What do we sound like #II

September 9, 2010 at 04:27 PM ·

This topic is surely integral to violinist.com so I hope Laurie will forgive me for continuing it beyond its demise :)

The object is to provide a networking and link place to your recordings of you.  As noted at the end of #I the sound bites on V.com have disappeared but I am guessing that that is temporary.  In any case, we can link outside and discussions of how and where are welcome here.

Replies (56)

September 9, 2010 at 11:33 PM ·

I can't wait to jump in and participate.  Threads like this definitely help me keep up the motivation for it.

What holds me up right now is that I don't know how to record audio files for computer playback.  But I suppose that an Average Joe like me, already computer literate, can probably learn how without much trouble.

Once I've crossed that hurdle, I plan to add a page to my own Web site with the audio links.  On the v.com profile page, a listed personal Web site has high visibility -- easy to spot and click on.

September 10, 2010 at 12:08 AM ·

I bought a very nice hand-held stereo digital recorder which I use to record my own playing in the studio or friends whatever when I am out.  it has two condensor microphones built in and creates a digital file that is easy to copy over to my computer - identical to a USP in fact.  I've also indulged now in a Ipod stereo attachment which has a telephone plug auxilliary input.  With this combination I can record myself and immediately play it back.  And the quality of the sound is awesome.

I'm at the pub writing this so I don't have  any of the names - I will post because its worked out exceptionally well, at least to my humble ear....

September 10, 2010 at 02:23 AM ·

Zoom H2, probably the most popular digital recorder, very affordable and the recording quality is awesome.  I like it better than gizmos that attach to the computer because you can put it in your case and have it whenever you need it.  Copying files to the computer is a snap; just plug in the USB cable and the recorder looks like another drive.


September 10, 2010 at 02:23 AM ·


Does anyone know what happened to the sound clips?  Laurie?

September 10, 2010 at 02:43 AM ·

your zoom is jut like mine then Smiley - small hand held, free standing recording device.  Used to be called a tape recorder :D

I messaged Laurie earlier about the sound clips but nothing yet - I guess she has her hands full with restructuring the site.  There are a lot more ads for starters :-\  But maybe that will make the forum self- sustaning.  I have thought about the same for mine... 

September 10, 2010 at 06:03 PM ·

This reminds me that I need to get one for this coming 2011 Spring Semester!

Sweetwater has Zoom H2 for $159.00...

September 10, 2010 at 06:51 PM ·

I have a Zoom H2 as well, and highly recommend it. Royce, that price is by no means a great deal. Try Amazon or others.

September 10, 2010 at 07:47 PM ·

Thanks for the tip! Gees, I was not not thinking!!!!! :^)

September 10, 2010 at 09:47 PM ·

There is one thing I do NOT like about the H2; the recording time is not quite enough.  In my last recital, I started it at the beginning, and it ran out of space about 3 minutes too early.  The concert was a little under an hour long.  Does anyone know if there is a way to expand the memory or if there is another model that has longer recording time?   If possible, I'd like to get one that will record for 2 hours. 


September 10, 2010 at 09:52 PM ·

Smiley, I did not know that H2 limits record time (although I have never needed to record much more than 1 hr at a time). Could it be because the memory card was full?

September 10, 2010 at 09:53 PM ·

I have an Olympus LS10, linear PCM recorder - the one mentioned with the stereo condenser microphones.  It comes wiht 2 MB storage but I just bought a 16 MB card.  The problem now is not 'enough' capacity but what to do with all the stored stuff!

It was recommended a while ago on one of those magazine comparisons...

September 10, 2010 at 09:54 PM ·

Just did a quick search on Amazon.  The H2 comes with 512MB SD memory card.  This 8GB SD Memory Card would increase the recording time by a factor of 16 (e.g., about 10 hours or more). 

@Joyce, yes it stopped because the memory was full. 

@Elise, 2 MB?  You must have gotten that during the age of the dinasaurs :-)


September 10, 2010 at 10:42 PM ·

Smiley, it looks like there is a limit on the file size - 2GB, but unless you record in a high bit rate WAV format (it's really not necessary in most cases, and most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference anyway), you should not need that much space. I configure my H2 to record in MP3 VBR (variable bit-rate). With a 4GB SD card, it can store almost 70 hours of recordings. On average, recording my hour-long lesson takes 50MB (I use 2-channel with the MIC gain set to high). Here is a table of maximum recordable time for H2:


The SD card you linked is Class 2, which is quite slow by today's standard. It's okay for an audio recording device, but if you want to be able to use it on a digital SLR or a HD camcorder, you should get something that is at least Class 6 (However, don't get Class 10 if your camera/camcorder is an older model).

