Advice needed / compact audio recorder

I've been using the Voice Memos iOS app to capture random noises in life, and I'm wanting to go up a notch or two in terms of overall signal recording quality, etc. Sort of a found sounds mission companion. Like this evening, there's a wicked bug / beast up in a tree that is doing his best to find a mate or something, but he's terrible at it, and would make a great trap hihat loop with a little bit of post processing. But I got nothing usable from my phone. I am not looking to go as far as a full field recording setup with external mics just yet. I just want something that can fit in my pocket or go up a tree on a pulley system I make to capture bug music and whatnot. Any thoughts on what to look for, brands, experiences, etc would be much appreciated!

Comments

  • edited August 15

    I have some portable recorders and I've really grown to like my newest one, a Tascam DR-22WL.

    You can place it wherever you want and control it wirelessly from your iOS device, then transfer the recording to your iOS device wirelessly as well.

  • @skiphunt said:
    I have some portable recorders and I've really grown to like my newest one, a Tascam DR-22WL.

    You can place it wherever you want and control it wirelessly from your iOS device, then transfer the recording to your iOS device wirelessly as well.

    Sweet! Can it stream audio to an ios device for monitoring?

  • @AudioGus said:

    @skiphunt said:
    I have some portable recorders and I've really grown to like my newest one, a Tascam DR-22WL.

    You can place it wherever you want and control it wirelessly from your iOS device, then transfer the recording to your iOS device wirelessly as well.

    Sweet! Can it stream audio to an ios device for monitoring?

    You can monitor & set levels before & while recording, and you can stream the recording to your iOS device to check it after recording and before transfer, but I don't think you can stream it live.

  • @brice said:
    ... I just want something that can fit in my pocket or go up a tree on a pulley system I make to capture bug music and whatnot. Any thoughts on what to look for, brands, experiences, etc would be much appreciated!

    hey, eventually you found a reasonable use for a selfie-stick o:)
    imho you should just stay with your iPhone (post iPhone 5) because they have quality mics and preamp stages.
    They deliver an effective (measured) 60dB signal to noise ration, if you use them in 'measurement mode' with an app that can manually set the gain (like Audioshare)

  • @brice Hey, if the DR-22WL looks like something you might be interested in and have specific questions about it, feel free to pm me. :)

  • @Telefunky said:

    @brice said:
    ... I just want something that can fit in my pocket or go up a tree on a pulley system I make to capture bug music and whatnot. Any thoughts on what to look for, brands, experiences, etc would be much appreciated!

    hey, eventually you found a reasonable use for a selfie-stick o:)
    imho you should just stay with your iPhone (post iPhone 5) because they have quality mics and preamp stages.
    They deliver an effective (measured) 60dB signal to noise ration, if you use them in 'measurement mode' with an app that can manually set the gain (like Audioshare)

    Interesting. I'm a bit naive on this particular thing, so forgive me if I'm misreading. But in your opinion there's no measurable benefit to purchasing something like that Tascam @skiphunt is speaking of and what I already have (iphone 6S). Because I'm not at that satisfied with the noise floor and over compensation I am getting with my basic recordings on my phone. But I'm also unaware of measurement mode, and I'm only using the basic iOS recorder. I will look into the steps you mentioned and try it out. I guess I just automatically assumed a devoted recorder must be better than what I've already got. Thanks for the info!

  • @skiphunt said:
    @brice Hey, if the DR-22WL looks like something you might be interested in and have specific questions about it, feel free to pm me. :)

    PM headed your way!

  • encenc
    edited August 16

    The thing is , with any mic you need to get in close to your audio source. Recording bugs in trees will always produce background noise/ higher noise floor as the mic fitted on the iPhone Is a "jack of all trades" unless you get real close to the bug. for your purpose,! you need a specialist "shotgun" mic.... even the tascam mics mentioned above whilst an improvement on the iPhone mic are not ideal. I have a tascam dr44w and a zoom h2n I wouldn't recommend either for your purpose.
    On a similar subject, there was outcry over here when the BBC admitted to using overdubbed audio in its flagship nature program due to the very issue you have.

