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Music Recording Equipment

tugogitugogi 35 replies12 threads Junior Member
S is a musician and would like to apply to music schools eventually. We have heard that we need to send pre-screenings to music departments( we are novices, first ever musician in the family). Currently we use a cell phone(pixel) to record his music. We would like to know typically how to music applicants record their audition material? ANy recommendations for a specific camera, mics etc... Appreciate your help.
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Replies to: Music Recording Equipment

  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 442 replies10 threads Member
    DH works in radio and has several musician friends. He has been recording his show at home for months because of Covid and just got a new microphone based on the recommendation of those friends. He is using the Shure MV88+, which attaches to both iPhones and Androids and comes with a small tripod that holds both the phone and mic. It also works for live social media things, too. Cost is about $250 but it will serve him well into the future. A less expensive version only works with an iPhone and only attaches to the phone so less flexible.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7921 replies39 threads Senior Member
    There are many places to rent gear for musicians /recording. Just have to Google it. Places like Guitar Center would have great condition used stuff also that will bring down that price.
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  • compmomcompmom 12093 replies82 threads Senior Member
    We use Zoom H-2 but that is audio only.
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  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2113 replies74 threads Senior Member
    We used Tascam for audio. When video was required, we used Tascam and my Canon DSLR camera on tripod to record simultaneously and then synch them together using a cheap software. For audio only, any of Tascam, Zoom, Sony, etc, are all good. It's your personal choice.
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  • tugogitugogi 35 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Thank you Helpingmom40, Knowstuff, Compmom and Tiggerdad! Will let you know soon what we decided to go with.
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  • LendleesLendlees 263 replies1 threads Junior Member
    My kid also uses a Zoom H4N microphone and uses his computer to video (with the microphone as audio input). Been working well for festival auditions etc.
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  • tugogitugogi 35 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Thank you Lendlees.
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  • goldilockspryorgoldilockspryor 9 replies1 threads New Member
    I have a similar question, my daughter is a vocal performance singer, soprano, and is there any mic or set up that any of you recomend that don't distort when she goes for her big notes on her arias? This would apply for recordings and when doing zoom lessons. So any tips to make sure she sounds like she does in real life on the other end of the process whether live or recorded. I wanted to get her a new mic/equipment for grad school prescreens for her bday. Thank you in advance.
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  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2113 replies74 threads Senior Member
    All of the aforementioned brands should have the "Peak" alert, i.e., audio distortion or clip. You just need to adjust the recording level. With Tascam, which I'm familiar with, for example, you press the "Record" button once, which is the pre-recording mode, to make the audio adjustments, then press the button once more for actual recording.

    One main reason why I went with Tascam over others was because Tascam also makes a battery pack accessory which allows six additional "AA" batteries in the pack for extended recording sessions. The pack attaches to the recorder, and you can then record for hours and and hours without worrying about any recording session being cut in the middle of it. It's also useful for recording class lectures or seminars that run 2 or more hours.
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  • ArtsyKidDadArtsyKidDad 196 replies19 threads Junior Member
    edited July 9
    Depends on the budget, gear already available, and most of all, the level of interest/commitment.
    My daughter started recording using a can mic bought for about $70 and the Garage Band app on her Mac laptop. When we realized it was more serious, we bought her the Logic Pro software - the student price is decent, and this is one of these magic pieces of software where you can do work knowing 5 functions, and then grow to master 500 options or more. And while using it, you learn the lingo of the recording pros.
    Most people seem to agree that the audio interface is what makes a recording sound professional - the analog/digital converter in your computer or telephone just sucks, no matter what. We like Focusrite, which makes several lines of products - Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface sells for $160 or less.
    Reasonably good microphones are not too expensive either but you can get lost in choices. We found a great company though, they treat you like a king even if you spend $200, not $50,000 there, it's called Sweetwater. Check their offering online but then talk to a sales rep. on the phone, they are great and don't try to push expensive gear on you. They even have a huge site where you can listen to each microphone sound, more than a hundred I think.
    I would also recommend very good studio headphones. They have different characteristics than boom-box-like Dr. Dre stuff, etc., basically flat response curve. Good choices start around $170 - with the sound detail and elegance of some exotic $2,000 gear.
    We still record video on the iPhone and then sync it at the end, can't beat simplicity + quality.
    I don't think renting recording equipment is a good choice. There is a learning curve. Unless this is strictly a one-shot deal. Then perhaps think about an inexpensive professional studio, the rates can be surprisingly decent.
    edited July 9
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  • tugogitugogi 35 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Thank you Tigger dad and Artsy kid dad.
    @Artsykiddad, i am going to PM you.
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  • ArtsyKidDadArtsyKidDad 196 replies19 threads Junior Member
    Tugogi, I decided to post the PM I sent you here, maybe someone else will find it useful as well.

    Here is the list of gear we have.

    DT770pro Closed Ref Headphones 250 ohm
    AKG P170 Sm Diaph Condenser Mic (guitar/uke)
    AKG P420 Multi-Pattern Condenser Mic (vocal)
    Scarlet18i20G2 Scarlett 18i20 USB2 Audio Interface
    SLMixface SL Control Surface
    Yamaha Arius YDP-184 keyboard
    Electric/acoustic guitar
    Acoustic piano
    Marantz Professional Sound Shield Vocal Reflection Filter (Extremely important if you have some noise coming from the outside)
    Auray PFSS-55 Pop Filter with Gooseneck with Springloaded Clamp (5.5" Pop Filter and 13.5" Gooseneck) - Another cheap way to improve vocal quality
    Decent quality cables!

