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I have a Fostex FR2-LE and need a stereo mic for ambience and various quiet stereo recordings. I am between geeting a Røde NT4 and using it with my Fostex or getting a Sony PCM D50 to use the built in mics. Price is the same so any suggestions.

Also looking at Audio-Technica BP4029 (AT835ST) - Stereo Shotgun Condenser Microphone http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/215893-REG/Audio_Technica_BP4029_BP4029_AT835ST_Stereo.html anyone used this before?

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I own both, in addition to a Sennheiser MS rig. If you ave a Fostex FR2-LE, the Røde NT4 is probably the quieter choice, and the Røde Blimp is specifically designed to support it just fine. The NT4 will still have an audible noise floor when recording subtle, quiet natural ambiences, but it's a great value nevertheless.

Having both ultimately is nice because of the immediacy and portability of the D50...while that sounds like a convenience, though, think about how and where you record. If you'd simply record less with the NT4, maybe the D50 is a better creative choice. Noise specs matter, but so does the desire to get out there and just record things, as does the ability to be spontaneous and react to unforseen opportunities. While the detail from my NT4 recordings are better than the D50 (in my opinion, of course!), I've recorded 400% more material on the D50 simply due to its portability, most of which is perfectly usable.

For nature recordings or extremely subtle sources, of course, I go to the Senny MS pair.

  • @NoiseJockey for M/S there is the Audio-Technica BP4029, pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/… It has non-matrixed M-S mode and two internally-matrixed left/right stereo modes. Have you used this mic before? I am thinking of going with this one for now and then adding the sony D50 later. – ShaunKelly Dec 12 '10 at 0:26
  • @ShaunKelly, I'm afraid that I do not have experience with the BP4029. Its specs make me think that it will suffice for focused sound events, but perhaps a bit noisy for quiet natural ambiences. However, budget-conscious nature recordists seem to think they're OK, from what little reading I've done on the BP4029. – NoiseJockey Dec 12 '10 at 4:16
  • @NoiseJockey How much quieter is the noise floor of your sennheiser MS setup compared a Schoeps midside setup? I trying to build my own sfx setup, but I'm in NYC, so I don't know if the noise floor will ever come in to play unless I leave the city or find a sound proof room. I've looked at the specs, but don't have much real world experience with either. – cocteau Jan 14 '11 at 15:48
  • @Cocteau, you'd have to look up the self-noise specs...I'm not sure off the top of my head. @Sepulchra uses a Schoeps MS pair in and around NYC, and in my opinion, his recordings are really clean and clear, and he's gotten some great nature ambiences as well. Schoeps doesn't tend to be the standard for nature recording, though, but to each his/her own! It's the archer, not the arrows. :-) – NoiseJockey Jan 14 '11 at 22:40
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Rode NT4 will be my choice.

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I have an NT4 and it is a good stereo mic for the price range. Obviously, the ideal stereo field recording solution is to use a M/S configuration that allows for greater flexibility. However, this means things start to cost a lot more. As Shaun said, you can fit the NT4 into a windshield - I use a rycote and you just need to have the correct lyre suspension clips that are sold separately (not too expensive). The downside of the NT4 is that the stereo field is fixed due to the two caps being in a fixed position. But It's definitely a good mic to start out with. Many people go this route before having a bigger budget to get an M/S setup.

As for the D50, I haven't personally used it but have heard very good things about it. The built-in mics are supposed to be pretty good and battery life is one of it's strongest selling points. If you don't have a handheld recorder, then this is an investment well worth looking into. Rene has just published a great comparison guide on handheld recorders over at his blog, The Sound That Makes My Head Probably Hurt. Probably worth having a read. The downside of the D50 is that there is no XLR input, so you will be restricted to it's built-in mics.

To conclude, you really need to assess what is the priority right now. As you have a recorder I'd say go with the NT4. It's a good quality mic for stereo field recordings, it's very affordable and it's a good option to start out with.

But the D-50 is also a good investment if you don't already have a small handheld recorder.... :-)

  • @Colin Hunter I do not have a handheld recorder yet so defiantly pushes me that way. As for M/S there is the Audio-Technica BP4029, pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/… It has non-matrixed M-S mode and two internally-matrixed left/right stereo modes. And its $699. Not to sure what non-matrixed/ matrixed means but seems like it does a lot for the price. – ShaunKelly Dec 11 '10 at 19:04
  • pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/… This is also the same mic but longer. for $799 – ShaunKelly Dec 11 '10 at 19:11
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EDIT: I'm about to put up the post with some of the recordings, pictures, and descriptions of what I captured on the U.S.S. Pampanito with the D50 on my site. There's a chance to win a copy of all of the sounds I recorded in the post.

I haven't used the NT4, but I have used the D-50. It's very clean for a handheld recorder. I've been meaning to get a post up on my website about the time Colin and I spent a little over an hour on a WWII sub recording switches, knobs and the like. All we had with us were handheld recorders, and I had the D50. I'll make sure to get that up tomorrow (with some of the sounds, of course) for everyone to check out.

The pres on the D50 are pretty good, but I haven't used that particular model of Fostex recorder to make a comparison.

It does have a screw hole for a standard consumer camera tripod on the back. So, it's easy to use with something like the Joby Gorillapod, or a larger camera tripod.

As with any handheld recorder, it's highly susceptible to handling noise and wind. something you should consider when making your decision. Then again, you'll want to consider that for the NT4 as well. I know people have been able to fit the NT4 into a blimp/zepplin. So that one affords you a bit more ease in terms of manipulation than the D50.

  • @Shaun Farley I look forward to your recordings. I am getting a blimp next month so as long as the NT4 fits in it I think I will go that route. Are there any other decent stereo mic around the $550 price range that you know of. Preferably something smaller than the NT4. Thanks – ShaunKelly Dec 11 '10 at 5:53

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