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Recording Gear

/Recording Gear

Sasquatch Listening Project

The Sasquatch Listening Project is a 24/7 audio project gathering Sasquatch vocalizations using remotely placed recorders.

This project has two goals. The first goal is to purchase additional Sony PCM-M10 digital audio recorders to allow me to increase the number of remote recording systems from the current level of four to an inventory of ten. Many witnesses ask for his help in monitoring their areas where they suspect they have had Sasquatch activity.

The second goal is to produce a CD of all my Sasquatch sounds. This will include all previously recorded sounds plus sounds from this coming spring and summer. This will be sent out in October 2013.

To be a part of this crowdfunding project please scroll to the bottom of this post and review the different levels.

The Sony PCM-M10 digiatal audio recorder
The second goal is to produce a CD of all Stan’s Sasquatch sounds. This will include all previously recorded sounds plus sounds from this coming spring and summer. This will be sent out in October 2013.

In 1956 Stan was introduced to audio recording at the age of eight in Northern Idaho. Cousins visited from California and brought along a large magnetic reel-to-reel tape recorder used to record all family members while they traveled around the country. Stan can be heard in this short clip talking on what to him was an amazing machine in June of 1956.   Stan in 1956

Recorders gradually became more affordable and Stan received a Webcor reel-to-reel as an after-Christmas gift January of 1964. That recorder was used to record innumerable family members, TV and music from the radio. In the spring of 1969 Stan recorded his first nature sounds, spring frogs, in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Stan using a Telinga Parabolic Microphone and Sound Devises 722 Field Recorder.

Gradually over the years digital recording came on the scene and totally changed the ability of nature recordists to record for extended periods in the field. While Stan was on his first Bigfoot expedition to New Mexico in September of 2004, he determined that he needed to record the many vocalizations he and others were hearing. At that time he purchased a Marantz PMD-670 digital recorder with flash drive. Starting in May of 2006 Stan made a decision to record full-time in various locations with a history of sasquatch activity. Others have stated that “Stan is a pioneer” when it comes to techniques of recording 24/7.

Since that time he has purchased more recorders, including the Sound Devices 722, and several Sony PCM-M10. From 2006 until the present Stan has recorded continuously with several recorders placed in different locations. Stan spent a lot of time developing a recording system which allows him to leave out recorders for an extended length of time. With a complete recording system Stan is able to drop off one of his systems at a remote location and return 2 months later to retrieve it. Stan has traveled to all lower 48 states since 2007, recording in most of them.

Interview this past fall with Channel 20’s Illinois Central TV
Stan developed the website, StanCourtney.com with several goals in mind. One goal was a place to share the sounds of nature, whether from birds, frogs or mammals (including Sasquatch) and also to help researchers to select recorders and microphones that hopefully fulfills their goals. The Night Sounds section includes many recordings of Barred Owls, Coyotes and Fox which commonly are mistaken for Sasquatch.

www.stancourtney.com

The Field Recorder section brings together links of forums, reviews and sound clips of various audio recorders, microphones and sound editors.

Stan emphasizes that all sounds must be compared against Reference Species to help determine their species. Only by using sound analysis can any sound be eliminated as being of a common animal.

Stan has given presentations to various groups throughout the state of Illinois and has been a guest on numerous radio and TV shows.

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Stan is prepared for any challenge when audio recording. This recording project has been on-going for 9 years now and over a 100 sound clips have been recorded of possible Sasquatch. They, as well as any new Sasquatch sounds from this spring and summer will be included in the October 2013 CD.

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To be a part of the Sasquatch Listening Project just select your level from the list below and remit your payment using paypal to: stancourtney@hotmail.com.

By | April 12th, 2013|Recording Gear|Comments Off on Sasquatch Listening Project

Portable Sound Recorder Overview Charts

With so many new digital recorders coming on the market it helps to be able to compare them. By going through the following links you will find comparisons as to specifications, features and prices.

The following links were posted on a thread at Taperssection Forums.

Click on each link below for a comparison chart of the many available recorders.

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Avisoft Bioacoustics

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By | December 1st, 2010|Recording Gear|Comments Off on Portable Sound Recorder Overview Charts

Telinga Parabolic Microphone

My Telinga Parabolic Microphone, with Pro 7 handle and Dat stereo mic finally arrived from Sweden.

I had previously tried out this system in Seattle in April at the Annual Nature recording Workshop presented by Naturesound.org.

Parabolic microphones have been used for years when recording species specific. I have high hopes for this new microphone when combined with the Sound Designs 7XX series of very high quality field recorders.

