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#995306 - 01/25/08 10:07 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 returned the EXILIM and bought a SANYO XACTI -- which at least is the most expensive camcorder that only requires SD cards. It is also made of a less slippery kind of metal, is shaped like a gun for better grip, has a flip-out screen and has better included accessories, including a real lens cover and a soft carrying case and neckstrap.

It claims to have stereo recording and 16-bit sound. The battery is charging now so we'll see how IT does.

These trips to Radio Shack, Circuit City, and Wal-Mart have been a real education for me and I will start a new thread comparing this to piano shopping.

[edit] Initial first impressions on a partially charged battery are good. Still a little background noise but not as staticky as the Casio. MUCH easier to handle. Better written owner's manual, more features, easy interface. Con: crappy built-in speaker but what they hey. Also, the stereo recording makes a difference.

Remember, this is a camera that uses SD cards and which I can put in my pocket. So I am trying to find the best of the simple.
_________________________
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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#995307 - 01/26/08 04:49 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Noah's Piano Girl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/08
Posts: 4
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I would like to record my playing and purchased a Shure 8900 mic, Garageband cables, and Garageband software, for use on my Mac G4 with OX 10.4.11 After several months of off and on attempts, I have not been able to get them to work. Undoubtedly, I haven't gotten everything hooked up properly and/or don't understand how Garageband works. I've given up and am looking for a simpler alternative. After reading this post, I am considering purchasing a Zoom H2 or H4. I compared the two on the Zoom website, but was unable to tell much difference. Can someone please tell me how to use the equipment I already have, or would it just be simpler to buy the Zoom? I just want to be able to record and playback for my own use.

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#995308 - 01/26/08 05:41 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Noah's Piano Girl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/08
Posts: 4
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Another Zoom H2 question...I just read in a review that there are no speakers in the H2. How do you play back what you have recorded? I assume you must use a cable to connect to your computer, but what software do you use to play it back? Many thanks, as you can tell, I'm new to the recording world and am

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#995309 - 01/26/08 06:14 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
On GarageBand you have to make sure that, in order to record the audio track that you have a "new" part in the main pane with all your other tracks.

If you just want to record yourself, you only need a one-track song, but you have to have it all set up from the main recording window.
_________________________
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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#995310 - 01/26/08 07:20 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17815
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Welcome to the forum, Noah's Piano Girl! The Zooms have headphone jacks, so you can listen to it via headphones. You can also playback everything via your computer, through Windows Media or whatever audio player you use. If you go the Zoom route, you'll probably want to download Audacity, and you can also listen to your pieces through audacity.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#995311 - 01/27/08 02:34 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Lisztener Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 921
Hunk,

I've never given serious thought to using external condenser mics in my Zoom H4 until reading your comments in this thread. After reading more about them I'm considering buying a couple to see if I can improve on the separation of bass & treble and just make an overall improvement in recording quality. My big question is, Will I find the process of proper placement frustrating?

Thanks in advance for being your kind, caring, helpful self when addressing my concern.

Lisztener
_________________________


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#995312 - 01/27/08 02:46 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17815
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Lisztener, if you go the first page of that huge Zoom mega-thread, you'll see two recordings by ragtime88, one using the Zoom's internal mics and one using a set of high quality external mics. To my ears the recording with the external mics sounds better. But the difference has yet to be big enough to make me invest the time and money of trying it out myself.

Answer to your question: Probably, but if you figure it out, you'll have better recordings.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#995313 - 01/27/08 02:55 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
BB Player Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2720
Loc: Not in Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Lisztener:

I've never given serious thought to using external condenser mics in my Zoom H4 until reading your comments in this thread. After reading more about them I'm considering buying a couple to see if I can improve on the separation of bass & treble and just make an overall improvement in recording quality. My big question is, Will I find the process of proper placement frustrating?
Lisztener [/b]
I'll take the liberty of responding for S-H (although he might want to chime in as well). A pair of mics in an x-y configuration should give you the separation you want and should also be an improvement in recording quality. Fortunately, you don't need to spend a pile of money on mega-expensive mics (although it certainly wouldn't do any harm to do so), a pair of Rode NT-5's would do nicely.

Have a look at the link to the Shure web site that I posted earlier for some tips on mic placement. All you'll need are microphones, a boom stand and some XLR cables (more than likely 1/4" on one end, 5 pin on the other since that's what the mics will have).

Hope this helps.
_________________________
Greg

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#995314 - 01/27/08 04:05 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Lisztener Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 921
Monica,

I'll go to the thread and listen to the samples. It's good to know that you aren't impressed enough with externals to invest in them. I know you've had bad experiences with an external before getting the Zoom. I must say you have the placement issue pretty darned right given the beautiful range of sound you now coax from your piano. Talent, however, is one of the major factors with your recordings.

