Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions about recording a school band, choral group, orchestra, and even individual musicians. Being in the recording and music business for 30+ years, and have tried just about every portable recording device that has come along. I had a minidisc a few years ago, which worked alright for the time, but now I have the Zoom H2 digital recorder with 4 built in mics! It records to an SD card like a camera, the 4 built-in mics sound great, and it mounts on a mic stand with the adapter that comes with it!
Here is all you have to do to record your band.
1. Mount the Zoom H2 in front of the band on a mic stand where it will pick up the sound of the band as the listener would. This way you get the overall sound combined, instead of putting it close to the band, where you will pick up some of the closer instruments by themselves. This would be unnatural sounding .
2. Start by setting the volume on it’s lowest setting. The band is pretty loud, and you don’t want to distort the recording.(you might have to experiment with this) You can always boost the volume later. You couldn’t do this too much when we were recording on tape, because you would be boosting tape hiss.
3. Now, just hit the record button and let the kids play!
4. You now are ready to transfer the file to your pc or Mac.
The Zoom H2 comes with a cable for transferring the recorded files to your computer. You can also transfer them by removing the sound card, and placing it in your card reader. You can buy a card reader for under $10.
5. Now, you can edit your files with Audacity , a free audio editing program which is free on the web at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/, or some other software.
It really is simple to use once you get the hang of it. You will need to open your band’s file or files into Audacity, and clip out any unwanted material that’s there, then save each song as a separate file. When you make your CD you will want to be able to has separate tracks for each song, so you can skip forward or backward, not just run the full length of the performance without stopping.