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#995276 - 01/24/08 10:51 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
gmm1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1674
Loc: Spokane WA
Babs - what brand/model of laptop do own?

Sure sounds like you don't have one built in.

Check and be sure you have a mic port (again, I'm sure you do, but I was wrong once already).
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"There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Johann Sebastian Bach/Gyro

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#995277 - 01/24/08 11:07 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Babs, I think if you have no mic, you would get an error message at the time of recording. An audio *output* device error wouldn't have anything to do with a microphone, which is an *input* device. \:D

Do you have a connector for an external microphone at least? (Probably next to the headphones output.)

If you do, try what I described again but now with an external microphone attached.

If you have no external microphone, then put a pair of headphones into the microphone input and shout something into the headphones. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Now Audacity should have recorded at least something.

If this doesn't record anything either, then you're doing something else wrong. \:D
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#995278 - 01/24/08 11:19 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Babs_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 321
Loc: Gulf Coast
  • Mahlzeit, I received the error message after I hit the play button. the error message went on to say to try changing the audio output device associated with the player I rechecked all the audio settings under the control panel and they seemed to be fine.


  • gmm, I have a Dell Inspiron B120, that is 4 years old. There are 3 USB ports.



thanks guys I think maybe I just need to invest in a good mic. ;\)

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#995279 - 01/24/08 11:41 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
mahlzeit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Netherlands
Babs: Can you load any music file into Audacity and play it? (For example, an MP3 file?)

It is possible that Audacity isn't configured correctly. Go to Edit, Preferences, Audio I/O. Make sure your soundcard is selected there and recording channels is 1.

In the Quality section you may have to set default sample format to 16-bit.

Also, it would help to know what version of Audacity you have installed.

This doesn't have so much to do with trying to use the internal microphone: regardless of what mic you'll be using, first you need to get Audacity (or another audio application) to work. ;\)
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No idea what chords you are playing? Reverse Chord Finder Pro will tell you!

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#995280 - 01/24/08 11:59 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
gmm1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1674
Loc: Spokane WA
Well, Babs, the good news is you do have a mic jack on the left side.

It appears their is no built-in mic, or at least I cannot find it in the manual.

So, off to radio shack, eh???
_________________________
"There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." Johann Sebastian Bach/Gyro

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#995281 - 01/24/08 12:45 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Babs_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 321
Loc: Gulf Coast
double post :rolleyes:

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#995282 - 01/24/08 12:50 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Babs_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 321
Loc: Gulf Coast
 Quote:
Originally posted by Babs1:
quote:
Originally posted by mahlzeit:
Babs: Can you load any music file into Audacity and play it? (For example, an MP3 file?)

It is possible that Audacity isn't configured correctly. Go to Edit, Preferences, Audio I/O. Make sure your soundcard is selected there and recording channels is 1.

In the Quality section you may have to set default sample format to 16-bit.

Also, it would help to know what version of Audacity you have installed.

This doesn't have so much to do with trying to use the internal microphone: regardless of what mic you'll be using, first you need to get Audacity (or another audio application) to work. ;\) [/b]
  • Yes , I am able to load a MP3 file into Audacity and play it. \:\)
    I fixed all the settings to the ones that you indicated above,including the "16 bit". Also , the version of Audacity that I installed is 1.2.6.



  • gmm, yeah I don't think there is a built in mic, I tried hollering into it again and there was no sound. I fixed all those controls that Malzeit indicated. Although I did hear what sounded like the wind blowing when I hit the play button! \:D

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#995283 - 01/24/08 12:51 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
BB Player Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2601
Loc: Not in Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica K.:
The mic + laptop option is indeed a cheaper alternative. I just want to point out that, while others have managed to produce very nice sounding recordings with such a setup that had no clipping or distortion, I personally was never able to do so. I tore my hair out repeatedly trying to get my Samson USB mic to record something, anything, without distortion, and yes I fiddled for HOURS with mic levels and placement. \:\(
[/b]
This was my experience as well. Although the microphone I used wasn't the best, it was a decent enough condensor mic that I should have been able to produce an acceptable recording with it. I also tried lots of placements but the real problem was the laptop itself. Admittedly, the one I used is ancient by laptop standards (2000).

