A Month of Field Recordists 2016 – Equipment Roundup and Analysis

2016/11/02

Last year we were given a rare treat: 26 field recordists came together to share their wisdom in a series I called “A Month of Field Recordists.” This year I revived the series. Twenty-three new people shared their insight in a second series of posts about field recording origins, equipment selections, and reflections on the craft.

My heartfelt thanks for everyone who spent their considerable time sharing their knowledge with the rest of us.

What choices were common? What portable recorders were mentioned again and again? Were there patterns in the microphones pros brought into the field?

Today we will find out.

Please note, I am very detailed. This post will take about 21 minutes to read. Click the button below to email the article to yourself to read later.



Three Takes on Field Recording

There was so much valuable info shared by everyone, it has become admittedly a lot to consume. Together, the sound pros shared almost 80,000 words of wisdom. Last year I rounded up their gear selections and wrote an overview of their favourite field recording equipment. This year I’d like to do the same, with a twist.

Today’s post will examine the choices of this year’s field recordists. Afterwards, we’ll look at those choices not only within this year’s series, but also compared with the field recordists of the previous year. I’ll share some thoughts on the equipment selections and what they mean.

Let’s not forget that the 49 pros aren’t the only ones with valuable opinions about field recording equipment and capturing sound effects. I’m sure you have insight of your own. So, I recently set up an anonymous field recording survey so everyone can participate. Thank you to everyone who has participated so far, and shared the survey. The next post will be a roundup and analysis of those community field recording suggestions.

As series progressed, a fundamental concept that we all suspected was confirmed: gear itself doesn’t tell the whole story of field recording. So, the final post in this series will look at the motivations for field recording, its effects, and what this means for all of us.

Let’s get started.

A List of Field Recording Microphones

To begin, let’s first look at the microphones field recordists chose.

Many field recordists throughout the series mentioned an evolution of equipment choices. That’s natural. It’s difficult to know which gear is best without trying it first. That’s the reason we began this series, after all. So, many pros evolved through multiple kits to reach their final, preferred version. For the sake of simplicity, this list will include just the gear they used in their main, current kit.

Here’s a chart of every microphone each field recordist listed, combined from both series. There are links to each manufacturer’s site. I’ve also included links to every respective field recordist’s interview so you can listen to sound samples captured with that microphone. The “Mentions” stat reflects how many times field recordists included that brand or model in their kits. (Learn more about the “Mentions” column in last year’s post.)

Note: prices are sourced from the manufacturers and from B&H Photo Video, September 2016. Prices prefixed with a tilde are approximations based on currency conversion.

