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I'm due to start work on a project next month which I'll be editing and sound designing. It's a 5 minute short film/commercial which requires a lot of heavily stylized sound design elements. There will be grinding stone, clanging chains, creepy breaths, knives, punches, and more. The idea is for these sounds to be larger than life and for me to be able to manipulate them as I need to create the right sound.

I'd like to know if anyone had any advice on what gear, and in particular microphones, I should spend my $3000-$3500 budget on? I think that a Sound Devices 702 is a good start for a recorder, but am not sure what would be the best type of mics for me. Are two mono mics with different characteristics a better investment than one, more expensive stereo mic?

A few other points to consider:

I hope to record most of my sounds in a home recording studio I have access to, but there will be a few outdoor recordings.

I'm more concerned with clarity and fidelity than realism - this project needs hyper real sound design that is very direct and prominent in the mix.

Thanks in advance for your help - I'm new to sound design, although I've been a professional video editor for 8 years so am familiar with post-production and some elements of sound engineering.

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I'd say experiment with microphone placements, different types of mic, condenser/dynamic/contact and mix them together to create large than life content.

Here's my suggestions on mics to use for foley work:

AKG D112 - Bass drum mic, good for big boomy sounds.

Sennheiser - MKH8050 & MKH8040 General all around cleanliness, low noise and can take high SPL's.

Electro-magnetic field "listener" - Elektrosluch 3+

You could also consider a contact microphone (a glorified piezo) or a hydrophone for getting some out there sounds.

Try to record in the highest sample rate possible 24bit/96k or 192k if you can afford the space, it's mainly so when you time stretch you don't get grainy artefacts.

In regards to getting two mono microphones over one stereo mic, I can't possibly answer that, what I would say is having more mics gives you greater flexibility. A mic doesn't have to be worth $3K to do it's job, cheap mics like a pair of Sure SM58's can go along way if you need a perception of stereo space, I've used SM58's as overheads in a drum mic setup and they work well.

Also you could consider a smaller more handheld recorder such as a Zoom h4 for doing outside recording (due to the seemingly cumbersome nature of the 702), as that also has a pair of condenser mics built in, so it's perfect for getting a stereo spread.

  • I think this is great answer and pretty much what I would recommend also, a zoom h4/6 seems like a god choice for you. With that and an array of mics you should be able to capture some great sounds. – coaxmw Aug 20 '16 at 18:21

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