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  1. #1

    Recording live speaking

    Our church is having difficulty with recording sermons and getting a good quality recording. We bought a decent p.a. and a digital recorder this past year, but we still have a hard time getting good volume levels, especially w/out feedback. What are some good tips in dealing with live sound and recording in this situation?
    What sort of microphone is recommended? We currently are using a lapel mic that I believe was bought at Radio Shack. Not my choice for live/recording gear, but then I didn't buy it.

  2. #2
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    Good quality lap mics provide great quality audio but poor quality lap mics are hopeless. Lap mics are also a lot more hassle to operate, and if they are placed wrong (or slip) then the audio is usually shocking. Things like clothes rustling are also a problem, especially if the speaker moves a lot.

    I would be reluctant to use lap mics in a situation like yours, but if you're careful and the speakers know what they are doing then it could work.

    Do you use radio mics or cables? Do the speakers move around a lot or do they tend to stand behind a pulpit? Are they good with microphones? i.e. can you trust them to place and look after a lap mic, and/or can you trust them to use a hand-held mic properly?

    The mic is arguably the most important component in the whole sound chain. Don't scrimp.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  3. #3
    cables, cables, cables. we usually end up with 2 or 3 cables connected together with adapters so the mic will reach from where the recording equipment is (usually in back)... and the cables are dinky so they can't handle much. the part that gets me most is that the ministers don't move much at all. in fact, they all sit while teaching sermons. given that situation we should have this audio thing nailed, but for some strange reason we just can't get it figured out. maybe we should invest in a higher quality mic rather than the radio shack special. i do have a shure sm-57 mic here at home, but the lapel mic seems to be the choice of the ministers because they don't have to worry about moving too far from the mic that way (it follows them).
    i thought maybe if i used my laptop i could hook up my sm-57 to it and record straight into it rather than using all the expensive recording equipment, but when i plug it into the computer i get no output whatsoever. i guess that type of mic isn't made for use with computers... maybe if i get a good quality computer mic and then a nice set of powered speakers that would work, at least in a small setting. we do have lots of meetings at hotels and what-not where that could possibly be the most efficient means of recording and live audio... but them i'm faced with "what speakers do i buy?"... lol
    but anyway... maybe a better quality mic with higher grade cables would help. the only other big issue i could see is the acoustics of the venues we use...

  4. #4
    If they sit all the time, do you think you could convince them to have a mic on a stand. That could help.

    Personally, I think you should be able to get something decent with a lapel mic. I use a wireless system myself quite regularly, for seminars and things and always get good audio - unless of course the batteries run out on you

    Aaron

  5. #5
    what about the p.a. settings and the recorder mixer settings? do you have recommendations?

  6. #6
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    You mentioned you meet in several different rooms. Is our PA portable or are you in a fixed installation? The system set-up is just as important as the gear. You can have great gear and set it up wrong and not achieve your desired results. What I would suggest is to buy some books on live sound reinforcement and study, study, study. Learn about microphones and polar patterns and frequencdy response. Learn about signal flow and properly aligning speakers. Learn about acoustics and how you can use it to your advantage. Audio is a complicated subject, but that does not mean you can't get decent results with just some knowledge. There is plenty of literature just on the net if you are not ready to purchase books. We all know that the Word is the most important thing and making sure it is heard and archived well is worth spending some time in the books before making changes to your equipment. Be a steward of God's money. I am confident you will do fine.

  7. #7
    It is portable. Most of the time we meet in relatively small rooms (1000-1500 s.f. ) with lots of windows. I'm sure the acoustics and speaker placement has a lot to do with it, in conjunction with the radio shack mic.
    Perhaps I'll search for some literature.
    Thanks guys.

  8. #8
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    Some thoughts...

    "cables, cables, cables. we usually end up with 2 or 3 cables connected together with adapters so the mic will reach from where the recording equipment is (usually in back)... and the cables are dinky so they can't handle much."<snip>

    I think there may be a problem here. The more connections you have to make, the more chances of something being loose, and screwing up the audio signal, especially when you capture it digitally.

    " thought maybe if i used my laptop i could hook up my sm-57 to it and record straight into it rather than using all the expensive recording equipment..."<snip>

    I've done this in the past and ran into that problem. I found that if I checked the mixer settings on the computer, I could usually get output, so maybe it's the computer's settings. What software is being used to record and edit the audio?

    What I'm finding works best is lap mic (Shure), no cables - wireless send/receive units. But you have to make sure you place them very carefully. Sometimes on a jacket lapel is best, other times if they're wearing a tie, then clipping it to the tie will work too. And we have rechargeable batteries. Two in the units, two for backup if they drain down.

    Matt

  9. #9
    I recently purchased cakewalk pyro 2004 for simple recording, editing, and file conversion.

  10. #10
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    Recording

    That should be okay although it's a very basic program. On your computer, you need to make sure that you have the correct settings for line level, mic level inputs. You have to doodle around with them until you see audio levels showing up. I'm more familiar with SAW32 but I know often the problem was related to what the settings on my computer were, not the software.

    Matt

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