Your enthusiasm for the Zoom H4 led me to buy one and I've never regretted it.

Thanks for your reply,

Lisztener
_________________________


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#995315 - 01/27/08 04:34 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Lisztener Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 921
Greg,

I responded to S-H without first reading through the thread to see your in depth postings on the external mic issue...quite informative, thank you! \:o

I briefly followed the link to the Shure web site, but haven't read through it, yet. Does the Shure site explain about the cables? I haven't read the Zoom manual about cables, yet I assume the 1/4" XLR end of the cables are the type connectors required by the Zoom.

Thank you for jumping in to help,

Lisztener
_________________________


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#995316 - 01/27/08 04:36 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Noah's Piano Girl Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/08
Posts: 4
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Thanks for the help on Garageband and Zoom H2. I finally got everything my existing equipment to work, and just recorded my first piece. BTW, I just discovered Pianoworld.com when reading Grand Obsession and I think it's terrific. I have already passed on the website address to two other friends.

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#995317 - 01/27/08 04:45 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17815
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Okay, Noah's P.G., now that you've admitted you have the recording, there's NO excuse not to submit it for the recital!
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#995318 - 01/27/08 05:57 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4269
Loc: Arizona.
Lisztener:

I've got to type quick as we are getting dumped on with a TON of snow again up here in the mountains of northern Arizona and I constantly lose my satelite internet connection,

Anyway, *technically*, you will be able to obtain a much broader frequency response from using a pair of good quality external mics with your zoom. As Monica has said, you may not notice this difference at the level of recording that we are all doing.

My suggestion would be to pay very close attention to the acoustics in your piano room as well as experiment with multiple mic placement locations. Even the slightest change in mic positions can have a dramatic effect on your recordings; especially when it comes to separating bass from the higher frequencies.

I have yet to get a good quality acoustic recording but I have certainly learned what NOT to do!.

A tip that someone gave me was to position the mics (XY configuration) about 8 inches forward of the hammers (on a grand piano) and move them either more towards the bass strings or treble strings dependant on the recordings outcome.

My M&H "BB" has VERY powerful bass so I get much better recordings by moving the mic stand more towards the treble side. Of course, every piano will be different so trial and error is the only way.

Also, because of my powerful bass, I try and hit the lower notes a little softer as to not have an overwhelming boomy bass.

Again, cheap equipment properly set up in a room with good acoustics will ALWAYS sound better than using the best equipment with poor room acoustics. I can't stress this enough!.

p.s, I hope my spelling and grammar wuz acceptable! ;\)

Top
#995319 - 01/27/08 06:00 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
gmm1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1674
Loc: Spokane WA
OFF TOPIC...

Hey Hunk, me too on the snow. We have had 12 inches since last night on top of 8-10 inches of old.

I have run out of places to put it...

Still snowing as we speak. Out to shovel the drive for the third time in 24 hours...
_________________________
"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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#995320 - 01/27/08 06:10 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4269
Loc: Arizona.
Yes gmm1. We are getting SO much snow and the snow banks next to where I have plowed are almost 4 feet high!.

Although we are in Arizona, we are located at nearly 8k feet elev and get about 120 inches of snow every season.

If I'm not active on the forum for a while, it's not that I'm hiding from the grammar police, it's because I'm up to my sweet rump in snow! (plus out satelite connection does'nt work!).

It does have its advantages however as Mrs Hunky gets frisky when we get snowed in!! \:D

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#995321 - 01/27/08 06:43 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
BB Player Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2720
Loc: Not in Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Lisztener:

I briefly followed the link to the Shure web site, but haven't read through it, yet. Does the Shure site explain about the cables? I haven't read the Zoom manual about cables, yet I assume the 1/4" XLR end of the cables are the type connectors required by the Zoom.
Lisztener [/b]
The Shure site doesn't discuss the cables (at least I didn't see it) but yes, the Zoom end of the connection is 1/4" XLR. I think most (all?) decent microphones probably take a 5 pin XLR. Cables with the different connectors are readily available.

If you're thinking of going in the direction of separate mics (I am too) I'd suggest buying mics first then cables and stands. that way you can see what kind of cables are required. Also, some mics come with stand mounts, some don't. Some stands have mic mounts, some don't. It's easier to buy the more expensive parts first then buy the other parts to match.

