Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Zeiss - Always on the lookout for something special – Shop now

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Reccomendation on recorder to use with RØDE VideoMic Pro

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old Thursday 20th June 2019, 06:33   #1
cbs
Christian
 
cbs's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Jutland, Denmark
Posts: 24
Reccomendation on recorder to use with RØDE VideoMic Pro

Hi,

I’m considering getting a portable recorder to use with my RØDE VideoMic Pro and hope someone in here has experience using a similar setup.
In addition to not having to lug my camera along to record bird song, I was hoping to have a setup that could do simultaneous focused recording of a bird and record ambient sound in separate tracks.

I’ve been looking into Zoom and Tascam – which seems to be what everyone does – but I haven’t found anyone describing the process of this combined recording and the merits of the different recorders.

Any and all advice is much appreciated.

Thanks!
Christian
cbs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 20th June 2019, 16:12   #2
marcsantacurz
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Posts: 614
I don't have recommendations on recorder, but I will put this out. I don't mean to diss the VideoMic, but my experience with the MKE600 vs ME66 showed me what a difference the ME66 makes in trying to record somewhat distant birds.

I tried two mics for bird recording. One was the Sennheiser MKE600 with a sensitivity of 19 mV/Pa (battery power). It did not work well for birds. I then bought a used ME66 with a sensitivity of 50 mV/Pa and it was worlds better. I also use the built-in low rolloff of the ME66 going direct to the Nikon d850. I was able to get the ME66 + K6 power unit used on auction for $250 in like-new condition. I then had to spend $30 for a shock mount (Azden SMH-1) and $85 for a wind shield (Auray WSS-2018). I'm not happy with the shock mount, as it does not get the very sensitive mic far enough away from the lens motor. The Tamron 150-600g2 is still audible. I have not tried it yet with the Nikon 500mm f/5.6e PF.

The VideoMic is rated at "-38dB re 1 V/Pa" which is the newfangled way of representing sensitivity. That's equivalent to 12.6 mV/Pa. So, I suspect the VideoMic will not do super well. The ME66 is equivalent to -26 dB re 1V/Pa, so there's an 12 dB difference. Also, the noise level of the Rode is 20 dB vs 10 dB for the ME66.

Marc
__________________
https://tear.com
marcsantacurz is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 20th June 2019, 18:50   #3
cbs
Christian
 
cbs's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Jutland, Denmark
Posts: 24
Thanks for the input, Marc.
I hear what you're saying regarding the mic's influence on sound quality. But for a start, my main objective is to get a simple setup using what I already have.
I've done some (to my ear) okay recordings with the VideoMic + camera combo, but this is a too cumbersome setup to lug around on top of binos, scope, books and what have you. At the same time I want a recorder I can 'build on' if the recording interest expands into something more serious, in which case I can just upgrade the mic.

Regards,
Christian
cbs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Thursday 20th June 2019, 23:23   #4
iveljay
Registered User

 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wiltshire, England
Posts: 901
The Zoom H4N Pro Manual

https://www.zoom-na.com/sites/defaul...ro_English.pdf

Page 51 describes how you set about doing what you want to do.

I am new to the Zoom and don't have access to the VideoMic Pro at this time, but can give general comments.

The Zoom has a 3.5mm stereo connection, but this will not help giving you 4 channel simultaneous recording as the manual says that you can use this or the built in mics. (The Tascam does not have a 3.5mm socket anyway). You will need a splitter cable to connect your 3.5mm TRS jack to two 1/4 inch jacks.

You do not want phantom power.

The Zoom has reportedly better pre-amps than the Tascam DR-40 but has a slow start up time.

The obvious big difference between a video mic and most shotguns is that the video device is stereo, most shotguns are not.

This really has no real importance for most people, though clearly a mono shotgun only requires one channel not two.

For recording birds over a distance you tend to run the recorders pre-amps flat out and the reportedly better pre-amps of the Zoom will help you.

The Zoom has the advantage that if you are just using your Rode microphone you can plug it in as described on page 29 of the manual. The Rode manual wil tell you if it needs plug in power, my guess is not.

Despite having a lot more experience with Tascam, my belief is that it may be the better bet at this time. Though I stress I havn't tried to do what you are intending myself.

You will benefit from using a simple audio editor, such as the popular, but good and free Audacity.

I'm not totally convinced that this will be greatly less cumbersome than your current set-up, but the better quality audio components in a dedicated audio recorder should give you much better results than your camera.

