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Tech: Field Recording

Harry Rivers 17 Jul 17 - 04:50 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jul 17 - 06:28 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jul 17 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,Eddie (Cookie lost forever) 17 Jul 17 - 06:39 AM
GUEST,Eddie (Cookie lost forever) 17 Jul 17 - 06:41 AM
Will Fly 17 Jul 17 - 06:50 AM
GUEST 17 Jul 17 - 07:07 AM
Bonzo3legs 17 Jul 17 - 07:38 AM
Joe Offer 17 Jul 17 - 08:51 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Jul 17 - 09:14 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jul 17 - 09:32 AM
Tootler 17 Jul 17 - 10:02 AM
Will Fly 17 Jul 17 - 10:20 AM
punkfolkrocker 17 Jul 17 - 10:36 AM
Bonzo3legs 17 Jul 17 - 10:46 AM
Bonzo3legs 17 Jul 17 - 10:50 AM
punkfolkrocker 17 Jul 17 - 11:12 AM
punkfolkrocker 17 Jul 17 - 11:26 AM
GUEST 17 Jul 17 - 11:26 AM
punkfolkrocker 17 Jul 17 - 11:35 AM
Bonzo3legs 17 Jul 17 - 11:40 AM
GUEST 17 Jul 17 - 11:42 AM
punkfolkrocker 17 Jul 17 - 12:02 PM
Bonzo3legs 17 Jul 17 - 12:16 PM
Bonzo3legs 17 Jul 17 - 12:23 PM
GUEST 17 Jul 17 - 12:33 PM
Bonzo3legs 17 Jul 17 - 12:35 PM
punkfolkrocker 17 Jul 17 - 01:13 PM
Bonzo3legs 17 Jul 17 - 01:28 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Jul 17 - 01:28 PM
Tootler 17 Jul 17 - 03:07 PM
GUEST 17 Jul 17 - 03:15 PM
Jon Freeman 17 Jul 17 - 03:34 PM
RTim 17 Jul 17 - 03:40 PM
GUEST 17 Jul 17 - 03:43 PM
treewind 17 Jul 17 - 03:44 PM
RTim 17 Jul 17 - 03:47 PM
Bonzo3legs 17 Jul 17 - 04:10 PM
Bonzo3legs 17 Jul 17 - 04:11 PM
Acme 17 Jul 17 - 10:28 PM
Bruce from Bathurst 18 Jul 17 - 01:36 AM
Bonzo3legs 18 Jul 17 - 01:56 AM
ketchdana 18 Jul 17 - 02:29 AM
BobL 18 Jul 17 - 02:30 AM
Mr Red 18 Jul 17 - 04:30 AM
Tradsinger 18 Jul 17 - 04:40 AM
Mr Red 18 Jul 17 - 04:44 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jul 17 - 06:50 AM
punkfolkrocker 18 Jul 17 - 07:53 AM
Mr Red 18 Jul 17 - 08:31 AM
punkfolkrocker 18 Jul 17 - 09:00 AM
treewind 18 Jul 17 - 12:45 PM
Harry Rivers 19 Jul 17 - 03:27 AM
DaveRo 19 Jul 17 - 03:52 AM
Mr Red 19 Jul 17 - 06:14 AM
punkfolkrocker 19 Jul 17 - 08:33 AM
Mr Red 19 Jul 17 - 10:26 AM
DaveRo 19 Jul 17 - 11:35 AM
punkfolkrocker 19 Jul 17 - 12:01 PM
Mr Red 19 Jul 17 - 03:29 PM
punkfolkrocker 19 Jul 17 - 03:57 PM
punkfolkrocker 19 Jul 17 - 04:57 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 19 Jul 17 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 19 Jul 17 - 06:11 PM
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Subject: Tech: Field Recording
From: Harry Rivers
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 04:50 AM

Can anyone recommend a decent, portable digital recorder for making field recordings?

It seems to me that the market place has a bewildering array on offer.