Manufacturer Model Pattern Mentions Price Recordists
AKG Blue Line Series Various 1 $199.00 - $500.00 Shaun Farley
AKG C411L Contact 1 $129.99 Rob Nokes
AKG C414 XLR Multi-pattern 1 $1099.00 Gordon McGladdery
AKG D110 Omnidirectional 1 Discontinued George Vlad
Audio Technica AT835ST Cardiod, Figure-of-Eight 1 Discontinued Frank Bry
Audio Technica AT897 Line gradient 1 $249.00 Christine Hass
Audio Technica AT2035 Cardiod 1 $149.00 Gordon McGladdery
Audio Technica AT2022 1 $249.00 Christine Hass
Audio Technica AT3032 Omnidirectional 1 Rick Hannon
Audio Technica AT8022 1 $399.00 Paul Col
Audio Technica BP4029 Cardiod, Figure-of-Eight 1 $749.00 Des Coulam
Aquarian H2a-XLR Hydrophone 4 $169.00 Mattia Cellotto, Michal Fojcik, Giel van Geloven, Michel Marchant
Barcus Berry Planar Wave Contact 5 $297.00 Frédéric Devanlay & Cedric Denooz, Shaun Farley, Rick Hannon, Michal Fojcik, Charles Maynes
Bruel and Kjaer 4165 Condenser 1 Trevor Cox
Crown SASS-P MKII Pressure-Zone 1 Discontinued Charles Maynes
Dodotronic ULTRAMIC200K 1 ~$218.00 Christine Hass
Dolphin Ear Hydrophone 1 $179.00 Diane Hope
DPA 2006C Omnidirectional 1 $829.95 Ian Rawes
DPA 4007 Omnidirectional 1 $2109.95 Axel Rohrbach
DPA 4060 Omnidirectional 11 $949.95 Michael F. Bates, Frédéric Devanlay & Cedric Denooz, Michal Fojcik, Daan Hendriks, Diane Hope, Colin Hunter, Timothy Muirhead, Martin Pinsonnault, Michael Raphael, Andreas Usenbenz, George Vlad
DPA 4061 Omnidirectional 2 $949.95 John Leonard, George Vlad
DPA 5100 1 $3509.95 John Leonard
Ehrlund EAP Contact 1 Rob Nokes
JrF Coil Pick Up Coil Pick Up 1 ~$24.00 Sebastian-Thies Hinrichsen
JrF Contact Contact 2 ~$39.00 Sebastian-Thies Hinrichsen, George Vlad
JrF Hydrophone Hydrophone 5 ~$70.00 Christine Hass, Daan Hendriks, Miguel Isaza, Sebastian-Thies Hinrichsen, George Vlad
Line Audio CM3 Cardiod 3 ~$115.00 René Coronado, Rick Hannon, George Vlad
Lom Usi Pro Omnidirectional 2 ~$130.00 Mikkel Nielsen, Sebastian-Thies Hinrichsen
Luhd PM-01AB Omnidirectional 1 ~$60.00 Rick Hannon
Microphone Madness MM-BSM-9 Omnidirectional 1 $110.00 Michael Maroussas, Matthew Marteinsson
MXL PR40 Figure-of-eight 1 ~$89.00 Charles Maynes
Neumann KM 120 Amplifier 1 ~$1699.95 Michal Fojcik
Neumann KM 184 Cardiod 1 $699.95 Frédéric Devanlay & Cedric Denooz
Neumann KMR 81 Shotgun 1 $1599.95 Michal Fojcik
Neumann KMR 82i Supercardiod 1 $1,699.95 Frédéric Devanlay & Cedric Denooz
Neumann KU 81i Binaural 3 Discontinued Peter Comley, Sebastian-Thies Hinrichsen, Gordon Hempton
Neumann RSM-191 Hypercardiod & figure-of-eight 2 Discontinued Shaun Farley, Max Lachmann
Neumann U87 Omnidirectional, Cardiod, Figure-of-eight 2 $3199.00 Giel van Geloven, Michael Maroussas
Oktava MK-012 Figure-of-eight 2 ~$240.00 Charles Maynes, Stosh Tuszynski
Primo EM-172 1 ~$60.00 Christian Hagelskjær From
Røde i-XY Cardiod 1 $199.00 Tamas Dragon
Røde Lavalier Omnidirectional 1 ~$217.00 Des Coulam
Røde NTG2 Shotgun 1 $269.00 Matthew Marteinsson
Røde NTG3 Supercardiod 4 $699.00 Frédéric Devanlay & Cedric Denooz, Charles Maynes, Andreas Usenbenz, Watson Wu
Røde NTG4 Supercardiod 1 $399.00 Watson Wu
Røde NT4 Cardiod 4 $529.00 David Fienup, Diane Hope, Sebastian-Thies Hinrichsen, Watson Wu
Røde Reporter Omnidirectional 1 $129.00 Des Coulam
Roland CS-10EM Omnidirectional 1 $98.49 Gordon McGladdery
Sanken CO-100K Omnidirectional 1 $2,685.00 Mattia Cellotto
Sanken CSS-5 Supercardioid 4 $2300.00 Frank Bry, Max Lachmann, Charles Maynes, Timothy Muirhead
sE 4400a Multi-pattern 1 $399.00 Gordon McGladdery
Sennheiser MD 441 Supercardiod 1 $899.95 Frédéric Devanlay & Cedric Denooz
Sennheiser MKH 30 Figure-of-eight 11 $1249.95 Michael F. Bates, Peter Comley, Shaun Farley, Daan Hendriks, Thomas Alf Holmemo, John Leonard, Stephan Marche, Nathan Moody, Mikkel Nielsen, Axel Rohrbach
Sennheiser MKH 40 Cardiod 8 $1199.00 Michael F. Bates, Peter Comley, Shaun Farley, Giel van Geloven, John Leonard, Michel Marchant, Stephan Marche, Michael Maroussas, Nathan Moody
Sennheiser MKH 50 Supercardiod 3 $1199.95 René Coronado, Thomas Alf Holmemo, Nathan Moody
Sennheiser MKH 60 Supercardiod 3 $1499.95 René Coronado, Shaun Farley, Thomas Alf Holmemo
Sennheiser MKH 70 Supercardiod 2 $1749.95 René Coronado, Daan Hendriks, Laila Fan
Sennheiser MKH 416 Supercardiod 5 $1249.00 Mattia Cellotto, Michel Marchant, Charles Maynes, Axel Rohrbach, George Vlad
Sennheiser MKH-418S Supercardiod & Figure-of-eight 1 $1649.95 Watson Wu
Sennheiser MKH 8020 Omnidirectional 2 $1199.95 Stephan Marche, Mikkel Nielsen
Sennheiser MKH 8040 Cardiod 14 $2399.95 Frank Bry, Mattia Cellotto, Laila Fan, Giel van Geloven, Daan Hendriks, Max Lachmann, Michel Marchant, Stephan Marche, Gordon McGladdery, Rob Nokes, Mikkel Nielsen, Axel Rohrbach, Martin Pinsonnault, Andreas Usenbenz, George Vlad
Sennheiser MKH 8050 Supercardiod 1 $1199.95 Axel Rohrbach
Sennheiser MKH 8060 Supercardiod 2 $1249.95 Michal Fojcik, Max Lachmann
Sennheiser MKH 8090 Cardiod 1 $1199.95 Stephan Marche
Schoeps CMC 5 U Amplifier 2 $849.00 Frédéric Devanlay & Cedric Denooz, Michael Raphael
Schoeps CMC 6 U Amplifier 5 $1912.00 René Coronado, Frédéric Devanlay & Cedric Denooz, David Fienup, Max Lachmann, Melissa Pons
Schoeps MK 4G Cardiod 4 $755.00 Frank Bry, David Fienup, Melissa Pons, Michael Raphael
Schoeps MK 8 Figure-of-eight 4 $1045.00 Frank Bry, René Coronado, Michal Fojcik, Melissa Pons
Schoeps MK 41 Supercardiod 5 $755.00 Frank Bry, David Fienup, Michal Fojcik, Melissa Pons, Michael Raphael
Schoeps CMIT 5 U Supercardiod 1 $2199.00 David Fienup
Shure SM57 Cardiod 1 $99.00 George Vlad
Shure VP88 Cardiod 3 $791.25 Frank Bry, Frédéric Devanlay & Cedric Denooz, Charles Maynes
Sonic Studios DSM Omnidirectional 1 Ian Rawes
Sound Professionals SP-TFB-2 Omnidirectional 1 $89.00 Ollie Hall
Sound Professionals MS-TFB-2 Omnidirectional 1 $149.00 Michel Marchant
Soundman OKM II Classic Studio Omnidirectional 3 ~$129.00 Des Coulam, Michel Marchant, Melissa Pons
TSL ST450 Ambisonic 2 ~$7437.60 Paul Col, John Leonard
Trance Audio Stereo Inducer Contact 1 $699.00 Daan Hendriks

