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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:45 pm 
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flute?

Preferably with a stand.

I've tried my $8 one and it is really awful.

I was looking at the Shure 57, but apparently it needs to be plugged into the mains. The music shop showed me several which need some complex boxes which I didn't understand. They suggested I buy a mic, and then a box, but then, I'd have to run the box off the USB on the computer. It's just that I don't have a very good computer, and I'd rather not have to lug a computer around with me.

I'm hoping for a battery operated one, that I can plug into my minidisc player *ahem*. This would need a 3.5mm or a 5.3mm jack. Does such a mic exist?

It doesn't have to be the best - something around $150 or less would be okay - I'm just looking to create my own recordings so I can check how awful I am when I play. A wind-muffler would be great, but I'm not too keen on the ones which have a wire tied into the flute foot.

Any recommendations greatly received :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:55 pm 
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James_Alto wrote:
I was looking at the Shure 57, but apparently it needs to be plugged into the mains.

Actually, no. The Shure 57 or 58 is a dynamic mike, and requires no external power, phantom power, battery, etc. Just plug and (literally) play. For use as a computer mike, you can fit it with an inexpensive impedance adaptor. Or much better, run it through a mini mixer (e.g. Behringer) with built-in preamp, XLR input, and line-out to the computer. I've used this for all the recordings in my signature, and it works well. Of course, the Shure 57 is also a fine stage microphone.

You could look at the Microvox electret mike flute system:
http://www.microvox.demon.co.uk/flutepage.htm

As for USB computer mikes, I'm sure others will pop in with oodles of suggestions.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:27 pm 
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Erm, going in a slightly different direction. . .in that price range why not look at a used H2Zoom. Or maybe even the newer H4Zoom. I have the H2 and it does everything, and more, than I'll ever need in both mic'ing and recording. I'm not sure what the capacity of your minidisc is, but with a 4 gig SD I can record about 65 hours of mp3 at CD quality. It will record at higher quality mp3, as well as 16 bit WAV Stereo (44.1Khz sampling) in two or four channel, front and back mic's so you can "get the sound of the room". OR, just use it as a Monitor connected by USB to your computer and record directly through Audacity or whatever else you might choose.
Moving files around is as simple as drag and drop. You can do some basic edits on the little beast itself if your computer isn't really up to it, Mac compatible. I got mine new for $150. Used they should go for much less.
YMMV :D
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:10 pm 
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James_Alto, there are more choices available in microphones than there are flutes. The two suggestions made thus far are good ones.

1. Dynamic mmicrophone. The SM57/58 dynamic mics are good and useful mics but they are low impedance devices and need a pre-amo to bring the signal up to a line level which a PC or other recording device may require. You have a least two common choices to accomplish that. Either buy a small mixer, as MTGuru suggested, or buy a USB computer interface that has an XLR input. Of course the Shure SM57 is just one of a myriad of dynamic microphones available. This is a rugged and flexible solution.

2. Standalone recorders with built-in microphones. Just as an seanduine has suggested the Zoom H2 is a good choice. It uses four mics in an array to record directly to SDHC cards and a USB interface connects it to the PC. It can also be used as a USB mic too. And you need no other recording software (well, unless you like to edit things.) I have one and it is really quite good. Other makers like Olympus, Tascam, Edirol, Sony, Korg, Marantz, etc. all make similar devices going from $100 and up. Make sure you go for one that is meant to record music. Voice recorders meant for taking voice memos which generally have tiny microphones will be less desirable than those with the bigger microphone diaphragms.

3. USB microphone. These became ubiquitous when pod-casting was all the rage. They plug directly into the USB port of your PC and record to software on your PC (Audacity is free). I have used several. The major downfall, IMO, is that most do not allow you to set the trim level on the mic before it gets to your recording software. I've found offerings from StudioProjects, Blue and M-Audio to be workable.

4. Condenser microphone. I prefer large diaphragm condenser microphones to dynamic microphones. The difference is simple. A condenser has a charged diaphragm (either permanently charged or self/externally powered (called an electret condenser)) where the dynamic does not. They are generally the more sensitive of the two types and will record more detail than a dynamic mic. That can be a plus or a minus depending on what you want to hear in your recordings. A condenser will, like the dynamic mic, require a seperate pre-amp and usually one that provides phantom power to the mic. Such mics start at $100 for something like the MXL V67G, which can be very a likable. Of course, like dynamic mics, there are literally hundreds of other large diaphragm condensers on the market.

5. Many PC headsets used for gaming have built-in condenser mics which work quite well and plug right into your computer. The trick here is that they can be difficult to place so that they record your flute well.

6. Handheld video recorders. These are cheap and can result in surprisingly good recordings, IMO. Things like the Flip video recorders (better yet a Flip with a Blue Mikey attched). My wife bought a no-name video recorder on a lark recently for $30 and it works better than I would have expected. Of course many smartphones and digital cameras will give you a similar set of tools. Zoom makes an interesting video recorder too.