My first recording was of a Song Sparrow.  The background sound is of wind in the tree tops.

(from a previous photo)


By | June 6th, 2010|Recording Gear|2 Comments

Field Recording – Sound Editors

Sound editing is a very important aspect of field recording. I typically record 24/7 which necessarily means that the sound files are very large. The newest editions of sound editing software allows the user to review sound files both visually and audibly. After isolating sound clips they can then be filtered to eliminate extraneous noise.

The two biggest factors to remember with sound editing are:

1. The closer to the sound source the less filtering that is necessary.

2. The higher the quality of the recorder and microphone eliminates the need for sound manipulation.

Sound editors are so numerous that I can not list them all or try them all out to give a fair evaluation. The following is a list of the most popular brands, includes links to the products as well as forums that deal with using each specific editor.

Sound editors span the gamut from free to very expensive.

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Adobe Audition

forum

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Audacity

forum

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iZotope RX

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Pro Tools

forum

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Raven

forum

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Sound Forge

forum

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By | October 17th, 2009|Recording Gear|Comments Off on Field Recording – Sound Editors

Field Recorders – Pt 5

Last time we looked at a recorder that was listed at around $1300. The next step up is:

Above $1875.

In the highest price range is the Sound Devices 7 series.

From their website I quote the following:

7-Series Family of Digital Audio Recorders

The high-resolution 7-Series family of digital audio recorders shatter the size, performance, and feature-set paradigms of all previous generations of audio recorders. They are the next generation – replacing digital and analog tape-based portable recorders with far more powerful file-based digital recording devices. The two-track (702, 702T, 722), four-track (744T), and eight-track (788T) recorders write and play audio files with either 16 or 24-bit depth at all professional sampling rates, up to 192 kHz (48.048 kHz on the 788T). Multple storage mediums, analog/digital I/O, and high-speed computer connectivity make all 7-Series recorders stand out as world-class products.

This series of recorders from Sound Devices has taken the industry by storm and is acknowledged as being an excellent field recorder.

There are five models available depending on how many channels you desire and whether it comes with Time Code and hard drive included.

702 – $1,875 – 2 channel – CompactFlash only

702T – $2,495 – 2 channel – CompactFlash, with Time Code

722 – $2495 – 2 channel – CompactFlash, internal hard drive

744T – $4095 – 4 channel – CompactFlash, internal hard drive

788T – $5995 – 8 channel – CompactFlash, internal hard drive

The manufacturers website:

Sound Devices 7 series

The user’s manuals can be found at:

702 Users Manual

702T Users Manual

722 Users Manual

744T Users Manual

788T Users Manual

Excellent reviews can be read at:

The Transom Tools Column

F7 sound and vision

Pro Audio Review

Forums discussing this recorder are:

Sound Devices Forum

The Taperssection Forums

Recording media – uses 3 types of recording media

– Compact Flash – currently 32GB is the largest available

– Internal Hard drive – I had a 160GB installed

– External Hard drive – firewire connection to external hard drive

Maximum recordable time –

FlashCard – Using a A-DATA 32GB Speedy CompactFlash card the record time in .wav at 44.1kHz 16bit CD quality mode is 12 hours 27 min.

Internal hard drive – record time in .wav at 44.1kHz 16bit CD quality mode on a 160 gig hard drive is 252 hours 21 min.

External hard drive – unlimited

Batteries – uses Sony NPF970 L Series Camcorder Battery – about 8 hrs record time, I use an external battery supply

Recordings

Black-billed Magpie  Black-billed Magpie

Cassins Finch Cassins Finch

Green-tailed Towhee Green-Tailed Towhee

Hermit Thrush Hermit Thrush

Microphones – the best omnidirectional microphone made today for field recording is the Sennheiser MKH-20 – Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone listed at $1,395.95.

Conclusion – I have been recording with the 722 for 2 years now. It has been proven to be an amazing field recorder. It is fairly easy to use, extremely durable and of superb sensitivity to very weak and distant sounds.

Pros

– excellent pre-amps

– superb sound quality

– best field recorder on the market

Cons

– very expensive

– heavy, 2.6 lbs without battery

By | October 15th, 2009|Recording Gear|1 Comment

Field Recording – Microphones

Microphones have often been said to be half the equation when it comes to recording. Experts advise to spend an equal amount of money on the recorder and an equal amount on the microphone. A great recorder with a poor microphone is just as bad as a poor microphone with a great microphone.

Common types of microphones used in field work fall into three categories.  These three types have the xlr connector attached that the better recorders require.

