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Field Recording... Yourself

wysiwyg 18 Feb 07 - 11:22 AM
SouthernCelt 18 Feb 07 - 11:42 AM
Bill D 18 Feb 07 - 11:44 AM
wysiwyg 18 Feb 07 - 11:47 AM
wysiwyg 18 Feb 07 - 11:49 AM
SouthernCelt 18 Feb 07 - 11:57 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 19 Feb 07 - 11:18 PM
Jim Lad 19 Feb 07 - 11:44 PM
Black Diamond 20 Feb 07 - 04:13 AM
wysiwyg 20 Feb 07 - 09:50 AM
RTim 20 Feb 07 - 10:17 AM
jeffp 20 Feb 07 - 10:39 AM
wysiwyg 20 Feb 07 - 10:47 AM
open mike 20 Feb 07 - 01:00 PM
Jim Lad 20 Feb 07 - 01:04 PM
dwditty 20 Feb 07 - 01:17 PM
wysiwyg 20 Feb 07 - 01:22 PM
Black Diamond 20 Feb 07 - 02:39 PM
wysiwyg 20 Feb 07 - 05:30 PM
mandotim 20 Feb 07 - 06:35 PM
wysiwyg 20 Feb 07 - 06:44 PM
Bat Goddess 20 Feb 07 - 07:24 PM
wysiwyg 25 Feb 07 - 10:29 PM
jeffp 25 Feb 07 - 10:56 PM
Don Firth 25 Feb 07 - 11:34 PM
jeffp 26 Feb 07 - 01:35 PM
Scoville 26 Feb 07 - 04:06 PM
Jim Krause 26 Feb 07 - 10:55 PM
mandotim 27 Feb 07 - 07:22 AM
Fortunato 27 Feb 07 - 08:47 AM
wysiwyg 27 Feb 07 - 09:13 AM
JohnB 27 Feb 07 - 12:04 PM
wysiwyg 27 Feb 07 - 12:34 PM
Fortunato 27 Feb 07 - 04:20 PM
wysiwyg 02 Apr 07 - 10:08 AM
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Subject: Field Recording... Yourself!
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 11:22 AM

After listening to several thousand poor-sound-quality field recordings to find GREAT songs for our band, that we could have learned no other way, I finally took the plunge. The result is MP3s I can learn from to improve my work, that I can use to teach our songs to new band members, and that can make a memento not so different from some of the cassette ministries I've helped churches start. I've sent one church service's CD home to the ailing spouse of the partner who I played with one day last week, at his church. Of course, I   hear all the mistakes, and only the mistakes. But... the experience the people had was good enough that they not only invited us to come back, but they want us monthly. ?!?!? Paid. ?!?!?

So.... whatever. :~) [shrug] It is what it is. If they had joy of it, it's all good.

I'm simply using the Samsung MP3 player I was given, stuck on top of a mic stand and built-in mic aimed at the band. It took 3 minutes to set up and test for the first time, and about 15 minutes to split the resulting hourlong recording into tracks, using Total Recorder.

And it was SO EASY, I don't think I will ever care to get any fancier with our setup. (We're not good enough to bother, frankly.)


Do you record your stuff routinely, and what do you do with it?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 11:42 AM

>>I'm simply using the Samsung MP3 player I was given, stuck on top of a mic stand and built-in mic aimed at the band. It took 3 minutes to set up and test for the first time, and about 15 minutes to split the resulting hourlong recording into tracks, using Total Recorder.<<

I presume the Samsung is a player/recorder if you're recording on it? Do you know the model no. of the unit? I'd like to find something that records well with little effort in the field. Can the Samsung be directly downloaded to a computer via USB or does it require some other wiring connection? I'm a bit surprised that a built-in mic gives adequate response for music w/o clipping the signal. Most built-ins work well for voice only.

I've videotaped several "shows" I've put on for various charitable groups but am not pleased at all with either the sound quality or the fact that the camcorder mic is omnidirectional to a great extent and picks up every cough, sneeze and movement from the nearby audience.

