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soliciting suggestions for simple live recording gear

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Anonymous
September 5, 2004 6:18:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

My wife and five of her music school chums comprise a [mostly] a
cappella group that performs occasionally in the Hudson Valley NY area.
They do not yet consider themselves Professionals, but they're edging
toward that. They've done pro bono gigs for local charities and have
begun to pick up the occasional club job.

One of the members, who used to tag along after rock groups doing sound
chores, put together a modest system consisting of six decent Shure
wireless mics. They also add a wired mic for a hand drum and sometimes
attach a mic'd acoustic guitar. This all feeds a Mackie 1604 mixer that
feeds Mackie powered PA speakers and stage monitors.

Now they're interested in recording their live performances to augment
the studio-recorded demo's they've made the past few years. The
criteria: low cost (naturally!), minimum bulk/headache, 2-channels. So,
they're looking for something to plug into the faithful Mackie. It seems
to me, as a first guess, that an A/D box with a USB interface for a
laptop would do the trick. So would a simple, low-cost digital recorder
of some sort (direct to CD?).

Does anyone have suggestions about (1) the approach I mentioned and (2)
specific gear that would meet their requirements?

TIA

Jason
Anonymous
September 5, 2004 1:41:36 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <MPG.1ba441919183b6a9897c3@news.verizon.net> cipher@sitefinder.verisign.com writes:

> Now they're interested in recording their live performances to augment
> the studio-recorded demo's they've made the past few years. The
> criteria: low cost (naturally!), minimum bulk/headache, 2-channels. So,
> they're looking for something to plug into the faithful Mackie. It seems
> to me, as a first guess, that an A/D box with a USB interface for a
> laptop would do the trick. So would a simple, low-cost digital recorder
> of some sort (direct to CD?).

Either approach is fine. My personal opinion is that a hardware
recorder is preferable because it involves fewer pieces and cables,
and is easier to operate when you're in a hurry.

I've been using a Creative Labs Nomad Jukebox 3 pretty successfully in
this application. I record 16-bit stereo WAV files on it, and
aftwerward, transfer them to computer via USB (Firewire is faster but
I don't have it on a computer and it's not worth buying what I'd need
for this occasional application) for editing and making CDs.

Generally I don't do much in the way of "production" and the recording
is usually a two-track mono copy of the PA mix. Unless it's really a
recording session and I can pay attention to panning and levels, I
don't bother with stereo.

An alternate approach, if the group doesn't move around too much and
is well balanced (suspicious since you said they use wireless mics) is
to use a stereo microphone and record independent of the PA mix. I've
done this with the Jukebox also, using two spare channels of the mixer
(that aren't used in the PA) as mic preamps for a Studio Projects
LSD-2 stereo microphone, going into the Jukebox. This requires some
experimentation with placement as the singers are at a much greater
distance from the recording mic than they are to the PA mics, and
you'll get a lot more room ambience in your recording. Some is very
good, but too much is bad.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
September 6, 2004 2:49:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

J Warren <cipher@sitefinder.verisign.com> wrote:

>Does anyone have suggestions about (1) the approach I mentioned and (2)
>specific gear that would meet their requirements?

For standalone recorders:

iRiver iHP-120, Creative Nomad Jukebox 3, Archos Gmini 120.

Another alternative is the latest WAV-capable MD recorders from Sony.

You'll be limited to 16/44.1 or 16/48 for all of the above solutions.

If you want to do 24-bit up to 96 (or 192 KS/s) you might consider our
PDAudio system.

For laptop solutions being fed from a Line output on a Mackie board:

Try an M-Audio Transit (around $70). It'll take a Line or digital
optical input and any standard Mac or Windows recording application can
record it.

Other alternatives are the Audiophile USB or Audiophile Firewire, both
also from M-Audio.