Microphones with XLR Connectors

1: Omnidirectional – I prefer this type of microphone when I leave my system unattended in the woods for an extended time. Obviously I will not know the direction of the sound so I must record in all directions.

Seenheiser MKH20 Omnidirectional Microphone

2: Directional – includes short and long shotgun style microphones. Many of my better bird recordings were gathered by walking through the woods and pointing the shot gun in the direction the bird song was coming from.

Sennhesier MKH70 Long shot gun microphone

3: Parabolic – this type of microphone has been used extensively in recording birds. There is a wide variety of microphones used with parabolic reflectors.

Telinga BioAcoustics Parabolic Microphone

Microphones with 1/8″ Connectors

For the smaller digital recorders requiring the 1/8″ connector a great reasonably priced stereo omnidirectional microphone.

Giant Squid Audio Lab’s – Podcasting Omni Stereo Microphone

or for top of the line in a stereo omnidirectional microphone.

Telinga Clip-On

By | November 1st, 2008|Recording Gear|7 Comments

Field Recorders – Pt 4

This short series on recorders is not to compare units of $160 vs $5000, but instead is simply my recommendation within each price range.

Last time we looked at a recorder that was listed under $450. The next step up is:

Around $1300.

In the high-priced range is the Marantz PMD 670/671.

In an attempt to make the pre-amps quieter Oade Brothers Audio does modifications on various recorders. It is my suggestion that anyone looking at the Marantz for nature recording only buy a unit from Oade that has had the pre-amps modified. The quality of my recordings were dramatically improved after this modification.

The manufacturers website:

PMD 671

The user’s manual can be found at:

Users Manual

Forums discussing this recorder are:

The Taperssection Forums

Thread one

Thread two

Thread three

Thread four

Thread five


Recording media
– uses a CompactFlash card.

Maximum recordable time – Using a 4 GB card the record time in .wav at 44.1kHz 16bit CD quality mode is 6 hours 30 min.

Batteries
– uses D batteries – about 8 hrs record time, I use an external battery supply.

Recordings:

Sound clips –

1 – Using a non-modified Marantz 671 DB Donlon recorded what he calls the East Central Ohio Chatter.

2 – Using a modified Marantz 670 I recently recorded this lone coyote. Most of the recordings on my website were made with this recorder before I had it modified.

Microphones
– both DB Donlon and myself have been using the AT3032 Omnidirectional Condenser Microphones. However these mics are no longer being made. I typically use omnidirectional mics because I am leaving my gear overnight in the woods therefore I do not know which direction the sound will be coming from.

Conclusion – I have been recording with the 670 for 4 years now. It has been proven to be consistent, easy to use and durable. After having the unit modified the quality of my recordings were greatly improved.

Pros:
– great sound quality
– very easy to use
– sturdy build

Cons:
– battery compartment is poorly designed
– plastic body

By | October 23rd, 2008|Recording Gear|Comments Off on Field Recorders – Pt 4

Field Recorders – Pt 3

My main technique for recording is to leave the recording gear in the woods overnight. The amount of quality sounds I have been able to obtain with this method has far outdone what I could gather if I were only recording when I was hiking. Overnight recording does require more recording space and larger batteries.

Last time we looked at a recorder that was listed under $360. The next step up is:

Field Recorders under $450.

In the mid-priced range is the Sony PCM-D50.


The manufacturers website:

Sony PCM-D50

The user’s manual can be found at:

Users Manual

Excellent reviews can be read at:

f7 sound and vision

O’Reilly digitalmedia

Brad Linder’s blog

Forums discussing this recorder are:

The Taperssection Forums:

Thread one

Thread two

There are several videos posted on YouTube.

Sony PCM-D50 video review

Sony PCM-D50 Backs Up Heftier Price With Heftier Features

Sony PCM-D50

Recording media – 4Gb internal flash memory (accepts additional 4 GB Memory Stick)

Maximum recordable time – Using both the internal flash and external memory stick the record time in .wav at 44.1kHz 16bit CD quality mode is almost 13 hours.

Batteries – uses 4 AA batteries – Sony claims 14 hours record time

Recordings:

Sound file courtesy of f7 sound and vision

Sound clip – Woodpecker

Conclusion – I have not used this particular unit but those who have appear to think it has many advantages over others in this price range.