A List of Field Recording Microphone Manufacturers

Let’s look at things a bit more broadly. What microphone manufacturers were favoured by field recordists?

Here is a colourful pie chart that lists the percentage of times a microphone company has been mentioned in both series. Click the image to see a full-sized version.

Microphone Model Manufacturers

Microphone Model Manufacturers

And here’s the list in a chart:

Manufacturer Total Mentions
AKG 4
Audio Technica 7
Aquarian 4
Barcus Berry 5
Crown 1
Dodotronic 1
DolphinEar 1
DPA 16
Ehrlund 1
JrF 7
Line Audio 3
Lom 2
Luhd 1
Microphone Madness 2
MXL 1
Neumann 12
Oktava 2
Primo 1
Røde 13
Roland 1
Sanken 5
sE 1
Sennheiser 56
Schoeps 21
Shure 4
Sound Professionals 2
Soundman 3
SoundField 2
Trance Audio 1

A List of Field Recorders

Let’s give the same treatment to field recorders. What audio recorders did everyone prefer?

Now, field recorders are slightly more complicated. There are two types. Some are “portables” that include onboard microphones at a lower price point. Others I refer to as “dedicated” field recorders. Generally speaking, these have better preamps, build quality, and professional connectivity options. I’ve marked the portables in the chart along with the microphone channels they support. Track support is different. After all, a recorder may capture two tracks with onboard microphones, but support two more via inputs. That’s detailed in the “Tracks” column.

