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Everything posted by ratbagradio

  1. I'm working on a community audio project here in Australia where we're trying to foster simple audio skills using low budget rigs. The plan is to make recording good web quality audio a skill and a tool set within the range and pocket of a number of people who would only record occasionally as a contribution to a larger grassroots media network. To this end we've established a wiki which harnesses a lot of multimedia teaching resources. Some of us use minidisc recorders and others don't -- but the pitch is something folk here may like to contribute to. The language has to be low tech and the solutions or work arounds have to be cheap and simple...and, I guess, self evident to non technicians. So if you would like to contribute come on over to the AltMediaNetwork wiki and share you expertise. We've worked up a few notes on how I record at home. Thsi approach may seem eccentric but if you have suggestions we can share please annotate as you see fit and impulse directs you. Members of this forum kindly contributed to our section on minidisc recorders so we've learnt to value such input.
  2. Got myself the early edition Griffin iMic. cheap on eBay. Wow! What a handy tool. I now plug in my MD and re-record direct to Audacity with a very low sound floor. It's a solution to so many issues I had been experiencing in way of getting live recorded audio from my MD into the computer. The Sonic Stage route --just for voice -- is a pain., what with the conversion protocols. So playing the audio on the MD in real time and editing with the the Audacity options and the MD handset makes the whole business straightforward. The Griffin iMic will also -- and this surprised me! -- take my MD plug in power microphones so i can use the same mics for computer input recoding without getting new USB port ones or a pre-amp. Great way to extend you MD microphone collection. My iMic came with a complimentary copy of Audacity editing software too. So that saves a download if you are starting off at a basic audio editing level. So I'm thinking that I've got myself a customized podcasting studio -- a small portable utility setup akin to the one below: which is explored here. I'm no sound snob and I do most of my recording away form the pc on minidisc -- so the later computer interface is what I'm interested in. That's mainly for editing. All I need is to add a little voice over here and there at the computer desk to the sound file after I edit it to shape. I also record my phone interviews using a cubby studio ( or den)-- with a speaker phone rather than via VOIP (eg: Skype) methods.. This is the setup pictured below: I use the cubby because I cannot sound proof this computer room. I'd need expensive & quiet air conditioning in this sub tropical climate --and without that it's too flamin' hot to work and talk. So I aim my head into the 'hole' and in there are my microphones and my speaker telephone when I'm interviewing. I'm still fiddling with the arrangement but --as you see it's sound proofing like the Hollywood Bowl or a loud hailer. I need to work out my microphone setup and make the interface more ergonomic. This also means that I can RECORD to the MD while also RECORDING direct to Audacity so I can get not only the MD disc as backup but an
  3. Since I like to employ a backup to the recording of my audio when out and about and live I use an mp3 player set to record. The sound is, of course, terrible. But this device -- mic/preamp -- seems to have a lot going for it. I've yet to purchase one but the gain option and the range of mp3 usages makes it an appealing item of hardware that could have a wide range of applications. Any experience of it? I';m trying to encourage a range of people with no audio skills to record lectures and talks for pod- and broad- casting. I usually get crappy mp3 built in mic recordings which are useless. I' ll never be able to get people to buy MDs/ master the technology/ upload the files to their PC with SS /convert them to WAV/ then transpose to MP3 format -- and send them to me as email attachments. There has to be a shorter route....!
  4. I'm doing a team wiki on creating alternative audio for web broadcast -- podcasting --and community radio. I've done an initial draft on HiMD usage here http://altmedianetwork.wikispaces.com/Mini+Disc+Recorders If you have any suggestions please go for it so long as you remember that the audience is totally new to audio tech and would not have seen a Mini Disc let along held one in their hands.
