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Recording Tips: Rehearsal recordings

Dear colleagues,

I've been looking at various types of equipment for recording rehearsals. I had just about decided on the Sony HD minidisc recorder (on the basis of the descriptions in James Jordan's The Choral Rehearsal Vol 1,) but I've been told that the minidisc can't interface with my computer, only with my stereo player. Is that correct? My friend highly recommended going with flash card recorder technology instead. Any experience out there that you can share with a techno-infant? Layperson's language, please!

Thanks much,
Susan Marrier


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Dear colleagues,

Thank you to all those who responded to my request for recording equipment recommendations, and my apologies for not responding to each one individually.

Below is the compilation of replies, arranged according to type of equipment recommended.


I use a sony minidisc all the time for

sightreading quizzes and recording rehearsals and some performances.


does interface with my computer yet is more time consuming then other

methods probably are, but I imagine more recent recording devices like


flash card/mp3 recorder are easier to manage or use. I think either


will be able to make it work.

Adam Beeken

Lexington, KY

I use a Sony MD recorder frequently for recording rehearsals and creating study cds. It will interface through your pc (I don't know about mac) through the software that comes with it. There's a little learning curve, but it's easily doable. If you get one and need some guidance, let me know, or my colleague Brooks Grantier, who's also on Choralist. I also use the MD for creating diction cds and vocalization cds for my private students. The MD, a pc, cd burner, and you're set. I highly recommend it. Oh, yes, and I take it on tour with my choir each summer to produce a cd of our "on the road" concerts each year.
Well, from a totally lay person perspective, our AD bought a mini-disk a long time ago when they were easier to use. The newer ones I find complicated. (I've had mine 18 months and have used it once, sorry to say, but that may be me). The quality is quite incredible, though, nearly professional level, soyou can record concerts on it as well especially with an external mic.

I don't know about the interfacing, though I do not it isn't so easily convertible to other formats; not like recording onto a CD.
Caroline L. Sargent (Carol)

Check out the ZOOM H2 and H4 recorders. Portable, good

quality, download directly to the computer.

Lee Kesselman

Yes, minidisc recorders are apparently on the way to being obsolete. I

purchased a Zoom H2 system recently. It fits in the palm of the hand,

has four built in high quality microphones, records at 120 degree and 90 degree stereo as well as 4 channel surround sound, and the quality is higher than CD quality, and the cost was right at $200.00. It's becoming increasingly difficult to even find a minidisc system anymore. I looked for over a year before settling on this machine.

William Weinmann

the mini discs don't work in your standard computer CD drive so there is no simple way to get data from them into your computer

I think you might have good luck with a unit such as the Samson Zoom H-4 portable digital recorder (or other similar devices) which interface with your PC or Mac via USB cable (which any current PC or Mac has a port for)

You can listen to the playback off the device with headphones or external speakers, and/or send the files into your computer for editing/CD burning/podcasting/etc.
John Helgen

I've heard many good things about this recorder....

Check it out! Anyone else have one of these to give a review on?
Dr. Craig Scott Symons


I highly recommend the Edirol R-09 by ROland (or the newer version if

there is

one. This is easy to use and records well. Not cheap, but it has a fine internal steroe mike. Of

course an external mike is better. Worth a look.

David Griggs-Janower
I very recently got an Edirol R-09 MP3/WAV recorder ($399) to record rehearsals. The recording quality on this small, affordable device blows my mind. The Edirol is so compact and convenient that it takes only a few seconds to set it up! It uses flash-recording technology like your friend suggested. To me, the sound quality is at least as good as a CD Recorder-- but way easier to set up and use.
I used mine in class today with great success. This thing is super simple-- You will not be overwhelmed by the technology whatsoever.
I decided NOT to buy the optional mic stand adapter ($25)... If you're worried about it getting bumped during recording, then you might want to buy it. It fits on to a regular mic stand, which you may already have.
Good luck!
Mr. Jussi Doherty
I have had great success with the i-river recorder; I’ll attach the document I worked up for someone with a similar request.
Scott Lounsbury

If you want to dump it into a computer, I'd definitely

go with a flash recorder or CD burner.

Thomas J. Tropp



For about $500, you can get a direct-to-CD recorder. It records

directly onto a blank CD that can then be played back on a stereo, or computer, or sent home with student.

I use an iPod (full size) with an external mic (Belkin) attached. Great

quality, downloads easily into my computer, and I can then make CDs if

I want.

Anne Watson Born
I used to use a minidisc recorder, which I then had to feed to my

computer using various complicated routes.

I now record all my rehearsals and even concerts with my iPod and a

very simple little attachment and mike. The fidelity is truly amazing given the equipment, and for archival purposes, or for posting on the net for your singers, there's nothing like it. It immediately syncs to iTunes, and from there, with access and a website, you can post it on the net for your singers to hear and learn from. All they have to do is click on the link

you give them.

Cost is immediately prohibitive - you have to get an iPod that has

video capacity in order to record to it, and that's about $300. However, it pays for itself in no time, and by the way, the only reason I've run out of charge on the battery has been because I forgot to recharge. I routinely record 3 hour rehearsals and listen to them on the ride home and even again the next day.

Go to a Mac store and you'll find everything you need to do this.


Amelia LeClair
Susan Marrier
musical director, dulcisono women's choir
Thunder Bay, Ontario


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