I suggest that you use WAV format rather than MP3, the files are much bigger, but are of higher quality.

Finally the Zoom manuals tend to give you step by step instructions on how to achieve something which can be very helpful when starting out.

This is my current opinion, and others may have different views - skim through the manual and see if it makes sense to you.

Last edited by iveljay : Thursday 20th June 2019 at 23:26.
iveljay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 21st June 2019, 00:55   #5
marcsantacurz
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Posts: 614
I looked over the manual to the Zoom also.

I think you could use it to record in 4ch mode: the built-in stereo mic for ambient and your VideoMic going to input #1 (combo XLR or 1/4" input) for the bird sounds. You could split it, as Iveljay suggests, or just mono it to input #1. This would leave channel #4 unused. The recorder saves 2 output files in 4ch mode: the stereo mics in one and inputs #1/#2 in the other. So you'll need something like Audacity to mix them.

It looks like that H4n has a nice lo cut filter too, which would probably work well to filter out wind and other unwanted sounds.

You should be able to use a simple 3.5mm to XLR or 1/4" adapter to plug into external input #1.

Marc
__________________
https://tear.com
marcsantacurz is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 21st June 2019, 12:24   #6
iveljay
Registered User

 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wiltshire, England
Posts: 901
The splitter cable you require to make the whole thing work costs about £3 from Amazon UK, it is a very common thing to own if you do almost anything in audio recording or production. Got a bag of different sizes and types permanently with me.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/kenable-Ste...YC3G75EFZ88AE7

The end result will be what you are trying to achieve.

I cannot see any benefit in not using channel 4.

In fact a simple 3.5 to XLR adaptor will generally cause problems as the XLR inputs expect a balanced signal and you will need to be sure that it is wired correctly - it usually won't be.

The XLR inputs are perfect for the Sennheiser mics that Marc suggests that you might consider in the future and will operate perfectly on your Zoom recorder, they are obviously mono mics and for this you will only use the No1. XLR input as they produce the balanced input the socket expects.

The 1/4 inch jack input is designed for the unbalanced input you microphone is producing.

Once you download the files to your computer you can rename them and do whatever you want including mixing them together as Marc suggests.

A couple of suggestions, take some lightweight headphones or earbuds to monitor what you are recording and get a fluffy windbreaker for the built in Zoom mics.

While I havn't used the Zoom H4N much I do use a Zoom recorder with rather more inputs and I am impressed how well the manual explains its functionality in a clear manner, and how easily it provides what I hoped for.

Last edited by iveljay : Friday 21st June 2019 at 12:31.
iveljay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 21st June 2019, 12:50   #7
iveljay
Registered User

 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wiltshire, England
Posts: 901
A quick note on balanced and non-balanced transmission. A little science?

A balanced cable is pretty well identical to a stereo cable and can use the same physical connectors.

The difference is that instead of using two of its wires, one for left and the other for right stereo signals, it uses them both for the same mono signal, but reverses the polarity of one. At the reciving end the electronics reverse the polarity back cancelling out any electronic interference the cable may have picked up, producing a cleaner signal.

The usual effect of not sending the correct balanced signal is a loss of half the signal power, whereas using the unbalanced signal gives you full power, but with the possibility of noise. Over the cable lengths you will be using, the unbalanced cable (unless faulty) will give you excellent full power results.

The main danger of misuse of balanced XLR setups is if you send 48v phantom power to a badly wired up connector - this can cause a certain amount of cooking - undesireable! However with your video mic and unbalanced jack approach you are immune from this!

I hope this helps.
iveljay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Friday 21st June 2019, 18:14   #8
marcsantacurz
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Posts: 614
Quote:
Originally Posted by iveljay View Post
I cannot see any benefit in not using channel 4.

In fact a simple 3.5 to XLR adaptor will generally cause problems as the XLR inputs expect a balanced signal and you will need to be sure that it is wired correctly - it usually won't be.
Yes, do Iveljay's way. I see what threw me off. On the B&H website, they say '1/4" TRS Female Balanced/Unbalanced Instrument/Line/Mic Input' (TRS = tip, ring, sleave, a way of doing a balanced signal in a 1/4" instead of XLR). That made me think it detected when the ring was grounded for an unbalanced.

Looking at the manual, the XLR is balanced only and the 1/4" is unbalanced only. So getting a 3.5mm to 1/4" converter looks like the right way to go.

