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Old December 17th, 2014, 03:07 PM   #1
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Taping a recorder to a microphone

One method I might adopt for next season is to tape an audio recorder direct to the microphone handed to the people making speeches. A Zoom H1 might be a bit bulky and look unsightly on film so I'd use one of my small Sony recorders but what mic to use? I could use a lav mic and tape up the cable but time consuming and might look ugly, so I have seen little mics that plug directly into the 3.5mm socket but are any of them any good?

Also what tape to use? Gaffer tape would leave lots of gunk on my recorder and their microphone and I would imagine electrician tape might work loose so what do you guys use?

I should add that I will always tap into the house PA where possible but the last time I did this the mic they used had a s**t pop shield and had tons of breath pops

Pete
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Old December 17th, 2014, 03:31 PM   #2
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

I use internal mics on a Yamaha C24 -- got the recommendation from Nigel and Noa. Does alright if it's held reasonably close to your mouth (I've posted some sound tests in another thread). The C24 is about the size of a Zoom H1, but looks slightly less bulky. I carry two, because often there's two microphones, if not more. Lasts the entire reception, 6 hours plus, continuously recording to 48kHz, on one Eneloop AA battery. The sample rate does affect battery life I think.

I like your idea of attaching a microphone to the recorder as well, but not sure if I'll implement it myself; seems like extra fuss and more power drain.

Method of attachment: I used to use gaffer tape, and no one complained about it. They complained about attaching the recorder in the first place, but not the method of attachment. I currently use three black hair elastics (you double them over mic + recorder or just recorder to tighten), but it does take a minute or two to attach. One big advantage, apart from leaving no marks: it's dead easy to access the on/off button on the microphone, or to change batteries, or to check if the recorder is still recording, by just moving the elastics aside. Also easy to remove at the end of the night, whereas gaffer tape sometimes requires you to find a pair of scissors or a pocket knife.

I've never tried plain velcro wrapped around recorder and microphone, but maybe that's a faster and more secure solution.

I think Noa used to use some sort of ingenious method involving a sheath of rubber for grip, and then velcro straps. I've always found that my hair elastics provide enough grip, though, with no rubber needed.

By the way, in terms of persuading them in the first place to let you do it... In general, DJs/MCs are pretty reluctant. Main complaints: interferes with frequency; looks ugly; awkward to hold and throws MC off their game; not necessary because plugging into our system is fine.

I think the complaints are more or less BS, even "looks ugly", because a normal person wouldn't notice it's not just a regular microphone. But even if there's some truth in looks ugly, clean sound outweighs the aesthetics. (I've seen wedding videos where someone taped a whole wireless transmitter + microphone to the roaming mic, and that did look dodgy. But a Yamaha kind of blends in.)

My second shooter has recently started saying to them, "We don't like it either, but we've learned from bitter experience we need it," and for some reason having that concession that "we don't like it either" seems to get people on side, as well as the conviction that you do need it. Plus, it's true. There have been plenty of weddings where the taped recorder turned out to be the best sound source.

Last edited by Adrian Tan; December 17th, 2014 at 05:03 PM. Reason: Changed "Tascam" to "Yamaha"
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Old December 17th, 2014, 04:01 PM   #3
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

A lot of what is referred to as gaffers tape is not gaffers tape at all, its duct tape.

Genuine gaffers tape leaves as good as no residue unlike duct tape.

A mic with a recorder attached is awkward for the person to hold and comes at the worst possible time for them what with nerves an' all. Also it looks dreadful in head and shoulders photos of the speakers so you are not going to win any fans among the stills boys - yes it REALLY IS a big deal despite what you might think about the importance or otherwise of stills coverage of the speeches. Fact: there are always several spreads of photos in the album covering the speeches and this at the clients request. You will impact on the photographers scope to sell more spreads.

Last resort? OK.

I do have one of those little plugin 3.5mm mics. I just use it with a GoPro in conjunction with a skeleton case to get better audio from the gopro with which to sync its track. Its neat in that it turns right-angle so no need for wires. I've never bothered testing it as its track never makes it into the final edit but for 14 its worth a punt:

OLYMPUS NOISE REDUCT.Microphone ME-52W: Amazon.co.uk: Office Products

p.s. I have a feeling that the Gopro 3 and 4 have a smaller socket than 3.5mm so you'd need an adapter in that scenario.