I've recorded a dozen or so songs via better audio equipment into tracks on Cakewalk Guitar Tracks recording software; however, my PC doesn't have a lot of RAM memory so I can't record more than one track at a time and even at times overrun the onboard memory capacity and get dropouts. It's really a ticklish proposal to record with my older PC setup. (One of these days I'm going to get a state-of-the-art PC set up for audio/video processing but I'll need a few more $ before that happens.)

SC


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 11:44 AM

Rita & I each have mini-disk recorders...and mine even has a wired remote that I can use to pause. We don't use them a whole lot, but they are quite easy and make nice quality recordings. It is possible to run 'em thru the PC and make MP3s, but so far, it's just as easy to keep the discs. Rita gets a LOT of use from hers when she goes to Augusta Vocal Week at Davis-Elkins college each summer. She records workshops for later study.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 11:47 AM

SC, since I am not willing to go techie to get really GOOD sound quality, and we have no volunteers for the techie job, I'm very happy with my Tech: Samsung YP-T8 Z (MP3 player/recorder). PM me an email address and I will be brave enough to send you a song, so you can hear what I get.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: wysiwyg
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 11:49 AM

And Can the Samsung be directly downloaded to a computer via USB...

Yes.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 18 Feb 07 - 11:57 AM

Hey, WYSIWYG, thanks for the replies. PM is on the way with an e-mail address.

SC


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 11:18 PM

I use the Edirol R-09 WAV/MP3 recorder. It's a very compact and useful tool. There's a thread where I talked a bit about it, but I can't find the thread right now.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: Jim Lad
Date: 19 Feb 07 - 11:44 PM

I'm going back to "Minidisc" when I can afford it.
When I started out, (!979/1980) I could spend a whole night, practising one song. At the end of the night, (and I mean dawn) I'd sing the song three times into a cassette recorder or my Tascam 4 track thingy and if I couldn't do it 3 times without a mistake or just decided it didn't suit me, I'd scrap it. I kept that practise up for many years.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: Black Diamond
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 04:13 AM

Im a complete "non techie" my son gave me his old minidisc player/recorder and even I found it was a doddle to record at our practise nights/sessions, then take it home and edit it on the computer using some software he gave me, then make a cd of it, for playing on the cd player - I need to do this soleby because the minidisc doesnt have loudspeakers.
If I can do it anyone can!! I can thoroughly recommend minisdiscs
Lin


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 09:50 AM

Thanks, all.

Jim Lad, that is a GREAT example of how to use them! I wonder if you'd swap me a soundfile to hear the sound qualities?

Black Diamond, what do you do with it when it's done? I mean, how do you use the recordings? (Swap one with me?)


One reason I'm so thrilled (I thrill easily) is that back when we started, we did field-record, onto tape. We were doing mostly denominational hymns and a little "praise" "music." The equipment we had at the time made catching these a cumbersome chore... as a result, I have only those first recordings and NONE of the explosion of black-gospel-based material we went on to develop-- which uses my lower voice, a different from of phrasing, and completely different instrumentation.

I am already accumulating a bunch of stuff far more reflective of what we actually do, nowadays. The timing is great-- we use the more black-gospel-laden songbook during Lent, which is just getting underway, because the penitential, lugubrious Lenten music that is usually used just isn't right for us.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: RTim
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 10:17 AM

I have been using my minidisk machine for a number of years and just love it. I learn all my songs using it, ie. getting the music down, learning the tune and then the words.
I have even used it to record myself at home in my own room, and then created a CD master, and two of the final songs have been issued on a commercial CD in the UK. My wife has done the same with some concertina recordings.
I only have a Sharp MD-MT290H recorder, that I bought from Minidisco of California. I dump down to CD using our Tascam CD-RW4U cd player/recorder. I have not even got into using the computer (we run a Mac) to edit or clean-up, etc..
I had a terrible shock last week when for some reason my machine would record but NOT write any Table of Contents - I was beside myself!
I tried again the next day - it was fine; I think it may just have been the cold (it has been cold here in Massachusetts recently). The only other time I have had a similar situation was one year at Pinewoods Camp when it was very hot & humid.
I looked at Minidisco to see what they are now selling - and there is not that many Minidisks out there any more - all mp3 players!But at least they sell blank disks in bulk.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: jeffp
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 10:39 AM

