Hey folks. For those of you who do a lot of recordings on the go, how do you strategize being prepared? I'm not satisfied with my GO! set-up, which is hyper-minimalist:

I carry a Zoom H4 with me at almost all times, and use the onboard mics. Which aren't bad. I don't bother with headphones - usually by the time I've put them on and plugged them in, the sound has disappeared.

And even then, it can take me up to 20-30 seconds from deciding "I'm gonna record that!" to rolling.

So what do you do? Here's what I figure is valuable, in order:

1) Light and compact, so it doesn't interfere with your day to day life. 2) Quick to set up. 3) Good quality sound. 4) Monitoring ability.

  • Does anybody go out with an xlr mic for their day to day activities? Aug 21, 2010 at 23:44

8 Answers 8


Number one priority for me is:

  • Extra AA batteries and empty SDHC card!

Can't tell you how many times I've whipped out my H2 to grab some super-neato sound only to be met with "battery low…goodbye!"

Argh -

  • I should really carry an sdhc card too. I have yet to run up to the 4gb limit of the internal memory on the M10, but that would suck. Aug 21, 2010 at 22:12
  • I've never gone past my SD card's limit which is 8GB, either. I do love Zoom's hello/goodbye messages. "Good to see you!", awww. You're sweet, Zoom. Aug 21, 2010 at 23:43
  • @Robin @Steve It's in the broken English on mine: "Goodbye See you!"
    – Utopia
    Aug 22, 2010 at 9:05

FWIW I have the zoom and the sony pcm d50, and I much prefer the sony for on the fly recordings.

Better internal mics, quieter pres, built in memory, sweet preamp knob, and never ending battery life.

alt text the sony is a touch wider than the zoom

alt text

the sony is a touch thinner than the zoom

alt text

This is my "pocket rig". the Sony and the wifey made windscreen both fit into the camera case found for $00.50 at the local thrift shop. Everything fits in my pocket.

alt text

here's the sony to pocket ratio

  • @Rene is the D50 small enough to cart about all the time? It looked a bit big. I think I'm gonna grab an M10 next week.
    – JTC
    Aug 22, 2010 at 17:36
  • Hey Joe, edited my post with pix. thx.
    – Rene
    Aug 22, 2010 at 18:55

In my everyday bag I carry my M10, wind jammer, ear buds, extra batteries, and a gorillapod. Some days I have my point and shoot camera as well, but in a pinch I'll just take a snapshot with my phone.

  • Why do you take a picture of what you're recording? Is that for the library? Aug 21, 2010 at 23:42
  • @Robin for the library or mic placement if he's grabbing IRs.
    – Utopia
    Aug 22, 2010 at 9:06
  • Yep @Robin, what @Ryan said. Also it helps when I forget to audio slate the recording. It helps jog the memory. Aug 22, 2010 at 15:12
  • @Steve sorry for the dumb question, but could you explain how you record IRs? Sep 12, 2010 at 3:12
  • 1
    @Filipe There's a useful explanation over here: bit.ly/aEVnjm They speak specifically to Altiverb, but the theory translates to recording IRs for any convolution reverb. Sep 12, 2010 at 18:15

I say bring a recorder everywhere, especially on vacation. :) Sure, vacation time is "downtime," but we all love sound and the chance to preserve it when it's worth capturing. I'd rather bring a tiny bit of the workplace with me and be prepared for that unexpected audio gem than spend the rest of the trip kicking myself for being unprepared. ("Wish we had the gear with us" has struck several times even in the downtime portions of full shoots.)

I've been thinking about this question a lot lately because bringing an H4n or D50 along everywhere feels impractical -- my pocket space (unless I'm in cargos) is already mostly spoken for. I'd love a mini-bag solution like Rene's, but something big enough to hold both a 24/96 handheld and an H2 for quickie background capture. Does anyone have either a purchasable solution or some design suggestions? Maybe something that could clip onto a belt?

(Sorry to reply to a question with a question -- I guess it's really more of a refresh of the same question).


I carry my m10 with me at all times to; i'm really liking its sound (and battery life!!!) And it goes from "off", to "recording" much quicker than my previous h4

It doesn't bother me at all carrying it in the pocket all the time, but then again, all my shorts/pants have really big pockets, to fit comfortably the recorder, cellphone, keys and wallet. That has downsides to, a couple of days ago made an @ss of myself taking forever to find a card to give to a producer...

  • 1
    @Filipe Just tape a chunk of business cards to the recorder -- then you can impress the producer doubly with your "always prepared" mentality. ;)
    – Tyler
    Sep 12, 2010 at 18:11
  • Good one @Tyler, i'll try that lol Sep 12, 2010 at 18:26

m10+windjammer almost always on me and in sleep mode. i don't bother turning it off anymore. the batteries last ages, even when recording 24/96.

  • +1 on the battery life. I've read it was good, but never expected it to be THIS good! Sep 12, 2010 at 16:36
  • sony have a tradition with trimming power requirements and i've seen them power tape and minidisc walkmans with just one AA battery. this time they have two so i'm guessing that's plenty :) it would be great if pausing re-activated the 5 second pre-record buffer. have learned to press stop and record again every time i use it up ;)
    – georgi
    Sep 12, 2010 at 18:50

I try to never go without my Tascam DR-100 but it's a bit bulky and I'm not too sure what a stereo mic would sound like but I'd say the Tascam one is ok. Have managed to capture some cool waterfalls (well, big fountains), some vehicles... tried a lot of nature ambiances but it's too self-noisy for that, city is ok.


How is the sound quality on the H10? Whenever I record sound effects I use my stereo Sanken CSS-5 and a mono Sanken CS-3e but it is, obviously, too bulky to carry with me all the time. I would love a recorder I can carry wi me all the time but I'm a nut for high quality recordings so I haven't bothered to buy a Zoom or one of those Sony units. But, after reading the posts on her I'm starting to rethink that.

  • I'm loving the m-10, the h4 was really a toy by comparison, while the sounds i'm getting with the m-10 are really usable... to me anyway. Sep 12, 2010 at 18:28

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