Recording device on journey for close range vocals

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by Peteri82, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. Peteri82

    Peteri82 Guest


    I am recording vocals on jurneys, outside of home, for several reasons, so I need it to record to portable device. I was using iPod, but it's terrible recorder.

    I was searching for voice recorders, and there is a problem. I need mono microphone of course, but only cheap ones does have mono microphone. But they are useless, they have very bad quality of sounds, no features etc. Any better recording device have stereo built-in microphone, which is catching sounds all around, and stereo sound doesn't fit for close range vocals, as it is not centered, and even minor move will disturb centeration.
    Some of the more expensive ones have mono option, but it's not good. It will mix it inside like stereo sounds, and quality for voice is gone... and it is catching all surounds sounds, echoes simply doesn't match mono point microphone.

    I am shocked I cannot find any decent device for this purpose, all are stereo, for wide-range scene recordings.
    Is there any small portable device with mono microphone, with decent quality? I don't want to carry mono microphone with me.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Are you sure you are not confusing mono sound with microphone directionality? I can understand that you want to limit the capture angle in order to reduce out-of-field sound pickup, but this isn't actually anything to do with whether you are recording in mono or stereo. If you were to find a portable recorder with a single (mono) microphone, it would probably be omni-directional and capture sounds equally from all directions. Most dictaphones and memo recorders are in this category.

    You will find that most quality all-in-one portable stereo recorders are fitted with cardioid electret microphone capsules. The cardioid pattern of each microphone is directional, and you could treat the device as a dual-mono unit. If you put a thin band of coloured tape round one of the capsules (don't cover any of the sound holes) to show which you are nominating as the active one, you can then use that microphone in directional terms with its recorded track, ignoring the other capsule and its recorded track. No track mixing involved.

    However, these are still condenser mics, and they do tend to pick up more sound from outside the published pickup pattern than a dynamic microphone would. If you need more directionality than a standard cardioid condenser can give, you would have to go to an external microphone plugged into a portable recorder. These might include dynamic mics, or a shotgun-style condenser mic of the type used on film sets.
  3. Peteri82

    Peteri82 Guest

    Hello, many thanks for the advice.

    Yes, I know that mono microphone doesn't mean it has pointed range like shotgun mice. I don't know right terminology, so I apologize.
    Yes, I had the idea I will buy stereo recording device like for example Pocketrack C24, and will speak to it not from front, but from right or left, and then I'll take only one channel of stereo recording, from that side, I am speaking from. But I am affraid, if even those two microphones aren't those type, that will catch all depths stuff around, so you can hear every little move... so do you think, it would be better option? I just need, that there is no left-to-right moving of my voice heard.

    Another option I have just discover is mini microphone. I don't want to carry big mic with me, but this mini microphone,(Dead Link Removed)
    would be option. Now, is it that type of mic, that has point range like shotgun one?
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    Akron/Cleveland, OH
    Home Page:
    Perhaps if you were more specific as to what you want to use it for?

    Are you using this for vocal/singing ideas that you can then transfer via USB into a digital audio editor or multi track recording program?

    Or is this merely a "digital note pad" kind of thing that journalists and authors use to record thoughts/ ideas as they come to them?

    Perhaps something like this? - Olympus DR-1000 Executive Digital Desktop Dictation Kit
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    The microphone you linked to would be an example of the low-cost omni-directional sort, except that it's not low-cost.

    I'm sorry but I don't really see your problem with using one track of a standard portable stereo recorder. There cannot be "left-to-right moving of my voice" in a mono recording.
  6. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    Thank you for you advice.
    Yes, the mic I've listed is really omnidirectional, so it's not better option
    I was able to find uni-directional one Olympus ME-52W Noise Canceling Microphone: Electronics

    till now I didn't found anything better, but it's quality, how it improve the sound of built in mic is important question.
    But still, it helps at least with it, that it's unidirectional, so it don't catch so much noice from around.

    Donyair, you've quessed it right, as you can read in my first post, it will be really for vocals. So it will be for one voice source from close range. In easy words, I'm just finding smallest microphone for singing, that is suitable for journeys, to have it throwed somewhere in bag, and when I am in nature for example, and I get taste to sing something and recording, I have it all the time with me. I never know, when that taste come, I don't plan it.
    So I am best interested for kind of small portable device, in which there's unidirectional microphone. The quality doesn't have to be pro, I'm doing it for pleasure as amateur work, not for something proffesional.

    Now, there is one more important paramter, because of what, Zoom H1 is already out.
    It is, I will be hold it in hand. So, device have to have quality construction, so crackling sounds are not heard. I saw H1, and it's like a toy... every move make crackling sounds of those loose plastics. In many reviews, they don't recomend it for holding in hand, but to be placed on table.

    To now, I have yet only two solutions:
    Digital Voice Recorder | ICD-SX712 | Sony USA
    which still have omnidirectional microphones. Even when I take only one channel, there will be lots of noice from around.
    But seems it have good construction, which is important, when I want to hold it in hand and size is also very acceptable.

