In addition to my business of transferring tapes, I also record a few community groups for fun. Someone recently gave me an older Sennheiser MKH-804 interference tube (“shotgun”) microphone. Finding information on how to connect it proved more difficult than expected.
In the 1960s, transistorized microphones from AKG, Neumann, Schoeps, and Sennheiser became available. There are several niches of early microphone powering that continued on for many years. Perhaps the easiest way to look at it is backwards. (more…)
I had the first failure to capture an entire concert in my recording career. I had become complacent and considering that I had new (April 2012) Li-ion batteries for my Sound Devices 722 recorder, did not think twice about recording a concert on the approximately 50 Wh 6-cell packs. Well, one failed, and did so spectacularly without a warning. I did not notice the in-process warnings, because I do not wear my headphones during the whole concert. I try and take in the concert so that I can then see what’s missing in the studio. Here is what the after-the-fact results showed:
I finally figured out how to power the Sennheiser MKH-104, 404, and 804 from 48 V phantom power (P48) which is very common on professional and many prosumer mixers and recorders. The MKH-X04 series requires -8V for operation. Please note that some portable recorders do not generate P48 even on their XLR connectors. This will not work with P12 or P24 inputs. It works like a charm on P48 inputs (at least from Mackie, Yamaha, and Sound Devices). Thanks to everyone for their input and assistance. (more…)
My friend Susan Kitchens and her brother took their parents to the StoryCorps recording session in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. She blogged it here. One of the neat things is that between her article and the discussion she and I had in the comments, we have a good handle on most of the equipment that was used in the trailer. It’s a good selection in my opinion and shows how simply good-quality recording systems can be set up. Further discussions from a StoryCorps representative have shown how clever the setup is.
I wrote about rechargeable batteries back in April 2009 and while I have expanded the installation of the iPowerUS 9V batteries to three chargers and twelve batteries at the church and one charger and four batteries in my facility, I have adopted a different approach to AA and AAA cells from that outlined previously.
Battery technology continues to improve. In 2007, I bought some Sony fast-charge nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) AA cells and charger. They have worked well for digital cameras, electronic flashes, and a portable audio recorder. NiMH cells are available in major stores and some offer long-shelf-life-per-charge and come pre-charged.
Recently, I did a thorough search for 9 V rechargeable batteries for wireless microphones at church. I was pleased to discover that iPowerUS (they have a Toronto office) was able to provide lithium polymer 9 V batteries that far outperformed the available NiMH offerings. We bought one DC9V charger and eight DC9V-520mAh batteries for alternate use in four wireless transmitters that we use regularly. We expect this system to pay off in a year or less.
I also bought their GC-60 tester/charger for my NiMH AA and AAA cells which, so far, looks excellent. Both chargers come with a “wall wart” and a car cord.
See updates in this article.
The Zoom H2 HandyCorder is perhaps the lowest-cost digital recorder on the market that provides reasonable and useful results. While I have a Sound Devices 722 for my more serious work, I bought the Zoom to test it out to see if it could be part of a simple tape digitization system for archives on a budget who wish to do the work themselves. It does this reasonably well.
As with much equipment–and especially with lower-cost equipment–the performance specifications and the actual operational data is not published. There are reports of the H2 clipping on the line inputs in some of the reviews and it appears that a lack of understanding how the inputs were configured exacerbated that situation.
There is nothing wrong with the line inputs on the H2. BUT there are some caveats: (more…)
Ray A. Rayburn has just updated his page on the XLR microphone connector and its antecedents. Very interesting. While not a major issue in tape recorders, it is in studio practice and for microphone collectors.
My friend Susan Kitchens blogged about the history of the electret as in electret condenser microphone. It’s an interesting piece of history. I added a little primer to the post on microphone basic types. Look here.
For the last several years, I have been involved with sound reinforcement and recording at my church. I have upgraded the PA system and we’re in the midst of final editing/mastering for an upcoming Christmas CD.
In the process of doing this work, I have learned a few things which might be of assistance. This is the first post in the blog in the live sound and recording category. Many of the posts relating to microphones will also be tagged in the oral history category. (more…)