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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 11:16   #1
beetle
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Recording all day long: what to use?

If I am out birding this autumn and an interesting pipit or bunting flies over calling, I won't have time to get my Sennheiser ME66 out of my pocket and switch it on.

I'd like to have a sound recorder running the whole time I am in the field, with battery life that will last all day, and I suppose with enough memory for 12 hours of recordings. Any recommendations? Would the LS12 do it?

Would the internal microphones of something like the LS12, poking out of a shirt pocket, be enough to get identifiable recordings, or would I be better off with an external tie-clip microphone?

Thanks in advance,
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Old Monday 2nd October 2017, 11:35   #2
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My main worry would be rustle. A recorder poking out the pocket would just record clothing rustle even when sat still. A tie clip mic would be better but would need to be carefully sited in order to avoid rustle, on top of hat of some such provided it has sufficient wind shielding.
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Old Wednesday 4th October 2017, 19:27   #3
Jane Turner
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I use cheap generic Chinese voice recorders

this sort of thing

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Digital-So...QAAOSwEzxYU8gc

I run two - one with an olympus directional microphone which sits nicely in my camera strap looking the way I am sometimes and a second with a onmidirectional mic pinned to high on my shoulder. This second one is becuase I've missed a putative OBP which called behind me. I also carry a zoom H1, but the number of times the target of my interest shuts up when I get it out is frustrating. Yes you record breathing, rustling and wind, but if your aim is to back up ID rather than make top notch recordings - its just fine.

Here is a recording of what would have otherwise got away, since I didn't see it at all well - its a Greenish warbler - the Zoom (lower) was resting on my camera bag and the chinese generic with olympus mic was close to my face but I had my back to the wind. As you can see its done pretty well.


I'd not recommend recording for much longer than an hour, simply because the files become too unweildy. I've reached the point where I'll go home if I've forgotten the recorder. Which puts it on a par with bins and above camera and phone in my hierarchy of kit
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Old Wednesday 4th October 2017, 19:36   #4
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Here is the end of the 1st recording of the day - I can in retrospect see the Greenish Warbler calling well before I noticed it. Then I stop walking and breathing..... giving a clearer recording - then I say surely that's not just a seww-ooing chiffchaff and immediately save the recording
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Old Wednesday 4th October 2017, 20:24   #5
peter.jones
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I use a Zoom recorder (H2N), attached to my tripod with a small clamp.
It automatically starts a new file every 3 hours, but even this is too big for my PC to handle, so I use a command to split the files ( sox infile.wav output.wav trim 0 4500 : newfile : restart on a linux machine). I'm sure there will be similar in Windows too.

The internal mic seems quite good, and analysis of files if left running overnight brings out very clear sonograms.
It also records much more than I can hear with my own ears (worryingly!). e.g. a single flight call, when played back could reveal several calls gradually coming closer to me!

I suspect the Ls12 will perform just as well as the zoom.
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Old Thursday 5th October 2017, 10:54   #6
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Thank you all for your advice. I'm not too worried about quality - I just want recordings that will help with ID. So I will give it a go.
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Old Friday 6th October 2017, 02:37   #7
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Ive been meaning to try something like this myself. Not sure about the LS12, but the LS10 manual says that in 44.1/16 mode, alkaline batteries should last 16 hours. Nothing stopping you carrying spares. A Sony M10 is supposed to get 44 hours.

I think you can fit about 50 hours on a 32GB card.
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Old Friday 6th October 2017, 02:43   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane Turner View Post
I use cheap generic Chinese voice recorders

this sort of thing

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Digital-So...QAAOSwEzxYU8gc
I tried to find a local supplier of these, and ended up with an identical looking recorder that only recorded in wav format - no mp3, despite listing it in the manual, and it lost the date/time setting every time it was turned off. So beware. Other than that, it worked very well.
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Old Friday 6th October 2017, 08:25   #9
peter.jones
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pshute View Post
I tried to find a local supplier of these, and ended up with an identical looking recorder that only recorded in wav format - no mp3, despite listing it in the manual, and it lost the date/time setting every time it was turned off. So beware. Other than that, it worked very well.
That would be my other tip. You need to be extremely disciplined in the field. It's not like taking photos when you can scroll thru the thumbnails and find the pic.