    ICD-UX522 | Voice and music recorders | Features | ICDUX522W.CE7 | ICDUX522 | Sony
    with Olympus ME-52W Noise Canceling Microphone: Electronics

    The first is almost double price, but I think, that even built in mics of SonySX712 will be better than that Olympus ME52 mic. Also there is option to set recording volume by pieces, not only Lo/Me/Hi. The only advantage of ME52 mic will be, that it is uni-directional.
  7. Peter82

    Peter82 Guest

    After long discovery research was finaly able to find perfect solution:

    Olympus LS-3 PCM recorder (which is low-end of audio line)
    (or cheaper version Olympus DM-650, which is high-end line voice recorder)

    They have UNI-directional microphones on side, so finaly will not catch all surounding sounds and so it's perfect for vocals from close range.
    Metal case, compact design. No way, it's best for the price I ever saw. This LS-3 made Sony to stop SX712 to produce and upgrade it to more similiar version. I would say it's mistake to buy Sony 712, when for similar price you can have LS-3 which is much better. But I would say, that even DM-650 is probably better, which is even more cheap.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    RODE of Australia, now makes a lovely, high quality XY, stereo condenser microphone and applet/software, for the iPhone 4 with a $99 upgrade to the iPhone 5. It's fully professional. One of the first of its kind of a new generation designed for smart phone use as a professional audio recorder. So while it's still one more gizmo it's really not one more gizmo that is separate from your other gizmo iPhone. Not sure about the iPAD, however? But you probably have an iPhone in addition to your iPAD?

    All of this is fine if you're going to stick this in somebody's face. It's really designed for music entertainment recording. But spoken word will also require adequate foam pop filtering. Otherwise the blasts and the P-Pop's will make it unlistenable, unrecoverable and in short, just plain awful. And people who do not use foam pop filters for those applications are also just plain stupid. So it doesn't matter how good the microphone is if all your recordings are rife with loud blasts and P's popping out at you constantly. Never mind if the microphone has a big metal ball on it to prevent that... it ain't enough. And that's a promise. So if spoken word is important to you? That's how you must do it. Otherwise you have wasted your money completely and might as well use a $30 battery-operated cassette recorder from 1983.

    So you either need something professional or you just need something that will record someone's speech so you can document, transcribe and write it down perhaps? Which means nothing would matter and anything would work. It really has nothing to do whether the microphone is directional or not. It's good to have a directional microphone if you know where to point it and if you know that the low frequencies must be rolled off when dealing with speech. Otherwise you get a bucket of mud.

    If you have no idea what you're doing, what you need, how things work, your chances of getting a decent recording are slim and nil, regardless of what you pay for a gizmo unless you know what you're doing and you don't. A noise canceling microphone is superfluous if you don't understand how it works. Your results will then be twice as bad as awful. You can't make decisions by guessing. Well this Olympus thing says noise canceling microphone so it has to be good right? What is it you are noise canceling or need to cancel? And just how far away from the actual sound source will you be? Is it a speaker? Is it someone's face? Your question is like mommy will UFO land in our back yard? I don't know? Look up and see if you see any coming?

    So what really is it you intend to record, how where and why? Where does it hurt? Does it hurt in your head? Does it hurt in your tummy? Or did you stick something into your butt you shouldn't have? Then mommy can help you better if you tell her.

    I hope you are beyond diapers? Only my tracks says, I pick them up. It's true.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  9. Peter82

    Peter82 Guest

    Hello Rammy.

    Thanks for your effort to make such big message.

    Unfortunately, you've guessed just opposite, I don't have the iPhone. Even the iPod is not mine. The only reason I am using iPod is, beucase I didn't have anything, and friend which didn't use it, borrowed it me, to have at least something for recording. I am just opposite what is called iStuff fan.
    To be honest, the only thing I liked about iPod is metal construction...

    But back from offtopic to recorders.
    I've found out exact solution for my needs:
    High-end Olympus DM-650 digital recorder (about 120 eur)


    Low-end Olympus LS-3 PCM Linear recorder for proffesianal musicans. (about 160 eur)
    LS-3 | Linear PCM Recorder | Olympus Imaging Asia

    Here is the review, where both devices are in test with other recorders. In Test, Part 2 sample recordings are for interviews, so human voices: - Fresh sounds in 2012

    DM-650 for its price pretty much owns everyhing in his category, and is probably exactly what i was looking for. Not sure If I pay more for LS-3, as from sample recordings, the quality of voice on DM-650 seems even better to me, than to LS-3.

    Not only this devices are compact, has metal case, have sensitivity of microphones, but quality of recording is just astoning. It has uni-directional microphones on sides, what is just what I was looking for, as when I speak to one of them, and take only that channel from stereo track, it will be basicaly uni-directional mono microphone, with high quality... which is exactly what is most suitable for catching one voice source from close range.
    When I sum all this stuff, there is probably nothing more suitable than this, for this purpose, for the price. It left behind pretty much everything I was able to find on internet. Big applaus to Olympus for these recorders.
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