Archives For Gear

Is it that time again?

iZotope recently released the latest version of their suite of audio repair tools, RX 6. New numbered releases of the widely respected software have been revealed at regular intervals. RX 4 arrived August 2014. Just over a year later, RX 5 was released September 2015. RX 6 has waited longer than that gap of 13 months, being unveiled in April of this year, 19 months after the last version.

What has the wait brought us? Today’s post will take a first look at new features and changes to the industry leading audio repair software.

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A while back I wrote a review of a popular community portable audio recorder, the Sony PCM-D100.

At that time, a number of people mentioned that there a number of better options than the stock windjammer that is shipped with the D100. So, I decided to buy the Sony PCM-D100 Rycote windjammer ($34.50) and try it myself.

So, today’s post introduces a new feature I’ve been meaning to add to a site: a video article: Sony PCM-D100 Windjammer Test: Sony vs. Rycote.


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A few years ago I published a post called the Field Recording Gear Buyer’s Guide. It was intended to help field recording fans decide how to choose the best pro audio equipment for them.

It wasn’t just a list of gear stats, though. It was written for new field recordists. After all, it’s hard to know what is the best gear amongst the hundreds of options available. So, the post was designed to help people grow through their kit choices. It begins by sharing sub-$200 kits that help beginners get started. Each later section of the post included ideas on supplementing their existing kit economically, then switching out to more expensive upgrades, later. That was meant to mimic the natural progression of a field recordist’s career: from simple, enthusiast equipment to elaborate, expensive pro options.

Today’s post also features field recording equipment options. However, it takes a different approach. Some field recording equipment is used only in rare, special situations. So, it’s not commonly added to a growing sound pro’s kit. That’s why specialized equipment didn’t appear in the previous post. Just the same, we shouldn’t leave unique or unusual field recording tools neglected, should we?

Today’s article explores those options in The Unconventional Microphone Buyer’s Guide.

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I experienced a series of surprises while browsing my Twitter feed earlier last month. The first was an announcement of Todd-AO’s new dialogue noise reduction software, Absentia DX. The second was that it was produced by respected Hollywood sound supervisor and field recordist Rob Nokes. The third was that it was priced at $49.

Now, I have zero experience editing dialogue for feature films. So, why would this announcement intrigue me? Of course, I didn’t expect to be cutting dialogue. Instead, my first thought was: “can this work on field recordings?”

I emailed Nokes. I asked if it was possible to use Absentia with sound effects. He mentioned that his teams were already using it with Foley tracks. That was all I needed to know. I purchased and installed the software a half hour later.

How well does Absentia work with sound fx tracks? Will it improve troubled field recordings laced with buzz or noise? Does it have potential to rival iZotope RX’s noise reduction software at a tenth of the price? Can “Absentia DX” serve as “Absentia FX?”

In today’s post we will find out. In this “first look” article, we’ll see if a dialogue noise reduction tool can be hacked to help master damaged sound effects captured in the field.

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Sony PCM-D100 Angle

I've been meaning to write a review of the Sony's PCM-D100 portable audio recorder for some time now.

The D100 is the successor to Sony's popular PCM-D50 model. The D50 is known for its excellent sound quality, impressive battery life, and sturdy construction. How does the PCM-D100 (US$775) measure up to its older brother? This article will take a "deep dive" into the D100 to learn what's new, what's changed, and how it performs in the field. It also includes dozens of field recordings from the D100 and other recorders that you can download and experiment with yourself. So, settle in and join me to explore this popular portable audio recorder.

Please note, I'm very detailed. This is an in-depth review that will take approximately 24 minutes to read. If you prefer, click the link below to email yourself a copy to read later.


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Today I am very happy to feature a special surprise final guest to the “A Month of Field Recordist” series.

Frank Bry has been field recording for game audio and sound fx publishers since the 1990s. He has been an inspiration for the field recording community. He has generously described techniques for capturing tricky sound effect subjects on his blog and on Designing Sound. He shares his work in pristine sound fx libraries hosted on his Web shop. He has been a pioneer of the indie sound effect library movement that has reshaped the way sound effects are shared worldwide.

Frank kindly shared his thoughts on field recording here on the blog back in 2013. Today he graciously agreed to describe his kit and the workflow he uses to capture his field recordings.

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Last year I compiled the advice from the pros in the “A Month of Field Recordists” into a compact post explaining how to choose the best gear yourself: the Field Recording Gear Buyer’s Guide.

Of course, no single kit is perfect for everyone. So, that article offered tips to help people choose gear that was best for them along the arc of their field recording gear.

Today, I’ve published an update. That page now includes more suggestions, including tips from the pros in the 2016 series, and community advice, too.

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Today’s post features the second of three articles about community field recording equipment. In the last article, we looked at what portable and dedicated audio recorders people prefer, and why. Now we will see what microphones the survey respondents liked, their dream field recording kits, their budget selections, and more.

Let’s get started.

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The posts last month taught us a lot about what gear field recordists use in the field. Those 23 interviews, as well as the 26 from the year before, gave us a comprehensive overview of what those field recording fans choose when capturing sound effects beyond the studio.

That series showed us how those 49 sound pros explore field recording. Last week’s post dissected their equipment preferences. Of course, there are field recording fans all over the globe performing the craft in their own way. I wanted to give everyone a chance to share their views. So, I set up a brief survey to learn what kit you use, what equipment you crave, and your advice for beginners. I curious to learn if pro choices matched the reality on the street.

Thank you very much to everyone who participated. And participate you did. There was lots of fascinating information, so much so that I’ll share your ideas in three, quick posts:

  1. Audio recorders.
  2. Microphones and favourite kits.
  3. Community tips.

Let’s get rolling.

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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.



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