Which recording solution is the best?

March 19, 2018, 1:57 PM · 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!

Replies (51)

March 19, 2018, 1:58 PM · P.S. I have seen the similar thread but i find it kind of outdated so dont mind me for making a new one :)
March 19, 2018, 2:09 PM · 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.
March 19, 2018, 3:19 PM · 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.

If I want to watch myself and a mirror isn't cutting it, then I have a Zoom Q4n that works fine for audio/video.

March 19, 2018, 3:42 PM · 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.
March 19, 2018, 4:19 PM ·
Buy used.

March 19, 2018, 4:37 PM · Budget?
Edited: March 19, 2018, 4:46 PM · 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.

My main purpose and use was (not strictly legitimate) to record the San Francisco Girls Chorus concerts while our youngest granddaughter participated at their highest level for about 3 years. These wonderful concerts included the chorus's participation with the San Francisco Symphony (Mahler's 8th -"Symphony of 1000" - Grammy winner), Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (Mendelssohn-Midsummer Night's Dream), and the Cypress String Quartet (that separately performed Dvorak's American Quartet). So I have recordings of big-time pro ensembles on that little device that was recording from my shirt pocket during those entire concerts.

Because I was doing a naughty, I also compensated by purchasing each group's commercial recordings. I don't know if that legitimizes it - but the statue of limitations should be long over. However My Ederol recordings are not bad at all, even with no editing, mastering, etc. The Ederol is a lot like the Zoom that became available shortly afterward (our son has a Zoom).

March 20, 2018, 6:31 AM · Thank you all for your replies and advices!
My planned budget is around 200$. Thats why I am looking at these affordable solutions that I mentioned before. Just I wondered about experience and sound quality that you get best for that price. My ears are very sensitive and recording myself on a laptop or phone is just waste of time since it doesnt handle all the frequencies you produce with violin. I am not trying to be a snoob just want to have my own private teacher that will give back what I played. You can always hear your mistakes without a recorder but to have a whole picture of the piece you play for long time and how to improve it I feel I need a proper recording device or usb mic to know. My biggest doubt is is it better to buy an usb mic or recording devie like zoom tascam etc.
Edited: March 20, 2018, 10:27 AM · 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've used an iPhone to record concerto rehearsals with orchestra and it's been just fine, by the way, even with that kind of dynamic range and frequency response; it's a surprisingly capable recording device. I prefer my Zoom, but the iPhone does fine in a pinch.

I own a Blue Spark Digital as well (about $200), and it's okay-ish. I don't bother with it; it's sitting gathering dust.

March 20, 2018, 11:01 AM · 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.

I recently recorded a few vocalists who used cell phones. The vocalists didn't own a good mic and they lived too far away to use anything I have. I was amazed at how good they sounded using the phones.Granted I had to work with the track to make it fit.

I have YouTube examples if you want to hear, however it is vocal and not violin so probably not relevant.

Edited: March 20, 2018, 11:38 AM · 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.
March 20, 2018, 11:48 AM · Mr. Stan Yates you got a pretty good point.
Last summer my friend and I were making a test with Focusrite Scarlett and iphone 6, I am sorry but devices like phones cant compare to the devices that are mainly made for recording. The quality of sound, and the idea of yourself you get from iphone or android is hilarious. I really feel like my sound is crap by my opinion and i am kind of perfectionist and anything below my opinion is not good enough :) its a hard life :D but in the other ways, things I heard from studio recording by Focusrite were telling me: "oh my sound is not so bad its good and i know how to improve and what places dont sound equaly good as rest then." And then in for example Paganini 6th caprice you realize that your thrills sound much cleaner and phone gives you an impression that everything is muddy. Thats why I cant find phones relevant, because recording on phones gave me everything to be the same, even I have seen from Blue an extern mic for iphones and i think its pretty neat even I cant say about the quality of a sound :D
Edited: March 23, 2018, 1:09 PM · 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.

I've had various much more expensive recording setups over the years. My current go-to is a Focusrite phantom-power USB preamp, with about a 300 dollar AKG microphone, and a 600 dollar computer recording program. Can't say whether it's better or worse than a simple Zoom recorder, since I have not yet extensively compared them side-by-side.

I wouldn't pay much attention to recordings or videos on the internet. These days, it's pretty quick and simple to edit the sound to be anything one desires. Same with studio recordings, except that a pro producer or studio person likely knows many more ways to knock your socks off.

