Marantz PMD420 for Field Recording -- Recommend me a Mic?

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0wl
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Marantz PMD420 for Field Recording -- Recommend me a Mic?

Post by 0wl » Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:50 am

There's a cheap Marantz PMD420 portable cassette recorder listed locally, and I'm thinking about scooping it up for field recording use. But what kind of mic should I pair with it? I assume no phantom power, but since I'll be using it in the field I'm guessing a condenser is in order. An oddball scenario sure, but can anyone shine some light on this?

Thanks all.

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:59 am

It looks like the only mike inputs are 1/4". If you want to use XLR, you'll need adaptors. When I do stuff like this (location recording), I tend to eschew condensers and focus on quality dynamics, due to the phantom power thing. But if you're sold on the idea, you could get a couple of ART portable/battery-powered phantom power boxes (and maybe Velcro them to the Marantz case?): https://www.google.com/search?site=&sou ... Aw0#imgrc=_

As far as mikes, anything you want to try, but the classic was always the Nakamichi's:
http://www.coutant.org/nakamich/ . If you can find a pair of these that are reasonably priced (not that easy), or if you substitute a different set of battery-powered condensers, you can skip the ART boxes and just bring a bunch of extra batteries.

The other thing to think about would be how do you plan to use it (primarily); i.e., what do you mean by "field recording." If you're talking setting-up for an outdoor event or concert, then you might get away with a stereo bar and a single mike stand. If you want to follow action, record dialogue, etc., you may need a boom pole, or at least a pistol grip set-up. You will also want a few "dead cat" wind screens, and maybe some kind of rain protection for the mikes...

GJ
Gregg Juke
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0wl
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Post by 0wl » Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:06 pm

I guess I should've been a bit more specific! I intend to record ambient/atmospheric sounds?not sound effects, concerts or sporting events. I.e. I won't be "targeting" anything in specific. Like I'd love to just take the Marantz out into the woods or into the city and record everything that hits my ear. Birds, leaves rustling, traffic sounds, etc. I dunno how capable/sensitive the machine will be for that type of recording but that's my plan. And I'm not stuck on the idea of a condenser, I just figured (correct me if I'm wrong!) that one would be most appropriate for that kind of "wide field" recording. All the manual says is to connect a "low impedance One-Point Stereo Microphone." Not exactly sure what that means. Any other ideas on this?

Thanks so far!

0wl
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Post by 0wl » Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:09 pm

A bit more research suggests that for "soundscape" recording, an X/Y stereo mic is a good option. I like the look/price of the AT2022. It's battery powered too! I wonder if the mic and the recorder alone will be able to produce a suitably loud recording. I imagine they should considering that the PMD420 is built for such a purpose.

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Post by Gregg Juke » Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:30 pm

I assume "one-point" means a stereo mike with a single stereo output, versus some that have a separate cable/connection for each mike in the array.

And, yeah, battery-operated would be good, so it sounds like you've got a plan. I know a lot of the film guys record direct without a mixer in-line, so it's likely that you could get away without using one as well. If you try it, and the input doesn't give you enough gain, you could always try to find a field mixer to go with your rig; Rolls tends to make a lot of useful devices that are less expensive than other manufacturers.

Let us know how it goes...

GJ
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0wl
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Post by 0wl » Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:29 pm

Yeah I'll just have to give it a go and see if I need more gain or not. Most "field mixers" I'm seeing are at least 4 channels, when I assume I will only need one. I'm also researching some "field preamps," but these seem to be more rare and harder to find good info on.

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Post by swelle » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:25 am

You might find a cheap stereo electret condenser.. I have a Technics stereo mic that uses a single AA battery, has dual 1/4" output, and sounds halfway decent. And if I drop it into a waterfall, I won't shed any tears. The onboard preamps will do the job just fine.

I was told by a service guy that the Marantz portable cassette recorders are "..the only cassette machines worth fixing," (though I think Sony made a pretty good stereo unit as well). The little Marantz units were big with the Grateful Dead taping crowd back in the pre-DAT days, especially the stereo models.

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