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advice sought: school recording stuff

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Anonymous
January 8, 2005 3:51:18 PM

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

Hey all:

It is with reverent admiration of the professionals in this august group
that I come, humbly prostrating my unworthy self on bended knee before thee,
O Gods of Recording.

I was called by my son's middle school chamber orchestra teacher. She wants
advice on buying some recording equipment for the orchestra, band, and
choir. I had made some CDs from minidisk recordings of their concerts, and
my son submits his violin test tapes in CD form, and she figures I'm the
go-to guy for advice.

They will be requesting funds from the PTG and Associated Students, and are
thinking about $1000. I can push that a bit, and make a case for a little
bit more, especially because I'm PTG president and would be approving the
money!! They have no sense of what things cost, and didn't factor in mics
and stands and cords and carry case, etc.

They would be recording concerts and individual audition CDs for the most
part, but I see a lot of possibilities for other musical and other projects.

I'm looking at something like this:

Korg D1200 MkII 12-track digital recorder w/CDburner
OR Yamaha AW16G w/CD burner
OR similar

Couple of Marshall or Oktava or Behringer large-diaphragm mics.

Small behringer mixer to provide few more XLR inputs should they want to do
something like record the jazz group.

I have a fair amount of experience with gear. I currently have a little
basement studio based around a MOTU 828 MkII and an iBook. I've worked with
a larger Mac with a Digi 001. I also had, for several years, a Roland VS
880 that I really liked. I've also been reading this group for a few
years, and diligently and faithfully pore over every BSW and Sweetwater and
Full Compass catalogue that comes in, drooling over things I'd like to have
but have no right owning.

So my questions are:

1) Are there any significant sound differences between these two units?
E.G., mic pres, converters, etc.? Suggestion as to another in that price
category? Korg is about $850 street, Yamaha is about $1000 street.

2) Are there any significant differences in user-friendliness between these
two units? Think music teachers and possibly English teachers. MY sense
is that ANY of these things would be even easier to operate than the VS 880
I had, basically being a tape recorder interface analogy, but I'm not
looking at it from a non-tech person's point of view. I'd love feedback
about this.

3) Any comments or recommendations about the mics I listed? Think Middle
School choir, very good band, excellent jazz band, excellent chamber
orchestra.

Thanks much for any ideas. I think I've pretty much got a good sense of
what would work, but want to fine tune things before I make a presentation
next week and start spending money.

Carlos Alden
Anonymous
January 8, 2005 5:23:49 PM

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

"Carlos Alden" <calden3@msn.com> wrote in message
news:BE0587C5.34B39%calden3@msn.com...

> Couple of Marshall or Oktava or Behringer large-diaphragm mics.
>

> 3) Any comments or recommendations about the mics I listed? Think Middle
> School choir, very good band, excellent jazz band, excellent chamber
> orchestra.

Unless you have been extraordinarily blessed with a performance space
designed as a performance space you will probably find yourself recording in
rooms with less than ideal acoustics. I'm going to suggest that you forget
about large diaphragm mics and concentrate on a really good pair of small
diaphragm hypercardioids such as AT4053a, a stereo mic bar, a really tall
mic stand (15 to 25 feet), pair of 100ft star quad mic cables, sandbags and
gaffer's tape.

While every stage of the recording process matters I'm going to suggest that
this front end will have the greatest impact on the quality of your
recordings. You will often need to control the amount of room sound and
ambient noise. Hypercardioids with clean off axis performance and a tall
stand are the front line defense. An ORTF stereo configuration will help to
setup quickly when the situation is chaotic and still get reasonable
results. Star quad cables to keep dimmer pack and stray RF at bay. Sandbags
& gaffer's tape will help the mics & stand stay put with kids running around
not watching where they are going.

Also look at the best performance mic preamps you can get within the
remaining budget. Maybe a Mackie small format mixer or something like it.

bobs

Bob Smith
BS Studios
we organize chaos
http://www.bsstudios.com
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 2:54:11 AM

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

Bob Smith wrote:
>
> I'm going to suggest ... really good pair of small
> diaphragm hypercardioids such as AT4053a, a stereo mic bar, a really tall

And all sorts of other sage advice.

I'll just add that we're in a major transition period WRT affordable standalone recorders, so be prepared to buy something affordable but limited (in durability, functionality or flexibility) knowing full well that it will likely be the first piece of your kit to be replaced/upgraded.

