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Cheap (but not too cheap) recording devices (Read 1446 times)

Offline mjames

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Cheap (but not too cheap) recording devices
« on: November 19, 2015, 11:20:24 AM »
Hi guys, I'm not really a tech junkie so my knowledge in this area is really really slim. I honestly want to begin posting up more audio recordings for the audition room because I want more outside criticism of my playing. So far the only things I've used for recording music were phones, ipads, and  my computer microphoneand unfortunately, the quality freaking sucks! I really want to be able to post some at least decent quality recordings for you guys.

What I'm looking for shouldn't be expensive because I'm a student and it doesn't have to be too cheap either. I think the most I can spend on one is around 180-200 dollars. It must also have the ability to transfer files to my computer...so I'd rather it be a device that doesn't need some weird or obscure process to translate its files into more generic ones like MP3 recordings.

Thanks for the help!

Offline michael_c

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Re: Cheap (but not too cheap) recording devices
«Reply #1 on: November 19, 2015, 12:58:24 PM »
I'm very happy with the Zoom H2N, which I see you can buy for 160 dollars from Amazon. You can choose to record direct to MP3, or create WAV files for CD quality recordings.

Offline pencilart3

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Re: Cheap (but not too cheap) recording devices
«Reply #2 on: November 19, 2015, 03:02:45 PM »
That's great that you want to post more in the audition room! I think that's what this site needs to see from it's members who have been here for a while. And I also know what you mean about computer and ipad mics. I got my recorder for ~80 bucks on sale. I think it is around 100 when it's not on sale. My youtube link is in my signature, you can hear it in action if you would like. I love it. No static, the piano comes through clear and thick, it's easy to use, comes with plenty of space. Like the zoom, you can do MP3 or wav. For what you want, sounds like MP3 to me. :)

You can read about the product here... http://tascam.com/product/dr-07mk2/

You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum
youtube.com/noahjohnson1810

Offline visitor

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Re: Cheap (but not too cheap) recording devices
«Reply #3 on: November 19, 2015, 03:23:39 PM »
like/prefer theones that can do both high quality/hd video and cd quality sound with dual microphones. i have a great little unit i got a few years ago that gets the job done, it's discontinued now though.  This sony came out a bit later and is really cool,  i sorta want one, wouldn't mind upgrading to it but mine is so babied that it's still in like new condition so will prob pass but this hits a nice sweet spot in price and quality and features


http://www.sony.com.au/productcategory/cam-music-video-recorder
http://www.sony.net/Products/di/en-us/products/tvo9/index.html
you can go on amazon rightnow and get a like new used one for about 199 + 5 to ship and no tax(es). Which is a super sweet deal since a camera hd video only w/ so so audio or an hd audio only w no video would probably cost about that much new and this does both.

Offline pencilart3

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Re: Cheap (but not too cheap) recording devices
«Reply #4 on: November 19, 2015, 03:53:15 PM »
Hey visitor, the only problem with that, is that you have to video the way that you point the mics, right? I usually like direct-mic ing my piano, which requires that you point the mics at the strings to get direct sound. That would also require, then, that you just video the strings. Or, you could video yourself, but then you would lose sound quality when you put the mic further from the strings.
You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum
youtube.com/noahjohnson1810

Offline visitor

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Re: Cheap (but not too cheap) recording devices
«Reply #5 on: November 19, 2015, 04:23:49 PM »
Hey visitor, the only problem with that, is that you have to video the way that you point the mics, right? I usually like direct-mic ing my piano, which requires that you point the mics at the strings to get direct sound. That would also require, then, that you just video the strings. Or, you could video yourself, but then you would lose sound quality when you put the mic further from the strings.
w good microphones and if they are sensitive/responsive enough, you can get very good sound by positioning the so that the sound comes out of the open sound board and is directed at the microphones, i have been super pleased w/the quality/stereo response and sound i get from using that method. the processing rate of my unit is 'better than cd quality' in term of kps, actually i have found the need to move my unit further away or use some sound dampen materials due to the volume coming at the my built in mics being to much for them close up , so takes a little playing around but i find it's the most versatile compromise, i find it especially works well in recital/concert halls with good acoustics and  instrument and placement of the unit about front center of audience seating but still works well in the home setting too.

sure is there possibly some small benefit to direct mic? probably but i have not found anything lacking in my recordings so far.

