Audio Recorder help - Edirol R-44 at

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Old May 16th, 2008, 10:21 AM   #1
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Audio Recorder help - Edirol R-44


I just purchased an Edirol R-44 to help get better audio when I am recording choir concerts, school plays, etc. I do not do this professionally, only as a hobby for family and friends. I am the only person working two camera at most events and thought this unit would help get better (more realistic) audio. I understand the basic concepts, but am not sure how to get better audio.

Having just gotten the R-44 I am looking for some help in setting this unit up to take advantage of possibly getting better sound. I used to use a camera mounted shotgun for indoor events (sound was not too bad, but hve now learned this is not the way to go from reading this forum). I get the basic concepts of the R-44, just need help in the settings. What I am looking for is some advice/help in setting the sensitivity and levels/volume, etc.

I have purchased Ty's book and found it very helpful. However, I don't do this for a living and am trying to get better but need some beginning help. When setting the sens/volume/levels, what do you look for? Which to you set first? Things like that. Any help is appreciated.

If this is not right for this forum, you can email me directly with advice.

Thanks from a newbie,
Brian Jacobsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 16th, 2008, 09:45 PM   #2
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Brian... I'm in Sacramento. I'm not especially familiar with the R-44 but can download the manual and be happy to give you some help.

I'm doing location sound this weekend, but maybe one night next week we can connect and I can bring some decent mics and you can play with the R-44 using all 4 channels... explore some of the possibilities it offers you.

2 cameras? and sound? Are you an octopus?

Chris Swanberg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 17th, 2008, 02:47 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Chris Swanberg View Post
2 cameras? and sound? Are you an octopus?
Actually for the types of events he mentioned, one could do both camera and audio. However, while the levels on the audio are getting setup, the camera work would suffer. Most other events involving music, or plays once you get your levels set, there isn't a whole lot of adjusting. But you do have to find the right levels and you do have to setup your mics in the right location.


I haven't used the R44, but generally it works this way. You set your levels based on the incoming signal. However before you do that, you need to make sure your camera and recorder are set at the same scale. You want to feed a tone to the camera from the R44. Most recorders/mixers use a 1 kHz tone at -12 or -20 dB. It doesn't matter so much the level, but you have to know where this is on your camera. A lot of the consumer cameras aren't marked. You see a series of lines in white, then a series of red lines. You adjust these levels so both are set correctly. Then you know that whatever level you are recording at on the R44, you are also recording on camera. You want to set a level that is fairly high to increase your signal to noise ratio (SNR). The higher the incoming signal, the less self-noise from the camera's A/D you have. However you want to be careful because you don't want to exceed 0 dB. In the analog world, this was not only acceptable, but preferred. But this is not the case with new digital cameras and recorders. You go over 0 dB, you get a nasty pop sound. So, be careful when increasing the gain of the recorder.

Hope this helps.

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Old May 19th, 2008, 09:38 AM   #4
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Thanks guys for the advice. I was able to record the choir performance pretty well. I actually had them do a warmup and was able to set the mics in place and adjust the levels to where it sounded good to my ears.

I tired to adjust the sensitivity first and get a decent signal and then adjust the volume. The way it ended up, the sens was about at 2/3 to 3/4 and the level was about at 1/2 of full. This seemed to play back well when the concert was over.

Chris - As for being an octopus, it's not really that hard. I set up one camera to shoot the overall play, performance, etc. and the other I work and get close ups and panning from. This way I use the one camera I work for most of the shots and just put in a few from the overall shot if I screw something up or it doesn't come out.

You also have to remember that my only "competition" is other fathers with the handheld little camera with the built in mics and usually no tripods. There footage is usually shaky and the audio is terrible. I just happen to like to try and get better so I tend to buy the better stuff and try and learn how to use it. (Sometimes it works and other times I fail)

It gives me something to do other than my real job and other "hobbies". HAHAHA.

Thanks Brian
Brian Jacobsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2008, 10:53 AM   #5
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Brian, where do you place the R-44 while recording.

Do you just place it near your source?
Or do you run cable and have the recorder near you so you can adjust audio levels accordingly during the performance?

I used to have an R4 but sold it to purchase the R-44, as it suited my audio/video needs better.
Michael Liebergot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 19th, 2008, 11:01 AM   #6
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This time (first time) I set up the recorder near the piano which was right next to the performers on the stage. I then ran XLR cables to three different mics, one near the piano and the other two spaced apart but in front of the performers. The edirol box was set under the piano and I had a wireless feed going out to my camera. The camera's were at the back fo the room so as to pick up everyone. (About 30-40 feet away).

I was able to set the sens and level before the performance began and it seemed to work out pretty well. I used a shotgun mic on the camera to see if there was a big difference - there was. The edirol recorded the sound much more clearly than I had ever seen before (Sorry, but I have been using shotgun mics indoors on the camera for a long time) I was really impressed with my first try at better sound. It is almost like being there.

I can't wait to get some more practice with the edirol. It seems like it is well worth the cost so far.

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