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Author Topic: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?  (Read 1519 times)

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Offline soulsirkus

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Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« on: September 07, 2018, 02:44:47 PM »
Hi, I'm new to this forum. A few years ago I started recording hard rock shows with my digital camera, but now I would like to get better sound quality. Therefore I would like to buy an audio recorder and a set of small microphones to record the audio separately. I have been looking at Roland R-07 and Tascam DR-40, but the more I read about audio recorders the less I know what to choose. I don't have any technical knowledge, so I really need your advice. So I hope to get advice about which audio recorder to buy for recording loud, hard rock shows. Do I also need external microphones and if yes, which ones would be best? Thanks in advance for your advice!

Offline ycoop

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2018, 05:20:45 PM »
Buying a pair of external mics is highly recommended. Depending which external mics you choose you’ll take one of two general routes.

External mics that can be powered by phantom power (I.e. power provided by a recorder or preamp through XLR cables that’s in the 24/48 V range). This is the case for most (all?) full bodied mics as well as setups where the microphone capsule is separated from the body/preamp (known as an “active setup”). The latter is preferred by many here, but the kit needed for this is definitely not cheap. In terms of the recorders you mentioned, the DR-40 can provide phantom power through its XLR jacks while the R-07 cannot. If you were to run mics requiring phantom power you would need an external pre amp capable of providing phantom power if you wanted to use the R-07. Keep in mind that providing phantom power can quickly drain batteries, so you’ll also have to consider providing adequate power to the recorder or preamp itself.

Other mics (such as the Church Audio series) are smaller and require less voltage. These mics can be run on what is called “plug in power” which is somewhere in the 5V range. This level of power can be provided by the R-07, but it is highly recommended to use an external preamp or battery box as while the voltage most recorders provide can power the mics enough for them to function, they don’t provide enough power for the mics to function to their maximum potential. Specifically, at the power most recorders provide microphones will become overloaded at higher SPLs leading to audible distortion.

Given that you’re looking to go with a smaller profile rig, I suggest looking at the mics made by Church Audio or the AT-853s. Church audio always makes a few different battery boxes/preamps that you might consider. If you have a significant amount of money available to spend, you’ll be served well going with an active setup. If you choose to go the active route, make sure to do a lot of reading about the gear needed to do so.

I also recommend listening to as many tapes as you can find of different types of mics before making a purchase.

Hope this answered some questions you may have and that it also raised new ones. Taping is a technical hobby, but that makes it all the more rewarding. There’s some excellent information on all of this (and more) on the forums. Poke around a bit and you’ll find a lot of useful info. The crew here are a generally helpful and accepting bunch, so don’t hesitate to ask questions.

Welcome to the section!
Mics: Avantone CK-1s, CA-14 omnis
Pres: CA9100
Recorders: DR-60d mkII, DR-22wl, DR-07

Offline soulsirkus

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2018, 07:42:48 PM »
Thank you very much, Ycoop! You certainly answered some of my questions, but as you guessed, I have some new ones too. If I understand you correctly, with the Tascam I don't need a battery box or pre-amp and with the Roland I do need it. I don't want to spend a fortune, I'm thinking about $ 250 for the audio recorder and about the same for the external microphones. Which setup would you choose for that? 

Offline MakersMarc

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2018, 08:32:02 PM »
Vote for the Churchie cardioid mikes, a cable extension for open taping, church preamp and either a used sony m10 or R07. Under your budget.
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Offline ycoop

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2018, 09:07:08 PM »
Thank you very much, Ycoop! You certainly answered some of my questions, but as you guessed, I have some new ones too. If I understand you correctly, with the Tascam I don't need a battery box or pre-amp and with the Roland I do need it. I don't want to spend a fortune, I'm thinking about $ 250 for the audio recorder and about the same for the external microphones. Which setup would you choose for that?

Something I forgot about was that the DR-40 doesn’t have a 1/8” jack, so you would need some adaptors to make that work. Going with what Marc suggested is a good bet.
Mics: Avantone CK-1s, CA-14 omnis
Pres: CA9100
Recorders: DR-60d mkII, DR-22wl, DR-07

Offline pontiacb

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2018, 04:53:24 AM »
Vote for the Churchie cardioid mikes, a cable extension for open taping, church preamp and either a used sony m10 or R07. Under your budget.
I agree with this, but if you are taping loud rock shows an external pre amp seems a bit over the top and could be replaced by a far cheaper battery box which would save you perhaps $80.  The church cards, battery box and M10  (or R07 or similar) serve a lot of people I know well and is a simple set up to use.  It should come in close to your budget.

Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2018, 08:55:13 AM »
Vote for the Churchie cardioid mikes, a cable extension for open taping, church preamp and either a used sony m10 or R07. Under your budget.
I agree with this, but if you are taping loud rock shows an external pre amp seems a bit over the top and could be replaced by a far cheaper battery box which would save you perhaps $80.  The church cards, battery box and M10  (or R07 or similar) serve a lot of people I know well and is a simple set up to use.  It should come in close to your budget.

I'll second (third?) all this as well. Either Church CA-11 or CA-14 cardioid mics, a battery box, and an M10/R07/R05 is an excellent compact setup and should be doable for under $400 total.

