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#1522250 - 09/25/10 03:44 AM Digital Recorder
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
I want to record myself just to see what is staring right at me in the face. I've seen posts about the nice Zoom Hxx recorders, but I don't feel like spending $100-$300 for something I might end up using just once. Besides, I know nothing about audio recording so if anything goes wrong it'll be very hard for me to figure out.

So I'm thinking of just picking up one of those $40 digital voice recorders. Just wondering if the difference between that and those Zoom machines is noticeable for non-audiophiles?

Thanks in advance.

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#1522287 - 09/25/10 08:45 AM Re: Digital Recorder [Re: Lingyis]
Oz Marcus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/09
Posts: 457
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Ummm.... Yes. The bit rate (similar to frames per second) varies hugely. The voice recorders you are referring to are like watching a movie, via a wifi connection, using a RDP client to access your Flash based video from your iPad
Oz Marcus
Currently working on:
Schubert Impromptu in C minor - D899
Chopin Prelude Op28 No 15, nocturne Op48 no 1
Bach Prelude & Fuge WTC II No 12 in F minor
Aspiring to Rautavaara - Piano Sonata 2 - Fire Sermon

#1522297 - 09/25/10 09:15 AM Re: Digital Recorder [Re: Lingyis]
Gerard12 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/10
Posts: 786
Loc: South Carolina
I don't own any of the Zoom recorders, but many of my colleagues do. I find that the less expensive models produce recordings that are marred by limiting and compression - which is evil. I'm saving up for their top of the line recorder, which I think goes for 400 bucks on the street; it's really impressive sounding.

I have recording engineer friends who wouldn't hesitate to use recordings made on that particular model for album projects.

Voice recorder? No way.
Piano performance and instruction (former college music professor).

#1522301 - 09/25/10 09:24 AM Re: Digital Recorder [Re: Lingyis]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 13306
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I own the Zoom H4 and it does a superb job for recording piano. The H4 has the better mics, and that means a better recording. Also, you can record at a high-fi level. Generally, you get what you pay for when it comes to audio equipment.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#1522305 - 09/25/10 09:30 AM Re: Digital Recorder [Re: Lingyis]
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13826
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Voice recorders are designed for the human voice and have a limited frequency response. This is similar to telephones, which are also designed for the human voice.

To get an idea of what you'll be hearing, it'll be similar to listening to a piano over the phone.
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


#1522389 - 09/25/10 12:37 PM Re: Digital Recorder [Re: Lingyis]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
Ah I see. Thanks for explaining the differences to me. Sounds like if I'm gonna get one, I should get a "real" digital recorder.

Earlier I was trying to record my piano playing on my laptop, which has a built-in mic. I was using this free program called "Audacity". The end quality was... well, let's just say it wasn't superb.

So I'm wondering, would it be a good idea to get a half-decent mic and plug it in my laptop? Aside from being inconvenient, it would be still the cheaper option.

Thanks again.

#1522431 - 09/25/10 02:10 PM Re: Digital Recorder [Re: Lingyis]
mrenaud Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 1324
Loc: Switzerland
Apart from a microphone, you'd also need an audio interface. In the end it probably wouldn't be much cheaper, if at all.
I have an ice cream. I cannot mail it, for it will melt.

#1522447 - 09/25/10 02:37 PM Re: Digital Recorder [Re: Lingyis]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
I'm thinking about this mic:


Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone

which does not appear to require an audio interface.

#1522485 - 09/25/10 03:37 PM Re: Digital Recorder [Re: Lingyis]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
hmmm, i guess there's a zoom h1 that's priced just under $100. that seems like a pretty good deal. i'll probably get that.

#1524006 - 09/27/10 10:46 PM Re: Digital Recorder [Re: Lingyis]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
actually, upon further search... q3 looks even better. i don't have a camcorder and have always wanted one, although clearly i've survived without one for this long... if i ever want to post stuff on youtube not having to worry about syncing the audio and video would be quite convenient. video is subpar but who really needs 1080p. probably just gonna go for the q3.

#1526613 - 10/02/10 12:44 AM Re: Digital Recorder [Re: Lingyis]
Lingyis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/09
Posts: 832
okay! i got my q3 in the mail.

haven't tried the video quality yet, but audio is very good. you need headphones of course to hear the quality.

the first thing I noticed from my playing is... my fingernails knocking on the piano keys. They sound like ping-pong balls! I didn't expect fingernails to sound like that. In fact, I never noticed that ping-pong ball sounds when I play!

I promptly helped myself to a nail clipper.

#1526631 - 10/02/10 02:00 AM Re: Digital Recorder [Re: Lingyis]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2497
Loc: San Jose, CA
I have a Zoom Q3 too, and I've been very happy with it. Nice quality for instruments and voices alike, and the video isn't too bad either as long the light is sufficient.


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