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My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1
Old 4th April 2013 | Show parent
  #31
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Originally Posted by David Spearritt View Post
Neither "military laptops" (whatever they are) or SD recorders will run Pyramix either.

Horses for courses. But the modern laptop or fanless embedded PC's (closest to SD or Nagra) are phenomenally reliable bits of gear. We put them on mining machines in 55 deg C sunlight and a few G's of vibration running 24x7 and they keep going. MS Windows as well.
My previous (circa 2007) version of Windows (Vista) computer wasn't the best performer when connected to an audio interface, but on a comprehensive basis I can see that you are ultimately going to work in a computerized environment so that you can edit the sound files -- so why not keep up to date with one's computing power (ahem laptop). But if I had paid clients I could see the benefit of stand-alone digital recorders.
Old 28th October 2013
  #32
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I have stayed true to my original field recording concept. But I didn't buy a portable recorder such as the SD702. Instead I bought a SPDIF cable and connected it to a Burl B2 ADC. It's a done deal. I have reviewed the converter as well as my main microphone, the Josephson C700A. See today's new reviews.

Other products considered included the DW Fearn mic pre -- but I ended up getting a pair of Classic API VP26s fitted into a APA Revolver chassis.

Ultimately, I've retained the possibility of leaving the external mic pres and the AD converter at home, and plugging in my USBPre 2 to my computer -- with only a mic (s).

I also considered the Forsell MADA-2. That unit makes more sense for classical music recordists -- I think my needs fall mainly in the market space for bluegrass, folk field recordings, and general music-making and live recording of up to four musicians.

My computer sound card remains the SD USBPre 2. I record mainly with Cubase LE, I briefly set up a pair of tracks and soon after hitting stop I render a WAV file for replay with the iTunes beast. It's basically a badass digital tape recorder.

After all of this exploration, perhaps there is a need for an SD 702 recorder -- if only to hook up a SPDIF connection, but my laptop never seems to crash -- so that's where I'm at with this Gearslutz business.
Old 29th October 2013 | Show parent
  #33
Lives for gear
Reading this thread, I'm wondering how the title of "ideal Smithsonian field recording rig" plays into what you are recording or why you're recording it?

Are you doing something a bit different than the guys who are primarily recording classical concerts?
Old 30th October 2013 | Show parent
  #34
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Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
Reading this thread, I'm wondering how the title of "ideal Smithsonian field recording rig" plays into what you are recording or why you're recording it?

Are you doing something a bit different than the guys who are primarily recording classical concerts?

I think what I doing is first of all, in the "market-space", of the advanced amateur musician who seeks to explore making recordings of his own progress as a musician.

I am thinking mainly of myself. If I wish to be brutally hard on myself, I could be classified as a middle-aged amateur musician, with dwindling prospects of commercializing my digital music files, the result may be played in YouTube or email attachment space.

Having said all that, I think my goal from an audio-engineering standpoint is to create a foolproof rig that can enable the musician to record himself (and perhaps others) without the active involvement of a technician.

Part of my philosophy is to select excellent equipment, set it up correctly, press record and roll tape.

I'm not exactly into the nostalgia of collecting old tape recorders and ribbon microphones. I want to achieve an unadulterated audio quality as good as a classical recording, but I don't want to be distracted with audio engineering duties, such as mixing and monitoring the sound (as would a professional recordist) since I would be performing while the red light is on. But obviously I seek to capture a 'broadcast-quality', or not screwed up audio file.

I also want to limit the size or footprint of the recording gear so that, if necessary, you can pare it down to a computer, a sound card, and a microphone, and put it all into a brief case. Or, for the sake of excellence, with the good stuff, I would expect that my unedited tracks meet would at an industry-standard, or usable, sound quality. As in suitable for broadcast. This would mean, sometimes, perhaps, external mic preamps and audio converters.

Thematically, the Folkway method of doing field recordings of authentic folk singers and blues musicians, is an inspirational idea. Also, I'm inspired by The Band, and Music From Big Pink, and by my own experiences making home recordings with my friends.

