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Old July 23rd, 2011, 02:01 PM   #1
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Best way to record dialogue off a speaker?

I'm looking for a backup recorder to record live audio of church ceremonies off a speaker. The recorder would be place pretty closed to avoid echo. However that would need some kind of limiter since i cant predict the entire range (prob have to set it on auto?)

Is the Zoom H1 a good solution? We are taking the mixer output to our H4n currently but there has been cases of the recording screwing up. I have been putting a lav mic on the groom and recording it to a seperate Zoom H4n but the audio is sometimes too soft/low. Set it too high and we get a lot of noise.

I figured out recording from the speaker might be a good alternative but i'm not sure if the Zoom H1/H2n would be ideal if I were to set it on manual?
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 02:04 PM   #2
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Recording off the speaker?

I'm looking to record church ceremonies off the speaker (literally, not connecting the speaker cable to my recorder). Any good recommendations? It is for backup in case the house mixer screws up.

The key take away is the wedding vows. Thanks!
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 03:15 PM   #3
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Re: Recording off the speaker?

Electro Voice 635A on a stand in front of the speaker. I've done it many times and it works perfectly.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 03:47 PM   #4
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Re: Best way to record dialogue off a speaker?

Hi Sean,
This doesn't quite answer your question about using a Zoom, but here goes.

I wanted to shoot a music group using a 7D with a Sennheiser MKE400. The speakers were blaring so loud and were so distorted that I really thought there was no chance. I stood behind the speakers and shot the group from the side. The results were not bad at all. Just a thought.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 04:01 PM   #5
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Re: Best way to record dialogue off a speaker?

Sean, I've had extremely good luck, and as a result good results from the zoom H1. It would likely serve your needs well. I'm not sure what an appropriate gain setting would be for that situation, but a little experimentation would sort that out pretty quickly
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Old July 24th, 2011, 02:27 PM   #6
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Re: Best way to record dialogue off a speaker?

If the speaker is "blaring" I would try putting the recorder back a foot or 2. Place the recorder between the woofer and tweeter so you get both. Turn the recording level down, and engage any pad the recorder may have. Yes, engage the limiter, but you must set the recording level while you have the blaring going on. That's the only way to set any recorder, while you are listening to the loudest thing being recorded. Now, if you set the recorder to record 24 bit (you should always anyway) you have more headroom, which means you can record at much lower levels. Why is that good? Because then you can turn it back up in post with less hiss than with 16 bit. So if the recording level is showing 50%, it's not problem to turn that up in post. The main thing is to not have the mic so close that the vibration from the loud speaker doesn't distort the mic - which is possible. If you can get cans on and hear what you are recording it's best.
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Old July 27th, 2011, 12:40 AM   #7
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Re: Best way to record dialogue off a speaker?

I tried recording a DJ dance set off a speaker and it overloaded my h1 (severe clipping). I was new to the h1 at the time so may not have turned the gain down, but I suspect that clipping is a possibility even with the gain all the way down, using the builtin mics on the h1.

Next time I'm going to try using a dynamic mic like the 635N/D-B which I just ordered, for the speakers; dynamic mics don't max out on SPL but small condenser mics like the h1's builtins can max out at high SPLs.

Someone mentioned a Shure drum microphone on another thread, and that might be the most bomber way to record a speaker.
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Old July 27th, 2011, 06:22 AM   #8
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Re: Best way to record dialogue off a speaker?

Sennheiser E604 or another variant of Sennheisers drum mic, with my AT 18XX plugin transmitter going to my camera with wireless receiver of course, plus my AKG Blueline Hypercaroid on the camera. On occassion I have to do a little levels adjustment when a non professional is speaking during toasts at a wedding and they hold the mic, typical SM58 or similar, about waist level. Other than that, the audio I get from wedding receptions is about as good as you can get without spending tons of time in post. No clipping, no overloading, just clean sound. I love it!
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Old July 29th, 2011, 03:55 AM   #9
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Re: Best way to record dialogue off a speaker?

Thks guys.. sounds like there r several alternatives here. I'm interested in the Zoom H1 since it is very handy and probably easy to set up. I didnt know about the 24Bit Chad, may be that could solve some of my problems with low levels from the wireless lav.
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Old July 31st, 2011, 11:19 PM   #10
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Re: Best way to record dialogue off a speaker?

Note that 24 bit recorders may only go to 20 bits before the noise overwhelms S/N. Or even less... even 16 bits could be a fantasy and 14-15 bits might be accurate with some very cheap equipment. Certainly don't think that 24 bits gives you 8 bits more dynamic range than 16 bits... yes in theory, not in practice.
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Old August 1st, 2011, 01:57 AM   #11
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Re: Best way to record dialogue off a speaker?

I've measured the noise on the H4n and DR-100 recorders. Their XLR inputs give about 15-bits of S/N. Recording in 24-bits on those products doesn't really buy you anything. Still, I record 24-bits on them, just for the warm feeling that 24-bits provides. :)

I guess the good news is that if you ever need to save memory and need to choose 16-bits on those units, you can do so without losing anything.
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