  5. I record interviews for podcasting by using a speaker phone. The standard approach is to employ Skype for this and record direct to your pc but I record the interviews with a split stereo mic and a speaker phone. My phone line is VOIP and I run one mic (on a short stand) to the speaker on the phone and the other is attached to my lapel. I've built a padded 'phone box' to house the phone and to reduce the ambient sound floor. (A milk crate wrapped in blankets) Here's a image of another setup a guy uses: This may seem an unusual approach but I like the freedom it offers me and the control too as I can easily setup a supplementary recording by using a mic from my iRiver ifp in case the original fails. This way too I can employ the HiMD gain control to keep my sound levels balanced.Much better setup, I find, than direct to PC while being at the mercy of your programs. The only drawback --aside from occasional bad connections on international calls -- is that I'd like to alter the phone sound by changing its pitch so that it is a little more normal.. Any suggestions? Analogue sound is analogue sound so there's that price you pay over a phone line. But if I were to fiddle with pitch I';m also experimenting how best to present the mic to the speaker phone so I get the sweetest sound. I note that on radio -- talk back is heavily processed using very expensive machinery so I was wondering what my post record options could include. Recording via PC to HiMD But heres' another question which I've thought about. Is there a way that I can record a computer phone interview on HiMD directly.? Is there a way to set up my hardware so that I am attached to the MD ( earphones and microphone) and talk through that while the exchange is then handled through the MD into the computer and ,say, a Skype call. I want my Skype phone call to come from the pc to the MD and I talk through the MD into the call rather than relying on the computer's microphone and audio/earphone setup. I want to avail myself of the HiMD technology in preference to what is on offer from my computer. later I guess I should experiment with the Griffin iMac....to see where that will take me. But obviously for the tiem bing I'm trying to do all this on the cheap.
  6. Thanks folks This setup is working fine now. I'll explore the Griffin iMac option as Ubuntu forums suggest thats' very feasible on Ubuntu.... Re-recording this way also solves the annoying transfer problems you get with Sonic Stage -- of uploading then transposing to WAV then when importing the files into Audacity they come in dribs and drabs which w makes combining and editing so labor intensive. You have to label each track separately otherwise you get lost and for 40 minutes of recording time you may have many tracks you want to manipulate and edit. Since i often squish 45 minutes to one hour down to 15 - 20 minutes I cut and paste a lot in the edit and Sonic Stage --and MD -- makes chronology confusing when you start moving stuff around. (and you're in a hurry) Since I"m recording voice the quality loss isn't significant and if I can get Griffin iMac to work -- I'm way way ahead.
  7. I do podcasts and frankly I hate recording at the computer as it can be so distracting and a source of a lot of sound floor noise. I always record away from the PC if I can. I suspect that your 90 y/o grand dad won't relax at an interface like that. So lapel mics and a long lead plug in is a way to proceed preferably to a separate and independent recording device (although if the mic leads are long enough you can put a laptop pc to the side and that won;t distract your relative). The other great advantage using a Hi MD is that it has automatic gain and that will be ideal to secure a quality recoding regardless how various the guy's volume and cadence. BUT MD files can be an editing pain has they are served up in dribs and drabs which you have to merge together. Big drawback. I now record on my MD and then re-record direct as line in on Audacity. That way I have the audio in the can and can select what I want fed into the re-record.You pay a quality price but not by much. Also you need to decide what you want to do with the recordings -- how you want to package and share them. On a CD? If they are on a MD disc they are very secure and always high quality. Storing them as WAV in a computer is a lot of space -- but squishing them down to Mp3 format makes for easy sharing across the web. (The smaller the file the less the quality). My preference would be this: get yourself a blog(eg: Blogger -- best for multimedia) or website. Dedicate it to your grand dad and do the full package there: images plus audio -- presented as mp3 file snippets. If you use blog your relatives etc can subscribe to the site and get fresh audio each time you publish an edit. See http://www.studsterkel.org/Studs Terkel's site for inspiration.