--
Len Moskowitz PDAudio, Binaural Mics, Cables, DPA, M-Audio
Core Sound http://www.stealthmicrophones.com
Teaneck, New Jersey USA http://www.core-sound.com
moskowit@core-sound.com Tel: 201-801-0812, FAX: 201-801-0912
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Anonymous
September 6, 2004 4:21:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

moskowit@panix.com (Len Moskowitz) wrote in message news:<chhteh$19s$1@panix1.panix.com>...
> J Warren <cipher@sitefinder.verisign.com> wrote:
>
> >Does anyone have suggestions about (1) the approach I mentioned and (2)
> >specific gear that would meet their requirements?
>
> For standalone recorders:
>
> iRiver iHP-120, Creative Nomad Jukebox 3, Archos Gmini 120.
>

Beware the iRivers. They have a "glitch" problem in that they drop a
few samples every 80 seconds (probably becaue they assigned the
battery-condition update routine to a junior programmer). The problem
has been well-publicized, but iRiver seems disinterested in fixing it.
Anonymous
September 7, 2004 1:17:33 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <MPG.1ba441919183b6a9897c3@news.verizon.net>,
nobody@invalid.urp says...

>
> Does anyone have suggestions about (1) the approach I mentioned and (2)
> specific gear that would meet their requirements?
>
Thanks all. It would appear that the Nomad 3 has been discontinued. I
googled around for it and it's out of stock everywhere. Creative's newer
models don't seem to support recording. Yet Creative's website still has
info about the Nomad 3. Strange.

I wasn't aware that any SONY MD recorder could produce .wav files - I
hadn't looked at them because I'd read unflattering reports about their
proprietary compression and figured that's all they could do. I'll take
another look.

Jason
Anonymous
September 7, 2004 1:17:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"J Warren" wrote ...
> I wasn't aware that any SONY MD recorder could produce
> .wav files - I hadn't looked at them because I'd read
> unflattering reports about their proprietary compression and
> figured that's all they could do. I'll take another look.

They don't "produce .wav files". They all use ATRAC compression.
However the more recent vitage is reputed to be unexpectedly good.
Depending on what you are recording and what your expectations are,
MD recording may per perfectly adequate. A recent review of "pro"
and "pro-sumer" DV camcorders revealed that MD is the equal or
better of many (most?) of them. (Jay Rose in DV Magazine)
Anonymous
September 8, 2004 7:19:34 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <10jpldnshab9td3@corp.supernews.com>, rcrowley7@xprt.net
says...

>
> They don't "produce .wav files". They all use ATRAC compression.
> However the more recent vitage is reputed to be unexpectedly good.
> Depending on what you are recording and what your expectations are,
> MD recording may per perfectly adequate. A recent review of "pro"
> and "pro-sumer" DV camcorders revealed that MD is the equal or
> better of many (most?) of them. (Jay Rose in DV Magazine)
>
I couldn't find the Jay Rose article online that you cite (found a lot
of other interesting ones, tho :-) ), but I did find an excerpt,
apparently from a Sony memo on their introduction of "Hi-MD." It looks
as if, in addition to ATRAC, the new format offers "linear PCM." Sounds
like .wav files--or close--to me.

From the quoted memo:
“Hi-MD” uses ATRAC3plus (*4) audio compression technology, which
delivers high data compression while maintaining quality of sound. “Hi-
MD” also enables linear PCM recordings, resulting in the recording and
playback of near CD quality sound.


Here's the reference:
http://www.minidisc.org/part_Hi-MD_Sony.html

I have no idea if "minidisc.org" is legit/reliable/sold-out/etc., but it
looks promising.

Thanks for the nudge.

Jason
Anonymous
September 8, 2004 1:30:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <MPG.1ba8445238b810539897c6@news.verizon.net> cipher@sitefinder.verisign.com writes:

> I couldn't find the Jay Rose article online that you cite (found a lot
> of other interesting ones, tho :-) ), but I did find an excerpt,
> apparently from a Sony memo on their introduction of "Hi-MD." It looks
> as if, in addition to ATRAC, the new format offers "linear PCM." Sounds
> like .wav files--or close--to me.

Did the Hi-MD ever emerge? All I ever hear is reports of it coming.
Seems like it would be the talk of the town (this town anyway) if it
was actually available.

