Portable sound recorder with external parabolic microphone

2017-10-17 21.11.41
Dodotronic stereo parabolic microphone

A parabolic microphone with a good sound recorder offers the best sound quality and potentially greater amplification of calls. However, parabolic microphones are not cheap. They also magnify ambient sounds such as urban road noise so consider if you want the extra quality and at what cost. It’s tempting to think that a parabola will be so focused as to only detect what’s directly overhead. But at least in the case of the Dodotronic Hi-stereo you will still pick up the sounds of Robins etc in nearby gardens.

The three main manufacturers used by nocmig recorders are Dodotronic, Telinga and Wildtronics. There’s a good review of the Dodotronic Hi-Stereo parabolic microphone here (2017), and many of the recordings produced by the Sound Approach are made using Telingas, which is a good review in itself. There some info on the range of Wildtronics microphones here (2015). Dodotronic mics use plug-in-power via the 3.5mm jack so you need a recorder that can supply the necessary power and has a 3.5mm socket (e.g. Zoom H4n Pro). Telinga mics use an XLR cable which may constrain your recorder options.

Using a bucket to hold a Telinga parabolic mic. recorder in waterproof duffel bag (Paul Morton)

The handles of the Dodotronic and Wildtronics mics have a standard tripod thread in the base. For nocmig recording one option is to attach a quick release plate to the handle and screw a quick release to a fence post (as in above photo) or use a hide style clamp as in Martin Sutherland’s photos in the gallery. Some people attach their mic to a tripod and leave that outside, others just rest the whole thing in a large bucket.

If you don’t fancy the outlay you can try various bowls, dustbin lids, barbeques etc to act as DIY parabolas but the effects are variable depending on how close to a true parabolic shape the dish is. Forming your own parabola is also possible – watch this space…

A DIY parabola made from a cooking pot. This pot is not a true parabola so has limited amplifying effect but serves to reduce local noise (Jamie Dunning)


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