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Recording Digitaly

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I would be most appreciative for help re what to buy to allow myself to record into my computer. I have not done this before and wish to create music with several instruments. Advice on software and hardware would be ideal and especially user friendly learner stuff an the technology side.

 

Thanks, Peter.

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I would be most appreciative for help re what to buy to allow myself to record into my computer. I have not done this before and wish to create music with several instruments. Advice on software and hardware would be ideal and especially user friendly learner stuff an the technology side.

 

Thanks, Peter.

 

Peter,

 

If you would like a portable digital recorder about the size of your hand, consider the Edirol R-09 by Roland:

 

http://www.rolandus.com/products/productde...px?ObjectId=757

 

I have the R-09's predecessor, the Edirol R-1, and I like it. It records in wave or MP3 format. It can make 24 bit digital files, and CD quality is only 16 bit. I think the built-in stereo microphones are adequate for many purposes, but external microphones can be added for better quality and microphone placement.

Edited by Brian Humphrey

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I've used my Edirol R-1 and Audacity on my Mac and I've been happy with the results. Both are capable of much more than I've ever done with them (sort of like my concertinas!).

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I would be most appreciative for help re what to buy to allow myself to record into my computer. I have not done this before and wish to create music with several instruments. Advice on software and hardware would be ideal and especially user friendly learner stuff an the technology side.

 

Thanks, Peter.

 

 

If you have a sound card, such as Sound Blaster Audigy installed on your computer, it comes with a lot of software, including recording capability. Or, you could also buy Goldwave. The process is simple either way: plug in your source (microphone, MP3 recorder or other device) to the microphone jack on the computer, open your software program and establish your settings for the new recording, start playing or turn on the playback from your recording device and there you go! You can then edit your recording, save it, convert it from WAV to another format, email it, whatever.

 

For multitrack recording, I have a little ZOOM MRS-4. It cost under $200, records 4 tracks digitally and is very easy to use. The downside is that the media card included is very small, so you really need to go out and buy another with more memory. I can use it to lay down a melody track with the concertina, then accompany myself with the different voices of my electronic keyboard for the other tracks.

 

You might also take a look at the ZOOM H-4. It's a palm-size 4 track digital recording device with 2 built-in condenser mics for stereo recording, or you can also plug in external microphones. The price is about $299, but, again, you'll probably need to buy a larger memory card than the one included.

 

Have fun!

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I do my (amateur, basic) recording with this Sony ICD-ST series voice recorder, It comes with all the stuff needed for uploading and editing, etc..

 

It's just a voice recorder, not meant for music, but it's okay. WAY better than some of the other digital voice recorders, when it comes to music.

 

I also do use Audacity for editing.

 

After I've uploaded from my recorder, with the Sony software I make a basic .wav file (not possible to convert to mp3 with the Sony software, at least not mine). Then, to make a .mp3 file, I then upload the .wav file to Audacity. I like being able to See the graphics of the sound, so I can make edits where needed. So, after editing with Audacity, I convert the .wav to an .mp3.

 

If you download the Audacity, I think there's a second and/or third download you need to do in order to be able to convert your files to .mp3s (which are so much better online than .wav).

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I would be most appreciative for help re what to buy to allow myself to record into my computer.

 

I think this is the job

 

After you've recorded the stuff, it just plugs into the USB socket on your computer and lets you transfer its nice easy wma files. Read the reviews beneath the listing and you'll get the idea.

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Hm, 32 Kb/s is pretty low quality, even for web downloading. Especially if you edit and re-save the audio.

 

I recently got the (now discontinued) iRiver iFP 899 MP3 player/recorder. It's just about unique as far as inexpensive MP3 units go, being as it has a line-in jack, a mic preamp, and can record high-quality MP3 (up to 320 Kb/s!) from the mic/line in jack. The built-in mic isn't too bad, although it's limited to 160 Kb/s, which is still pretty high quality. Files transfer easily to the computer with USB2 (or USB1, if that's all you have). I downloaded the latest drivers and software from iRiver's website instead of using the CD that came with the unit.

 

Check out reviews on Amazon.com (or Amazon UK), or see the PDF manual on the iRiver iFP-800 Series support page.

 

It's discontinued, but I got mine for about $70 on eBay, try a search for iRiver 899.

 

One of those little plug-in T mics would probably work great with it, I use a small gooseneck stereo mic. You don't need a powered mic because of the mic preamp on the 899, which works well. Although the internal mic should be enough to get you started. One downside is you can't change the recording volume while recording, and there doesn't seem to be any sort of record level meter. But I've written down a few numbers that have worked for me in the past, that gets me in the ballpark, then I do a few tests at max volume and transfer the files to the computer to check level. This takes a few extra minutes, but it gives you a better idea of what's going on than a little meter anyway. As a general guideline, it's much better to leave some unused headroom than to risk clipping. In a live situation when I can't double-check on the computer, I just set it quite a bit lower than I think it shold be, and unless the level is ridiculously low, it can be amplified with an audio editing program with decent results. And if you set it a bit high, in Audacity, you can sometime fix small clips by reducing the volume a few dB, and using the "pencil" tool to smooth out the flat-topped waves.

