Audio recording equipment
  • I would appreciate suggestions about setups and good buys of audio recording equipment. Suppose you want to record what your congregation hears. Is the organ too loud? The choir balanced? Setting up in the choir loft or at a transept wall probably doesn't capture what's heard in the nave.
  • The above is a very good question. May I please add to it: if I want to make a quick, easy recording of my choir (just for the private purpose of letting us hear roughly how we sound), what is the best, simple way of doing this? Would a small digital recorder (e.g. Olympus LS-11) do the job?
    Thanked by 1Chris Hebard
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    If you're looking for a single self-contained device, I've been quite pleased with my Zoom H4n. When I glanced online, it looks like they're running about $250ish.

    Although it's self contained, it also contains two combination inputs that can accept either 1/4" or XLR, which can record simultaneously with the (excellent) internal mics, which means you could have a more expanded micing situation (2 externals and the stereo internals) if you wanted to.

    It also has a tripod mount as well as a mic-stand mount that could be useful if you're setting it up down my the pews and want to point it up at the loft easily.

    You can also play back you're recordings once easily on the device, so you can show your choir right away.

    The sound quality is also excellent. I've recorded radio commercials for broadcast on it's internal mics, and the audio quality fit right in with the rest of the spots being aired.

    Overall, I've been quite satisfied with it and would really recommend it.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,107
    I love my Zoom H4n and its versatility. For about $100 less, the Zoom H2n is another excellent recorder which may be all that you need (it is still quite versatile, but if you don't need the separate 4-track recording and mixing capabilities of the H4n, then the H2n is probably quite adequate). The recording quality and playback are excellent for both units.
    Thanked by 1Chris Hebard
  • incantuincantu
    Posts: 989
    I'm thrilled with my Edirol R-09. It's pretty idiot-proof and records CD quality audio directly to mp3 format for easy sharing. You can use an external mic suspended from the choir loft if you have to, or better yet have someone in the pews who can press start/stop for you.
    Thanked by 1Chris Hebard
  • Thanks, everyone; most helpful.
  • Ted
    Posts: 145
    The placement, type, and quality of the microphones used is the most important factor. Omnidirectional mics will pick up unwanted sounds and echos. Mics with limited frequency response will not let the music blossom, although they can certainly supress some unwanted noises and limit bass distortion from the organ. In my experience, unidirectional microphones are great in suppressing unwanted noises, aiming them say at a choir, but they may not be suitable for recording the sounds of the liturgy in the whole church. In that case there should be several microphones placed stategically throughout the church fed into a mixer with a soundman controlling the levels.
    That said, I have had acceptable results recording from the choirloft using even the humblest recorders such as the Olympus DS 30/40 but equipped with a directional stereo micophone aimed directly at the sanctuary such as the very inexpensive Sony ECM-DS70, and of course even much better results with the more expensive but bulkier ECM-MS957 on that same recorder.
    A good self contained fairly inexpensive recorder with adjustible cardiod pickup pattern is the Tascam DR-40 4-track digital recorder, which additionally has 2 XLR/TRS inputs, and sells for about $150 these days.
    Thanked by 1Chris Hebard
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,177
    The Tascam is wonderful for choral and acoustic recordings.
  • mrcoppermrcopper
    Posts: 640
    I finally got my own Zoom H4N ... very very nice sound from the built-in microphones. Simple 4-track capabilities allow overdubbing, mixing, etc. The instruction manual remains picture-english, not entirely easy to follow, but the capabilities seem very good.

    The simple attachment to a camera tripod was immediately useful.
  • Carl DCarl D
    Posts: 985
    I find it amazing what these little boxes can do!
  • Palestrina
    Posts: 315
    If you're going to spend some good money on a recorder, I'd recommend the Zoom Q3HD, which has a built-in video camera. You don't have to use the camera to record, but I promise you that it's very, very useful if you want to use the device to analyse your own performances at some stage.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen