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Author Topic: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions  (Read 4123 times)

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Offline chipoffools

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Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« on: September 26, 2015, 05:58:19 PM »
Hello! I've become interested in taping some local/regional shows recently, and I have some questions... I've spent a couple weeks browsing the forums, but it seems like there is a lot of information and I'd be extremely grateful for some input on building a starter rig. The shows that I'll be taping will be mostly bar/small club punk/psych shows; i.e. loud with mediocre sound systems and acoustics.

First of all, the Sony M10 seems to be generally regarded as a good starter recorder. My first question is that since it's only a 2 channel recorder, that means that I wouldn't be able to run 2 external mics plus a soundboard patch into it at the same time, correct? I haven't talked to the venues yet, but I know a couple of the people that typically run the boards and I would be surprised if the opportunity to run a patch wouldn't come up occasionally.

Secondly, where should I start with preamps/battery boxes? It seems like the CA9000/9100/9200 preamps are fairly common around here; are these still a good choice? Do I need a separate battery box if I'm running the mics through a preamp?

Finally, the AT853 cards and CA-14 mics are often suggested as good beginner mics... Is this the case, and if so, are there any mods that I should look for that make either of these options significantly better? If not, what should I be looking for in a decent mic/examples?

Thank you for reading/feedback! Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make things clearer... I'm pretty new to any audio engineering stuff, but I look forward to learning and would be more than happy to check out any resources you guys think would help. As far as budget goes, I'm obviously steering towards the lower/intro end, but I'd much rather spend a little more money to build a decent rig that can be improved on later than go for the cheapest possible components.

Offline mec111272

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2015, 12:26:21 PM »
The M10 is very well thought of around here, but it does not do 4-channels.  Some of the Tascams go up to four channels,  good units as well.

If you run the pre-amp you do not need the battery box.  The Church audio amps supply the correct power for the mics he sells.  As a note be sure to turn the plug in power off on the recorder if using the pre-amp.

Be sure to check the church audio threads,  on occasion he runs really sweet deals on complete packages.  The last one I saw was for the CAFS which are super tiny, like the size of a pencil eraser.  For ease of starting, a church rig comes ready to go, and there is substantial info on the board to get it running.  I have run my church gear in so many ways,  stealth, open, cards, omnis,  even 4-channel card/omni combo.

I will caution, and most can attest,  no matter what you start with if you enjoy the process you will have a ton of shit in no time.  Six pairs of mics, three pre-amps, clamps stands, cables......... 
Neumann KM-140,Church Audio Ca-14, Card Omni, CAD e70

Edirol UA-5 (T+ mod), Church Audio CA-9200, M148

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Offline boltman

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2015, 12:37:04 PM »
Welcome to this crazy hobby.  Glad to have you aboard.

Personally, I would get familiar with two-channel recording before venturing into four channel matrix-land.  Otherwise, you may end up feeling a lot of frustration.  Reading will help, but there is no substitute for "doing."  It's not just recording, either.  That's only half of it.  You'll need to learn how to use a Digital Audio Workstation, aka DAW, aka any one of a number of computer programs available to process your audio.  Only rarely does a straight transfer from the recorder yield an ultimately satisfying recording.  Most people, even if they don't use EQ, like to track, trim, normalize and correct basic problems (channel balance, etc.) before finalizing.

I would also caution against making a large initial investment until you find out that you really like it.  You can assemble a nice rig for a few hundred bucks.  Astronomy is similar:  people start the hobby, buy an expensive telescope, and then it sits gathering dust when they've lost interest.

Recording and preserving music is satisfying.  I know a hell of a lot more than I did four years ago, and that was after 20 years of running analog.  Be patient.  People are always willing to help here, but it is advisable to search the thousands of pages available here.  99.999999% of your questions will be answered in the forums.  Really.


Offline chipoffools

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2015, 12:55:04 PM »


@mec111272:  Yeah, I've been keeping an eye on the stuff in the For Sale sections; I just wanted some input to make sure I was headed in the right direction. Thanks for the advice, much appreciated!

