Why does my portable recorder still suffer from wind noise?

Many customers want to protect their portable recorder microphones from wind noise, and can choose from a wide range of Rycote solutions manufactured specifically for this purpose.

Like all of our products, these are designed, built and tested to the highest possible standards, and offer industry-leading wind protection; however, it is important to understand that there are limitations when it comes to the amount of protection that can be attained with built-in portable recorder microphones, which are arguably best-suited for use in controlled environments indoors (music performance, studio recordings, dictation, interviews, etc.).

The ideal method of wind protection is to isolate microphones in a basket system, and this approach is exemplified in Rycote's Modular and Cyclone ranges. In such a setup, mics sit internally in 'dead air' space, away from the edge of the windshield basket. The basket itself is lined with acoustically transparent fabric (or in the case of the Cyclone, advanced 3D-Tex material) which effectively seals the whole structure and gives the system a high impedance to wind and a low impedance to audio: in short, audio passes through virtually unaffected, and wind is substantially attenuated. For pressure gradient or 'directional' mics, a sealed basket system has the added advantage of forming a pressure chamber, which essentially acts as a high-pass acoustic filter. Adding a fur Windjammer over the basket reduces wind noise even further through vortex cancellation and expansion of overall windshield size.

In Rycote basket systems, mics are also placed on separate, patented Lyre suspensions internally, and this further isolates them from vibration and handling noise.

None of this can happen with built-in microphones in portable recorders, since they can't be separated from the units and isolated. There is certainly some 'dead air' space when a Windjammer is placed over the end correctly, and this is very effective at reducing wind noise; but never as much as with a basket system.

The physical structure of the recorder is also a factor. Wind can blow across the edge of the body audibly, and also leak into the unit towards the mic capsules through buttons, media card slots and exposed connectors. It is very difficult to protect against this, other than trying to cover the entire recorder and obscuring the buttons/screen.

This doesn't mean that portable recorders can't be used successfully outdoors, and Rycote's industry-leading product range in this area caters specifically for such situations. It is, however, important to understand that on-board portable recorder microphones, in the vast majority of cases, can never be protected as effectively as a separate mic configuration with a full basket system enclosing it.


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