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I'm looking for a portable recorder which my ElectroVoice RE50N/D-B will plug into for 'man-on-the-street' type interviews; but, I recently read this:

note: we cannot recommend dynamic microphones such as the Electrovoice RE-50 or Beyer M-58 for use with most of these flash recorders. The Sony PCM-D50, Marantz PMD 661, Tascam DR-100mkII, Tascam HD-P2 and Sound Devices recorders may provide adequate clean gain with dynamic mics, but the rest of these models require higher-output microphones in order to make clean recordings when using the external mic inputs. Using dynamic mics with these recorders with quiet sources, such as the spoken voice, will, in most cases, result in hissy, low-level recordings.

(From this Transom.org article)

That makes me a little nervous. Are they saying that there's no portable recorder which will give me good, clean audio with my dynamic mic? Maybe the Neodymium tech in the RE50N/D-B makes a difference?

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With the Tascam DR 100mk2 I got some good "interview" recordings with an SM 58. But I was really close to the source. If you are booming, you definately want a shotgun.

If I were you, I would try to use my Phone as a recorder for you interviews. I think I used a NTG2 Rode Mic ("Battery powered shotgun") with my Iphone for good results there is a cheap adapter that lets you plug in mice into the phone and which costs 1/4 of the burrowing costs for a tascam or sound device. -> http://www.kvconnection.com/product-p/km-iphone-mic.htm (something like this)

That way you got a very flexible easy to use equipment. (Mind the battery life of your phone and have some extended battery clip for the iphone for example) But for 20-30 minutes of interview its enough.

  • Really helpful answer - thanks! I'll be using the microphone in my hand - does that count as really close? Ah, I was originally going to use my phone, but I thought the sound card in the phone wouldn't be able to pick up such a small signal without making lots of fuzz. I wouldn't have thought a phone would do better than an actual portable recorder, is that really the case? – Joe Feb 26 '14 at 10:34
  • I think it will not do better, but it might work, so its a option to check in my opinion, before spending a lot of cash for a device that you will only use for one project. Just go to a local audio store and theist the cable with your phone too see if it works! :) gl – Tobias Schmidt Feb 26 '14 at 12:23
  • And with distance -> close is if you hold the mic really in front of their mouth. like 10-20 cm. If you can do that, then dynamics can work well. just look a US President speeches. They use 2 SM 58 to pick up the Signal in a distance roughly 30 cm away. GL – Tobias Schmidt Feb 26 '14 at 12:25
  • Good idea - I found a cable for $5 so I might as well test the phone before buying a recorder. Thanks! :) – Joe Feb 26 '14 at 15:46
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For what it's worth I've used an RE20 on an H4n and it sounded just fine. The fact that the website claims the H4n has great quality mics, and seems to make some other questionable claims on other recorders, I'm not entirely sure the information on that site is worth putting a whole lot of trust in. You run into potential output level issues with condensers too.

The big rule with dynamics is you need to "kiss the mic" to get a robust signal. They are not as sensitive as condensers as far as their "throw"

  • Okay, that's encouraging, but the RE50N/D is an omnidirectional mic, so ideally in an interview situation I wouldn't need to put it too close to the interviewee's face. – Joe Feb 26 '14 at 10:56
  • Is there a recorder that I could use with an omni so I don't need to 'kiss the mic'? – Joe Feb 26 '14 at 12:41
  • No, that's the nature of a dynamic mic. You can crank up the pre's all you want, but unless you're making loud enough of a sound close enough to the mic, you're not going to get any signal. That's just how a dynamic mic works. Very different from a condensor. – Stavrosound Feb 26 '14 at 16:46
  • Are you sure that's correct? This guy doesn't seem to be kissing any of the dynamic mics: youtube.com/watch?v=kaOSJmhnS_Q – Joe Feb 27 '14 at 2:21
  • I know thats what you have to do for the RE20 of you full, rich voice, some mics has the video states have more "throw". Even so, you have keep a dynamic mic quite close for good vocal clarity. – Stavrosound Feb 27 '14 at 3:20

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