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Advice wanted on ambient sound recording with MD

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Hi, I don't know if this is the right place to ask, but maybe you could point me in the right direction. I'm relatively new to sound recording, but I'm looking for a portable set-up for recording ambient sound (mainly urban/street noises, but also some field recordings of natural sounds - water, wildlife etc.). From what limited research I've been able to do, minidisc seems like the most desirable portable recording device for my needs, however I'm not sure about models. I'm not looking for any of the gizmo stuff (Hi-MD, NetMD, etc.), just something which has the potentia tol make quality recordings (with the right mic set-up/technique). Obviously I'm looking for something with plug-in-power, limited noise, an ATRAC system that doesn't degrade sound too much after compression, and user friendly (ability to alter gain while recording, etc.). Any advice/suggestions welcome (including older models as I can always search ebay). Cheers, Simon

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Hi-MD recorders can still be used as basic recorders, and allow both uncompressed (PCM) recording and high quality ATRAC compression.

I've been playing with my NH700 recently, and this unit might well suit you, or the soon-to-be released NH900 .

Something like the fairly recent Sharp IMDR420 would also have high quality ATRAC and essy recording options.

You can ignore all the NetMD features with these machines. Don't forget to get a unit with a mic-in jack though to save messing around with external pre-amps etc., many models don't have this.

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I'm using an MZ-NH700 for exactly these purposes.

Unlike KJ, I would recommend using a high-quality external preamp with mic power regardless of what kind of mics you end up using.

The preamps built into MD recorders are perfectly suited for recording sounds that are fairly loud, but will clip if the sound gets too loud, and have fairly high noise floors, meaning environmental recordings [like nature sounds] border on being unacceptable.

Buying a good external mic preamp with higher mic power [meaning two things: the ability to record louder sounds without distortion, and accordingly a higher dynamic range - with mics that require the power] usually means having a -much- lower noise floor, higher gain, selectable bass rolloff, etc. - it just depends on what you look for.

Just about any MD or Hi-MD with a line-in would suit your purposes as long as you don't mind being restricted to analogue transfers to whatever you'll be editing on.

If you want to be able to transfer things digitally, Hi-MD will do it in the clear if you use the right tools [sony hasn't released their tool for this, yet].

Cheers,

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You do not have to go through the two-step process, and the creation of two additional files - you can (and I have done this) just play the tracks on the disc in the recorder using Sonic Stage and have Total Recorder create (copy) the unencrypted wave file. Works fine, saves time and saves space.

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I know. I do the two-step process because:

1) I keep -nothing- on the discs themselves for any longer than it takes to get them off the discs

2) I consider the SonicStage copy my archive copy

3) I do not trust copying (playing) directly via USB [call me paranoid]

4) I consider the copy I make with TR my editing-only version

5) disc space is not really an issue for me

edit:

Jadeclaw pointed out a very good reason to do the copying via USB first - that PCM files are only allowed to be transferred once, so if a transfer gets buggered up, you probably won't get another chance to move it. [You can still play it to copy via USB though..]

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