I've been doing a lot of research for my price bracket. I'm wanting to enjoy the summer recording lots of sounds and getting good at technique and editing. I want the sound quality to be good... Good enough to use in sound design, games and such.

But I need some kit. Moving my laptop with my Apogee Duet and microphones etc is just out of the question. I need something separate I can take out and get good results with.

Fostex FR2-LE Portable CF Field Recorder alt text

I did research on it's preamps and listened to some sound comparisons of various units. In my price range, this piece of kit seems to have decent, clean microphone preamps and is obviously portable and allows for external microphones. The unit operates at up to 24bit 96khz, I'm thinking of using it at 24bit 48khz. The disadvantages I can see are that it's a bit plastic and the battery compartment is badly designed. Maybe not so much of an issue? What's the opinions? Clean enough preamps for the sounds I want to record?

Rode NTG-2 Dual Powered Shotgun Condenser Microphone alt text
(source: dv247.com)

I want a basic microphone, something to use with a blimp, on a boom pole etc. It seems pretty much most sounds I'll generally be capturing will be mono. Obviously I want stereo too, but maybe this will come in the next lot of sound recording purchases. The reviews of this microphone seem pretty decent. But maybe there is better out there?

Rode Microphone Accessories alt text alt text alt text These are the Rode PG2 Combined Pistol Grip and Shockmount, WS6 Deluxe Windshield and the Mini-Boompole. I was looking at the Rode Blimp, but I'm wanting something portable. I'm hoping that the Deluxe Windshield would do enough to combat most wind, I do understand that a proper blimp would be more effective. Again, maybe something to look at in the next lot of purchases. I was thinking this small range will give me hand control of the mic, give me a boom pole to capture stuff out of my immediate reach (which also attaches to the pistol grip) and the windshield to obviously offer (some) protection against the wind.


Will all of this be a decent quality starter package? Am I missing something? Will it get me on the right track? Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated.

9 Answers 9


Mic: I vote for the NTG-3. It's comparable to the Sennheiser MKH416 and most professionals wouldn't probably be able to discern between the 2.

Windshield: Drop the Blimp and WS6 if you can, I own the Blimp and I don't like it because of it's weight and clumsy construct. I would rather go for the Rycote softie as a windshield.

Shockmount: Again if you can spare the extra cash, go with a Rycote shock mount instead of the Rode. Better construct and design there, but the Rode can do the job.

Boompole: I wouldn't worry too much about the weight of the pole, just how durable it is. Sure the lighter the better, but when you're starting out, a heavier pole helps you build the muscles to swing the lighter boom like a ninja ^_-

Recorder: I like the Zoom H4n's portability, but their preamps are... well you get what you pay. So the FR2-LE is a pretty decent choice.

If you can go for quality, do it. If you can't, that's all good too cause you will learn how to work with your gear. A good buddy of mine, who has a great many years as a sound recordist under his belt, still uses his very first mixer, an old PSC Promix, really bad preamps, but he's learnt how to extract gold from it. :D

  • I learnt something from every response I got off this question. But yours covered most, and helped me. I have changed to getting a NTG-3 and looking into the Rycote gear as we speak. Thank you (and thanks to everyone else too!) Commented Mar 20, 2011 at 18:37

Seems to be a nice package. The only thing I would change is the boom pole. Since I recently needed a cheap boom pole I had a look at the Røde since my university uses them. But I spent my money on a K&M boom pole...10€ cheaper and feels a little lighter. Also the thread at the end of the pole seems to be more stable than the one at the Røde. Most of the threads of the Røde poles we have at university are broken. Even if it's normal, that gear used by a lot of people gets broken after a certain time, it still seems not to be very rugged.


I suggest looking at this before you buy that mini boom-pole:



From what I've learned from asking the same questions, you can't go wrong with the kit you've listed there. My experience is nothing compared to some of the guys on the site however, so I'll let someone else confirm this.

Personally, I'd grab a cardioid mic of some sort too if your budget can stretch to it, shotguns can't do everything.

Hope this helps,



Yes, this a reasonable starter package.

Fostex products have good pre-amps overall, so I think you'll be happy with them. I've heard that they're headphone outputs lately have been fairly noisy. So that's something to keep in mind while you're recording; the recordings will actually be cleaner than they sound through the headphones.

I've also heard from numerous people that the NTG-2 just isn't that great. Most prefer the NTG-3 if they're going with Rode mics.

Check out SpectrumAudio.com, they typically have good deals on Rode gear. For instance, they sell the Rode Blimp, which goes for $299 most places, for $236 (so you may want to consider that upgrade if they'll save you enough money over the entire package you're thinking of). Just a caveat, you won't see any of the discounts they offer unless you've created an account with them and logged in. The price drop will appear in the shopping cart though. The site has random deals on a bunch of stuff, and I've bought from them in the past (a pair of CK93 hypercardioid capsules for my AKG SE300B bodies).


I have not worked with the Fostex you listed, but I can vouch for the Rode NTG2...it is a good mic, with a bit too much low end presence for my liking, so as was previously mentioned, if you can, try get the NTG3, which is a superb mic IMHO, comparable to the Sennheiser 416.

I'm not sure what the pricing difference is in recorders, but I would recommend looking at the Sound Devices (http://www.sounddevices.com/) product range, their pre-amps are superb, though they may be a bit pricey. The overall quality of their products is top notch!

The boom pole, dead-cat and pistol grip are fine, although you should combine the gear you're planning to use with the best set of headphones you can afford. Personally I like the Sennheiser SD25HD's.

Good luck! :)


I pretty new aswell but I think its pretty good just two weeks ago I got myself a NTG-2 with a Blimp and Mini-Boompole all from Rode and I record on my Zoom H4n which is alright cause I can get stereo sounds recorded but I think it would sound better on FR-2 LE I not entirely never used it though.


I can vouch for the Fostex FR2-LE, it's a really simple yet highly effective field recorder, with good quality audio. I've never had any trouble with mine, and seems to be the ideal introduction device, yet offers a 'professional feel'. There's a detailed review of it in this months Sound on Sound magazine, which also recommends the Marantz PMD 661 as an alternative lower budget field recorder, although I haven't had the opportunity to test this one yet.

Hope this helps!


IMO your weakest link in that package is the mic. You'll outgrow it quickly, so be prepared to make the biggest future upgrade there, and be prepared to do it sooner than you may want.

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