Pros:
– great sound quality
– long battery life
– sturdy build quality

Cons:

– no xlr microphone ports unless you purchase an expensive adaptor box
– records only in .wav and compressed .wav

By | October 23rd, 2008|Recording Gear|Comments Off on Field Recorders – Pt 3

Field Recorders – Pt 2

New small digital recorders are coming onto the market all of the time. It is nearly impossible to keep up with all the new advances. Other than the quality of the sound, record time and battery life are of high importance in nature recording. This new recorder is very good on both of these aspects.

Field Recorders under $300.

A great new entry into the lower price range is the Sony PCM-M10‏.

The manufacturers websites:

Sony PCM-M10

The user’s manual can be found at:

Users Manual

Excellent reviews can be read at:

Brad Linder’s blog: Sony introduces PCM-M10 handheld pro audio recorder

Brad Linder’s blog: Sony PCM-M10 handheld audio recorder reviewed

Broadcast Engineering: In review: Sony’s PCM-M10 handheld digital recorder

Everything Audio Network: Home Recording Review! Sony PCM-M10

Sony PCM-M10:A palm-sized, professional recorder with full-sized performance.

Wingfield Audio: Sony PCM-M10 Review

Forums discussing this recorder are:

The Taperssection Forums

Sony PCM-M10 audio recorder

Sony PCM-M10 (Part 2)

There are several videos posted on YouTube:

Sony PCM-M10 – Summer NAMM ‘09

NAMM ‘10 – Sony PCM-M10 Recorder & Digital Wireless Rackmount Systems

Recording media:

4GB of internal flash memory.

An additional 16GB of memory can be added with a Memory Stick Microâ„¢ (M2â„¢) or microSDHC (FAT32) card.

Maximum recordable time – In any card not all of the stated capacity is available for data. Using the 32 gb card the record time in .wav at 44.1kHz 16bit CD quality mode should be nearly 25 hr.
20 min.

Batteries

Using two Sony LR6 (SG) (size AA) alkaline batteries up to 46 hours.

Recordings:

I hope to add field recordings to this review.

Conclusion – I think this is a very good recorder and gets researchers into a nice, reasonably priced unit that has great battery life and recording times. Early reviews state that it’s sound quality is excellent and the unit retains the best features of its bigger siblings the Sony PCM-D1 and PCM-D50 while adding the versatility of mp3.

Pros:

– built-in microphones
– easy to use
– great sound
– great battery life
– great recording time
– reasonable price

Cons:

– no xlr ports

By | October 22nd, 2008|Recording Gear|3 Comments

Field Recorders – Pt 1

Nature recording is a very difficult pursuit. Weather conditions are always a consideration. Then the ever present noise from trains-planes-automobiles always tends to happen just when something interesting is going on. And to that list add wind and water sounds. Our brains filter out those extra sounds when we are in the environment but on a recording they are very noticeable.

I am frequently asked what equipment I would recommend. I am certainly no expert but I have used a variety of recorders and can share my thoughts. So I will post a series of 4 articles, each dealing with a different priced recorder. I will not do much of a review, as that material has been thoroughly covered by others and you can follow the provided links.

Field Recorders under $160.

On the lower end of the price range is the Samson – H2 – Handy Recorder.

The manufacturers websites:

H2 Handy Recorder

Samson Zoom H2

This website also has 3 videos describing its operation.

The user’s manual can be found at:

Users Manual

Excellent reviews can be read at:

Ron’s Tech Blog

O’Reilly digitalmedia

Brad Linder’s blog

Forums discussing this recorder are:

Zoom Gear & Home Recording

The Taperssection Forums

There are several videos posted on YouTube:

Zoom H2 Digital recorder

Zoom H2 Tutorial

Quick guide to Zoom H2 MP3 recorder

Use Instructions for Zoom H2 Recorder

Recording media: SD card

I’ve been using a Transcend 16GB class 6 card (TS16GSDHC6) for some time now with my H2 and it works flawlessly.

Maximum recordable time – In any card not all of the stated capacity is available for data. Using this 16 gb card the record time in .wav at 44.1kHz 16bit CD quality mode is 23.5 hours.

Batteries

Using two Energizer L91BP-4 AA Lithium Batteries I was able to record for 14 hours 5 minutes.

Recordings:

I recorded this recently in the woods near my home in Central Illinois.

Sound Clip 1

Conclusion – I think this is a very good recorder and gets researchers into a nice, reasonably priced unit and away from the voice-only models so many purchase when they are just starting out.

Pros:
– reasonable price
– great sound
– easy to use
– built-in microphones

Cons:
– light weight plastic

By | October 22nd, 2008|Recording Gear|Comments Off on Field Recorders – Pt 1