taping

For trading of live Patty shows, the Love From My Lips series, and other unreleased material.

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taping

Postby paulbaptiste » Sat May 26, 2007 2:14 pm

i was thinking about this on the damien rice fansite, and thought it'd be a good idea here.

what if the good community here would purchase some recording gear, a minidisc, mic ect. that would be shipped and shared amongst the community, it wouldn't take much money per person. And then we could tape and share alot more patty shows. Just an idea that has been swarming around my head lately, i don't think it is much of a money risk, and with the quality people we have on here, it could very well work.

feedback? approval? outrage?
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Re: taping

Postby Ian » Fri Jun 01, 2007 6:52 am

paulbaptiste wrote:i was thinking about this on the damien rice fansite, and thought it'd be a good idea here.

what if the good community here would purchase some recording gear, a minidisc, mic ect. that would be shipped and shared amongst the community, it wouldn't take much money per person. And then we could tape and share alot more patty shows. Just an idea that has been swarming around my head lately, i don't think it is much of a money risk, and with the quality people we have on here, it could very well work.

feedback? approval? outrage?


Do people on the DR website actually do this?

Not wishing to stifle anyone's community spirit here but I would have thought this would be a tad impractical to organise, due to the distances we all live apart. I would also hazard a guess that anyone who wants to tape, already owns or has access to some equipment.
Much as I'd like to get my hands on better mics, like the 'Giant Squid' one's I've heard spoken so highly of, my recordings are adequate for purpose.

As an aside, I was in a major electrical store in Wales the other day and I find that they no longer sell blank mini discs!
No great suprise that MP3 player technology is making the MD player/recorder a thing of the past I suppose but it made me wonder what the recording capability is like on some of these new fangled Ipod type thingys.
Is anyone able to educate me on what inputs are supported (ie Line or mic) and is the bitrate they record at, variable?

So... to answer the original question...

Not outraged, just a little apathetic

and if anyone wants to pop round to my house at any time day or night, they'll be welcome to borrow my MD recorder and crappy wee Sony MS907 mic for no charge whatsoever :D
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Postby keith from ny » Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:44 am

It's a very nice idea but I can't imagine how it could work either, even for a close-knit online community like us. Besides the logistics of acquiring the gear and transporting it between users/shows, there's a learning curve associated with recording, especially stealth recording (and unfortunately Patty doesn't allow open taping, although I'm awfully grateful she tolerates recording and trading of her shows at all). But best of luck if y'all want to try!

I do hope to see more Patty fans get into the act on their own. Anyone interested in pursuing this rewarding hobby (or weird obsession, as my wife fondly thinks of it) can feel free to contact me for advice -- mostly, lots of mistakes to avoid ;). You can make pretty good-sounding recordings with a few hundred $ worth of equipment and a reasonably capable PC for editing.
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Postby paulbaptiste » Fri Jun 01, 2007 1:46 pm

The DR site, no they don't openly, though tapers there, a few, are willing to loan out gear to tape shows. I ran into this problem tues. for the damien rice show here in indianapolis, i didn't have a decent mic, my daughter lost it, and my new ones weren't gonna be in the mail in time. A buddy from there offered to send me his iriver, and battbox/mics, just so i could tape the show.

It would be hard to organize, coordinate, but i thought i'd throw it out there. and the learning curve is def an issue with stealth taping, taping period, but placement of mics, levels ect.


IAN: made me wonder what the recording capability is like on some of these new fangled Ipod type thingys.
Is anyone able to educate me on what inputs are supported (ie Line or mic) and is the bitrate they record at, variable?

Since my damien rice fiasco (everything went wrong, minidisc wouldn't eject, eject button broke off, now says blank disk though i had it write at the 76 min mark, i got nothing) I'm looking into getting an iriver H120. 20gb mp3 player that records in uncompressed wave. The firmware that it comes with is not very suitable for recording but software has been created by rockbox that makes recording very good, lots of options, safe mode where it prevents clipping. Has line in for digital and analog in/out.
Have a buddy looking around for me so i don't end up paying too much on ebay for it. You can get them for 100-150 dollars, cheaper than some of the alternatives like the edirol, or zoomH4. The H2 is coming out in August and looks kinda promising.
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Postby lily » Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:22 pm

I've got a little recording rig made up of an ipod nano (one of the newer square ones) and a Belkin TuneTalk. I've got a little lance mic that goes with it but I've never used it because I haven't had a chance at a show that I'm OK with it if I don't get a recording. So far it's done the job.

