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Old 12th September 2018
Lives for gear

I've recorded a lot of things my wife has done (she plays violin in a variety of situations.)

We have used a zoom H4n a lot, and it's pretty good. I just ordered an H5 for her, because the headphone jack on the H4 wore out. The H5 has better mic preamps, so it has less self noise. Probably sounds better in general. Given the difference in cost, it's probably worth it.

If they're live concerts, then you don't want to record mono. Here's why: noises. If you have a mono recording and someone coughs, then you're going to hear it loud and clear no matter where it is, but with stereo, if the cough is on one side, then you won't notice it nearly as much in the playback because the main sound will be in the center and your brain will kind of ignore the other stuff. It will still be there just as loud, but it won't be as objectionable when you hear it.

Recently I've started using two figure 8 mics to make Blumlein pair recordings of her quartet. They sound a lot better, but setting it up takes some doing. You can use two Cad M179 mics to make the pair (us$230 each), but you need a stand and cables. I've started using a LP Claw so I can mount both mics on one stand, and that makes it a lot easier, but it's still probably more than you want to deal with when you have a concert to prepare for. And the Blumlein configuration probably isn't the best when you have audience noise anyway. But with the Cad M179 it's an option because they're multi pattern mics.

The H5 is small enough you can put it in a lot of places without causing a distraction. Get an Trid Orbit iOrbit clamp and you will be able to attach the H5 to any music stand or other vertical pole of the same size or smaller. If you get the H5 now, you can start making recordings now, and you can always buy more microphones later. It will be good to practice with the recorder. It's easy to do something like set it up and turn it on but forget to actually start the recording.

Get some Panasonic Eneloop batteries. They're some of the best for this application.