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Author Topic: Cheap and cheerful line-level only mono recorder?  (Read 630 times)

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Offline thatjackelliott

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Cheap and cheerful line-level only mono recorder?
« on: November 21, 2017, 09:08:31 PM »
I've been asked to record a local spoken-word stage production by taping off the headphone jack of the theater's sound board. Nothing fancy here, just have to take in a line-level (sort of, headphone jack) signal and record it. Of course, one never knows what output level the headphone jack is providing, so some input level adjustability is a good thing. Peak limiting, too. Any thoughts?

Offline if_then_else

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Re: Cheap and cheerful line-level only mono recorder?
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 06:56:12 AM »
I was in the same situation earlier this year in a small music bar in Belgium where there was only a headphone jack out of the SBD.
Any decent small deck (Sony PCM-M10, Olympus LS-11, Edirol R9-HR/R5, Marantz PMD-620 etc.) should be fine for your purpose.
Just make sure to bring the right cables and adapters with you.

- Stereo headphone adapter
- 2xRCA Jack to 1/4" mono adapter
- RCA Y-Adaptor Cable
- 3.5 mm TRS to 3.5 mm TRS stereo cable

If you need variable attenuation (because the signal might be too hot), there are some decent adaptors on available ebay
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AAS40ASC-DC-40dB-Adjustable-Stereo-Audio-Attenuator-Line-to-Mic-with-single-ctrl/182889222790?hash=item2a950c1286:g:1wMAAOSwJYVZbz9y
or, alternatively, you could go for the more expensive alternative from SESCOM
http://www.sescom.com/product.asp?item=SES-MKP-27

Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Cheap and cheerful line-level only mono recorder?
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 10:56:31 AM »
Thank you, if-then-else. These solutions are in the $400 to $500 price range. This is one show I've been asked to record, probably less than two hours long, in mono, with no music. I wish I had my old portable 1/4'' tape recorder that I had when I was a kid, but I haven't seen that since 1966. Maybe I could use my iPhone. Would need to sort out the combo 3.5mm TRRS plug.

Offline achalsey

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Re: Cheap and cheerful line-level only mono recorder?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2017, 11:22:03 AM »
You don't have a recorder of your own you can just use?

The tascam DR-05 can be had for $100 USD. 
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/757065-REG/Tascam_DR_05_DR_05_Portable_Handheld_Digital.html

I'm not familiar with iphone recording, but a quick search gives a Rode SC4 that's a TRS > TRRS converter. (if you have an iphone w/ a headphone jack.) I think you can find apps that would let that record to your phone.
http://amzn.to/1sRlEtp

Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Cheap and cheerful line-level only mono recorder?
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2017, 05:01:29 PM »
Sure, I have a recorder, a laptop running Reaper. I normally use it with a couple of audio interfaces to record and broadcast music festivals. The resultant setup has a pretty large footprint and more than one device that needs AC power. The sound booth at the theater is tiny, so I'm looking for a compact solution that won't get in the way of the sound guy or requires that I bring a power strip and rig cables.

So I said to myself, "Self, let's find out what's in the world of little recorders." I don't need stereo, I don't need mics, I don't need 24-bit resolution. Thus my question. The little DR-05 looks like a very adequate solution, thank you!

This morning I was able to check out a Marantz PMD-660 from the station. I'll take a look at the manual to see how much recording time it provides, and whether it has built-in adjustable attenuation for the 3.5mm Line In jack.

Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Cheap and cheerful line-level only mono recorder?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2017, 11:11:15 PM »
There are usually black Friday sales on the dr05. I think mine was $59, but most sales are now about $79. 

Offline achalsey

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Re: Cheap and cheerful line-level only mono recorder?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2017, 02:44:37 AM »
That's understandable.  A laptop would probably be pretty cumbersome in a small booth, but with just a spoken word SBD I'm sure you could find somewhere to put the computer.

The 660 looks like all you need.  Page 21 of the manual gives you recording times of different formats/bit rates.  The line in should record the board feed just fine.

http://www.avisoft.com/PMD660.pdf


Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Cheap and cheerful line-level only mono recorder?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2017, 10:11:23 AM »
Thanks, folk!

Offline goodcooker

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Re: Cheap and cheerful line-level only mono recorder?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2017, 01:37:29 PM »

Surely someone here will loan you a recorder if you don't want to buy a cheap one like a DR05. I bought a DR05 for 60 bucks at Guitar Center. Did the job.
MK41 > nBob > PFA > Aerco MP2/RAD MS2 > DR60d/DR2d
MBHO KA300 > Naiant PFA > Marantz PMD706 (currently under construction)
JB mod Nak300 (for sale/side stage)

http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/goodcooker

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Offline thatjackelliott

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Re: Cheap and cheerful line-level only mono recorder?
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2017, 06:05:34 PM »
Followup. I took the station's Marantz PMD-660 and a small tangle of cables* to the theater to patch into the sound board. There I found a Behringer x32 board. No one there knew how to patch into it. None of the AUX Outs had signal. The headphone jack had no signal. Halfway through the performance the sound tech (who was home watching TV or something) texted the theater owner something terse like "Route mixbus to Aux Out." I poked through every darn page of the mixer's 7-inch TFT control panel and found nothing about getting audio to the headphone jack or to any of the unused AUX Outs, and being that this was in the middle of a performance I had to restrain myself from just pushing buttons and trying things.

Oh well, this was just something I was asked to do as a favor. Next year I'll get there well in advance when the sound tech is in house and get things set up properly. Besides, he wants an audience mic rigged so I could capture their reaction to this spoken-word/comedy event.

* Looks like the ball of Christmas tree lights I pull out of the box every December.

 

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