as far as microphones go.

For something like the phone on the table sound you were describing, that and most FX are recorded with a Condenser Mic. This is a mic that has a power source and is very sensitive. Sensitive to the point that it will hear most any noise in your house like the air conditioner pushing air through the vents or the refrigerator running. In this case having the right mic also means having to take measures to make sure the environment is conducive to a good clean recording. Or at least that any noise is outside the frequency range of what you need so you can filter it out. FYI, those microphones inside the "Blimps" and the "Dead cats" are condenser mic's.

For home recording of dialog a dynamic microphone is your best bet. These are less sensitive than condenser mic's. You have to speak up a little more and tend to keep them right up against your mouth. This means you only get the dialog. This is what is used in the vast majority of radio stations. Also, just about any live band you have ever seen uses them for vocals on stage. (Not that those two venues use the same model, just the same technology.)

For backgrounds, most seem to get recorded with a stereo mic setup. There are some pretty nice digital recorders out there for less than $500 but prepared for true audiophiles to tell you how "crap" those are and recommend you spend much more. Some of these recorders also accept external inputs (usually a mini stereo cable you would most likely need to have an XLR to 1/8" adapter...the "stereo" jack is "automagically" using a "balanced signal" for what should be a mono recording)

You can buy a dedicated recorder for capturing the sounds or you can get a setup that is a combo of hardware/software like ProTools, Logic, or some similar that will let you record straight to your PC/Mac.


Sorry if I ramble too much and make your eyes glaze over and skip all this.
Good luck!

wibly wobly
01-09-2012, 10:44 AM
You could talk for a long time about mics and which mics pick up XX better then others. Most of the recording I've done lately has been outside with a couple of small stereo condenser mics (pretty cheap ones that I'm not afraid to break) and a nice AudioTechnica X/Y stereo mic. I really like the sound from this thing.

http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wired_mics/f43693e797dfbe09/index.html

But for sure, you should mention what and where you're planning on recording. It really can have a huge impact on what gear you should shoot for.

Surrealist.
01-10-2012, 10:06 AM
I feel like I post too often , but I guess this is what forums are for.

I want to know if anyone records their own sound effects, and what equipment those that do use. Preferable I'm looking for a stand-alone device with ease of transfer to a PC in a working file format.

I know creative sound effect work is necessary and would prefer a sound capture setup that is relatively portable for ease of collecting a variety of clips.

You may ask, what brought this curiosity? Well, I decided a cellphone vibration on my desk would make near-perfect sound effect for rotary cannons in an animation I'm beginning, and now I need something to capture it!

Before you invest in something to record it, try here:

http://www.freesound.org/browse/

to get decent sound quality you should expect to spend between 500-1,000 for simi-pro gear. Then you have to have a lot of things in place. Not the least of which is your knowledge of sound recording.


There are lots of all-in one devices. Here is the one I use:

http://tascam.com/content/images/universal/products/40/main.jpg

http://tascam.com/product/dr-1/

It can accept XLR mic inputs with a converter (you have to buy) to a 1/4 plug. But at the time it was the smallest thing I could find that would I could plug an XLR into. All the other XLR input devices I looked at were much larger. This one is about the size of an ipod.

Here is the shot gun mic I used on my last feature film. I think it has great sound and quite useful for field recording.

http://www.sennheiserusa.com/professional-shotgun-microphone-cardoid-reporting-film-broadcast-applications_k6-series_003284

http://www.sennheiserusa.com/media/productImages/proMain/ME66_ProductPro.jpg

This set up will put you back probably a little over 600 bucks today which ain't bad.

A few quick tips:

1) Make sure all things are turned off in your house that make noise. The fridge, air conditioning, fans, computers - even ,laptops, anything that is capable of producing hum or noise.

2) Set up a space that has dead sound, not an open space in the room. Something where the sound won't bounce off the walls. A closet full of clothes perhaps?

3) Mic proximity is important. In most cases, when you want to capture the sound of something, you want the mic as close as possible. As a general rule.

4) Point the mic away from windows, for example if you are in your bedroom. This way you won't pick up noise from outside as much.

