13 FEBRUARY 2018
written by Mike
Most of my audio work is done at the post-production stage. I edit, mix, master, and even with scoring I solely use synths and virtual instruments. The only recording I do is for team chats and AMA episodes we publish for Casefile patrons.
I’ve done live recording and live sound before, and it wasn’t for me. Setting up the stage, holding a boom microphone or mixing bands live didn’t spark any interest, and I much prefer doing the work at home. Therefore today’s list isn’t ideal for sound recordist but rather a view of a setup that is enough to do a good quality recording at home if required.
The recording equipment I have is decent and does not break the bank.
Why do I have it in the first place?
Content creation – I recorded few YouTube videos in the past, an online course, we release monthly AMA with Casefile team. Even though I don’t use it every day, I do need it from time to time, and I need something that offers flexibility and decent quality at the same time.
For some content, you will need video and audio. The best way to do it is, of course, having a camera (DSLR) pointed at you and a clip (lavalier) microphone.
That’s how I recorded my online course and a few YouTube videos in the past. The clip mic I used is Audio Technica 3350. It costs around $30/£25 on Amazon. I also have a lavalier for GoPro camera – it’s called Movo clip mic.
Both mics are powered by a LR44 battery, which is important as the mics don’t rely on camera for power. The mics are decent quality, but you will need to use Denoise processing for hiss and preamp noise.
They are very sensitive so reduce the input gain where possible and clip them lower than a collar. Unfortunately, you cannot operate input gain in GoPro, at least the one I have (GoPro 3). Audio Technica clip does not have a light that would indicate if it’s recording, so you will need to check that on DSLR screen.
In summary, I would recommend checking them out, especially if you need a quick solution for your camera.
At home, I only have one microphone – a dynamic Shure SM7B. It’s a legendary vocal mic, widely used in broadcasting and podcasting. It’s a perfect solution for commentators.
I use it for Skype calls, recorded AMAs and other sessions that I can do from home.
It doesn’t need a pop shield however it does need a lot of input gain. If you want to use it for everyday recordings, then the best solution would be to invest in input gain booster such as Cloudlifter.
All in all, the best dynamic out there in my opinion.
I recently changed my interface and purchased a small Audient iD4. It’s a USB interface with one XLR preamp and D.I. input.
For simple work, it’s one of the best solutions you can find on the market, and it sounds great. The cherry on top is the volume wheel that also works as control surface knob.
iD4 has seamless integration with most sequencers (ProTools in my instance), and with one touch of a button, I can control any automation with the volume wheel. It’s the first step to classic ‘mix’ control surface, and it’s so much easier than using keyboard and mouse. Especially if you are running low on budget, want to learn automation or just simply don’t have enough room on your desk.
I’m very happy with iD4, and I recommend checking it out, or other solutions from Audient.
Apart from that, I don’t have anything fancy at my home. It would look different if I were producing music and doing live recording but for post-production with occasional recording work, it’s more than enough. I have a couple of old mic stands, XLR cables, pop shield – the classics.
If you want to start creating videos for YouTube, start a podcast or record someone else – there are plenty of solutions on the cheap, starting with USB microphones that have built-in audio interfaces. In the beginning, don’t go overboard with the gear. Unless you do professional recording work and get regularly paid for it, start small and go from there.
By learning with minimal equipment, it will be much easier to pick up exactly what you need in the future.
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