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Small studio/Classroom recording

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Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby brockamk16 » Wed May 15, 2019 11:05 pm

I am wanting advice on super affordable gear for recording in a classroom or small space. I'm looking for recommendations on basic starter type gear to run through my mac laptop for recording a few singers and small groups of kids singing. Thanks.
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu May 16, 2019 9:15 am

Welcome!

Is this for choir/ensemble type recordings or bands?

Do you want to capture and record the sound as it's made, or get into the delights of multitracking, retakes etc etc?

Do you have any sort of background in recording?

Do you have any kit apart from the laptop?
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 16, 2019 4:12 pm

I've deleted the likely spam post which followed Mike's and the debate from other members that followed. I believe the OP here is genuine and the other comments irrelevant and rather off-putting to a new member.
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby ef37a » Thu May 16, 2019 4:48 pm

My heart always sinks a bit when a post from a beginner starts with "super affordable".
This is especially so when there is no clue given as to the actual amount of funds available.

I can only hazard the guess at £150-£200 for a decent interface* about the same for a couple of microphones (better men than I will go into types if and when there is more information)
Add in stands, cables, headphones (maybe a headphone amplifier but see *) and the whole rig comes out at around £500. Schools can get discounts from some stores and buying the whole lot under one roof you could cut a deal, maybe get mic cables thrown in?

Just to add to the fiscal misery a pair of decent monitor speakers will add another £400 to that sum.

*Today I had an email from Native Instruments announcing the June release of a new version of my favourite AI (in its class) the Komplete Audio 6. Cannot get The Book on it as yet but it does now have 2 independent headphone outputs.

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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 16, 2019 5:09 pm

brockamk16 wrote:I'm looking for recommendations on basic starter type gear to run through my mac laptop for recording a few singers and small groups of kids singing.

It' depends what you're hoping to achieve with these recordings, but I suspect you're probably best off using one of the handheld digital recorders with built-in mics. Olympus, Tascam, Sony, and Zoom all have good devices -- and we've reviewed a fair few of them in the magazine over the years.

You can transfer the audio files from a recorder into your Mac for messing about with later, if you wish, but they are also self contained so can be used to record and playback without needing external equipment.

Some of these portable machines will also serve as audio interfaces for the Mac too, and some will allow the connection of external mics, allowing you to upgrade in affordable stages as future budgets allow.

The alternative is to buy a decent audio interface for the Mac, and then buy mics... and mic stands, and mic cables, and some means of monitoring what's going on (active speakers)... all of which gets much more expensive much more quickly.

H
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu May 16, 2019 5:20 pm

Buying the 'full kit' also involves a lot of setting up and packing up and, as your sound quality which is going to be very much limited by the classroom's acoustics, for little or no audible benefit.
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby Eddy Deegan » Thu May 16, 2019 5:29 pm

brockamk16 wrote:... recording a few singers and small groups of kids singing

Is it just for informal educational use, so the kids can hear themselves singing or is there a more formal requirement of some kind (as you mentioned singers and kids separately)? Is there also a requirement to record non-vocal material such as instruments at the same time?

If it's for informal internal use, then a portable device should work well (and fit the pocket both in terms of size and financial impact). If something more formal then more equipment (and inevitably expense) may be necessary, so any additional information you can provide would be useful.

There are plenty of members here who can give great advice on the choice of equipment and how best to use it, but this can be hard to do without understanding the requirement in some detail!
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby John Willett » Fri May 17, 2019 11:35 am

Agree with above.

But we really need to know the budget, as "super affordable" to one person may be "expensive" for another. ;)

I agree that a portable recorder would probably be the best option and there are several around at just a few hundred pounds.

Then transfer the files to the Mac for editing.

Otherwise you will need an interface, like the Focusrite Scarlett series, microphones - at least a stereo pair - eg: a stereo pair of Røde NT5 or Sontronics STC-1S stereo set - plus stereo bar, mic. stand, cables, headphones, etc.

If it's for something more serious, then it may be better to get someone in, for a fee, to record for you - there are quite a few people on this forum who would do this for you, we just need to know where in the country you are and you can sort it out via PM.
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri May 17, 2019 12:29 pm

I thought I'd have a quick look at cheap handheld recorders and this popped up https://www.gear4music.com/Recording-and-Computers/Focusrite-iTrack-Pocket/13CV if that's not super-affordable I don't know what is........

Next up, for me, would be a Zoom H1at around £70 https://www.gear4music.com/Recording-and-Computers/Zoom-H1n-Recorder-White/2WOS
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby ef37a » Fri May 17, 2019 2:47 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I thought I'd have a quick look at cheap handheld recorders and this popped up https://www.gear4music.com/Recording-and-Computers/Focusrite-iTrack-Pocket/13CV if that's not super-affordable I don't know what is........

Next up, for me, would be a Zoom H1at around £70 https://www.gear4music.com/Recording-and-Computers/Zoom-H1n-Recorder-White/2WOS

Grrrr! I have just bought my first smart phone but it's a Sony Android! I would have bought two of those inyerfaces, one for me, one for son in France.

BTW the M5s are on 'zon presently at less than £120 a matched pair. I am sorely tempted but have no real use for them at the moment.

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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby James Perrett » Fri May 17, 2019 11:31 pm

ef37a wrote:Grrrr! I have just bought my first smart phone but it's a Sony Android! I would have bought two of those inyerfaces, one for me, one for son in France.

