First Field Setup



Hi guys,

I have been working in sound design for just under a year now in my first professional gig and have now gotten to the stage where I can no longer just rely on library recordings to work with. Although I am not new to audio design I am very new to actual field recording, although I did spend a number of years working as a producer so am quite comfortable recording vocals etc.

I would ideally like to get a small set-up which will allow me to get out there an begin building my own library. I am currently working in the games industry so the majority of my sound requirements are ambience/effects and foley but not not much dialogue at the moment.

I am on a very tight budget so I really need to make every penny count and attempt to be able to be as flexible as possible with this set-up until I can afford to upgrade in the future. From reading around I have been over a few set-ups and believe the following might possibly be the most flexible in my price range.

Marantz PMD661

Rode NT6 x 2

Rode Blimp x 1

and possibly the NT45-O capsule if I need omni for anything. Total cost for the 2 rodes and the Marantz and blimp is about £1039. Plus I would need some kind of mount for the pair (any suggestions that would work with the blimp + the 2 rodes?)

Anyway if anybody could possibly give me any feedback or has suggestions for a better setup I would be hugely grateful, as I said before I really need the most flexibility I can get at the moment on the smallest price so need to be able to do stereo and mono at 96khz/24bit.

Many thanks for taking a look and many thanks for anybody who has any input.


Posted 2012-11-17T05:11:47.590

Reputation: 11

I'd recommend avoiding the Rode blimp with those mics. I have the NT4 which is larger than a stapler and there's STILL way too much room inside that mount/blimp than I'd like (I've spoken with Rode and they offer no alternative mount or blimp sizes to switch out for the grip). Using it with the NT5/NT6 would be like putting a crayon inside of a shoebox, and thus severely limits how close you can mic a source because the blimp is in the way. For comparison, I've adjusted my NT4 as forward as reasonably possible in the mount and there's still 4-5 inches between the blimp the diaphragm. – Stavrosound – 2012-11-17T07:17:16.993


If you haven't done so already, check out Rene Coronado's feature on Episode Two of the Tonebenders Podcast entitled "Building Your Own Field Recording Kit". There's some really great advice in there.

– Colin Hunter – 2012-11-17T11:44:12.230

Many thanks to both of you, really appreciate the input. Did not realize the blimp was so much bigger, that could certainly be an issue. Is there any other blimps which would fit the pair which would be better suited?

Also Colin many thanks for the link, will take a listen to that today for sure! – Fortran – 2012-11-17T20:05:15.023

@Colin - nice podcast, this. – Kurt Human – 2012-11-26T12:32:06.273

The Mix Pre-D is a great addition to use with the PMD661. – Kurt Human – 2012-11-26T12:33:55.447

Thanks for the input Kurt, are the pre's on the PMD very noisy? – Fortran – 2012-11-28T23:44:08.533



I was in a similar situation about a half year ago, in the game industry, new to field recording and this is what I ended up getting, in chronological order:

Sony PCM-D50 Sound Devices Usbpre2 Sanken CS-3e shotgun

Starting out with the D50 let me get stereo ambiences and some effects, in a very convenient and mobile package. I had access to a NTG-3 so I bought the Usbpre2 and hooked it up via Toslink to the D50 as a mic pre/AD converter. Finally I bought the Sanken so I wouldn't have to worry about borrowing the NTG-3 for extended periods of time.

What I like about this setup is that it is modular and high quality - I have my D50 with me everyday in my bag and the Usbpre2 is a pretty awesome audio interface which I can bring anywhere due to its small size. Quality wise, the Usbpre2's mic pres share the same topology as the SD 744t and the conversion is really good as well. The Sony acts as a bit-bucket via Toslink so no loss of quality there. Finally, this setup will give you some pretty good 96k 24 bit audio (limited by the D50, the SD Usbpre2 alone can go up to 192kHz).

The downside is that ergonomics wise its not great - in fact it can be a lot of trouble since you are essentially dealing with a rig made out of bits and pieces unintended for serious field recording work.

All in all this will run you about the same price as a SD 702. In hindsight I should've just gotten the D50 and a SD 702, I find myself not really using the Usbpre2 as a audio interface much nowadays.


Posted 2012-11-17T05:11:47.590

Reputation: 35

agreed on all points. that's pretty much the conclusion that I reached in our podcast that was mentioned above. – Rene – 2012-12-18T16:16:24.253

Hey man many thanks for replying (and everybody else who responded also). I actually decided to hold off until I have the funds available to just go straight into a SD702 combined with a shotgun and stereo mic or matched pair. In the meantime just so I could capture some things on the go I picked up a PCM-M10 which for for the price does a good job for quick grabs. I went back and forward for several weeks trying to decide and in the end just thought I would be better off holding out for the 702 and a couple of decent mics. – Fortran – 2012-12-19T01:51:10.527

What is your opinion on the Sanken btw, I have been looking at the as well as the mkh60 for a good shotgun when I get the 702. – Fortran – 2012-12-19T01:53:42.520

can't go wrong either way. I dig your plan. – Rene – 2012-12-19T15:37:26.823

To be honest, I haven't had enough time with the Sanken (just got it a couple weeks ago) to form a proper opinion on it, but from my first tests its pretty quiet, isolates well and sounds nice although its a bit forward in the mids. A downside is that its very sensitive to handling noise - I am using a Rycote pistol grip + Lyre suspension and tapping the grip gently is enough to induce noise.

There's a really good comparison of shotgun mics here:

– adsr – 2012-12-19T20:22:55.213

I wish I held out for a 702! I want to get a m/s mic pair next but my Frankenrig doesn't do M/S...or 192kHz for that matter.

Rene: I just listened to the first 2 Tonebender podcasts and I'm definitely hooked. I guess I'm a pretty good example of buying a middle-ground recorder (and regretting it haha!) – adsr – 2012-12-19T20:34:13.220


What gear you need depends on what you want to record of course, so take all this advice with a pinch of salt. My work colleague uses an olympus ls100 as his main recorder and that sounds pretty good. Our composer is currently road testing the Roland R-26 which apart from a few software bugs he says in really great. This would cover you for stereo recordings, I'd suggest looking for a decent second hand shotgun, mic with Rycote - maybe a sennheiser 416 p48. A great sight to look for second hand gear is bb list. Remember also headphones, cables and stands :) -


Posted 2012-11-17T05:11:47.590

Reputation: 1 436

Thanks a lot RedSonic, will take a look at both of those recorders, might be a better option to have the stereo option on the recorder itself and take a shotgun as you suggested. Many thanks for your input, will certainly consider that setup also. – Fortran – 2012-11-17T20:06:16.397


Rode makes a great dead cat and a dead kitten for smaller pencil cards. maybe the dead kitten on the 55's and well, the blinp works great for the nt4 but yeah, lot's of room. but really helpful outside.

any closer and a shotgun and deadcat are better. NTG3 or 2 and dead cat for close mic and nt55 for amb, BGs


Posted 2012-11-17T05:11:47.590

Reputation: 131