The second thing that I disliked was that the area around my piano looked like a computer lab. Although I do use a tripod to place my zoom, it folds up in seconds and is easily stashed along with the zoom when I'm not using it. I seldom use the AC adapter with the Zoom so I normally just leave it connected to the tripod, fold up the legs and it's out of sight.

Babs1: if you do a search on the forum for "recording" you'll get a lot of matches including some good discussions of different alternatives. Since you're looking for cheap and simple you might not be interested but if at some point in the future you decide you want to do more this is a topic that understandably has been much discussed.

Since the Zoom provides phantom power, I might invest in better microphones at some point in the future since although the ones in the Zoom do make credible recordings the built-ins are the weak link. A pretty good pair of mics (like Mr S-H's) can be had for $100-$200 and a boom stand for less than $50. With that setup plus a Zoom you've got a setup that'll make very good recordings.
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#995284 - 01/24/08 02:13 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: An Indiana University
Since my webcam is in another room from the piano/organ now, I am no longer free to record schmaltz.

Monica K. mentioned the new Casio Exilen series that's youtube ready. I'm going to go check it out today. I'll let you know what I think.
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#995285 - 01/24/08 02:22 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
J. Mark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1323
Yes, but...

One thing about the Zoom that was also annoying to me was this -- in order to put it somewhere optimal for mic placement, you had to have it out of reach of the piano bench. So you had to put it somewhere, then turn it on, then go sit down, play your piece, then get up and go turn it off. Plug in the phones and listen, etc. PITA.

Also, you really need a tripod to place it even reasonably well. There is no tripod mount, except for that stupid strap-on thing they include as an obvious afterthought. You can't get to the SD card with that thing on, so you have to take it off each time you pull the SD card to upload a file (alternative of plugging it in via USB requires too many steps and is slow and poorly engineered).

I tried rigging up a custom mic stand to hold the thing, but it was not a satisfactory rig.

Anyway, if you assume that one solution to the placement problem is to have it sit next to you (on a table or something next to your bench), and hook up a couple of mics...well, the cables from the mics tend to constantly pull the little thing over on its side on the tripod. You can just lay it down on its side to begin with, but you're gonna get noise when you move it etc.

Generally, a remarkable PITA. I imagine it would be fine for recording lessons and so forth... but a simple Olympia digital voice recorder for $79 would be, as well.

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#995286 - 01/24/08 03:22 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
rustyfingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 788
Loc: Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica K.:
The mic + laptop option is indeed a cheaper alternative. I just want to point out that, while others have managed to produce very nice sounding recordings with such a setup that had no clipping or distortion, I personally was never able to do so. I tore my hair out repeatedly trying to get my Samson USB mic to record something, anything, without distortion, and yes I fiddled for HOURS with mic levels and placement. \:\(

That is why I am such a Zoom fanatic. Just plop it down, press the red button, and you've got yourself a distortion-free recording. \:\)

I love my Zoom. [/b]
That's funny--I had exactly the same frustrating experience with my Zoom H4--take after take of levels too low to hear or clipped and distorted.

I've finally found (I hope) a good combination of recording levels and placement, but it wasn't an easy journey. I'm using a tripod, reset the recording level to its default of 100, turned off auto-gain, and using the max mic gain setting.

I bought mine used, so maybe the settings weren't the factory defaults. Or something. Who knows? YMMV
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#995287 - 01/24/08 03:30 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17777
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by J. Mark:
Yes, but...

One thing about the Zoom that was also annoying to me was this -- in order to put it somewhere optimal for mic placement, you had to have it out of reach of the piano bench. [/b]
Most of my recordings were done with me just plopping the Zoom right down on my music desk, within an arm's reach.

Clearly recording one's playing is like the movie Rashomon with different people having radically different experiences. \:D
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#995288 - 01/24/08 04:11 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
BB Player Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2601
Loc: Not in Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by J. Mark:
Yes, but...

One thing about the Zoom that was also annoying to me was this -- in order to put it somewhere optimal for mic placement, you had to have it out of reach of the piano bench. So you had to put it somewhere, then turn it on, then go sit down, play your piece, then get up and go turn it off. Plug in the phones and listen, etc. PITA.

