Audio Recorders & Microphones

The specifics for acquiring audio, I’ve tested some of the compact audio recorders on the market and I have my preferences.  They’re lightweight and compact, a real boon for working self contained as I do.

Audio Recorders

For audio recorders, I recommend the following:

Although each of the recorders has built in microphones, I’m a firm believer is using external mics to obtain the best quality audio as possible. It’s important to remember the audio narrative is going to drive the visuals of your projects so consider this as important as a top quality lens for your cameras.


The hand held type microphones I recommend will work in conjunction with any of these recorders as long as you use the appropriate 3.5mm TRS to XLR cable adapter.  These microphones are also battery driven as they provide a much cleaner signal to the recorder as opposed to microphones requiring power to be supplied from the recorder itself.

The microphones I recommend (Cardioid type):

For battery powered shotgun type microphones, I recommend the following:

There are also other options for microphones that are both quite compact and provide excellent sound quality.  Rode Microphones has the VideoMicro when combined with one of the compact recorders listed above, can provide a compact audio acquisition kit that takes up little room in your bag and still provide excellent audio quality.  The caveat being there are typically mediocre mic preamps in these recorders so you may experience hum and need to filter that in post production.

Lastly, there’s the issue of using a lavaliere microphone.  It’s been my experience that they’re viable when no other option is available.  The compromise is the placement of the mic is less than ideal and as such the audio quality does suffer.  In addition, the use of a wireless lavaliere mic does have advantages to gather audio of the subject as they move around as long as mic placement is sufficient for not having clothing rub against the mic, thus spoiling the take.  The caveat is that they are expensive in relation to the other mic options above, but for those with the money to spend, it may be a worthwhile investment, especially if you ‘re looking to also shoot video.

Of the various wireless lav kits available, RODE has really taken the market by storm with their RØDELink Filmmaker Kit as it is both excellent in audio quality and the most affordable “Real” wireless mic kit available.

One thing to remember – especially when recording out of doors is to use some sort of a furry wind screen on your microphone to eliminate any potential audio degradation due to the wind blowing, etc.  If you aren’t sure what this means, contact me to discuss further.