portable field recording / Audacity

Many DJ's are "switching up" to computers as the new way to DJ. They provide near-instant access to large song lists and can be integrated to control video and DMX lighting.

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portable field recording / Audacity

Postby jbrown157 » Sun Mar 26, 2006 9:43 am

I'm looking for an application/interface that will easily allow field voice recording. I want to be able to record voices in advance to lay over music tracks back in the studio. I just want to a mic plugged into a laptop. Does anyone know of a simple application to record and edit these tracks? I've already downloaded a program called Audacity and it seems that it will do the trick. Has anyone ever used it? Does anyone know of anything better?

I also need to decide what microphone will work best. I'm thinking of trying an SM58 with a mini adaptor but something smaller and more compact would be preferable. Thoughts or suggestions anyone?
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Postby TheBartman47 » Sun Mar 26, 2006 12:35 pm

Does the owners manual of your laptop give any specs on the micrpone input jack? Like what is it's impedance (hi or low, or even a number) and probably not, but there's a slight chance it could be, is there phantom power on the jack?
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Re: portable field recording / Audacity

Postby jbrown157 » Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:31 pm

Sorry, I don't have a manual and I couldn't find that info online. This is just a run of the mill Thinkpad A30. I've tried using a cheap computer mic I had laying around and it works fine with the Audacity software but the quality isn't what I would like. Here are the Labtec 504 mic specs.

Specifications:
8-foot shielded cord with color-coded jacks
System frequency response: 100-16kHz
Input sensitivity: -67dB/ubar, -47dBV/Pascal +/-4dB
Signal input (audio source) Impedance: 2000 ohms
Microphone power source voltage: 1.5 V DC <<<<phantom power???
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Re: portable field recording / Audacity

Postby jwg » Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:37 pm

I have been doing some voicework as of late. I purchased isound's WMA/MP3 Recorder Pro. I am able to record my voice through my system and save it as a 192 bit rate MP3.

I probably will also use this to record the vows from a ceremony and play them back later, perhaps during the first dance.
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Re: portable field recording / Audacity

Postby TheBartman47 » Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:13 pm

jbrown157 wrote:Sorry, I don't have a manual and I couldn't find that info online. This is just a run of the mill Thinkpad A30. I've tried using a cheap computer mic I had laying around and it works fine with the Audacity software but the quality isn't what I would like. Here are the Labtec 504 mic specs.

Specifications:
8-foot shielded cord with color-coded jacks
System frequency response: 100-16kHz
Input sensitivity: -67dB/ubar, -47dBV/Pascal +/-4dB
Signal input (audio source) Impedance: 2000 ohms
Microphone power source voltage: 1.5 V DC <<<<phantom power???


2000 ohms is high impedance, so you'll need to get a high impedance microphone to match the mic input on your computer. That's going to be hard to find as most everything is low impedance. Also, the 1.5 V phantom power is not very much. If you have a digital multi-meter you could plug in a 3.5mm phone plug in the mic jack and see if you can measure what voltage is present on that jack. This will tell you what's the lowest voltage condensor mic you can use with it (a dynamic mic doesn't need phantom power to work, but will work just fine whether it's there or not). Most professional condensor mics use 48v phantom power, but will work down to 12v, and sometimes even as low as 9v, (hand held mics), and some "choir mics" or "podium mics" can work with the 1.5v level (some of these have their own battery compartment instead of using phantom power from the mic jack). The only other way to get a good quality mic to work is to use an external mic pre-amp (or a common mixer since it will have mic preamps built in) and connect it's output to the line level input on your computer.
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Postby hernan » Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:07 pm

You are best off with a USB device.
A trip to guitar center will inform you on what is available.

An easy way would be to record thru the record function of the Rane MP4/ serrato live. You could possibly do your voice overs live, if you like to live on the edge!! :wink:

I think.

I own it I havent tried it.

Do not use the mic input of your laptop, If you can avoid it.
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deeper question

Postby hernan » Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:10 pm

How does Randy Bartlett (1% solution),

record the phone calls of MIA vips?
And the toasts?

Does anyone have a clue how to do this.

I could suss it out if I get a little direction.
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Re: portable field recording / Audacity

Postby jbrown157 » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:11 pm

I was hoping this would be a bit more simple that it has turned out to be. I think that for the time being, I'll continue having the clients come to me to make the voice drops. I do them on minidisc in the home studio but I am sure that recording on the PC isn't too far off in the future.

