Home recording kit

April 3, 2018, 2:38 AM · Hi all,

Just wondered if anyone could recommend reasonably good but reasonably priced recording equipment.

Am not looking to start releasing albums, but would like something good enough that I can record myself playing and send it to my friends and family and it sound reasonably faithful!

Replies (15)

April 3, 2018, 4:51 AM · Sounds rather like the discussion we had recently ("Which recording solution is the best?"). I'm an advocate of the low end of the available options - for my purposes (I frequently multi-track myself in the neglected chamber music repertoire) a competent USB microphone like the Blue Yeti works fine with the free Audacity software. Others will disagree!
April 3, 2018, 5:31 AM · Hi,

Are you looking for video or audio? For audio, I would suggest looking at ZOOM devices. There are many levels for different budget and application, but the results are excellent.

Cheers!

April 3, 2018, 8:41 AM · Budget?
April 3, 2018, 9:33 AM · Note that if you intend to share your videos via YouTube or Facebook Videos, the compression they use will degrade the quality of your recording fairly significantly.

I find that my Zoom Q4n (about $250 on Amazon) generates higher-quality audio and video than YouTube-quality, and so it's perfectly fine for casual YouTube sharing purposes.

April 3, 2018, 9:50 AM · This can all get really deep really fast all depending on budget and the degree to which you want to be involved in the recording process.

If you simply want to push a record button and capture yourself with no prior knowledge of recording and no interest, then get a Zoom or similar.

Since you aren't into "releasing albums" I would agree with Lydia.

Audacity is ok for capturing a basic audio track on a laptop. If you ever want to manipulate the audio or add additional tracks or parts, then I would recommend more in depth recording software.

April 3, 2018, 9:57 AM · My process is super simple. I have the Zoom configured for max quality. I put it on a cheap portable tripod (Amazon Basics, $25). The Zoom comes with software (HandyShare), which lets me copy the recorded clips onto my Mac. Long recordings get split up into multiple files, automatically. I load all the clips into QuickTime, trim the beginning and ending of the file, and save it. Then I upload the whole thing to YouTube.

That's worked fine for me for solo stuff, duo with piano, chamber music (quartet etc.), and concerto with orchestra, as well as capturing orchestra performances. I typically put the camera in the second or third row, but at the back of the room can work for some venues too.

April 3, 2018, 10:31 AM · Also best to record initially in high resolution wav files, here's why.

If you record compressed and then upload the web site will also compress it, so you get double degradation. If the website only accepts 128 mp3 and you have a compressed file of say 320 mp3 the track gets double treatment.
Best to upload a high resolution wav file such as 16/44.1, 24/48, 24/96. Some even upload 32 bit wav files dithered. 16/44.1 is a CD quality file. You get a bit more headroom using 24 bit files.

April 4, 2018, 3:42 AM · Thanks for the comments!

So I currently actually have a Yeti. I don't think I've been using it optimally so far, so I'll give it another go. If I'm still not happy I might invest in a Zoom, though I definitely don't want (or need ;) ) to spend any more than that!

April 7, 2018, 11:43 AM · Update: I'm finding Yeti + Audacity is working fine for my purpopses, so long as I keep the gain dial on the microphone fairly low. If the gain is too high then double-stops end up sounding horrendous (I guess there is some kind of clipping going on with them).
Edited: April 28, 2018, 5:12 AM · I second Lydia (and others) 's endorsement of Zoom. I started with a Zoom H2 and was amazed at the quality. I started using it for recording our orchestra. I've since upgraded to Zoom H6 and a pair of Rode condenser mics. Excellent - and records an accurate sound.
So, choose the Zoom that fits your budget. I second Audacity as a (free) editing programme.
Most things are enhanced with a bit of "artificial bathroom" (reverb). Try DX Reverb Lite - again free, and , I think, unbeatable!
April 28, 2018, 8:07 AM · Although the Zoom devices do a good job with audio recording, so does the Ederol R-09. The Ederol has the advantage that it is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket (like a deck of playing cards) and if you back it with a n index card yoou can make a good recording with the Ederol in your pocket. The instruction manual for this tiny device has 108 pages, so, as you might imagine its few buttons have multiple purposes and using it can get confusing.

I've had my Ederol for more than a decade and recorded from one to 400 musicians in venues ranging from a small room to a 2,000 seat concert hall. When I did "pirate" a performance I always made sure to purchase the equivalent CD of the performer subsequently (to balance my conscience - anyway these professional events were always ones in which one of my grandchildren was performing). To my ears comparison of the recordings shows the Ederol did a "heck of a job!"

As for the Zoom. Our chamber orchestra's founder used his Zoom to record our last two rehearsals for a concert that is scheduled for tomorrow. He had previously used a fancy looking microphone on a tripod hooked up to his Mac laptop. The Zoom recordings were far superior.

May 1, 2018, 2:26 PM · I record our orchestra's concerts with a Zoom H4 at 16/44.1 and burn CDs or massage it into MP3s. Works fine with the internal mics. Someday when I feel flush I'll get a couple of external mics; the Zoom has XLR connectors and can supply phantom power.
May 3, 2018, 4:29 AM · For external mics, I'm using a pair of Rode NT5s using phantom power from the Zoom (and recording via the Zoom onto an internal SD Card).
Very simple and very good.
May 3, 2018, 5:49 AM · ...if anyone cares to check out my 2 songs on my thread gospel lyrics, blues & disco...I recorded these from a 6 channel Peavy PA head into a little Behringer mixer into a ghetto blaster on cassette. then later got them copied to CD. Sound quality is pretty good methinks.
May 3, 2018, 9:48 AM · I've been using a Zoom q2n for recording concerts and recitals and it has worked very well for that purpose. Using Eneloop rechargeable batteries, the unit goes for 3+ hours recording and while the video quality is not the absolute best, the audio is excellent and well worth the $160. I mount the unit on a lightweight tripod.

The recorded files are in mpeg-4 (MOV) format, which are easy to manipulate on macOS with Quicktime and iMovie. Windows users should download and install Shotcut (shotcut.org), a free, open source, cross-platform video editor.

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