Manufacturer Model Tracks Portable? Microphones? Mentions Price
Edirol R-09 2 Y 2 2 Discontinued
Fostex FR-2 2 1 Discontinued
Marantz PMD 661 MkII 2 Y 2 1 $379.00
Nagra LB 2 1 $3,799.00
Olympus LS-10 2 Y 2 2 Discontinued
Roland R-44 4 2 $795.00
Sony PCM-M10 2 Y 2 7 $245.00
Sony PCM-D50 2 Y 2 8 Discontinued
Sony PCM-D100 2 Y 2 11 $795.94
Sonosax SX-R4+ 16 1 $5,499.00
Sound Devices 633 7 2 $3229.00
Sound Devices 702 3 12 $2049.00
Sound Devices 702T 2 1 $2699.00
Sound Devices 722 2 4 $2679.00
Sound Devices 744T 4 12 $4319.00
Sound Devices 788T 8 3 $6849.00
Tascam DR-05 2 Y 2 1 $84.99
Tascam DR-40 4 Y 2 1 $179.00
Tascam DR-680 10 1 $599.00
Tascam DR-70D 4 1 $229.00
Tascam HD-P2 2 1 Discontinued
Tascam HS-P82 8 1 $2399.99
Zaxcom Deva 10 1 $12,995.00
Zaxcom Fusion 8 1
Zaxcom Maxx 8 2 $2,995.00
Zaxcom Nomad Lite 10 1 $4,150.00
Zoom F8 10 2 $999.99
Zoom H2 2/4 Y 4 1 Discontinued
Zoom H2n 2/4 Y 5 3 $159.99
Zoom H4 2/4 Y 2 2 Discontinued
Zoom H4n 2/4 Y 2 4 $199.00
Zoom H6 Y 6 2 $299.99

A List of Field Recorder Manufacturers

What manufacturer recorder kits are most commonly seen in the field? Here’s a pie chart that lists the percentage of times a manufacturer was mentioned in the series:

Recorder Model Manufacturers

Recorder Model Manufacturers

And here’s that info in a list:

Manufacturer Mentions
Edirol 2
Fostex 1
Marantz 1
Olympus 1
Roland 2
Sony 26
Sonosax 1
Sound Devices 33
Tascam 6
Zaxcom 5
Zoom 14

Field Recording Gear: Decoded

So, what can we learn from this?

Well, we all know that field recording is governed by common principles: acoustics, physics, signal flow, sound pressure levels, dynamic range, and more. Outside of those objective facts, though, it’s impossible to say there is a single proper way to perform field recording.

Yes, levels must be set correctly. We must avoid RF interference. It’s important to protect microphones from wind and humidity. No one would argue that. Beyond this, we begin to find that field recording varies considerably. How?

A quick glance at the microphone list gives us clues. In a way, a field recordist’s microphone choice is one of their most personal forms of expression. Seventy-six microphone types were mentioned throughout the series. Yes, common trends appeared. I’ll explore those below. However, the widest diversity throughout the entire series appeared in this list. Why?

Field Recording Subject

Gordon Hempton recording at Rialto Beach

Gordon Hampton recording at Rialto Beach

A pro commonly chooses a microphone for the subject they wish to capture. Do you want to gather ambiences? A Sennheiser MKH 8040 ST, Neumann 191, or TSL ST450 ambisonic microphone may do the trick. Prefer to capture rock drops with a laser-like focus? A supercardiod microphone will perform better. In a way, this choice is exclusive. Most microphones can be used very well for one purpose, but perform poorly at another. A fan of contact microphone recordings for sound design won’t use the same kit for an archery sound fx session.

What’s more, these selections tell us a lot about each field recordist and what they do. How?

Field Recording Craft

Max Lachmann - Recording Switches on Me109

Max Lachmann recording switches on an Me109

Some pros have dozens of microphones in their kit. They find themselves recording different subjects often, or one subject thoroughly with multiple perspectives. Michal Fojcik used his wide arsenal to capture a variety of effects for his film The Red Spider. Max Lachmann used a broad selection of microphones to record vehicles. We saw that Watson Wu and Frédéric Devanlay & Cedric Denooz explored a similar approach of using elaborate microphone arrangements to record intricate subjects in the 2015 series.

Others found a single microphone they loved and remained loyal to that alone. Gordon Hempton described exploring many microphones before settling on his favourite, the Neumann KU 81i binaural dummy head. Sebastian-Thies Hinrichsen and Peter Comley speak similarly about that legendary microphone as well. Paul Col is exploring the TSL Soundfield ST420 MKii microphone, which is also John Leonard’s mic of choice. In the previous series, we saw Michael Raphael, Ollie Hall, Colin Hunter, and Stuart Fowkes prefered fixed kits, as did Miguel Isaza from this year’s edition.

