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Inexpensive Microphone for Home Recording
What do you use?
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MoonShadows
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Gordon Shumway said

That's how much my most expensive mic cost - a Shure PG81. That's why I suggested you should define "inexpensive".  

Yeah, I know the Shure and other good mics run about that much, give or take. When I first asked this question, I was thinking of just making audio recordings on the cheap, but decided video recordings would be better to get feedback from others, especially since I don't have a teacher. 

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Adventures in Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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MoonShadows
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Thanks @Mark and @mookje

Jim

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The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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Gordon Shumway
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MoonShadows said
I was thinking of just making audio recordings on the cheap, but decided video recordings would be better to get feedback from others, especially since I don't have a teacher.   

Yeah, with violin the stance is very important. I have a tiny bathroom mirror that I check every now and then, as I don't have room for a full length mirror.

I'm thinking about video equipment, but it's low on my list of requirements.

Andrew

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MoonShadows
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I have a small mirror, but it is a PITA propping it up on a chair and getting the proper angle every time I want to use it. I'm thinking of buying a cheap floor mirror (on a stand). I've seen them for about $45. A video camera would have been later on my list, too, but I can use the feedback.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Adventures in Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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HP
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I use a Razer Kiyo and Razer Seiren X as a recording combination. Works wonders. Huge bonus with the built-in light on the camera.

'Armed with theory, practice becomes meaningful. Through practice, theory becomes fulfilled.' - Egon von Neindorff.

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MoonShadows
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@HP I looked that combo up on the internet. Looks nice, especially the built in light.

Jim

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The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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starise
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I am new here. Signed on long ago but only now coming round' to post. 

Recording is one of my hobbies but it's mostly ITB with some acoustic live recording. I have a lot of mics, to give you some idea, among a few are the Shure KSM44a and bout 4 more of similar caliber, a decent ribbon mic, a Golden Age Project R-1 active, which is said to be excellent for recording violins, a bunch of dynamic mics etc., a Blue Yeti. I'm only telling you this so you'll know I have tried a bunch of different mics.

What I have found is that the mic isn't as important as the space you record in, the placement of the mic and the player. I have a really bad space for recording my violin. Violins have a lot of mid range personality that is often tamed using a ribbon mic, something like a Royer to smooth that out. Royers are expensive though. This is also very subjective. Condenser mics pick up a lot of detail. Close on a violin they will pick up flies sneezing which is probably too much detail. At a distance they are better, say 3' or more away.

Right now I'm using a cheap MXL pencil condenser SDC mic in mono. For my small space it seems to work best. Then I use a C920 video camera.

I have seen people make pretty good recordings using laptop mics/cameras and smart phones. It really is more about the space, the distance, the violin and the player. If you have a bad combination there no mic will clear it up.

I like that Zoom product! I might need to check that out, then I could make recordings in better spaces! My setup now ties me to the computer.

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MoonShadows
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Hi @starise Glad to see you posting after a long wait. Sounds like you do have a lot of experience. I have read that the recording space is at least half the problem, or half the solution, depending on how you look at it. Glad you like that Zoom. I am expecting it on Monday; I'll probably play around with it for a few days before I use it in earnest. One of the things I like about it is that it is portable. I will not be chained to my computer which is in my office and probably not the best space to record.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Adventures in Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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GregW
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@starise I mess around with presonus and am using studio one..came with with the 2/6 interface.  Ive found the same as far mic placement.  Started with a sure sm57 which has a freq response curve that has that hump at the top end and just made all the screetches and scratchy bow noise even worse.  Found a royer r-10 that has a lot more of a flat response.  If im just playing around recording I position it above and a few feet away.  Seems to work good compared with the 57 which I had to place close and be careful with the gain on the interface.  Always fighting with hiss on the 57 unless I place real close then it gets shrill or tinny sounding to me.  The royer does a better job.

