Super Portable Mic Recording Setup

By March 15, 2020 Audio

Initially, I bought the Sony ICD-UX570 dictaphone to try out and test. It was more of a curiosity to me than anything else. You could do much of what it can do using a smartphone (if you want to have your phone tied up all the time) or a laptop.

However, since buying the UX570 and discovering that it also supports line-level in recording via the microphone port, I’ve found myself trying different things.

In this video, I’m playing around with a few bits of tech around the house to help me record ‘broadcast quality’ vocals on this little dictaphone. It’s never going to have the noise floor performance of a dedicated field recorded such as the DR100, but it’s incredibly portable and discreet.

The only downside to recording like this is that the microphone probably needs to be something like a 1″ condenser mic. These are inherently large when compared to the rest of the setup. Let’s go with it nevertheless and see how this little recorder sounds.

Gear Used

Note: The titles of the gear below link to Amazon Affiliate links. If you’d like to support the channel, please use these links if you’re buying something from Amazon.

Sony ICD-UX570 Portable Digital Recorder – I’ve done a few videos on this product already so you can find an overview & walkthrough here and some audio tests here. It’s a beautiful unit full of classic Sony design.

Sennheiser MK 8 Microphone – You don’t need a mic to cost upwards of £500 to sound good but garbage in, garbage out so choose wisely. A decent mic can be with you for 20 years. It’s a worthwhile investment.

CEntrance Micport Pro – A basic XLR to USB converter. In this case, I’m purely using the USB to power the CEntrance and boost the voltage to 48V to power the condenser mic. These type of things are widely available, but they don’t all have a headphone out to monitor the mic. I’ll be using that headphone output as mic main recording feed.

Anker Powercore 5000 – I’m using an older ‘lipstick’ power bank model here, but the most recent 18650 cell capacity now allows these devices to deliver 5000mAh (in theory). The Anker can be used with the CEntrance to power the mic. Any power bank works as I’m pretty sure that, even given low current shutoff, the phantom power drain is sufficient to keep things alive.

Cables – USB, 3.5mm headphone cable & XLR mic cable.

Thoughts

While the quality is excellent, there are better and neater ways to do this. I just wanted to see whether it would work and how easy it was to set up. The answer is yes and very straightforward. All the hardware here is pocket-size except for the mic. You’ll have to live with that if you’re going to use a high-quality microphone. As I mention in the video, many professional mics come in a nice protective case. You might find that everything else can fit in there with the mic; A tidy little portable recording setup.

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