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View Full Version : best way to record an isolated uke in a crowded, noisy environment?



Recstar24
05-18-2016, 12:20 PM
Hello,

As a music classroom teacher, I would like to find a better way of recording my kids on the ukulele in class for assessment purposes. Basically, I have a class full of kids, each kid is practicing independently on their uke, and I want to be able to record a playing example from each kid without necessarily making every kid stop playing. Essentially, I want to get as clean of a recording from a uke in a somewhat noisy environment. We use ipads and are a 1:1 ipad school which means every kid has an ipad. Thanks for any help!

Brad Bordessa
05-18-2016, 12:29 PM
Via a pickup (maybe a clip-on style mic) is the only thing that comes to mind. That's a lot of extra gear (pickups, interfaces), even with an iPad/student. I foresee lots of tripping and tangled iPads pull off of desks.

I'd lean towards plan B unless your class is relatively small.

Edit: The low-tech way to do this is get a handheld recorder and hold it close to each student as they play. It won't work if you were hoping to be discreet, but if you get close enough you'll be able to hear the "featured" player, no problem.

Edit 2: You could also get a personal mic for each student, but again: lots of gear, wires, headache.

DownUpDave
05-18-2016, 12:37 PM
Check out the iRig acoustic mic. It clips on to the sound hole and you plug it into a smart phone, tablet or iphone, ipad. Just requires downloading a free app called Amplitude. The cost of the iRig is about $50.00 and it is designed to go from one instrument to the next. I have one.

Booli
05-18-2016, 12:47 PM
Can you have each student make a recording at home, and then email them in?

Doing so gives the isolated environment.

If you have a separate room off to the side, or a small closet, you can set up a few chairs and have each student come in and close the door and make the recording, which will isolate the one student from the rest.

Otherwise, even with other recording equipment you are still going to get 'bleed' into the recording from other students playing, unless as Brad said you use something like your own iPad, or a Zoom H1 and have just one student play at a time, as you move from desk to desk...

Gonna take some time though, how long is the music class period? How many students?

if you figure 2-3 mins per student (this is VERY conservative and not counting do-overs) and 24-30 students, you may not have enough time to get them all during a single class period - thus having them record at home, which is asynchronous to the class period may be the only way, unless you can schedule them after school over a weeks time...

Booli
05-18-2016, 12:55 PM
one other thought - if you record all the students on the same device, but to different audio files, you need a way to distinguish the recordings and know which one goes to which student -

If you are using say your own iPad, maybe at the start of every recording you say the date and students name out loud, otherwise you have to match files like RECORDING0001.WAV with Jimmy Smith and RECORDING0023.WAV with Lolita Jones, etc, and rinse-and-repeat, and this will slow down the process considerably while you write everything down as you go...

this also makes it a little easier later on when you are reviewing them, and after the fact you can keep a log of which file goes to which student...

I'd be surprised if there's no app for this already for music teachers.

The iOS app store is now 5 yrs old, and something like this as an app might already exist - maybe it's worth a search?

Booli
05-18-2016, 01:04 PM
Check out the iRig acoustic mic. It clips on to the sound hole and you plug it into a smart phone, tablet or iphone, ipad. Just requires downloading a free app called Amplitude. The cost of the iRig is about $50.00 and it is designed to go from one instrument to the next. I have one.

The iRig Acoustic works on iPad as well as any Android device as well as any Macbook laptop due to the standard 1/8"(3.5mm) TRRS plug. It also has a headphone output.

Also you do not NEED to use the Amplitube app since the audio from the device is available to ANY audio recording app you wish to use.

There are many, SIMPLE and free audio recording apps on both the iOS app store and the Google Play store.

I have one of these iRig Acoustic mics, but moving it from uke to uke will require the student to stop playing for a moment, however becasue this mic is SUPER sensitive and maybe even too hot when you attach it to the soundhole, you CAN instead use it at about a foot away and it will still capture a decent sound (which is my preferred method, but I am not contending with any background noise).

Also the wire on it is VERY thin and seems quite fragile to me. I'm not sure how rugged it would be for classroom use.

it is definitely less expensive than many other mic options though.