You could for example take your cell phone and put it on a small hard surface and place it between two pillows on a couch to help keep the sound from bouncing around.

But I think you might just find some sounds you like on that site.

Remember that people do this kind of thing for a living. There is technology and art to it just as anything. Best sound recordings happen in the hands of people who know what they are doing and use - at least - simi-pro gear to get an acceptable sound.

ShadowMystic
01-10-2012, 10:44 AM
In the short term, I may use a lot of freesound.com, but I want to learn fundamentals of sound recording. It could be enlightening to know other aspects of film making outside of the visuals.

Dexter2999
01-10-2012, 01:05 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverse-square_law

Seems overly complicated but the gist of the inverse square law is that as you double the distance from the source you lose 75% of the energy.

I say energy here because I learned this in college as part of our sound recording class. Years later I learned it also applies to the falloff of light in the real world.

The practical thing to remember out of this is when recording it is often desirable to be as close as possible (without being in the shot.)

Science, it's useful...go figure.

Greenlaw
01-10-2012, 04:14 PM
I use a Zoom H4. It's a small self-contained recorder and the sound quality is very good. I use it everywhere, in the house, in the car, in the field, etc. Some of my friends use an H4 when shooting documentaries and music videos, and they swear by it. If I had one complaint, I feel it should run longer on a set of batteries. (I should just get some rechargeable ones.)

There's a much cheaper model called the Zoom H2 but I have no experience with that.

G.

Hopper
01-10-2012, 06:41 PM
Since every recording environment will be different, I would recommend having several. Within a modest budget, I could recommend (from experience with actual studio work)...

AudioTechnica 3035 condenser mic for ambient, voice, or musical instruments.
1 or 2 Shure SM57 dynamic mics for loud impact noises. (I use 2 for off-axis recording).

And a portable high quality recorder - Zoom H4 is a decent one but has distortion/clipping issues, and has been discontinued (the new one H4n is a bit pricey) or a Boss Micro BR-80 - I've had the best quality from the Boss recorder but it is truly geared toward music recording. I also had the Tascam DR-1 for a couple of weeks, but it didn't have the dynamic range I needed, but it was a quality unit.

That would be my budget list. If you plan on doing a lot of inside studio work and would like to make an investment in it, I would suggest anything from Sennheiser, Blue, or Rhode.

And don't let the cost fool you... there are many mics for under $300 that can sound just as good as the $4k mics with the right setup. You might have to get a little creative, but it's definitely possible.

Here is a sample of the Boss Micro BR-80 that I did with a friend of mine just learning to play the piano. The unit was place right on top of the piano with no particular placement and absolutely no modifications to the recording. (and be nice... he's still learning timing.. :) ) I found the clarity and range to be quite amazing for such a small inexpensive package.

Hopper
01-10-2012, 07:13 PM
If you would like to get into sound/studio recording in general, I would also recommend The Handbook for Sound Engineers by Glen Ballou and Master Handbook of Acoustics by Everest. They're both severely in depth and have the uncanny ability to put you right to sleep if you're not careful. :D

Ernest
01-10-2012, 08:17 PM
I don't really know anything about the audio side of things.
I was going to get a mic just for recording dialogues.

Looking into this thread, the H4n seemed really interesting because of the stereo setup. I guess you can walk around the mic and the viewer will feel how you move around them, if they wear headphones? Seems excitingly cool from my noob point of view; sort of like first seeing a lens flare.

Yet, Hopper recommends AudioTechnica 3035 for voices. That's not stereo (I think). The fact that it's condenser seems scary, since there's the comment above that says that those almost need a sound-proof booth. Would the dialogues really sound noticeably better if using this instead of the H4n? Would a viewer actually notice that the video sounds... "more like pro". I mean after encoding it for Vimeo and listening with good PC speakers, not using analog disks and a super expensive player. The H4n seems easy to use in conjunction with a PC. What's at the other end of the cable of the AudioTechnica? Can't see that in Amazon. Is it easy to connect to a computer?