  8. Since I use Linux -- Unbuntu -- on my computer I cannot employ Sonic Stage. So I want to record from my mini disc player (HMD) directly to edit on my computer program -- Audacity in real time. To do this requires what? (1) I plug my line into the headset jack on the HiMD and plug the other end of the line into my computer's micorphone port. (2) Is there another option? My computer microphone recoding has a high sound floor which I'd like circumvent. I'm thinking this should work Ok as I can edit as I go on the one track in Audacity without the complication of having to upload all the audio from the MD transpose it and then drag it in dribs and drabs across to my Ubuntu machine.I lose some sound quality of course but with mini disc theres' a lot of room when theres' none when you record direct to pc.
  9. Yes. I thought about that . But that defeats the point of the exercise as in the process I pick up the sound floor on the computer and end up with a noiser recording of less quality than MD straight to WAV. Voila! Yes Thats' the option that makes the most sense given the time factor. I should also edit on the HiMD too before I upload my audio-- get rid of the rubbish that way.
  10. i know that. I've done my homework and I doubt thats it applies to my model. So I'm looking for suggested work arounds.
  11. I use and prefer Feisty Fawn -- the latest Linux release on the Ubuntu distro. It is on the desktop that I do my audio edits -- on AUDACITY. But...I have to use SonicStage on another machine that is networked to my Ubuntu computer. While I used to use Wubi for my windows interface with Ubuntu (on the same pc) I was wondering if anyone deals the same way with their files? I upload from my HiMD and convert the files to WAV on the Windows computer (running Vista) Then I use the netrrok to transfer the WAV files to my Ubuntru desktop. Can anyone think of shortcuts as it takes a while for WAV files to be transferred across this network as i cannot access the WAV files directly through AUDACITY. I'm running Samba as my network helper... My HiMD is MZ NH700 -which I gather is not suitable to be accessed through a WINE rework.
  12. I know that there should be a way to avoid this ..When I record interviews and such my HiMD (Sony MZ NH700) breaks up the recording into segments which I guess are formatted between by silences. This is OK in that the segments can be joined in post editing but I get peeved for having to copy and paste each segment into the one audio channel before I can begin my full edit. I just had to pull together a 2 hour interview by joining 23 separate sound byte segments. It's pain. So what do I have to tweak to get the machine to start and only stop recording when I press PAUSE or STOP? If I switch to that, what price do i pay in way of adminisrating my recording sessions? And why is this automatic stop/ start mode the default for the machine?
  13. Check out Visivox & Giant Squid for plug in power mics. Sony make em too.
  14. My community radio staion uses the Sony standard. for MD. But I'll try the low sensitivity option --and you are right --a vocal mic is what I should seek out (but thats' closer than I was after -- I don't want to suck the thing)-- but I was hoping to get one in plug-in-power format rather than pay for the pro models and buy a pre-amp\ to lug around.
  15. I have two mics: Sony ECM DS30P -- which I use for close in interviewing, even in noisy envirornments. But it stil picks up a lot opf the ambient sound. And a Visovox SCM-PRO (2 mics on a stereo lead but I can separate a mic and use it singly). this is a wide pickup arc and it grabs so much of the recording envirornment. It's a very versatile pickup mic. But i want to get a mic that grabs sound close in only and blocks out much of the background . I don't want a make I want to know the attributes I need to look for in a plug in power model. I want, in effect, a better hand help interview mic I can wave about a foot from the speaker's mouth . so that I end up getting primarily only the person speakingand much less of the ambient activity sound.
  16. Well,for me Ubuntu is plug in and play -- no setup with the internet at all required. Amazing.. I'm ignorant of radio drivers but if you go to the forums: Installation/Upgades or Networking and Wireless you should be asssited. Ubuntu may in fact be a series of questions (as it is so different from Windows), but the answer is usually somewhere available from the community. I've been on Ubuntu 6 weeks and it's been a steep learning curve. But after installing Wubi -- I think thats' the way to go. You use Wubi day to day -customizing your Ubuntu desktop -- then, when you are mini disking you can access your HiMD files from there as a one click. When using Sonic Stage, however, you will boot to Windoes . That's inconvenient, but not a major issue --especially when you can save your audio files from Ubuntu into Windoes as required.
