Making digital recordings of bells

Bill Hibbert bill at h...
Fri Nov 28 09:17:23 GMT 2003

Alan Birney asks about digital recordings of bells:

I wrote a paper on this a year or so ago, at which may give you some ideas. I 
know a lot of people use minidisc recorders which I believe give 
excellent results, though I have not used one myself. In the past I 
have taken a lot of recordings with a very old 8mm video recorder 
which are reasonable quality.

When I digitise analogue recordings, I use a bog-standard 16-bit 
soundblaster card. I have several in various PCs, including one I 
bought second hand for £15, and they all give good results within the 
limits of the recording formats available.

However, for the last 18 months I have been using an AKG C1000S 
condenser microphone (recommended by Steve Ivin) with a Toshiba 4600 
laptop. I spent a long time fiddling with recorder settings, 
including discovering that the laptop had to be mains powered or it 
was very noisy. The mike cost me £100 (but then 30m of high quality 
microphone cable cost me nearly as much). The results are very good 
indeed, it was worth the expense and the hard work. However, I also 
have a Compaq laptop (an Evo N410C) which produces rubbish 
recordings, I haven't been bothered to find out why.

I have been meaning for a while to get myself a minidisc recorder 
with an external microphone input and try it with the AKG to find out 
what quality I get. However, the Toshiba laptop is very convenient if 
a little bulky, I guess I will continue to use it until it falls off 
a bellframe one time too many!

Bill H

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