Which microphone should I buy?
July 21, 2007 3:15 AM   Subscribe

Which microphone should I buy to do fieldwork in the jungle?

I'm looking for a microphone to use to do some linguistic fieldwork with some indigenous communities in South America, but I'm not sure what kind to buy.

My needs are a bit unique, so let me explain a bit more:

I do not want a unidirectional mic (this is not for interviews); this one has to be able to capture surrounding speech – I want to, for example, hang it from a tree and record speech in a 5m radius. Also, it should be battery-powered.

Any ideas or suggestions?

posted by mateuslee to Technology (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm, well you might try something like this AKG mic...it's got an omnidirectional pickup pattern, and it's designed for electronic news gathering, so it's likely to be more rugged than a studio mic. As a bonus, it's a dynamic mic which means it doesn't require an external power source or a battery, just plug it in to your recording device (minidisc, DAT, whatever) and go.

Good luck!
posted by DiscourseMarker at 9:11 AM on July 21, 2007

I used a Rode NT4 to do ethnomusicological fieldwork in South America, and loved it. It is a rugged stereo mic with the condenser capsules in an X/Y pattern, plugs in with either xlr or 1/8", and has a 9V battery so you don't need an external power source.

If you're recording outside, and it's at all windy, you'll need a furry windscreen (not just a regular thin foam one) like this one.
posted by umbú at 9:39 AM on July 21, 2007

Electrovoice make some dynamic omnidirectional mics that are worth a look. The 635A and the RE50 sound pretty good and are indestructible.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 3:09 PM on July 21, 2007

Core-sound makes great binaurals with battery boxes. You can clip them anywhere and they sound fantastic. There's a low-cost (under $100) and a regular ($200-something I think) version.

I have the regular ones and I use them for all sorts of field recordings. They sound terrific, and they're tiny enough to be unobtrusive.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 11:04 PM on July 21, 2007

I always recommend Visivox. The Hammerhead might be what you're looking for.
posted by fvox13 at 11:20 AM on July 22, 2007

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