Ive found i have to watch the back side of the royer in which direction its facing.  Ive had issues with it pointing toward the air vents for the heat/ac and picks that up so you get that wind sound as background.

@starise Ive been orienting the royer horizontal or parallel to the floor.  Which way do you find it works best for you?  Ribbon mic i mean.  And I havent tried any large condenser mics...how you feel about them for fiddle?

For ease of use and cost and video capabilities that q2 rreally looked handy though.  I got their h2n for on the go class recordings of instructor playing.  Picked up better than my phone.   Probably overkill but its my hobby 🙂

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starise
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@GregW, Nice to meet you!

I don't claim to be a one stop expert but I have done a fair amount of recording, so please take my answers as subjective to my experiences. I believe the Royer R10 is a figure 8 polar pattern and was a good answer to the higher priced models, although at 499.00 they aren't giving them away like candy. I was seriously looking that model over. I was undecided because they always show it against a guitar amp. I wanted to see demos with violins but I digress.

If I had an R10 with a figure 8 polar pattern I would probably somehow block the sound from the rear and try to keep it a fair distance from the violin at maybe 6' or more in a larger space. In a smaller space you don't have that option.My lower priced ribbon didn't fare so well in my bedroom studio on violin no matter where I put it. The MXL SDC was a better answer for that small space because the small diaphram doesn't pick up as much of the boomy room noise reflections. I have one of those CAD vocal surrounds that goes around the back of a mic for vocalists. Something like that might help you out.

The main advantage to a condenser mic is adjustable polar patterns. In most rooms you will need a cardoid pattern. Ribbons don't traditionally offer that option since they pick up from both front and back.If you decide to go that route the SDC seems to be working better for me in smaller spaces.

You're workin' in DAWs too huh? We definitely have this in common! I have SO4 Pro and several others. In terms of bang for the buck I opted for Kontakt Komplete for instruments because it has so much in one compatible package, then I purchase side libraries as they go on sale.You get Kontakt when you buy Komplete. As you know Kontakt runs lots of other 3rd party stuff. I like a lot of the stuff Soundiron offers. Not long ago I bought the Joshua Bell violin by Embertone. In that world you are limited only by your keyboard and imagination   🙂 It is much easier to simply play a violin part in software....but that makes us lazy 🙂

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bocaholly
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starise said

I have seen people make pretty good recordings using laptop mics/cameras and smart phones. It really is more about the space, the distance, the violin and the player. If you have a bad combination there no mic will clear it up.

I have a pretty decent camera mic and space to record. It's truly the player, in my case, who has a lot of catching up to do.

I was just fooling around with tailgut length, bridge and sound post placement today and recorded some scales to have a comparison. The stereo setting on this combi mic (Azden SMX-30) from 8-10 feet away gave a much kinder result than the mono shotgun at 10 inches from the f-holes. 

That may be obvious to most of you but I'd seen recordings with cigar shaped mics up real close to the violin so I thought I'd give it a try. Not a flattering sound result!

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Fiddlerman
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March 8, 2019 - 4:46 pm
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@FortyNothing - You sound great for one month. You get a video sharing badge now. 🙂

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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FortyNothing
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Fiddlerman said
@FortyNothing - You sound great for one month. You get a video sharing badge now. 🙂  

Oh cool. Thanks. My Holstein bow should come in on Monday, maybe I'll do a comparison video. Need to make my weekly one anyway.

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Fiddlerman
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Sounds like a great plan!!!