Hopper
01-10-2012, 08:53 PM
Looking into this thread, the H4n seemed really interesting because of the stereo setup. I guess you can walk around the mic and the viewer will feel how you move around them, if they wear headphones? Seems excitingly cool from my noob point of view; sort of like first seeing a lens flare.
Yes, a stereo setup is nice (the BR80 also records in stereo), but for voice recording, stereo isn't necessary. Voice is considered a mono source, just as with instruments such as a violin, guitar, saxophone, etc... Stereo is usually achieved with your editing software, although there's nothing wrong with recording a mono source in stereo.


Yet, Hopper recommends AudioTechnica 3035 for voices. That's not stereo (I think). The fact that it's condenser seems scary, since there's the comment above that says that those almost need a sound-proof booth.
Condenser mics are definitely sensitive, but again - it depends on the mic and setup. There are several USB microphones that are inexpensive and produce excellent results for dialogue recording such as the Blue Yeti, Samson Meteor or Q1U, etc... Google will provide some decent results and reviews. Cardiod dynamic mics are also good for "talk show" quality results.



Would the dialogues really sound noticeably better if using this instead of the H4n? Would a viewer actually notice that the video sounds... "more like pro". I mean after encoding it for Vimeo and listening with good PC speakers...
In short... yes, but you can do almost anything these days with the right editing software and plug-ins.



The H4n seems easy to use in conjunction with a PC.
It is. It is self contained and doesn't need any other equipment (as most of the prtable recorders are these days). It's definitely a bang-for-the-buck device. I don't think you'd be disappointed.



What's at the other end of the cable of the AudioTechnica? Can't see that in Amazon. Is it easy to connect to a computer?
At the other end of the cable would be a pre amp with +-48v phantom power. Yes, it would be an additional purchase. And from there, you would need either a DI (Direct In - sometimes referred to as an Analog to Digital system) or use your line-in (not microphone) jack on your sound card if the pre amp can produce line level output.

If you really want to get into it, I suggest purchasing low price range - medium quality microphones that you can test and take back to the store if you're not satisfied with it. After you have mastered some basic techniques - then get a little fancier with your setups. No need to make a large investment right out of the box. Like I said, you can do a lot more these days with the available software that's out there.

ZE_COLMEIA
01-10-2012, 09:48 PM
I would say this boy here:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/TASCAM-DP-004-DP004-POCKET-STUDIO-RECORDER-NEW-/330534293191?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cf5610ec7#ht_4264wt_1346

Easy, fast, powerfull and inexpensive. You will have the possibility to record stereo (3d sound) with its twin condenser microphones, and or layer your recording in 4 tracks. The overall quality of the product and the built in microphones are amazing!

ZE_COLMEIA
01-10-2012, 09:53 PM
If you dont know it yet, there are some great things you can do using stereo recordings:


http://www.virtualbarber.org/page.php?3

Ernest
01-10-2012, 10:02 PM
Wow, thanks! It's really a whole new world.

I'm not sure that I can find any of this kind of stuff locally. Most likely, anything I try, I'll have to get from the interwebs.

The AudioTechnica 3035 is only $104 in Amazon, so that made it seem attractive. I asked for the price of the Yeti and it's actually more expensive. However, it's USB and I "speak USB."

Pre-amp sounded like something scary, but it seems that they start at $29. Of course, that's probably a whole 'nother area of review research.

And I thought that recording the dialogues would be the easy part!

Hopper
01-10-2012, 10:47 PM
Recording is always the easy part. Setting it up and making it sound good is where the work is.

Until you do a bit more research and understand how all the parts work together, I'd go with "easy" for now. USB is great and usually less expensive.

You'll also find out that for some components you really do get what you pay for. Like the $29 pre amp you referred to. It's going to sound just like a $29 pre amp (i.e. noisy and horrible). Pre amps will almost always color your tone to some degree - even solid state ones. You'll get into all that stuff soon enough if you're interested.

JonW
01-10-2012, 11:20 PM
You will find reviews & comments here for quite a good range of products

http://taperssection.com/index.php?board=11.0

Surrealist.
01-11-2012, 01:26 AM
Wow, thanks! It's really a whole new world.

I'm not sure that I can find any of this kind of stuff locally. Most likely, anything I try, I'll have to get from the interwebs.

