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Field Recorder for an opera singer

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by MariusG, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. MariusG

    MariusG Active Member

    Mar 28, 2011

    Found this forum when searching for a recorder for an opera singer and hope to get some professional opinion on what to choose.

    She's currently using a Sony md MZ-N710 with a Sony ECM-MS907 microphone. But the MD got some technical problems and she would like to change it for a field recorder.

    She tried some field recorder before but had problems with them starting to saturate when reaching hight tones and power.

    The recorder would mainly be used for recording courses with her teacher/coach and to record some concerts and recordings for auditions.

    May you help us choosing an setup that would fit for this purpose? Would you recommend still using the microphone when using the machine? Change the microphone?

    The max price for the machine itself would be around 400dollar.

    Hope to get some help here and thank you in advance,

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    The ECM-MS907 is a consumer-level product and not a good mic for recording professional singers. Besides having a screechy top end, the MS907 does not have the dynamic range needed for an accurate respresentation of the source. Its bigger (but more expensive) brother, the MS957, is a better stereo mic for this sort of thing. On the other hand, I have on occasion used high-quality mics to feed a minidisc recorder and, with careful control, achieved very acceptable results, despite the ATRAC compression schemes used in minidisc technology.

    However, for most professional applications, it's time to move on from MD technology, and it's here that units like the Zoom H4N ($300) come into their own. I've been called in many times to record demos for various types of singers, usually for some reason at short notice, and it's strange how many of them completely forget the piano when commissioning their recording sessions. With an H4N, you could position it on a camera tripod a few feet in front of the signer, and also run something like a Rode NT4 or similar pair of condenser mics on the piano back to to the H4N's XLR inputs to record on tracks 3 and 4. Using the H4N's built-in USB interface, you can transfer the tracks to an audio program such as Reaper on a PC for balancing and mixing.
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Prince George, BC
    Home Page:
    I own the H4N and echo exactly what Boswell said. The H4N is perfect, reliable and very simply to use, great advice!
  4. MariusG

    MariusG Active Member

    Mar 28, 2011
    How's the quality of the built in mic's? Good enough for to start with or an external mic would be needed straight away?

    How would it be compared to a cheaper recorder but with an external mic?
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    The Zoom is the cheapest I can recommend. It is inexpensive. A fully professional field recorder is something like the Sound Devices with whatever track count you need. This level of professional field recorder starts at about $1500 and ranges up to about $7000. The Zoom H4n however is very respectable and the built in microphones are adequate. I'm on a ribbon kick lately but without something like the Cloudlifter the Zoom doesn't have enough gain to run a ribbon mic.

    So unless the singer truly meant "professional" quality field recorder then the Zoom H4n gets my vote as well.
  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I have several friends with the Zoom. It never fails to surprise me with its recording quality once you get the tracks dumped into a proper software editor program.

    The shortened version of Professional Quality is 'money'. But the Zoom is as good as it gets at that price point and mics are the real surprise.

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