View Full Version : Recorder recommendations?

03-13-2015, 03:40 AM
I am choosing a way to record an acoustic uke. My budget is quite limited at the moment. Let's say 150$.

Zoom H1 V2 is around 100$. Is it worth it? Will there be a difference compared to a cheap 3,5 mm PC microphone?

I do not necessarily need portable recorder. Maybe a mic and external sound card would do a better job?

Suggest me some solutions, please!


03-13-2015, 03:58 AM
If you have an IOS device like an iPad or iPhone i highly recommend Apogee MIC

For crystal clear recording or video

03-13-2015, 05:29 AM
If you have an IOS device like an iPad or iPhone i highly recommend Apogee MIC

For crystal clear recording or video

No, do not. I am win/android user :)

03-13-2015, 05:51 PM
Warning...I'm a Shure Rep! Althought I would not directly benefit unless you bought a Shure product in Florida....I want to diclaim!

Although they won't start shipping till June....The Shure MV5 works with Windows/Android (When Lollypop ships for Android). I listen to them at NAMM. Very cool. They have DSP presets built in so you can get a great sound at the push of a button! At $99.00 US, it's in your price range. I have the a Prototype of the iOS MV88 and will try to up load a sample to my Sound cloud account to give you an idea of the sound. http://www.shure.com/americas/stories/motiv-digital-microphones

That said, I own the Zoom H1. I like it the XY mics sound good. Plus, it's small enough you can mount it in lots of different positions to get the sound you're looking for. My only grip is it's made of plastic. If you buy it, I recommend getting the accessory pack. It allows you to mount the H1 on a standard mic stand with a standard mic clip.

03-13-2015, 07:12 PM
Couple of options for usb mics.
samson go mic is a fine choice and you can monitor yourself with it.
bhphoto (I think) has a blue snowball for under 50usd.

both of the above are condenser mics which pick up everything. You can do noise removal to clean those up.
Going more expensive and fancier you can get a focusrite itrack solo audio interface for 80usd. Pair it up with something like a behringer xm8500 dynamic mic for 20usd or a super cheap 10usd pylepro pdmic78 and you'll be good to go (need cables and mic stand), and future expandable as well.

03-13-2015, 08:25 PM
Good recordings aren't just a product of recording equipment. The space and environment you are recording in has a big impact in how the recording will sound. Having said that...

The Zoom products are nice and can produce very good recordings. There are times it is nice to have a portable setup.

Following up on what bnolsen shared...

The Focusrite products are good products for the price. I use a Scarlet 2i2 interface to do phone patches with clients during live recording sessions and have never had an issue with poor audio quality, audio delay, or drivers failing.

The Behringer XM8500 dynamic mic is also a very nice mic for the price. Solid build. Nice sound. For $20 it is a good mic and will last you a long time.

03-13-2015, 09:10 PM
If you don't need a portable recorder and want the best sound, you can get a standard XLR mic, then use a Blue Icicle XLR-to-USB interface. I'm pretty sure the Icicle provides phantom power to the mic from your computer (usable with passive mics, without eco-unfriendly batteries). You should be able to get a decent mic (better than USB mics) for under $100 either through craigslist or eBay; I picked up my Icicle through eBay for about $40. My whole outfit—mic, clip, interface, cable, desk stand and windscreen—cost about $125; all but the interface are directly usable with standard amps or PA systems. (For use when standing, I repurposed a stand from a camera lighting kit, with a cradle clamp from the kit. I could have bought a stand extender with a mic adapter, or a step-up adapter, but I haven't yet needed one.)

03-15-2015, 11:08 PM
Thanks for your suggestions.

How would you compare the mic you suggested to Zoom H1 portable recorder?

Condensator mic pick up every sound, H1 should take more what I need to. I do not want to spend much time on editing, rather easy "plug and play" solution.

Could you guys summarize the differences between your suggestions, please?

03-16-2015, 03:32 PM
The H1 is an XY pair of condensers....
Plus-they're in phase with one another!
Negative-you can't separate them for creative micing!

Again, I do recommend getting the accessory kit. So, you can mount the H1 on a mic stand with a mic clip!

Yes, it's more plug and play!

05-05-2015, 09:43 AM
Spots is right on with his observation about "space" and the quality of sound. You need a good mic, but, it does not stop there. Record in my den facing the stone fireplace and listen to how the sound bounces around. It is a muddle of sound. Record in a sound-proof room with high-quality gear and you'll be amazed at the difference.

05-05-2015, 01:20 PM
nice thing about dynamic mics is they do a good job of rejecting the environment. It's still about mic placement but the rules seem to be different between condensers and dynamics. I know my dynamics do a good job of filtering out playing kids in the background.

I've been doing some mic testing with very poor playing and singing with various mics.

The samson go mic actually records very, very well and with included headphone jack works very well for monitoring and overdubbing. I'd say it's probably the best bang for the buck mic you can get. Just be careful with ambient noise.

05-05-2015, 02:51 PM
Rodes NT1A going through an inexpensive DAW (digital audio interface) into Garage Band for a very solid recording solution. The sound quality is fantastic.

Also an even easier solution is get a Blue Yeti USB condenser for your desktop plugged into your computer and use any recording software. The quality is amazing. Works for PC or MAC

You can hear the Rodes NT1A here: https://soundcloud.com/ukulele-jay/pohaku-koa-custom-tenor. Acoustic only, there is no pickup.
You can hear the Blue Yeti USB here: https://soundcloud.com/ukulele-jay/barron-river-tenor-ukulele-living-waters-low-g Acoustic only, no pickup used.

The NT1A has the best dynamic range with near ZERO noise if you look at the specs. Probably one of the most common DIY studio mics in use.

Have fun!

05-16-2015, 05:16 PM
I just bought a Tascam DR-40 from Amazon for $156 and was playing with it a bit today. Maybe I can post a sample tomorrow. I am on the tablet at the moment.

05-19-2015, 08:59 AM
No, do not. I am win/android user :)

An oft forgotten but amazingly effective solution: if you own a ukulele with an installed pickup and play it through an amplifier (a common set-up), just turn up the volume and record straight into your Android (or Apple) phone or other device. The device's micro-mic is great, provided you increase the volume and tailor the music to your liking through the amplifier.