What do you use to record your playing?

April 12, 2006 at 08:15 PM · I’ve not got to a point where I can play some intelligible songs and am starting to get interested trying to record a bit. I was wondering what you guys use to record your violin playing and manipulate it? I’d also like recommendations for beginners.

I’m a beginning Violin/Fiddle player and a neophyte recording engineer.

Thanks for your help and support.


Replies (11)

April 12, 2006 at 09:31 PM · I use Sonar from Cakewalk, though they also have Music Creator or Music Creator Pro software that would also work. For a microphone, I just use a Rode NT1-A that I got from bhphoto.com. That gets plugged into a "Firewire Solo" from M-Audio that has phantom power and a firewire interface back to the computer. I think you could go with a PCI card that would do the same, but I could potentially use this with a laptop at some point.

I'm also a beginner at both violin and recording, so that's just the set up that I've put together over the last couple of months.

April 12, 2006 at 10:06 PM · I use N-Track. It's a really good program and not too expensive (you can download it from their website)

April 12, 2006 at 11:01 PM · If you have a Mac computer you can use Quicktime or iTunes and record directly onto your computer using the internal mic. The sound is surprisingly good, and certainly good enough for practice purposes. We also bought a mini-disc recorder, which is more portable. It's not as easy to use, and the technology is a bit 1996, but it's good on the road. You can download the files to your computer. They cost about $300.

April 12, 2006 at 11:43 PM · I use an Mini-Disk Recorder (bought from a second hand store for about $100) and a Sony Mic (new, about $200) to do my recording. The problem with this is that in order to transfer it to computer you need to record it - that is you can't just transfer like you do with CD's or the like, If you've recorded a one hour lecture (for example) and you want to transfer it to your computer, it will take one hour.

I use Audacity for my audio editing. It's freeware, so there's no cost there, and it's very easy to use. You can save to a variety of formats, and it does almost everything that the expensive audio suites do.

April 13, 2006 at 01:28 AM · Hey Ben,

How do you keep from losing any of the fidelity of the recording from recording it twice?

I have pretty much the same system as you do. But when I try to record onto Audacity, I think I lose the sound quality.

April 13, 2006 at 03:29 PM · make sure you've got a good connection cable - apparently gold plugs are better. It's also just playing around with various settings in audacity - knowing what ones to use when (amplify, reductions etc).

Obviously if you've got a good soundcard, it would be better to record straight onto the computer rather than the MD, but as I often will record myself in another room with better acoustics than the room my computer is in, the MD is my best option.

April 13, 2006 at 03:48 PM · oktava microphones and Edirol UA-25 is an unbeatable match for the money....

April 13, 2006 at 04:31 PM · Computers make great recorders (many live recordings are done on computers these days), but the soundcard in your computer is in the wrong place (in the middle of electrical interference central) to do a good job.

Griffin Technology sells a simple external USB soundcard attachment that lets you hook up outside your computer and avoid the noise:


It works pretty well, isn't expensive, and runs cheap consumer microphones, such as the Audio-Technica Pro 24.


If you want to move up a step from that into borderline professional stuff, M-Audio makes a fancier version of the iMic (M-Audio MobilePre USB) which will connect professional microphones, and musiciansfriend.com is currently throwing in a nice microphone, free:


Don't forget to get a mic stand and cable, which aren't included. I found the free mic to be a bit boomy for violin, and just bought a SE 1A, which seems to be a bit too crunchy, but more accurate. If you want to get into microphones, all of which sound very different, it's a real $$$$$ trip...

April 13, 2006 at 07:39 PM · I use ProTools with my Mac laptop. I have a Digirack (002).

My mics are DPA: two omnidirectional mics (type 4052), one cartoid compact (type 4021 with adaptor that hooks mic up to violin- pretty cool!) and a miniature mic (type 4061-same as Nigel Kennedy) that also can hook up directly behind the bridge.

My monitors are Mackie, type hr626.


On the homepage, if you enter a search for Nigel Kennedy, go to the article "users." It's the first one, and it talks about Kennedy's mics....

Hope this helps!

April 13, 2006 at 10:48 PM · I've used N-track Studio for at least five years. It records unlimited tracks, can incorporate midi and has a lot of available plug-ins. It's very inexpensive (maybe $40? But the upgrades are usually free) and the programmer is a really nice guy. This is a home-gown program, but it has a lot of following and it is a quality product. It's a nice alternative to the really expensive stuff out there. The demo is almost fully-functional if you want to try it out.

April 14, 2006 at 09:15 AM · I use my iriver mp3 player. It's memory is so large I can continuously record it for hours. You can also adjust the quality of the recording (higher quality, large file size). I then transfer it to my laptop and use Audacity (freeware) to do the "cut and paste".

The good thing about using mp3 player is it doesn't cost you anything other than the player itself. No batteries (rechargeable battery), no tapes/cassette.

Iriver however is a little bulky. I use my iPod for travelling :-)

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