It's not soundboard, but its totally listenable, especially paired with my super-spy-secret-concert-going - with-hidden-pocket-big-enough-to-sneak- a-DSLR-with-300mm-lens bag from Lululemon which is all black and has a nice pocket on the side that allows for just the Tunetalk thing to poke out and as long as you cover the obnoxious little red "record" light with some electrical tape I haven't had any problems at any of the shows I've been to. Even the one show I did get caught at, I just quickly unplugged the recorder from the ipod, and yanked out my dummy ipod for "erasing" in front of the security guard. I only missed two songs.

It's not 1000% percent reliable, as it did malfunction both at the second set of Carolyn Wonderland last week and then the next show I saw of hers three days later, but it worked fine for Dolly Parton which was in between those two so I'm not sure what caused the recording of silence syndrome at the Carolyn Wonderland shows.

Anyway, point being, for a few hundred it's an easy rig, pretty foolproof and incredibly easy to sneak in.
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Postby keith from ny » Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:43 am

Nichole, needless to say I'm very happy to hear about your new hobby! :D

After experimenting with several combinations of compact recorders, mics, preamps and battery boxes for stealth recording the past few years, I'm finally very satisfied with my current rig (although it's not as tiny or inexpensive as Nano+TuneTalk). It consists of the Marantz PMD620 handheld digital recorder (about $350) and a pair of miniature CA-11 cardioid mics from Church Audio ($120 + shipping).

The recorder is about the size of a cigarette pack, has high quality mic preamps built right in (preamps are important for preserving natural sound and minimizing background noise), and supplies enough voltage to external mics for distortion-free pickup at high volume levels so normally no battery box is needed for powering the mics. It's simple to operate, will record more than 4 hours of very-high-fidelity 24-bit sound on a 4Gb SDHC memory card (about $30), and will run about 6 hours on two 2700mA rechargeable AA batteries. It has two built-in omni-directional microphones which are fine for voice recording, but plugging in a good pair of electret mics like the CA-11s will produce much better results for concerts.

PMD620 overview

The CA-11 stereo cardioid mini-mics, which are hand built and then carefully matched in Canada by Chris Church, are easily the best-sounding directional mics in their price range and small enough to hide almost anywhere.

CA-ll microphones

a sample recording with this rig

(this is after compression to mp3, the original .wav recording actually sounds even better)


OK, so now we need some operatives on the West Coast and in the Southeast!
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Postby marybeth » Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:05 am

Oh my lord this sounds so technical. I'll just keep focusing on writing I guess .....and hope to get Nichole and Keith to tape me someday soon. Or actually Marcel on this side of the Atlantic....

carry on then! :wink:
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Postby Turk » Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:35 am

Don't feel bad about all the technology stuff, MB. You're not alone. I'm still looking for a winding spring for my Victrola. :cry:
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Postby keith from ny » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:50 am

It's not really all that technical. All digital recording rigs (including small all-in-one units) have four main components:

microphone - transforms sound waves into a weak electronic signal

preamplifier - amplifies weak mic signal to a usable strength

a/d converter - converts the amplified analog signal to a digital stream of 1s and 0s (usually in "linear PCM" format to create a .wav audio file)

media - something to write the digital data to, like an internal hard drive or media card

The better quality each of the first three components is, the better your recording will sound. In professional rigs, each component is often a physically separate unit which are connected by cables.

For most folk or rock concerts, directional (cardioid) mics are preferable because you can point them toward the music and get less audience noise. Omnidirectional mics sound a little more natural but also pick up much more sound from the sides and in back of you.