  17. If you have had a yankering to cut yourself loose form Microsoft or Apple dependencies and their pricetag--- Ubuntu is a Linux distribution that has been getting a lot of good press relative to Vista. With the latest release of Feisty -- about three weeks back -- Linux is moving into the same ballpak as the majors in way of desktop environment. And you can send a way for a free CD to give it a try. Late last week,UbuntuStudio was released -- being a packaging specific to multimedia needs and a project with that continuing focus on development in sync with each new Unbuntu release -- which are six monthly. There's a good post about it here: But the downside is that the rush to download has been such that many of the repositories are off line. So you may have to wait, and while you do check out whats' on offer...for the audio or/& video production enthusiast. UStudio CDs should be available at some stage, I guess. Here's an install DIY The complication, of course, is the fact that many Ubuntu audio applications had a mixed bag of dependencies driven so often by the limitation that mp3 isn't open sourced and couldn't be packaged with Ubuntu "straight out of the box". This is why you need to install LAME separate from Audacity even on Windows. But as I warned the rush has been extensive so don't expect many options to be available easily for a few days. For MD and Sonic St6age users, the main complication is that Sonic Stage won;t run on Linux. Some have suggested a WINE work around on a double booted machine, but if you are keen you may like to consider installing Wubi. Wubi is an unofficial Ubuntu installer for Windows users that will bring you into the Linux world with a few clicks. Wubi allows you to install and uninstall Ubuntu as any other application. If you heard about Linux and Ubuntu, if you wanted to try them but you were afraid of the complexities, this is for you. A good source for updates and later tutorials on UbuntuStudio I've found is the Ubustu feed blog So if your interest is tweaked and you are wondering if a shift across suits you -- monitor the discussion and the resources that are beginning to come on line now. Also, if you don't know, here's a list of Linux Tech Podcasts
  18. The irony is, I think, that HiMD is a negation of Mp3 as it offers you portability and play that is a much better quality recording than the heavily squished Mp3 format is. I record on my disk and then convert to wav to edit before exporting as mp3 for web podcasting--and the end quality is very much better than recording directly to mp3. The other way around is at a price as I used to record in Mp3 on an iRiver, edit in a looseless format then export as mp3. Speech will work but music suffers big time. So I guess you can't get a silk purse out of a sower's ear. But enjoy your rh10 for what it is --and in future cut out the mp3 middle man.
  19. While SonicStage won't work on Linux -- although I've read some complicated work arounds that are supposed to take -- the recent relase of the latest Ubuntu update, Feisty, is being shadowed by the promised packaging of specialty aps under the UbuntuStudio label. If you have used Ubuntu to edit audio and do other stuff with media you will note its promise and its frustration. UBuntuStudio is a project designed to really get to work on those issues and make media work easier on the Linux desktop. I run two pcs and have Sonic Stage installed on one with WinXP; and on another machine (which is networked) I run Ubuntu with my editing software -- Audacity. So if that work around suits you (or a from of double boot) check out the latest news on UbuntuStudio here: http://www.ubustu.com/globe/2007/04/28/rev...n-logs/#more-44
  20. I'm a podcaster who has switched to HiMD for recording and loves it big time. I've also started to move my "recording studio " to Ubuntu Linux on one of my PCs. The only price I pay is, of course, that I cannot use Sonic Stage on Linux(although I have seen workarounds--eg: with Wine -- but I'm not that skilled with the DIY to attempt that -- yet). I have SS on my second PC which is run on Win XP. I also have a third computer available here. I am trying to work out how I can make best use of this hardware. While I upload from my HiMD to the PC with WinXp I still have to transfer the audio over to Ubuntu for editing(on Audacity although I have Audacity on the Windows PC too). BUT I also want a place to store ALL my audio files and I was wondering if I could USB connect the third PC for that? -- ie without running it with a screen and keyboard/use it as a USB storage device/ supplementary hard disk? It now runs on Windows but I could convert the third to Ubuntu. Both the Win PC and the Ubuntu PC are linked separately to a router which of course =feeds to/from my broadband modem. Can I also network some of these computers to good effect?What would be the form?