 

You can also digitize LPs, cassettes, the audio from videotapes, or whatever, at quite high quality, which is a big plus. There's also a built-in radio, which you can record from as well, although I haven't used it. I've looked around quite a bit, and there's nothing that approaches the recording quality you can get from this unit at anywhere near the price. If there is, I'd like to know about it.

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I use a Sony ECM-719 Microphone - which gives amazing quality considering how tiny it is. I plug it into a cheap (Sharp MD MT 866) Minidisc Recorder that I bought second-hand off of Ebay. This gives a good quality portable solution. I then transfer the recordings onto my PC using Audacity.

 

If you're going to have a separate recorder I think you should only consider some form of digital device (e.g. Minidisc or MP3). Even the best tape devices I've tried do not give comporable results.

 

If you're recording direct to the PC you can connect a microphone to the sound card but you'll need to dampen the sound of the PC. With a laptop this shouldn't really be much of a problem. Audacity should do all the basics you might require.

 

To see what can be achieved have a listen to clips of Adem Ilham's album Homesongs which was recorded at home, as BBC Manchester describes "...this wonderfully subtle creation was recorded using two borrowed microphone and a computer so old it had to wrapped in Adem's duvet to deaden the motor hum."

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I am a big fan of the Minidisc Hi-MD format. The minidisc is a little inconvenient as a tune sucker because you need to plug a microphone into it, and then there is a small lag getting it started (once it is started though, you can simply pause the recording feature and it will start recording again instrantly (and with a new track mark too :). You can record in several different formats including CD quality and Sony's propriatary compression that is considerably higher quality than MP3. When you download it to your computer, you can store as WAV files, convert to MP3s, etc.

 

For sucking tunes to learn, I much prefer digital voice recorders. The built in mic and speaker means they are very convenient both for starting to record quickly and for working on a tune when you are not near your computer. Most modern voice recorders support uploading to your computer so you can do a bit more with the files.

 

--

Bill

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Peter,

I would steer you away from recording directly to your computer. Why? Your computer is noisy and you probably don't have a decent audio interface to input a decent signal. Plus, you are tied to your computer. I also guessing that you really don't need multi-track capability. I have been using high end audio recording/editing software for 12 years (ProTools), and I can't help but feel that most of these are a bit of overkill for your situation. I think that you might get better results from other more portable recorders.

 

I would second some of the previous advice. A good CDR, mini disc, or even one of the new digital recorders that uses a non-moving storage media such as a Compact Flash card would probably be better suited. I have been using a Marantz 671 digital recorder, and while it's definitely high end, it is the recorder I wish I had when I started my engineering career 21 years ago. Marantz also makes two lower priced models, one of which is extremely portable. These record in WAV or MP2, & MP3 format, so inputing files into the computer is a snap without recording directly into the computer. I've even seen a new recorder that uses a PDA to record 24 bit audio. Realize that unless you have a great mic(s), it doesn't make sense to spend a huge amount on any type of digital recorder. It will only sound as good as your weakest link. If it is just for recreational use and the occassional web post, get a mid priced system that's portable and easy to use. You'll be happier in the long run.

 

What is your budget? That will determine what is practical.

 

Best of luck. You're entering the slippery slope of audio recording!

 

GAS

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Thanks for all your help. I need some time to absorb it. Budget I supose would be £200 ish, but if I had to would go higher and would be pleased to go lower!

Thanks again, Peter.

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I used to use a Sony stereo mic ECM-MS907 (placed a couple of meters away) plugged into a minidisc recorder (quite old). With this the sound is quite OK for "personal use" - it lets you have a really good idea what you sound like with no distortion. However, the signal-to-noise level is quite annoying.

 

I then had to transfer to computer by playing the minidisc back through the soundcard line-in. I did/do all mixing with n-track studio (registered).

 

I would avoid recording directly to a desktop computer because of the noise, and the problems moving it around. Maybe a laptop is OK...

 

If you can record in a nice acoustic environment, that's great. If you can't, then by FAR the best reverb I managed to find was by using SIR (there's a thread about this a couple of months back with some examples). With a little experimentation, this is pretty much as good as the real thing, to my ears... The plugin works with n-track studio - don't know about with Audacity.