In the sprit of the foregoing, you might consider a standalone CD recorder, an Edirol R-1, a used/refurb Creative Nomad Jukebox 3 as your first recorder. If you need to make a more mid-longterm investment, perhaps an Alesis Masterlink would better suit you.
Related resources
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 1:41:10 PM

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

In article <34c690F483f84U1@individual.net> kurt@nv.net writes:

> I'll just add that we're in a major transition period WRT affordable standalone
> recorders, so be prepared to buy something affordable but limited (in
> durability, functionality or flexibility) knowing full well that it will
> likely be the first piece of yo
> ur kit to be replaced/upgraded.

and upgraded . . . and upgraded. When it comes to "affordable" we seem
to be in an age of disposable recorders and I figure we'll be stuck
there for a while. And those that are less affordable may not survive.
There isn't a large enough market for a $10K+ recorder like the Zaxon
Deva (or the HHB Portadrive, or even your $2K+ Sound Devices) to keep
them in anyone's product line and supported for as long as, say, a
Nagra.

> In the sprit of the foregoing, you might consider a standalone CD recorder, an
> Edirol R-1, a used/refurb Creative Nomad Jukebox 3 as your first recorder. If
> you need to make a more mid-longterm investment, perhaps an Alesis Masterlink
> would better suit
> you.

If a 2-track recorder would serve, I think the Masterlink would be a
good choice. It's going to take handling and repeated setup/takedown
better than a Jukebox, it can provide quickie reference CDs, and it
records in formats that are conducive to massaging in a DAW. I do this
with a Jukebox 3, but I'm more careful than your average school kid,
and unless you (original poster) train some kids how to use this gear,
you'll be stuck, but good. <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
January 9, 2005 5:02:42 PM

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

Carlos Alden wrote:

> I was called by my son's middle school chamber orchestra teacher ....

Ah well, I'll just supplement the other folks that followed up with some
alternative choices.

> They would be recording concerts and individual audition CDs for the most
> part, but I see a lot of possibilities for other musical and other projects.
>
> I'm looking at something like this:
>
> Korg D1200 MkII 12-track digital recorder w/CDburner
> OR Yamaha AW16G w/CD burner
> OR similar

The small portable Fostex solid state recorder.

> Couple of Marshall or Oktava or Behringer large-diaphragm mics.

No. Go for Schoeps MK21's .... if budget is an issue for a pair of AKG
CK451's and a
Symetrix 302 preamp and a manfrotto stand.

> Small behringer mixer to provide few more XLR inputs should
> they want to do something like record the jazz group.

No comments, but jazz - unamplified - records just like chamber music,
because that is what it is.

> I have a fair amount of experience with gear.

Chamber music recording is about mic choice and placement and using the
least amount of gear possible.

> 3) Any comments or recommendations about the mics I listed?

In this context: small membrane GOOD, large membrane BAAAAAAAD.

> Carlos Alden


Kind regards

Peter Larsen

--
*******************************************
* My site is at: http://www.muyiovatki.dk *
*******************************************
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 5:02:43 PM

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

Thanks so far for the thoughtful recommendations on equipment choice. I
really do appreciate it. All great comments. Because I have SOME recording
and gear experience, it's tempting to think I have a solid grasp on MOST
recording issues, and clearly I missed the microphone thing by a wide mile.

I had thought of different interfaces - e.g., laptop with interface, etc.,
but I'm very concerned with total ease of use. I might have one of these
teachers get interested and invest some time into getting lots of
experience, but I need to assume that they will want to simply plug in some
mics, put them in the approximate right position, set a level, and hit the
red button.

More comments and ideas welcome. Much appreciated.

Carlos
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 7:35:50 PM

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

Kurt Albershardt <kurt@nv.net> wrote:

> Bob Smith wrote: > > I'm going to suggest ... really good pair of small >
> diaphragm hypercardioids such as AT4053a, a stereo mic bar, a really tall
>
> And all sorts of other sage advice.
>
> I'll just add that we're in a major transition period WRT affordable
> standalone recorders, so be prepared to buy something affordable but
> limited (in durability, functionality or flexibility) knowing full well
> that it will likely be the first piece of your kit to be
> replaced/upgraded.
>
> In the sprit of the foregoing, you might consider a standalone CD
> recorder, an Edirol R-1, a used/refurb Creative Nomad Jukebox 3 as your
> first recorder. If you need to make a more mid-longterm investment,
> perhaps an Alesis Masterlink would better suit you.

I'd also add, as a producer who likes to throw everything but the
kitchen sink in to arrangements, and be able to do a variety of mixes I
am in fact "Mr Multitrack", however, do you really need a multitrack for
the type of work you're recording?

A standalone CD recorder maybe your best bet. I used to work for a
recording mobile and one of the best recordings we ever did was of a
school Big Band recorded direct to stereo via a single Calrec Soundfield
mic. A stereo pair above the conductor's head is often the simplest way
to go.

Finally, even though you may not have the choice of neutral rooms to
record in, school halls etc often have a very usable character. I'd
disagree about not using large diaphragm mics. A selection would be even
better.

