Walking with microphones

Broadcaster Philip Williams has finished the first stage of a 5,000 mile journey along the coast of Britain for charity, during which he is recording his experiences and the people he meets on a solid state microphone recorder, writes Kevin Hilton.
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Broadcaster Philip Williams has finished the first stage of a 5,000 mile journey along the coast of Britain for charity, during which he is recording his experiences and the people he meets on a solid state microphone recorder, writes Kevin Hilton. Williams is hoping to raise £100,000 for the Alzheimer's Society. His round-Britain walk began in Brighton on 20 February and by the end of July had reached the southwest coast of Scotland. He is interviewing people along the way using a Yellowtec iXm solid state recorder for a proposed radio series and book called Characters on the Coastline. Explaining the reason for the journey, Williams says, "My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years ago. The disease afflicts a surprisingly high proportion of people, particularly in advancing age, and can appear in any family. Finding a cure is a cause well worth promoting. I have already recorded discussions with a lot of interesting people and am happy to interview anyone who has a story to tell." As Williams observes, there is a wide choice of recorders on the market today and he tested several before buying the Yellowtec iXm from distribution company Preco. Describing the microphone-recorder as a "real reporter's tool" he says, "The iXm looks and feels like a normal professional mic, which helps to get interviewees into the right frame of mind. Everything is housed inside the stick. Being able to capture 48 hours of uncompressed WAV on an interchangeable 16 gigabyte SD memory card gives you a lot of confidence when you are recording on location." Williams is using three beyerdynamic heads - omnidirectional, cardioid or supercardioid - with him, which he swaps over according to what he is doing and the sound conditions on location. He also has a Rycote windshield for when the weather is blustery, which has been most of the time in Britain this summer. www.philipwilliams.uk.com

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