I use a Sony MZ-M10 MiniDisk recorder. It came with a stereo condensor microphone which is really sensitive. Last week a friend came over with his guitar and I set the recorder up on the coffee table. I recorded at 16-bit, 44kHz PCM, which transferred to my PC as a WAV file (CD quality). I then brought it into Cubase, separated the tracks, edited out the between-songs BS, and Presto! Made a CD of the results. I think next time for practice sake, I'll use a less disk-intensive recording mode, but the quality was excellent. The only problem was the Automatic Gain Control was a bit of a bugger, so the volume is a bit wonky. It has a mode for loud environments, so I'll try it next time. My buddy is rather percussive in style, so I think he was overloading it from time to time.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 10:47 AM

And then how you use these is...... I AM interested in the tech side, and this being Mudcat I know others will be, too. But please also note that I didn't give it a tech prefix when I started the thread.

I'm just as interested in how these further your musicianship, so can you say more please?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: open mike
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 01:00 PM

I use a marantz c.d. recorder which makes a full-sized c.d.
http://www.superscopetechnologies.com/products/cdrecorders.shtml
It has a battery pack which allows it to be used away from
electricity, but only for about an hour. I have used it to
record musicians' jams in camp grounds and other remote places.

The manufacturer of this unit also makes another dual c.d.
recorder (not able to be used withremote battery power feature)
which allows you to play back the recording in another key
with out changing the speed, and also allows you to change the
tempo with out changing the pitch. very interesting features
(like putting on a capo....if you want to change key for singing)

I did get a mini-disc unit once, but was disappointed to find
that it only could download music...thru an optical input jack,
and was not capable of recording live via microphone. (a warning
for those who might be considering getting a mini disc unit--watch
for this--manufacturers forget that anyone actually makes music
these days...they assume everyone just grabs other people's music
off line....) I went with the C.D. recorder to save the time it
would take to transfer recordingsd from the mini disc to C.D.
(i could just see myself not taking the time to do the transfer
and having piles of mini discs around which could not be played
on regular c.d. player or in the car. (most computer c.d. players
and some others DO have a mini-disc "slot" in the tray, i know)

I have seen some awesome small mp3 units these days...one called
river or I-River, and others which can store hours of music .
Thanks for this thread..looking forward to more info added here.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: Jim Lad
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 01:04 PM

How much for the Marantz thing?


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: dwditty
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 01:17 PM

A simple MP3 player is they way to go, in my opinion. The CReative Noamd 3 is still pretty much regarded as the king of such devices. It has been out of production for a while, but you can still find it on ebay - I got mine from Creative's ebay store - all refurbed and boxed up - and 30 or 60 days of free phone support. Here is why I like it:

-It comes in 20GB and 40 GB versions (I have 20 and have never come close to using it up)
-It has line input, which means you can record right off the board at most venues. If they have a sound guy, they will be very familiar with the JB3, as it is referred to in the vernacular. It will also support condensor mics, should you choose.
-It records in WAV (as well as MP3) formats. WAV is cd quality. And it will record up to 9 hours in WAV format...ouch, my fingers get tired just thinking about that.
-It connects via USB(2) to the pc for simply loading into an editing program where you can break the show into tracks.
-I see these in the $100-$150 range.

Most new MP3 players have been designed to prevent piracy, so the limit the amount of storage or eliminate the line-in, for example.

While you will probably not get production quality audio out of all this, you will get nice clean recordings to help you as SUsan has described above or simply to get real honest feedback for how your performances are going!

I also use it as a way to teach a song to others I want to play with. I simply record an MP3 file of my breaking down a song...explaining just what I am doing and email it with a sheet of lyrics and chords attached. Very quick and easy, and I have had great success, usually playing the song with others for the first time live at the gig.

dw


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 01:22 PM

Thanks, DW.

I spent a little time with mine, this AM, running through some of the spirituals I know, in case I get hit by a bus before my big recording contract comes in the mail to allow me to do it right, in a studio, for the Big Folkin' Bucks I know we all deserve. :~)

One thing I nabbed was a spiritual I used, one day on the fly, to close a small, intimate Mudcat Gatheting we had at our house last year. I led us in round-robining fovorite memories for the weekend, that we wanted to say thanks for and take with us, at farewell time... I think I'll email it to a couple of the folks who couldn't attend.