As for splitting one mic to inputs #1 & #2, I'm still on the fence about that. It's just more wires and connectors to fail. If you go only to a single input, you can get a solid adapter without a wire (which has its own downsides too in that any bang to the connector will likely damage the mic connector rather than a throw-away adapter). Anyway, that was my thinking on it.

Marc
__________________
https://tear.com
marcsantacurz is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Monday 24th June 2019, 10:12   #9
cbs
Christian
 
cbs's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Jutland, Denmark
Posts: 24
Thanks for both your inputs, Marc and Iveljay, they're helpful.

You mention the H4N, and I've been wavering between this model and the H5.

The price difference is not that significant and other than the H4N having locks on its XLR, I fail to see how the H5 is not the better choice for field recording with its smaller size, roll bars over gain input dials and far better battery life.
I suspect the start-up time is also better since this is a recurring gripe in H4N reviews but never (according to my research anyway) in H5 reviews
Is there something I haven't taken into account comparing the two models, you think?

Regards,
Christian
cbs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 29th June 2019, 10:18   #10
dogfish
Registered User
 
dogfish's Avatar

 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: London
Posts: 727
I’ve just bought the Tascam DR-05 and am slowly getting to grips with it. But it’s a bit tricky knowing which settings to use for bird song. Just wondered if any experienced users of this device had any recommendations?

Sean
dogfish is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Saturday 29th June 2019, 19:03   #11
marcsantacurz
Registered User

 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Posts: 614
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbs View Post
Thanks for both your inputs, Marc and Iveljay, they're helpful.

You mention the H4N, and I've been wavering between this model and the H5.

The price difference is not that significant and other than the H4N having locks on its XLR, I fail to see how the H5 is not the better choice for field recording with its smaller size, roll bars over gain input dials and far better battery life.
I suspect the start-up time is also better since this is a recurring gripe in H4N reviews but never (according to my research anyway) in H5 reviews
Is there something I haven't taken into account comparing the two models, you think?

Regards,
Christian
I guess the main question is if you would use the modular mic attachments. Looking at the specs of the shotgun mic, it's around the same sensitivity as your Rode. One advantage is you can get 2 more XLR inputs. I guess you could also operate it without the mic module and save 30% weight.

It does look like the H5 gets double the recording time as the H4n. It also has actual gain knobs for the inputs. It is about a 5 year newer unit than the H4n.

I've not used either of them, so cannot really say from experience. The reviews I've seen say it's not a slam-dunk upgrade if you already have an H4n, but if you're buying one new the H5 is the better unit.


Marc
__________________
https://tear.com
marcsantacurz is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Tuesday 2nd July 2019, 22:30   #12
cbs
Christian
 
cbs's Avatar

 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Jutland, Denmark
Posts: 24
Thanks Marc, that was my understanding, too, so I'm going with the H5.

Thanks for the helpful input!
Christian
cbs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Sunday 7th July 2019, 15:44   #13
iveljay
Registered User

 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wiltshire, England
Posts: 901
Couple of Updates to the above.

The old 5 ?yrs ago H4N was superceded recently by the improved H4N Pro it has the same pre-amps as the H5.

However start up times are 43 seconds with a 16 Gig card for the H4N Pro against 8 seconds for the H5.

One thing I mentioned in an earlier thread was that the H4N Pro has a nice rubberised grip surface wheras the H5 is curved and slippery for me.

Rotary controls are usually better than the click variety for obvious reasons.

For dogfish and his DR05 - the normal way of getting the clearest birdsong is to fit a wind shield, switch to manual control for the microphones as auto will always play safe and not record at the fullest volume necessary. Use your headphones as an audio viewfinder (watch your ears if there are sudden loud noises likely). Add in - find a way of not directly holding the DR05 - a simple grip that screws into the tripod screw will work wonders. Be aware that grips come at silly cheap to silly expensive prices so don't buy the first you come across.
iveljay is offline  
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Reply


Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Rode Videomic Pro with a 600D? Ptarmi Canon 0 Friday 28th June 2013 00:31
Rode Videomic + H4n tested steinn Bird Sounds Recording Eqpt & Discussion 0 Sunday 27th March 2011 19:01
Book Reccomendation (not field guides) mattwhite Information Wanted 14 Sunday 7th February 2010 17:13
S America bird book reccomendation Hatman Birds & Birding 9 Friday 6th November 2009 17:48
ZOOM H4 and Hama videomic trouble steinn Bird Sounds Recording Eqpt & Discussion 5 Thursday 15th May 2008 11:18

{googleads}

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.27425694 seconds with 27 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 00:50.