I don't place much reliance on recordings, unless I made them myself, or was present when they were made (so I have some idea of the room acoustics and recording equipment path, and some idea of what might have been done with post-recording editing and sound processing).

March 20, 2018, 12:23 PM · 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%.
March 20, 2018, 1:05 PM · 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).

To get better sound, you're going to want a set-up more like David's -- a good pre-amp plus a good microphone. Since you're recording just for yourself, the audio software doesn't really matter, but high-end speakers (or high-quality neutral IEM headphones) for playback matter. But you're not going to get that for $200.

I can't say that I've had issues with an iPhone not cleanly picking up sound, and especially not issues around clarity with trills and the like. I'm guessing this may be more a mike placement or room issue for you.

March 20, 2018, 1:41 PM · 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 haven't used a DR-40, but I have a 100MKII (~$350 US); took a while to figure out how to use it best, but with my Shure 81 mics, it's really incredible.

March 21, 2018, 7:52 AM · 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.

I have made lots of recordings. During that time I have made many mistakes and learned lots of things.If you listen to my recordings you'll hear mistakes on the older ones in both musicianship and in technique.I also made some very nice recordings.

I recently bought a laptop specifically to run backing tracks to a click and I picked up a Focusrite interface. So far I'm happy with how it works.So I would recommend that as a nice prosumer product.Mine is the 4 channel version Clarette I think.My favorite mic is my Shure KSM44A which is around 1000 american dollars and is still
much less than a Neuman or similar. I like it for the clear neutrality it has. I have a closet full of other mics too but I mostly use the Shure KSM44A and an Audio Technica 4044a. At home I use a Presonus interface.

The reason I'm telling you this is because even with my experience the violin is one of the most difficult things I have ever attempted to capture. It would seem that based on the the frequency range of most smart phones they act like a kind of filter in some cases and play very well with the ranges of a violin. All things considered, the limited range of the mics in phones can be an asset all depending on the distances from it and the room.
I also have the zooms and the Blue computer mics. They are ok. Not much better than a cell phone IMHO.
This is why I said I think a cell phone can be ok for scratch recordings.
Most high end mics tend to be too sensitive to violins unless they are on a pole mounted at a distance. If recording classical music a good sound stage is probably a must. If you want up close and personal you need to determine a proximity and location that doesn't pick up too much string/bow noise yet still retain an immediate feeling. Much folk music needs this effect and it's more difficult than recording an ensemble in a concert hall.
This is why I'm considering an electric violin. Acoustic violins tend to bounce sound off of the ceiling/floor and you get a very undesirable sound.
Stereo recording is no advantage here since it can introduce comb filtering or phase issues.


March 21, 2018, 8:56 AM · 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!
March 21, 2018, 10:12 AM · @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.

I considered adding a good pickup to one of my violins.More an act of desperation. I just don't have the correct spaces and good mics are really over sensitive to close up violin recording. They can pick up a fly rubbing its legs together.I did buy a special ribbon mic said to be better for recording violin. This would have been fine at a distance, however close up recording still leaves much to be desired.

I could later add a reverb space to the recorded violin.I have seen some situations where violins are performing in large venues with orchestras and use a pickup.I thought this could be an option.

I much prefer an acoustic solution if possible.

On YouTube- YouTube actually has the best audio as compared to other streaming sites and why many musicians have taken to using it.
Here's a recent recording I made on YouTube. A video of an outing I made to a lighthouse local to me here with an acoustic track I recorded.The track is a bit repetitive but I thought it made a nice addition to the video.

March 21, 2018, 10:41 AM · 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...
Edited: March 21, 2018, 11:40 AM · 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.
Edited: March 22, 2018, 3:43 AM · Timothy - I think this is what they call a "mash-up" (others might say "nasty collision of cultures")

http://www.mediafire.com/file/wrec94a8lcz2sca/Saturday_Morning_Meditation.mp3

Nothing fancy about the equipment, just an ordinary old German violin and a Zoom H1 in the bedroom. Thank you for stimulating the idea!