Also, you really need a tripod to place it even reasonably well. There is no tripod mount, except for that stupid strap-on thing they include as an obvious afterthought. You can't get to the SD card with that thing on, so you have to take it off each time you pull the SD card to upload a file (alternative of plugging it in via USB requires too many steps and is slow and poorly engineered).

I tried rigging up a custom mic stand to hold the thing, but it was not a satisfactory rig.

Anyway, if you assume that one solution to the placement problem is to have it sit next to you (on a table or something next to your bench), and hook up a couple of mics...well, the cables from the mics tend to constantly pull the little thing over on its side on the tripod. You can just lay it down on its side to begin with, but you're gonna get noise when you move it etc.

Generally, a remarkable PITA. I imagine it would be fine for recording lessons and so forth... but a simple Olympia digital voice recorder for $79 would be, as well. [/b]
OK, you don't like it. Got it. However, your experience is different enough from mine to warrant comment.

For simple recording:

I've got a little mini-tripod that I sit on the left side of the piano desk with the Zoom angled downward and aimed more or less at the center of the soundboard (lid on short stick). Turn unit on, press record button twice, play, press record button to stop recording, turn unit off. Go to PC, plug unit (still turned off) into USB. It turns itself on, displays "connect to PC", select. PC pops up explorer window, click on stereo, there's my piece. Drag to another folder (time for a 3:30 piece was 30 secs). Open with audacity. Done. Optionally, delete piece from Zoom, one mouse click. The resulting recording sounds pretty good. Not distorted though a little bright.

Time from placement on the piano desk to listening to resulting recording (including record time and walking to the PC): 5:15. Keystrokes/buttons pressed: 8 (turn on, record x 3, turn off, click on connect, drag recording to folder), open with audacity. Could save one click by opening with audacity on the zoom directly.

More complicated (differences in bold): bigger tripod placed 3' from middle of piano, lid on short stick. Press record button twice, walk to piano bench[/b] ... get up and walk back to zoom[/b]...

More complicated still (I don't have auxiliary mics so I'm making this part up but believe it to be accurate). Plug cables from mics into aux ports on Zoom which is sitting (no tripod) on my stack of sheet music (no danger of touching when I play). Press record button twice ....

I dunno, it just doesn't seem that hard. Makes pretty good recordings even in the simplest configuration. I'm guessing since it's battery powered (very low noise floor) with external mics properly placed it'd make really good recordings with the advantage that it's small, sits right next to you and is easily accessible.

I've not touched the SD card since I installed it.
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#995289 - 01/24/08 04:28 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
Excuse me, but wasn't this about an "easy" way to record your own performances?

It seems to me that the object was for educational use and not for publication or distribution.

I would love to learn more about the Zoom as I am totally in the dark.
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Marty in Minnesota

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#995290 - 01/24/08 04:32 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17777
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Hi Marty,

Here's the Zoom Mega-Thread . Okay, so it's many pages long... but there's some good links in there to recordings and prolonged discussion of the best way to adjust gain levels etc. for best quality.
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Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#995291 - 01/24/08 04:38 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5933
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by C7 Player:

Turn unit on, press record button twice, play, press record button to stop recording, turn unit off. Go to PC, plug unit (still turned off) into USB. It turns itself on, displays "connect to PC", select. PC pops up explorer window, click on stereo, there's my piece. Drag to another folder (time for a 3:30 piece was 30 secs). Open with audacity. Done. Optionally, delete piece from Zoom, one mouse click. The resulting recording sounds pretty good. Not distorted though a little bright.
Time from placement on the piano desk to listening to resulting recording (including record time and walking to the PC): 5:15. [/b]
ooo Greg, I love this description! It gives me hope that I will actually be able to use one of these (I'm planning on getting an H2 soon) without too much input from SuperTechNerdBoy (teenage son). \:\)
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#995292 - 01/24/08 04:51 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
BB Player Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2601
Loc: Not in Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by currawong:
ooo Greg, I love this description! It gives me hope that I will actually be able to use one of these (I'm planning on getting an H2 soon) without too much input from SuperTechNerdBoy (teenage son). \:\) [/b]
I've not seen an H2 but suspect it's very similar to the H4 in terms of usage. I've had the H4 for a while now (6 months?) and I've yet to open the owners manual.

