A reasonable recording setup for Chamber Music

Discussion in 'Chamber' started by AraanJDS, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. AraanJDS

    AraanJDS Active Member

    Aug 27, 2016
    Sri Lanka
    Currently I am in charge of recording a Chamber Music Concert and need to have a better quality audio setup. Currently I use a Rode NTG1 Shotgun Mic running into a Zoom H4N. I shoot from the back of the hall or the balcony. But have realised that the sound out of the Zoom H4n's mic sounds better than the NTG1 for that hall. I am "VERY" new to recording audio and have no idea what a lot of terms mean (so please be easy on me :).

    The budget for a new recording setup would be around 300-500 dollars, so there's not a lot to work with but the company paying for it is "non-for-profit" so they don't have thousands of dollars to spend. I will be getting a laptop soon so if it is of any use for recording, tell me :). There are no mics on stage and no mixing board in the hall, it's quite bare. I can't use clip-on mics on players too. I could place mics on stage if that helps.

    If you need to know anything else, just ask. Thank you.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    The Zoom H4N is cabable of making good recordings, but since it has a relatively high noise floor, you need to keep the recording level reasonably high. Before you go out and spend $500 on some additional equipment, I suggest you do a couple more recordings using the built-in microphones, but try placing the H4N on a camera tripod just in front of the stage and not at the back of the hall. If you then post an MP3 of fragments of a recording done in that position using the "Upload a file" button at the bottom right of this web page, we can suggest further action, or what it might be worth your spending a few hundred $ on.

    The laptop is not going to help a great deal, at least for the recording phase. However, after the concert, you can transfer the 24-bit files from the H4N memory card to the laptop and use a simple program such as Audacity for topping and tailing the tracks, followed by a disc burning progam to write them to a CD. Don't be tempted to use the H4N as external microphones and record on the laptop, as you would get only 16-bit recordings.
    pcrecord likes this.
  3. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    I'll second the suggestion to move the mic. Microphones tend to pick up more of the room sound than you hear so closer is often better. Front row is almost certain to be an improvement over balcony or back of the hall.
  4. Keith Johnson

    Keith Johnson Active Member

    Mar 25, 2016
    Manchester, UK
    I'd definitely go with this first and foremost...the emboldening is mine....but have a google around for XY microphone technique to see if it can guide where you might like to put the recorder in terms of proximity to the orchestra and height etc. You may find that to get a good front to back balance of the orchestra you may need to go fairly high up, for example, which means a tall stand....

    In terms of forward thinking, you've got a few options that might include the laptop (not all laptops are created equal and sometimes their internal workings can preclude their use for recording)....for example you could look at pairs of microphones from somewhere like Line Audio (e.g. http://www.lineaudio.se/CM3.html ) along with a fairly simple stereo computer interface....going that way gives you flexibility in what kind of microphone techniques you can use, all of which sound a little different...but whether for your purposes they offer any advantage over putting the Zoom in the right place will be down to your choice.

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