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The further jazz moves away from the stark blue continuum and the collective realities of Afro-American and American life, the more it moves into academic concert-hall lifelessness, which can be replicated by any middle class showing off its music lessons - Imamu Amiri Baraka

Author Topic: Digital Recorders  (Read 1877 times)

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Offline eric

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Digital Recorders
« on: June 03, 2011, 11:47:18 AM »
Any advice on small digital recorders for acoustic guitar?  I've looked at the Yamaha C24, Zoom H2 and a couple of the Tascam models...

Thanks, Eric
--
Eric

Offline Pan

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2011, 12:38:06 PM »
FWIW I recently bought the Zoom H2 and am very pleased with it so far.

Cheers

Pan

Offline Stumblin

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2011, 01:05:44 PM »
I have a Tascam DP-004 Pocketstudio.
Took a while to get used to & I still have to keep the manual handy, but the onboard mics are ideal for acoustic instruments. It's almost like the old cassette Portastudios, but much smaller and digital sound means lossless reproduction, even with a bunch of overdubs & bouncing down etc.
Fairly cheap too.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2011, 03:16:55 AM by Stumblin »

Offline RobBob

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2011, 01:46:29 PM »
We have a Zoon H4 the precursor to the H2 and it is great.  I got a Tascam DR03 for recording lessons for my students and jams and it works great and fits into your pocket.

Offline bluzman

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2011, 07:17:27 PM »
I've been a hardcore taper for decades.  I like all of the above.
I bought a Zoom H4n and really like it for ease of use, but it has no "line in".
It can be done with the combination xlr inputs and a 30db pad, but you're
better off using a recorder that already has a line level in.

That said... if you think you will need a line level input for a soundboard
recording etc. get something other than the Zoom H4n.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2011, 07:18:48 PM by bluzman »

Offline Richard

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2011, 12:50:56 PM »
Edirol RO9, it's recorded everything from big bands to making mp3's of 78s direct from the amp! It's been dropped and generally abused, excellet build and the twin mics are fantastic.

More money than a Zoom, but you gets wot you pays for!
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2011, 08:08:36 AM »
I dunno, is the Edirol better than a Zoom H4 (not H4n)?  I have an Edirol and really need a better microphone, but I am not totally sold. I do like it's ease of use, reliability, it has a mini-plug line-in. Like the Zoom H4, the R09 is no longer made as far as I know, replaced by another model.

Richard, what do you do to get good results with the built-in mics on the R-09, what settings? I haven't had much luck with those. Fine for recording meetings, not very good for music.

With a cheap binaural-type mic I have, I can get decent guitar sound but then dubious vocal recording. If I clip one of the mics to my collar, I can get better vocal. But I need a decent mic setup. Anyone have any affordable favorites, favorite setups?

Offline Richard

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2011, 02:09:02 PM »
I think there must be something wrong somewhere UB.

I have just copied a couple of short bits for you to listen to, play them loud on some decent equipement and you will hear it picks up everything very clearly with the build in mics.

The band gig was live recorded across a crowded room and I entrusted the machine to somebody while I played. The other is the beginning of a guitar intro for another band I was in.
The settings for the recording input for say self and guitar - generally gain up till it just reaches the red overload light then back a couple of clicks. The other settings are  AGC off, External mic left on mono, LOw cut off and mic gain High - I have found in most situations the high gain seems to work best with the gain turned down to suit.

Incidentally a friend of mine has the Zoon and thinks the quality of this is better all round. The updated model is as far as I can find out, much the same but with a bigger control panel.

Let me know how you get on.

[attachment deleted by admin]
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2011, 07:36:21 AM »
Thanks Richard for those settings. I do much the same, but had the external mic set to stereo, will try with mono. I should say I can get very decent recordings generally which are very useful for practice and the occasional back porch post, but am more specifically looking to get better vocal quality out of the device. The vocals tend to come out thinner than I would like given limited talents  :P, and even a little thinner than I remember getting with minidisc. This is why using the binaural-style "earbud" microphones, which are split into two little mics, I can clip one somewhere in front of the guitar to capture that, and one on my collar to get more presence in the vocal. It's totally primitive and I really need to improve the set up.

Perhaps I should start a separate thread on mics but these two thing do sort of go together. So I will ask the question: What are folks using as external microphones, if anything, with their digital recorders? Favorite types, models, especially the affordable ones?  :D And Are you running them through a small mixer or anything?

Offline Pan

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2011, 12:13:45 PM »
Thanks Richard for those settings. I do much the same, but had the external mic set to stereo, will try with mono. I should say I can get very decent recordings generally which are very useful for practice and the occasional back porch post, but am more specifically looking to get better vocal quality out of the device. The vocals tend to come out thinner than I would like given limited talents  :P, and even a little thinner than I remember getting with minidisc. This is why using the binaural-style "earbud" microphones, which are split into two little mics, I can clip one somewhere in front of the guitar to capture that, and one on my collar to get more presence in the vocal. It's totally primitive and I really need to improve the set up.

Perhaps I should start a separate thread on mics but these two thing do sort of go together. So I will ask the question: What are folks using as external microphones, if anything, with their digital recorders? Favorite types, models, especially the affordable ones?  :D And Are you running them through a small mixer or anything?

FWIW The Zoom H2 allows you to select the internal mic patterns from 90 to 120 degrees (and even front and rear simultaneously, but this is probably practical only in band rehearsals). I'm currently experimenting with positioning the gadget sideways in front of me, to get a little more separation to vocals and guitar, You could then boost one or the other simply by positioning the unit higher or lower on a mic stand or note stand.