You could be searching hours for a call! or never find it again. Every thing of interest needs to be logged by filename, and time within the clip, even this gets complicated if you get home and split the files!

it might be worth talking into the recording after an interesting event, or scratch your fingernails over the mic cover to give an obvious "bar" in the sonogram to assist finding things. (My previous Bat detector had a little button that you could press and let go.. it would give a perfect line in the recording's sonogram for identifying key moments)
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Old Friday 6th October 2017, 08:52   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peter.jones View Post
That would be my other tip. You need to be extremely disciplined in the field. It's not like taking photos when you can scroll thru the thumbnails and find the pic.

You could be searching hours for a call! or never find it again. Every thing of interest needs to be logged by filename, and time within the clip, even this gets complicated if you get home and split the files!

it might be worth talking into the recording after an interesting event, or scratch your fingernails over the mic cover to give an obvious "bar" in the sonogram to assist finding things. (My previous Bat detector had a little button that you could press and let go.. it would give a perfect line in the recording's sonogram for identifying key moments)
I will say - check that call it sounded like an x 15 seconds back. And if I choose to save a recording I say why at the end of it. I only record in wav anyway - you can always downgrade to mp3 if required later. And I delete anything I don't want to look through. I guess I don't worry about stuff I didn't hear since I am using it to back up my own aural observations
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Old Friday 13th October 2017, 09:27   #11
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Result

I bought an LS-12 on eBay for about 60 and have been running it while I'm out birding, even just sitting out in the garden. This morning I've got a recording of a Hawfinch flying over the garden, a decent bird in Beds.
https://soundcloud.com/mark-telfer-2...ver-eaton-bray
I'd say the microphones are at least as good as my ears - if I can hear it, I'll have a recording.
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Old Friday 13th October 2017, 10:12   #12
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great - can't recommend passive recording enough
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Old Monday 16th October 2017, 13:28   #13
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I've just started doing this - I use my standard kit (Zoom HN4 and Rode NTG4 mic) which I wear over my shoulder in a bespoke harness/strap. This means my mic is always pointing upward, ideal for flyovers (which is really why I trialed it in the first place) but with the gain turned right up, I record most of the other stuff that is audible as well. You're not going to get the most beautiful, crystal clear recordings - but it might make the difference between nailing that flyover rarity, or aiding the documentation of that skulking warbler.

The mic does pic up a lot of wind, and obviously you can here me walking, saying hello to people etc. With a program like Audacity, it's simple to chop out all of the unwanted stuff, and reduce wind noise quite effectively too. If you have the kit, I really recommend this.

There's a few examples of some flyovers I recorded the other day in this eBird list. As I said, they're not mind blowing, but one day they'll be the difference between a possible Blyth's pipit and a confirmed, accepted Blyth's pipit...

https://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39912254
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Old Friday 20th October 2017, 16:18   #14
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that should get you a good pipit.... though you could get unlucky like me - wait for 10 years, finally get a recording of a tree pipit spp..... and then have it not behave!
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Old Sunday 22nd October 2017, 18:33   #15
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I wear my Olympus LS3 velcro'd onto my cap. I've no doubt it looks totally ridiculous, so only wear it in places where it's unlikely I'll bump into another human. It really is great though, and it's easy to forget it's there. Like Jane, I can't recommend this kind of thing enough!

David

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Old Thursday 2nd November 2017, 22:02   #16
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I had my Olympus LS-12 running all last week on Scilly and it was very reassuring to know that I was capturing any unrecognised calls and that I was able to listen back to them. What I hadn't bargained on was capturing calls that I'd completely failed to notice in the field! While listening back to a track with 2 Yellow-browed Warblers calling together, I realised that a Tree/Olive-backed Pipit had called loud and clear, without me noticing it. This on a day when 1 or probably 2 OBPs were found on St Mary's. Would've been a horror story for me to duff up a potential self-found OBP but, fortunately, the recording shows it was a Tree Pipit. http://www.xeno-canto.org/391192
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Old Tuesday 7th November 2017, 20:44   #17
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These EM172 omni capsules (avail at micbooster in the UK http://micbooster.com/clippy-em172-m...icrophone.html) are good to position either on your body/head or on a tree / branch / hide roof if youre not moving long distances. They're very sensitive and reach a long way, but work better with phantom power so depends what kind of recorder you're using. I've had good results for the kind of recording youre describing.
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