Like so many things that apply consumer technology, we seem to be in a
gap right now. The Jukebox 3 has been discontinued and while there are
other ways to accomplish what it does, there are no direct
replacements right now. Since recording high quality audio isn't a
high priority in the consumer world, I expect that it will be hard to
fill this gap.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
September 8, 2004 4:57:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Rivers <mrivers@d-and-d.com> wrote:

>Like so many things that apply consumer technology, we seem to be in a
>gap right now. The Jukebox 3 has been discontinued and while there are
>other ways to accomplish what it does, there are no direct
>replacements right now. Since recording high quality audio isn't a
>high priority in the consumer world, I expect that it will be hard to
>fill this gap.

We've heard some good things about the Archos Gmini 120 - you might have
a look at that. The iRiver iHP-120 & 140 are another. Being consumer
products, again there's no way to know how long they will be available
or how long they will be supported.

The Sony Hi-MD is another possibility, if an hour and a half of
recording time at 16/44.1 is enough.

And of course, if you want to record up to 24-bit @ 96 KS/s, there's our
PDAudio system. For a digital only system, cost is currently under
#500, it's a single hand-holdable unit and fits in a shirt pocket. With
an analog front end it's a bit larger and more expensive, much like the
JB3 if you added good mic pre/A-to-D.

--
Len Moskowitz PDAudio, Binaural Mics, Cables, DPA, M-Audio
Core Sound http://www.stealthmicrophones.com
Teaneck, New Jersey USA http://www.core-sound.com
moskowit@core-sound.com Tel: 201-801-0812, FAX: 201-801-0912
Anonymous
September 8, 2004 5:03:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Richard Crowley <rcrowley7@xprt.net> wrote:

>They don't "produce .wav files". They all use ATRAC compression.

This is incorrect. The latest Hi-MD recorders can record linear PCM wav
files.

--
Len Moskowitz PDAudio, Binaural Mics, Cables, DPA, M-Audio
Core Sound http://www.stealthmicrophones.com
Teaneck, New Jersey USA http://www.core-sound.com
moskowit@core-sound.com Tel: 201-801-0812, FAX: 201-801-0912
Anonymous
September 8, 2004 10:08:12 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <chndla$480$1@panix3.panix.com> moskowit@panix.com writes:

> We've heard some good things about the Archos Gmini 120 - you might have
> a look at that. The iRiver iHP-120 & 140 are another. Being consumer
> products, again there's no way to know how long they will be available
> or how long they will be supported.

That's an important consideration. The other is the $#!@%&* mini phone
jacks. <G>

On one hand, it's reasonable to consider these things to be
throwaways, that if put into paying service, any one of them would be
paid for in one gig - get another three or ten gigs out of it before
it falls apart and you're making pretty good money. You can afford to
throw it away and get whatever the current best thing is.

But I really don't like working that way. If I was a busy location
recordist, I would want something that's physically more robust, but
like most of us here, a portable recorder is something that we mostly
use just for fun - still we don't like it to fail when we expect it to
be working.



--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
September 8, 2004 10:17:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"J Warren" <nobody@invalid.urp> wrote in message
news:MPG.1ba8445238b810539897c6@news.verizon.net...
> From the quoted memo:
> "Hi-MD" uses ATRAC3plus (*4) audio compression technology, which
> delivers high data compression while maintaining quality of sound. "Hi-
> MD" also enables linear PCM recordings, resulting in the recording and
> playback of near CD quality sound.

One has to wonder why it would only be "NEAR" CD quality if it was in fact
16 bit linear PCM?
Lower sample rate maybe? They don't usually consider the analog performance
here.

