Field Recording – Microphones

Microphones have often been said to be half the equation when it comes to recording. Experts advise to spend an equal amount of money on the recorder and an equal amount on the microphone. A great recorder with a poor microphone is just as bad as a poor microphone with a great microphone.

Common types of microphones used in field work fall into three categories.  These three types have the xlr connector attached that the better recorders require.

Microphones with XLR Connectors

1: Omnidirectional – I prefer this type of microphone when I leave my system unattended in the woods for an extended time. Obviously I will not know the direction of the sound so I must record in all directions.

Sennheiser MKH20 Omnidirectional Microphone

2: Directional – includes short and long shotgun style microphones. Many of my better bird recordings were gathered by walking through the woods and pointing the shot gun in the direction the bird song was coming from.

Sennhesier MKH70 Long shot gun microphone

3: Parabolic – this type of microphone has been used extensively in recording birds. There is a wide variety of microphones used with parabolic reflectors.

Telinga BioAcoustics Parabolic Microphone

Microphones with 1/8″ Connectors

For the smaller digital recorders requiring the 1/8″ connector a great reasonably priced stereo omnidirectional microphone.

Giant Squid Audio Lab’s – Podcasting Omni Stereo Microphone

or for top of the line in a stereo omnidirectional microphone.

Telinga Clip-Ons

3 Responses to “Field Recording – Microphones”

  1. stancourtney says:

    Allan, I think everyone would be better served by using a decent omni-directional mic. The sound quality is great with the newer models. The shot-gun has many limitations. You don't need an amplifier on any mic when you can do that it your sound editor.

  2. David says:

    Was curious about your experience and/or thoughts regarding wind noise on omni's. I usually field record with cardiod's and was curious if omni's tended to pick up less wind noise or not than other types of mic polar patterns?

  3. stancourtney says:

    I don't have any experience in the field except with the omni's. I have never had a problem with wind noise.

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