Sorry, the link doesn't fit on a single line. It ends "Meditation.mp3"

Edited: March 22, 2018, 9:02 AM · @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.
I would recommend the Royer Ribbon though for classical music if you want something to take the edginess off of the violin. Ribbons are known for exhibiting smooth characteristics.Just don't hook phantom power up to it. Bad very bad.Ribbons are not intended for phantom power.The sound is characteristic of older recordings made back when those mics first came on to the scene.
@Steve- Very nice my friend! A good example of what can be done with just a zoom recorder if the player is good.
If possible I might take just the violin track and better weave it into the whole.Maybe I might change a few of my parts to fit it better. Still nice as is. Very imaginative work.A nice job on it. Feel free to do that any time.
My last major violin collaboration was made with a violinist by the name of Andra Stephan who lives in Greece. Here is that track-

http://www.mediafire.com/file/9xicv8c18j16tna/Nashure_5.wav

I think she did a nice job on it.

March 22, 2018, 9:10 AM · Example of violin into ribbon mics through good recording chain. They are tough to beat.
http://royerlabs.com/library/rachel-barton-pine/
March 22, 2018, 10:15 AM · 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.
Edited: March 22, 2018, 10:26 AM · @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
Edited: March 23, 2018, 5:40 AM · @Steve- No worries. Can you send a copy of just your violin track?
@Paul- I Have heard about that Mic. Haven't spoke with anyone that has used it.Thanks!
FWIW- Royer has a new product on the market said to be very close to the 121 but it costs much less.
Could this be another American company sending work to China? I don't know. The mic gets high raves to date though.
Edited: March 23, 2018, 7:34 AM · 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).
March 23, 2018, 11:46 AM · 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.

Zoom has probably improved on this over time. I don't know if they did or not. I would make certain you have a true 48 volts. If you don't it can affect mic performance.

March 24, 2018, 4:09 AM · @Timothy - here's today's take of my violin track that I've left as a raw wav file:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/43sfx6z126ms3qs/Saturday_Med_violin.wav

And here's my studio:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/irv1pvmmpzs2s55/IMG_3742.JPG

It's plenty good enough for my purposes, although I accept that it isn't good enough for everyone

March 24, 2018, 2:50 PM · 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.
March 24, 2018, 5:09 PM · @Timothy Smith-- "Could this be another American company sending work to China? I don't know. The mic gets high raves to date though."
Funny that you mention that... When I first heard about it, I wondered the same thing, so I actually called the company. The president (!) picked up the phone. I asked where the mics were made and he did indeed say that they were made in China. So I asked if these were made by 12-year-olds or what, and he told me that he had just visited the factory, that all the workers were either engineers or trained electronics workers who were paid well by the local standards. He was clearly proud of his products and the way they are made. So, I bought mine, and I did actually do a/b tests with a Royer and an old RCA--the Cascade did nobly.
March 25, 2018, 5:31 AM · @ 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 .

@Adrian- Good to know. I have an old H4. It had a firmware update. It works with the built in mics. Batteries don't last very long in it though.It looks like some kind of electric stun gun. I was afraid they were going to stop me at the airport.
I surely didn't want to infer that Condenser mics aren't an option in recording violin. I personally haven't been able to get the kind of sound I want out of those. Many use the very high end AKG mics. I have only tracked a few orchestras using the mid/side method and condenser mics.
It was for a family member who was also a band director.I usually prefer to track more intimate settings.
@Paul- I really want to get one of those (Royer). Hearing your comments makes me want one more. I have the Studio Projects MK111 Active. As the name says. It's great for studio projects. It has an active circuit in it and that adds some noise. They also make a passive version. The design looks like something made back on the 1930's.

I made a cell phone recording on my android of me playing my violin. It is bad. Really bad, both my playing and the recording because I was too close to it.In a pinch though my teacher can make a cell phone recording and it sounds good.
I know I need to become a better player.This is a lot of the problem.

Edited: March 27, 2018, 7:38 PM · @Daniel, My apologies for sidetracking the thread somewhat, although we are still on the subject of recording.

@ Steve- I experimented with the violin part you gave me.I didn't get the chance to make this mix tight yet. It morphed into something else.I added cello, flute and vocals to it. Nice portable studio BTW !
Here is the track- http://www.mediafire.com/file/4ym67sn2c5bkd9z/Saturday%20Meditation.mp3

March 27, 2018, 7:39 PM · Link ends in ".mp3" after the last word meditation.
March 28, 2018, 12:59 AM · @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...
Edited: March 28, 2018, 6:01 AM · @Steve Jones,

LOL. This was a rather quick mix.I knew it would need more attention. I thought the vox was out of place and a bit loud in places. I think it could work better with some adjustments.I gave it a distant feel to match the "meditation" idea. The voice is Shevannai used often in video game music but an actual sample of a real singer.