A further influence/inspiration is the 1965 DA Pennebaker film of Bob Dylan's tour of England. The sound recording in this film is somewhat remarkable for the unobtrusive way it was done, rolling tape while folks partied in hotel rooms, or Bob Dylan readied himself for his concerts. Essentially a fly on the wall -- but I never heard Dylan or Joan Baez so clearly. I'm sure it was a mono pickup.

A version of Dont Look Back is currently up (temporarily) on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=be9rTOnYnx0

***BTW, today I've completed the rewrite of my review of the Josephson C700A microphone.


Postscript -- read up on Plush's equipment and posts for an example of a classical recordist's approach. I think the difference with folk/rock and roots music might be the use of acoustic guitars and electric guitars, coloured mic pres such as CAPI or API whereas the Plush list includes D.A.V. Broadhurst Gardens BG1, DW Fearn, Gordon, John Hardy M1, you know anything lush. Some of my items are shockingly expensive but I'm trying to limit myself to two or four channels, generally no mixing with a DAW or desk, but I definitely use Y-cord adapters if I exceed two channels, and I have the capability to do to do sound on sound -- in a way that is generally frowned upon -- sending the signal out into the room, playing it through a guitar amp, and then recording the result and singing or adding guitar fills to it in a new take which is recorded. I have the equipment to do it, but I don't do it, to preserve the hillbilly purity of my music. Also -- occasionally I try to make changes in my playing, using some open strings, wrapping my left thumb around the neck to stop down the E string, taking guitar lessons with a Juno-nominated guitar player...that sort of stuff.

Also in my case the monitoring is through hi-fi speakers -- instead of professional studio monitors. But I do have a pair of floor-standing Tannoys purchased in Saudi Arabia, and a pair of BBC LS35a which could be installed in a dirty white mobile van.
Old 31st October 2013 | Show parent
  #35
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My circa late 1970s rig

Realistic SCT-17 Stereo Single Cassette Deck

http://www.m221b.com/SoundstarX1/Bey...tarIIside2.jpg

At a strictly amateur level, I've been doing this, with a variety of equipment since the late 1970s.

My rig for dozens of acoustic jams in the late seventies, early 80s consisted of the above Dolby Realistic model SCT-17 cassette deck and a pair of these Beyer Soundstar dynamic mics.
Attached Thumbnails
My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-beyersoundstariiside2.jpg   My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-kgrhqnhjewfjgnkldc-bsr27o8e4q-60_35.jpg  
Old 31st October 2013 | Show parent
  #36
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My audio and video acquisition rig circa 1999

My configuration for recording jams with my late friend George L. (1956-2011).

* Panasonic AG-EZ30 3-CCD Mini-DV Semi-Pro Camcorder

* Shure SM 57 times 2/Electrovoice EV635b times 2

* Beachtek audio adapter and mic pre for Panasonic AG-EZ30 camcorder

Direct to the digital videotape. Uploading these files to a Windows Vista Computer and then to YouTube began in 2007.

The audio in this setup would be considered bush league, but at least it was synchronized with the video...and thus preserved for my own enjoyment.

I have retained a few copies under the internet name: Ulf OnOff -- a couple of jams:
https://vimeo.com/11089957
https://vimeo.com/11387975

There is no limiter. Essentially it is dual monaural, both files captured with a pair of Buchanon Hammers. I admit, at times the audio clips, and sometimes my guitar is too loud.

The Mayor of Montreal song is mine, and has been reinterpreted by George's son Dugald, and played for an audience in Barfly, on St. Lawrence Blvd in Montreal. The words are always improvised but mostly the purpose is to mock the late Mayor of Montreal, Jean Drapeau, circa 1960s to 1970s.
Attached Images
My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-beaez.jpg 
Old 31st October 2013
  #37
Gear Addict
Smithsonian commando recording rig: Sound Devices USBPre2 & MacBook Pro with Boom Recorder software...you can choose microphones and cables. It's fast to set up, efficient recording environment and has a small footprint and you should get 4 hours or so of battery time. Every other scenario adds "inertia strain"...the more crap you have, the harder it is to be motivated to record in funky locations...don't forget a table and extension cable for juice and you'll be able to record wherever you want as a middle aged amateur musician! It's more important to make music than to fret over the gear (ok, I know...we're all Gearslutz)...have fun
Old 31st October 2013 | Show parent
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Studiodawg View Post
Smithsonian commando recording rig: Sound Devices USBPre2 & MacBook Pro with Boom Recorder software...you can choose microphones and cables. It's fast to set up, efficient recording environment and has a small footprint and you should get 4 hours or so of battery time. Every other scenario adds "inertia strain"...the more crap you have, the harder it is to be motivated to record in funky locations...don't forget a table and extension cable for juice and you'll be able to record wherever you want as a middle aged amateur musician! It's more important to make music than to fret over the gear (ok, I know...we're all Gearslutz)...have fun

