This is a guest article by Rene Coronado. Rene is a 17 year industry vet who works at Dallas Audio Post. Rene also cohosts the tonebenders podcast, and produces the echo | collective libraries.
One important thing to keep in mind when evaluating the hardware one uses is to properly budget for and value accessories. Spending big portions of one’s budget on accessories may not seem to make a lot of sense at first, until you consider the fact that accessories are often both agnostic to the center of one’s kit, and are usually built around making the way that you *interface* with your kit that much smoother.
For fieldrecording we’re talking boompoles, tripods, shockmounts, wind protection, cases, cables, and headphones, among other things.
Because the low end accessories tend to cost far less than the microphones and recorders that make up the heart of our kit, the natural tendency is to just get the minimum viable thing and then muddle through, while waiting and allocating budget and resources to the big ticket centers of our kit.
Its easy to feel that because we’re not rocking the top of the line centerpiece to our equipment that it doesn’t make sense to run top of the line accessories. I think that this is a mistake.
The marginal cost of a high end pelican case can do REMARKABLE things to your actual productivity and indeed to your spur of the moment decisionmaking to go out and record in the first place.
A top end windscreen will make your middle of the road microphone infinitely more usable in a variety of very difficult situations – a problem not solved by upgrading the mic at the center of the rig.
A secure and reliable tripod mic mounting situation will allow you to approach ambiences and animals and other situations where you have to walk away in a completely different light than if you didn’t have it.
Custom and reliable cabling removes the problem solving your mind would otherwise have to do when out in the world recording it, freeing you to observe and solve other issues.
When evaluating the role that hardware accessories play in your work, think about how they affect the *decisions* that you make. So often, recording is about where you’re able to place the mic rather than which mic you’ve chosen, and accessories can have a dramatic impact on the options available to you. Really stop and evaluate the *way* that you want to record, then design your kit to facilitate that.