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Thread: Sound design equipment?

  1. #1

    Default Sound design equipment?

    Hi there

    i am currently studying music tech at uni, and looking to move into sound design for either film/game at some point for a carrer, now due to being on a music tech course most of our work is based on the music side of things, untill the 3rd year where we can do a sound design module

    Thing is i want to try start doing some home made projects to use in a portfolio, and was thinking of getting some of my won equipment
    at the moment i am looking to try get a database of sounds that i have recorded to then pic and chose at will to edit, use for any sound design work.

    can anyone recomend any equipment to me please? in terms of mics/portable audio recorders/etc
    at the moment i am looking for cheap over quality (sadly i know i shouldn't) but budget is very low, being a student and all, budget is 300 max

    thanks for any advice guys and girls

  2. #2
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    You really need to keep scanning the likes of eBay and bblist - bargains can be had (avoid shoddy cheap stuff, you will regret it later when you have to buy 'proper' to replace it) - one good tip is to try looking for mis-spelt brands on ebays search - (sennhieser sennheiser for instance) - and be patient - occassioanlly bargains can be found - just don't rush, there's no need at all in your case as I'm sure at the moment you can use Uni's equipment?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Lockwood View Post
    You really need to keep scanning the likes of eBay and bblist - bargains can be had (avoid shoddy cheap stuff, you will regret it later when you have to buy 'proper' to replace it) - one good tip is to try looking for mis-spelt brands on ebays search - (sennhieser sennheiser for instance) - and be patient - occassioanlly bargains can be found - just don't rush, there's no need at all in your case as I'm sure at the moment you can use Uni's equipment?
    Thanks for the advice there, i am sorry to say i cant actually get out any of the equipment from uni, only things they really have are a few portable digital recorders which are unavaliable for my course (seems silly being a recorder and i am on a music tech course) but all our uni bookings are split between music and media, and this equipment counts as media, which mainly courses involved with that/ film and tv/radio have access too

  4. #4
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    Have a look at the Marantz PMD range on ebay. They are excellent recorders, have xlr inputs, phantom power and are going very cheaply at the moment. Possibly because they are a bit larger than current portable recorders. A Marantz is a good investment and will last you for years!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulears View Post
    Portable audio recording is a very small section of most music tec programes - which always seem to base themselves on music recording, in studio environments. Some do have a module or two covering location recording, mainly of orchestral and choral genres, where stereo techniques can be explored. Sound design for film/tv/gaming is more of a production course and not covered by most music tech courses in any detail - if at all. Places like Derby have proper sound design courses, and a few others do film sound.

    Sounds as if you enrolled on the wrong course?

    If you want to explore portable recording, despite being mini disc, and therefore having the compromises of that format - you do see on ebay quite often the purple HHB portadisc and they are really excellent - mine gets a lot of use, and for learning the ropes, quality is perfectly good enough - in fact, I use it as a backup to my HD system and it's saved my bacon quite a few times. Don't be afraid to buy old kit - it often performs really well and if you don't find scratches and the odd dent a problem - some amazing bargain can be had. A complete Sennheiser zepplin style kit, plus hairy cover for 120 because it was broken - from the pics, the elastics were missing, that's why the owner thought it broken.

    I just picked up a Coles commentators mic for a song.

    Sadly, the miss-spelled search isn't as good as it was because ebay picks up the miss-spelling now and corrects it - so it knows senhheiser is sennheiser - but try different key words using non-technical terms. So if you want a portable, try things like battery recorder - this still seems to work. Coles mic didn't, but commentary mic did?
    Haha, strangely i do realise that being on my course you know, but it is an option for my 3rd year, sound design for film and tv, so i will be going to that as a module. also aspects of synthesis module i think gives me a good basses in knowledge of sound maniupulation and editing, plus i do have a small media module. The fact that i dj for work while at uni made me feel music tech would help with the different aspects of most of what i am doing/want to do.

    As for the avdice on the kit, its much appreciated, i kinda just need to know the things to look for at the moment as before i wasnt to sure with what i may need, so thanks for the advice with all that

  6. #6
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    Not familiar with the terms you use Sound design, was it?
    Are you wanting to record "useful sounds" out and about I wonder?

    Before I bought my Vid camera I bought a discontinued PalmTrack - just 64 for SD memory and 24-bit recording. It appears to have 2-or4-mic builty-in and thre is an external 3.5input jack for "mic" and another for "line" - the headphone op is separately adjustable.
    I use it regularly for Foley and SFX the files are brought into SoundForge (like Audacity) to have their levels fixed and handling noises cut. I would like to buy a directional mic, but funds....
    The Alesis replacement is cheaper, but is really a low-res. video-recorder, with audio. (bit like a Flip). Not sure about the audio spec, but it will be easy to carry and the vid-side means you know what and when you recorded the audio.

    The Zoom range are well respected by musicians and start about 80, but for XLR inputs you end up with a bigger, more expensive unit - and I wonder if you want the expense of XLR-wired mics, as they will tend to be rather expensive too.

    Others have suggested you buy quality and that's good advice, but when a budget is tight you have to compromise and as someone once said a cheap close-mike will often beat a quality mic at a distance. What will improve yr recording is a dead-cat - the difference is like colour v. B&W - there is no contest. I made mine for under 5, fitted drawstring eyelets, cord etc - pro stuff at a budget.

    Snags: Yes - their displays are rubbish and really need a magnifying viewer to cut sunlight - and battery life is 8-hrs on fresh 2x AA Duracells - that's better than the Zoom, I believe, yet the one I saw uses only one cell and you could use rechargeable, whereas the Alesis PalmTrack is very voltage sensitive... I suspect that is one reason Alesis dropped what could have been a really good seller...


    If you can explain a little more, I may be able to offer some better suggestions.
    Good luck on you courses.

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