The AudioTechnica 3035 is only $104 in Amazon, so that made it seem attractive. I asked for the price of the Yeti and it's actually more expensive. However, it's USB and I "speak USB."

Pre-amp sounded like something scary, but it seems that they start at $29. Of course, that's probably a whole 'nother area of review research.

And I thought that recording the dialogues would be the easy part!

Yep, it is a whole new world. Seek out something on the web to first get a good grounding on the basics of sound. There are certain principles from studio recording that you can carry over to field production sound.

Might be a good idea to just get a hold of a simple cheap set up first and just start recording and studying sound principles.

Once you start working with sound many of these things will start to make sense. It is a bit hard to do it all on theory alone.

My set up is very cheap and versatile. It is completed with the M1 Fast Track Ultra as a preamp for recording at home. But I can use my M1 to record in the field. It uses memory chips to record and it can connect to the computer via USB to transfer files if needed.

netstile123
01-12-2012, 07:17 PM
I had to add to this because I picked up a great codenser mic that kicks butt and only $50.00. NO pre amp- USB - and works great. let me tell ya you will not be disapointed.

http://www.music123.com/Pro-Audio/Microphones/Condenser-Microphones/U37-USB-Condenser-Microphone.site7sku271322000000000.sku


And if you are looking for a great sound program with plenty of sound files and perfect midi files that are pro at lo price this is it as well...

http://www.acoustica.com/mixcraft/


Had to add I run mixcraft basic on windows 7 64 bit with no problems. I tried others , this was so user friendly and the sounds are GREAT

These 2 will get you going and will not break the bank

Ernest
01-12-2012, 08:10 PM
This is also super useful information. I didn't really know where to begin with the software.

I had almost decided on the Blue Yeti USB, but that mic is half the price. I'll go look for sample recordings in Youtube. I think I've listened to like 20 videos trying to decide between the Yeti and the AT2020 USB but more choices is always better!

eagleeyed
01-12-2012, 08:48 PM
I am another person that uses and very happy with the Zoom H4n, have a Redhead Windscreen on it and have absolutely no trouble with noise.

This is what made me get the redhead, wind recording test with ZoomH4n http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKZN8yd8WSo.

Have it coupled for Vocal Work with a Rode NT1-A, although planning to get a shotgun mic soon aswell.

wibly wobly
01-14-2012, 08:30 AM
I agree that setting up and knowing how to set up and knowing which mic to use is where the hard part is. Doing a live show with badly set up equipment or the wrong equipment can result in some comically bad things.

If you're shooting for voice, making a dead room might be worth looking into. Also having a stereo mic for voice can be what you're looking for if you want a live sound to it but, going stereo will have a different "space" to it. Normally, you just need mono for it like previously mentioned. Some mics like some shotgun mics have stereo and mono switches, so that could be something you might want, esp if you're outside and want to control the polar pattern.

If you want to have some fun, you could record to VHS tape. That has a nice sound to it.

Greenlaw
01-14-2012, 11:26 AM
If you're shooting for voice, making a dead room might be worth looking into.
This might sound funny but I sometimes record voice while sitting in my car late at night when it's really quiet in my neighborhood. I like the car because there is no echo or noise in there at all in there, and sound from the occasional car that drives down the street at that hour I can deal with. Of course, this might not be such a great idea in some neighborhoods.

My recent recording sessions were for my short film (link below), which was recorded in the car, the living room (my daughter doing Sister's line) and in the garage. The car worked well but I decided to change the voices after recording, and decided to re-record in the garage. That worked well except when I recorded Toullie's voice--when I hit a certain pitch (the line 'oooh!' in particular) my voice would ring the cymbals on my wife's drum kit. I didn't notice this during recording and had to clean it up in post.

BTW, I like to use iZotope RX2 (http://izotope.com/products/audio/rx/) to clean up less-than-perfect audio. It's easy to use and works very well.

G.