 

Recently I treated myself to a pair of Rode NT5 mics and a Yamaha AW1600 digital multitrack recorder - this is really great (but not inside your budget!). However, even without a multitrack recorder you can still do (sequential) multi-track recording by recording tracks separately - all the digital playback devices I've used (minidisc, Palm PDA, mp3 player) play at a speed that is accurate enough for you to record multiple tracks and then align them in a software mixing program (like n-track studio, or Audacity), and there's no significant drift over a few of minutes. Most (all except One too many, tenor-treble version of Rosline Castle, and the Irish jigs) of the recordings on my web page are done like this (i.e. Sony mic, minidisc and manual alignment when multitracked).

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Recently I treated myself to a pair of Rode NT5

 

 

Interesting, especially for a guy named Ratface! :D

 

Alan

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I've got to agree with Brian and recommend the Roland Edirol R-09. Its very little larger than a minidisk, has built-in stereo mikes, records onto a SD memory card up to 2GB in MP3 format which can be uploaded directly to a computer. I know a few folks who have bought them and all are delighted with them. Cost about $300 I understand in the States and around £300 in the UK.

 

Pete

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There are some very high quality digital recorders in various formats on the market, but I’m under the impression that minidisc offers something that no other format does, and that's its ability to extensively edit recordings without the need to have a PC at hand.

 

Potential sound card quality issues aside, I have a notebook PC that I could take along when I attend events away from home but between the computer, its A/C power supply and the travel bag it all fits in, I'm essentially adding another piece of luggage to my travel kit, and something else I have to protect from theft. Minidisc recorders are small enough to fit in a shirt pocket or purse, they offer good quality recordings and good battery life too. Most models will accept AA batteries if you can't get to a wall outlet to recharge the internal battery, so you can run one for days if you're at an outdoor festival or traveling in foreign countries.

 

As to editing, a minidisc recorder permits one to structure recordings into “tracks” that are in many ways similar to CD tracks. This can be done during recording or anytime later, and the tracks can be redefined on a whim and their content deleted or moved as desired to re-sequence the disc content. I think this is a huge advantage over most other media recorders (iPod, hard-drive and chip-based recorders in various formats).

 

As with some other formats one can also select any portion of the recorded material to loop (A/B looping) during playback, and certain models of minidisc recorders also permit playback speed reduction/speed-up without altering pitch. These features are quite handy when attempting to learn new material by ear, especially if one doesn’t have ready access to a computer.

 

I have a very high quality microphone, but find that for all my needs the less expensive Sony condenser microphones typically used with minidisk units are quite satisfactory. I like a “good” clear sound, but I don’t need concert hall quality input to the recorder.

 

I'm currently using a Sony MZ-100 (similar to a MZ-RH10) and an MZ-RH1 minidisc recorder and I like both units. To be clear, either one alone would be a great choice for class/workshop/session recording. I find I really appreciate that the information displays on both units light up in bright blue letters making them very easy to read in poor light. The MZ-100 offers a more informative display of information if one assigns titles to individual tracks, but the MZ-RH1 (Sony's latest and in some respects best so far) permits digital speed changes from half speed to double without pitch alterations and maintains a good quality of sound.

 

Recent versions of the related Sony software permit you to digitally transfer microphone-made recordings to a computer via a USB cable and from there the files can be converted to formats suitable for further editing and storage. I usually edit material to within about a second using the minidisk recorders capabilities, and after transferring material to my computer I use Nero Wave editor for final editing touch-up before storing files on CDs or DVDs. Of course they can also be converted to mp3 and stored on any suitable player too.

 

On those occasions that I feel the spot urge to alter the pitch or playing speed of any audio file stored on my computer (regardless of source) I use Transcribe! I find it renders a good sound, especially when slowing things down significantly (50% or more), and I find the visual display and ability to insert multiple reference markers very handy.

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As to editing, a minidisc recorder permits one to structure recordings into “tracks” that are in many ways similar to CD tracks. This can be done during recording or anytime later, and the tracks can be redefined on a whim and their content deleted or moved as desired to re-sequence the disc content. I think this is a huge advantage over most other media recorders (iPod, hard-drive and chip-based recorders in various formats).

 

As with some other formats one can also select any portion of the recorded material to loop (A/B looping) during playback, and certain models of minidisc recorders also permit playback speed reduction/speed-up without altering pitch. These features are quite handy when attempting to learn new material by ear, especially if one doesn’t have ready access to a computer.

Bruce,

 

My (late lamented) chip-based digital voice recorder -- Sony model ICD-ST25 -- could do almost all of the above: Divide tracks in two, combine two tracks into one continuous track, loop playback, and slow down or speed up without changing the pitch. Options for re-sequencing tracks on this unit are limited.

 

I was quite happy with this device, and still would be if it hadn't been stolen out of my car recently. :angry:

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