St. Raphael's Ruins - Map and Directions

At some point I intend to record some solo acoustic guitar at these local ruins -- a burnt down Catholic church that is in the middle of it fund-raising (it burned down in 1970). Lately they have a dude sitting there behind a folding table looking for money. I need to go commando with just a cellphone or video-camera -- or even better, ask for their permission to make a recording there before the snow is on the ground.

-- You're absolutely correct. You don't need to bring along an external mic pre or special converters, especially if they take 120 volts AC.
Old 31st October 2013 | Show parent
  #39
Gear Addict
Maybe you could offer a recording (CD) that is recorded at the ruins and they can use it for fund raising along with the Brigadoons 25th Anniversary CD! I'm sure I'd rather listen to acoustic guitar
St. Raphael's Ruins - Souvenirs
Old 31st October 2013 | Show parent
  #40
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Originally Posted by Studiodawg View Post
Maybe you could offer a recording (CD) that is recorded at the ruins and they can use it for fund raising along with the Brigadoons 25th Anniversary CD! I'm sure I'd rather listen to acoustic guitar
St. Raphael's Ruins - Souvenirs
I wrote a request today saying that I was only interested in playing acoustic guitar in the space, without doing any sort fund-raising. It is a national historic site -- but you also have to worry about people steering projects for other purposes. Ah hah! You don't like these bombastic Scots-Irish groups with the funky junk slap bass lines over traditional tunes.
Old 2nd November 2013
  #41
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Josephson Engineering C700A

I have posted my revised text.


Don't read this it you don't understand what getting real is, if you like compromises and cheap copies, happy little detours, the easy-peasy way.

Some further editing of the review.

I shared my backstory with many of you, about paddling canoes, and sailing canoes, and my little jams in my bedroom, where my recording gear was all rigged up. I explained how I screwed an Atlas Sound Flange adapter to the ceiling so I could mount a pair of dynamic cardioids -- good ones -- on the ceiling, capturing a choral soundscape of our bluesy acoustic jams. Now this is it, the real thing. I will no longer hide my identity from my fellow forum members. I will be very careful about revealing my plans. This is it, folks. If you have a plan, a good one, these kinds of purchases are your foundation -- and support your big launch.

By the way, I've changed my name, Jack Tadoussac is mostly in my past. My new internet identity is TEL. Not for this forum here exactly -- but I'm in the process of working on a workshop of some sort, and we use surveillance audio -- totally unmanipulated.

Also my agent is from very capable Nordic family. They cross-country ski with old wooden skis, they own all those OnOff stores (the Swedish equivalent of Best Buy), and they're always taking nude saunas. His name is Ulf, and he will handle all my audio engineering while I do the performing, the crazy skits, and singing. Ulf OnOff is my right-hand man...so much more mathematical and organized, to him all those ones and zeroes that mean something, like the interface between digital to analogue, just like an on-off switch. Details to follow.
Old 3rd November 2013
  #42
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Burl Audio B2 ADC

I've added a completed version of the B2 ADC review. I bought it because it was green, and it matched my 30 year old Quad British Hi-Fi gear. I love green machines.
Attached Files
Old 4th November 2013
  #43
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Some pictures of my rig in my artistic encampment

The rig is a proven way to support one's mobile recording and even -- film-making -- if you include digital imagery, still and video captured by a Blackberry Trio -- of Q10. All of these units are used only in my own wifi zone -- working as a dictaphone.

