Super-low budget sound equipment

I've got some really exciting projects coming up in the next few months in the small cracks in the blocks of time taken up by my GCSEs.

For all of those projects, and for many to come, I'm going to need some (at least) semi-pro location audio equipment, and I saw some great deals on eBay so I nabbed them.

Here's a brief overview of what I bought and why:

Rode NTG-2

This microphone is fantastic for the money. It's not exceptional, but that's because it costs £160 not £500. It doesn't produce a very "hot" (strong) signal, so you'll need some good preamps either in your recorder or externally.

It sounds great and full, and I'll be using it for all my outdoor work (interviews, dialogue, etc). I got it for £100 on eBay including the 10 year warranty which is fantastic for such an inexpensive microphone.

Rode NT5

This was somewhat of an impulse buy as I saw it for a great bargain (£50) on eBay. I'll use it for interior dialogue on both narrative work and for conferences, talks, and others. This is because it has a cardioid pickup pattern, so it does not pick up sound reflections from behind like the NTG-2 does. These reflections "colour" the sound and amplify echoes while dumbing-down the intended source of audio when inside.

It's also multi-purpose because it can be used to record high-SPL sources, like drums and kicks, as well as violins and other instruments.

Tascam DR-40

This is the cheaper (and better, in my opinion) Tascam version of the Zoom H4N, which is wildly popular amongst indy filmmakers.

It can be powered by 3 AA batteries, or via USB from a wall charger or from a phone battery like this one which will last you all day and more with a 15000mAh capacity.

The Tascam has many recording modes for a variety of scenarios. It has two XLR inputs for external microphones which can be recorded together as a stereo track, or additionally with a backup track at -10dB to get you out of trouble if you find the mic clipping unexpectedly. It also has two internal microphones, so you can record 4 tracks simultaneously if needed.

It retails at £185, but look carefully on eBay and you might find it as low as £100 like I did.

Rode Blimp

This thing is so cool. Not only is it a shock mount that isolates the microphone from vibration and handling noise when on the end of a boom pole, it also prevents wind noise from tampering with your recordings.

It is so effective that I can literally point an industrial fan at it and there is no wind noise on the recording at all.

You might have seen a Dead Cat before, but that's nothing to the Dead Wombat that comes with this thing.

This also comes with a 10 year warranty, and I expect it to be a fantastic piece of equipment for working outdoors with the wind cover, and indoors as a shock mount.

I got it from eBay for £130, but I've seen ones go for as low as £100 is you're lucky.

Accessories

Once you've got all of that stuff, you're going to need the bits and pieces to put it together.

I bought my cables from Thomann, Europe's largest music shop. Sure, you could buy cheap XLR from Amazon, but when you've got a nice mic and recorder, it seems stupid to make the link between them weak.

I bought this 5m cable for boom pole and general use. It's red because that's awesome, but any Cordial will do. I especially like the ones with the Neutrik connectors.

So now I've got the gear I just need to go out and make something with it, which I'm very excited for. I have two short films on the horizon, one of which I will direct and the other I'll be DP, as well as some shorter projects like Club Drama 2013 (see last year's one here).

See you then!
Alex