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Advice for Recording Vocal Solos from the Audience

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Forum topic by knotscott posted 02-03-2016 01:47 AM 807 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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knotscott

7208 posts in 2836 days


02-03-2016 01:47 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hi all – I’ve got an inexpensive Olympus VN-702pc (see pic) handheld digital recorder that I use to record my daughter’s live vocal solo performances….recitals, plays, coffee houses, etc. The vocalists are usually not miked,a nd there’s usually a piano accompaniment. I’m often sitting 40-50 feet away, and would like to optimize what I pickup from my seat. The Olympus has a built in microphone and a mini-jack for an optional external microphone. Would I be better off with an external mike? If so, what type? I’m not really interested in forking out $200 on a mike for a $30 recorder, so are there any decent $20 microphones that would make sense for what I”m doing?

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....


22 replies so far

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TopamaxSurvivor

17654 posts in 3136 days


#1 posted 02-03-2016 05:00 AM

Can she stick the recorder in her pocket?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Slemi

103 posts in 1001 days


#2 posted 02-03-2016 06:39 AM

Or You can make some nice wooden recorder stand to put it on stage near her. I am sure nobody would mind.

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DrTebi

248 posts in 2727 days


#3 posted 02-03-2016 08:40 AM

I am sorry to say, but I doubt that you will get much better sound with an external microphone. The recorder is made for voice recordings, and thus not optimized for anything out of that frequency range. $20 will not get you far, but if you are willing to spend just a little more, I would look for a used portable digital recorder from e.g. Roland or Tascam. I have an older Tascam, which does a great job.

Here a link to help you find something, looks like $70 could get you a decent one:
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_sacat=0&_nkw=%28tascam%2Croland%2Cfostex%29%20portable%20recorder

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knotscott

7208 posts in 2836 days


#4 posted 02-03-2016 10:34 AM

Thanks for the replies gang.

Topa, that one made me smile …I can just envision her reaction if I asked, LOL….God forbid a hair is out of place, let a lone a recording device showing or leaving an outline!

There are events where I could get away with setting it closer to the stage and just recording the whole event. That’d usually give me 2 hours of stuff to sift through vs 4 minutes, but it could be done. Some I’m not supposed to record at all, but how does amy self respecting dad pass up the chance to record his kid singing solo on the hallowed stage of the Eastman Theater?! ;-)

Thanks for the link doc. It sounds like that may be the way to go if I want than what I’m getting. Hhmmm….should have some birthday money coming along in a few weeks…. If I don’t get enough for a good recorder, maybe I can buy the CD! ;-)

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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Tennessee

2410 posts in 1975 days


#5 posted 02-03-2016 12:45 PM

Tebi is right. The Olympus is actually labeled as a voice recorder, which means it would be a unit that people like police use for recording conversations, and multiple other applications that are not in a theater. Business meetings, etc. Background noise to these is the enemy.

I have a Tascam DP-05 that I use for recording people playing my guitars and sometimes them also singing, and it works great. I also have used it in my church to record our praise band. You can get one for about $70, as Tebi says. The Tascam is made for musical recordings, the Olympus is made for voice only.-

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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JoeinGa

7475 posts in 1467 days


#6 posted 02-03-2016 02:25 PM

If you try the remote mic, it would be better held as high up in the air as possible. Perhaps you could tape the mic to a short dowel and have it be a few inches above your head.
MAYBE no one will notice?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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Joe Lyddon

9432 posts in 3513 days


#7 posted 02-03-2016 05:17 PM

I agree with Tebi also…

Not sure… did you say Recording was against their rules?

That theater sounds like it would have plenty of quality equipment that could record her… For a price, they might just work it out… (??) They would have wireless mics also that could be clipped in hidden area ON her… the only way to get a truly GOOD recording.

Good Luck!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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distrbd

2227 posts in 1907 days


#8 posted 02-03-2016 09:14 PM

How about using one of those listening amplifiers that you aim toward a sound source like a tv ,(or in a theater/church) and it amplifies the sound which you could hear through an earphone,you can then modify the jack for the earphone to record her voice on your voice recorder,it looks like ebay sells them for under $5 ,here’s one:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/New-Useful-Personal-Hearing-Aid-Listen-Up-Clear-Amplifier-With-Earphone-Device-/251975524942?hash=item3aaae9624e:g:mMIAAOSwv0tVZuCi

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

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knotscott

7208 posts in 2836 days


#9 posted 02-03-2016 09:30 PM

Thanks. I’m not sure one of the hearing amplifiers would give me results much different than what I can capture with my Olympus hand held.

I’m wondering if a directional “shotgun” mike might be the ticket, because I can aim at her and suppress some of the ambient and piano sounds….my immediate concern with those is that most are like 14” long, and I’d prefer something no more than half that size.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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distrbd

2227 posts in 1907 days


#10 posted 02-03-2016 11:20 PM

The smaller ones I suppose would be more expensive :

or maybe build one of those parabolic sound dish thingy:(just throwing some ideas for fun)

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

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knotscott

7208 posts in 2836 days


#11 posted 02-03-2016 11:34 PM

Too conspicuous?

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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knotscott

7208 posts in 2836 days


#12 posted 02-04-2016 01:05 PM

Well, I ordered a small Olympus ME-52W noise-cancelling microphone last night for $15. It’s directly compatible with my VN702PC recorder, and it had some reviews that said it was a nice improvement over the internal mike. Not sure how much of an improvement it’ll be, but it was affordable, flexible, compatible, etc., so I’m gonna give it a try for now. If it doesn’t give me much, I’ll look to getting a better system down the road if she’s still performing. Thanks for the help!


-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9432 posts in 3513 days


#13 posted 02-04-2016 09:18 PM

OK, may I suggest…

As soon as you get it, TEST it out… Get the same distance away that you expect to be… and try it…

I will be surprised if it is any good…

See just how fr away you can get with good results… In my experience, things drop off sharply after even 5’ away.

Good Luck… Hope it works…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

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knotscott

7208 posts in 2836 days


#14 posted 02-04-2016 10:57 PM

The Olympus has a setting for distance recording that is fairly effective. I’m hoping it’ll work as well with the new mike, and maybe be a little better, but I suspect you’re right…$15 doesn’t buy much. I think I’m also going to borrow a Zoom H2 from a friend and see how much better that is, in case I end up needing to upgrade.

I’ll definitely do the comparison Joe. Heck, if I get time, I might even post the results for y’all to compare!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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Kaleb the Swede

1727 posts in 1430 days


#15 posted 02-04-2016 11:03 PM

Hi Knotscott,

Wish I would’ve seen this earlier. The Olympus is designed for speaking, so the sound quality for singing and music are going to distort a little depending on the placement of the unit.

For quality recordings, the Tascam as mentioned in the beginning is a dynamite little machine. I have used one for years and they have pretty good pick up. It’s hard with recording technology to get something that is quality without paying a little upfront.

With what you have, it may be alright. Center your microphone, and try not to be too close to where she is singing and you might be alright.

Let me know if I can help at all,

Kaleb

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

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