Hopper
01-14-2012, 12:08 PM
BTW, I like to use iZotope RX2 (http://izotope.com/products/audio/rx/) to clean up less-than-perfect audio. It's easy to use and works very well.
Now THAT is a cool product. I've seen their earlier products and didn't think much of them, but wow... they've come a long way.

caesar
01-14-2012, 12:09 PM
I like the Apogee One for indoor, just 249 US, the link has some raw files to check the quality http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/one.php, Mac only

jwiede
01-14-2012, 08:33 PM
A friend of mine uses a Zoom H4 for field work and environment/ambient sound recording. Great sound.

More here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-H4n-professional-digital-recorder/dp/B001QWBM62
Yep, highly recommend the H4n here as well. Can do multitrack if needed (up to 4), has ability to do much with just built-in UI, all sorts of nice control options, input options, etc. and the sound quality is extremely good as well (for the price). Price is around $299 locally, $285 on Amazon.com. If that's a bit much, you might also want to consider the new H2n, essentially the updated UI on the H2 body. If you don't need/want built-in mics, TASCAM makes some inexpensive but decent portable multitrack digital recorders.

For home recording, I use my M-Audio Producer USB with a spitscreen, shockmount, etc. I'd also recommend the Samson G-Track, it's actually a marginally better condenser mic, IMO, but I wasn't able to find one locally when I went looking, so went with the Producer USB instead. If the Producer ever annoys me enough, I'll switch to a G-Track. Other options would be the Blue Yeti/YetiPro, another decent condenser mic/usb combo device.

Links (amazon.com):

(external multitrack recorders)

Zoom H2n (http://www.amazon.com/Zoom-H2N-H2n-Handy-Recorder/dp/B005CQ2ZY6/ref=sr_1_2?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1326599555&sr=1-2)

Zoom H4n (http://www.amazon.com/Zoom-Handy-Portable-Digital-Recorder/dp/B001QWBM62/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1326599036&sr=1-1)

TASCAM DP-004 4-Track Digital Portastudio (http://www.amazon.com/TASCAM-DP-004-Digital-4-track-Recorder/dp/B001JJFR8Q/ref=pd_cp_MI_4)

TASCAM DP-008 8-Track Digital Portastudio (http://www.amazon.com/TASCAM-DP-008-8-Track-Digital-Portastudio/dp/B002YNY8GI/ref=sr_1_5?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1326599408&sr=1-5)

(adequate condenser mics w/ USB interfaces)

M-Audio Producer USB (aka Avid Vocal Studio) (http://www.amazon.com/Avid-Technology-Vocal-Studio/dp/B0041OSWUQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1326598683&sr=8-1)

Samson G-Track (http://www.amazon.com/Samson-Track-Microphone-Audio-Interface/dp/B0015MJE22/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1326598859&sr=1-1)

Blue Yeti (http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Microphones-Yeti-USB-Microphone/dp/B002VA464S/ref=sr_1_2?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1326598891&sr=1-2)

Greenlaw
01-14-2012, 09:24 PM
...decided to re-record in the garage. That worked well except when I recorded Toullie's voice--when I hit a certain pitch (the line 'oooh!' in particular) my voice would ring the cymbals on my wife's drum kit.
Writing that reminded me of my wife's old place. Before we got married, I helped her tack old carpeting and foam all over the walls of her garage so she could practice drumming without disturbing her neighbors. (Well, as little as possible anyway.) This looked awful but it sure was quiet in there. :)

G.

T-Light
01-14-2012, 10:05 PM
Wangled a Tascam DR-07 mkII for Christmas, fancied a play around with audio. Quality is amazing for this price range. Has the advantage of XY or AB (wide stereo) mic positions. Downsides are no XLR inputs and it's not designed for an AB windshield which makes the wide positions a bit useless in the field (I'm currently trying to design my own AB shield but it's awkward to say the least).

The tech used in the DR-07 mkII is the same used in the latest higher end Tascams, the quality is terrific.

Here is a comparison between the Zoom H4, Zoom H1, Tascam DR-100 and the Tascam DR-07 mkII (all on built in mic's). Be sure to listen on a decent pair of headphones to appreciate the full range...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2N1LKpreOw

silviotoledo
01-15-2012, 07:19 PM
I use a Zoon H4n and it's really cool! Try it!

I also use an external YOGA low cost microfone with it.