To get quality sound effects you have to use quality equipment to record it.
The type of equipment used depends heavily on the type of sound effect you want to record. If it is a specific solitary sound, like a glass breaking, then in order to record it you need a clean environment where no other sounds are going to bleed into the recording. A sound studio would be the best environment for recordings like this, as they eliminate the excess noise that human ears may not even notice (like the lights humming) that would be picked up by the microphone.
So say you have a sound studio, that’s great! Now, what do you use to actually do the recording of the sound? Do you just use any old microphone that you can find laying around? Of course not! The recording device is the most important piece to the puzzle, so do not skimp on it.
Our go-to choice of equipment is the Sanken CUW-180 which is an X-Y stereo microphone. This microphone array has two cardioid polar pattern microphones. Cardioid pattern means that the area in front of the microphone is the most sensitive, the sides are slightly less sensitive, and the back is pretty much ignored completely. What this means to a sound effect recorder is that isolation of a specific sound is possible, and it minimizes any reflected sound. The CUW-180 also allows the two microphone capsules to adjust independently up to 180o which gives you the control over where the sensitive front areas of the microphones are directed for optimal sound coverage.
Now the only equipment missing is where you are actually recording the sound effect to. For us, the 722 by Sound Devices is the best pick. We needed something that was versatile, something we could use in the studio as well as on the road, which is how the 722 come onto our radar as it was portable. Obviously, being portable wasn’t the only deciding factor; the 722 records in high-resolution, has high quality pre-amp, and has an internal hard drive.
At this point, you are good to go for recording in a sound studio, but what if you need to go on the road and record something outside? This changes things significantly. Luckily, with the set-up that we have gone with above, you are still able to essentially use the exact same equipment, with just a few added items to make it usable outside of a sound studio. For us, all we add is the Rycote Modular Windshield Kit. This add-on offers wind protection, at various degrees, and shock isolation. Slip this over your CUW-180 microphone and suddenly you are ready to conquer the great outdoors!
It is important to understand that everyone is going to have different preferences when it comes to the type of sound recording equipment they use. The above has worked extremely well for us, but it may not work for everyone. Make sure you do your research before you buy, and find something that is going to work for your specific needs.