It DOES do a better job on voice-only. Instruments are better at a distance, and percussives (like my autoharp style) do fuzz up quite a bit if too close.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: Black Diamond
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 02:39 PM

Hi Susan
I have only very recently discoverd how to do this, so I dont have many CDs. I record my morris sides musicians playing our tunes, and I record our local session playing their tunes, and then I edit out the bits I dont want, then make a cd, and then I learn to play the tunes. it is wonderful being able to play and replay them so I can learn them, as without this capability I just wouldnt hear the tunes sufficiently often to be able to memorise them.
I have EVEN recorded myself and made 1 CD, about 2 weeks ago, playing a few tunes - the wonders of technology.
So I wouldnt think that I would have anything of interest for you, but if you would like to PM me, we can have a chat about it
Lin


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 05:30 PM

Thanks, Lin, I will!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: mandotim
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 06:35 PM

Another possible; I'm currently learning to use my Christmas present, a Zoom H4 recorder; built in condenser stereo mikes, records in either MP3 or wav format, can be used as a four- track, accepts external mikes or instruments plugged in direct, comes bundled with CuBase software and acts as an interface with my computer soundcard, so I can import sound files and play about with them on the 'puter if I want. It's slightly bigger than a pack of cards, and will fit on a camera tripod. Works with a mains adapter (supplied) or runs for about 4 hours on 2 AA batteries. Quality of recording is superb (wish I could say the same about the playing), and it's very easy to use for basic stuff. Oh; it also has a full effects package, and a load of amp/microphone modelling presets. Haven't tried those yet...

Best news is it costs less than £200. The only drawback is that the display screen is small, and my eyes aren't all that great.

No financial interest, just a happy tinkerer.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 06:44 PM

And then you are going to use it, how......?

~S~


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 20 Feb 07 - 07:24 PM

I' m still using tape, at least for the time being.

But I've been taping miscellaneous stuff for some time. Like our monthly sea music sessions and other gatherings. Definitely if one of our circle is on the radio or something.

Part of it is just my over-organized archiving fanatic Kraut brain of mine. And it helps if I want to learn a song someone's sung and I've enjoyed.

But mostly it's so I can hear what I sound like -- if I need to change my phrasing , rhythm, how my harmony is working on one of Tom's songs, etcet etcet.

It really helps -- and it's better than asking someone how I sound. Gives me the specifics to tweak my performance.

And if I ever find time to set up my iMic I can transfer the tapes easily to CD or MP3 format.

Not this week!

Linn


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: wysiwyg
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 10:29 PM

We're routinely catching each week's service now, and clipping out the music the next morning. The songs are all going into a folder within which each week's service has its own sub-folder. Filenames are by date and song title.

Anything I would not find too embarrassing to share gets copied into a "keepers" folder. As a quality-control standard, I look to the quality of the LOC (and other institutions') field recordings I learned most of these songs from and which I use to help teach the songs to our band. (Quality of the music, not sound quality.) This folder includes solo sung pieces, solo instrumental pieces, congregational singing, and Hardi's 2-4 weekly fiddle tunes (preludes); it will get organized periodically.

From that folder of keepers we've decided to cull out periodically in such a fashion that there will at all times be another folder of 12-20 "best" pieces, where we'll weed out the lowest quality on a regular basis so that the best folder should, if we keep improving, get better and better over time.

We will keep a copy of the whole service and ALL the songs for new band members' use, and we're considering offering church newcomers a learners' CD (by season) so they can have a chance to learn what the current parishioners are learning week by week.

This also has led me to plan a couple of field-recording visits to our Sunday AM sung service to make a newcomers' CD of the several usual Mass settings they use there, for newcomers to that service to have a chance to learn the usual participatory congregational singing.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: jeffp
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 10:56 PM

I haven't been ignoring you, Susan, I've just been back to this thread for the first time. I'll answer you in the morning, cause it's bedtime.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: Don Firth
Date: 25 Feb 07 - 11:34 PM

Anybody familiar with the Marantz PMD660?   I know a couple of people who have them and claim they're excellent.

