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Portable Recording Devices


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Has anyone experience of portable recording devices suitable for recording organ, choral, or orchestral performances - price range £100-200. I'm not looking for studio quality, but something good enough to make recordings to assist practice and for posterity and which will enable easy transfer onto a computer and burning onto CD.

 

I've got my eye on a Zoom H2, and would apppreciate any feedback on this or similar devices.

 

Sq.

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I use an AIWA portable DAT with a pair of AKG C1000S which give a really good sound. I prefer to use 'proper' audio equipement rather than using the computer though as I don't do any fancy editing, simply copy from one DAT machine to another to remove pauses between movements etc. (or sometimes direct to a stand alone CD recorder) I also use an Alesis Quadraverb multi-effects unit to tweak the sound if recorded in a very dry accoustic. I think someone like Studio spares, HHB, or www.Thomann.de would be a good place to search what is available

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I've got my eye on a Zoom H2, and would apppreciate any feedback on this or similar devices.

At the price you won't find anything to beat the Zoom H2 - it's brilliant; a broadcaster I know in Australia uses it as a backup, because it is "good enough" to be broadcast if necessary. Get a 4GB card or two and a pack of lithium batteries, and you're away. Mine, sadly, is in my luggage which entered Terminal 5 on the day it opened, and is apparently currently in Milan, or possibly Frankfurt*. If you want audio samples (not organ yet, sadly), I can make them available.

 

I got it here, as the cheapest offer I could find at the time; and suitable cards from Dabs.com.

 

Paul

 

*It arrived back by courier a few minutes ago :-) Phew! (But not my wife's; she's miffed...)

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Interesting! I've just been looking into this myself, although I've been looking at a slightly lower budget (more like £0-50) and re-using my existing microphone.

 

Upto now, I've been using a Sony MiniDisc recorder (MZ-R55, I think) with a Sony microphone (ECMMS907-CE7). It gives impressive results for an "amateur" set-up, as I only really use it for recording my practices and the occasional choir visit to make copies on CD (via my PC) for choir members.

 

My major gripe is transferring off MD onto my computer - it can't be done digitally, so I need to re-record the MD output on the computer with some cheap software via a not-particularly-good analogue signal. I've never been happy with the sound loss and the time it takes.

 

I've just been given an iPod for my birthday and this got me thinking about improving the situation.

 

I've just discovered a device (an XtremeMac MicroMemo Digital Audio recorder) that plugs into my iPod to make it record. It has a 3.5mm line-in - perfect for my existing Sony microphone! It records a WAV file at 44KHz in stereo and connects to the iPod docking port so it records a digital signal. The device also comes with a cheap mono mike but I doubt it's any good. The only downside I can see on paper is that it doesn't have an adjustable gain control on the line-in, which I'd like.

 

I've got one on order and will report back!

 

http://eoutlet.co.uk/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=815

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Has anyone experience of portable recording devices suitable for recording organ, choral, or orchestral performances - price range £100-200. I'm not looking for studio quality, but something good enough to make recordings to assist practice and for posterity and which will enable easy transfer onto a computer and burning onto CD.

 

I've got my eye on a Zoom H2, and would apppreciate any feedback on this or similar devices.

 

Sq.

 

I can recomend the Zoom H2, I have used it at Armley and one or two other establishments, and it is truly amazing for the price £ 125 in a sale at xmas, it is only let down by the amount of bass it produces due to the small mics, but a 4 channel and slightly tweaked recording of a train entering a underground station in spain was amazing.

I will be using it at Durham Cathedral later this year when a friend does a recital there, and it will be intresting to compare it with a multi hundred ££££ setup I used a few years ago

regards

Peter

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I purchased an Edirol R-09 a while back, and am quite happy with it. It's very portable and lightweight, and records onto SD cards. Although the RRP is about £280, they can often be picked up on Ebay for about £200.

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I purchased an Edirol R-09 a while back, and am quite happy with it. It's very portable and lightweight, and records onto SD cards. Although the RRP is about £280, they can often be picked up on Ebay for about £200.

