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Old January 11th, 2014, 07:20 PM   #1
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Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

Hi,

I have a Zoom H1 and considering getting a second one to record audio for weddings (mainly to put on the head table to get the audio of speeches if there not using a microphone etc.), but wasn't sure if it's the best choice, mainly because it can sound a bit too tinny (as I'd called it).

Any suggestions if a Zoom H1 would be suitable or are there any better solutions?

Thanks
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Old January 12th, 2014, 03:30 AM   #2
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

Since you already own an H1, I would consider getting a recorder that's multitrack capable which could be beneficial as your upgrade your Audio gear.
I would look into getting a tascam DR-100mkii or DR-40

I use a combination of a Dr-100 and multiple H1s for all of my jobs. You can hear the quality on my vimeo channel or website. Andreostudio.com
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Old January 13th, 2014, 04:55 AM   #3
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

Matt, your comment about using one H1 on the top table to cover all the speeches makes me wonder if a change in your technique might yield better results for you.

Remember that sound falls off exponentially so its vitally important for whatever recorder means you are using to be as close to the source as possible. You cannot bring it "closer" in the way that you can zoom a lens. Thats why lav mics are much in favour for weddings as the audio from the person speaking is relatively strong and clear whilst the surrounding and ambient sound is not competing with it.

An H1 on the top table sitting close to each of the speakers works fine. Not as singular as a lav but more realistic of the sound that the guests experienced (unless you mix in some ambient in post), and quicker to set up. So you need 3 recorders - or even 4 - unless you are going to jump in and move the recorder each time a new person starts their speech.

Try a test recording of yourself at home. Have your H1 just a few inches from your mouth. Then see if you still get that "tinny" result you describe. That will indicate whether its a placement problem you've been having or a faulty recorder.

Back to which recorder: Many of us find the H1 works great for weddings. Its just about small enough to fit in a trouser pocket (for laving) whilst having a wide enough range to make a decent stab at music (not really the case with smaller dictafone type recorders). Crucially it has a standard 1/4" x 20 socket in the back so it is easily mounted on table tripods and friction arms etc. You can have auto-levels and that can work well for situations where you cannot predict the correct levels or adjust levels part way through. It has a low-cut / high-pass filter setting so you can exclude some low frequency unwanted noise.

It does not have a limiter / compressor setting unlike its big brother H4n, but you can do that in post.

Unlike Chad I would get more H1's before getting a recorder with more functionality. Thats because you do need to place a lot of them around. The next ones up - H4n and H6 if you're looking at the Zoom family - are considerably bulkier and don't have a simple auto-levels function to get you out of jail free.

GAK in the UK is doing the white version of the H1 at just 69 at present. The white does look very nice and is a good fit for weddings when placing it on ceremony and reception tables.

Zoom H1 White

It does look classier than the black version. I have 1 in white, 3 in black, and an H4n.

Pete
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Old January 13th, 2014, 05:05 AM   #4
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

Yeah, I would always prefer to have people laved up, but some people don't always want to, so was trying to considering an alternative just in case.
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Old January 13th, 2014, 07:23 PM   #5
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

I put together some comparison of 5 recorders

Five Voice Recorders Internal Microphone Shootout | L.A. Color Pros Blog
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Old January 14th, 2014, 04:51 PM   #6
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

Like others have said - one singular source probably won't cut it for all speakers. Or may only be marginally better than camera audio.

(For the record - I shoot four cams - A Canon 6D 1400, 550D 400, SonyCX730 800 and my wide backup Nikon P310 130 - Believe it or not - The Nikon P310 records my best audio...)

What some people do is (not advised) tape their Zoom H1s to the roaming mic - but This will pick up hand fumbling etc...

Like someone has mentioned - 4/5 separate recorders will probably be the best option failing tapping into the wireless mic frequencies.

But thats pricey with Zoom H1s - so I'm considering buying cheaper recorders - Like 30.

I'm assuming that a cheap recorder in front of a person will at least sound way better than anything else a 3-10meters away.
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Old January 14th, 2014, 05:00 PM   #7
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

I put together another blog post of different ways to obtain good audio at weddings

Different Methods in Capturing Good Audio at Live Event | L.A. Color Pros Blog
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Old January 14th, 2014, 08:18 PM   #8
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

I'm quite surprised that no-one uses boundary mics when speeches as done from the bridal table?? I have two very neat AKG mics that are really tiny (about 1.5" x 1" and look like a little computer mouse) They have a huge range compared to a normal mic and you can get way better audio from up to 10' away too.