Microphones need power to turn sound into a signal. Miniature mics are generally "electret" condenser mics that can operate adequately on as little as 2 volts. The more voltage supplied, however, the louder the sound level the microphones can handle without distorting. Most small recorders with a 1/8" mic jack or iPod interface supply "plug-in power" to the mics via the jack. The Marantz recorder I use supplies 5 volts of plug-in power to the mics (most recorders only supply 3V which might not be enough for loud concerts, in which case a separate battery box is needed). Larger pro condenser microphones usually require between 9V and 48V (what's often called "phantom power") and definitely need a battery box or a separate preamplifier that also supplies phantom power.

A good preamp will amplify the weak mic signal before a/d conversion without creating a lot of background noise while doing it (that faint "hiss" you hear during the quiet parts of many digital recordings) and without coloring the music in an unpleasant way.

There are two main aspects of the analog > digital conversion process. Sampling rate is how many "snapshots" you take of the sound during any unit of time. Each sample is like a static frame in a movie - the more samples you take in a second, the more natural the digitized audio will sound (CD quality is 44,100 samples per second). Bit depth (usually 16 bits or 24 bits) reflects the maximum dynamic range you can capture, which is the difference in volume between the quietest and loudest part of the recording. It's helpful to record in 24 bits mainly because you can keep the recording level relatively low to make sure you don't "clip" (overflowing the recorder's signal capacity when the volume is too high, creating a very harsh sound in the recording) and yet still have lots of dynamic range when you amplify the whole recording afterwards so that it's normal volume during playback, a process appropriately called normalization. The downside is that you have to convert a 24-bit recording to 16 bits when you're done editing if you want to burn the music to CD, since CDs only accommodate 16 bits. This is usually accomplished using a process called "dithering" which is beyond my comprehension but is built into most audio editing programs.
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Postby mhwlng » Thu Aug 21, 2008 2:06 am

marybeth wrote:Or actually Marcel on this side of the Atlantic....


I don't have any real audio recording gear....

But, I found the sound quality of my Canon Powershot G9 camera, reasonable, when recording Kathleen Edwards and Rachel Harrington (see youtube link below, select 'high quality')

I was expecting worse results, although it's not exactly professional quality...
In both situations, I was at the front of the stage...

My sound recordings of John Mayal's voice are not so great, but that was because of problems with his microphone, not mine :D

One problem that I found with the camera, is that if I zoom, then the microphone picks up the sound of the button press.
You can hear that in some of Kathleen's recordings.
So, I stopped doing that...
There is no way, to plug a better microphone into the camera...

p.s. Marybeth, when you are doing your radio gig in Bergen op Zoom, you could ask them for a copy ?

I'll use my camera, if they allow it...

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Postby keith from ny » Thu Aug 21, 2008 10:49 am

Wow Marcel, that's great audio (and video) for a camera! I'm actually in the market for a new camera myself, how is the G9 for taking photos in low light?
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Postby mhwlng » Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:09 am

Hi Keith,

low light noise, is a problem with all point&shoot cameras...
So, the G9 also suffers from this.
But compared to many other p&s cameras, it's pretty good...
The only way to solve this problem, is to get a mid/high end DSLR with a great big lens :wink: (which is not allowed at many gigs)...

I shot the video at 640x480 and I used divx 6 converter, with highest quality and strong noise reduction settings...
the original movie image is quite a lot better than what you see on youtube (even in 'high quality' setting, 'standard quality' on youtube sucks)

You could check out the pictures in my flickr account (link below) ...
They were all taken with the G9.
in some pictures, the noise is more noticeable(e.g. feist/wailin' jennys) than in others (e.g. john mayall)...
(the originals are slightly better than what you see on flickr, but also take up a lot more disk space)

Note that I shot 'RAW' images (most at ISO800/no flash)
and I used 'noise ninja' to reduce noise in all images...

I have not adjust contrast/whitebalance etc.
(which is a bit difficult for me, because I'm partially colourblind :roll: )

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Postby keith from ny » Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:36 pm

Those photos look great, Marcel! Wow, I didn't realize John Mayall is still performing.
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Postby mhwlng » Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:06 am

keith from ny wrote:I didn't realize John Mayall is still performing.


yeah, the man is 74 years old !

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Postby marybeth » Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:01 am

Now you see why I'm hoping to con him into taking pictures at my next gig in Holland. :)
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