September 11, 2010 at 12:52 AM ·

 VBR at 192kbps is the way to go for most audio recording.  This averages out in practice at about 200kbps but the quality is way higher - some players can indicate this and show it can reach 400 or 500 kbps.  The point about VBR is that it is Variable Bit Rate, which means it is upped only when needed, thus saving a lot of space.  

The only times I think you would really need to record using WAV at CD level or higher (which the ZoomH2 allows you to do) are when you're in a recording studio or using the device for scientific purposes. 

September 11, 2010 at 12:52 AM ·

Smiley: @Elise, 2 MB?  You must have gotten that during the age of the dinasaurs :-)

megabyte... gigabyte,,  whatever..

September 11, 2010 at 02:26 AM ·


I'm embarrassed to call myself a computer guy.  I had no idea the H2 could record in MP3 format.  I've been doing my recordings in .WAV format and converting them to MP3 on my PC, which is why it ran out of memory during my last recital.  Like you said, with MP3 variable bit rate, the H2 is good for many, many hours of continuous recording.  Next time I have a technical question, I know who to ask.  Thanks for the tip.


megabyte... gigabyte,,  whatever..

@Elise, what's a few orders of magnitude between friends :-)


September 11, 2010 at 12:10 PM ·

 I understand the 2GB limitation on file size (on the Zoom and other recorders) is a fundamental limitation of operating systems using 32-bit CPUs, which is almost all of them.  This is why, if you record in CD WAV format (1411kbps) the largest file size you're  going to get  won't be much of much more than a little over 3 hours recording time.  However, If you record using mp3 running at 192kbps (about 200kbps if you use the vbr option) you going to get about 7 times more recording time for the same 2GB file size limit.  If high fidelity audio is not a concern, such as when you are recording a conference or a lecture, you can safely record at an mp3 of 128kbps or lower, which will give you a recording time that is at least 11 times what you would get with a WAV recording. 

September 11, 2010 at 09:03 PM ·

Thanks for the numbers Trevor - which begs the question, whats the lowest resolution that will still capture a decent recording of classical music?  Lets say first to listen to and second just for review purposes?

September 12, 2010 at 01:38 AM ·

I did a little research; this is what I found.

Orchestral classical should do well at 256kbps for portable players, but files of 320kbps might be a better choice if you'll be burning to CD for the home or car.  When possible it is preferable that MP3 files be created using a variable bitrate. This allows the encoding program to determine if a particular frame of music requires the full bitrate. If not, the program reduces data retention for that frame resulting in a smaller file without sacrificing quality.

Unless you are a serious audiophile playing stuff back on a super fidelity stereo system, MP3 with variable bit rate seems like the way to go. 


September 12, 2010 at 02:02 AM ·

Wow - you really do learn someting new each day!  That sounds totally logical but is also totally new to me... variable bit rate.  Same thing for eating, variale bite depending on the chewminess of the food :D.

September 12, 2010 at 02:42 AM ·

You all have given a lot of valuable info already -- many thanks.   I will keep watching the thread.

I did a bit of Net research on Zoom H2.  It sounds like a great device.  Customer reviews on Amazon -- nearly 500 at this writing -- give it high marks.  Average rating is 4.5 out of possible 5.

The garage is the ideal place for recording here.  Now that we're past peak with Alabama's summer heat and humidity, I decided yesterday evening to finish a practice session out there.  Oh, so much fun -- and an unexpected extra burst of energy.  What's the name of that classic song -- "I Could Have Danced All Night"?

Well, I really don't know how to dance; but I definitely could have fiddled the night away instead -- if only 4:40 a.m. didn't come up so fast.  I don't tolerate sleep deprivation too well.

September 12, 2010 at 03:21 AM ·

I too have a Zoom H2, still figuring it out. have a bunch of stuff recorded, but the things I like are too long to post where I put them (musocity), and have been too busy to learn how to split the stuff into smaller files (or whatever). It's mostly improvised stuff, but at least with that you don't run into any kind of copyright violations!

September 12, 2010 at 09:04 AM ·

Rebecca - can you give us a link to the place you upload?  Some of us are looking for a place to store our stuff and link to from here ...

September 12, 2010 at 12:10 PM ·

 Did anyone ever find out what happened to the audio section of the profiles and the concert calendar?  Are they gone for good?

September 12, 2010 at 01:00 PM ·

I've had no reply from my queery yet, just don't want to bother L with it... she probably has her hands full right now

September 12, 2010 at 02:13 PM ·

I will say this, that I will certainly have a little more confidence using an H-2 when I get one... thanks to this thread!

