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  • Online lesson gear

    Greetings to all. In a few weeks I am scheduled to begin lessons again - after more than 13 years - via remote conferencing. When I retired, I downsized computer gear to only a 15" laptop (Windows 10). Those of you who teach or take lessons online, can you recommend a reasonably-priced camera/microphone that works well for piping lessons? I think a USB 3.0 or better model would work best, rather than Bluetooth, since I think that will reduce latency. However, I am open to all suggestions.

    Thank you!
    Eddie
    "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

  • #2
    Partway through the pandemic I got fatigued by my built in webcams' performance and poor audio quality to the point where I purchased a Logitech C922. I have been super happy with it (I have actually gotten compliments on its visual and audio clarity from others in meetings in fact).

    No idea how it would do with full pipes, but for practice chanter work (and general connecting with others online) it's ideal.
    Happy Piping

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    • #3
      Zoom Q2n-4K

      This device doubles as a superior webcam and stereo microphones as well as a stand alone recording device. Astonishing at the price. I predict that some vendors will have it discounted for the upcoming holiday sales.

      I use it for online sessions (SSPs, whistle, guitar), online lessons (PC and pipes - there are analog gain controls - no menu diving), as well as a recording device, The camera has 5 easily changeable aspects (changes with a physical button)
      "What we play is life." - Louis Armstrong

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      • #4
        I have this on my website as info for students:

        It’s extremely helpful if your internet connection is comfortably capable of handling two-way video without lagging - this may involve banning family members from iPlayer, getting closer to the router if using WiFi, or connecting directly to the router with a cable (I have found this often makes a huge difference). If the connection is very slow we can abandon video and use audio only, though I prefer to avoid doing this if we can. A few students have found that they get the best experience with a 4G or 5G connection, though I recommend being certain about what you pay for data!

        For playing practice chanter your standard equipment will work just fine. When playing pipes, the sound level will overwhelm basic computer microphones. There are lots of options here but I have found that a basic dynamic microphone (rated to 140dB) and a cheap USB audio interface produce good results. USB microphones are cheap and widely available but I have found them surprisingly problematic, and often the specifications do not match what is claimed.

        It’s helpful if you can arrange the camera to give a clear view of the student’s upper body. This often entails placing the camera off to one side (three-quarters view) and further back than is usual for video-calling. This lets me see fingering clearly. It is also helpful if the student wears wired (not bluetooth) headphones of some kind, as this eliminates echo on the line.
        In short, for playing practice chanter a good setup is pretty much exactly the same as for videoconferencing, with the exception that having a good view of fingering is helpful. I would also add a personal plea that spending all day teaching a view of student's nostrils or the top of their heads gets a bit wearying!

        I did have a look at the Zoom camera but I have to admit I was a bit put off by Zoom's demo video, which looked awfully grainy - maybe unfair in a relatively low-light environment, but why not show your product at its best?

        In practice I use the webcam mike for chanter and talking, and I use cheap dynamic mic and interface as described above for recording myself and playing for others, and it's easy to switch between them as necessary.
        http://www.callingthetune.co.uk
        -- Formerly known as CalumII

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Calum View Post

          I did have a look at the Zoom camera but I have to admit I was a bit put off by Zoom's demo video, which looked awfully grainy - maybe unfair in a relatively low-light environment, but why not show your product at its best?

          In practice I use the webcam mike for chanter and talking, and I use cheap dynamic mic and interface as described above for recording myself and playing for others, and it's easy to switch between them as necessary.
          It doesn't take much looking to find field examples:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olyG4Ata7Ic

          I'm not a zoom salesman, so don't buy it, but the advantage is that this little device will do everything you describe and work as a field recorder that fits in the palm of your hand.

          "What we play is life." - Louis Armstrong

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Eddie,

            I have several different models of Logitech camera/mic combinations and they all work pretty well.

            K
            Kenton Adler

            For best results - PLAY LOUD

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by William McKenzie View Post
              Partway through the pandemic I got fatigued by my built in webcams' performance and poor audio quality to the point where I purchased a Logitech C922. I have been super happy with it (I have actually gotten compliments on its visual and audio clarity from others in meetings in fact).

              No idea how it would do with full pipes, but for practice chanter work (and general connecting with others online) it's ideal.
              Thank you, William! That looks like an excellent device. I'm grateful for your help.
              Eddie
              "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by John McCain View Post
                Zoom Q2n-4K

                This device doubles as a superior webcam and stereo microphones as well as a stand alone recording device. Astonishing at the price. I predict that some vendors will have it discounted for the upcoming holiday sales.

                I use it for online sessions (SSPs, whistle, guitar), online lessons (PC and pipes - there are analog gain controls - no menu diving), as well as a recording device, The camera has 5 easily changeable aspects (changes with a physical button)
                Thank you, John! That would work perfectly - from youtube videos it looks like it really suits musical instruments.
                Eddie
                "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kenton Adler View Post
                  Hi Eddie,

                  I have several different models of Logitech camera/mic combinations and they all work pretty well.

                  K
                  Thank you, Kenton! I've also always been pleased with Logitech devices. This one has to be good - it's for lessons with Jimmy. He's taken pity on me and agreed to teach me for a while.
                  Cheers!
                  Eddie
                  "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Excellent that you'll be working with Jimmy. You'll get a lot of valuable information from him.
                    Kenton Adler

                    For best results - PLAY LOUD

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kenton Adler View Post
                      Excellent that you'll be working with Jimmy. You'll get a lot of valuable information from him.
                      Hi, Kenton. It's something of an answered prayer. My only instruction, back in the day, was less than two years with a grade 3 piper, the PM of our grade 4 band. Learning from a piper of Jimmy's caliber is an opportunity I never expected to have.
                      Eddie
                      "All politeness is owing to Liberty. We polish one another, and rub off our Corners and rough Sides by a sort of amicable Collision." Lord Shaftesbury

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by John McCain View Post
                        Zoom Q2n-4K

                        ... Astonishing at the price. I predict that some vendors will have it discounted for the upcoming holiday sales.
                        And, as predicted, here's one early sale ($60 off):

                        https://tinyurl.com/ffwfnfmj

                        "What we play is life." - Louis Armstrong

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