 

I'd second that about the Edirol - I have just bought an R-09 and was astounded at the light weight, ease of use and fabulous quality. Transferring to computer a breeze . Have just ditched our Sony minidisk 700 something that we carted everywhere with accompanying curses - it was the hardest gadget to operate I've ever owned and the instruction manual was nearly in tatters I had to consult it so often. Never easy when working in the dark of a church nave or under pressure of time.

chirps

Jenny

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I'd second that about the Edirol - I have just bought an R-09 and was astounded at the light weight, ease of use and fabulous quality. Transferring to computer a breeze . Have just ditched our Sony minidisk 700 something that we carted everywhere with accompanying curses - it was the hardest gadget to operate I've ever owned and the instruction manual was nearly in tatters I had to consult it so often. Never easy when working in the dark of a church nave or under pressure of time.

chirps

Jenny

 

I have one and it's very good except that I find that organ recordings are often very "bass-heavy", with particular low pedal notes sticking out. Has anyone else found that or am I doing something wrong? Has anyone used one with external microphones? Of course experimenting with microphone placement helps, but I bought it to make quick recordings with no fuss.

 

Stephen Barber

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I have one and it's very good except that I find that organ recordings are often very "bass-heavy", with particular low pedal notes sticking out. Has anyone else found that or am I doing something wrong? Has anyone used one with external microphones? Of course experimenting with microphone placement helps, but I bought it to make quick recordings with no fuss.

 

Stephen Barber

 

Rest assured that you're not doing anything wrong. Or, if you are, that I'm doing the same thing! I find it does have slight a tendency towards bass heaviness. But, as I tend to copy recordings onto CD (to allow me to use the SD cards again), I just turn down the bass slightly if necessary when I play the recordings.

 

I've not tried external mics with it. Like you, I find it great for making recordings without fuss. :)

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Has anyone experience of portable recording devices suitable for recording organ, choral, or orchestral performances - price range £100-200. I'm not looking for studio quality, but something good enough to make recordings to assist practice and for posterity and which will enable easy transfer onto a computer and burning onto CD.

 

I've got my eye on a Zoom H2, and would apppreciate any feedback on this or similar devices.

 

Sq.

 

I have a Zoom H2 for occassional use when my other equipment would be unneccessary. It is a fine unit for the price. The microphones are decent but not generally as good as quality external mics. There is an external mic input but only in the form of a stereo 3.5mm socket. If you can afford paying a bit more the H4 is wellworth looking at. This has balanced combined XLR and jack mic inputs. Both units feature optional level limiting and compression on manual level recording and can record in various WAV and MP3 formats. Wav 44.1 Kbits/sec format will transfer directly to CD.

 

John R

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I have one and it's very good except that I find that organ recordings are often very "bass-heavy", with particular low pedal notes sticking out. Has anyone else found that or am I doing something wrong? Has anyone used one with external microphones? Of course experimenting with microphone placement helps, but I bought it to make quick recordings with no fuss.

 

Stephen Barber

 

 

The trouble with trying to record low freqencies with a small 'single point in space' device is not always the small mics, but that you quite often get the 'one note boom' in smaller venues. You know the kind of thing when the person 10 feet away from you says 'listen to that glorious 32' purr', and you can't hear a blessed thing!

 

Seperate microphones can obviously go some way to alleviate this, if they are carefully placed.

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I'm a bit late into this discussion, but I got an Edirol R-09 last summer and have been very happy with the results- works best for choirs/organ when quite close, I've found, but clear enough with headphones to pick out individual voices in the stereo spread.

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Thanks for all for your comments and advice.

 

I've placed an order for a Zoom H2 this afternoon; it should arrive Wednesday. I'll let you know how I get on with it.

 

Sq.

 

Mine has just arrived too - not got to grips yet though.

 

AJJ

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Just to suggest another possibility. After reading a number of technical reviews of the current generation of solid memory devices, and comparing these to reviews of the latest Sony Minidisc player, I ordered a minidisc player. (I also talked to a recording engineer at one of our two classical music radio stations.) Of particular concern to me was the criticism of the input circuit performance of the solid state players.

 

A brief few points for those who would judge this on the previous generations of players.

 

Records in wave format (uncompressed).

Digitally uploads files to your computer, including files recorded on earlier generation players that could not be directly uploaded previously.

Has a significantly better ergonomic design.

Can be set to start in manual recording volume mode as the default. Manual volume control is easy.

Has an easy to read display, in both darkness and daylight

Wonderful battery life, and, despite what some people have said, can be connected to an external battery pack through the USB connector.

