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What do you use to record GCSE performances?

Discussion in 'Music' started by nikkib_1986, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. nikkib_1986

    nikkib_1986 New commenter

    We've been told by our HOF that our GCSE performances need to be of a better quality in future. We have some spare cash in our capitation so I was wondering what other people use for theirs?
  2. We record onto a coomber cd recorder..cant remember the name or number but it serves us well.By the way which board do you do?
  3. Macbook. Record using garageband and then send to itunes and burn to CD
  4. casper

    casper New commenter

    I use a HD Zoom hand held digital sound recorder. Under £100
  5. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    You edit the recordings? Is this allowed on edexcel?
  6. TrueFaith

    TrueFaith New commenter

    I always used to have to do a little topping and tailing, getting rid of the ten seconds of silence before they began playing, and the noise it seemed to make when I stopped recording.

    Other than that, a touch of EQ and reverb helped present the recordings in the best light. I never did anything more than that (honest guv'nor - you can't pin anything on me...)
  7. We used the little Yamaha Pocket trak - briliant - plugs straight into the computer. You do need to edit the recordings a bit. Don't forget they need to be Wavs or WMA in order to be playable on CD.
  8. The coomber is not good enough - thats mad! Ours sounds like they are performing right next to us..the clarity is great. The recorders weren't cheap - think we got them about 4 years ago for about 250 quid each.
  9. casper

    casper New commenter

    I have previously used a coomber, mine is old now and needs a new CD drive. So I got a digital sound recorder and it is good too. Nothing wrong with quality of recording on coombers.
  10. H2 hand held digital recorder. Superb quality sound, but was more than £100. But worth it for any recording job in the classroom. (I'm primary, but should you be adding reverb and other effects to a child's composition or performance? Should they not add it themselves if that is what is to be presented to the exam board? Isn't that like tidying up an English paper so it looks neater? i.e. cheating?)
  11. saxo07

    saxo07 New commenter

    I use a Zoom H4 (there is a more advanced version out there now as I've had it for 3 yrs or so). Absolute lifesaver, SD card has loads of space and it can USB straight into a laptop or PC. Great for all types of recording as it has two mics (and two line in inputs as well). It also has 3 mic level settings (which is great for acoustic performances). I can't live without mine now!
  12. As a colleague of nikkib_1986, our feedback from Edexcel for GCSE and A2 said quality of recordings weren't good enough, and we were marked down quite a lot. We used Coomber for GCSE and my macbook with garageband for A2 recital. Consequently this year I'm pulling a favour to have a friend who has a local studio come in and professionally mic up the performances (the drum kit in particular). This may not be sustainable but we'll see what difference it may make if any to the marks!
  13. walnuthead, you do seem to like to ask the 'difficult' questions don't you?
    In the case of Edexcel, there is a range of options students can choose from when they embark on a piece of performance or composition coursework, including multitracking and taking the role of recording engineer alongside more traditional performance and composition techniques. Each option is assessed with different marking criteria.
    Students are only marked on the technical aspects of recording (such as effects, stereo imaging, mixing and mastering) if they opt for these, therefore a teacher should not be involved in this process at all, so in this case you'd be right.
    Otherwise it is quite reasonable for a teacher/ examiner to edit the unusable portions from a student's raw recording session, and particularly if it was recorded (by the student) in a practice room with the acoustic qualities of a shoebox, it is fair enough I think to add a little reverb to enhance the overall quality. I would say though, that this exam board does warn against 'overmastering' recordings so that moderators don't suspect 'professional involvement'.
    It's a balancing act, and not the subject of the OP.
    We use the Edirol R09-HR, they have good quality audio for GCSE coursework, as others have said... although the screens tend to crack very easily.
  14. There is another issue here and that those colleagues who have used perfectly good equipment but had poor results. It just shows that even the best equipment can give poor results if not used correctly. In my second school I had to stop my second in dept using a rifle mic to record her class as she kept pointing it at the ceiling and then getting them to play into the side of it. She got some great recordings of the sound of strip lighting and ventilation systems.

    Microphone placement and proximity, the directionality of the microphones used, the careful adjustment of recording levels are all important. Having microphones too distant from performers means that recording levels must be increased to compensate, but this also means more unwanted noise on the recording. Not having the right input level means the recording will be too quiet or, if levels are too high, horribly distorted. Neitherwould I reccomend recording using the built in mic of a macbook or a lap top - a stereo usb microphone is best for these devices.

    Personally I mount our little yamaha USB recorder on a camera tripod and use the built in stereo pair. I always do a quick test recording first and listen back to the result through some headphones rembering the record the loudest part of thenperformance to make sure there is no distortion.

    Final tip, remxber to record in wave or wma format as mp3 can not be played on most cd players used by examiners.
  15. Good one

    Mic placement (& gain structure) is also v important to stress to students, whatever the equipment used. BTW switch sound file converter (free) http://www.nch.com.au/switch/index.html very useful in case it got recorded in the wrong file format. I'm off to bed now it's late
  16. dropje

    dropje New commenter

    I use my iPhone voice recorder, perfect.

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