Ideally, as I'm too old to learn the multiple skills of a recording engineer, what I'd like is a small, simple-to-use device that could be placed on a table and, with one click, record what tunes are being played in a quality that will make them listenable and worth saving for posterity.

I know these things can be expensive but, although cost IS an issue for me, I'd be happy to pay as much as it takes to ensure the recording quality is high enough to make them worth preserving.

I am happy to buy secondhand.

As a secondary consideration: in which format(s) would mudcatters suggest recordings be preserved? Presumably, if the quality of the original is high enough, it should be a loss-less format?

Will an mp3 file be generally playable in 5; 10; 20 years time?

All advice and thoughts gratefully received,

Harry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 06:28 AM

Having used a reel-to-reel machine for forty years, after a great deal of research and advice seeking, bought a Zoom H2n 'Handy Recorder'
I've yet to test it fully, but it seems to suit me - especially its excellent recording quality, ridiculously small size and the fact that it is a microphone that records rather than a machine that needs a microphone
For my own purposes, I bought an extra kit - basically a stand, a handle and a mains unit.
Like all modern technology it needs getting used to before you use it seriously, but that's the case with all recording devices.
Pesonally, I miss the sense of satisfaction of seeing the reels go around, and I prefer the ambient quality of non-digital sound, but a half decent sound editing and choice of external microphone can correct that, if necessary
Good luck, and will be very interested in what you decide and how it turns out
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 06:31 AM

Forgot to mention - you'll probably also need a larger capacity sound card
The one that comes with it is woefully inadequate - for my purposes anyway
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: GUEST,Eddie (Cookie lost forever)
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 06:39 AM

Hi Harry.
I use a Zoom H2N, primarily for radio interviews. It can be set to record in various formats and has several microphone configurations. My norm is to record and save as MP3 because the studio has cd players which also allow MP3 playback from a usb stick. I record using a 4-mike configuration, 2 on each side. On saving, it produces 2 stereo files which allows for volume adjustment between the 2 channels before merging for further editing. Files are saved automatically on switching off!
You can edit in the machine but the screen is very small and I find it much easier to use an editing programme. My usual is Adobe Edition although one can download Audacity for free.
There are other recorders but this does exactly what I want, very simply.
Hope this helps.
Eddie


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: GUEST,Eddie (Cookie lost forever)
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 06:41 AM

Just seen Jim's comments. Agree with the handle and the sound card!
Eddie


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Will Fly
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 06:50 AM

Zoom H2 has been my recorder of choice (an earlier version of the H2n) for many years. In fact I have two.

Mine came with a screw-on handle for a mic stand fixing (or hand holding), and a little screw-on foot. I have a mini-tripod which is great for table-top recording.

Highly recommended. And, yes, buy a large card...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 07:07 AM

Excellent!

Thanks for your replies . . . . and, the H2N looks affordable too!

Cheers,
Harry


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 07:38 AM

I use a Tascam DR-05, which cost me £75 2 years ago, together with "bonzofessional" mics! These are nothing more than tiny Electret Mic Capsules bought from ebay - 20 for just under £3, which are wired to stereo airline headphone/earphone cable. I have these taped either through shirt collar button holes, or through holes in my camera bag. So total stealth if required and a nice stereo spread.

You would need a power source if this is not already provided in the recorder.

The DR-05 has a USB port allowing fast transfer to a PC.

Another option is a now discontinued Hi-MD minidisc which may be procured quite cheaply now.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 08:51 AM

I'd agree on the Zoom H2, with a large SD card.
Audacity is the best free sound editing software.
Joe


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 09:14 AM

When we started our field recording sessions for the Yorkshire Garland Project in about 2006 we were recommended Edirol 9s so we purchased 3 at about £300 apiece and they have served us well. A wide variety of settings/levels for wav and MP3, easy to use with a little trial with handbook, Battery/mains, built in mike and mike port for more directional use. Small & compact. Usual ports to transfer to other media.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 09:32 AM

