Saturday, April 12, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

I have to upgrade my field recording gear this year. I'm going to be doing a lot of sound effects acquisition for my next project, so it's time to move on from the HHB minidisc recorder. It's a killer recorder, but I'm ready to get away from minidiscs as a medium.

I've been looking at Sound Devices gear. It seems to be what I need, but now the (semi)hard decisions need to be made. Do I buy strictly for sfx recording, in which case I don't really need the timecode features, making it about six benjamins cheaper. But if I want to ever use it for a shoot, TC would be kinda handy.

There's more though. What if I want to record surround ambiences? They make 4 and 8 track recorders too, but those little additions add big bucks. So I might have to settle for stereo for now. We'll see...

Then there's the microphone debate. I'm upgrading those too. I've just about decided upon the Oktava 012's. Apparently they are in thousands of production mixers and sound designer's mic lockers, plus the price is very good for high-end mics.

But I've been impressed by the Sanken mics too. Their CSS-5 is a switchable mono/stereo shotgun mic I looked at while at NAB last year. It's impressive, but the price tag is about three times the amount of a stereo pair of Oktava's. Monday and Tuesday I'll be back at NAB cramming as much info on this type of gear into my head as I can. Hopefully I'll come away with a set plan, and an affordable one.


Richard Gaspard said...

I didn't know these items even existed. I record ALL of my audio through my shotgun mic directly to my XL1-S.

Who's the real pro, chump!? Don't answer that. I can see you waving those Emmys in my face until I sit down in shame and tears.

Unknown said...

Hey Mark

I recently bought a Sony PCM50, which I really like. I chose it because the onboard mics are good enough for "ambulance chasing" FX, but when I want a really high end recording, it also has a digital optical input to use with my Grace V3 Preamp & Shoeps stereo mic.

This little recorder is also the cheapest way to get a 96k recorder with a 5 sec prerecord buffer too... No timecode options, but still not bad for $500.

Let me know if you'd like to borrow my rig and give it a go


Adam Palmer said...

Personally, I prefer the MXLPLX-2000 for real-time, and the 0002-XLPLXM when shooting in the Bizarro world.

I think if you can't figure out what to get, you should let your next bowl of Alpha-Bits make the decision for you. Or the next string of letters Blogger generates for verification when you leave a comment on my blog.

Karenkool said...

I can tell that you are begging for my expert advice! I'm just gonna let you make the decisions on your own this time. heh heh. Maybe you should sell your bike and go for the BIG GUNS! J/K J/K

Mark Keefer said...


I went to NAB today and saw all of the stuff (except the Oktava's) there, including your Sony PCM50. That little thing is COOL!

I think I've decided on the Sound Devices 702 for the recorder (mainly for the better pre's). I still haven't decided on the mic(s) yet. You mentioned Schoeps, I would go with that if I could, but in my real world for now I'm liking the Sanken CSS-5. I saw a couple of cool Schoeps-like Sennheisers today too. Jury's still out.

Mark Keefer said...

BTW Gary,

I finally carved out time to go to your links for the Schoeps mic and the Lunatec pre. Both are amazing. Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to swing that stuff this time around.

I think with the Sound Devices and the Sanken, I can get some good sounding fx for this show.

Unknown said...

I believe that the mic pres are almost more important than the mic itself. The SoundDevices mic pres are absolutely wonderful and alongside the Sanken, you'd have a terrific pair! (There also is something to be said about having the mic pres and the recorder in one solid device, too!)

I have no doubts that the FX for the show will be awesome, and I look forward to hearing every sample of them.

THE DARK KNIGHT predubs start for me at Disney next week. Final mix at WB, 2 weeks later. Let's catch up when I'm in town!