The holidays are nigh! And like every good audio drama podcast team, we’re building out our wish list with toys and tools that will make creating great horror more elegant, creative, and efficient. Here, we’ll share some of the creative tools we use to make horror productions, as well as a few items that are on our radar for productions in the future. Strap in for a whole new creative experience with these outstanding options!
For this first installment, we’re looking at a few microphones and recorders that we’ve found to be a great balance between quality and price.
Whether you’re at home, in the studio, or in the field during the recording phase, a great production begins with great sound going in. A lot of nightmares and editing hassle are avoided by using decent gear and practiced recording techniques.
A good microphone doesn’t have to break the bank to get a professional-quality sound. While we all drool over a Neumann U87, most folks don’t have that kind of scratch and it’s not really required to get a good quality studio sound. Here are some of our favorite mics for studio and field recording.
In the Studio
Samson’s Q2U dynamic microphone with XLR and USB outputs that can be used at the same time. The Q2U is a great choice for home studio and recording on the go. With its dynamic capsule, it’s perfect for capturing both vocals and instruments. The Cardioid microphones are most sensitive at the front of the microphone, typically about 6dB less sensitive to the sides, and around 20dB less sensitive to the rear of the microphone. Characteristics
• less reverb pickup than omni
• less room noise pickup than omni
• minimises off-axis pickup
polar pattern picks up sound from the front of the microphone, reducing sound from the rear and sides. This makes it a solid choice for vocals, podcasting, and interviews.
Price – $69.99 The package comes with a windscreen, mic stand, cables, and mic clip.
Like the Q2U the Q9U offers both USB and XLR outputs. It has a built-in shock mount to reduce handling noise, an integrated pop filter, and customizable tonal controls. This dynamic broadcast mic works with any mixer and audio interface and lets you plugin and get right to work on your podcast and interviews.
Price – $199.99 It comes with a USB cable and a foam windscreen.
Built for podcasting, streaming, and broadcasting the PreSonus PD-70 dynamic microphone will capture your voice with clarity and warmth while reducing unwanted noise. It features an integrated hard mount and windscreen, rugged construction and its preamp works with any audio interface.
Price – $129.99
The MXL 990 is a high-quality condenser microphone with a price tag that will get any voice artist or podcaster up and running. It features a FET preamp, large diaphragm and balanced output.
Price – $99.95 It comes with a custom shock mount, mic stand adapter, and protective case.
In the Field
So you’ve left the studio and you’re heading outdoors, what kind of microphone are you bringing with you and where did all those crows come from?
The NT4 features a 90 degree X-Y configuration with stereo condenser capsules that captures any sound source with clean stereo detail. It can run on either battery or phantom power.
Price – $529 It comes with a custom carrying case, windshield, XLR to mini jack, and dual XLR cables.
Here’s a lightweight condenser shotgun with a rugged metal construction that makes a perfect boom mic. It features a native 20Hz-20kHz The range of frequencies your microphone can accurately reproduce at an equal level. More, an optional high-pass filter at 80Hz, and can be operated with phantom power or AA batteries.
Price – $269 comes with carrying pouch, windscreen and mic stand clip and adapter.
This mic is excellent for both general stereo recording and live field audio capture. It features two unidirectional condenser capsules with an X-Y setup.
Price – $249 It comes with a stand clamp, fuzzy windscreen and a .5m cable with a 3.5mm stereo plug.
So now that you have your microphone, you’re going to need something to record your audio with. Portable audio recorders are designed to take with you whether you’re heading into the field, recording an interview or chasing your cast around the woods, an audio recorder will deliver high-quality audio that you can’t get from your mobile phone.
This versatile field recorder comes with four XLR inputs and a stereo mic which allows you to record in Mono, Stereo, Dual Mono, Dual Stereo, 2Mix, and Dual 2Mix. It uses phantom power and AA battery power. Each input comes with a limiter and low cut filter and individual gain controls. It also has a slating tone, low-noise buttons, and headphone output. The dual recording mode creates a safety copy to limit distorted takes.
Price – $299.00
While we spent some years running around with the amazing TASCAM DR- MKII strapped across ourselves, The Zoom F6 has made it to the top of our bucket list. With six inputs and 14 tracks, and removable memory, this compact recorder delivers fantastic quality in a small rugged casing that’s ready for production and location sound mixing, SFX recording, and filmmaking.
Price – $699.99
Zoom recorders have been a staple around here since the beginning. They are lightweight with a small form factor that makes them ideal for taking out in the field, to live events and interviews and much more. It offers three different recording modes: X/Y stereo, 4 channel, and multi-track.
Price – $249.00
This was one of our first field recorders. It’s ultra-portable, small enough to fit in a coat pocket It comes with an onboard 5-mic array with Mid-Side and XY mics, that lets you record stereo or surround sound. It can attach it to a mic stand, tripod, or camera.
Price – $179.99
If you want to watch a sound nerd geek out, this is the way to go. The Zoom H3-VR is an all-in-one ambisonic microphone, recorder, and decoder. It is ideal for recording spatial audio and is small and lightweight enough to take everywhere. It not only records 360-degree audio through its 4-capsule ambisonic mic, but it also captures stereo binaural WAV files.
Price – $249.99
Dying for more?
As all audio creators know recording is only a small part of what makes a show.
If the person on your gift list is more prone pulling things apart and putting them back together again, We put together a list of just the right tools to bring their beast into being.
While you’re here don’t forget to LISTEN to some shows, make some friends to COLLABORATE with, and CREATE something new.