I find the most versatile and comprehensive sound editing software to be Adobe Audition - a little like Photoshop in that you can use the basics or enter the learning curve and add to your skills and knowledge as you see fit.
I've tried several versions but find myself returning to one of the very earliest - 1.5 - more than adequate for my needs as it is capable of editing to the microsecond
I've never checked but have been told that Adobe have more or less given up the ghost with sound editing and are allowing free downloads of earlier versions - a must, if that's the case.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 10:02 AM

I bought an Edirol R09 not long after they came out and it was expensive back in those days but an excellent device which I still use if I need to make a quick recording. They're discontinued now and if I was after replacing it, I would probably get a Tascam DR05. I use a Tascam DP006 multi track recorder for You Tube videos (with a video cam running in parallel or simply add stills in a video,editor to make a slide show). The DP006 is really just a digital version of their portastudio, 4 track; 2 mono, 2 stereo and is an excellent device.

At our choir's summer concert on Friday, I noticed that an audience member was recording with his phone - so if you just need "quick and dirty", your phone will do the job.

I use Audacity to edit recordings I make. Free download on all platforms; Windows, Mac & Linux with a good range of effects and with a reasonably shallow learning curve. Excellent software.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Will Fly
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 10:20 AM

Bonzo's mention of minidiscs reminds me that I have two Sony Discman recorders - one of them the original model - plus a Sony condenser mic somewhere. They gave excellent quality recording results - must get them out again and try them!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 10:36 AM

Having already owned Zoom H1 and H2n..

I'll actually seriously recommend Olympus LS-14 [LS-12 is cheaper - but less memory]

High quality audio recordings comparable with Zoom, but a very simple easy user interface,
designed for non tech-geek musicians to get good fast results.

Occasionally selling on very reduced price offer on Amazon.

Olympus LS-14


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 10:46 AM

"Audacity is the best free sound editing software"

Adobe Audition CC is free if downloaded from kickass torrents


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 10:50 AM

Will Fly - My first Minidisc recorder, a Sony MZ-R90, gave superb recordings but record level cannot be adjusted once recording has started, unlike the Hi-MD machine.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 11:12 AM

Let's not forget mini disc was a lossy format... not ideal for archival purposes.
Though still reasonably acceptable sound quality for general day to day use.

I got one of mine back out to record our band's gigs 7 or 8 years ago.
I could leave it perched on a shelf down the far end of a pub and not be too bothered if it got nicked.
Which it never did.. any self respecting thief - even drunk - probably turned their noses up at such obsolete equipment....


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 11:26 AM

btw.. don't know if Olympus LS-14 has been discontinued recently, but is still available on Amazon for £149,
which seems lowest price on internet today.

Amazon price for LS-12 is £105.99.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 11:26 AM

Adobe Audition CC is free if downloaded from kickass torrents

Yes, but it's also stealing. I could get loads of free stuff if I broke into your house...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 11:35 AM

A few years ago, Adobe made a previous version of their range software free to download with serial numbers.
At that time, internet forums debated if it had been intentional or a mistake...???

Was this ever resolved, and legal position made clear
for millions of worldwide users who took advantage of these free downloads...???


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 11:40 AM

punkfolkrocker - My Sony RH1 Hi-MD has PCM recording which is lossless. The Hi-MD 1gb data minidiscs ( now rare as hens' teeth!!)allow approx 94-95 minutes recording on PCM setting compared with over 7 hours at normal SP setting.

These machines cost around £250 when new 12 years ago - can now be had on ebay for more than twice that! The downside of this machine is the annoying Sony software required for transfer of recorded files to PC. Sony stopped support for this softwar years ago, and now needs a special upgraded version to run in Windows 7, which is not compatible with Windows 10.

I believe there is some freeware available which can read and transfer HI-MD files.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 11:42 AM

punkfolkrocker,

If Adobe choose to make previous versions software free to download, then that's obviously fair enough. But they'd surely do it via their own servers?

If you have to resort to kickass torrents for it, then I'd suggest the legality is, to say the least, questionable...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 12:02 PM

Bonz - yeah even when Sony finally released lossless minidisc they still couldn't resist hobbling the format and making as difficult to use as possible..

