Here then, are my arbitrary and prejudicial opinions on doing field audio cheaply and goodly. These opinions are primarily for those doing recording for video and radio. Of course, words like "cheap" are mighty relative, aren't they? Let's take a look:

The microphone.
The cheapest and most quality for few dollars (in my opinion & the opinion of a lot of others) is the Octava MK-012 microphone.
It's a condenser microphone with interchangable capsules (omni, hypercardioid, etc). Depending on how many little thingies you get with it, the cost ranges from about $150 to $300. I got mine, with only one capsule (the hyper-cardioid) and the -10dB pad from the Sound Room, which has the premium Oktava microphones. The Guitar Center sells them too, but the quality control at the Guitar Center is... well it doesn't exist. If you want to virtually guarantee happiness with your mic, use the Sound Room.

For shooting outdoors, one may want some kind of very serious windscreen. There's a relatively new product out by Rycote called the Baby Ball Gag.

It's round and doesn't go all around the microphone. It's also about $500 less than the kinds of "zeppelins" which do, and gives you more than 90% of the performance. You have to order one with the right size hole (or get one that's too big and use gaffer's tape to "enlarge" the microphone to fit.) I don't use the baby ball gag anymore. I use a full - sized zeppelin. But the baby ball is still pretty nice.

Here is the unit opened (on a fishpole):

And, lastly, you'll want a fuzzy thing. Rycote's fuzzy thing is called a "Windjammer".

When you buy it, it comes with a little brush. It's like having a pet tribble. It's great for working in seriously windy conditions. The Baby Ball Gag and the Windjammer together are about $150. I got mine from the knowledgeable folks at But the place I do all my buying from now is Professional Sound Services in New York.

Now, to get that microphone up to line level in a goodly and cheaply way, I've been using the MP-1 preamp from Sound Devices

This is a very robust and good - sounding box which I got for less than $300 from Broadcast Supply Worldwide

That's it for now. When I think of more stuff, I'll add it!

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