Which recording solution is the best?
Greetings to all readers!
I am a violinist and since I am working alone I realized that i need to record myself just to see how my piece I play sounds and how to improve it. I was looking at the simple recording bundle from Focusrite but I find it too much work when i need something simple and in that price range since I am an amateur when it comes to recording in general. I was wondering about the mic from Blue that is called Yeti but I am kind of sceptic to it since it is made for youtube streamers mainly and I am not sure if that is a smart buy since mike is 16bit, it is big and price of shockmount that I believe I'll need is ridicolous. I was almost being done with my desicion on Yeti but with more searching I got confused and now I am looking at audio recorders like Zoom H2n, H4n and from Tascam dr-05 and dr-40. Please help me what to choose to get the device with most realistic sound without any colorings etc... Thank you in advance!
P.S. I have seen the similar thread but i find it kind of outdated so dont mind me for making a new one :)
I've never performed a comparison but I happily use the Yeti (without shockmount, although it has to be placed on a firm base and isolated from e.g. floorboard noises) to multitrack myself in chamber music for uploading to imslp. I also use the Zoom H1 when "on location" and am happy with that too, although you have to be even more careful about placement.
I just put my iPhone on my stand and use the Voice Record Pro app (it's cheap and works well). That's plenty for casual recording for practice purposes.
I was going to say Sony HDR-MV1 music video recorder, but it looks like they're in the process of discontinuing this. I like it a lot for this and hope there's a v2. Not so great video, very good audio. Remote control from your smart phone. 48KHz 16-bit LPCM audio. Good purpose-specific device.
A dozen or so years ago I bought an Ederol recorder - about the size of a pack of cigarettes. It made terrific recordings of my own instruments and at least one string quartet recital I participated in.
Thank you all for your replies and advices!
For practice purposes, the frequency range of an iPhone or something like a Zoom is plenty. The frequency range might already be broader than your speakers can reproduce.
I know a few violinists who can make a cell phone recording sound pretty good. I mean good enough that if I played with it in my software it could fit into a composition. iPhones/Androids are ok as a scratchpad.
FWIW youtube vimeo etc. process the audio and video, so the audio you get when you play a video there is not the same thing as what is recorded. There is a pretty noticeable difference vs. listening to the source file directly with decent headphones or speakers if the source audio is in an uncompressed format.
Mr. Stan Yates you got a pretty good point.
I've had quite a few pro-player clients who used Zoom recorders, and were quite satisfied with them for comparison purposes. When I listened to their recordings, the distinctions between different instruments were quite apparent and useful.
Well, whatever you decide on, just remember that the WAY you record is about 90% of the sound quality you get and he mic itself is about 10%.
Of course a phone isn't going to compare well to a higher-end audio set-up, but on your budget of $200, you're not looking at equipment that's going to be markedly better than a phone (or a camera with decent sound, like the Zoom Q4n, which is about $250, out of your budget).
I disagree with Lydia. Even the low-end Tascams mentioned will make instrument recordings far superior to a phone and of course have much greater recording flexibility - heck, the DR-40 is even a 4-track recorder. Especially if at a later time you add a high-quality instrument mic.
I've been recording for probably 25 years as a hobby. It's a fairly serious hobby.I have built two high performance recording computers.I regularly write about recording.
Timothy - you obviously have a very experienced and critical ear, which possibly sets you apart from most of the rest of us who are satisfied with more modest equipment. But your comment about acoustic vs electric violins I find quite extraordinary. The very soul of the violin is contained in its acoustical properties, and (for classical music at least) electric violins don't have a soul!
@Steve I see why you say the electric violin has no soul.I haven't owned an electric violin prior so I really don't have experience with them. I am still learning this part of it.
That's very pretty, although maybe (as you say) it could benefit from a little variety. I've taken the liberty of ripping it and will now try to add an (acoustic) violin to the mix. There may be a nasty collision of cultures...
I recommend you to sell that ribbon mic you have and buy yourself a condenser mic. I found on some forums about using ribbons but in my personal opinion what i experienced good condenser is best option, only now you can choose if you want it with large or small diaphragma. And also i think its a waste of money tobuy electric violin. Even I never had it, but i tried couple but it is not it. Its fun 10min only because you can play with distorstions but after i would go happily to mine and regret to her that i sinned against her :D XD I would rather invest into a good condenser mic for recording and a pickup instead of buying an electric one.
Timothy - I think this is what they call a "mash-up" (others might say "nasty collision of cultures")
@Daniel- Most of the excellent recordings I have heard were made with a Royer Ribbon. I bought a less expensive ribbon from Studio Projects.That mic has some noise in the electronics.It isn't bad. You get what you pay for.Enough said.
Example of violin into ribbon mics through good recording chain. They are tough to beat.
Another vote for the ribbon option. I use a Cascade "Fathead" II with the Lundahl transformer (about a third the price of the Royer...and it's fine), into an Avalon 737SP tube preamp. I generally run it nearly wide open to get a good signal. I often will put a large diaphragm condensor out there but usually the ribbon gives me everything I need. It seems that the ribbon cuts out weird scratchy and harsh sounds that you really only hear close to the violin.
