Hi there,I was wondering what tips anyone would have for recording a dawn chorus with Sony D50. I'm in 44/24bit mode and there is a bit of preamp sound(?) when you push the gain above 4/5 (as @scaudio noted in another post).

I'm using Audacity for post production, btw. And I have limited skills but am very ambitious and want to learn as much as I can as quickly as possible!



2 Answers 2


For quiet birdsong, etc. a dish would be the real solution (telinga, etc.). The pcmd50 does very great job, especially for the price, but don't wait sennheiser of schoeps performance from it. With all that said, I think many-many pcm-d50 recordings went into big productions, because it is a very decent recorder, even with the built in mics. One thing you should be aware of: sometimes you can use more gain, because the headphone preamp is bit hissy, but still the recording is not. Experiment with it a bit, and you'll find it's sweet spot regarding to soft ambiences,etc. I too highly recommend to record in 24bit 96kHz. And really, the main point is to record, once you'll have more money, you'll buy better equipment, but the sony is a very capable little device, so don't miss any opportunity just because you don't have thousands for a mic.

  • I agree with Tamas here, I recorded some birds in Wisconsin with a D50 and the hiss was a lot more prominent or at least I remember it being that way while I was in the field. When I mastered the recordings in my room, the recordings sounded fine.
    – Jake
    Feb 15, 2012 at 18:06
  • 1
    @jake and @tamas could you give me an idea of what you mean by 'mastered'. Are you processing the files to remove unwanted sounds?
    – Earlsmead
    Feb 15, 2012 at 19:11
  • beats me why Sony (of all companies, Walkman anyone?) made the headphone amp so hissy. Happens on the M10 too.
    – georgi
    Feb 16, 2012 at 10:30
  • @Earlsmead mastering isn't the best term to describe what we do with raw recordings but it's what I was taught, so I just keep using it. Most of what mastering entails is editing out any unwanted sounds from raw recordings. So in the case of the birds I recorded in WI. I edited out any air traffic or movements I made while I was there before tagging and uploading the sound effects to our library.
    – Jake
    Feb 16, 2012 at 19:08

Unfortunately, this is the cost/quality dichotomy we all face, particularly when starting out (as I am also).

It just can't be expected of a piece of kit costing less than a grand to perform the same as kit that will cost five times that. I'm sure you're aware of this, but I'm just stating the point.

All the same, hiss isn't going to ruin the recording (as long as it's not for commercial use). It's better to have the sound recorded than not!

You can try some low-pass filtering, or high shelf EQ, to minimise the noise, but it will affect the timbre of the birdsong.

Noise removal plug-ins will be fairly ineffective as any attenuation of ambiance that quiet will effectively kill the signal. (Someone may correct me on this)

Aside from this, get a piggybank and start saving for some Schoeps.

  • Also, it's advisable to record at least 48kHz, if not 96kHz, particularly if you plan to effect the audio, for example timestretch it. It also futureproofs your recordings; technology and quality (arguable though I suppose!) are always changing. Feb 15, 2012 at 10:02
  • Check your 96k recordings for high frequency hiss. You won't hear it, but it will "quantise" your recordings. Happens on the M10. A gentle low-pass filter from 20k sorts it out.
    – georgi
    Feb 16, 2012 at 10:31

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