TonyP.
Anonymous
September 8, 2004 10:39:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <znr1094644062k@trad>, mrivers@d-and-d.com says...
>
> In article <MPG.1ba8445238b810539897c6@news.verizon.net> cipher@sitefinder.verisign.com writes:
>

>
> Did the Hi-MD ever emerge? All I ever hear is reports of it coming.
> Seems like it would be the talk of the town (this town anyway) if it
> was actually available.
>
Yes - it's for sale from a number of vendors according to Froogle. I
wish somebody I knew had one so I could try it :-(

Jason
Anonymous
September 13, 2004 4:55:33 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <MPG.1ba91c09b3b53ce09897c8@news.verizon.net>,
nobody@invalid.urp says...
..
> >
> Yes - it's for sale from a number of vendors according to Froogle. I
> wish somebody I knew had one so I could try it :-(
>
I got my mits on one and on the documentation. It supports 44kHz
sampling "linear PCM". Thus, no digital compression. You can also defeat
the audio compressor and adjust gain manually, albeit for both channels
together. Specs do not mention dynamic range, but claim 20-20kHz +/- 3dB
for freq. response. I have test equipment to evaluate further but no
time to do so before I have to give it back... But it looks promising.

For a couple hundred $'s this might be what I need for our semi-pro use;
even if it dies after a couple of uses (well, maybe more than that - but
not in the middle!) I'm happy. If anyone else has more to add, please
chime in. Blank media are around $7.00 for a 1+GB disc, but it will use
Hi-MD mode on standard MD discs.

Jason
Anonymous
September 13, 2004 1:00:45 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <MPG.1baeba11e2a157249897cc@news.verizon.net> cipher@sitefinder.verisign.com writes:

> I got my mits on one and on the documentation.

We're talking about the high resolution Minidisk here, I think?

> It supports 44kHz
> sampling "linear PCM". Thus, no digital compression. You can also defeat
> the audio compressor and adjust gain manually, albeit for both channels
> together. Specs do not mention dynamic range, but claim 20-20kHz +/- 3dB
> for freq. response.

This is digital performance? (TonyP take note)

> I have test equipment to evaluate further but no
> time to do so before I have to give it back... But it looks promising.

So why did you give it back? <g>


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
September 14, 2004 12:21:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <znr1095075806k@trad>, mrivers@d-and-d.com says...
>
> In article <MPG.1baeba11e2a157249897cc@news.verizon.net> cipher@sitefinder.verisign.com writes:
>
> > I got my mits on one and on the documentation.
>
> We're talking about the high resolution Minidisk here, I think?

Yes. Hi-MD in PCM mode.

> So why did you give it back? <g>

Good question - my friend didn't want to let it out of his sight at all
to begin with. I guess he knows of my penchant for taking things
apart...

I did find an authoritative-looking website that has more information:

http://www.minidisc.org/hi-md_faq.html#_q93

One shortcoming I see is that, for the moment anyway, one cannot
directly upload a PCM file, I.e., without "playing" it and thus
suffering multiple d/a and a/d conversions. When connected via USB, the
device appears to Windoze as a "USB-attached bulk storage device." You
can read and write to it like any other disk. However, after I created a
PCM file and transferred it this way, it was NOT a valid .wav file. I
think this is going to get fixed; rumor has it that Sony has plans to
beef up the PC software in late 2004 to "enhance the upload
experience" :-)


Jason
Anonymous
September 14, 2004 12:41:58 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <MPG.1bafcb418a8d99259897cd@news.verizon.net> cipher@sitefinder.verisign.com writes:

> Yes. Hi-MD in PCM mode.

> One shortcoming I see is that, for the moment anyway, one cannot
> directly upload a PCM file, I.e., without "playing" it and thus
> suffering multiple d/a and a/d conversions. When connected via USB, the
> device appears to Windoze as a "USB-attached bulk storage device." You
> can read and write to it like any other disk. However, after I created a
> PCM file and transferred it this way, it was NOT a valid .wav file.

Strange. Maybe it's a "file header" thing. The minidisk.org people
should be able to come up with a work-around if it's indeed a problem.

> think this is going to get fixed; rumor has it that Sony has plans to
> beef up the PC software in late 2004 to "enhance the upload
> experience" :-)

Well, that's a refreshing change from their scheme on the present
Minidisk to prohibit file transfer of a recording made on the recorder
to computer. Hopefully they'll straighten it out.

--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
!