Offline pencilart3

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Re: Cheap (but not too cheap) recording devices
«Reply #6 on: November 19, 2015, 04:46:30 PM »
Do you have a recording you could post so we could compare them? I'm interested! :)
You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum
youtube.com/noahjohnson1810

Offline visitor

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Re: Cheap (but not too cheap) recording devices
«Reply #7 on: November 19, 2015, 04:48:53 PM »
Do you have a recording you could post so we could compare them? I'm interested! :)
hmm, perhaps but probably only willing to share privately. I had a big transition so i have not recorded seriously in about two years but am now working hard core on lots of stuff to start recording in 2016.  I may be able to pull an example and send privately via pm to you so long as it's not shared.  8) check pms if i can pull it/something.

Offline pencilart3

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Re: Cheap (but not too cheap) recording devices
«Reply #8 on: November 19, 2015, 05:13:23 PM »
hmm, perhaps but probably only willing to share privately. I had a big transition so i have not recorded seriously in about two years but am now working hard core on lots of stuff to start recording in 2016.  I may be able to pull an example and send privately via pm to you so long as it's not shared.  8) check pms if i can pull it/something.

Will do! And I won't share it of course if that's what you want. :)
You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum
youtube.com/noahjohnson1810

Offline indianajo

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Re: Cheap (but not too cheap) recording devices
«Reply #9 on: November 20, 2015, 12:26:31 AM »
I'm using a 1995 tower PC I replaced with a 98 model I got from my brother, a 1998 Peavey Unity 12 mixer I picked up for about $80, and a Shure KSM27 microphone I picked up off Craigslist.  The mike is on a camera stand with a shock mount I made myself out of rubber.  You can hear my Hammond H100 organ on Yellow Bird on inbojat.tumblr.com   PIano tracks to follow, the Sohmer piano is out of tune again and that is on my list of things to do now that the winter rains have started.  
The other channel mike is a $2 dynamic I picked up at Electrotex in 1976, the best of 5 cheap dynamic mikes I've picked up over the years, some at Goodwill.  I'm looking for another Shure KSM27 or a SM32 but the former is always $300 only in Nashville, and the latter is always $400 new, no used ones available.  The KSM27 is a vocal mike with a 7000-10000 hz 5 db rise for vocals; I intend to flatten the response  a little with a pop filter sewn out of air conditioner filter foam.   The bedroom my Sohmer piano in is very bright with hard wood furniture stacked around the room and no carpet.  The Hammond was recorded in the living room with a lot of overstuffed furniture, record shelves on the walls, and carpet.  The mike was 6 feet away from the organ.  
I'd been looking for a quality pair of mikes for 45 years, ever since I picked up the tape recorder used.  The KSM27 was a jewel in the rough: the previous owner was having trouble paying his rent after a move from down south, he said.  Other mikes  that are mentioned on record labels, like Neuman's, go for about $1000 for a housing missing the power supply board and capsule.  The shure mikes are used as an area mike by a lot of string bands in this area, as seen on the TV programs Woodsongs and KET Jubilee.  Looking at the picture on the screen is how I got the idea to buy the KSM27.  Soundboard miking instead of area miking is more important if you have a lot of musicians in one studio playing at once.  I play alone at home, and room ambient adds something to the sound IMHO without using digital reverb.  
BTW the mainboard in this PC is a gigabyte 770 mhz pentium, ie nothing special.  I have no sound card.  The op system is Ubuntu Studio Linux 13, which is available for free download.  The recording software is audacity, part of the UBST package.  
The average track on Youtube was pretty vile, probably recorded with a cell phone.  I refuse to do that.  The recordings made of my high school band in 1968 by Austin Cusom Records were very disappointing, sounding nothing like reality.  I determined then I wasn't going to record tracks with *****y microphones.  Most of the use of the tape recorder was ripping off records and FM radio, although I did some work with my Ensoniq EPS sampler keyboard 1985-88 before it broke.  that was recorded electrically keyboard to recorder with no microphones used.  The microphone is the weak link, and you can't beat several hundred dollar bills to finance a QA programs that guarentees a response curve like the SM32 has. 
To read more about microphones, see recordinghacks.com.  However, many of the reviews there are from guitar/bass/drums bands, which can be done adequately IMHO with a $60 SM58 and some SM57's for the drum mikes.   Piano is MUCH harder to mike correctly. 
Have fun.