Simple digital rehearsal recording setup???

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Mcrelly, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    I've been looking on and off for a quick, moderate quality, recording system for rehearsal. for those times when I want to remember how that new song went, the feel, the changes etc... I came close when I bought, then returned an olympus DS-2 stereo voice dictation recorder. up to about 100db it sounds GREAT!!! then distorts. I returned it before my return ran out and before I could try an external stereo microphone. the recording time was about an hour in HQ stereo mode.

    I'm looking into some larger similar priced olympus like the WS-200s (4hours capacity) and the WS-300m (8hours!!!) all about $100 new.

    Any other $100 ideas???

    I figure I NEED to use a less sensitive external microphone, stereo preferred. Maybe in the <$50 range.


  2. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    Well, santa (my friend matt), was very good to me and I got an Olympus WS-320m


    35 hours of the highest quality setting, 100-15,000hz, 8-10hour battery life, usb plug built in.

    My testing so far has revealed to me that it would not make a great "bootleg" recorder as the tonal characteristics change too much as the volume gets higher and higher, but my main concern was: can I record my band practice with one unit (no extra microphones, wires or headphones) and have low distortion and good decernabiliy of melody.

    I've recorded my bass rig, my churches live band (about 8ft from the acoustic drummer) AND FIREWORKS (JUST a few minutes ago, we had midnight fire works (professional) in the neighborhood) I have yet to use it in the EXACT band situation that I'm in, but that will happen thursday.

    but so far so good!!! :hyper: :hyper:
  3. i was looking at these the other day to use for the same purpose. the only reason i didn't get it is because my microcassette recorder distorts and i assumed these would too. so does this one sound clear?
  4. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    do you know how loud your band plays? our band plays about 100-105 dBc, not dba, dbc measures 20-20k, dba measures 500-20k roughly. anyway I think the olympus ws-300m, 310 and 320m will take 110 db-c comfortably.

    like I said in my previous post the sound can become compressed, lose some bass definition, but it is still dicernable.

    I'll give a report tomorrow. this will be the FIRST time in a full band situation. I'll try and retake some dbc readings.

    this is what I use...


    $50 at radio shack. I don't know how accurate it is I was just curious about ballpark figures.
  5. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    Well, I've tried the recorder WITH the band. I had the unit on top of my bass rack which sits on top of my two aguilar cabs. I had the top (where the jacks are) facing out into the room. I also set the recorder on a small washcloth towel. (don't forget to bring a towel! -towely) so it didn't rattle against the skb plastic top.

    I put my db meter on my music stand (about 3 feet from amp) The meter was reading just under 100 dbC "C" that is. during practice I experimented with the db meter ON the rack where the recorder is and it read several (about 4-5 db) higher, I think due to vibrations in the rack.

    There are some slight, I mean SLIGHT, overload distortions here and there on the recording. it might even be digital compression or conversion during complex passages. but in general I can hear what I'm playing, the keys, vocals drums.

    AGAIN, THIS IS IN NO WAY CAPABLE OF clear, uncompressed, unadulterated sound, but it seems to be good enough for me to hear and understand how certain songs were performed. This unit IS BETTER than the Olympus DS-2 that I tried.

    If you play in a "oh, my god, this is way to loud!" kinda band you might steer clear of this for a selfcontained recording system. MAYBE IT WOULD SOUND BETTER WITH an EXTERNAL dynamic mic. this unit does have a 1/8" stereo mic input.

    I'll update if I try other mics. I have tried a $20 apex stereo tbar mic, the internals sounded better. and I also tried a cheap sound blaster dynamic hand held mic: bassy and low tolerance for volumes above 95 dbC.
  6. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    I'm currently in process of trying a sony ecm-ds70p microphone. at the volumes that seemed o.k. for the internal microphones caused distortion with the sony, but on some advice from another forum I put a short radio shack headphone volume control in between the mic and the input on the olympus. this has reduced the distortion to almost nonexistant.

    I have not tried this sony/headphone control/olympus setup with the band, but that will happen thursday!!! looks promising!:hyper:
  7. Mcrelly


    Jun 16, 2003
    Minnesota, USA
    UPDATE: I DO NOT recomend the olympus ws-300 series recorders unless this is all you can afford. after getting an edirol R-09 recorder that BLOWS AWAY the olympus I have changed my mind. the olympus is VERY compresses and thin sounding and a person would be better off saving up their money for the edirol.

    the edirol r-09 IS NOT perfect ,but it is a great rehearsal recording device WITH A 2GB card. about $75 extra. I record 44.1/16bit for pretty good quality, about 3 hours of time before I have to transfere to my computer.

    I say its not perfect because you need headphones or stereo for playback and it can't record really soft delicate sounds, I mean like subtle nuances of very very soft music. there is some his, but if the music is talking loud or more it will be fine for practice or rough analysis.

    I may try to post some clips for the curious, although the clips will be mp3 it WILL NOT reflect the best possible quality from the unit....

  8. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    The Zoom H4 looks interesting... have you tried it yet? $100 cheaper than the edirol too.
  9. This would do you well.
  10. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Inactive

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
  11. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Zoom H2 ... about $149 these days. Great mics, and built-in limiter/compressor. Worth every penny. I've considered getting another one, just in case they discontinue it and don't replace it with something better.
  12. Stinsok


    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    I have the simple Zoom H1. It's super easy to use and sounds very good. It's 99.00.
  13. Holmes


    Oct 17, 2010

    yup, this will work just fine. used an h2 to record a lot of rehearsals and shows.
  14. GrowlerBox


    Feb 10, 2010
    Nude Zealand
    The Line 6 Backtrack + mic works well for me. Surprisingly good quality mono recordings, large memory, a charge lasts a good while. I like that you can just leave it on for a rehearsal, and it just switches on when it's triggered by a sound above the threshold you can set, starting a new file each time. You can also plug directly into it and have it in line between you and your amp (disables the microphone), or it works reasonably well as a headphone amp for silent practice/recording.

    I think about the same price as the Zoom (although I got mine on sale), and no stereo recording, but the other features are definitely useful.