[Tweeters] RFI ... recording equipment ..

Marc Hoffman tweeters at dartfrogmedia.com
Mon Nov 21 13:24:36 PST 2011

The Tascan iM2 could be good for ambient recordings (that is, making
a stereo recording of all the surrounding sound) but would do nothing
to reduce background noise. Also, I am very wary of any recording
equipment that claims to be "high-quality" (as Tascam says of this
product) but which, under "Specifications," does not list any hard
data about frequency response and signal-to-noise ratio. Without
those numbers, I'd expect recordings that are inaccurate (including
muddy or tinny) and quite possibly circuitry that adds a lot of hiss
to the signal.

It's also clearly designed for recording loud concerts, which usually
will stand up to high volume levels but won't record softer sounds
with enough detail.

I would buy this only if it can be returned after trying it out.

Marc Hoffman
Kirkland, WA

At 11:31 AM 11/21/2011, Guy McWethy wrote:

> A buddy of mine sent me this link.

>Has possibilities ...



>Guy McWethy

>Renton, WA

>mailto: lguy_mcw at yahoo.com

>From: Marc Hoffman <tweeters at dartfrogmedia.com>

>To: Lyn Topinka <pointers at pacifier.com>; tweeters at u.washington.edu

>Sent: Saturday, November 19, 2011 11:28 PM

>Subject: Re: [Tweeters] RFI ... recording equipment ..



>Hi Lyn,


>I listened to your Bewick's Wren recording. Very nice. From that, I

>inferred that the "background noises" you're talking about are real

>sounds in the environment (the other type of "background noise" is

>created by noisy electronic circuitry and low-quality mics and just

>sounds like "white" noise).


>There are three ways to reduce the sound of the background in nature



>1) Get closer to the source. Every time you halve the distance to

>your subject, its sound is increased four-fold. Meanwhile, the

>background sounds stay about the same. So the result is that the

>subject sounds relatively louder.


>2) Get a "shotgun" style microphone that picks up sound in a very

>narrow path directly in front of the mic. Sennheisers are good,

>popular, and rugged. To use this, you'll need to wear headphones

>because if you point the mic just a few degrees off-axis, the sound

>of your subject will diminish radically. Note that shotgun mics

>don't amplify the sound more than other types of mics, they just

>reject sound that's "off-axis" from the subject.


>3) Get a parabolic dish. This looks like the dish receiver you get

>for satellite TV, only it's typically made of sturdy but lightweight

>plastic so you can carry it around. The nature of a parabolic dish

>is that it takes all the sound that is in front of it and focuses

>all the sound energy on a "sweet spot" that's inside the dish partly

>back from the rim. By placing the head of an omnidirectional mic

>(one with a wide pick-up pattern) right in the sweet spot, you not

>only filter out sounds behind and to the sides of the dish, but you

>also get a huge amplification (about 12 dB) of the sound in front of

>the dish. Again, you need to be wearing headphones to monitor what

>the dish and mic are picking up. You'll be amazed at the things you

>hear through the headphones that are inaudible to the unaided ear!


>Solution #1 is probably unrealistic, as you're probably already as

>close as the bird will tolerate.


>Solution #2 is less cumbersome than #3 but you might not get a

>strong enough signal unless you add a microphone preamp. Shotgun

>mics are around a couple of hundred dollars or more. A good preamp

>might cost about the same.


>Solution #3 is the one I like and would use if I weren't already

>carrying around way too much camera and lens :) A good dish costs

>at least a couple of hundred dollars. I made my own but it took way

>too much time to be worth the financial savings. You won't need as

>specialized a mic. Nor will you need the preamp, since you'll be

>getting lots of signal amplification from the dish.


>A good resource for advice and equipment is Oade Brothers

>(http://www.oade.com/ ). They sell all this stuff and their site has

>useful recommendations.


>We also have a fabulous resource right here in the Seattle area:

>Martyn Stewart of <http://naturesound.org/>Naturesound.org. Martyn

>has done nature field recordings for BBC and tons of other clients

>and he is one of the premiere nature recordists in the world. In

>recent years he has offered a 2-day workshop on sound recording

>equipment and techniques. You might inquire if he's going to offer

>that again this year.


>Best wishes,


>Marc Hoffman

>Kirkland, WA




>At 10:02 PM 11/19/2011, Lyn Topinka wrote:


>>hi all ... initially I bought a small hand-held-fits-in-your-pocket

>>digital recorder to take notes with while in the field ... but I

>>ended up using it for bird songs too !!! ... it was fun ... I have

>>the Sony IC Recorder ICD-PX820 ... small, handheld, runs on two AAA

>>batteries ... so, with Christmas now approaching I could ask Santa

>>for something better perhaps ??? ... or a microphone but which one

>>or which type ??? ... any other suggestions which would help

>>eliminate the background noises and just pick up on the birds ??? ...


>>if you like this stuff here's what I've gotten so far ...







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