September 12, 2010 at 04:13 PM ·

...have been too busy to learn how to split the stuff into smaller files (or whatever). 


I use a piece of freeware called MP3DirectCut that allows opening MP3 files, and you can do basic editing like cut and paste, fade in/out, etc.  There are many other freeware programs that do the same.  Just be careful of viruses when downloading stuff though. 


September 12, 2010 at 04:49 PM ·

Thanks so much for wanting to help!!

September 12, 2010 at 05:02 PM ·

 You could try using the free audio editor Audacity which allows the user to edit mp3 files.

September 12, 2010 at 09:38 PM ·

I was going to say that about Audacity but Trevor beat me to it! It's really easy to use too.

September 12, 2010 at 10:40 PM ·

I also have "audacity," but I don't use it to edit sound clips.  Mostly it just annoys people. :-)

September 14, 2010 at 06:21 PM ·

As of about three years ago, we no longer have space to store media on our server. You can link to Youtube or other recordings from your profile page. If you had a file on our server from before and you don't have a copy of it, let us know and we might be able to give you a copy of the file. Ideally, give us the URL it was on. 

People weren't really using the feature enough to justify the expense of it, and these days you can very easily host your sound or video clip on another site and link to it or embed it.

September 15, 2010 at 12:58 AM ·

Thanks for the official word Laurie.

Thus, what we need now is a consensus on the best place to upload our playing.  Ideally, free with high ersolution and convenient.  Any votes?

September 15, 2010 at 01:34 AM ·

The mp3 downloads of classical music from Amazon mostly seem to be recorded at 192kbps using vbr.  I've noticed the bit rate of the Amazon mp3 downloads frequently bumps up to at least 400kbps and never gets down to the nominal 192.  The quality is eminently acceptable for normal listening purposes, imo.

If you need to save 100% accurate backup copies of WAV files from CDs / LPs / tapes in a format with a reduced size and with no data loss whatsoever (a pretty neat trick!) you could try using FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec)  - google FLAC for a free download.   It's very easy to use, quite quick in converting WAV to FLAC, and even quicker converting back.  Typically, a FLAC file will be about 40% - 60% of the size of its WAV file, depending on the complexity of the original sound.  Some of the slightly more upmarket audio editors (Magix's Samplitude, for instance) will handle FLAC files, as will some recent audio players, such as Archos2/3.

September 16, 2010 at 01:46 AM ·

The Zooms are ok.  If you want better sound and are willing to go up in price a bit, go for the Sony PCM-D50.  Awesome sound quality.  The mics are so sensitive that the "optional" windscreen really isn't.  It's bigger though.  Not something you can put into your pocket.

September 16, 2010 at 09:09 AM ·

Anyone else tried Musocity.com for uploads suggested by Rebecca?  I've been there but yet to sign up.  The important thing (in addition to sound quality) is whether its easy to post links here.

I wonder if one can make a violinist.com community there.... hmmm

September 16, 2010 at 01:39 PM ·

After account creation, it's just copy and paste. Don't know about creating a group on there though, more later...

September 17, 2010 at 03:30 AM ·

 OK I finally have a clip of some of my playing.  I played all three parts separately, had someone film some of it and then sort of "frankensteined" the whole thing together.  It's called Ambulant Minstrels, based on a piano piece by Vladimir Rebikov.




September 17, 2010 at 10:30 AM ·

Terrific Michael, and how creative.  As commented there, the overall sound reminds me of a riverboat calliope!  You have a lovely sound.  Out of curiousity what kind of violin is that?

September 17, 2010 at 01:48 PM ·

Michael, LOVED IT, thanks so much for posting. You have provided me with a smile and wonderful mood to start my day.

September 17, 2010 at 04:25 PM ·

Michael, that's cool music -- and lovely sounds.  At first, I thought I was hearing a chamber group.

When you made the second and third tracks, were you listening to playback of the first -- or watching the video -- or … ?  Sorry, but I'm not up to speed on the technical stuff.

September 17, 2010 at 04:56 PM ·

yea, I wondered also how you managed to get the timing so perfect...