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Old December 17th, 2014, 04:05 PM   #4
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

duplicate post

Last edited by Peter Riding; December 18th, 2014 at 02:15 AM. Reason: duplicate post
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Old December 17th, 2014, 04:17 PM   #5
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

I think we had this discussion before, also about the recorders ruining the photogs shots during speeches, but this works 2 ways, we need decent audio, the photog decent photos. If there is no other way to capture audio I will tape a recorder onto the handle, even if the photog would object to it because no way I will risc coming home with inaudible audio. I use some cut out rubber from a bicycle inside tire in the shape of the recorder and then use velcro tape to strap the recorder to the handle, the rubber piece is placed between recorder and handle and prevents the recorder from sliding of the handle and protects it against scratches as well which dj's like :)

but will do some tests with these hair elastics Adrian was referring to, my velcro tape has on occasion got loose a bit while elastic should stay put.
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Old December 17th, 2014, 04:20 PM   #6
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
I use internal mics on a Tascam C24
That's a yamaha c24 :)
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Old December 17th, 2014, 04:30 PM   #7
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

Yep, Yamaha, not Tascam!

Ok, here's some photos showing the Yamaha in various positions.

Best case is if they're holding it with their hand wrapped around both recorder and microphone, with recorder turned away from the audience or side on. Worst case is if they're holding the bottom of the microphone with entire recorder exposed, and pointing the red light towards the audience.

Definitely it's not ideal, but I don't think the average person knows that it's not part of the microphone.

Gaffer (Nashua) tape used in this case.
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Old December 17th, 2014, 04:32 PM   #8
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

I'm going to try and find a small enough recorder that it makes sense to possibly attach it to the bottom, like when they convert a corded mic into a wireless.

Otherwise, yes, gaffers tape is nice, maybe with a spandex sleeve over the whole thing. The key is to not have the recorder moving relative to the mic. That's key for handling noise, but also the person holding it. As an MC, I've dealt with this 2 or 3 times and quickly got over it.
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Old December 18th, 2014, 12:24 AM   #9
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

I have done that. The audio sound quality is excellent. First I use an Olympus. Then I switched to a Sony. The sound quality is even better. Only most DJ won't like that you attached something to their microphone.

I put together the result in my blog.

Attaching Voice Recorder to Handheld Microphone to Capture Audio | L.A. Color Pros Blog
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Old December 18th, 2014, 02:26 AM   #10
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

I think we had this discussion before .....

As I say, last resort. I'm surprised that the hair elastics are strong enough especially if the mic's body tapers off. I tried hair elastics in a shock absorber for a shotgun mic and they were useless.

You can get elasticated velcro straps. They would probably be more reliable. I have non-elasticated straps but they aren't really man enough to stop an audio recorder sliding about on a mic body - which is where Noa's use of in effect an antiskid barrier comes in.

You can get wide reels of black elastic from dress-making shops. Its really cheap to get a seamstress to run up small stuff. You could get one to make up a few continuous loops rather like rubber bands but wider and shorter. I had a seamstress modify some old mobile phone pouches for audio recorders, works great.

Pete
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Old December 18th, 2014, 04:21 AM   #11
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

That C24 looks bulky to me - not much smaller than a Z1 - My little Sony recorders would look neater only the inbuilt mic is very poor so I'm now looking for a good 3.5mm mic to plug in directly as Peter suggested.

Here's my recorder:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...rch_detailpage

And a mic something like this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-ECM-DS7...ony+microphone

Pete
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Old December 18th, 2014, 04:27 AM   #12
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

The audio from this method is exceptional. It really is! Sadly though - it's probably not professional looking enough.

I've had a few run-ins with venues who are unhappy with this request.

I have just wound up and taped a regular lapel mic without adding too much extra bulk.

I recently found that the recorders came with these little pouches and I've a plan to sew some elastic fabric loops on to them at top and bottom and then just sliding it onto the house mic. Would be quicker/easier and perhaps slightly better looking than tape?

As I said, I have faced resistance on this method and so, on advice I purchased an XLR splitter and xlr-Jack (plus adapter). The idea being to intercept the input from the house wireless reciever into the amp/desk.

Problem being that thus far - venue management know nothing about the sound setup and are unable to show me to the sound setup nevermind point out the correct input to me!

Some people have mentioned (including venues) about tabletop placement for recorders. It's been my experience however that this method is not even really any better than on-board camera audio.

Also - here's a link to my recorders - I'm very pleased with them.
BH (Links)
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Old December 18th, 2014, 04:28 AM   #13
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

I also found this - plugged into my little Sony recorder would be a small package

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B...DZRHH405RRJQ1P
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Old December 18th, 2014, 04:30 AM   #14
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

I have however just reminded myself of a recent wedding where the father of the bride shouted 'can everyone hear me?' and when the answer was 'yes!' he said 'well I don't need this then' and put the microphone down on the table and carried on with his speech!
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Old December 18th, 2014, 04:36 AM   #15
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Re: Taping a recorder to a microphone

Here's a sample of audio from my recorder plus lav mic on the house mic.

https://soundcloud.com/clive-mclaugh...ecorder-sample
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