Convolution reverb IR: Equipment
There is some components needed to create convolution reverb IRs and I now it can be hard to navigate in the audio gear jungle. Here are my tips and thoughts on the equipment needed to create high quality convolution reverb IRs.
Aim for one or more frequency neutral studio monitor for this task. Look for how much power they can produce (SPL) large rooms can require loud playback of the sweep file. Look for how linear the speakers are in the reproduction of the sound. You should also think about how well they are bult since they probably will be moved around quite a lot and the overall weight of them (for portability)
Top: Neumann KH310A or Genelec 8351
Budget: Yamaha HS5 or Kali LP 8
Aim for frequency neutral studio condenser microphones for this task. preferably a matched stereo pair if you record stereo. Look for how loud volume they can handle (SPL), how linear they are in the audible frequency's in the reproduction of sound. It can also be good to have something that is well built and can handle humid weather conditions. My recommendation for microphones is usually with omni or binaural polar pattern for this task. But you can have great result with cardioids as well.
A Zylia ambisonic microphone can be very powerful to use. With that microphone you have a all in one solution and you got the possibility to convert to any format you want after the impulse capture even if its mono or Dolby Atmos you can have it all. And you also won't need a external audio interface since you have it bult in. (I will do a own blogpost about this microphone later on)
Top: Sennheiser MKH8020, DPA 4006A, or Neumann KU100
Budget: Rode NT5 (cardioid) or SE Electronics SE8
Extra: Zylia Ambisonics microphone.
Audio interface won't affect the sound noticeable as almost all of today's audio interfaces preamps are very high and similar in quality. However the following two options is well tested and can make it easier to record portable: (I myself use the Mixpre 10 II)
Zoom H6 or Sound devices Mixpre 6.
Computer And Software
Most computers of today are great and strong enough to use for this. Personally I would say that some sort of Macbook from the latest few years with Logic Pro X (and space designer) probably is the easiest way to start creating convolution reverb IRs. If I were a windows owner I would use Voxengo convolver to create and deconvolve the sweep files, Reaper (Daw) to playback and capture the sweep file on location and lastly the plugin Waves IR-1 to use the files in action. A more comprehensive guide through my process will be available soon.
It's important to remember that even the best equipment will affect the files you create, but to a lesser extent than the alternatives. It is not ideal to use a kitchen radio or modern hifi speaker for a natural representation of the room.
Cables mater. Good quality cables will be good investment in the long run, don't use longer cables than you have to.
After taking 50+ impulse responses from different places in Sweden I can assure that it really is good to have nice cases for your equipment. Consider hardcases for monitors and microphones also think about how the cases can ease the workflow for the setup process, I myself have a large case just for cables and converters that should be well organized when going on a new field recording it can really save me a lot of time.