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Old December 22nd, 2005, 12:38 PM   #1
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Improving Audio Quality of Recordings

I have been on a quest to achieve a decent recording of my sonís jazz concerts. I was totally unsatisfied with the results I obtained directly from my Sony DCR-TRV70 camera. I improved the recordings slightly with a Sony shoe mounted mic. Then after doing some research, I purchased a Beachtek DXA-2S (for balanced inputs) and a Rode NTG-2 mic. The recordings are better, but still have much room for improvement, particularly where the bass is concerned.

Iíve been considering recording the audio separately on a recorder such as the Marantz PDM-671, and then combining the audio/video later. Given the cost of the PDM-671, I want to be sure the improvement in audio quality will be significant over recording through the Sony camcorder with the Rode mic. Can anyone whoís gone down this path give me an idea of how much better I can expect the audio quality to be with the PDM-671?
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 12:51 PM   #2
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I am not familiar with your particular camcorder, but I doubt it is the biggest culprit. The only way to REALLY improve the audio for a concert setting like that is to get the mic (s) closer to the source. I assume you are just out in the audience and pointing the mic toward the stage? Professional recordings sound great because they use great mics (yes, usually multiple mics, though many great recordings have been done with one well-placed stereo pair). They also sound great because great care has been taken to place mics where needed to pick up all instruments. Unfortunately, shooting from out in the audience means you will get all kinds of reflected sound as well as the direct sound, not to mention the noise of the audience as well.

The Maranzt recorder you mention probably has a better overall sound than your camcorder, but it will not change how you need to mic the situation.

Hope this helps.

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Old December 22nd, 2005, 07:01 PM   #3
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I agree with rob, sound is only as good as its weakest link. I just helped record the high school Christmas concert. The first part of the concert was the jazz band. The set up that we used was two Shure SM81s in x/y set up, 14 feet out from the band and 14 feet high. The mics were connected to a small mixer. A JVC CD recorder and a GL2 with a BeachTek DXA-4P. The tape from the GL2 sounded as good as the CD.
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 07:17 PM   #4
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Part of the reason may be that you're using a shotgun microphone (interference tube design) indoors. Shotguns (especially the mid-low end ones) sound terrible in that kind of situation. In my experience, a Shure SM58 (a totally inappropriate dynamic cardioid) fares much better than the AT815 (older AT shotgun model).

A cardioid or hypercardioid microphone (that doesn't use the interference tube design with several slots) may fare better. You could probably rent or borrow one to try. A condensor microphone should be a little better than a dynamic mic like the SM58. And the SM58 is a vocal mic, so it's not appropriate for your situation.

2- The Marantz probably isn't going to do much for you. It could lower the amount of noise (the kind generated by the analog-digital converters, not background noise). It might improve the frequency response so that it gets a little more of that deeper bass. Anyways, it should likely be the last thing to try.
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