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Old 11-24-2012, 12:23 AM   #1
TheEelsAnkle
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Mic for recording outside

Howdy everybody! I am planning on recording outside by the river (there is a very nice spot I like to go). I would like to bring my laptop and guitar down there and record some tracks. I am looking for a good microphone to record outside there. If it is possible I would like to get nature sounds too, along with vocals and guitar. I don't even know if this can be done well with one microphone, but what are your recommendations? Is there a good USB mic for this? -Thanks!!!
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:07 AM   #2
gumbilicious
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEelsAnkle
Howdy everybody! I am planning on recording outside by the river (there is a very nice spot I like to go). I would like to bring my laptop and guitar down there and record some tracks. I am looking for a good microphone to record outside there. If it is possible I would like to get nature sounds too, along with vocals and guitar. I don't even know if this can be done well with one microphone, but what are your recommendations? Is there a good USB mic for this? -Thanks!!!


it sounds like you're gonna want an omni directional mic. an omnidirectional mic is not really directional, it picks up everything around it and it doesn't really have a 'sweet spot' that emphasizes one area over another. some recordings that i have done with omnidirectional mics even have people that are further away sound louder.

good news, your laptop most likely comes with one as that is the most used mic on laptops and the such.

the negatives of an omni directional is that it does pickup up everything and it is not very hi-fi. it is hard to get a real quality recording with omni directional mics, but if quality is not paramount than this could be a good option for you.

just to give you an idea of what you may be getting out of it, here is a recording i made using an omni directional mic

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/15421780/music/ADA.m4a

this is an OLD recording, made on a very drunken night in my friend's back yard. i was using a Fostex MR-8 internal mic, which should be similar to a native laptop mic. notice that grasshoppers in the yard, the dog barking in the background and a/c unit turning on in the background.

i would recommend not playing super close to the laptop, play a 2 to 6 ft away. do a test recording and listen to it to optimize your position. if you plan on singing then also experiment with how loud your voice is gonna be on the recording, you might need to sing a little softer cuz cheap omnidirectional will pick up your voice very well and it might be overpowering.
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Old 11-24-2012, 04:06 AM   #3
tim_mop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gumbilicious
it sounds like you're gonna want an omni directional mic. an omnidirectional mic is not really directional, it picks up everything around it and it doesn't really have a 'sweet spot' that emphasizes one area over another. some recordings that i have done with omnidirectional mics even have people that are further away sound louder.

good news, your laptop most likely comes with one as that is the most used mic on laptops and the such.

the negatives of an omni directional is that it does pickup up everything and it is not very hi-fi. it is hard to get a real quality recording with omni directional mics, but if quality is not paramount than this could be a good option for you.

just to give you an idea of what you may be getting out of it, here is a recording i made using an omni directional mic

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/15421780/music/ADA.m4a

this is an OLD recording, made on a very drunken night in my friend's back yard. i was using a Fostex MR-8 internal mic, which should be similar to a native laptop mic. notice that grasshoppers in the yard, the dog barking in the background and a/c unit turning on in the background.

i would recommend not playing super close to the laptop, play a 2 to 6 ft away. do a test recording and listen to it to optimize your position. if you plan on singing then also experiment with how loud your voice is gonna be on the recording, you might need to sing a little softer cuz cheap omnidirectional will pick up your voice very well and it might be overpowering.


Sorry, but you're quite wrong in a couple of places there.

An omni is "not very hi-fi"? That's pretty much the opposite. With an omni microphone its easiest to get a flat frequency response, as the way it is constructed is much simpler than a cardioid microphone. I use omnis wherever I can in the studio. They are always better quality off axis, which is always a factor in any room. It is easiest to get a good quality recording with an omni. Unless you're using a cheap electret from a laptop, which aren't built for quality recording.

Outside, however, I would suggest a cardioid. Due to the way omnis are built they are more susceptible to interference from wind.

If you want a simple USB microphone I'd suggest you have a look at an AKG Perception 120 USB. I haven't used it but other mics in that line are very good for the price.

