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Old December 12th, 2013, 03:03 AM   #1
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Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

Some of you may have seen my latest post about the reverb. In it, I explained how at a recent wedding, there were up to four different positions where people spoke from in the church.

Something occurred to me - to cover all eventualities, would it be better for me to just have a bunch of super cheap recorders, and place them in every conceivable location? (still using my tascam and lav mic for groom of course.

Yea, audio may not be super - but would certainly be better than on-board audio from 6+ metres away and in noisey/reverb ridden spaces.

It could also be an idea for speeches to. i could leave a recorder in front of every individual speaker.

Good idea / bad idea? Must be better than taping an H1 to the roaming mic like I've seen people do!

So what cheapos are there that will be acceptable quality? I'm hoping no more than 30 each.
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Old December 12th, 2013, 03:36 AM   #2
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

Why don't you tap in to the church PA or get a recorder near one of the church speakers? Are you putting a mic on the lecturn? That's all I do as well as a lav on the groom and I get great audio!
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Old December 12th, 2013, 04:51 AM   #3
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

I use multiple standalone recorders as a first choice.

If there is a feed from the church's PA I will hook up, but more often than not the deck is inaccessible at the rear where you need to put in your leads sometimes enclosed in an anti-theft cage, or there is no-one available who understands it and can give you access; not in the limited amount of time available anyway.

Then you need to somehow figure out what the levels should be before the service is in full flow unless you add the further complication of a radio link from the deck to your shooting position. And then the PA system may only cater for some positions so you may miss out on the choir, or any voices of guests singing in hymns, musicians, etc - which you can of course mix in post.

I've found that a recorder close to one of the church speakers can be a reliable backstop as Peter says.

I also bear in mind that the ultra clean audio you get from a well placed lav gives you results that are nothing like the experience was for the guests in the church. It can sound more like a hollywood blockbuster advert voiceover than actually being there. Again you can do some mixing but I quite like the readymade mix of speaker and ambient that you get with a close free-standing audio recorder.

A bunch of Zoom H1's are affordable and work well. The 59 deal for the white ones that I linked to recently has ended but even at 69 +5 shipping its good. They are more than your budget but they also give you more scope than the cheaper units. Particularly valuable is the tripod thread on the back which enables you to position them in all sorts of places in seconds using cheap chinese friction arms.

An H1 or any recorder clamped to a lectern or suchlike can be quite visible in the foreground. Sometimes I use a lav instead of the recorders build-in mics and quickly fasten the lav in place using heavy duty black blutak - quicker less visible and more secure than tape for a lav:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I did that last saturday placing the lav on the end of an enormous christmas tree branch that was protruding into the area :- )

I try to attend church rehearsals whenever I can. In these I check which positions are going to be used and I point out to the participants that video is much more ponderous than stills photography and its important that they don't stray from their allocated positions. It also gives me the chance to try and avoid anyone blocking shooting positions as in that stupid stupid stupid american habit of the bridesmaids and groomsmen standing either side of the couple throughout :- )

The speeches - yep I routinely place recorders in the table in front of each speaker. You can add an element of camouflage using the table decorations wine bottles etc.

Pete
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Old December 12th, 2013, 05:25 AM   #4
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

ive had good results with this Sony digital recorder, easy to use no fuss setup.
Sony ICDPX333.CE7 4GB PX Series MP3 Digital Voice IC Recorder + Memory Card Slot & Microphone: Amazon.co.uk: Office Products

I have a few Yamaha Pocketrak C24 Pocket Recorder that work ok but can be a bit fiddly at times, two left me down at an event a few months ago! I think they're discontinued now.
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Old December 15th, 2013, 07:13 PM   #5
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

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Originally Posted by Rob Cantwell View Post
Great little recorders, simple, reliable and good sound quality.

Roger
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Old December 15th, 2013, 07:43 PM   #6
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

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Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
Something occurred to me - to cover all eventualities, would it be better for me to just have a bunch of super cheap recorders, and place them in every conceivable location? (still using my tascam and lav mic for groom of course.
Yes -- I would think that in the ideal world, we would place recorders anywhere the sound sources are. For me, it usually means: lav on the groom (gets the bride, too) and a wav recorder on the church lectern for church weddings -- and maybe another where there's music.