As for external mics, I've used a pair of relatively cheap Rode NT-1 A condenser mics.
http://rodemic.com/microphone.php?product=NT1-A
Be prepared to experiment with room acoustics and mic positioning. All music samples except "Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out" on my ReverbNation page were done with either a pair, or a single Rode mic in a large room on our summer cottage. I run them through an external soundcard to a laptop. Condenser mics need a phantom power source, and some don't work well with anything less than 48 V, which needs to be considered.

I got the Zoom, because setting up and repacking the bulky condenser mics with cables and mic stands in an appartement is a bit of a hassle. And getting rid of Microsoft on the recording process certainly is a relief!  ;D

Cheers

Pan
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 12:27:21 PM by Pan »

Offline Richard

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2011, 03:08:20 PM »
UB the external mic switch only operates when something is plugged in and the only mic I have plugged in is my Rode condensor, needs a 48v source though, I have an ALG 1000? with battery but it's muddy in comparison to both Rode and the built in mics.

So, why don't you post two quality samples one with the built in mics and one using your twin setup, so we can see\hear what you are.. uumm.. on about so to speak! Are you recording in mp3 or wave format ?

The whole thing is very subjective anyway, a bit like comparing guitar strings!
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2011, 07:41:44 AM »
UB the external mic switch only operates when something is plugged in and the only mic I have plugged in is my Rode condensor, needs a 48v source though, I have an ALG 1000? with battery but it's muddy in comparison to both Rode and the built in mics.

So, why don't you post two quality samples one with the built in mics and one using your twin setup, so we can see\hear what you are.. uumm.. on about so to speak! Are you recording in mp3 or wave format ?

The whole thing is very subjective anyway, a bit like comparing guitar strings!

Yes, I have generally used an external mic, as described above. What do you run the Rode through when recording with it onto the R09?

I did do a test with the built-in mics the other day. It was a song where I need to sing near the top of my range quite loud and the recorded result (not the performance) was pretty darn good. But usually I just feel some lower frequencies and presence are lacking in the captured vocal. As for posting samples, that's clearly a trap I'm not falling for.  :P

I do forget sometimes to record in WAV format, which definitely makes a noticeable difference in everything I'm talking about.

I think getting a decent mic or two, and then something to run them through, is what I need. I also need to experiment with different rooms/acoustic environments.

And Pan, thanks for the tips. So when you are using your Rodes, you're recording exclusively through the computer via the external soundcard?
« Last Edit: June 16, 2011, 07:53:11 AM by uncle bud »

Offline Richard

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2011, 12:57:06 PM »
I don't see why posting a couple of short quality samples should be a trap at all, sorry I don't follow that. Simply, if the sound is different as you say it would be be nice to hear the comparison and since this topic started by way of you saying the recording quality of the Edirol wasn't great with the built in mics, my interest is in hearing what you consider poor quality.

The Rode is an NT 1A and it runs through a great little two channel Behringer mixing desk either into an external sound card or to the Edirol. Out of interest what is the planned outcome for these these recordings, just for personal uses
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline Pan

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2011, 02:06:41 PM »
And Pan, thanks for the tips. So when you are using your Rodes, you're recording exclusively through the computer via the external soundcard?

Yes. I have a small two channel E-MU 0404 soundcard which provides the mics the needed 48 V phantom power. It hooks up with the computer with an USB cable.

The Zoom has an external mic mini jack stereo input and apparently it can provide 2,5 V phantom power, which might suffice to some mics. I haven't tried it.

I actually have an external phantom power supply (which of course then needs it's own socket), which I've used maybe once on a live occasion, so theoretically I could experiment with the Rodes and the Zoom, if I could solve all the connection problems. You might want to check the options to your Edirol from the manual or online.

I used the Zoom sideways, as I described earlier, to do the current back porch recording. If your Edirol has a stereo mic pair in an angle, you might also try to experiment with this.  

Cheers

Pan
« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 03:51:20 PM by Pan »

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2011, 04:34:16 PM »
I don't see why posting a couple of short quality samples should be a trap at all, sorry I don't follow that. Simply, if the sound is different as you say it would be be nice to hear the comparison and since this topic started by way of you saying the recording quality of the Edirol wasn't great with the built in mics, my interest is in hearing what you consider poor quality.

The Rode is an NT 1A and it runs through a great little two channel Behringer mixing desk either into an external sound card or to the Edirol. Out of interest what is the planned outcome for these these recordings, just for personal uses

Hi Richard - the "trap" comment was meant tongue-in-cheek, although if I don't find the vocal quality acceptable on a given recording of me, I'm not very inclined to post it, if you get my drift. I don't think one gets poor quality - I just didn't like my vocal results on some recordings. I did do a test in a different room last night, with the built-in mics up higher (physically) and got better results. I'll play around some more. I think it boils down to a) me needing to experiment more with rooms and mic positioning b) getting better (actual!) mics to get closer to what I want.

When I was questioning the Edirol/Zoom comparison, I guess I didn't express myself clearly, as I launched into the vocal quality discussion right away. I meant that with the Zoom H4, one got XLR and 1/4" inputs, some compression capability, 4-track recording, and some software.

The soundcard/mic/mixer info from you and Pan has been very helpful, and I'm sure I'll have some more questions once I digest it a bit.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2011, 04:36:21 PM by uncle bud »

Offline sustaireblues

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Re: Digital Recorders
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2011, 05:52:21 AM »
Hey Pan, thanks for the tip on using the H-2 sideways to help separate the guitar and vocals. Seems like a good idea. I just got one and have just started learning how to use it. Now I'm trying to balance the vocals and a rack mount harp. Learning to blow the harp gently.  :D  Also I fit a piece of foam pipe insulation over the harp and tape the ends. That is working pretty good for me. Next time I'll play with tipping the H-2.

Joe

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