Hernan- In watching Randy's videos, I got the impression that he simply used a regular answering machine to record the MIAs. Ya know...If you had a PC based voicemail program, the messages would already be saved on the hard drive in wav files... They'd be simple to convert to MP3 or you could use them as-is.

Anytime I have made a recording at a gig, Either of toasts or myself, I have used minidisc hooked right into the record jacks of my mixer. There has got to be an easier way, already having a computer connected via USB... I'll bet the Audacity program I made reference to would do that. Some more experimentation needs to be done!
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Postby hernan » Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:27 pm

I concentrated on live sound and have been remiss to the advances in laptop recording. Obviously, there is a huge world out there.
This year the live sound world is taking a giant step towards digital live sound.

I guess that is my hint to "get with the program" no pun intended.

I will goof around with the MP4/serrato set-up, tonite.

Have you found any how to websites for audacity?
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Re: portable field recording / Audacity

Postby jwg » Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:23 am

Google is your friend.

Download Audacity here
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Postby hernan » Fri Mar 31, 2006 12:47 pm

I didnt get to the MP4 - recording toasts problem yesterday.

I was sent this.

This is how you retrieve the audio from your voice mail or even a live phone conversation.

http://www.jkaudio.com/quicktap.htm

Maybe ESC can carry this??

JKAudio manufactures the best audio accesories, they have really good direct boxes (balances signals for long cable runs and less 'hum').
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Postby hernan » Fri Mar 31, 2006 12:54 pm

JKAudio has even more options. if you cruise around thier website.

here is one;

http://www.telecomaudio.com/record.html

It seems like, maybe you could record a voice over with these items if you were to just use the handset of your phone.

this way you wouldnt have to set-up a home recording studio.
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Postby hernan » Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:27 pm

Randy bartletts latest 1% solution newsletter is all about recording for voice-overs. His buddy in sacto just plugs in a microphone into his laptop.
(I know I said not to do this, but I was wrong)

I would go to guitar center and buy the most expensive I can afford. But that is me.

A trip to the local electronics shop (yes even radio shack) will get you a good enough microphone. There are mic's made for this operation that will set you back 10$ or so.
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Re: portable field recording / Audacity

Postby jbrown157 » Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:17 am

Yep, I saw that too. Perfect timing! I haven't had a chance to completely digest the newsletter yet - but I will. I've got a couple voiceovers that I'm working on for the April weddings that I'll do on minidisc, But I'll find the software Randy uses and try to follow that approach - I think it'll be much easier.
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Re: portable field recording / Audacity

Postby Dj Sean » Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:30 pm

And just to throw one more in the mix try http://www.Downloads.com there are a ton of simple recorders out there and most give you a 30 day free trial and even a few are free.

I tried audacity a little and couldn't get a good feel for it. Since I was in the market for something more flexable and robust I picked up Logic Express and love it. Of course if you can you want a better sound card than the stock plug-in any laptop or tower has.
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recording

Postby Xtreme Productions » Tue Oct 03, 2006 2:47 pm

I have the bride and groom and family call my 1-800 number and i set up an extension per gig, they then record the msg and the 1-800 service i use emails me the sound file. I know its not record studio quality but there are services out there that charge for the same quality of recording just using their 1-800 number...it costs monthly for the number but you also get out of town gigs feeling more comfortable on calling you.
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Re: recording

Postby CJ Greiner » Sun Oct 08, 2006 3:28 am

Audio Meltdown wrote:I have the bride and groom and family call my 1-800 number and i set up an extension per gig, they then record the msg and the 1-800 service i use emails me the sound file. I know its not record studio quality but there are services out there that charge for the same quality of recording just using their 1-800 number...it costs monthly for the number but you also get out of town gigs feeling more comfortable on calling you.


That's neat! I haven't heard of that before. What service do you use?

Thanks,
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1-800 recording

Postby Xtreme Productions » Sun Oct 08, 2006 4:50 pm

toll free express (tollfreeexpress.com) It has an extremely easy online interface and you can record your own menu as in press 1 for sales press 2 for etc.... there is an option in there for voicemail and to have the voicemail sent to you in your email as a sound file. I make an extension that I just give the upcoming gigs family and friends and they call in and leave msgs. It seems to work pretty well.
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