 

It is so far ahead of the previous top-of-the-line minidisc player, that I'm now kind of glad that someone relieved me of mine from my car. (Someone else relieved me of my organ playing shoes while I was performing recently. They smashed a window to get access. :unsure: They must have been disappointed when they found the bag only contained shoes, not a computer. :) )

 

The only drawback, for me, so far - Sony's software must be used to access the device from your Mac or Windows computer. Since releasing this, Sony seem to have changed their policy so that drag and drop is possible.

 

I bought mine from a Canadian shop at a better price than I could find elsewhere, and ordered 30 Minidiscs at the old price.

http://www.minidisc-canada.com/shopexd.asp?id=734

 

I'll still use my trusty Tascam DAT deck when I can lug power chords around and take time to set up, but the Minidisc player is very good for when ease of set up and transport are required.

 

If Sony would have released this model five years ago...

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I have one and it's very good except that I find that organ recordings are often very "bass-heavy", with particular low pedal notes sticking out. Has anyone else found that or am I doing something wrong? Has anyone used one with external microphones? Of course experimenting with microphone placement helps, but I bought it to make quick recordings with no fuss.

 

Stephen Barber

Tried mine out for the first time at the weekend. So far am highly impressed by quality versus cost.

 

i) placed on top of upright piano recording me playing piano whilst singing - very impressive (not my singing though)

ii) church choir from about 10 yards down the nave - very clear though was bit too echoey for my likeing; will try again with H2 closer to the choir

iii) organ - again very clear with good amount of detail, though I too found the bass boomy; will see what sounds like reducing the bass slightly in Cubase or such once it's been recorded

 

In terms of usability, it seems very simple and you can start recording with minimum setup or fuss.

 

Sq.

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I have found this thread interesting, particularly as I had never come across these devices previously. Before venturing further could someone tell me what type of "out" sockets are available on them, I am hoping that there is a optical socket as I have a CD recorder with an optical "in", which would make direct transfers easy. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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I have found this thread interesting, particularly as I had never come across these devices previously. Before venturing further could someone tell me what type of "out" sockets are available on them, I am hoping that there is a optical socket as I have a CD recorder with an optical "in", which would make direct transfers easy. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

 

Hi

 

You' have to look at the manufacturer's specs for details like that. The primary design purpose of these devices is o get recordings into a computer, either by way of a USB connection, or removeable memory cards - and that's the way I would go - transfer to a computer, do any edits and tidying up that's needed, and split into tracks if necessary, and burn the CD from there.

 

I suppose going direct to CD is quicker - I have done that from MiniDisc when I've not needed to do anything other than top & tail (which can be done on the MD) - and the MD track marks carry across as CD tracks - but if there's any amount of ambient noise, I prefer to fade in and out rather than just cut.

 

I've not yet tried any of the current batch of portable devices - but I intend to buy one when funds are available.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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I have found this thread interesting, particularly as I had never come across these devices previously. Before venturing further could someone tell me what type of "out" sockets are available on them, I am hoping that there is a optical socket as I have a CD recorder with an optical "in", which would make direct transfers easy. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

 

I have the Roland Edirol R-09 and it has an optical out from the headphone socket. I highly recommend the unit as it is just so versatile and though I mostly record using my own microphone plugged into it, its own mics are excellent as well. It's worth getting a 4gb sd card, which gives you just under 4 hours recording time at the highest setting.. 24bit 48khz .wav. It is worth making sure that anyone that has this unit makes sure that the firmware is kept up to date.

 

I agree with Tony that it is also worth putting it through a computer to edit the files.

 

Peter

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Tried mine out for the first time at the weekend. So far am highly impressed by quality versus cost.

 

i) placed on top of upright piano recording me playing piano whilst singing - very impressive (not my singing though)

ii) church choir from about 10 yards down the nave - very clear though was bit too echoey for my likeing; will try again with H2 closer to the choir

iii) organ - again very clear with good amount of detail, though I too found the bass boomy; will see what sounds like reducing the bass slightly in Cubase or such once it's been recorded

 

In terms of usability, it seems very simple and you can start recording with minimum setup or fuss.

 

Sq.

A follow-up on my point about it being bass heavy...

 

I had reached that conclusion when playing back the recording through a mid-quality hifi system direct from the line-out socket on the H2 device. However having uploaded the recorded .wav file onto my PC and playing it back through a professional grade soundcard and studio monitor speakers, it sounds absolutely fine. The inference being that the recording itself isn't boomy, just the playback function on the H2 device. If this is indeed the case then that's good news indeed!

 

Sq.

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