Btw.. My classic 25 year old Sony WM-D6C Pro Walkman was still in perfect working condition
when I last used it about 10 years ago.. wonder if it still is now...???

That was the industry standard bootleggers covert recording device... 😎


GUEST - Yeah I downloaded off Adobe Servers while it was still available, but never actually got round to installing any of it... elderly mother with dementia demands too much of my time...

But if it is still being shared bit for bit identical to the adobe downloads.. legal grey area...???


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 12:16 PM

I'm sorry about your mother punkfolkrocker. My wife was rushed to Croydon University Hospital a week ago last Saturday suffering with speech, mobility and memory loss. Fears were that she'd had a stroke but CT scan showed a blood clot between skull & brain. After transfer to the Neurological Unit at St George's Trauma Hospital in Tooting, she had surgery to remove the blood clot on Monday evening, and is now at home talking 19 to the dozen, with partial memory return and is able to walk again, albeit slowly!

I also have a well used Sony WM-D6C Pro Walkman which I bought around 1990. The motors on mine are OK but I think it needs a new record head.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 12:23 PM

Thank you for reminding me guest whoever you are, downloading Adobe Audition CC 2017 + patch now!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 12:33 PM

Bonzo3legs,

You have a wife who's just had a really serious medical scare, and is still far from well, yet your greatest delight is in making illegal downloads?

It beggars belief, and I feel immensely sorry for you.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 12:35 PM

I'm just winding you up guest !!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 01:13 PM

GUEST - Even in the most despairing human situations,
silly petty, inconsequential things and actions can help momentarily brighten up the mood...

..the last thing anyone in a sad situation needs is sanctimonious disapproval and castigation
from self appointed self righteous moral highgrounders...

... just saying...

Bonz - take care mudcat mate.. we may be antagonistic political opponents, but still have too much in common
to let that be a deal breaker...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 01:28 PM

Thank you punkfolkrocker, in fact we are a glass half-full house. My wife will be sounding out travel insurance tomorrow for our Spanish holiday in early September, which I anticipate will cost more than our flights now!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 01:28 PM

"Was this ever resolved, and legal position made clear "
I've just checked and it still appears to be downoadable
Why don't you come up and PM me sometime if you have problems big boy!!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 03:07 PM

Audacity is open source and is covered by a Creative Commons licence which makes it legally free to,download, use and modify.

If you do modify it, you must make your modifications publicly available. Not that I intend to make any modifications. I just use it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 03:15 PM

OK, Bonzo3legs

As you're well aware, it's incredibly difficult to know what is meant seriously and what is a wind up in this medium.

I wish your wife well and hope she recovers well.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 03:34 PM

Lot's of open source software licences and I got confused in the maze once. I'd doubt there is one that would prevent your own modifications for your own personal use but if you were to make your modified version available to others, I think you should always be both making clear that what is on offer is a patched in some way version and making your code available. (Again, not that I'd even understand say Audacity code, let alone modifying it)

Back to the recorders, we have another Zoom here, the H4. Am aware of the H6 too. Nice in that it's got knobs on to adjust levels and a larger screen helps getting older eyesight but I think beyond the possibly "carry in your pocket" size which, to me, the H2 and H4 achieve.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: RTim
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 03:40 PM

Hi all - Yesterday I recorded a whole concert by my wife's Early music group called Courante in St Andrews Church, Hyannisport, MA.
That was Recorders, Violin, Viola De Gamba and Harpsichord - plus an Organ piece.

It included 3 movements by Marini, Sonata in D from Vivaldi (4 movements), Passacaille in G minor by Marais, Concerto in A Minor by Albinoni (3 movements, an Organ piece by Bruhns, Two Canzonas by Bernardi and JS Bach's Trio Sonata in F Major (3 movements).
All this on my Zoom H2n using battery power and the "remote" record device - every movement recorded as separate track - while I was sitting in the front row.
Today it took around an hour to transfer to iTunes and then make a CD copy.

