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Recording device - Recommendations
#3049031 11/24/20 02:52 PM
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Hi,

as I want to improve the quality of my piano recordings (so far I do everything with my iphone) I consider getting a recording device.

I would like to record my piano playing for YouTube and for background music for my video game. I'm not interested in recording other instruments or voice so far.

I preferably want a device that costs less than 200$. Which device would be good for me? Do you think that Zoom H1 or Tascam DR-05 are sufficient? Or do I need a more expensive device? Also, which device is better for piano recordings, Zoom or Tascam?

Thanks for your help

Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049033 11/24/20 03:01 PM
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I use a Zoom H4n, and it gives decent results if placed on a tripod at the right distance.

But I've heard amazing results from recordings made on iPhone (some of which have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as 'home sessions' by well-known classical pianists while in lockdown) so I'm not sure you'll notice much improvement from a dedicated sound recording device like the Zoom without external microphones, if your iPhone is a recent model.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049037 11/24/20 03:16 PM
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I understand that you will be recording audio and video separately and then combine them using an editing software.

Both the Zoom and Tascam devices will be an upgrade in audio quality compared to an iPhone built in mic, be it a recent model or not.

There are also mics such as Zoom iQ6 or similar that connect to an iPhone which improve the sound quality compared to the built in mic of the iPhone. This option also saves you from the extra editing effort to combine audio and video.

Last edited by Hakki; 11/24/20 03:17 PM.
Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049086 11/24/20 04:55 PM
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You need to look for a matched stereo pair microphone with linear frequency response down to 20Hz.

I use DPA4060 but they are well over your budget.


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Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049143 11/24/20 07:42 PM
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Zoom and Tascam are fiercely competitive. For both, the electronics (everything past the microphone) are nearly perfect.

The Zoom H1 is worth trying.

So is an iPhone-specific stereo condenser mic, or a pair of cardioid condenser mics, _if_ the iPhone lets you use ".WAV" recording, or some other uncompressed-format recording.

My own choice:

I have a Zoom H4 (the newer model is the H4n). It has built-in condenser mics, which are OK, but can be improved. It also has XLR inputs, mic preamps, and phantom power:

. . . You can plug in any "professional" mic you want.

I use Behringer C2 mics -- small-diaphragm cardioid condenser mics -- which are better than the built-in mic's, and cost about $70 per pair. Add two cables, and one mic stand (the C2's come with a stereo bracket).

That setup will break your budget, but it offers good performance-per-$.


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Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049181 11/24/20 10:19 PM
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I have resolved any smartphone today has the quality required for anything short of cutting press-ready recorcings. Matters not the equipment, quality of one's ability will cut through. Same way the lack thereof.


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Re: Recording device - Recommendations
wouter79 #3049197 11/24/20 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by wouter79
You need to look for a matched stereo pair microphone with linear frequency response down to 20Hz.

I use DPA4060 but they are well over your budget.
Going down to 20Hz if anything would be a disadvantage for recording a piano. Pianos don't go that low, and anything recorded below the range of the piano is thus distortion.


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Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049213 11/25/20 01:53 AM
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I have a Tascam DR-05X that I'm pleased with and it is on sale for $89. It has external mics, line input mic, and adjustable input levels among other things. I just plug a USB cable to my computer to transfer audio recordings.

Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Farmerjones #3049221 11/25/20 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Farmerjones
I have resolved any smartphone today has the quality required for anything short of cutting press-ready recorcings. Matters not the equipment, quality of one's ability will cut through. Same way the lack thereof.

How do you use your Smartphone to produce good recordings? Do you use a special recording software or microphone? Do you put your Smarphone in a specific position? Can you post examples?

Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049239 11/25/20 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Kinimod
Originally Posted by Farmerjones
I have resolved any smartphone today has the quality required for anything short of cutting press-ready recorcings. Matters not the equipment, quality of one's ability will cut through. Same way the lack thereof.

How do you use your Smartphone to produce good recordings? Do you use a special recording software or microphone? Do you put your Smarphone in a specific position? Can you post examples?

I wonder about that too.

Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Sweelinck #3049257 11/25/20 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by wouter79
You need to look for a matched stereo pair microphone with linear frequency response down to 20Hz.