@boltman: Good point; sounds like 2-channel recording is the way to go. I'm pretty good with computers and I've already started playing around with Audacity, so don't worry, I'm under no illusion that what comes out of the recorder will be "finished"! I agree with the sentiment against making a huge initial investment; I just on't want to buy something that I would have to replace as soon as I want to upgrade any other part of the rig, if that makes sense. Again, thank you for the info!

Offline buckster

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2015, 01:23:42 PM »
Hello and welcome!  I stumbled across this board a year ago when I was looking to assemble my first official taping rig.  At the time I had been recording a local band for a few years.  I had access to a Zoom H4N which I had used to make matrix mixes, but changes to the venue set up nixed safe and optimal placement of the Zoom, so I ended up just using the sbd feed exclusively. It was a digital sbd so my recording "gear" was just a usb flash drive!   However, I was itching to get back to a matrix mix and I wanted to take a step up from the Zoom on board mics.  I found a lot of information and expert advice on this site and my budget rig ended up being a Tascam DR-60D, four track recorder, and Studio Projects SP-4 mics.  The caveat about making a large investment up front is spot on and fortunately there's very decent sounding budget gear out there.   

In case you haven't come across it already there was a recent thread about inexpensive mics that you may find useful. 

http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=174460.0

Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2015, 04:09:59 PM »
Also keep in mind that if you do buy a 2-channel recorder like the M10, you have the option of upgrading later by buying a second recorder to use in tandem when you have board access. (Cons: You have to align the two files later in Audacity to do a matrix. Pros: You can easily position the two recorders independently of each other if you want your mics far from the board.)

It sounds like you're asking all the right questions for getting started. (And I'll endorse the Church mics as a good combination of budget/quality, btw.) What got you interested in recording, if I may ask?

Offline chipoffools

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2015, 04:28:41 PM »
@buckster: Thanks, I'll check it out!

@nulldogmas: Yeah, it looks like I'll probably go with the M10... Well, initially I became interested/aware of concert archiving via the Dead section of the Archive, as I'm too (unfortunately) too young to have seen them back in the day! On top of that, I live in a college town with a very active music scene, but nobody ever records any live material at all; I figure that if no one else is doing it, I might as well be!

stevetoney

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2015, 08:42:56 AM »
I figure that if no one else is doing it, I might as well be!

Excellent logic and good for you!  Taping U needs more young members like you. 

A comment I'll add to the above responses is that every handheld recorder I know of (M10 included) doesn't have an option to turn off Plug In Power (PIP).  There are usually two input jacks.  Typically they're labeled Mic In and Line In.  If you're using a battery box or preamp, use the Line In jack.  If you're plugging your mics directly into the handheld recorder, use the Mic In jack.  You might ask, well if I can power the mics directly from the recorder, then why do I need a preamp or battery box?  The answer is that that PIP voltage from the handheld is always quite low.  At that voltage, your mics won't be very efficient and, especially since you'll be recording loud music, they're likely to distort as the music volume increases.  A battery box or preamp (with their 9V battery) gives you better voltage to power your mics with.

You asked about mods to the mics.  If you choose to go the AT853, you'll most definitely want to buy a pair that already have the 4.7k resistor mod...which isn't a complicated or expensive mod.  Without that mod, these mics will overload for high volume music.  Church audio mics work great at high volumes without any mods.

To figure out which you want, I'd listen to the millions of samples on the archive and let your ears decide for you.

Offline mec111272

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2015, 10:28:01 AM »
"A comment I'll add to the above responses is that every handheld recorder I know of (M10 included) doesn't have an option to turn off Plug In Power (PIP).  "

DR-2D has a PIP on/off option which allows you to run externally powered mics into both ports.   I have one and use it as my backup, they are out of production so that may not be helpful.  Also, I am one of the unfortunate people that has had a problem with the external power jack,  if I use external power I got a horrible ticking/humm in the recording.