@Timothy - oh dear, I seem to have only saved the mix! I'll do it again tomorrow or the next day. It's astonishing how well your guitar seems to fit with the Meditation - right key, right tempo, right feel and a touch of dissonance for piquancy
@Steve- No worries. Can you send a copy of just your violin track?
Another vote for the Zoom H1. I can even plug in a pair of external spaced mics (which cancel the built-in ones) if I want more stereo "spread", or less of that boxy room sound (closer to the source while I control the recorder from farther away).
I have an older zoom.My Zoom doesn't give a true 48 volts phantom power and is why I don't often use it for external mics.
@Timothy - here's today's take of my violin track that I've left as a raw wav file:
The H1 has no phantom power. For external micing I use 2 electret mics (internal batteries) or 2 AT2020's through a preamp with 48volt phantom power.
@Timothy Smith-- "Could this be another American company sending work to China? I don't know. The mic gets high raves to date though."
@ Steve- Thank you! I want to hear it but I'm off to play (piano) this morning.After that I have an acoustic session I might attend. It's killing me I can't work with it right now .
@Daniel, My apologies for sidetracking the thread somewhat, although we are still on the subject of recording.
Link ends in ".mp3" after the last word meditation.
@Timothy - monumental! Puts me in mind of the melange you might hear from the corridor outside four music cells. Or the consequences of messing around in a pharmacy...
This may not be relevant to the OP but hope is useful to some. I do record violins as a big part of my living and have tried a lot of stuff. I prefer ribbons. If you look online you will see professionals telling you that condensers are the way to go - I'm not saying they are wrong as it's not as simple as that. First of all it depends on the sound you want and the place in the mix. Microphone placement is a huge factor as is the type of violin you are using. Violins tend to be one of the hardest things to record. A lot of the equipment available is geared towards clarity and punch - for violins this is nasty and scratchy. The frequencies we hear as mellow, woody, resonant are often scooped out as "mud" in the audio world. The violinist has invested in an instrument, strings and technique that are designed for a big concert hall and now we have a microphone six inches away!
Just a tip for your shockmount. On Amazon there are some very cheap and nasty Chinese studio microphones. I bought one on offer For $6 just out of curiosity. It was not the best microphone but came with a fairly decent universal shockmount. Also, you can put a different capsule in them and you have a decent mic. https://www.amazon.com/Earamble-Professional-Microphone-Compatible-Podcasting/dp/B01N9OF9C8/ref=sr_1_5?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1522245780&sr=1-5&keywords=studio+microphone&refinements=p_36%3A1253545011
@Christopher, thanks for pulling this thread back on track. I did intend to help the OP.I can also drift from the main points easily. Those saying YouTube was a bad medium for distribution I tended to disagree with and it sort of drifted from there.
I didn't say youtube is a bad medium for distribution. I said that you will hear a noticeable difference if you listen with decent headphones or speakers to an upload side by side with a source recording in an uncompressed format that's made reasonably well on something like a Zoom or HDR-MV1, and not with multi-thousand dollar mics and tube preamps.
@Stan, you didn't say these exact words. It appeared you were not happy with YouTube music quality as compared to uncompressed formats. I can understand why you say that, so I guess I jumped to that conclusion which apparently wasn't correct.What you have said in so many words is there is a discernible difference to you.Although I would wager that listening to a high quality compression .vs a low quality compression might have you failing a blind listening test.
@ Steve Jones
I'm a frequent offender but I've never been accused of "offending frequencies" before!
Timothy. Just for the record, I was saying to buy the cheap Chinese microphone for the shockmount that came with it (OP wanted a shockmount). Other than that I do not recommend it - horrible, nasty things! However, if we never bought any Chinese stuff then that would probably include Zooms etc. MXL are Chinese I'm sure but found the R40 ribbon to be good.
@ Steve Jones. Very nice. Perhaps Nicola should take more bathroom breaks. I haven't said it yet. You are a wonderful violinist. It's a pleasure!
Just for practicing the ‘video’ option on a smartphone is honestly not too bad
Timothy, you're too kind (I mean it!). For the benefit of those who don't already have it, Nicola Benedetti's debut album on DG includes a "music minus one" track of the Meditation. My fake is posted as an example of what you can easily achieve with a Yeti and Audacity.
Eh i read all the stuff you guys and still i really am not sure. Kind of I gave up on Yeti mic from Blue because I dont want to risk. My friend that is a music producer told me to buy focusrite and some condenser mic from mxl, but his reason to telling me that is so i can make a recording by myself and send it to him since he lives in London and i am in Norway. I think that is not bad thing but i feel like buying that is a buying a hole without an end because youre just spending with time more and more money and i am cheap asshole that dont want that happen in future. So i stopped talking to him about this topic because he told me not to consider even portable audio devices since he says it is crap and i am not sure that that is true since they are portable and fast to use for my needs and now i am thinking to just go simple and buy one of zooms h2n or h4n any suggestions about that?
My advice would be never to ask for advice!
It's true. It might not be a hole you want to go down because it is a hole - a very expensive hole. Just get a Zoom if you want to be simple - they are fine.
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