  21. I know very little about mics except that people will tell you -- and I guess I've learnt to agree -- that a good mic makes for great audio. Unfortunately the real good stuff comes at a price. My very first imperative was that I wanted microphones that are plug in power. I didn't want to have battery up another device or carry around a preamp. I think that was the right decision as I have rigged a stand on an old digital camera tripod about 8 inches high and I can tripod that on a desk or fold it up for hand held work. The stand is also useful when I tape the mic to large stands or rostrums. With plug in power I also can run a lead of varying lengths from my HiMD to the mic. That means I can monitor the recording at some distance by listening through earphones even though I'm separate from the speaker. I bought a Sony ECM DS30P mic initially and it is useful for close in work as it doesn't pick up much backgroud. But it has to be worked in close. I don't recommend it for your job it as it isn't very versatile. But its a good mic. Then I bought a Visivox SCM-Broadcast-PRO on spec. This was excellent value because not only is it a very good mic -- to my ears anyway -- but it is TWO mics so that in doing an interview you can record (and later edit) each of the two speakers on separate channels. The other advantage is that when I don't want to use two leads I simply unplug one mic and use that as a single stereo mic attached to the end of my mic lead. Now I think the Visivox setup may suit your task --remembering that while it can be free standing or lapel mounted(there is a very crude clip), it picks up a lot of ambiance. While I use the Sony sometimes my general usage tends to favour one or both of the Visivox PRO mics. Note that where Visivox may differ from Giant Squid mics(GS is major brand for MD "plug in power"mics) is in materials used. I think you'll find better quality construction, stronger in materials used, than with GS. BUT remember IF you use separate mics -- and your recording on the Visivox will be to each channel and the play back will play that way too., unless you edit. So each speaker gets a primary channel in record AND playback. This can be a problem if one speaker speaks for a long time so that the listener (on earphones) will hear them primarily in one ear rather than two. But if you want to edit, that option is a real plus as it separates the two speakers onto different tracks... you can also combine the two channels into stereo (or mono) if you like through an edit. And to give you an idea of some of the usage: at a protest rally I employ one of the Visivox mics to capture speakers and to walk with the crowd among cheers and chants. But when I want to interview someone inside that din I switch to the Sony and move the mic to and from my head and their's(you don't hold it stationary like they do on TV-- that's a radio law). When I record phone calls, for interviews, I prefer to use my HiMD and I rest/point one Visivox mic on the speaker phone and pin the other to my person. In face to face interviews I'd use both Visivox mics -- one for me and the other person I interview, with the stand situated near them and pointed their way (as I find lapels can unnerve and distract interviewees. It's best to make the setup unobtrusive).
  22. Visivox offer a dual system microphone -- one for each channel -- which has some reputation in capturing bird sounds. It's an excellent price and the delightful corollary is that you can simply remove one mic from the lead and use that when you don't want that surround, ambient sound to be so broad. For broad ambient, simply extend the mics as far away as possible from each other and take in the all you can gather .