The PMD660 records on flashcards, like a digital camera and can be downloaded to computer with a USB connection. It has two XLR mic inputs and phantom power, and they say that with a couple of halfway decent mics rather than the inbuilt ones, you're getting pretty darn close to studio quality, all set to feed through your editing software. They are a bit pricy compared to some. They run about $500.

I'm thinkin'. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: jeffp
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 01:35 PM

My intention is to use the MiniDisk for recording practices and jams, so I can transfer to computer and, ultimately, to CD for the better stuff. Makes it easier to find and use when you can access randomly instead of serially. Sound quality is really nice too and you can't beat it for portability.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: Scoville
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 04:06 PM

I have hours of poor-quality cassettes from my college string band (made on the cheapest hand-held mini tape recorder on Earth) but even if they sound like crap, I am so glad I have them. I've learned so much and I've got a lot of songs on there that I've found I've had a hard time finding on commercial recordings (and some of those commercial recordings are so old they don't sound much better than my crappy tapes).

I've got an iRiver, which is hardly ideal, but it can also record and I know it does a lot better than the tape deck. I have to get out my instruction book and remind myself how to do it, though.


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: Jim Krause
Date: 26 Feb 07 - 10:55 PM

The other fiddler in our string band has a neat little MP3 recording gizzmo and he records rehearsals to learn new tunes. He also figured out a way to record us playing live at a local dance the other Saturday night. So the answer is Yes.

Jim Krause


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: mandotim
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 07:22 AM

Sorry Susan, I haven't been back to this thread for a while; I am now using the Zoom H4 to record my practice sessions, an acoustic session I play in every week and ideas for new songs; it works very well as a sort of 'sketchpad' for riffs and lyrics.
Tim


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: Fortunato
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 08:47 AM

We use a sony minidisc recorder/player with a single stereo condensor mike and dump through the computer for play on the ipod and car stereo or CDs.
We record in the field at festivals. Best results seem to come from placing the mike on a mike stand in the midst of the session and aimed horizontally, or suspended from over head if here's less ambient noise (never happens at Galax).
The recordings are excellent in quality and have a 'being there' quality that studio recordings, mixed with ProTools,etc., lack.

cheers,
chance


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 09:13 AM

Thanks to all who have been filling in the details of what you're doing with what you catch!

I sure agree with that "being there" aspect. There's the problem of condenser sound, yes, but there is also an oldtimeyness not unlike the songs taped with a cheap handheld unit that, sometimes, were the only tools available to field recorders. And when I listen to our better stuff, I hear the same spontaneity I hear in those older field recordings. I don't mind us sounding like that!

That doesn't mean I think we can use these for commercial CD production. But it does give me an idea what we might need to do vocally or instrumentally on each of the songs I've caught, if and when we wanted to take that song to studio.

I liken it to the Polaroid a photog may take before finishing setting up the GOOD camera for a shot-- you determine what you can from that "meatball" version and go accordingly.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: JohnB
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:04 PM

Is the sound that you like a "presence" issue? Which to me means it sounds a bit farther away on the old tape recordings, more than what most modern CD's sound like you are right next to the singer.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 12:34 PM

It's not that I am aiming for a particular sound. That would be a CD production issue if and when we ever get to that point, which is not likely-- we're a songleading band, not a perfomance band, so the audience would have to be recorded in equal volume.

It's just that I like the tone of what I'm hearing, as it is, for now.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: Fortunato
Date: 27 Feb 07 - 04:20 PM

Correction: I meant to say vertically aim the mike that is, straight up if on the mike stand and straight down if hung like a boom.

cheers,
chance


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Subject: RE: Field Recording... Yourself
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Apr 07 - 10:08 AM

Lately I have been field-recording not myself, but some of the Lenten church services, and two funeral services that were held in a local funeral home (which Hardi conducted). It's remarkable how little time it takes to make provision for this, how much easier it is than using cassette tape, how much of the total event it captures, and how easily and briefly the material can be clipped into segments for short tracks. I used to act as a consultant to churches on cassette ministry-- with this tiny little MP3 player/voice recorder and my PC, I'm capturing and processing all the same range of events at roughly the same sound quality, for a fraction of the equipment, toting of equipment, and setup fuss. It's all so unobtrusive, too! I'm using a simple black portable music stand as a lightweight recorder stand.

~Susan


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