As I said earlier, it makes pretty decent recordings and is fairly easy to use. Although there are cheaper options I doubt there is one that returns the same quality of recording for the same amount of total cost.
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#995293 - 01/24/08 05:44 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Late Beginner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 588
Loc: West Australia
Hi all,

If all you want is something cheap and simple that will play back what you just did, so that you can check your playing, there's an easy option.

You can buy a small digital dictaphone (as small or smaller than a cell phone) that will make an OK recording for that purpose. They're made to record either a single voice, or a group of voices at a meeting so they have quite a good range using a small condenser mic.

The one I use has a built in speaker and mic, but also comes with a plug in mic and an earpiece. As you would expect, the sound from the tiny built in speaker is appalling and not good for music playback. Naturally, you could plug in a better mic or earpiece if you wanted, but I found the supplied mics, and the earpiece, good enough for my purpose. The one I have allows transfer to computer via USB (not all do) and the sound is OK once played through reasonable speakers. Don't put the thing too close to the instruments of course, but I have used it with success for recording guitar, piano and or singing.

I have a fancy recorder/mixer if I want a better quality recording. But if all I want to do is check my playing, the little handheld thing is good enough. Plus I slip it in my pocket and use it as a digital notepad for ideas, etc. I've even used it to record entire music lessons so that I can refresh what's left of my memory later.... ;\)

Another option anyway. The one I have works fine for me. They may not suit everybody. \:\)

Cheers,

Chris
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Who needs feet of clay? I can get into enough trouble with feet made of regular foot stuff...

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#995294 - 01/24/08 06:05 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
Thanks Monica, I'll check it out.
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Marty in Minnesota

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#995295 - 01/24/08 06:49 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Babs_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 321
Loc: Gulf Coast
 Quote:
Originally posted by Late Beginner:
Hi all,

If all you want is something cheap and simple that will play back what you just did, so that you can check your playing, there's an easy option.

You can buy a small digital dictaphone (as small or smaller than a cell phone) that will make an OK recording for that purpose. They're made to record either a single voice, or a group of voices at a meeting so they have quite a good range using a small condenser mic.

The one I use has a built in speaker and mic, but also comes with a plug in mic and an earpiece. As you would expect, the sound from the tiny built in speaker is appalling and not good for music playback. Naturally, you could plug in a better mic or earpiece if you wanted, but I found the supplied mics, and the earpiece, good enough for my purpose. The one I have allows transfer to computer via USB (not all do) and the sound is OK once played through reasonable speakers. Don't put the thing too close to the instruments of course, but I have used it with success for recording guitar, piano and or singing.

I have a fancy recorder/mixer if I want a better quality recording. But if all I want to do is check my playing, the little handheld thing is good enough. Plus I slip it in my pocket and use it as a digital notepad for ideas, etc. I've even used it to record entire music lessons so that I can refresh what's left of my memory later.... ;\)

Another option anyway. The one I have works fine for me. They may not suit everybody. \:\)

Cheers,

Chris [/b]
You guys are all full of great ideas.

SH, your method, I am sure works great, but it is too complicated for me. ;\)

Mahzeit you were a great help, after I fixed the settings on Audacity, it appears to work great. I am fully confident that it will work out well when I am ready to do my recordings.

Chris your idea with the digital dictaphone sounds simple and practical which is what I was really looking for to start off with. I want to be able to record my lessons and home performances so I can evaluate myself. If you don't mind me asking, what brand is the digital dictaphone?

I am still planning on investing in either 1 or 2 good microphones for my laptop for use with Audacity so I can record my music onto my computer. ;\)

Thank You, You guys have given me alot to think about. \:\)

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#995296 - 01/24/08 06:58 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4236
Loc: Arizona.
Am I the only one that honestly, deep down knew from the start that the Zoom was going to be by far the best/simplest realistic option?.

Yes, there are numerous options but for $230.00 (H2), or $299.00 (H4), there is just no better *overall* bang for the buck than with the Zoom. (this includes being user friendly and simple to use while providing a very good quality reproduction.