Here are a few links to pics of my studio. I am in the process of building a new studio. Until then, this small space is where I try to put all of my things.It's tight in there but it works. Also a pic of my portable laptop studio.
https://postimg.org/gallery/1oth9bwcw/

Edited: March 28, 2018, 6:33 AM · 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!
For the violin to sound nice we have to work with equipment that colors the sound rather than being completely honest about what is in the air. Ribbon microphones tend to smooth out the harshness of the violin. A Royer 121 is very nice but expensive for most people's budget. There are nice copies - Russian handmade ribbon mics on eBay (RM BIV) go for about $150 or there are microphones cheaply modified by Michael Joly http://www.oktavamod.com . MXL R40 is also very good for the price. You will need a good preamp. Golden Age pre-73 is a very good copy of a Neve 1073 at a fraction of the price. If you like your violin sound gritty and in your face then by all means use a large condenser microphone. Neuman U87 is preferred by certain session musicians in country and folk music and you can also get Michael Joly to modify a cheap Chinese microphone to sound like a U87 for a couple of hundred bucks.
Microphone placement is a huge factor. Experiment with this - air is a filter and distance takes away harshness. Sliding mutes placed near but not over the bridge can also take the edge off. Use that dark violin that sounds nice under the ear but doesn't project that far. Use the acoustics of a room if you are not going to be mixing with other instruments much, use several microphones in different places and distances. Experiment with the g-string side of the violin and above.
There are too many factors to say what is right or wrong but I hope I can spare some people a little bit of the expense of experimentation!
Edited: March 31, 2018, 8:32 AM · 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

{Edit: Don't buy the microphone for recording, buy it for the shock mount and perhaps a chassis to modify. Don't use this rubbish to record! Sorry if that was misleading!}

March 29, 2018, 7:19 AM · @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 own a handful of mics manufactured in China and as a general rule I don't recommend them because quality control can sometimes be lacking. While I agree that there are bargains to be had I disagree that it's the best choice for someone serious. As the OP has said, they are looking for a solution on the cheap at under 200.00, so I can see why you made these recommendations.
There must be a point though where maybe going to a pro and spending money hourly to be tracked with good gear is worth that investment compared to buying something that has the potential to be questionable.Someone like yourself :)
I TOTALLY agree with your comments on coloration when recording violin.
I have tried some very good condenser mics in a small space with terrible results. I have tried to record in an auditorium with condenser mics spaced away at a distance of 6 ft. again with terrible results. The auditorium was very bright. That space didn't do me any favors.Lots of wood and hard surfaces. This is why I bought a ribbon. I haven't used it in a large space yet. Some of it is the player. If you don't make string noises they won't be recorded;)
The OP just wanted a setup to hear himself for basic work I think. You will spend more than 200.00 for a decent preamp and even a Chinese ribbon.
This is why a zoom or a cell phone seems the most reasonable. Just put it a distance away and you'll have to live with a less than stellar sound if trying to record "on the cheap".It will let you hear things that you might need to work on.
I'm discovering that professional violin recording is a bit like adding makeup to look better for a picture. It seems you need to knock the edge off of the instrument when tracking it and maybe even perform some surgical EQ in especially bad situations. I have heard some good recording done outside, but where can you go now that you don't hear a car, a lawnmower and airplane or a motorcycle?
March 29, 2018, 7:40 AM · 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.
March 29, 2018, 10:49 AM · @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.

At any rate I wasn't singling any one comment for my response. My main point is YouTube is one of the very best places to upload music online as compared to something like Soundcloud which uses a very low 128kps mp3 file. Even if you upload a 24/96 file they compress it which is unfortunate and most certainly degrades the sound. In contrast YouTube allows up to a 192 AAC file. This is is still compressed but a better format and I think many can hear the difference.

For anyone considering an online music presence YouTube is one of the best not only because it has potential for a better audio quality. Also because the younger generation have taken to using it over pretty much everything else making it a good place for exposure.I am not seriously trying to be "exposed" but if I were, YouTube should figure into that in a big way.

Online everything is compressed. We can't seem to get away from that. So then it becomes more about places where the best types of compression are accepted. A 320kps mp3 is way ahead of a 128 mp3 in terms of sound quality.Many ears can't tell the difference between a 320kps mp3 and a wav file.