Seventeen tracks and it was easy..........Buy a Zoom H2n...they are not that expensive.

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 03:43 PM

You neglect to say if it was any good, Tim?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: treewind
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 03:44 PM

"If you do modify it, you must make your modifications publicly available"
Actually with GPL 2 there's no restriction on using a version you've modified; you can even distribute your modified version but that distributed version also must have the same GPL 2 license. No charging astronomical fees for your "improvements"!

"Let's not forget mini disc was a lossy format"
As is MP3 which people are quite happy to record with. And MD was 292k bits/sec which is a high enough rate that very few people would be able to tell the difference, especially on a field recording where nothing is of studio quality anyway.

The chief disadvantage of Minidisc for portable recording was that the recording mechanism clicked loudly, which is why portable MDs never had a built in mic: you had to have a an external mic and keep it away from the recorder.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: RTim
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 03:47 PM

It wasn't top recording studio quality - but it was good............It does depend what you want to use any recordings for??

This thread is called "Field Recordings" - Not creating a HiFi experience..........

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 04:10 PM

"The chief disadvantage of Minidisc for portable recording was that the recording mechanism clicked loudly, which is why portable MDs never had a built in mic: you had to have a an external mic and keep it away from the recorder"

Yes that's very true.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 04:11 PM

Thank you guest for your kind comments.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Acme
Date: 17 Jul 17 - 10:28 PM

I pulled up this older thread so you can see at the top the links to lots of threads on this topic. The newest devices are always good to learn about, but as you say since cost is an issue and you are willing to shop second-hand, look at some of the devices recommended a few years ago. Ebay awaits.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Bruce from Bathurst
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 01:36 AM

Over the years I've collected field recordings for the National Library of Australia, I've broadcast a radio folk program weekly since 1976 and I've done a bit of band recording here and there. This certainly doesn't make me an expert, merely old, but I've used a lot of different recording equipment of various standards and complexity, as well as an assortment of digital editing software.

At the risk of offering "me too" comments, I also like the good old Zoom H2 (or H2N or H4) for ease of use and portability in most situations. Very convenient, particularly for interviewing, and perfectly adequate for more serious recording purposes, although I guess that depends on your own definition of 'serious'.

As recommended by Jim Carroll, et al, it makes sense to invest in a larger sound card and a mini-tripod. The H2 and H2N look and feel slightly flimsy and I've seen what happens when an H2 hits the deck, so you don't want to drop 'em! If you have to hold the little screw-in handle thingy, wrap it in something to reduce the likelihood of sound transfer if and when you have to change your grip.

Here's another vote for Adobe Audition, if you can get it cheaply, or Audacity as a reasonable alternative. With both programs, it's not too difficult to learn what you need to know and not too frustrating to ignore the rest.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 01:56 AM

To get the best out of Adobe Audition CC, you probably need at least 8gb of ram. I only have 4 gb on my 6 years old PC, so functions like selective sound removal will not work.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: ketchdana
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 02:29 AM

Olympus DS-30, which is a stereo-recorder, in WMA format (Microsoft, lossy), small, 8+ hours at the next-to-highest quality. Carried in a belt cell phone case, though in a horizontal position, so I lose the full effectivemess of the stereo unless I put it in a shirt pocket.

Audacity for editing, and output to ogg (or mp3 or flac or whatever). Since it records in lossy wma, there's not much point in saving in lossless flac.
Sox, with Bash scripts for fancier editing and scaling.

As an "external storage device", the Olympus can be a player, reading mp3 (or wma) format.

Been using it at least a decade or more. Still workin' fine. Only drawback is the plug mounted stereo mic, which feels a bit wobbly.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: BobL
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 02:30 AM

I still use Minidisc, but that's because I invested heavily in the system in its heyday and haven't found a need to move on. However, the said heyday was before most PCs could write CDs, and the record industry at the time was scared sh!tless about the prospect of digital copying. So it isn't easy to download from MD to PC.