You really won't outgrow it either because it can be easily upgraded by using a pair of premium mics at a later date if you so choose.

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#995297 - 01/25/08 01:07 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Late Beginner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 588
Loc: West Australia
 Quote:
Originally posted by Babs1:



Chris your idea with the digital dictaphone sounds simple and practical which is what I was really looking for to start off with. I want to be able to record my lessons and home performances so I can evaluate myself. If you don't mind me asking, what brand is the digital dictaphone?

I am still planning on investing in either 1 or 2 good microphones for my laptop for use with Audacity so I can record my music onto my computer. ;\)
[/b]
Hi,

Sorry, but I can't recall offhand what brand or model my dictaphone is (it's not here right now), but it will depend on what's sold in your country/location anyway. There's a fair few around now.

I had a good look at the Zoom H4, but decided against it because I really didn't need all the things that it can do. There were cheaper options for quick recording, and for better quality I already have a mixer/recorder.

My rough summary:

LAPTOP:

Pros:
The cheapest option. Should be good enough for the job.

Cons:
Can be slightly fiddly to use as far as stopping and starting recording goes (mice, pads, keyboards, or whatever). Laptop speakers not always all that good for playback.

DIGITAL DICTAPHONE:

Pros:
Cheap. Can also be used for other quick-n-dirty recording tasks. Easily carried in purse or pocket. Should have simple "press button to start, press button to stop" operation. They used to use nasty fiddly little tapes, but the newer digital ones seem to record fine. May have transfer to computer function, but not necessarily.

Cons:
Built in speaker probably hideously bad for music replay. But should have socket for headphone or earpiece. The recording quality is not high, but was a lot better than I expected.

ZOOM H4

Pros:
The best if you want to get serious about recording. Large range of effects etc.

Cons:
103 page manual. Great if you like gadgets, not so great if you don't. Has good built in mics but (as far as I know) doesn't have any playback speakers. So you still need to get headphones, port file into computer or whatever to hear the results.


I have a version of all 3 (my Zoom is an 8 track mixer/recorder so not a direct comparison with the H4.).

I've recorded with the dictaphone tossed on the bed behind me as I play keyboards, propped on the music stand as I played live with a trio, and lying on floor during a guitar lesson. The results weren't pretty, but they did what I needed at the time - gave me a quick and easy reference. It wouldn't be for everybody though, so I'd attempt to 'try before you buy' if you can.

Good hunting,

Chris
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#995298 - 01/25/08 01:40 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Late Beginner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 588
Loc: West Australia
Hi again,


Here you go - have a listen. Click on the line below:

Quick-n-dirty Dictaphone

Just propped on the keyboard. That not a good spot really as it's close to the speakers and picks up all sorts of vibration, makes chords sound muddy etc.


Also bear in mind that it's recording a total beginner banging on a cheap digital keyboard. That particular keyboard didn't cost all that much more than a ZOOM H4 would here... \:o No Steinways here, to give you a comparison. \:\(

And of course, unless you have a pretty good sound system on your computer, that will be degrading the sound of the clip too.

Chris
_________________________
Who needs feet of clay? I can get into enough trouble with feet made of regular foot stuff...

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#995299 - 01/25/08 07:44 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: An Indiana University
I bought a Casio Exilen EX-Z77 yesterday for super-simple recording and an inexpensive tripod.

The sound quality (as far as I could tell via internet reviews) is comparable to a Sony MiniDV video camera.

After school today I will try some trial recordings and see how the sound quality is. If it's horrible, I'll take it back. The video in my sig line was recorded with a Logitech iChat golfball-sized webcam and the sound quality (IMHO) is acceptable for my amateur needs. It's in a different room than the Chambre de la Musique now though. . .

Again, I was just looking for mp4 quality so we'll see what $177 gets you these days.

We'll see. . .
_________________________
Full-Time Music/Entrepreneurship Major: (Why not compose music AND businesses?)
Former Piano Industry Professional
************
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Roland Atelier AT90R
************
All Posts are Snarky Unless Otherwise Noted
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#995300 - 01/25/08 07:58 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
J. Mark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1323
 Quote:
Originally posted by mr_super-hunky:
Am I the only one that honestly, deep down knew from the start that the Zoom was going to be by far the best/simplest realistic option?.

