Portable recording devices.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by choirmaster, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. choirmaster

    choirmaster Member

    I'm looking for a way of recording my band in rehearsals with something that is quite portable but has fairly good recording quality. Somebody did mention to me that mini disk was o.k. but I can't find one anywhere, are they now a thing of the past? I understand an MP3 player can do this but is the recording quality ok or is it a case of 'you get what you pay for'? Please excuse the ramblings of an ignoramus.
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  3. sugarandspice

    sugarandspice Active Member

    Depped for a band in the summer and they recorded the reheasals in the lead up to their london trip with a mini disk player, seemed to work for ages!

    I've just used a "Coomer" at uni to record some music lessons i did, it records straight onto a CD from a microphone, (or two mics if you wish!) you can make as many tracks as you want on the CD then "fix it" so you can listen to it back on conventional CD players, also works as a PA system and you can copy CD's as it has two drives. Quite costly i believe and not exactly pocket size but it's not huge! Guess it depends what quiality you are looking for but these were certainly a god send when it came to recording music lessons and performances! (Tip: dont knock over one of the mic's tho, as it tends to leave a very big dent!!.......Oooops!)

  4. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    Various MP3 players can record (something Apple missed out ;-) ) - I have recorded the band with my iRiver H320 and a simple T-shaped external microphone successfully a couple of times. 128bit stereo MP3....

  5. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    An Edirol R1 is a portable Compact Flash Drive Recorder that records using either external or a good quality inbuilt Stereo Mic at uncompressed WAV data of up to 24bit (CD quality). I have one, and it's great even with the inbuilt mic! I've got and used minidisc, but this is a different level altogether. Will set you back a 3-400 tho.

  6. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    I'd second andy's recommendation for the Edirol. If you find yourself needing 4 channels, it's bigger brother the R4 is good as well. One word of warning on the latter though, in some of the earlier models input 4 was out of phase with the other three - Editol will of course fix the problem but you need to know it's there, of course.

    I don't really like MP3 as a medium but if it's just recording rehearsals then it should be OK. I'd up the bitrate to 192kbps though.

    I have heard good reports apout the Iriver stuff - I know a couple of guys who use them for foley recordings. Personally, I'd stay away from minidisc recorders, but that's just based on preference.

    Obviously, you can go a lot more upmarket with something like the Fostex FR-2 which is a professional 2 track recorder, but I'd guess way out of your budget.

    Edit: One thing I should say is that 24 bit isn't CD quality. 44.1KHz sample rate at 16 bit is CD quality.

    However, what recording using 24 bit depth allows you to do is record with your levels set lower (i.e. you can leave yourself more headroom) giving you more room for the loud bits without clipping your signal. When you convert (using dither of course) to 16 bit for burning to CD you'll lose some of the background noise ;)

    The technical explanation has gone to bed for Christmas :D
  7. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - why?
  8. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Just don't like them :D

    Seriously, though, it is mainly just a preference. Whenever I see the phrase 'near' CD quality such as is produced by ATRAC compression, I start to cringe - granted they do sound better than most things (other than CD, DVD-A and DSD) certainly far better than a dictaphone that we used to use in the 80s :D

    As I said, I'd stay away from them - but others use them with great success....
  9. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Minidisc is a good cheap way of recording rehearsals, however despite what Sony say it isn't "near CD quality". It's very good with loud things, but you can hear the compression on quieter music. It is generally better than MP3, though, but MP3 has the edge on sheer storage, which is why it's so popular. eBay or a second-hand shop is probably your best bet for an MD recorder.
    We've used MD to record rehearsals, with a stereo mic taped to the ceiling (dead technical!) and it is very useful for the condutor to take away and hear stuff he may not have heard at the time. I wouldn't use it to make CD's, though, apart from the dodgy legality there's no multiple track to edit/balance, so what you record you're stuck with.
    Whatever you choose, the quality is really down to the microphones, and really good ones aren't cheap.
  10. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Couple of things ;)

    There's no legal issue about making CDs this way, as long as you licence the end product.

    Some of the best recordings in the World are made with two microphones only...it's all about where you put them ;)

    You can say that again about microphones. Boundary microphones can be good for this sort of thing - there used to be really cheap ones from Tandy (remember them?), but they tend to be significantly more expensive now.

    For minidisc use I'm sure Brassneck can suggest a good stereo mic.

    If I was using something like the R1, I'd look to invest in something like a pair of SE Electronics SE1As, Rode NT5s (or a Rode NT4, but this is fixed in XY configuration)...if you want more details PM me - this is straying a bit.
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    When I bought my microphone, MDs had just come out and were £300 for the Sony. The mic I opted for was being used for outside broadcasts by the BBC and cost £100 (ECM-M907). And yes, I have had to call on boundary mics as well (... in fact these slim Tandy ones mentioned before ... battery powered one with red windshields!!). For quick recordings the set up was ideal when the stereo mic was set for narrow field with the boundary mics used to enhance stereo image. Simple to set up as well ... 2 mini-jack adapters (1) split stereo to host stereo mic and (2) split X2 mono > stereo into the first adapter to host the two boundaries. Didn't have any compatibilty issues and noticable artefacts caused by differences in quality between makes of mic.

    Sony Mics here ... http://www.ogormans.co.uk/micropho.htm
  12. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    Maplins may be your friend, it's kind of taken over from Tandy as the best place to get bits+pieces, as long as you know what you're after (they have leads for just about everything!).
    Is this the kind of thing you mean?

    My google also turned up one that was £400+ (Audio-technica AC97 or something) but I think that's just a tad dear............
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  14. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

  15. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    FWIW I've been looking at AKG C542 BLs for this kind of application but I've not tried them yet.

    They're about £150+vat each, though.
  16. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - the mics I got were Dual Impedance Condenser Unidirectional Microphones.

    response:UniFrequency response:50Hz - 18kHz
    Impedance:600 Ohms and 50k Ohms
    Sensitivity:Lo-Z - 68dB; Hi-Z - 50dB
    Lead/plug:6m/6.35mm jack

    - exccept they had (typically of Tandy) choice of plugs.
  17. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Ah, sorry - my fault, for some reason (early morning I think!) I was on the 'stick it on the wall plate shape' things :D - in which case the link does go to the right place ;)
  18. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - no probs! I notice that some ppls buy mics that are in close proximity to the recording device or attach to clothing. The Sony MDs tend to be rather sensitive and I generally advise against buying these types of mics. Okay for lectures but not for music.

    - btw, the boundary mics when I bought them from Tandy were only £7.99 each. I am surprised even today how much good value they are considering the build of the mics (... plastic!).

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