  23. Yeah, what you say is true and I cannot understand why people allow the mp3 format to determine the fidelity they listen to. On top of that is the fragility of CDs. I spend the money for music and one mishandling , and the disc is scratched or dirty or lost ...or is separated from its case never to meet again. And just how long does a mini disc supposed to last? I cam to the MD as a recording medium for voice, interviews and such and while there is a layer out there in broad - and pod - casting who want to embrace the new range of flash recorders like Edirol, it seem to me that the HiMD has so many bells and whistles that you have to be tech arrogant not to appreciate them. Automatic gain, for instance, is an amazing attribute when you are recording live out and about. After recording and listening on Mp3 format for some time I only bought my first HMD late last year and the sound blew me over. Compared to my other recordings I was now being offered such a quality sound threshold that I had more editing options to play with and could interact with recording situations-- such as within the body of large marches and rallies -- that would clip the sound grabbed by the Mp3 devices I had been using . I've not as yet got into moving my music collection to MD but I can see the advantages. The only price I pay is in the time it takes to download audio onto the disc. Thats' where a comparative inconvenience kicks in. -- but then I can fill any number of discs that way and be off on a holiday or journey away from a computer, whereas with mp3 I was limited to the single capacity of one device filled to 512mb or 1 gb. So you have to come back to what I think is the obvious: there is so much crap written and said about MDs and that is indicative of some inbuilt rationales that people have been prone to: Bad experiences with SonicStage. Well, not anymore. Rationalising multimedia users of the Mac who haven't been always able to access MD technology . People who think that the only recording experience worth considering is sitting down at your computer.... Unfortunately, as has been noted here so many times, Mp3 format will kill quality and rich sound. Our ears are being dumbed down and even though I listen primarily to voice you can get a feel for what the mp3 pathology is doing to peoples ears. It's insidious, really when you think about it. No wonder LPs are coming back. But part of the tragedy, in what the original post referred to, is that the tech culture is digital in a way that cannot now relate to the MD. A MD is a sandwich of layered attributes that need mechanical 'space'. Whereas the core digital culture presumes that you can write all your data you want to write on the head of a pin. --so small is supposed to be vogue-ish or beautiful. I guess it's like art painting in oils versus digitalised visuals; puppetry and amniotronics on film vs digital enhancement -- you pay a price in the shift because the new digital media are so sterile and lose so much nuance. But then, you see, it can be mass produced such that you bow can have iTunes instead of double album covers. And, in the case of music, the major labels are laughing, even if they have to put up with the massive capacity of digital media to be shared and copied and mashed up. (And SONY decides to protect us from the potential of the MD to do this! A relaunch of the MD as an optional format in the record store could change the way music is listened to overnight. But why would they? They are doing very nicely with CDs).
  24. Go over to the Mistic River Forums to discuss the iRiver I have a couple of iRivers -- the T30 and the ifp 795 and the advantage with the ifp is it offers plug in power mic-ing. In fact I came to Hi MD after using these devices. So the answer is if you want "good results" stick with the MD. You won't have automatic gain(if Sharp has that?) and you won't have, I guess, the same control over your recording operation. Then consider that to use the iRiver (assuming it will take a mic -- CHECK that very carefully! -- you will have to carry around three pieces of equipment as well as the batteries to drive the pre-amp. ALSO be careful as "Line in" isn't the same as mic in. On my T30 I used to record with a sort of home rigged preamp mic through "Line In" and it was always LOW dB such that later I had to add a lot of gain in post editing. Similarly since there is' no automatic Gain in the iRivers you cannot hear the stuff you are recording with earphones -- it is simply too low. My guess is that a pre-amp won;t change that much if you are forced to use "Line IN". So go to the Mistic River forums and ask that question and don't proceed until you are sure of an answer. The other disadvantage is that iRivers -- when they record --record straight to mp3 --so thats' your ballpark -- You start off with squished sound. And remember straight to mp3 in these devices won't protect you one bit from clipping -- so recording music --such as a concert -- may be a waste of time (IE: assuming you can use "Line in" to record).On mine I always record at 128kbps. Buy hey! since getting my Sony HiMD I don't us it anymore except for backup.
  25. Well I was more interested in the way to label the disks themselves. I want to move my audio out of my PC. So while ID tagging regimes are fine, when I go searching for a disk, what is the best way to arrange the collection by sticky label? dave riley
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