Yes, there are numerous options but for $230.00 (H2), or $299.00 (H4), there is just no better *overall* bang for the buck than with the Zoom. (this includes being user friendly and simple to use while providing a very good quality reproduction.

You really won't outgrow it either because it can be easily upgraded by using a pair of premium mics at a later date if you so choose. [/b]
Yes, Sahib, you are the great and wise predictor. [takes three bows]

I guess the point has been accurately made that different people can experience things, uh, differently. \:\)

I will say this -- I have not yet found anything that does satisfy me, in terms of being simple, quick, inexpensive and decent quality. But everyone is coming out with "field recorders" these days, so there's bound to be something for all tastes.

To my thinking, for recording piano at home, I would rather have a small desktop unit on a stand next to my bench, with headphones, an easily removable memory card, and a couple of mics. These units start at around $299 and are often on sale or closeout. A decent one with two or more mic inputs, phantom power and a reasonable interface can be had for $399 easily. Just a personal preference. I still haven't decided which one I like the best....

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#995301 - 01/25/08 08:35 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
J. Mark Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1323
Here's something that looks about my speed, fwiw:

Fostex MR-8mkII

Same price as an H4 -- $249 at Musicians Friend (read the reviews, seems to be good as both a portable with internal mic for basics, and also as a mini-studio type recorder on a very basic level).

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#995302 - 01/25/08 04:35 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: An Indiana University
I bought the Casio Exilim EX-Z77 at Wal-Mart last night to try it out. It has all this hype (and stickers) about being Youtube ready etc.

There is no mention of that in the owner's manual and no "youtube" folder on the camera as advertised on the box and on stickers on the camera.

Not that this is terribly important, but it was only the first disappointment. The recording quality is bad -- worse than my Logitech iChat webcam. Lack of adjustable mic gain I believe is the problem.

It records okay from 10-20 feet away, but with an acoustic piano and its extreme acoustic range, the little built-in mic can't handle it and it distorts easily, rendering the sound quality marginal at best -- with plenty of distortion. The PICTURE quality is excellent.

Also, the camera is made of brushed stainless steel and is very SLIPPERY.

So, for $177 plus $19.95 for 2 1GB SD cards, I don't think it's that great for PIANO recording because you really need to be able to turn down the gain so the pianos overtones don't distort it.

I will probably take it back and try something else.

To be fair, the camera records voices and piano from halfway back in an auditorium niceley. It also records a DIGITAL piano because of the sound cutout of a digital -- but those acoustic overtones really overpower an inexpensive microphone -- which picks up all other sounds too.

I uploaded a youtube sample, but it's not approved yet.
_________________________
Full-Time Music/Entrepreneurship Major: (Why not compose music AND businesses?)
Former Piano Industry Professional
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Roland Atelier AT90R
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All Posts are Snarky Unless Otherwise Noted
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#995303 - 01/25/08 04:53 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17777
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Thanks, USAPT. That's disappointing to hear about the Casio. I had high hopes for it after hearing Mr_kitty compliment it over in the pianist corner. \:\( Guess I'll keep fiddling with my handycam and shell out the $$ to download the drivers again because I lost the original disk with the software. (Or, I could always clean out my closets and find the disk... )
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#995304 - 01/25/08 04:59 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: An Indiana University
Like I said in the PM, a digital piano cuts out at 20K hertz, but an acoustic goes up to 40K plus which I think just overloads the economical circuitry. Adjustable mic levels would be very nice.
_________________________
Full-Time Music/Entrepreneurship Major: (Why not compose music AND businesses?)
Former Piano Industry Professional
************
Steinway M
Roland Atelier AT90R
************
All Posts are Snarky Unless Otherwise Noted
************

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#995305 - 01/25/08 05:02 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: An Indiana University
[edit]

I returned the camera.
_________________________
Full-Time Music/Entrepreneurship Major: (Why not compose music AND businesses?)
Former Piano Industry Professional
************
Steinway M
Roland Atelier AT90R
************
All Posts are Snarky Unless Otherwise Noted
************

Top
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