On a (somewhat) related topic. I did a recording yesterday with the zoom plugged in to the AC. (I usually use the battery) and noticed a constant SSSSS when playing it back through good headphones (AKG 701's). Not super loud but audible, even to my aging ears. Anybody else noticed this?
_________________________
Greg

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#995322 - 01/27/08 07:47 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Lisztener Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 921
Thanks, Greg. Good idea on buying the mics first, then getting the needed accessories.

I've been using my Zoom plugged into the AC cord. I haven't noticed any noise but I really haven't been listening for it. I'll try it with batteries to listen for differences.

Frankly, the piece I'm now trying to get recorded for the recital I learned on the MP8 and doesn't sound right to me on the acoustic. Yuri warned me about this effect before buying the MP8. There are pieces that I've learned on the acoustic that I can't abide on the MP8, so it seems to work both ways. The positive is that the MP8 sounds so good even with the built-in pianos to choose from. Ideally, I prefer my acoustic because of the cross-harmonics and all the other aspects of acoustic pianos that cannot be replicated with a digital piano.

The reason I'm interested in external mics is that my MP8 seems to record better quality than the Zoom perhaps because of the direct link to my computer. I did read on the Zoom user forum about folks who have connected external mics and are quite pleased with the noticeable difference in quality over the internal mics. I'll let you know what I decide to do. If you don't mind, plese let me know if you decide to get externals and which ones. A PM is fine should you prefer.

Thanks, again, for sharing and comparing notes on recording and other topics.

Lisztener
_________________________


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#995323 - 01/27/08 08:04 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Lisztener Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 921
 Quote:
Originally posted by mr_super-hunky:
Lisztener:

I've got to type quick as we are getting dumped on with a TON of snow again up here in the mountains of northern Arizona and I constantly lose my satelite internet connection,

Anyway, *technically*, you will be able to obtain a much broader frequency response from using a pair of good quality external mics with your zoom. As Monica has said, you may not notice this difference at the level of recording that we are all doing.

My suggestion would be to pay very close attention to the acoustics in your piano room as well as experiment with multiple mic placement locations. Even the slightest change in mic positions can have a dramatic effect on your recordings; especially when it comes to separating bass from the higher frequencies.

I have yet to get a good quality acoustic recording but I have certainly learned what NOT to do!.

A tip that someone gave me was to position the mics (XY configuration) about 8 inches forward of the hammers (on a grand piano) and move them either more towards the bass strings or treble strings dependant on the recordings outcome.

My M&H "BB" has VERY powerful bass so I get much better recordings by moving the mic stand more towards the treble side. Of course, every piano will be different so trial and error is the only way.

Also, because of my powerful bass, I try and hit the lower notes a little softer as to not have an overwhelming boomy bass.

Again, cheap equipment properly set up in a room with good acoustics will ALWAYS sound better than using the best equipment with poor room acoustics. I can't stress this enough!.

p.s, I hope my spelling and grammar wuz acceptable! ;\) [/b]
Thanks, Hunk for taking the time to post this information. I'll take all that you have posted about external mics into consideration before taking the monetary leap. I'm quite interested in the broader frequency response afforded by the external condenser mics.

Best of luck fighting the snowfall...I think...not sure. That frisky remark would make a normal man wish for more snow. But then again, no one has ever acused you of being normal. Teasing you know. :p
_________________________


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#995324 - 01/27/08 09:59 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
BB Player Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2720
Loc: Not in Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by Lisztener:

I've been using my Zoom plugged into the AC cord. I haven't noticed any noise but I really haven't been listening for it. I'll try it with batteries to listen for differences.

Lisztener [/b]
Thanks. My guess is that it's not the zoom but rather some external source, for example, the outlet I have the zoom plugged into has a lamp with fluorescent bulbs in it, there's a wireless access point within 5 feet, etc. I'm guessing one of these is the culprit and will try a recording somewhere else in the house and see if I get the same result.

As I said, I'd never noticed it before but I always used batteries. If it turns out it is the zoom I can always go back, they last a pretty long while.
_________________________
Greg

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#995325 - 01/28/08 01:29 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
GoatRider Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/07
Posts: 460
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
Here's another thumbs-up for the Zoom H2! I've found the simplest placement with my grand is to just set it on the floor, right behind the lyre.

