Portable recording device
  • in past threads I have seen good reviews from forum members for the Zoom H2N digital recorder, and am looking into purchase for practices / occasional Mass recordings

    those of you who use this device - what would you say is the max distance for recording with good sound quality?
    many thanks!
  • Digital recorders???
    I suppose it had to come to this.
    Where can I order an alto?
    Do they come in all registers?

    (Was it recorder simulacra in XIXth century Russia?)
    Thanked by 2bhcordova Ben Yanke
  • Generally I felt it worked quite well, particularly for what you mention. You will need software to process the recording - to break out sections of rehearsal into manageable chunks, for example, or to polish a Mass recording. I typically placed the recorder midway down in the church while we sang from the loft. One of the things you'll fight is a degree of hiss which you can mitigate with the software, although I found it difficult to completely eliminate. My best results were with volume set mid-way, but then I needed a bit of amplication in the processing. If you use it regularly for rehearsals, it can be a fair amount of work to split the file into manageable sections, but obviously it is helpful as well.

    Originally I was able to find software for free that I liked, but eventually they required an annual license. If I'm going to buy software, I'd like more time researching (time which I haven't had) so I haven't used it in quite some time.

    I'm also not sure I would want to use it if I were going to produce something like a CD, perhaps mostly because of my ignorance when it comes to editing the file. For that reason I'm on the fence about possibly getting a different set of mics to capture a higher quality output. Perhaps get a professional to mix the result. Still trying to figure that one out.
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  • MJO - digital recorders are tools.

    No plans to record CDs. I am striving for balance among our uneven voices. Today, to hear how we sound from the nave, I have to go down there and listen. However when i do this, what I will hear is missing a principal voice, which negates the exercise.
    Also, without ability to record and play back, I lose the opportunity to show the singers something they are needing to correct (e.g., allowing al-le-lu-ia to degrade into al-le-lu-yuh)

    Incard - could you please PM me and give the name of that software? I have no idea what to look for. thanks
  • MarkS
    Posts: 231
    I use GarageBand on my mac to deal with (edit etc...) the sound files—it does pretty much everything I need and is fairly easy to work with. Recordings can be immediately played back from the unit itself through the built-in speakers (not great sound), earphones, or can be connected to auxiliary speakers (this last can be handy in rehearsals).
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  • Steve QSteve Q
    Posts: 93
    I am a radio producer by day and do a lot of audio recording and editing. The best free audio editing software I have encountered is Audacity. It is quite easy to use for basic editing such as breaking a recording into "manageable chunks". It is available for download at www.audacityteam.org.
  • Mmeladirectress.

    Jackson knows this, well and verily. He's just having a little fun (hence the note about 19th century Russia.)

    The purple is the clue.

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  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,400
    I've had my Tascam DR-05 near the front of a large live church, and the biggest problem has been server / thurible noise. I've used Garage Band to edit / track out those 80-minute Mass files, but it's a bit of a nuisance for that, and I'm planning on trying Audacity.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,877
    I have a Zoom H4N that I love. Its mikes are very good and adjustable for two different angles (90 & 120 degrees). I've recorded three of RCC Ensemble Singers concerts with success and have used it also for recording rehearsals. I tend to mike concerts fairly close up, about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way from the voices to the back. I've used WavePad as my editor and am quite comfortable with it.
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  • ChoirpartsChoirparts
    Posts: 142
    Sony digital voice recorders work well. Where you place the recorder is most important, and that is by trial and error. Roxio sound editor works for me. Here is an example I recorded a while ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjv3CstIzqc
  • I use a Roland R-05 WAVE / MP3 Recorder. And then I use Audacity to edit the files.
    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • Maestro,

    You edit the files audaciously?
  • Useful recording information.

    Including info on the ZOOM Series.
  • An iPad (even a phone) can be outfitted with a decent microphone and can thereby do a decent job, for some purposes. I prefer to do it (never done it in church, but many times in other situations) using a USB audio interface box plugged in to a USB ('camera') adapter attached to the iPad. You can then plug the microphone of your choice -- the sky is the limit (but the interface will quickly become the limiter of quality) -- into the interface. The Focusrite boxes have decent quality. 'iRig' also sells a microphone interface (with built-in preamp) but I find the preamp in it to be very harsh.

    A directional microphone might allow you to minimize unwanted sound or noises by pointing it appropriately.

    GarageBand is a bit of an annoying toy in my opinion, but does have the advantage of being installable right on the iPad and is fine for basic operations. I have heard that Wavepad is 'the Audacity for iPad', but I haven't tried it. If you are working on a PC (Mac, Windows, or Linux), then audacity is great. If you need a full-featured DAW that is also free I suggest Ardour. There is a bit of a learning curve for all of the above, but once figured out, it is not hard, and does provide flexibility, if that's important to you.

    One thing to remember -- as you mentioned your concern about balance -- is that all microphones impart their own color ('EQ') to what they record, which can be further exacerbated by the position of the microphone in the space. You should never assume that the recorded sound is an accurate representation of what a person standing in the same place (much less a different place) would hear. You should be able to hear gross imbalances more or less regardless of your equipment and placing, unless you are very unlucky or silly, but I wouldn't trust it to 'tell' you about subtle differences. An actual human whom you trust would be a better resource for evaluating subtleties.

    One other thing to remember: Conversion of a high quality digital file to MP3 can result in anything from 'an acceptable approximation' to 'an abomination'. If you can avoid the conversion to MP3, I would encourage to you to do so. (Digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters also vary greatly in quality and in the color that they impart to the sound, but you aren't going to avoid them nor have a great deal of control over their quality without spending a lot of money.)
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  • All -
    thanks to your input on this thread and others, I had pretty much decided on the Zoom H4N
    but when I went to order today I find that there's now an H5
    does anyone have H5? and if so, how do you like it?
  • I use the Zoom H4 (old) and just wanted to make one quick recommendation... if you ever fly with a recorder that looks like that, be sure it's in your checked baggage. TSA thought it was a stun gun, and it brought great concern to them. Had to show them how it worked, and even make and play back a recording to them to prove what it was.

    Thanked by 1mmeladirectress
  • What I liked best in the H4N was the fact that the two mics were movable from 90 degrees (unidirectional, for recording choir from nave) to 120 degrees (omnidirectional, for recording choir in loft) -

    but in the H5, the two mics do not move. I believe you would need to shell out an additional $80-130 to get an optional 'capsule' for unidirectional.
    BUT - I could be quite wrong.
  • ghmus7
    Posts: 985
    I have used the Zoom a lot and it produces great quality. I have used the unit on almost all of my videos on my youtube channel:
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • thanks ghmus7; do you have the Zoom H4N? or the H5 (or even H6)?