Recording Concert Bootlegs
February 15, 2005 10:57 PM   Subscribe

I want to bootleg concerts that I attend so I can listen to them later. Can anyone here recommend a good set up for recording concerts in small venues? I have an iPod, and was thinking of using the Griffin iTalk to do the actual recording. Has anyone tried this particular setup before?
posted by anonymous to Media & Arts (16 answers total)
Check this hack if you go the iPod route, or else you'll be stuck recording at 8khz, which is terrible. I'm not the best person to ask, but I hear that minidisc is the standard for field recordings like this. Good luck.
posted by rfordh at 11:09 PM on February 15, 2005

Not exactly an answer, but you might find useful info at the etree taper forums.
posted by muckster at 11:34 PM on February 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

You will get a better quality recording if you use a MiniDisc player/recorder with a good microphone. It records digitally, and you can break up the concert by song on the player itself before you transfer it to your computer.
posted by riffola at 12:09 AM on February 16, 2005

The above comment was made to help recording shows for concerts where artists and the venue allow recordings to be made.
posted by riffola at 12:10 AM on February 16, 2005

Personally I wouldn't do it on anything less than a DAT tape.
posted by pwb503 at 12:29 AM on February 16, 2005

yeah, minidisc's widely used
posted by matteo at 1:41 AM on February 16, 2005

You could always use one of these....which apart from being beautiful to look at, would do the trick.

(warning this link makes me feel faint with excitement - your view may vary)
posted by mattr at 2:56 AM on February 16, 2005

the Edirol R-1 might be worth checking out. you'll want to spring for a compactflash microdrive to go with it, too.
posted by tumult at 3:06 AM on February 16, 2005

Once you up the sampling frequency, there's no real advantage to a disk-unit (like an MD) except that the MD will probably give you better control over your levels.

If you really want to do this, there are two basic methods. The first is if you have to go stealth: a pair of binaural mics are the best choice, but you'll have crowd noise. The second, more "pro" method is to get a semi-directional (cardiod or hyper cardiod) mic. Some microphones require "phantom" power to operate, but even if they don't, you really, really should plug the mics into some kind of levels box. The first benefit is that you can set a low-pass filter to fix the BOOM BOOMiness that occurs with loud music in small venues (sound pressure!). The second is that you can keep the levels below clipping. You can get small line-level boxes that will fit in your pocket.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:40 AM on February 16, 2005

The Sound Professionals are well known back in the MD camp because they manufactured really nice-sounding binaurals. Upon checking their site, I noticed they now manufacture cardioid-design binaurals. You can see what they've got here.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:50 AM on February 16, 2005

I've been using MD for years to record Irish sessions to learn new tunes from and to practice against. The quality of the recording are high, the batterlife long, and the ease of use fantastic.

However, you can't transfer the files digitally out of the recorder to your PC, and for me this ruins the device. I've been hoping for years that Sony will come around, but with the recent crippled Hi-MD releases that let you transfer the files only under Windows and only playback with their DRM enabled software, I've finally given up.

I've been drooling over one of the Marantz CF based recorders but haven't been able to bring myself to spend that much money.
posted by beowulf573 at 6:41 AM on February 16, 2005

Always call the venue ahead of time and ask if they allow recording that evening.

Typically the venue won't care, but they will follow the wishes of the artist as described on their rider.

Unauthorized recordings are grounds for being kicked out of the show, so be careful!
posted by nitsuj at 7:21 AM on February 16, 2005

Get one of those giant poles with two microphones perched atop it, and chicks will be dripping off of you.
posted by spilon at 7:49 AM on February 16, 2005

Since they're meant for recording, minidiscs will often have level indicators, which is pretty crucial to a good taping. Don't want clipping after all that work.

The old ones are pretty cheap used, since they don't do the new ATRAC formats that let you record to them at greater than 1x realtime. And you don't care about that for recording live music.
posted by smackfu at 7:52 AM on February 16, 2005

For stealth recording I use a cheap MD recorder and a homemade binaural mic/headphone setup. You have to play with it first to figure out how to keep from picking up noise from the headphones knocking around, but once you do, the sound is pretty good. It's almost impossible to detect, too.
posted by swift at 10:29 AM on February 16, 2005

I can't agree with rfordh's recommendation. I tried Podzilla out recently, in an attempt to record with my iPod, and it was nothing but trouble. Many podcasters I listen to agree. Podzilla just isn't ready for the big time yet. Also, the recordings that the Griffin iTalk makes are not very good, according to user reviews I have read on the web. It's a shame because it's an attractive piece of hardware and Griffin usually makes great shit. I think minidisc is the way to go.
posted by mds35 at 12:27 PM on February 16, 2005

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