Get yourself a USB OTG (on the go) adaptor and try using it to connect one of your audio interfaces to the phone. You may well find that it just works. Maybe not quite as neat as the Focusrite box but cheaper if you already have a suitable interface.
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby ef37a » Sat May 18, 2019 7:04 am

Thanks James. I already have a USB A to USB C adaptor and that allows me to use a conventional qwerty with the phone (could NOT get my gmail password in on a touch screen!)
However, I doubt the phone will power my NI KA6 and that does not have provision for separate 5V juice. I have a Focusrite 8i6 and that does but is maybe a bit too old?

Son could be ok because he has a Soundcraft 8fx USB mixer and that of course runs from a rat. When I get a mo' I shall try cobbling a power "injector" for the KA6 by butchering some gash USB cables (but then I guess there is such a thing around? Shall have a varder) .

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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby Rich Hanson » Sat May 18, 2019 7:54 am

You could just put a powered hub in between the phone and the KA6, that ought to work.
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby ef37a » Sat May 18, 2019 8:05 am

Rich Hanson wrote:You could just put a powered hub in between the phone and the KA6, that ought to work.

Worth a try I guess Rich, got a hub but as a rule AIs don't like them. The KA6 however is the LEAST fussy interface I have ever used (and I've had a few!) and I am pretty sure I tried it on a powered hub a couple of years ago without problems.

Any ideas for an Android friendly DAW? Free! Only hissing about with this atmo.

BTW SOS peeps? There is a "new improved" Komplete Audio 6 coming out in June. I trust the magazine (and NI!) are on the case and THIS one will get reviewed?

https://mail.yahoo.com/neo/b/message?sM ... ckimages=0

There is an attachment to that email but I am blowed if I can open it.

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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat May 18, 2019 10:11 am

Meanwhile the O/P seems to have disappeared... :(
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat May 18, 2019 10:52 am

Yep... Joined: Wed May 15, 2019 7:47 pm
Last visited: Wed May 15, 2019 11:58 pm

I fear she -- for the registered email address implies a female -- saw the many responses to the supposed spammer that followed her initial post and took fright! Shame.

Or maybe she expected or needed instant answers and only had a 4-hour window to complete her equipment budget application ... ;-)

Anyway, I hope she does come back because there have been some helpful and constructive suggestions...

H
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby Rich Hanson » Sat May 18, 2019 12:43 pm

ef37a wrote:
Rich Hanson wrote:You could just put a powered hub in between the phone and the KA6, that ought to work.

Worth a try I guess Rich, got a hub but as a rule AIs don't like them. The KA6 however is the LEAST fussy interface I have ever used (and I've had a few!) and I am pretty sure I tried it on a powered hub a couple of years ago without problems.

I've heard that said often, but I have always had my audio interfaces connected through a hub without any issue - my MacBook has only two USB ports so I've had little choice! My AR16 mixer is currently connected to my MacBook through a USB3 hub, with a 64 sample latency. The only thing that has ever caused me issues has been sub-standard USB cables.
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby John Willett » Sat May 18, 2019 1:17 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Yep... Joined: Wed May 15, 2019 7:47 pm
Last visited: Wed May 15, 2019 11:58 pm

I fear she -- for the registered email address implies a female -- saw the many responses to the supposed spammer that followed her initial post and took fright! Shame.

Or maybe she expected or needed instant answers and only had a 4-hour window to complete her equipment budget application ... ;-)

Anyway, I hope she does come back because there have been some helpful and constructive suggestions...

H

If a mod. has her e-mail address - how about sending her an e-mail saying that the thread now has lots of useful answers and the bad ones have been deleted ??
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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby ef37a » Sat May 18, 2019 3:58 pm

Rich Hanson wrote:
ef37a wrote:
Rich Hanson wrote:You could just put a powered hub in between the phone and the KA6, that ought to work.

Worth a try I guess Rich, got a hub but as a rule AIs don't like them. The KA6 however is the LEAST fussy interface I have ever used (and I've had a few!) and I am pretty sure I tried it on a powered hub a couple of years ago without problems.

I've heard that said often, but I have always had my audio interfaces connected through a hub without any issue - my MacBook has only two USB ports so I've had little choice! My AR16 mixer is currently connected to my MacBook through a USB3 hub, with a 64 sample latency. The only thing that has ever caused me issues has been sub-standard USB cables.

Maybe it's a "PC thing" Rich? I do recall many moons ago trying an M-A fast track pro on a hub and it crashed the XP computer! Maybe PCs and macs "talk USB" slightly differently?

The warning is in practically every AI handbook I have read and I've read sheds, mainly for other people!

Ah!" Light bulb moment, macs don't use ASIO drivers...Moot?

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Re: Small studio/Classroom recording

Postby Rich Hanson » Sun May 19, 2019 11:28 am

I used to do it on an XP laptop as well, so probably not a Mac/PC thing.

What it might originally have stemmed from is that there used to be some hubs that would fall back to the speed of the slowest connected device, and that fall back would happen on all ports, so if you were to connect a low speed device (mouse, keyboard etc) then all the hub's ports would run at that speed, so even a basic stereo in/out interface wouldn't be able to transfer its data.

And I have a tendency to take things in manuals that say "X won't work" as something of a challenge :D
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