I use DPA4060 but they are well over your budget.
Going down to 20Hz if anything would be a disadvantage for recording a piano. Pianos don't go that low, and anything recorded below the range of the piano is thus distortion.

No in fact, the distortion starts much higher than what the mic mention as lowest point, usually it's already at -3dB at the endpoints.

Also, lowest key on normal piano is 27Hz, which is only a few Hz above the 20Hz. And there are pianos down to 16Hz so it depends on which piano.


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Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049345 11/25/20 11:38 AM
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I have a Shure MV88 that plugs into my iphone. I am very happy with the MV88, and its recordings are much better than those taken with the iphone 7 plus mics. You can search youtube for recordings of pianos taken with various microphones. There are also youtube comparison videos for mics below $200 (such as the MV88, the Zoom recorders, etc.).

Re: Recording device - Recommendations
wouter79 #3049386 11/25/20 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by wouter79
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by wouter79
You need to look for a matched stereo pair microphone with linear frequency response down to 20Hz.

I use DPA4060 but they are well over your budget.
Going down to 20Hz if anything would be a disadvantage for recording a piano. Pianos don't go that low, and anything recorded below the range of the piano is thus distortion.

No in fact, the distortion starts much higher than what the mic mention as lowest point, usually it's already at -3dB at the endpoints.

Also, lowest key on normal piano is 27Hz, which is only a few Hz above the 20Hz. And there are pianos down to 16Hz so it depends on which piano.
The entire range of a mic will have some form of distortion whether it goes down to 20Hz or not. Capturing around below the range of a piano only adds more.

The Bosendorfer Imperial has a wider soundboard to get the strings for the 88 stabdard keys closer to the center of the soundboard. The extra low note are included because they can, not because they are useful. I certainly would not pay extra for a mic to record them, and there is no information that the OP will be recording an Imperial Grand.


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Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049662 11/26/20 08:57 AM
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So what is the better choice, a Zoom device or a microphone attached to an iphone? What is the advantage of Zoom if I already have a microphone??

Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049689 11/26/20 10:00 AM
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When you attach a mic to your iPhone you might need to make compromises for both the audio and video when you place your iPhone. It might not be in ideal position for best audio, depending on the type of music or piano you are recording.

For pop/jazz music placing the mics close to the strings might be preferred. Whereas for classical music, recording from a distance might be preferred.

Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049716 11/26/20 11:22 AM
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I bought the Zoom H2N some time ago, and whilst not being outstanding it is very useable, in my opinion.
It's the only affordable mic/recorder of this type that gives mid/side recording as well as the usual X/Y configuration.

I bought the accessory pack too, and that gives a little tripod and a (wired) remote control which I find very useful.

Together a nice litttle, affordable package, IMHO.


Casio PX560, Garritan CFX & GPO5, Akai EW4000s, Yamaha VL70m & AN1x.
Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Hakki #3049722 11/26/20 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
When you attach a mic to your iPhone you might need to make compromises for both the audio and video when you place your iPhone. It might not be in ideal position for best audio, depending on the type of music or piano you are recording.

For pop/jazz music placing the mics close to the strings might be preferred. Whereas for classical music, recording from a distance might be preferred.

I actually have multiple iphones, so I could use one for recording the audio, and another for video. So is a Zoom device pointless for me? Should I just go with a Microphone?

Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049729 11/26/20 11:43 AM
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In this case, yes, you only need the microphone.

If however you would want to connect better quality condenser mics in the future, then you might want to go with a recorder that has Phantom power and XLR inputs.

Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3049999 11/27/20 04:59 AM
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Okay so what Microphones are good to use with an iPhone, that don't cost too much? Do you have any recording examples??

Re: Recording device - Recommendations
Kinimod #3050010 11/27/20 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Kinimod
Okay so what Microphones are good to use with an iPhone, that don't cost too much? Do you have any recording examples??

Define "don't cost too much", my parents bought the Shure MV88. Great sounding mic, costs 150$, witch is kind of reasonable. This one plugs directly into the iPhone and has a great app for recording. But apart from that you could buy any USB mic and the apple camera adapter.

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