This grew from something I perviously labelled as each field recordist’s profession. Not everyone who steps outside of the studio to capture sound effects needs to be paid to do it, though. So, let’s say that these choices grow out of a sound pro’s needs or their craft.

Field Recording Methodology

Stealth rig, top view

Michael F. Bates’ stealth rig, top view

That’s also closely tied with the way field recordists capture their sound effects. Some prefer a single kit in shoulder bag. Others roll multiple Pelican cases of microphones onto the battlefield. People like Michael F. Bates prefer stealth recording. Others are drawn to the twitchy technique required for guerrilla recording. Others still prefer the structure in arranged set ups, or precisely planned sound effects gathering. Every pro has their own methodology for gathering sound clips that affects their choices. (I explored these techniques in an earlier post.)

Field Recording Technique

Mattia Cellotto preforming on "Life Force"

Mattia Cellotto preforming contact mic recordings

There’s another approach to gear selection that I missed during the first series: technique. Certain field recordists gravitated towards gear choices for reasons that had nothing to do with the subjects they capture.

One inspiring approach was to choose equipment as a means of expression itself. For instance, Mattia Cellotto described his method of recording artistic sound effects with a contact microphone. Ian Rawes has gathered sound effects from every corner of London using a binaural kit.

I also found it interesting when field recordists chose gear based the type of equipment. Gordon McGladdery sought flexible, multi-pattern microphones. Trevor Cox’s kit was grounded in a scientific exploration of audio. Melissa Pons experimented with mid-side recordings. In the past, we saw Tamas Dragon’s choice grew out a desire for extreme portability. Michael Maroussas shared with us an evolution of an eclectic kit.

Given all this, what do we see? Is there a pattern to the microphones, recorders, and manufactures people mentioned?

Thoughts on Field Recording Microphones

Once again Sennheiser microphones reigned supreme. The MKH series was a popular choice. Like the year before, the MKH 8040s were commonly used for stereo ambience recording, while the MKH 30 and MKH 40 and other versions appeared in M/S arrangements. The classic MKH 416 shotgun also popped up a few times. We also saw a few rare Sennheiser versions, such as the MKH 8050 and MKH 8060 (supercardiods). Sound quality and low noise floor was a common compliment given to these microphones.

And, while Sennheiser models were common, they were by no means as popular as the previous year. Schoeps microphones showed up more frequently. People enjoyed flexible capsule system and its sound quality, making a common appearance in M/S set ups (MK 41 + MK 8).

The miniature 4060 and 4061 DPA microphones appeared again, cited as giving good value for sound, flexibility, and stealth potential. Other, more uncommon DPA models were praised, too. Ian Rawes used a pair of 2006C omnidirectionals in a clever binaural set up. Axel Rohrbach prized his DPA 4007 for is “clean, smooth character” and tight low end. DPA seems to a bit of an unsuspecting field recording choice, yet is consistently rated as top quality, low noise, and having excellent sound.

Neumann microphones earn a lot of respect but don’t seem to find their way into many kits outside of the studio. Exceptions include Gordon Hempton’s rare KU 81i dummy head. The Neumann KM 120 figure-of-eight and KMR 81 shotgun made rare appearances, as did the return of the pricey and discontinued Neumann 191 stereo shotgun.

Notably, Sanken also drifted through the articles. Charles Maynes admired the CSS-5 as an “all around favorite.” This model was also preferred by Max Lachmann, who took advantage of its multi-pattern settings to use it as a shotgun to compliment a holophone setup. A rare Sanken also made it onto the list: Mattia Cellotto used a CO-100K to capture frequencies up to 100 kHz for use in sound design.

While not mentioned as commonly as the previous year, Røde was again cited as an inexpensive, reliable choice. Des Coulam used a Reporter and Lavalier. Røde shotguns are well respected. Matthew Marteinsson paired an NTG2 shotgun with a Sony PCM-D50. And the NT4 returned in Diane Hope’s hands as an inexpensive X/Y recording option.

Oktava MK-012

Oktava MK-012

The diversity of this year’s field recordists contributed to some cool, new entries. Russian manufacturer Oktava was enjoyed by Charles Maynes and Stosh Tuszynski. Their choice of the MK-012s were cited as having great sound, being flexible, and surprisingly economical for the quality.

