Sound Equipment Suggestions

Hi guys,

I'm currently in the market for solid sound equipment for some upcoming projects. I have just graduated from University and, while a student, was using a RODE NTG3, Zoom H4N, RODE Boompole Pro and Sennheiser EW 112P G4 lav mics - but that equipment is way above my budget now.

So, I am looking for recommendations for high quality, reliable sound gear for someone at a very low budget (basically, the lower the better. I have no real min/max price but the less I can pay for decent quality the better) but of course I do not want to go so cheap that it has too much of a detriment on the sound output. I will be working on a varied range of projects (interior and exterior locations, narrative shorts, documentaries) so versatility is important.

Could anyone point me in the direction of some good options for any directional microphones, field recorders, boom poles and lavalier microphones? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Here's my $1,500 buying guide; it makes a decent prosumer production sound kit.

Shotgun mic kits will have the shotgun mic, boom-pole, shock-mount and simple wind protection (softie).

Hypercardioid mic:

My old favorite the SE1a is no longer available. Anything else I like for production sound is in the $500 up range.

Audio recorders:

Any decent audio recorder with XLR inputs will do the job, but these are "aimed" at indie filmmakers.


You'll also need cables, cases, battery packs and other miscellaneous items - about $200 to $500.

My recommendations are for those who will want to upgrade at some point. For example, the recorders can handle four (4) separate simultaneous tracks with control over all four. So when you get the lavs you won't need to buy a new recorder as well. I would also recommend that you get quality accessories. I have stands, mounts, etc. that are 30 and more years old and still work just fine.

Yes, there are cheaper items out there, but you asked for QUALITY. That is also why there are no lavs in the kit. You will need at least two, preferably three trans/rec/lav kits, and decent quality will run you about $700 per set.

As always, I recommend that you retain someone to do sound for you, or rent what you need. As a mentor once told me, "If you don't use it every day you probably don't need it."

If you want a real cheap-o consumer system we can put one of those together for you, but, as the cliche goes - results may vary.

Your project will only look as good as it sounds, because
"Sound is half of the experience"

If your film looks terrible but has great sound, people might just think it's your aesthetic.
If your film looks great and has bad sound, people will think you're an amateur.

Sound is the first indicator to the industry that you know what you're doing.