September 17, 2010 at 05:26 PM ·

 I tried multi-track recording on the cello once many years ago in my youth, using a reel-to-reel stereo tape deck.  It was one of the Bach 4-part harmony chorales "O Jesulein suss".  I recorded the top line (treble) first on  track 1, then recorded the bass line next on track 2 while listening to track 1. Then I combined tracks 1 and 2 onto track 1 and repeated the process for the alto and tenor parts.  Back in those days there were no computers to edit the sound and align the tracks (still less video recorders!) so, because there was an inbuilt delay between the playback head and the recording head there was a slight reverberation generated in the final recording.  A useful improvement to the sound, I thought, but  I don't like to think now how the signal-to-noise ratio must have degenerated at each stage.  The whole exercise took me the whole of an afternoon, including several retakes to get acceptable intonation, sound levels and timing.  
Many years later I copied that reel-to-reel recording to cassette.  I'll have a search to see if I've still got it.  I don't have that old reel-to-reel any more; it had had its day when reel-to-reel tapes finally went off the market (pity!). 

September 17, 2010 at 08:35 PM ·


Now I really don't want to play..... Just kidding! Way to go man!!!!!!

September 17, 2010 at 10:06 PM ·

   Thank you so much for the kind words!  To answer your questions I recorded the bass line near a window.  I went outside with my metronome so the microphone wouldn't hear it and placed it outside the window just close enough that I could still see the arm going back and forth.  There were 3 tracks total but I was trying to go for a 4-part harmony in the middle section so the 2nd track has doublestops to support the 3rd track.  On the 3rd track I had a friend hold a cell phone over my violin to record some video so there'd be something to see.  Then I imported all three tracks and the video into windows movie maker, made sure the downbeats line up and saved it.  It was a little frustrating because it took a couple of attempts to make sure I counted the right number of rested measures and I had to go out and rewind the metronome but all in all I'm glad I did it.  I'm very happy that you enjoyed my project.

September 17, 2010 at 10:18 PM ·

 Were you actually using three separate tracks on the recording or did you combine two or all of them (as I had to do on my reel-to-reel all those years ago)?

An interesting comparison of the old and the modern.

September 18, 2010 at 05:25 AM ·

that spooked me at first - you wrote:

@Michael:  Thank you so much for the kind words!  To answer your questions I recorded the bass line near a window.  I went outside with my metronome so the microphone wouldn't hear it and placed it outside the window just close enough that I could still see the arm going back and forth.

It took me a little time to realize you were talking about a metronome pendulum!  I thought you meant you went outside and watched your arm going back and forth.  Eeek!

Actually I suppose you could have done if you made the video first :-\  Perhaps that comes of just having had a nightmare (its 1.25 am here and I should not be up :( )....

September 19, 2010 at 01:35 AM ·

 Yes Trevor, I recorded three separate tracks except they all got compressed into one when I combined the audio with the video footage.  

Elise, I should have called it the pendulum of the metronome haha.  No worries, my arms are still quite attached.  Glad you enjoyed it (the video, not the nightmare)

September 19, 2010 at 04:25 AM ·

For comparison, I did a bit of Net research on the Sony PCM-D50 that Ray mentioned earlier.  I see that the Amazon reviews give it high marks, too.

The Sony holds up to 4 GB, but I'm still trying to figure out how much runtime that represents.  Now that I've seen Michael's video with multiple audio tracks put together, I know that doing just one stereo audio track and no video will mean a much lighter load at this end.

Still, now that I've seen -- or heard -- three audio tracks compressed into one, I can't help wishing there were some way to dub in the piano accompaniment in post-production -- or pre-production -- that is, for the pieces that have accompaniment.  It's going to be a while before I can get together with my pianist friends.

September 19, 2010 at 06:03 AM ·

If anyone creates a profile on Musocity, we can be linked by being fans of each other.

September 19, 2010 at 02:25 PM ·

Hi rebecca - I joined musocity and dropped you a note there.  As mentioned, I don't see a way to make a subgroup there but we can 'favorite' and just link from here.


September 21, 2010 at 06:44 AM ·

Michael: it just occurred to me, if I recorded say, the two parts of a duet and posted them could you splice them to a duet?  If so then why couldn't we make the v.com string orchestra - all play the same piece and splice the lot?

'All' we need to do is agree on a tempo and have a metronome play in our headsets to keep us on time.  I wonder if anyone has done it before?

September 21, 2010 at 09:30 AM ·

 Yes Elise, technically it is possible, and a very good idea as well.  The beginning of each sound sample would require a little editing to make sure that everything starts at precisely the correct time.  What would be really interesting is if the video incorporated some kind of group visual aspect so that each member could be seen playing.  That level of complexity would require someone with greater video editing skills than I have.

September 21, 2010 at 11:02 AM ·

I think it deserves a topic of its own...

September 21, 2010 at 05:10 PM ·

I would think have the writen music posted along with the metronome so that all would have the same timing. Metronomes can very slightly.... at least we would be using the same metonome.

September 21, 2010 at 05:45 PM ·

There is an on line metronome. We could use that.

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