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/planet-earth-2-bbc-sound-effects-fake-a7438336.html?amp

  • @brice the standard recording mode is a low cut filter and an automatic gain control optimized for speach (skype etc). With the noise of a bug or similiar it will detect nothing and rise gain to full level and then modulate it with whatever sound occurs and pumps like hell.
    You don't even need to set gain full up because it can do 24bit recordings.
    The original take may seem rather quiet in level, but you can rise it afterwards which results in a reasonable constant noise level.
    Handling noise is a much bigger concern - I have the Blue Mikey thing for my iPhone 3gs (which can be plugged directly to the phone), but it's unusable if the device is hold by hand.
    The same problem will show up with most every mic as moving/touching of the cable will be captured by the capsule (more or less).

    For serious attempts you would use a parabolic reflector to focus the sound - but that's not a device one carries around on regular walks o:)

  • edited August 16

    @Telefunky parabolic reflector you say? Time to fit the dog with "the cone of shame." B) Just kidding!

    @brice get Audioshare, which then allows you access to measurement mode (in the Audioshare hardware settings option) and gain control (for reducing gain! No more distorted rehearsal recordings). It will be in mono of course.

    Tascam im2w (on amazon) and a 30 pin to lightning adapter (official, not knock off) is a very cheap way to have a decent stereo mic on ios right now.

  • This is something I like to talk about a lot because it is something that is not well known. Like Telefunky said the Measurement Mode has next to no processing on it where as the default setting for the internal mic had auto gain and a high pass filter on it. You really do not want those when you are getting samples for music. The mic on the iPhone really is quite good. It really captures a lot of the low end when in measurement mode. And like another saying goes, "The best mic is the mic you have with you."

    Another thing I like to do is use a regular mic windscreen stretched over the end of the phone. This helps a lot with the wind. The sponge also fits in my pocket to the point of forgetting its there. This is really good for recording voice too.

    Lastly a good EQ can help. Like the one I make... :D I imagined you were trying to capture the sound of a cicada... I demoed how it could help and uploaded the preset to Discchord's new preset sharing feature. So at this link there is a preset you can download for Goose EQ and a video...

    https://discchord.com/presets/id1157412219/cicada-capure

  • I've had a tascam forever, a simple one with a line in and a stereo pair, and was solid and fantastic.

    I recently replaced it with a zoom h4n pro, which has a line in, a stereo pair built in, and 2 xlr inputs. The inputs can all be combined and even multitracked.

    Basically, figure out your budget, look at what tascam and zoom have to offer and the features you need/want. The h4n pro with all the bells and whistles was less than $200

  • Zoom makes wonderful stuff. I don't know much about trying to get the stuff you're looking for, but I have been blown away by the quality of recording using nothing but a zoom.

  • I use the zoom h4n pro for my videos. Super great quality. One of my most used pieces of gear.

  • @mrufino1 said:
    @Telefunky parabolic reflector you say? Time to fit the dog with "the cone of shame." B) Just kidding!

    @brice get Audioshare, which then allows you access to measurement mode (in the Audioshare hardware settings option) and gain control (for reducing gain! No more distorted rehearsal recordings). It will be in mono of course.

    Tascam im2w (on amazon) and a 30 pin to lightning adapter (official, not knock off) is a very cheap way to have a decent stereo mic on ios right now.

    I built a parabolic microphone years and years ago for a science fair. Used one of those plastic discs intended for sledding. It was great for listening to the neighbors' conversations- "What is that kid across the street doing with that big orange thing?"

  • :) Today a small size satelite antenna might apply:
    put the mic/phone at the position of the receiving element so the capsule is in focus direction. You'll need some kind of sledge to move the mic away from the dish, though, because the original focal point is set for 'infinity'.
    For nearer objects it moves significantly away from the dish at the tilt angle of the LNC.
    Same with car light refectors, where the focus for an object in 10ft distance is likely outside of the reflector and not at the bulb's position.

  • You can also checkout for Apowersoft audio recorder software, the best way to record sound from your computer and microphone simultaneously. It allows you to record any audio in high quality and it supports various format.

  • @Telefunky said:
    :) Today a small size satelite antenna might apply:
    put the mic/phone at the position of the receiving element so the capsule is in focus direction. You'll need some kind of sledge to move the mic away from the dish, though, because the original focal point is set for 'infinity'.
    For nearer objects it moves significantly away from the dish at the tilt angle of the LNC.

    Would one use an omni pattern mic? Or cardioid, pointed back at the dish? I'm assuming you'd be interested solely in the sound bouncing off the dish.

  • the directional effect is shurely better with a cardioid mic, but (most) cardioids are rather sensitive to frequency response off axis, so an omni might deliver a better sound.
    Depends on the specific mic in my estimation, because I never tried it myself.

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