Hope this helps
TM
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:05 AM   #4
guy_tebache
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It can be done, but nature is one of the hardest things to record and get right in a musical setting. Also, recording vocals and guitar at the same time you'll have to maintain tight control over dynamics to get an ok balance. I'd try a figure 8 dual capsule condenser myself. Good luck!
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim_mop
Sorry, but you're quite wrong in a couple of places there.

An omni is "not very hi-fi"? That's pretty much the opposite. With an omni microphone its easiest to get a flat frequency response, as the way it is constructed is much simpler than a cardioid microphone. I use omnis wherever I can in the studio. They are always better quality off axis, which is always a factor in any room. It is easiest to get a good quality recording with an omni. Unless you're using a cheap electret from a laptop, which aren't built for quality recording.


that was a bad choice of words for me. i meant to stress more that an omni pics up everything in an environment, even unwanted noise. some bar recordings i have captured you can hear people setting glasses on the table, ordering drinks, foot steps, people dropping keys, etc. also as you mention omni's pick up wind noise outside quite well. these are noises you wouldn't expect in a 'high quality' recording (i usually close mic a live performance) and it was poor choice of words for me say 'hi-fi' as that has quite a different connotation.

as far as their actual fidelity, i don't really know much about omnidirectional mics. all my studio mics are some kinda cardioid and my only experience with omni's are cheap 'native' mics in laptops or recorders. i can't really draw any significant conclusions from that.

i appreciate you clearing that up and stating a more informed opinion. you have also made me more interested in trying a higher quality omni mic for recording.

would a cardioid pick up the ambient noise in the environment well?
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Old 11-24-2012, 03:56 PM   #6
tim_mop
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Its all dependant on where you put it. Obviously cardioids are build to reject things behind them, but if you put it further away you'll pick up more ambient sound.

As far as high quality omnis are concerned, if you can, try and find a DPA 4006(or a pair!). I use them in the studio and they are absolutely beautiful! Others are Schoeps, Hebden sound HS3000 has an omni capsule too. All expensive though! To clarify, you should find a "true" omni to judge. Things that have switchable polar patterns like 414s or U87s are actually two cardioids back to back, and while that is mathematically an omni, it doesn't seem to sound quite as good!
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:15 PM   #7
gumbilicious
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wow, i... uh, def haven't tried omni mics that are that nice for sure.
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Old 11-24-2012, 05:58 PM   #8
tim_mop
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They aren't used as often in pop, really. In classical recording they are the shit, and sound amazing. A pair of spaced omnis on an acoustic guitar though sounds very nice if you're in a nice room!
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:33 PM   #9
TheEelsAnkle
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
Quote:
Originally Posted by gumbilicious
it sounds like you're gonna want an omni directional mic. an omnidirectional mic is not really directional, it picks up everything around it and it doesn't really have a 'sweet spot' that emphasizes one area over another. some recordings that i have done with omnidirectional mics even have people that are further away sound louder.

good news, your laptop most likely comes with one as that is the most used mic on laptops and the such.

the negatives of an omni directional is that it does pickup up everything and it is not very hi-fi. it is hard to get a real quality recording with omni directional mics, but if quality is not paramount than this could be a good option for you.

just to give you an idea of what you may be getting out of it, here is a recording i made using an omni directional mic

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/15421780/music/ADA.m4a

this is an OLD recording, made on a very drunken night in my friend's back yard. i was using a Fostex MR-8 internal mic, which should be similar to a native laptop mic. notice that grasshoppers in the yard, the dog barking in the background and a/c unit turning on in the background.

i would recommend not playing super close to the laptop, play a 2 to 6 ft away. do a test recording and listen to it to optimize your position. if you plan on singing then also experiment with how loud your voice is gonna be on the recording, you might need to sing a little softer cuz cheap omnidirectional will pick up your voice very well and it might be overpowering.


Thank for all this information! The place I would like to go is a few kilometers from any civilization so I wouldn't have any problems with cars, dogs, machines and such. That recording is about the quality I want to get and I think one would be great for recording when my friends and I jam. Thanks again!
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