    But I urge you to talk to a pro (from Sweetwater or a similar place) because obviously a lot of it is personal preferences and also, specifics of the space you use for your studio - we have to do it in the D's bedroom in a downtown Chicago condo. For example, wood panels often change the acoustics tremendously.
    Audio interface converts/processes the analog signal from mics into the digital output sent to recording software, in our case, Logic Pro X; other serious options are Pro Tools, Ableton, and few others.
    Video/audio synch - she uses Final Cut, part of the same bundle as Logic Pro. The educational price of $199 is incredible.
    If you don't have a Mac, things can be a little harder but I believe Pro Tools are compatible with Windows as well.
    Good luck!
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  • compmomcompmom 12093 replies82 threads Senior Member
    You don't need that much for the purposes you describe.

    There are a lot of videos online if you google record music audition or record prescreen etc. Some do use the Zoom H-1, 2 or 4. Tiggerdad's use of Tascam sounds good too, plus camera and software to sync. Here is a quick example:

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=best+way+to+record+music+audition&docid=608048827965179116&mid=903688C78E59EF417BBD903688C78E59EF417BBD&view=detail&FORM=VIRE This gives some tips on software that is free or not costly, as well. There seem to be quite a few videos on this :)
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  • tugogitugogi 35 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Thank you Compmom!

    @Artsydad, thank you for posting it! It is helpful to understand what is involved.
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  • bridgenailbridgenail 1221 replies6 threads Senior Member
    Just fyi, my D applied years ago (she went to school with a Blackberry...lol). Still she has been doing video recordings regularly now for years. She has two approaches:

    1.) She does it herself with her iphone, mic and software in her "studio".

    2.) For some higher stakes recordings, she hires friends who are into recordings...and have much better equipment. She may rent a space. Her friends don't charge a lot and it gets done well with little worry by her. She has a LOT of artists friends so she always has a few choices....and likes supporting them.

    We tried doing it ourselves years ago until we found out her music school's technicians would do it at the school for a very responsible fee. It was a few hundred bucks and we got it done in 30 minutes. They would delivery the recordings/videos in any format. My D would just ask and by the end of the day it was delivered. My H and I both worked full time jobs and my kid is only so into technolgy so it worked well.

    Some people think a "professional" recording is cheating or super expensive. When we talk to the technicians at the school, they knew the routine and did it quickly. No modifications. Just recordings. It was short, sweet and reasonably priced.

    Just in case others read this and have limited time. Using professional recording technicians worked well for us.

    And...if you don't know who to ask...just start with the music teacher. Someone in their orbit probably does a lot of recordings and has a room full of equipment.
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  • compmomcompmom 12093 replies82 threads Senior Member
    For a high schooler without college resources as yet, we also found that there were people in the community who wanted to help a young musician. So although we did some of the prescreening recordings ourselves, a local ensemble we knew volunteered to go to a local college recording studio and recorded one of the pieces.

    So @Bridgenail is right that sometimes a studio and technically able folks can help out. And for high school students, there seems to be a lot of community good will that may translate into assistance..
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  • tugogitugogi 35 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Thank you, S is a high school student, looking mostly to record pre screen video auditions. Earlier his music teacher has the set up in his studio for audio and we could send on for the auditions that require only audio like All-state . Many camps like Interlochen and Tanglewood require a video audition and we have to have them done at home, especially with COVID situation. Our phone video camera is awesome, so trying to figure out how to make the audio part more richer.
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  • Pl1277Pl1277 47 replies4 threads Junior Member
    I'm feeling inadequate! We've only used my daughter's IPhone for videos. We've used them over the years to apply to Tanglewood, WNO, Curtis Summer etc as well as videos for Classical Singer, Scholarships, Hal Leonard Vocal Comp etc. Everything has always turned out well and we've never had poor quality, but is it possible we arent capturing the true quality of the voice?

    Technology isn't my strong suite. We do have a nice microphone and a Scarlet interface but have NO idea how to use and how to sync audio and video!
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  • compmomcompmom 12093 replies82 threads Senior Member
    @Pl1277 sounds like you are doing fine. Your set up sounds just like the virtual American Idol! This doesn't have to be complicated.

    And @tugogi again a lot of have used Zoom H-2, H-4 etc, for audio.

    But Pl1277 is having good results as described. Many ways to do this, none of them too complicated.
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  • hopeqinghopeqing 7 replies1 threads New Member
    What does your S play? I have two DDs, one playing the flute, the other playing the clarinet. I figured between the two of them, my audio/video investment will pay off. I bought a Zoom H6 hand held recorder and 2 KM184 /Neumann, paired with My Canon 77D. I bought everything in Dec 2019 from Sweetwater. Of course, along with these equipment, you will need tripod, mic stands, and wiring. I synchronize my video and audio with Hitfilm express after extensive research for free post production software. There are videos in youtube showing how to set up mics. I have been pleased with my current products. We recorded kids' jury submission for precollege, festival, and competition auditions, etc. I think it is a good investment. It really cost a fortune to go to professional studio. I wish I could upload a picture for you to see what the setup look like.
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