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Recording Spoken Word - Live Q&A Discussions

Discussion in 'Recording' started by kmdavidson, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. kmdavidson

    kmdavidson Active Member

    I'm not sure if this is the right forum (I also tried the vocals forum), but i was hoping someone might be able to help me out. From time to time, I record 4-6 person discussion/ Q&A panels. Because of the organization's budget, I have been using the equipment that they already own (bottom-line handheld cardioid mikes, mixer, tape deck, and portable PA system). In the past, the recordings haven't sounded terrific, but they're only used for transcribing the talks. However, the organization would like to purchase the equipment necessary to improve the fidelity of the recordings so that we can do podcasts, which will be available to the general public. Does anyone have any suggestions? Would some sm58s, table mike stands, and a low-end hard disk recorder do the trick (I'd like to avoid bringing in a computer if possible). Thanks for the help and my apologies if I've posted in the wrong forum.
     
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    How much does the PA system play into this? Are the participants sitting around a table (like a forum)? Are they going to have notepads/paperwork in front of them? Is there a moderator?
    Will there be an audience that will be asking the questions? How big?
    The first thing is to get the recording rig and the PA rig to not fight each other. If you have 4-6 speakers handling Q/A from an audience, I would get something like an SM58 or an Audix OM5 for the individual speakers. The mic needs to have a fairly tight pattern so as not to induce feedback from the PA. The 58 and OM5 both handle voice and the associated problems (handling noise, plosives) better than, say, a 57 or i-5.
    Is there going to be a mic in the audience for people to approach?
    A very tight mic is best for that, due to the increased susceptibility to feedback. Enter the Shure Beta58 or Audix OM6. I would try to stay clear of wireless mics being passed around, just because you are probably dealing with folks who don't know how to work a mic...
    If your speakers are sitting around a table, you might check out a couple of boundary (PZM) mics on the table. Crown, Shure, A-T, and Sennheiser all make good variations of these.
    Whatever mics you get, mix them with a Mackie 1402VLZ. Nothing better for the buck.Period. Of course, there are some fancier A/V processors that "automatically mix", but...
    I have found that the Marantz line of CD, hard disc, and flash card recorders are rugged and dependable for what you are trying to do. I dropped my CD recorder off the roof of a WRX and it still operates fine...it did leave a bit of a scuff on the car, though...
     
  3. kmdavidson

    kmdavidson Active Member

    I'm using a Fender PA system in a relatively small room - about 100-150 seats. The panelists sit on one side of a rectangular table, with the moderator sitting at the end. Sometimes the panelists bring along some papers. Occasionally, audience members ask questions, but it isn't essential that they be amplified - the moderator repeats their questions into the mike. Thanks for your help with this. I certainly appreciate it.
     
  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    The reason that I asked about the papers....handling/rustling noises will probably be annoyingly picked up by the boundary mics...you should probably stick to the "vocal mic approach".
    If you end up getting something like the Mackie mixer, you can use the monitor mix from it to feed the line input on the Fender PA. That way, you could dial OUT the audience mic from going to the PA, and dial it IN to the stereo mix bus going to the recorder. The original question would be on record, if need be. It would also assist the others in the room to hear what was originally stated, and that might very well speed your session along. I have been witness to events similar to what you're doing, and the production (and final editing) will go much smoother if everyone hears what they need to hear. Make sense? I'll let you go back to your gig.....
     
  5. kmdavidson

    kmdavidson Active Member

    Makes sense. Thanks.

    Anyone have any input regarding a digital recording device. Are the Marantz flash card recorders significantly better than the sony commercial minidisc recorders. I was hoping to submit a budget that kept the recorder under $500.
     

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