Multi-purpose audio equipment?
February 17, 2012 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Buying advice for audio equipment that can be used for both home video and for field recording?

So I'm interested in learning how to do audio field recordings, just for fun. I've looked into digital audio recorders like the Marantz PMD661 or the Sony PCM-D50, and at a stereo microphone like the Rode NT4.

Something else that I'd like to do is to shoot a little home video using a Canon Vixia HF M40 video recorder.

My question is: can the same equipment that's used for a field recording also be used to record audio for a camcorder "home movie"?

This is probably a super dumb question, but there it is. Any advice greatly appreciated.
posted by facetious to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: yeah, you can use the same stuff for field recording + audio capture for home movies. You will need to slate the take with something like a clapper (this can be as simple as clapping your hands while recording with your field device and filming yourself) and then line up your audio file with your video. If you make any edits, make sure not to move your audio relative to the video or it's gonna be a headache to line 'em back up again.

I always recommend the zoom H4n, but depending on the features you want, any of those portable recorders should be acceptable.
posted by dubold at 10:49 AM on February 17, 2012

Make sure what ever you buy has good meters and a headphone jack with volume control. Also make sure that you don't have to go through ten levels of menus to see the meters or adjust the headphone volume. I would expect that the Sony and Marantz products would be OK in this regard but its worth checking out before you buy.
posted by jmsta at 12:28 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

A meter is very important and has little to do with bit rate or sample rate. An accurate meter is important tool to use even before your sound becomes bits. Once you've over driven your mic Pre's there is no fixing that audio and recoding a signal too low and the bumping up the gain in post will also raise your noise floor.
posted by jmsta at 9:53 AM on February 27, 2012

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