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Zoom recorders in the Choral Rehearsal

Happy November all.
   Does anyone have experience using a zoom recorder for recording concerts?
 I would like to record my students in their large group ensembles (and listen back and discuss) as we are preparing for our Winter concert. And then, of course, listen back the day after the concert (large group rubric in my student's hands!) and evaluate improvement and future goals.
 My high school hasn't done this in the past and therefore does not  have any sort of recording equipment so this is a huge need for these kiddos!
I want to purchase something that:
1) Is good for choral music recording
2) can convert the track into an mp3 that can be sent to an email account
3) won't break my choral budget bank account ( a couple hundred bucks is what I was thinking) 
Thank you all!
on November 2, 2015 2:43am
Zoom H2 will do the trick. Very easy to use, can record things as mp3 or wav, plugs into your computer and you can just download everything as if it was an external drive, quite decent sound quality and good for choral music.
Get the accessory pack too, it comes with a tripod and a long "trigger" - 4m or so - that you can use to start the recording equipment if you want it somewhere different from where you're conducting (e.g. well behind you, in "audience" position).
on November 2, 2015 3:57am
I am a proud owner of the Zoom H4N. It has great quality for the money, is easy to set up and use, and produces standard high-quality Wav files, which are trivial to convert to MP3s. Sounds like it would do exactly what you are looking to do. It even will play back the recordings to a headphone jack on the side, into which you could plug speakers to get immediate feedback without even needing to use a computer. There are other units by other manufacturers that do the same sorts of things, but I'm not as familiar with them. 
on November 2, 2015 4:59am
Some will recommend a ZOOM H1, but I recommend spending at least $200.  You really do get what you pay for.
I have used the Tascam DR-100 for years with excellent results.
I recently purchased a Sony HDR-MV1 - It's a music focused recorder (at $300) AND it has the ability to record video (of course) but you can also record audio ONLY.  This is a giant help for when you either need to save battery,
or don't need all that video of rehearsals.
Literally any company (Zoom, Tascam, Sony, Roland, &c) will give you a good product to meet your needs in the $200 range.  The new Tascam DR-40 is about $170. 
All of the above recorders can record directly to mp3. 
However, if audio qualty is a consideration on playback, be careful with mp3.  Without getting into the arguement of mp3=terrible, there are other options.  
There is also freely available software that is easy to use on your computer that can convert anything into an mp3, if you are able to install software on your computer - I realise some schools don't allow that.
Hope that helps.
on November 2, 2015 5:12am
I absolutely love my Zoom H4N recorder. It is very easy to use, decent stereo recording for choral ensembles, and you can record directly to an .mp3 format for emailing. It is currently $200 on Amazon. Make sure you have a decent mic stand too that can extend above 6'. Anything lower and you won't get a well-balanced recording. Also, be careful where the recorder is placed in proximity to the piano, especially in the small choir rehearsal space. Too close and it will pick up too much accompaniment. I tend to move my piano further away from the choir and place the recorder in between the choir and the piano so the mics are only facing the singers.
I hope this helps!
on November 2, 2015 5:15am
Hey Claire,
In my experience with Cantus, the H4n recorder has been great.  The newer H6 and the video equivalent are better for a variety of reasons, but if you're looking to as close to $200 as possible for really good sound, the H4n is your best bet I think, and the great thing is if, in time, you want to use more and/or better mics, you can plug two more into it. What's worked well for us is to have the H4n close, and two taller room mic setups a little further back.
 Hope this helps!
- paul
Paul John Rudoi, composer and tenor vocalist
on November 2, 2015 7:49am
I use the zoom H2 for rehearsals and performances with my community chorus. It's really easy to use and has a great mic. It records a wav file. I move that to iTunes on my computer and convert it to mp3 from there. It works well for me. I know that there's a new version, and it's probably even better.
on November 3, 2015 7:42am
I use the H2 for recording -- the one "trick" I didn't see mentioned was that for a concert I set the recorder for 24-bit wave -- that way I don't really need to worry about levels being set as it something like40 dB to the dynamic range. For a rehearsal I only use 16 bit and set for auto level
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