MD has its points but I certainly wouldn't recommend it for a new user.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 04:30 AM

It really depends where the end result is going. And the ambience is far more significant than your ear/brain perceive.

If all you want is to hear the tune/lyrics I would say that the recorder on a smart phone is far more than adequate, even good quality. And most people have a smart phone.

If you want something a bit more special the Zoom H2N is a superb all-rounder. It has a tuner feature, metronome, and four microphones so that you can tailor the directional response (tradable for stereo acuity), and re-chargeable batteries can be used, though the life of alkaline is very good. The only caveats I would counsel are 1) hand held needs a delicate touch because the battery cover creaks if held too tight & b) the shotgun setting can only be set immediately after switch-on. Neither caveat is insurmountable with a bit of memorising.

Pure shotgun comes in as a mono (two identical stereo) channels. Which for recording voice in noisy environs is a benefit not a loss.

My results, can be heard at http://stroudvoices.co.uk - the quality reflects the environment & the devices (H2n, phones X2, & a cheap wrist recorder for catching the moment then asking permission! PM me for details like cost = 7 cups of coffee ish)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Tradsinger
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 04:40 AM

If you want to make field recordings, I would go for video. With modern camcorders, the sound is usually good enough for field recordings and you get so much more information from the visual. You might find that your informant is a step dancer, for example, and how are you going to capture that on just audio?

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 04:44 AM

Formats are less important. Phones record in m4a to chime with mp4 video. I convert to mp3 anyway, free conversion software abounds. mp3 will be around for many many years because it is embedded in HTML5 browsers, worth noting for publishing on the internet. Unless you are selling the results and even if you are, mp3 is more than adequate - the format is everywhere.

Audacity will import mp3 natively and with the Lame encoder exports happily. Editing is essential because if you are trying to catch the moment you will have far more audio that is needed for the job in hand.

Which reminds me - the Zoom H2N can be set to recorder 2 seconds before you decide to hit record - how's that a mind reading recorder! Maybe it is 5 seconds, maybe there are recorders with bigger pre-record lengths but can they do shotgun microphone emulation ? ie narrow spacial sensitivity.

Report back with your choice. Maybe there will be more questions, the Mudcat advice is a wonder, especially with audio - it is what we do!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 06:50 AM

"Zoom H2N can be set to recorder 2 seconds before you decide to hit record "
I didn't know that - there you go- drop your guard fro a second and someone sneaks up and teaches you something!
Thanks Mr R
There's an Irish collector who was reputed to hitting the button after the singer had started - a friend suggested that if he ever indexed his songs they'd have to be "by second line"
Most of our field recordings were done in people's homes - tabletop recordings (always reminds me of the "bedridden-table-topped" Peter Kennedy story)
I'm sure everybody is already aware, but it helps the quality of the recording if you spread a cloth or small towel under your mike stand to prevent sound-bounce and rattle.
The wife of one of our best singers always used to stop the pendulum of the wooden wall clock - they are both long dead, but I can still hear her voice calling,"The clock Tom, the clock".
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 07:53 AM

Ok.. using smart phones as recording devices is certainly economical and feasible.
There are plenty of recording apps to investigate, some require more up to date phone's with more powerful processors / memory.
But audio quality is mostly let down by the phone's poor inbuilt mic.
Recent iphones actually have fairly acceptable inbuilt mics though you obviously pay a higher premium

However there are recent developments in accessory devices that allow good quality dynamic XLR mics
to be plugged into the headphone socket of some Android phones.
For less than 30 quid this mono entry level adapter, Saramonic SmartRig Microphone Pre Amplifier Audio Adaptor
is becoming popular, and gaining enthusiastic user reviews / youtube videos...

I bought one very cheap last month in an Amazon sale,
but can't remember where I put it, so have not used it yet.
Therefore, can't report how well it works with any of our Android phones [or tablets].
Oh well it'll turn up when I'm looking for something else...