 Quote:
Originally posted by piano_deb:
By the way, it's Deborah or Deb, please, never Debbie. Thanks! [/b]
Mwife is a Deborah too. It's ok for close family to call her Debbie, but no-one else. "Debra" is right out.
_________________________
- Benton Jackson. Permanent piano novice.
Kawai RX-2 #2555861 in Satin Walnut
Kawai ES6

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#995326 - 01/30/08 09:31 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17815
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Hey guys... Mark Fontana over in the main forum just posted on the H2 thread there a really really neat website:

Recording device comparison sound clips

It has clips from 5 or 6 recording devices of the exact same nightclub performance. The machines they used include the Zoom H2, the Edirol, and all the way up to an $1800 model. I haven't had the chance to listen to them all with my good headphones, but with my computer speakers, I have to say the Zoom more than holds its own.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#995327 - 02/01/08 09:33 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Babs_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 321
Loc: Gulf Coast
Well Guys I finally came up to a solution to my recording problems. As I had metioned in a previous post on this thread, I was going to attempt to hook up a microphone to my laptop. The results were not only poor but a PITA. My laptop has always been a PITA. I had already downloaded Audacity and LAME.

Well anyway, I finally found a recording device that works well for me. I purchased an Olympus WS-331M Digital Voice Recorder with a WMA/MP3 Music Player.[/b] There are various settings on this recorder to adjust to record live music. The most important adjustment is the , Low Cut Filter which needs to be turned off to record the piano.I am happy with the recording quality. I got it on sale for $150.00. ;\)

According to the manual this device can record from external microphones and other devices. It comes with a microphone jack. I have yet to experiment with that option. In addition it comes with an ear mic.

The best thing I like about this Olympus WS-331M[/b] is the size. It's the size of an ipod! It is so light, I can carry it around in my purse! \:\)

It is so easy to use too, I only spent an hour reading the manual before I did a practice recording.

The recorder connects directly to the USB port and it links up with the pc. You need the Windows Media Player on your computer to do this for the recording is transmitted into a WMA file.

The hardest part was figuring out how to convert the wma files to the mp3 files. :rolleyes:

Maybe I'll do a recording for the recital if I can figure out how to play without making a mistake! :p
I have always been too focused on reading all those darn notes and all that other good stuff to really hear myself play! Now that I have listened to myself play , I think I know what I need to do to improve! ;\)

I just love my new toy ! \:D

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#995328 - 02/01/08 09:35 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Babs_ Offline
Full Member

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

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#995329 - 02/01/08 09:52 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
gmm1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1674
Loc: Spokane WA
Hey Babs, congrats...

BTW, if you wish to use Windows Media Player, when it's open, go to TOOLS and select OPTIONS.

One of the tabs will be RIP MUSIC. Select it, and about in the middle is a box for FORMAT.

In the pull down menu, select MP3 as your default, and next time it will come in as an MP3 file....
_________________________
"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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#995330 - 02/01/08 09:59 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Babs_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 321
Loc: Gulf Coast
 Quote:
Originally posted by gmm1:
Hey Babs, congrats...

BTW, if you wish to use Windows Media Player, when it's open, go to TOOLS and select OPTIONS.

One of the tabs will be RIP MUSIC. Select it, and about in the middle is a box for FORMAT.

In the pull down menu, select MP3 as your default, and next time it will come in as an MP3 file.... [/b]
  • gee thanks gmm, I'll try that later tonight!

    Oh by the way here's more info in case some of you are curious about this recording device.

http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/cpg_PressDetails.asp?pressNo=533

BTW I just googled and saw a place where you can purchase this device for $138.00.

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#995331 - 02/01/08 10:47 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
gmm1 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1674
Loc: Spokane WA
Ummmm, I went to the site you listed, Babs, and noticed the recorder uses WMA as it's format..

Now, I'm not sure it will work unless you "RIP" the files instead of transfer between recorder and computer. Media Player no longer has a converter, so if it does not work, then, as you already discovered, another program is needed to make the conversion. Luckily, there are tons of them out there, a lot of free ones...

I've never tried to rip from wma to mp3....
_________________________
"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

Top
#995332 - 02/01/08 11:05 AM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Babs_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 321
Loc: Gulf Coast
you are so right gmm, a google search does bring up many "free" conversion programs of the WMA file to a MP3 file.

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#995333 - 02/01/08 08:46 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
CHAS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/03
Posts: 521
Loc: Ski Country of Colorado
Roland CD-2 not cheap but very good.
Record to card or CD or from card to CD. Make a CD and send it to Mom.
Use a $99 Sony mic on a towel. The internal mic is not quite as good.
I tells me how I am doing. This can be ego deflating.

Tried a videocam, but I am better looking than it thinks I am.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A

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#995334 - 02/01/08 09:17 PM Re: easiest recorder to use/inexpensive
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4269
Loc: Arizona.
Slightly near topic, does anyone have any experience using external mics hooked up to a digital camera's video recorder feature?.

I recently made a video of a tune I performed and the audio portion was not very bad; but not great either.

I'm just wondering if anyone has hooked up good quality external condernsor mics to a digital camera and what the result was.

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