Offline ilduclo

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2018, 09:29:49 AM »
I’d look in the yard sale for a decent pair of non Church Audio mics and a battery box.

Here is a good deal from a guy who has a good reputation here

http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=187806.0

Or a good starting point for a beginner for new mics is the Coresound low cost omnis or cards. Sound Professionals also have some decent low cost items.

Look at some of the threads about customer service and reliability before buying any products.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2018, 09:32:44 AM by ilduclo »

Offline dointhatrag

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2018, 09:50:52 AM »
How long is your hair? I put mc930's above my ears using a bandana and made my best  stealth ever, I could provide a link I used a pdm620 with a denecke 48v p/s

Also I stealthed a show with expensive DPA's and someone with church mics made a way better recording.
Schoeps + Neumann + DPA - Sonosax PR - Apogee Mini Me - 24/96

Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2018, 10:30:44 AM »
I’d look in the yard sale for a decent pair of non Church Audio mics and a battery box.

Here is a good deal from a guy who has a good reputation here

http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=187806.0

Having done a lot of recording with the AT-853s and with Church CA-14 cards, I would say that they're awfully close to identical in quality. So whichever you find in the yard sale should do you nicely. (The only reason to avoid Church mics would be Church's sometimes lackadaisical approach to shipping times, which isn't an issue if you're buying used.)

Having done a lot of recording previous to that with the Core-Sound low-cost cardioids, I would not recommend them — they're pretty tinny compared to the above mics. Their binaurals are better, but if you're only going to buy one set of mics for diverse uses, you probably want cards.

Offline jagraham

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2018, 02:17:04 PM »
Having done a lot of recording with the AT-853s and with Church CA-14 cards, I would say that they're awfully close to identical in quality. So whichever you find in the yard sale should do you nicely. (The only reason to avoid Church mics would be Church's sometimes lackadaisical approach to shipping times, which isn't an issue if you're buying used.)

Having done a lot of recording previous to that with the Core-Sound low-cost cardioids, I would not recommend them — they're pretty tinny compared to the above mics. Their binaurals are better, but if you're only going to buy one set of mics for diverse uses, you probably want cards.

Also the AT-853 cables have a stronger build IMO. They do in fact sound about the same as CA-14s, but the CA mics have very tiny cables. Now keep in mind this is great for stealth as the cables are smaller (easier to hide), but if you are doing a lot of stealth recording the cables will eventually need repair. You can find many threads on this topic over the last decade. Another plus for the AT-853s is they (or at least mine) have caps that switch and the option of hypers and subcards. IMO the CAs and ATs have much better quality sound than the CSCs, I would avoid those altogether and go with CA or AT mics which only cost marginally more.


Thank you very much, Ycoop! You certainly answered some of my questions, but as you guessed, I have some new ones too. If I understand you correctly, with the Tascam I don't need a battery box or pre-amp and with the Roland I do need it. I don't want to spend a fortune, I'm thinking about $ 250 for the audio recorder and about the same for the external microphones. Which setup would you choose for that? 

This will depend on your mics. I'm not sure what power the Tascam DR-40 provides, but for my CA and AT mics I prefer having a preamp or battery box between the mics and my Tascam DR-2D. The DR-2D does provide plug in power but IIRC it's not quite the amount that Church recommends for use with his mics. You don't have to have a pre or battery box, but you will probably have problems on recordings of loud music if you don't.
Mics: Nak CM-300s, Nak CM-100s, CP-1s, CP-2s, AT-853s(Cards, Hypers, Omnis) CA-14s(Cards, Omnis)
Pres: CA STC-9200, CA-UBB
Recorders: Tascam DR-70D, DR-2D, Edirol R-09

ISO: 1 Teac ME-120, CP-3 Caps, AT-853 Subcard Caps

Offline soulsirkus

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2018, 06:52:32 PM »
I would like to thank everyone who responded to this thread. I got some very clear advice. I think I will go with the R07 and then C14 or AT853 mics with a battery box. I live in the Netherlands and unfortunately we don't have many yard sales here, so I guess I will buy new mics.

Offline daspyknows

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2018, 07:11:51 PM »
I would like to thank everyone who responded to this thread. I got some very clear advice. I think I will go with the R07 and then C14 or AT853 mics with a battery box. I live in the Netherlands and unfortunately we don't have many yard sales here, so I guess I will buy new mics.

yard sale thread on this site.

Offline beatkilla

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2018, 07:37:14 PM »

Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2018, 08:09:37 AM »

Also the AT-853 cables have a stronger build IMO. They do in fact sound about the same as CA-14s, but the CA mics have very tiny cables. Now keep in mind this is great for stealth as the cables are smaller (easier to hide), but if you are doing a lot of stealth recording the cables will eventually need repair.

A good point — I've had CA-14 cables eventually fail on me (after ~5 years), whereas my AT-853s are still going strong.

Offline ilduclo

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Re: Which audio recorder and which stealth microphone should I buy?
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2018, 03:54:45 PM »
It's all in the wiring. You can pay a little or a little more for copper wire. A little more lasts a lot longer, my (used) dpa's lasted me 11 years

 

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