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Recording your practice sessions


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I've seen several comments here about recording practice sessions to analyze your playing. That sounds like a good idea and I'd like to do some of that but I'm not into setting up a recording studio.


What is the lowest cost way to get into this. I want to spend my time practicing, not fiddling with stuff, and I'm not looking for studio quality. Just something that will help me see my weaknesses.


My rig - NE3, PX3, QSCK10. I do have a small mixer if needed.





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Any of the mini digital recorders by Zoom, Yamaha, Tascam, etc will do. I bought a Yamaha Pockettrax last year and use it for everything from recording quick ideas, personal practice, band practice, gigs, etc. They're pretty cheap nowadays and you can find them used. They're the digital equivalent of the old school tape recorder! Press REC and you're good to go!
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I bought a little Zoom H4 several years ago and use it specifically for that purpose. Although it has additional capabilities - I use the onboard microphones and simply mount it on a camera tripod, stick it somewhere on axis with a vocal monitor - and hit the record button before rehearsal starts and let it run until we're done.


When I get home - I plug in the USB cable and upload the BIG MP3 file of the entire rehearsal - and then use Cakewalk's Pyro tool to carve it up into individual tunes.


It's about as simple as it gets. The sound quality isn't bad - certainly good enough to get a sense of what you sound like. If you're using it with a band - you'll likely have to play with where to place the unit to get the best results in terms of the "mix".


I've been happy with my Zoom ... but mine is one of the earlier models. There are more options available today - many of which are less expensive.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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I used a minidisk recorder connected to the tape outputs of the mixer. We ran everything through the PA mixer. The recording wasn't something I'd want to share with anyone other than bandmembers (primarily because the mix was skewed since it came off the live mixing board and not a separate mix meant for a CD).


Nevertheless, I learned a LOT from listening to those recordings.


Today I would use a portable machine that uses flash memory instead of minidisks. I would experiment to see if using one with built-in microphones - and placed strategically - would give me a better recording than using the outputs from the mixing board that's being used for PA. Either approach will get the job done, but both are a major compromise.


To record it right, you need to use a splitter and send all signals to a separate mixer, keeping as many instruments and microphones on separate channels. That is more hassle than you are looking for.


Look at these portable recorders from Sweetwater HERE. I'm not certain which one is the best without reading reviews. Do a search on this forum. I'm sure this has been discussed here before.


Good luck!




"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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I've got a small Sony PCM-10M recorder, which is easy to use and sounds great. For full band rehearsals, we just started to use (starting last night) a new Zoom R24, with everyone going in to the mixer. We've been getting amazing results. With some tweaking, they could end up being adequate demos. Great way to get new repertoire out on the website.


Kurzweil PC4; Yamaha P515; EV ZXA1s

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I use a Tascam DR-07.


As has been said above, there are many similar devices around,which are fairly cheap -


& (if you position it correctly) can provide almost 'demo' quality recordings.


The simplicity of just pressing the 'record' button is a great way to save ideas.



some stuff on myspace


Nord: StageEX-88, Electro2-73, Hammond: XK-1, Yamaha: XS7

Korg: M3-73 EXpanded, M50-88, X50, Roland: Juno D, Kurzweil: K2000vp.

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+1 on the Yamaha PocketTrax! Mine goes with me everywhere and records everything.


All rehearsals, most gigs, and the odd jam session all get recorded.


Best way ever to listen to yourself under a variety of conditions!


Do I keep all the recordings. Certainly not, but there have been a few that I've kept as they were just THAT good.


The Pockettrax also has a speed function, so its also good for transcribing those difficult parts that you need to slow down to work them out!


Best $79.00 I ever spent!

Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
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Do you have a PC? You could download Audacity for free. Use your mixer to sum the master out and plug that output into your computer's mic in. It's very unglamourous but would work and be cheap with gear you already have. [if you have a Mac I'm sure there are also free, downloadable audio editing programs ... ie GarageBand].This option is viable if you mean you want to record just you practicing. If you want to record a band, you could do this with a microphone, but the handhelds mentioned above would be a technically easier alternative ... if you don't mind spending a little $. FWIW I have the Zoom H4 and it's been great for simple open-air recording.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby


"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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Thanks Steve! You're right, Enrico's influence is definitely there. :)

Actually, I finally have a bunch of live videos on YouTube, most of which are recorded much better than this one. But I found than even with the little Zoom, the audio was more than acceptable.


for a comparison of the same song (from a different concert) recorded with pro gear. The performance itself isn't on par with the other one, though - we were all exhausted on this gig.



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