Btw, Amazon are also occasionally doing lightning sales on the more advanced and expensive models in the Saramonic adapter range.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 08:31 AM

Video is a good idea f0r some "collecting" and all smart phones have video. Even some less savvy phones! It does need some sort of video editing software, and consumes far more storage than audio. Horses for courses.

But as I used to say when dumbclucks pointed to the quality of recordings with my micro cassette pocket memo.
"And just what is the quality of a recording you didn't make?"
Small and ever ready! And excellent for songwriting.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 09:00 AM

ok.. I found it..

CORRECTION:

The Saranmonic Smartrig also provides 48v phantom power, so choice of mics is virtually unlimited...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: treewind
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 12:45 PM

"Sox, with Bash scripts for fancier editing and scaling"

Hurrah! That's my sort of computing :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Harry Rivers
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 03:27 AM

Thanks, everyone, for your replies.

I have opted for the Zoom H2n - £140 on the "big river" site including accessory kit - and it should be delivered today.

I already have Audacity so I'll use that for editing but all comments have been noted and I'll make improvements where they're needed.

I'm planning on testing it tomorrow night (Thursday) at a small practice session I attend before taking it out to record the locals.

I'll report back with my impressions.

This was never a bootlegging venture and permissions will always be sought.


Kind regards,
Harry


P.S. This is my second attempt to reply but my first one disappeared. Apologies if it re-appears and there is duplication.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: DaveRo
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 03:52 AM

Harry Rivers wrote: Will an mp3 file be generally playable in 5; 10; 20 years time?
Almost certainly. It's much more likely you'll have lost the files, or cannot access whatever device you put them on, than that the mp3 format will not be decodable. mp3 is a proprietary format but its patents have now all expired. So there is negligible risk of somebody buying a patent and preventing people writing free software to access it. But it illustrates how old mp3 is - there are subjectively and objectively better formats.

If you're going to edit the recording it makes sense to take it off the recorder in uncompressed form - i.e. WAV. Otherwise you'll be uncompressing it, editing it, and re-compressing it again. Depends on having enough storage though.

And with storage much cheaper than it was when I started recording my vinyl onto mp3s, it's worth considering FLAC - which is an open (i.e. non-proprietary) format.
Harry Rivers wrote: This is my second attempt to reply but my first one disappeared.
My browser_tools might help there: it will recover a lost post - you don't have to use any other feature.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Mr Red
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 06:14 AM

certainly record in WAV, unless you aim to have millions of files.
I prefer to remove the SD card and transfer to HDD. But a warning - transfer & replace as a habit. Every time. Or you will arrive without storage and won't be able to work out why it records and switches off willy-nilly. Have spare SD cards in case you forget (or fill the card). I think 32 Gb is possible. Get more than one!

The last time I had brainfade and left the card at home, I had two camers with SD cards with me, but not the spare cards. Sony do stupid things with the card so it won't work in the Zoom without re-formatting, and I forgot the Samsung camera was with me. However, I routinely record with two devices (and a third- the wrist recorder). So I had a very acceptable recording from the Galaxy miniS3. I tried to keep my arm still but............ if it was the only recorder I would have.

Oh & remember which way the recorder is pointing. In shotgun mode it is important, because of the spacial response, it is so good. One day I swamped the recording and the interviewee is barely discernable! Doh!

Table cloth &/or towel is a good wheeze.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 08:33 AM

Mp3 was only ever a transitory format developed to cope and make most of the at the time expensive low capacity drive storage,
and slow dial up internet.

It's time is long gone now, and mp3 should be allowed to die off and be forgotten.

... oh yes of course...imho... 😜


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Mr Red
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 10:26 AM

Vinyl is making a come-back in certain quarters. (don't get me started on aural habituation and the propensity for delusion).

reports of the death of MP3 are (will be) much exaggerated. No matter what is better, installed base and available software create de facto standards. Inertia is a powerful thing.