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Offline cybergaloot

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2015, 10:44:49 AM »
The last one I saw was for the CAFS which are super tiny, like the size of a pencil eraser.

Smaller than that, more like the size of the end of the wire. I would not recommend them as starter mics though as they are omni. The CA-14 cards would be a great starter pair along with a CA9200 and you are right that Chris puts together some great deals on sets from time to time. Just don't be in a hurry with Chris.

Somebody mentioned Studio Project C4 mics with a Tascam DR60, that would be a great starter rig. Don't forget to add in cables and a stand and/or clamps.
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Offline boltman

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2015, 12:10:36 PM »
You can turn off PIP on the Sony.  It's in the "detail" menu.  Also, if you insert a jack into mic in while it's turned on, you'll get a prompt asking if you want PIP on or off.

Offline chipoffools

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2015, 12:29:32 PM »
@tonedeaf: Good to know about the 4.7k mod; I understand the reasoning behind needing a battery box/preamp (particularly, it seems for the loud shows), and I'm fairly comfortable with when to use line-vs-mic in (and it's good to hear that the M10 does have the option to turn off PIP, thanks boltman!) I'm definitely watching for any new CA deals that fit my needs!

@cybergaloot: Yeah, it seems like cards are going to be the most forgiving for someone with less experience and presumably won't catch as much bar background chatter to the sides/behind as omni's do. I hadn't looked at the DR-60 before now, but it certainly does look like a good recorder... A little bulkier than the M10, perhaps, but definitely something to consider!

Offline hoppedup

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2015, 12:52:20 PM »
The DR-60D will be there if you ever decide to buy mics that have xlr connections and require phantom power. I think everyone here uses a USB battery to power it. Coupled with the form factor of the 60D, some folks might see it as a little clunkier than the M10, and it is.

My 60D has been rock solid and also allows me to run a second recording at -6db to help avoid clipping, or get board feed and fly mics. Church Audio mics or AT853s will serve you well. I used CA-14s for years and you'd have to spend quite a bit more money to get an upgrade in quality.

With all the card write errors going on with the DR-70D, I wouldn't recommend it at this time.
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2015, 01:14:55 PM »
chipoffools- Welcome to the hobby! One which will soothe your brain with live music after the event but strain your brain every time you think about how much more money for gear you will spend. It isn't as expensive as yachting or golfing, but might be close to golfing in terms of equipment/ticket prices     8)

I haven't bought "budget" mics in a while (I used a pair of Sonic Studios for a few years), but the other thing only one person has mentioned is that your original cash outlay should consider the type of recording you will be doing. I am sure you understand not all venues/bands "allow" recording. This knowledge can serve you well in deciding which equipment to buy. I feel this is why some here prefer the smaller CA's or AT's.

As for bit buckets- maybe consider the Olympus LS14 or LS100. The original cost is more than the M10, but in my direct experience with my buddies LS10, the internal mics are great:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/896212-REG/Olympus_v409141bu000_LS_14_Linear_PCM_Recorder.html        two tracks    ~ $172 USD

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/830941-REG/Olympus_LS_100_LS_100_Multi_Track_PCM_Recorder.html         multi-track     ~ $329 USD
(B&H photo links just because I like to comparison shop on that site.)

Enjoy. We need more tapers in the world as far as I am concerned   ;D
BTW- i love the TS handle you chose- Welcome to this particular ship of fools!     8)
 
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Offline buckster

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2015, 01:41:40 PM »
Also keep in mind that if you do buy a 2-channel recorder like the M10, you have the option of upgrading later by buying a second recorder to use in tandem when you have board access. (Cons: You have to align the two files later in Audacity to do a matrix. Pros: You can easily position the two recorders independently of each other if you want your mics far from the board.)
Yepper.  Even though I'm using a four track recorder, my recorder/mics are not set up by the sdb; so I still get my sbd feed on the usb flash drive.  Because of timing differences, syncing the two files is certainly one of the more tedious aspects of working the files in post. 

 

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