I don't take the time to put recorders elsewhere (like the altar for confession-related readings). I just figure I need to balance my time with what I'll be using most in their audio. Yes, in their "running/document" footage, there'll be some echo-y sound -- if the priest does talking from elsewhere.
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Old December 18th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #7
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

What I've done is gone with the Tascam DR-05 ($79.99 USD at BH) and it's larger brother the Tascam Dr-40 (I got on Amazon.com last Black Friday time for pretty cheap). My regular second shooter also has a DR-05.

I really like them. Especially the DR-40 which has XLR in that allows me to hide it and a Sennheiser ME66 on stage as a way to capture backup vow audio etc.

The DR-05's are nice little units that can be placed by a piano or string section or harp to ensure clear music audio.

I recently got a $40 Audio Technica wired lav to also use with the Dr-05 as a backup lapel mic since the Tascam is small enough and light enough to fit in a jacket pocket.
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Old December 18th, 2013, 03:50 PM   #8
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

When I first set out to do wedding videography, I immediately purchased two Zoom H1's. They're basic, but they get the job done and at $100/each they don't break my budget. After four weddings, I decided to pick up a third audio recorder at best buy on the way to another event, and I'm very glad I did- best safety choice I've made. In addition to the shotgun mics on both my cams as emergency backup audio, I put out all three recorders at every ceremony.

In a typical church setup:
I will have one in the groom's pocket with the lav which is for the obvious vows, and also a great way to pick up officiant audio (saved my bacon with officiant audio in the last wedding shoot with no church PA that I could record from)

One on the lectern (if there is one)

*and if one is available, another recorder right next to a church PA speaker with the sensitivity turned down so I don't blow out the channels or pick up too much reverb and guest noise.

The last wedding I shot didn't have a PA speaker at ground level that I could pick up from, so I instead used the third recorder on a window sill next to some live musicians so I could at least pick them up as well. No sense in wasting the third recorder!

For the reception, I always ask the DJ if I can patch in with a recorder. Once, when I wasn't able to do so, I strapped one recorder onto the DJ speaker stand (which sounded awful, but at least I got something) and put a second on the head table so I could get some audio of the toasts. It wasn't even close to great, but it was better than just on-cam audio.
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Old March 13th, 2014, 01:22 PM   #9
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Great little recorders, simple, reliable and good sound quality.

Roger
Just got one of these recorders Roger, its great and very small into the bargain.
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Old March 14th, 2014, 09:00 AM   #10
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

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Originally Posted by Anthony McErlean View Post
Just got one of these recorders Roger, its great and very small into the bargain.
Glad you are happy with it :-) I have 3 of them and you could spend more and get more facilities, but small and simple suits me fine.

Roger
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Old March 19th, 2014, 02:34 PM   #11
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

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Glad you are happy with it :-) I have 3 of them and you could spend more and get more facilities, but small and simple suits me fine.

Roger
Your right there, its fantastic, I'm getting another one or two.
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Old March 28th, 2014, 11:48 PM   #12
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

Do you mean wireless ?

I use a wired one, this one,

Amazon.com: Audio-Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Omnidirectional Condenser Microphone: Musical Instruments

Does the job nicely!
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Old March 29th, 2014, 05:27 AM   #13
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

Hi Soumendra,

You have linked to a lav mic, whereas this thread is about portable recorders that you might want to plug a lav mic into.

I noticed in your other thread that you are recording directly from a mic straight to your dslr camera, so the type of recorders talked about here might be just what you need. They are not wireless, they record on inbuilt memory or sd card and are small enough to be tucked into a jacket pocket or placed on a convenient surface.

The recordings are transferred to your editing system by usb or removing the card and putting it into your system.

Roger
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Old March 29th, 2014, 06:11 AM   #14
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

Oh, I see!

So, the audio is recorded separately then, not into the camera and we have to sync it with the video later on the NLE.
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Old March 29th, 2014, 04:24 PM   #15
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Re: Cheapest acceptable quality audio recorders?

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Originally Posted by Soumendra Jena View Post
Oh, I see!

So, the audio is recorded separately then, not into the camera and we have to sync it with the video later on the NLE.
Yes that is correct, but it is extremely easy to do and gives you the ability to place mics and recorders exactly where you want them, without having to run cables everywhere. I often use three recorders and synch them all up on the time line with no problems.

Roger
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