This is the recording gear I use:
Marantz PMD661 MKII
The Marantz PMD661MKII is a reliable and robust unit. It is the mainstay of my recorders. It has excellent pe-amps, good sound quality, nice solid neutrik XLR mic inputs and many handy features. It has an easy to read screen and large tactile transport buttons. It also sports S/PDIF in, a 1/8″ line in, as well as an RCA out. The only downsides are there are no limiters, the led metering can be hard to see in direct sunlight and battery use can be prodigious,especially when powering phantom mics. This can be slightly countered by turning everything off that you do not need ie: LED’s off, Screen brightness as low as possible etc, etc. I cannot recommend this highly enough for day to day field work.
The Sony PCM-M10 packs an amazing amount into a small package. It is not as solid as the Marantz but lacks nothing in build quality and is based on its larger brothers the PCM-D1 and PCM-D50. Like its larger siblings, the PCM-M10 body is made of aluminium and feels a quality item in the hand. At roughly 4.5″ x 2.5″ the PCM-M10 is truly palm-sized. Its buttons are crisp and responsive. Its layout is clean and functional. It has a back-lit orange display that is virtually the same size as the PCM-D50 display. This was the first proper digital recorder I purchased and It has produced some superb results. I use it for listening back to my recordings as the playback quality is top notch. I can highly recommend this as an entry level recorder.
The Zoom H6 is the Swiss Army knife of recorders. It’s modular mobile recording system features 4 x XLR/TRS combination inputs with microphone preamps and phantom power (+12/+24/+48V) Gain knobs for each input make setting levels fast and easy although they are easily moved and so you need to keep an eye on them. Included in the kit are X\Y and Mid-Side stereo microphone modules (a shotgun mic and input expansion module are also available to purchase as an add on) The expansion module allows you to attach on-board microphones with additional input jacks. The stylish unit captures audio at up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution and can double as a handy USB recording interface with your Mac, Windows PC, or iPad (via Apple Camera Connection Kit) It has a large full colour LCD display with virtual VU meters and includes a 2GB micro SD card with adapter It can record for up to 20 hours on just 4 x AA batteries! I am still getting used to this machine but am very pleased with the results so far.
The Zoom H5 comes complete with the XYH-5, a stereo X/Y microphone module that’s similar to the H6’s standard XYH-6 mic, but with smaller matched condenser capsules and a fixed 90-degree X/Y angle. Like all of the modules, the XYH-5 has its own gain knob for setting the input level, but it also features an integrated rubberized shockmount that employs rugged external wires to help minimize vibration and handling noise. The H5 is also compatible with the various microphone modules produced by Zoom for the H6.
Whilst the H5 doesn’t have the flashy, full-color display of the H6, it does have a large backlit LCD screen that is easy to read.
All in all a feature packed portable device that I am looking forward to trying out in the coming year.
Rode NT55 (Accoustically matched pair)
The NT55 Acoustically matched pair use 1/2″ gold sputtered true condenser transducers also used in the renowned RØDE NT5. The NT55 is a low-noise, balanced output microphone, with a wide dynamic range and full frequency response. The circuit incorporates a three position variable PAD switch with 0dB, -10dB or 20dB attenuation along with a three position variable high-pass filter that enables you to step from a flat response to a 75 or 150 Hz high pass filter. They also come with an additional pair of omni microphone heads to provide a wide variety of polar patterns. I have used these a lot lately and after taking a while to get used to them and find the best setup I feel I am starting to get the best out of them. I use them mounted in a Rycote 20mm Baby Ball Gag Windshields covered with Baby Ball Gag Windjammers.
The Rode NT4 is a stereo recording microphone featuring dual cardioid capsules mounted in a X/Y stereo configuration. The microphone is designed for field or studio use and provides transparent sound reproduction and accurate representation of signal within the “Left/Right” stereo field. The microphone’s dual elements are matched in frequency response and sensitivity for accurate sound reproduction on both left and right stereo channels. The NT4 features an On/Off switch for added control and is powered via Phantom Power or standard 9 volt alkaline battery. The microphone includes a dual XLR microphone cable, stereo mini microphone cable and durable case. I use this permanently mounted in a Rode Blimp and find it invaluable when you need to be mobile in any situation. It is a large and heavy microphone but one that I am very fond of. Highly recommended.
Rode NTG-3 Shotgun Microphone
The Rode NTG-3 is superb for sound sampling on location, its featured RF bias technology make it almost completely resistant to moisture. This is a quality shotgun microphone that does everything you would expect it to do. It has great side and back rejection. It is extremely well engineered, should withstand anything you can throw at it and comes complete with a tough weather resistant aluminium tube to keep it safe. The NTG-3 stands out for it’s great sound and quality. Recommended.
Rode iXY Lightning X-Y Microphone
The Rode iXY Lightning is an extremely compact stereo microphone for recording via Apple mobile devices, offering a ‘locked’ X-Y recording configuration at sample rates up to 96kHz and resolution of 24-bit. The condenser microphones are matched 1⁄2-inch cardioid capsules, borrowing from Rode’s long experience in microphone design.
Once clipped to your phone, recordings are most easily made to one of Rode’s own ‘Rode Rec’ apps, available either in full or basic ‘LE’ forms.
Rode Blimp Windshield
The Rode Blimp Windscreen and Suspension System is a professional, adjustable windscreen and shockmount solution. I use this for my Rode NT4 and with slight modification due to the extra weight it works really well. A top notch essential wind noise solution that I could not do without.
Rycote S-Series 330 Shockmount Windshield system
The Rycote S-Series 330 Shockmount Windshield system is an two part design, each side of which twists off to allow access to the microphone mounted in ‘Lyre’ suspension mounts inside. The Lyre’s take microphones from 19 to 25 mm diameter) The adjustable handle is easy to hold and the whole setup is very light and strong. I have my Rode NTG-3 mounted in this and it is a really effective tool in any sort of weather, even strong breezes. Another can’t do without item.
Rycote Invision Stereo Pair Kit
The Rycote Invision Stereo Pair Kit is a vibration-resistant, low-noise suspension system designed to mount paired microphones for stereo recording. I have found this to be a fantastic bit of kit and well worth the money. The ease of adjustability, soft surfaces and damping make this a quiet and versatile way to suspend paired microphones. Recommended.
Rycote Baby Ball Gag Windshield
The Rycote Baby Ball Gag Windshield offers strong, efficient, compact and easy-to-install protection for your ORTF microphone pairs. Can be combined with an optional furry Windjammer to provide additional wind protection.