7, For your minidisc recorder you could try one of Sony's stereo electret condenser mics like the ECM-DS70P or similar. They are really cheap on eBay. Not a bad first place to start.

There are many other solutions which I am sure others will bring up.

Thanks for asking the recording equivalent of "What flute should I buy?"

Feadoggie

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:14 pm 
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My goodness.

This is really useful advice. I've tried reading it again and again, and I think I'm starting to understand the differences in microphones and technology.

I use a Sony Hi-Md mini-disc player - I haven't really moved on in technology since then. My computer is about 7 years old, and falling off its hinges.

I think I understand, that I was probably looking for a low impedance microphone, which could just run off my mini-disc 3.5mm jack, without needing extra power. This is why I was thinking a battery operated one would be ok.

The mix boxes must provide that power supply to the mic then right? Can I not just get a quality mic, driven on its own power supply, and hook it via a 3.5mm jack to my MD player? . My minidisc player holds 1GB memory per disc, so it will do for my fun purposes.

Thing is ... is this a decadent technology, and should I just upgrade? I like the H4N Zoom thing - that looks easy enough to use. But if there's any other boxes or bits, I'm afraid my brain just goes into melt down. It costs around £260 which is (*gulp*) more expensive than my minidisc player!

If I got a stand alone microphone, would it have enough energy to run, without a power supply? I don't wish to have mains or USB driven microphone - one that can run itself, and just connect to a 3.5mm jack. But that H4N Zoom looks very attractive. It seems to have some great reviews. I wonder if I can start making my CDs with terrible music on it lol.

Are there any microphones which are good enough to span use for flutes, recorder pick up, as well as harp, without picking up breathing and breaths of air?

If I got a mixer, is it possible to use it without a computer? I don't like my computers very much! The thought of having to figure out which wires/connections/XLR etc is beyond me.

Quote:
7, For your minidisc recorder you could try one of Sony's stereo electret condenser mics like the ECM-DS70P or similar. They are really cheap on eBay. Not a bad first place to start.


Haha! That's what I'm using! :D

It's not very good. It makes my bass recorder sound like a treble recorder!

I like the idea of a video/sound recorder. Maybe I should join in and become a youtube maniac ...

Thanks for the ideas everyone ...I'm still having to read these suggestions and go over the recommendations.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:03 pm 
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I had something like a Sony ECM-MS907 for my MD recorder.
It is a condenser stereo mic with built-in AA battery. Not too bad for field recordings. Comes with a wind foam filter. £30 on ebay uk.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 4:15 pm 
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Hi Hans,

Wow - that's a significant savings over the standard price.

I don't suppose you have any clips or demos using it?

I'd be thrilled if I could get a cheap mic that was good enough (to make me sound less terrible than I already am) and got stuff onto the net for file sharing.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:16 pm 
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James_Alto wrote:
It's not very good. It makes my bass recorder sound like a treble recorder!
A lot depends on mic set-up, mic gain, etc. You may want to browse the net for sites on recording voice or wind instruments. Sadly recording isn't always as easy as a point-and-shoot camera. Sony also makes the ECM-719 for minidisc application but it's a bit more pricey than the ds70.

Minidisc recorders can capture sound very well so you have no need to look for other hardware/software capture options if you are happy with it.
There are a lot of microphone options you could look into. I am not sure if it still exists but there once were sites and forums devoted to minidisc use and recording, especially live music recording (try minidisc.org)

As for the "power" issue. Dynamic microphones do not need electrical power themselves but they produce a low impedence signal which needs to be amplified to be compatible with a line-level input in most recording devices that do not incorporate a low-impedence input. MTGuru mentioned using a matching transformer to do this to plug directly into a PC. They work and do the job they are inteded to do quite well. Here's the Audio-Technica CP8201 as an example.
Image
But you may still have a gain or trim issue in a PC or other device.

Condenser mics need electrical power, either to power on internal pre-amplifer or to charge the diaphragm or both. Condensers can get power from their own internal batteries, an external power supply or phantom power provided through the mic cable from a mixer/pre-amplifier. They still produce a low level signal and need a pre-amp to bring them up to line-level.

But really if you are going to record on the minidisc, which is a good idea, then look to sites that advise on mics to use with such a device. I just found the minidisc.org microphone page. Look through that.

Feadoggie

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:01 am 
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James_Alto wrote:
Hi Hans,

Wow - that's a significant savings over the standard price.

I don't suppose you have any clips or demos using it?

I'd be thrilled if I could get a cheap mic that was good enough (to make me sound less terrible than I already am) and got stuff onto the net for file sharing.

sorry, I have not got a clip.
I am using a Red5 RV6 large diaphragm condenser mic, in combination with a small Behringer mixer/preamp, which also delivers the phantom power, and a M-Audio 2496 audio card in my PC. But the Sony mic worked fine, just not as quiet as my current setup (signal to noise ratio not as good), but fine for MD field recording.

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