I’m surprised that Audio Technica mics didn’t make an appearance last year. They exploded this year, though, with no less than six separate models: AT897, AT2022 (X/Y stereo), AT2035 (cardiod), AT3032 (omni), AT8022 (X/Y stereo). They were similarly known as providing good value for the money.

The rest were quite varied. Here are some notable mentions you may wish to read more about:

Thoughts on Field Recorders

Sound Devices 633

Sound Devices 633

Sound Devices remained as popular as they were last year. Their dedicated recorders were the main choice for sound pros, who sometimes supplemented them with complimentary mixers. Integrated units such as the 633 grew in popularity but the 7-series recorders remained overwhelmingly prized. Field recordists raved about the preamp quality, as well as the sturdy build of these units.

Sony portable recorders remained popular as well. The Sony PCM-D100 appeared to have become the go-to pocket recorder. Its older sibling, the D50, and its cousin, the M10, also found their way into the field often.

Zoom H4n

Zoom H4n

Let’s not forget the Zoom series, however. The H4n is probably the portable recorder most beginning field recordists first buy. Its fans noted issues with preamp noise in legacy units, however its value appeared to be in its TRS/XLR connectivity. This allowed new recordists to buy an inexpensive kit, then gradually supplement it with pro microphones without breaking the bank all at once. Note that Zoom has released the H4n Pro that apparently improves upon preamp and build quality.

Zoom has a remarkable diversity of recorders. The H2 and H2n were interesting multi-channel choices. The H6 picked up where these left off as a 6-channel recorder offering interchangeable capsules.

Zoom F8

Zoom F8

A lot of curiosity has swirled around Zoom’s F8, a professional unit with time-code. This year Paul Col added the 8-channel recorder to his kit for less than $1000. Zoom recently released the F4 with four channels for just $650.

A handful of other notable portable recorders made appearances, including the Tascam DR–05s, Olympus LS–10, Olympus NS–10, and Marantz PMD 661 MkII.

Zaxcom Maxx

Zaxcom Maxx

While Sound Devices remained the dominant dedicated recorder option, some welcome alternative choices rounded things out a bit with the Zaxcom Maxx and Tascam DR–70D. In one interesting departure, Axel Rohrbach performed an extensive audio recorder comparison for his demanding shoots, and decided upon the elite Sonosax SX-R4+.

Sonosax SX-R4+

Sonosax SX-R4+

A New Look at Equipment

I found this series an interesting departure from the previous year. In the first year, I took the easy road and reached out to friends and colleagues I had already known. That meant they mostly shared my own background in post production and field recording for sound libraries. The gear choices reflected that.

This year I broadened the scope. There were more nature recordists and game audio pros in this series, for example. As a result, we saw a wider range of gear from diverse manufacturers. I enjoyed being introduced to new equipment, such as Trevor Cox’s Bruel and Kjaer kit, and the Sonosax offerings Axel Rohrbach chose. While Sony and Zoom portables were predominant, it was refreshing to learn about handheld options from Tascam, Olympus, and Marantz.

Generally speaking, though, microphones selections were situational: a choice depended on the subject a pro tracked and how they preferred to work. Interestingly, recorder choices seemed more strongly tied to brand loyalty. That makes sense. A digital audio recorder is the headquarters of field recording: microphones can be swapped and upgraded, headphones can be retired and exchanged, but the base recorder usually stays the same. Naturally, the pros enjoyed the features and workflow that a recorder provided. In addition, though, the digital recorder buying choices appeared to be more carefully considered, and had more staying power as well.

Yes, microphones were chosen for how cleanly they captured audio, and how well they were suited to gathering sound from a particular perspective. Recorders were chosen for cost or portability, interface options, channel flexibility, and the preamp’s all-important clarity. Each kit does this with varying degree of success, depending on the aim of the creator and the subject they pursue.

After compiling 49 interviews and tabulating over one hundred models of equipment, a broader perspective emerged. Equipment was chosen to solve problems. In a sense, that phrase doesn’t give selections much credit. Certainly pick-up pattern, noise floor, and sonic richness have more impact than that, don’t they? They do, when the idea is considered from another angle: equipment may seem like a lifeless contribution to the craft of field recording until you realize that their ease of use purifies the expression of a field recordist’s vision.

In this way, after reviewing the choices from these fans of field recording, the exact models, their pick up patterns, and price points began to fade away. Instead, they emerged to become something more unifying than disparate brands and features: the medium for translating the audio they love into sounds to be preserved and shared.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the series, and shared the articles with others.

Read More About Field Recording Equipment





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