The other stuff -- is basically at a studio level -- for at least two channels. With Y cables we can take 4 down to 2 easily.
Attached Thumbnails
My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-clearviewofharbethsandthreerevolvers.jpg   My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-cluttersetupwithsteelsawhorsemickingandpineboardandpineboardsideboard.jpg   My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-cluttereddeskwiththreeblackberryq10fortruemobileregacdplayer.jpg  
Old 4th November 2013
  #44
Lives for gear
 
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An aside: are those Wesco boots?
Old 4th November 2013 | Show parent
  #45
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Originally Posted by boojum View Post
An aside: are those Wesco boots?
Which speakers are under the boots? I'm searching for such a small passive design.
Old 4th November 2013
  #46
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The speakers are the famous BBC compact monitor that was used in mobile lorries. It has some pedigree and history -- BBC LS35a. I don't use compressors or equalization -- and in fact I enjoy hearing mistakes and slipping and noise, such as the furnace going on. Daniel Lanois is a woos for turning off the furnace in the Canadian Winter -- For what: the Parachute Club.

Play it as it is. It sounds way more exciting.

I use mine with old 70s British Hi-Fi gear that I bought gradually thru summer jobs while doing my studies. The only purpose in monitoring is to ensure we didn't make gross errors. Any errors in set-up are soon corrected as the iterations improve. It's raw, and better. But really based a radio or a black box theatre set-up, with jamming, but without too much professional intervention.
Old 4th November 2013 | Show parent
  #47
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Originally Posted by boojum View Post
An aside: are those Wesco boots?
They are Viberg, and a signifier of breaking away from the bespoke Churches Shoes.

Boots get more attention.
Old 7th November 2013
  #48
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Many of the earlier folks who posted here will say I told you so -- Sound Devices 702 is a doable mate to Josephson C700A. Still about $2000 (702) plus $5000 (C700A) for the combo. But it enables full on documentary sound capture -- liberating me from that open MacBook. Yes I see the light, and the possibilities of cutting the AC cord.
Old 8th November 2013
  #49
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To shorten the name, and clean up the writing, my latest and final name for this thread is "Absolute Smithsonian"

It incorporates the idea of going from the highest available sound, such as a living room or hall, where AC current is available, as well as limiting the number of channels to two -- to make the rig more suitable (and flexible) for a self-recorded musician.


Absolute Smithsonian (Field Recording Rig)

** WITH AC juice (one example)

---------Josephson C700A --to CAPI mic amp -- to Burl B2 Bomber ADC -- to Sound Device 702 via spdif adapter cable

** WITH DC juice (two examples and the reason for not setting up the SD USBPre 2)

---------BBQ10
---------no cables

OR

---------Josephson C700A -- to Sound Devices 702 on it's own
---------One cable from C700A to Y -- then fanned out to two XLR cables plugged into SD 702

WHY the SD USBPre2 is packed up during travel:
Note: a mic connected to Sound Devices USBPre2 -- then connected to a laptop -- is way riskier as a portable rig since the laptop lid must be open and the rig could potentially be tossed around whilst driving, or canoeing, or stepped on by the dog.
Old 8th November 2013
  #50
I think you'd get more authentic results with a 57 wired into a cassette recorder.
Old 8th November 2013 | Show parent
  #51
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Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
I think you'd get more authentic results with a 57 wired into a cassette recorder.
But you'd still need to put it in digital -- so you could SoundCloud, or fling emails with MP3 attachments.

Also I wanted to eliminate laptop computers and even run the SPDIF from the Burl to the SD702. No laptop, ma.
Old 10th November 2013
  #52
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Right proper road case. Right proper dog. Two modes of right proper transport.
Attached Thumbnails
My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-right-proper-road-case.jpg   My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-black-dog.jpg   My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-right-proper-mobile.jpg   My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-grumman-canoe.jpg   My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-scan-4.jpg  

Old 10th November 2013
  #53
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A cluster of BBQ10 recording devices, affixed with rubber bands around the base of a Josephson C700A microphone.

An APA Revolver can provide an alternative to your sound card's internal mic pre. It's also way easier to set up than rackmounted items in road cases, but more costly per channel.
Attached Thumbnails
My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-clusterofblackberryrubberbandedaroundc700amic.jpg   My ideal Smithsonian field recording rig -- RME Babyface vs USBPre2 or Lyra 1-apa-revolver-collateral-items.jpg  

Last edited by jacktadoussac; 11th November 2013 at 12:45 AM.. Reason: Added pics of the Absolute Smithsonian studio.
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