Good luck Dave


-- To email remove the section in capitals from the email address.
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 7:35:51 PM

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

> From: researchREMOVESPAMKILLER@chadales.plus.net (Dave Howard)
> Organization: chadales
> Newsgroups: rec.audio.pro
> Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2005 16:35:50 +0000
> Subject: Re: advice sought: school recording stuff
>
> I'd also add, as a producer who likes to throw everything but the
> kitchen sink in to arrangements, and be able to do a variety of mixes I
> am in fact "Mr Multitrack", however, do you really need a multitrack for
> the type of work you're recording?

I am rethinking this idea based on the several responses I've received. My
thinking was to buy something that could be usable for a number of different
projects, not just simple stereo recording of the choir. I can think of lots
of other uses for such a unit. My reference to recording the jazz band
meant not only as a chamber unit (good point) but also as a jazz-rock unit:
electric bass DI'ed, electric gutar DI'ed, electric keyboard, etc. It also
would be great to be able for the inspired kid to come in before school and
easily put something together on his/her own. What a great resource for the
music department.

I'm going to further explore what they want - it's primarily the three music
teachers at the school. IT could be that they are really focused on straight
recording of a single instrument or a performance, and that's it.

For example I have been doing a volunteer project for a local middle school
for a number of years, helping kids do radio productions. They research the
genre, create one of their own, script it up, and with my help record it.
The ideal scenario would be to do it all in one shot - all character voices,
sound effects, music bed, etc. - around one single mic, like it used to be
done. But this is a limited time project. Teaching these kids proper mic
technique and dynamic control is part of what I do but there are
limitations, and I have found it much easier and more efficient to record
them into four mics in a portable unit (mine), and do remixing on their
voices. I then have the designated sound fx person go back and add in what's
been scripted. Same with the music - record it separately and mix it in.

So I was thinking of one of the multi-tracks for this potential purpose.
Also because it really is a one-shot deal in terms of operation. It's got
to need minimal training to run. I want to avoid the
mic-preamp-recorder/interface-usb cable - computer scenario where possible.
To me it looks a piece of cake. To a teacher (probably less so to a kid) it
could well look like a bunch of odd boxes with strange plugs and lots of
little knobs and dials, and "what was it I was supposed to do first?" kind
of thing.

But I like the Edirol ER1 (or other) idea. The only other connections
would be the mic input (with maybe a preamp - the settings could be left
alone on that one) and then the USB to a computer to transfer a wav file.
But here again, you see, I'm assuming that importing a wav file and burning
an audio CD is easily accomplished. To some folks it might be daunting.

Carlos
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 9:32:47 PM

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

Carlos Alden wrote:

> Thanks so far for the thoughtful recommendations on equipment choice. I
> really do appreciate it. All great comments. Because I have SOME recording
> and gear experience, it's tempting to think I have a solid grasp on MOST
> recording issues, and clearly I missed the microphone thing by a wide mile.

Man, you have a _great_ attitude.

> I had thought of different interfaces - e.g., laptop with interface, etc.,
> but I'm very concerned with total ease of use. I might have one of these
> teachers get interested and invest some time into getting lots of
> experience, but I need to assume that they will want to simply plug in some
> mics, put them in the approximate right position, set a level, and hit the
> red button.

In context of your post talking about wanting multipurpose recording
possibilities right away, it occurs to me that getting something simple
that did stereo pretty well, meaning a reasonably decent pair of small
cap condensors and Symetrix or RNP pre, could start generating positive
results at once. It would allow everyone involved to get a handle on mic
placement, critical when you have two ears, two mics and two tracks, <g>
and gain staging. This might spur the monetary channels to loosen up
enough to take the next step, perhaps a multitrack recorder plus a
little DAW rig that would open all all the possibilities you referenced.

--
ha
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 11:28:26 PM

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

In article <1gq4h9j.1yup02ew1gsu1N%researchREMOVESPAMKILLER@chadales.plus.net> researchREMOVESPAMKILLER@chadales.plus.net writes:

> A standalone CD recorder maybe your best bet.

It would be tempting, but they tend to go obsolete pretty quickly
(too). Nothing usualy happens to the recorder, but the media changes,
and pretty soon you find it difficult or impossible to get blanks that
your recorder can write to. Last time I needed media, I had to try a
few brands before I found something that would work reliably in my
TASCAM CDRW-5000. When I got the recorder a couple of years ago, it
would work with any blanks I threw at it, but they're using dies
designed for higher speed writing now, and some won't work reliably,
or at all.

Another problem with a CD recorder is that the amount of time on a
disk is kind of marginal for a school program. When I was recording
live shows on analog tape, I carried two recorders. DAT was a blessing
because there aren't too many bands that can play for longer than two
hours without having to pee, so there was time to change tapes.


