Quality Recording Equipment?

December 24, 2007 at 05:51 AM · I am not at all technology savvy (well, a little). So, when listening to the recordings that are put up on violinist.com, I say to myself, "Where in the heck did they get such a good recorder with such great sound quality?" Of course, some of the recordings are taken from CDs/Albums, but others are from recitals and what not. Can anyone tell me what they are being recorded on? It is like a camcorder and then converted? What is going on?!

Thank YOU


Replies (21)

December 25, 2007 at 03:34 AM · Jazzy, I found that camcorders make all violins sound the same, and not so great. At least the camcorder I have. However I recently got a Zoom H2 and it does sound pretty good. You can actually distinguish between different violins.

You can go to Wingfield Audio to hear some sound samples.

December 25, 2007 at 03:48 AM · Im not sure, dont forget at most places they either have mics or roof mics, they could take the input on the mic and send it to a recorder, the only other thing it could be i think is the camcorder thing or if they have a pickup and are playing into a preamp and hook that up someway.

December 25, 2007 at 05:14 AM · Thank you! I want to record my recital in April, but I refuse to use a nasty sounding recorder!

December 26, 2007 at 05:41 PM · Most consumer camcorders have something called AGC - automatic gain control -- which robs you of your dymanics. It flattens the dynamics, making the louds softer and the softs louder. Therefore they are unacceptable for serious music recording even though sometimes they will give you a good basic sound quality.

If you wish to get a camcorder where you can disable the AGC you will have to go to the next level of camcorder, the "prosumer" level which ranges in price from $2,000 to $5,000. I recently got myself a Canon GL2 for $2000 and I am very happy with it.

The other solution is to record the audio separately using some good audio recording equipment and then use your video editing software to combine the video with your high quality audio.

Of course this is all based on the assumption that you want a video recording. If you are just interested in a good audio recording life becomes somewhat simpler, but not much. You will still have to find a mic that is friendly to the violin. Typically, the merchants, even though they may have knowledgable people working for them, don't have a clue about recording violin. Ideally, if you could borrow some mics and try recording yourself with them, that would be the best solution. I found a friendly recording engineer who was willing to lend me some mics to try. I ended up with a pair of model AM11 mics made by GT Electronics which is a subsidiary of Alesis for about $400. I use an Audio Buddy preamp ($100) and a Tascam CD recorder ($800). For a medium budget setup it's worked very well for me.

December 26, 2007 at 09:53 PM · Wow, Mr. Sonne, thank you. Well, if I start saving now, I'll be able to get that stuff by graduate school.

December 27, 2007 at 04:19 PM · Hi,Jasmine..if you have a laptop,you can get a nice usb mic/preamp from Marshall for around $100.Then you just plug it in and use almost any recording software(lotsa free stuff out there) and record it and burn it to CD. It isn't that hard to do, and if you want,I can send you a link to some info on where to find this stuff cheap.

December 28, 2007 at 01:59 AM · "Wow, Mr. Sonne, thank you. Well, if I start saving now, I'll be able to get that stuff by graduate school."

Hi Jasmine. I didn't mean to discourage you. Jay has the right idea. You can get something very serviceable for relatively little $. In fact, often for amazingly little $.

December 28, 2007 at 02:32 AM · A lot of recital halls have quality recording equipment to record performances with, and all you have to do is ask for the recital to be recorded. This might be a cheaper option?

December 28, 2007 at 03:46 AM · Clare mentioned the Zoom H2. I would be interested in knowing about people's experience with that or any other of the portable recorders now gaining popularity (Zoom H4, Edirol R09, m-audio micro track II, etc.). Hopefully this is appropriate to add to this thread.

December 28, 2007 at 03:52 AM · Thank you, Jay. Mr. Sonne, you did not discourage me; I am quite aware and always prepared for the fact that this musical life that I insist on pursuing will cost me tons of money. I save up with a smile on my face.

December 28, 2007 at 03:53 AM · Alayna, I will ask around and see if our hall has something like that. Thanks everyone for your responses.

December 28, 2007 at 05:03 PM · Being a musician is a one-way ticket to poverty.What little money you do get usually goes on equipment.Therefore,you develop AWESOME cat-skinning chops to go along with your musical ones......

December 28, 2007 at 07:34 PM · I also would be interested in anyone's experience with zoom h2 vs. h4.

Is there significant difference in sound quality?

Other notable features?

December 29, 2007 at 10:30 PM · Hey Michael, I believe this may help with your question on the H2 vs H4.


Jasmine with your question on the video. A few weeks ago we had our Christmas concert which was video taped. I recorded the audio separately on a mini disc and then in a video editing program replaced the video sound with the mini disc one.

December 30, 2007 at 03:32 AM · And it sounds good too, Jaz. I have my mother in law ' s recording of our concert on her little digital camera while she was recording, and apart from the fact that the sound is thin and weak and toppish, somehow it also enhances every intonation problem.

I'm off to get a microphone for the minidisc, and train the kids up for recording and taping. Gotta make em useful for something.

December 30, 2007 at 03:49 AM · I use "Garage Band" which comes with Apples' OSX operating system. I use an interface with a diamond mic.

December 30, 2007 at 03:11 PM · Great article. Thanks Jasmine.

December 30, 2007 at 04:49 PM · I would say as a general rule that a good microphone is important. The sound can only be as good as what is initially picked-up. I remember reading a story about how Mick Jager of the Rolling Stones, in his earlier years, would carry around a his own high-quality microphone in case he sang an impromptu song at a club or party.

Once you are past that point, you can easily do amazing things in your computer with a good editing program (which is not expensive) for rather cheaply. I know a local group that made an album on computer by recording and over-dubbing each person one-at-a-time. So look at your mic(s) and then learn how to use the editing software.

Otherwise, if you just need home movies, standard camcorder ratings at www.cnet.com are useful.

February 29, 2008 at 10:11 AM · For your information.

The Zoom H2 is a newer device than the Zoom H4, and corrects some problems with the H4 design as well as providing 4 microphones rather than just 2.

It is specifically designed for decent low-cost field recording in a very convenient package.

By combining the 4 microphones with the recorder itself, you don't have to deal with the cable between the microphones and the recording device because there isn't any.

The Zoom H2 and the Edirol R09 seem to be the front runners for low cost decent field recording, running from $200 to $400. There are several other choices if you want to pay a bit more.

I have listened to both the Ediro R09 and the Zoom H2 and they seem to be OK for most recording below formal studio purposes.

Here are some Cello recordings of several field recorders:


February 29, 2008 at 12:27 PM · Has anyone tried the Micro Track 2 (which has replaced the old Microtrack 24/96) by M-Audio? Thanks!

February 29, 2008 at 12:24 PM · I use the Zoom H2 to record our amateur orchestra rehearsals. You can listen to our last rehearsal at http://web.mac.com/giovannyleon. I set the H2 to record in (wav) form then I convert the file to (mp3) in iTunes to make the file smaller before I turn it into a podcast.

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