Location Sound On The Go

The Tascam DR-40, and international wireless usage

TASCAM DR-40 Q I’m looking for my first portable level digital audio recorder. It will need to operate on batteries or AC power, need to have dual audio XLR inputs and must have decent audio metering. The catch is that my budget is $200. Is there anything out there that I should be looking at? A friend loaned me his Zoom H4n, and I wasn’t... Read more

Lockit Buddy II And Triton FetHead Phantom

Recording external time code, and affordable phantom power

EXTERNAL TIME CODE Q We’re producing a project using five Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLRs. We’ve already produced several projects utilizing two Canon EOS 5D Mark IIs with a Zoom H4n audio recorder. For this upcoming project, we’ll be recording audio using a Sound Devices 664 audio recorder. The Sound Devices recorder has a built-in time-code... Read more

Lavs That Cost Less

Setting a new bar in the price-to-performance ratio

Q I’m a sound mixer for an internal media production group at a nonprofit. I have my own gear for when I freelance, but prefer not to use it at work, as my job doesn’t have the budget to pay me to rent my sound gear. My boss has charged me with locating and purchasing four wired lavalier microphone systems, and I’m stumped, as my own... Read more

Feeling Blue

Both ends of the USB Blue Microphones spectrum

Q I work at a small production company. We used to rent time at a local sound studio, but my boss has decided he wants to record our voice-over sessions here, so he has charged me with building a super-low budget, but decent-quality VO studio capability. I have a room that’s pretty quiet with decent sound, but I’d like the capability to... Read more

Shure FP Wireless Microphone System

A professional, yet affordable wireless sound system

Q I’m shooting a long-term documentary in Angola with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Since I’m working alone, a boom mic is out of the question. What do you recommend to obtain decent sound from a moving subject? I’m shooting interviews with several people, but my main subject is a doctor, and I need to follow him as he makes house calls... Read more

Future Proofed

Examining the Sound Devices 664 Field Production Mixer and the Sennheiser MKE 600

SOUND DEVICES 664 FIELD PRODUCTION MIXER Q I’m looking to upgrade from my current sound setup of a Zoom H4n and a Shure FP33 mixer. I feel as if I’ve pushed the technology as far as I can and I want to get serious about my location sound gear. I can’t afford top-of-the-line sound gear, but I want a setup that’s as future-proofed... Read more

All By Myself

A unique USB microphone, and devising a preproduction sound checklist

AUDIO-TECHNICA ATR2100-USB Q I was hired by an ad agency to record voiceover narrations for a corporate project. I’m producing the sessions myself and the budget is tight. I can’t afford to work in a recording studio. What’s your recommendation for the most cost-effective, reasonable-quality microphone that I could use at home to... Read more

Taking Aim

Room tone, and the Que Audio Q Sniper Kit

ROOM TONE Q Can you tell me a bit about room tone? What exactly is room tone, and how is it used typically? Mark W. Via e-mail A I sometimes refer to room tone as "audio Spackle®." Much like drywall Spackle® is used to patch over the uneven tape seams, nail holes and tears in sheetrock, room tone is recorded by sound mixers on set and... Read more

Modern Sound Reports

Recording stereo, and apps for writing sound reports

RECORDING IN STEREO Q I’m embarking on my first student film and want to record the sound in stereo. Assuming the film will end up mixed in stereo or surround, is this a good idea? Ari R. Via email A You ask a simple question that actually has a pretty complex answer. Anytime you record or play back stereo signal, you’re creating or re-creating... Read more


Recording sound with iOS devices, plus lavalier mic options

iPHONE/iPOD TOUCH/iPAD SOLUTIONS Q Is it possible to record professional-level audio with my iPhone? William F. Via email A I hate to answer a question with a question, but the big one that comes to mind is, "Why?" If you’re asking just to see if it’s possible to do, the answer is yes, it’s possible to record fairly decent-quality... Read more

Lost In The Supermarket

Recording sound in a crowded supermarket and other issues

RECORDING SOUND IN A CROWDED SUPERMARKET Q I’m doing sound on a series of walk-and-talk commercials with a spokesperson that will shoot in a real working supermarket—yes, I know, buzzing refrigerator cases, buzzing fluorescent lights and lots of stuff that we don’t want to hear. We get to block off a portion of the store to shoot, but... Read more

Getting In Sync

Singular Software PluralEyes 2.0 for Final Cut Pro

Q I’ve just purchased a new Canon EOS 7D for a film project that I wrote. We’re hoping to submit the film to some local film festivals. The audio on the Canon isn’t good, so we’ve been using a Zoom H4n audio recorder to record sound. The big slowdown for me is when I try to sync the H4n audio with the Canon EOS 7D audio. I’m... Read more