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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MoonShadows
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The Zoom Q2N I ordered arrived on Saturday. I finally got a chance to open it this morning and take a look. I wanted to start playing around with it when I found out it records to an SD card, so I have to order one. It will be a few more days until I can test the camera out. It also does not come with a lens cap, and the only way to get one is to order the accessories package for $29...which has the lens cap, lens hood (to block unwanted glare), a padded case to store the camera, a "hairy" windscreen, a tripod to mic stand adapter that can double as a hand grip, a tripod to three-prong action camera mount adapter, and a USB cord. All that, and all I wanted was a lens cap that doesn't come with the camera. Oh well, I guess I'll use most of the other pieces too.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - Adventures in Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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Fiddlerman
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March 11, 2019 - 9:07 am
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That was unfortunate MoonShadows. What do you need the lens cap for? Perhaps you can make one out of a bottle cap or something similar.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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MoonShadows
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I am trying to protect the lens (when not in use), not scratch it, Fiddlerman! tongue

Jim

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The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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Gordon Shumway
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Lens caps used to come in standard sizes, I think, so you may be able to get one from a local store or really cheap on amazon or ebay.

Has anyone conflated those two yet - ebazon or amabay? It's easier to type then.

Andrew

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MoonShadows
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Don't know if that would work, Gordon. The lens on this camera is only about 3/4" wide. I never saw a lens cap that small. The whole unit, with battery compartment, is no bigger than a pack of cigarettes. 2.5" wide x 3" high x 1.5 inches deep at the base and tapers up to about 1" at the top. Remember when video cameras first came out? You had to hold them on your shoulder. They were really big in those days with a big lens.

Jim

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The Friends of the Sons of Liberty - Three Inspiring Young Men playing Early American Fiddle Music 

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starise
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bocaholly said

starise said
I have seen people make pretty good recordings using laptop mics/cameras and smart phones. It really is more about the space, the distance, the violin and the player. If you have a bad combination there no mic will clear it up.

I have a pretty decent camera mic and space to record. It's truly the player, in my case, who has a lot of catching up to do.

I was just fooling around with tailgut length, bridge and sound post placement today and recorded some scales to have a comparison. The stereo setting on this combi mic (Azden SMX-30) from 8-10 feet away gave a much kinder result than the mono shotgun at 10 inches from the f-holes. 

That may be obvious to most of you but I'd seen recordings with cigar shaped mics up real close to the violin so I thought I'd give it a try. Not a flattering sound result!  

Yes, that's what frustrated me. I have expensive mics and people were making better recordings than I was using minimal setups and this was how I eventually figured out the issue was the placement, the space and me. I am able to only make mediocre recordings of myself so far. Most experienced players are at least able to capture something usable on a decent violin. I have heard decent recordings made either outside or in a larger space using large condenser mics closer if the player is good.I hope you get a setup that works well for you. I am still looking at mics though. The fathead II mics with the Lundenhal modification look like a winner in the right space!

MoonShadows said
The Zoom Q2N I ordered arrived on Saturday. I finally got a chance to open it this morning and take a look. I wanted to start playing around with it when I found out it records to an SD card, so I have to order one. It will be a few more days until I can test the camera out. It also does not come with a lens cap, and the only way to get one is to order the accessories package for $29...which has the lens cap, lens hood (to block unwanted glare), a padded case to store the camera, a "hairy" windscreen, a tripod to mic stand adapter that can double as a hand grip, a tripod to three-prong action camera mount adapter, and a USB cord. All that, and all I wanted was a lens cap that doesn't come with the camera. Oh well, I guess I'll use most of the other pieces too.  

I did a further search on these units. For a portable unit,  they are the closest game in town for a musician.You could get something like a gopro but the quality isn't there. Reviews have them going through batteries fairly quickly. If you are only making a video of a song or two though, it shouldn't matter. I have an older Zoom handheld unit that's an audio only recorder. It's ok but not up to par with higher end mics. It's like 10 years old, so I doubt there can be any comparison to the Q2N. It eats though batteries too. In one video I seen a user tape cardboard over the top of a zoom Q2N to keep out the room light as an option to the expensive lens cover. 

If I got a long mic cord I could pull my setup out into a larger space and record the video on my handheld video recorder. I don't really want to do that though because it involves combining and lining up audio/video. A time consuming venture.Might be my only option presently. I am still undecided on the zoom. I'll wait and see how you like yours 🙂

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