Only something like better access to "whatever sound" you seek will supplant MP3 - and even then it will be hidden in the system. If they can snap their fingers and conjure up the sound clip they want out of thin air will any given format matter - the system will deal with whatever, however, it is archived. Or it will not be visible! Predicting the future is a game, an entertainment but not a science. But it will give us more for less effort IMNSHO.

Until then - its MP3 all the way down.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: DaveRo
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 11:35 AM

There was once an 'improved' version of MP3 called MP3Pro which included something called 'spectral band replication - SBR' (don't ask!). Ages ago I spent some time getting an MP3Pro decoder to work because there was an online radio station called Whole Wheat Radio which used it.

The key line in the MP3Pro_wikipedia_entry is
Thomson Multimedia licensed the technology and used it to extend the MP3 format, for which they held patents, hoping to also extend its profitable lifetime.
SBR is used in AAC, a more modern and 'better' compression method (which is also proprietary - and whose patents have not yet expired). AAC is favoured by Apple. M4A files usually contain AAC-compressed audio.

Non-proprietary formats are good if you want to be able to access your recordings in the future. So you'd think I'd have digitised my vinyl into the open, free, ogg-vorbis format. But I didn't because most of my portable devices couldn't play it.

Not all MP3 encoders will be equally good. You're likely to get better results, and have more choice of output quality, from an encoder on a computer such as LAME than one in a small device.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 12:01 PM

...again.. imho... and I'll use the 'should' word..

We can now take it as given that near 'Pro' level recording gear has never been more easily accessible and affordable.

Any folks like us involved in music creation and performance, players or audience members, who want to record music for posterity;
should strive for best possible audio quality.

At least lossless non compressed CD quality wav 16-bit 44.1Khz.

Ok.. our own ears might be so old and knackered we can't hear any difference.
But if anything we record is of any future value to anyone else,
for instance - field recording / social history archives,
we owe it to them to provide good lossless source audio material they can make best use of...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: Mr Red
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 03:29 PM

I come back to my mantra

zero recording has zero quality.

Get it recorded. Prat around with formats all you want, the future will value any document, over zilch, they value social history more. They will moan about quality, maybe, but wail about lost opportunities. Go for WAV - but unless you up the sampling rate you won't notice the differences.
The problem is all in the high frequencies and the Nyquist frequency (think 1/2 sampling rate), as frequencies approach it they suffer progressively. And those frequencies are small in volume so receive greater quantizing errors (rounding). Go for greater sample size. Storage will increase but it gets cheaper.

Trust me I am a member of several history socs, and in the business of grabbing the moment before the momentees snuff it.
Field recordings are not pristine, ambience is what you get, and that ain't nothing to do with quality. Its the information contained therein that has value.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 03:57 PM

errr... yes .. agreeish.... to some of that..

But it don't do any harm to make an effort to be prepared to record as best quality as feasible..

Better audio standards are fractionally more work to aim for and achieve that distorted muffled excrutiating to listen recordings

Trust me.. I used to train volunteers to record for social history audio visual projects..

There are fewer excuses these days for crap recordings...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 04:57 PM

oops... "Better audio standards are fractionally more work to aim for and achieve than distorted muffled excruciating to listen to recordings"


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 06:09 PM

"Let the Hammer Down means to do the best you can with what you have, and do it with your maximum effort." Jerry Clower

OP: Both the Zoom & the Tascam products will have 80% more features than you will ever use on a regular basis (same as Audacity; your mobile phone &c.) Hard to go wrong with the Zoom. Happy recording.

The recording device is just a tool. The media only the material. It's no use comparing notes on "hammer" & "wood" for a violin and a tent peg.

Recording live "on location" is not the same as "field recording" and most of both are done by appointment, schedule or prior intent of some kind. Let the hammer down no matter the five Ws.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Field Recording
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 19 Jul 17 - 06:11 PM

Case in point - Lyr/Tune Req: Oh Happy Day (Hawkins)

Oh Happy Day -The Edwin Hawkins Singers

A little rough around the edges… sure, but priceless in terms of American pop-gospel.

OP's Zoom would blow the Century Dimension 70 kit's doors off.


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