Edited: March 30, 2018, 7:35 PM · @ Steve Jones
I had to tweak it a bit more.Removed some of the vocals.Added men's choir and bassoon. I used a plug in called a dynamic EQ that is a cross between a compressor and an EQ to knock down some of the offending frequencies. Not bad for a zoom recording probably done quickly.
http://www.mediafire.com/file/dcfcmcf3iz6nki2/Saturday%20Meditation%202.mp3

will likely need to add .mp3 to the end to hear it.

March 31, 2018, 1:26 AM · I'm a frequent offender but I've never been accused of "offending frequencies" before!

This is one I made earlier:

http://www.mediafire.com/file/7x9y6lkv1cmdu7d/Massenet_Thais.mp3

Nicola Benedetti was taking a bathroom break and the LSO didn't want to waste studio time.

Edited: March 31, 2018, 9:45 AM · 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.
Preamps can be good under $200 - I have heard Focusrite are good and they start at $99. Those $50 Mackie mixers have the same nice preamps as they have on their bigger mixers. You would still need an audio interface with this but this is generally what audio people do - add other preamps in front of an audio interface rather than just use the ones on the interface. Different things sound better with different preamps.
Anyway, Zoom is fine!
March 31, 2018, 6:23 PM · @ 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!

@Christopher Payne, My apologies. I went back and read it again. I think I need to start re reading these before I comment.

I tend to like debate to settle things internally for myself. The reason why I seem to "sit on the fence" with regard to some of these issues. Sometimes for me, two statements that might seem contrary actually make sense. Such as me stating I don't recommend Chinese mics. While I wouldn't recommend such a thing I own them which looks like hypocrisy pure and simple.In essence I think we are 100% agreeing with one another although maybe our reasons are different. I'm not sure.

There are a few reasons I can give for my odd outlook. It's my money and I like to experiment, so yes I'll occasionally buy a Chinese mic especially if it comes highly recommended. Another reason is I highly doubt most violinists would buy a Chinese mic and then mod it. Nor do I think they would want to experiment and in so many words gamble on the outcome.To be safe you spend more money on a highly sought after and regarded product. This is the main reason why I don't expressly recommend these to someone who wants to get it right the first time.

IF OTOH a person wants to take a trip to the wild side and doesn't mind being wrong on a gamble, then by all means buy Chinese or Russian. There are some well made designs out there from China. In fact, many of the well known brands are subbing out their work to China. Like someone else has said I wouldn't want to be supporting anything that uses slave labor.
Maybe do some investigation first.

The discussion can end up a lot like the discussion on Chinese made violins. There is a big variety of quality in products coming from China.
The discussion can get very technical and probably boring to a violinist. It really has more to do with the specs. of the gear than the origin and it can get very in depth indeed. The tolerances of the components used, the designs,the quality control across production of thousands of the same thing on the assembly line.As a general rule...the noise floor of less expensive electronics is a common trait among Chinese Mics. Thicker diaphragms, even a few microns thicker can affect microphone response. If not made according to strict specs things can drift a bit and affect the mic.

You have likely heard the person who says, " I liked it considering what I paid for it". I never personally liked settling for that standard.Unless the difference isn't noticed or suits my needs just fine. For instance maybe the noise floor on a Chinese mic is slightly higher than a comparable German mic. What does that mean really? If it's only one track using the mic and not a cumulative kind of thing, if the noise is still well below anything that will be heard on a recording, maybe in that case it doesn't matter.
Coloration is yet another topic of mics that could affect the sound in similar ways to the type of strings a player uses. If the mic has a 5khz bump to 3db, do I really want to use it on a violin? Probably not.
This is precisely why ribbons seem to work to our advantage using subtractive coloration.
Like vinyl and turntables the old has become the new.

March 31, 2018, 6:34 PM · Just for practicing the ‘video’ option on a smartphone is honestly not too bad
April 1, 2018, 1:41 AM · 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.

Actually I wonder if NB plays over the exact same backing track? If so, she was faking it too! Which is not to say she isn't a superb musician.

April 1, 2018, 4:38 AM · 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?
April 1, 2018, 4:54 AM · My advice would be never to ask for advice!
April 1, 2018, 8:04 AM · 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.
I would add that modern day violinists would be at an advantage to at least learn something about recording and live sound - we need to open as many doors as possible these days!
Anyway, I have 4 Zoom recorders though I admit I haven't used them on violin much. I have the H1, H2, Q3 and Q2HD. The Microphones on the H1 are of lesser quality but has an external microphone option as does the H2. The Q3 and Q2HD do not but they have video.

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