Our weddings are done 99% of the time from a podium/lectern so mic placement is static and the people come up in turn but now and again brides will insist on doing speeches from the bridal table and I will use my AKG's on the table and get brilliant audio!

Any reason why they are never considered??

Chris
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Old January 15th, 2014, 10:13 AM   #9
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

Any reason why they are never considered??

They seem to get a bad rap:

Boundary microphone advice

except for use in very specific sets of circumstances.

I know the audio specialists can seem like obsessive compulsives to us multitaskers but every time I think of getting a few boundary mics I read something that puts me off :- )

Pete
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Old January 16th, 2014, 06:16 AM   #10
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

I used boundary mics for 20 years with extremely good results and only stopped using them as I find running cables a pain . I may well start again though, with 2 mono ones into a portable recorder through a splitter, for the head table.

As Chris says, they can pick up from much further away with good results as they lessen the room reverb effect.

Roger
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Old January 16th, 2014, 07:17 AM   #11
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

Roger, would that work better than say three Zoom H1's sat on tabletop tripods in front of each of the (usually) three speakers? Can't say I'm noticing much reverb in most receptions probably because of all those bodies and furnishings absorbing it, plus the walls being significantly further away than the distance from the H1 to the speaker so diminishing the strength.

Also wouldn't you get undesirably strong pick up from the guests seated at the front tables - straight audio recorders would be more directional I assume.

I would not want the wires etc showing in shot. That may be because I do a lot of wedding albums and video equipment in plain sight in the foreground looks absolutely terrible on a double page spread, inevitable though it sometimes is. I usually move wine bottles, flowers etc a bit just before the speeches to hide the H1's.

Pete
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Old January 16th, 2014, 09:16 AM   #12
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

Hi Pete

I did a test just on my office desk a while back with a boundary mic and a lav mic both into two transmitters and those went back to the camera receivers into each XLR channels. They were on a par up to about 1/2 metre from the mics but as I stepped back the room noise and level on the lav just kept dropping and dropping until they were almost the same. Very thin and quite unusable at 3 meters (not exact but I took 3 BIG paces away on the final test. The boundary, as tiny as it was amazingly seemed to keep the level just about the same. My lav dropped on the NLE timeline down to about -20db but the boundary seemed to stick at -6db which was around the same level for both at 1/2 metre.

Admittedly with the boundary after I started stepping away the bass response dropped significantly and was quite "crisp" at 3 metres (you could call it "tinny" but if I lifted the track in my NLE and pushed the band fro 20 -100hz up 6db ..the bass response came back!!

If you have one they are definitely worth a try ..initially at home but they are quite outstanding! The only limiting factor is that the surface it sits on needs to be at least a metre square to be really effective so a bridal table is usually plenty enough .... it does lose a LOT of output on a soft surface like a carpet but even a white table cloth over the table doesn't limit it too much!

I have two of these C400 BL | Microphones | AKG but they DO need phantom power!! They are a lot smaller than the image makes them out to be too!!! Actually 45mm long and only 20mm wide ...according to AKG you can also paint the case white for weddings!!

Chris
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Old January 16th, 2014, 12:51 PM   #13
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

Hi Pete, I pretty much agree with Chris and his comparison test. The Zoom and the Sonys that I use will drop off in pickup volume much quicker than the boundary mics. That can be useful in those situations where the speaker moves about or decides to stand away from where you carefully placed the mic.

The boundary mics pick up a wider spread of sound and will pick up sound from the nearer tables, but I quite like that as for me, I like to hear the responses, comments and laughter from those around. The Mics will always pick up the speakers best though, because they are nearer and there is a drop off directly behind the mic. The only downside as you say, is hiding the cables.

Roger
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Old January 16th, 2014, 06:17 PM   #14
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

I have been considering getting one or two myself. It is good to hear that you like them. I started reading up on them after my last wedding where the groom refused to wear a mic. Could I use one with an H4n on the tile floor near the alter?
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Old January 16th, 2014, 07:57 PM   #15
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Re: Good Audio Recorders for Wedddings

Hi Byron

They actually will work on floors and walls too ..however as expected a floor unit would pick up foot noise sadly but often used with dancing performances to catch the sound of the dancers tap shoes. They will work well on the altar but sadly that here always seems to be behind the couple. I will use one when doing a full mass as the priest will do some sermon behind the altar.

They are definitely worth having in your audio kit case! I plug mine directly into a transmitter! so cable routing is minimal. My transmitters also provide the necessary phantom power!!

Chris
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