--
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
January 9, 2005 11:28:27 PM

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

Mike Rivers wrote:
>
> Another problem with a CD recorder is that the amount of time on a
> disk is kind of marginal for a school program. When I was recording
> live shows on analog tape, I carried two recorders. DAT was a blessing
> because there aren't too many bands that can play for longer than two
> hours without having to pee, so there was time to change tapes.

Just for reference, and relevant to the CF media used in some of the new recorders, 1 gB of media will hold about 3.3 track hours at 16/44.1 (~1 hr 39 minutes of stereo.)


* Note that flash media appear be following the lead of the hard drive industry in referring to 1000 mB as one gB. The 1 gB Lexar card I recently purchased has a capacity of 1,030,858,512 bytes (a tad over 983 mbytes.)
Anonymous
January 9, 2005 11:42:46 PM

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

You might have a look at AT3031 microphones which should be closer to your
budget numbers and similar in performance to the previously mentioned AT4000
series. http://www.fullcompass.com/Products/pages/SKU--47344/
You should be able to get a pair for less than $350 ....

Regards:
Eric
Anonymous
January 10, 2005 1:15:01 AM

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

Carlos Alden wrote:

> I had thought of different interfaces - e.g., laptop with
> interface, etc., but I'm very concerned with total ease of use.

Understood, this is why I strongly recommend the Fostex FR2, it has
passable mic pre's that may well suffice - I would prefer to add the
Symetrix 302, but it is acceptable as it is. And then it is about as
simple and easy to handle as can be. That said, it should be considered
in the budget that it really needs a daw to edit and likely make CDs.
File transfer is as simple as simple can be: a card reader on the
computer. You probably has access to a suitable computer - P2-300 or
better, but with a capable disk setup - so the main issue to remember in
the budget is the software.

> Carlos


Kind regards

Peter Larsen

--
*******************************************
* My site is at: http://www.muyiovatki.dk *
*******************************************
Anonymous
January 10, 2005 5:19:08 PM

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

Carlos Alden <calden3@msn.com> wrote:

>They will be requesting funds from the PTG and Associated Students, and are
>thinking about $1000. I can push that a bit, and make a case for a little
>bit more, especially because I'm PTG president and would be approving the
>money!! They have no sense of what things cost, and didn't factor in mics
>and stands and cords and carry case, etc.
>
>They would be recording concerts and individual audition CDs for the most
>part, but I see a lot of possibilities for other musical and other projects.
>
>I'm looking at something like this:
>
>Korg D1200 MkII 12-track digital recorder w/CDburner
>OR Yamaha AW16G w/CD burner
>OR similar
>
>Couple of Marshall or Oktava or Behringer large-diaphragm mics.

As others have suggested, if you want accuracy rather than "warmth"
(which is what it sounds like you really want), go with small diaphragm
mics rather than large.

And instead of directional mics (e.g., cardioids, super-cardiods and
hyper-cardioids), you might consider a pair of well-matched
good-sounding omnis. Add a Jecklin or Schneider Disk and you'll have a
simple and fine sounding setup for recording most school groups from
individual singers, to small chamber and jazz ensembles, to large choirs
and even orchestras.

For recorders, since you want ease-of-use, if two tracks will be enough
(and with the Jecklin/Scheider it will be), consider either the Alesis
Masterlink with a good two-channel mic pre, or one of the solid-state
recorders compared on our Web page:

http://www.core-sound.com/comparison-pdaudio-pmd-670-fr...

The Masterlink has a built-in CD burner but can also record to hard disk
at up to 24/96. You can start with a mid-range mic pre and upgrade
later when funds allow.

--
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
January 10, 2005 7:43:04 PM

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

I believe the suggestions for directional rather than Omni's is based on the
belief that most school auditoriums are not the worlds finest acoustic
environments.

As for the small/large diaphragm issue....

Large diaphragms by their nature are more directional at high frequencies,
some of the more poorly designed ones have peaks in the high frequency
response on their polar graph. Their natural tendency to be more
directional as frequency increases will cause instruments which are off axis
to have less treble content in their sound. They tend to have higher
diaphragm tension due to their usual application for vocals at relatively
close range, so may have less bass response at distance. Their tighter
directional pattern can be useful for vocals, to vary the sound quality by
moving on and off axis to adjust the treble during a song.
They certainly can make some fine orchestral recordings, they are just not
the usuall first choice.

Small diaphram microphone are usually optimised for distances greater than 1
meter and will their patterns will remain the same over a broader frequency
range. This generally makes them a better choice for recordings of large
groups.

For audition CD's for College entrance or large Scholarship applications
seeking the help of a professional studio familiar with the type of music
you are playing is advised.

For editing and making CD's if you are using a PC you should consider Magix
Music Studio 2005 Deluxe about $80 at Best Buy

Regards:
Eric
www.webermusic.com
!