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 Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Musikat 
Date:   2019-01-23 05:43

I have seen people on this board recommend this recorder, so I am hoping someone can help. What settings do you use when you are trying to record yourself in a room for an audition? I got the Zoom H2N for Christmas and have been trying to find the ideal setting to use to get the best sound. I am recording in a long living room with a wood floor that generally has pretty good sound. In the past I have used my cell phone so I am hoping for a better recording sound.

on the zoom so far I have tried the XY Stereo setting and have been playing with the Mic Gain (0-7) but I am not happy with it yet. It either sounds far away and echo-y (if I place it farther away to not pick up close-up sounds like breathing and keys) or as noted it picks up a lot of key clicking. the piece is a fast passage with a lot of accidentals over the break, so I am not sure the key sounds can be helped. I had it completely overhauled a year ago but I suppose it is possible there is excess noise I could have a tech work on if that is not normal.

Are there better settings for the recorder? For example if I place it at the other end of the room should I use one of the other settings besides stereo? I started with that because the instructions said that was the best for solo recording like I am doing. If using it close up, what position/distance have you found gives you the best results?

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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-23 08:10

Ok, I have not used the all in one recorder personally though a friend of mine recorded a small ensemble we were in with it and I thought it was an amazing little machine. I'd say you'd have to spend a lot more and know gobs more about the recording process to do better.


Just make sure you point it at yourself (you're looking at the short end with the black mic capsules crossed in front of you). I'd say you want a distance of about 10 feet away from you. As for the echo, you don't want that (or to the point it sounds soupy that is). If you can get a fair distance the short way in the room, the sound should be better that way. To cut down on sloppy reverb, add some rugs (or blankets) and some more cushy furniture if you have it. Now that I think about it, if you have a bookcase or multiple shelf unit of books in the room, positioning yourself in front of that will act like a pretty high end acoustic baffle (and that's a good thing).

As for levels, if you have multiple colors on the display, set volume so that your loudest sounds are producing peaks just beyond the green in the yellow range. If you just have red and green, set the volume so that your loudest sounds just avoid the red.


And stick with the stereo. Mono will sound a little flat when all is said and done.



Let me know how this goes!





...................Paul Aviles



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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Fuzzy 
Date:   2019-01-23 08:26

I bought a Zoom years ago after hearing the results of Lasse Collin's YouTube postings (here's an example): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gmoq3dDry8

I corresponded with Lasse prior to making the purchase, and he was very kind in verifying the zoom model he uses/used, and such.

I've found the trick is absolutely to spend some time finding the right "spot" in the room, and bringing in deadening materials as needed. I'm not good at that type of thing, so it took me the better part of a day to get the sound deadened "just right" for what I wanted to do the first time.

Another time, I just plopped the recorder onto a pillow, and made some quick recordings to send off. I ended up liking them just as well as the ones I made with the more complicated setup. So - depending on what I'm doing, and how many people are involved, I go back and forth between the complicated and the simple; but once you find what works, it will work each time.

When I've recorded live in clubs and such, I find the recording to be very close to what the audience actually heard at the performance.

Fuzzy

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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-23 09:55

Nice results on the linked video. Notice even with the bookshelf, rug (other irregularly shaped things in room) and wall hangings, there is enough room interactions to give the sound some life. The worst thing to do is record in a really reflective room (like a bathroom or one with a lot of big windows). An easy quick test for the room is to do a single, loud clap.......and listen for what comes after. If there is a little natural decay, that's cool. However a lot of small reflective rooms will give you a sound that's something like a stuttering bird chirp. With that, you find another room, or keep putting damping material on walls and in corners until it stops.





...............Paul Aviles



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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2019-01-23 19:26

Silly question, but.....are you playing with the bookcase in front of you or in back of you? (as a (French) horn player, we are concerned with what is behind us, so it always crosses my mind.)

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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-23 20:52

Yeah ........I mentioned bookcase because in makes an excellent diffuser for standing waves. I don't suppose it matters if it is behind the mic or behind you just as long as it is in line with you and the mic. And the more diffusers the merrier.




...............Paul Aviles



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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: jimk 
Date:   2019-01-24 04:42

I've found in my studio I can reduce the key clicks by raising the recorder. FYI, I sit when recording.

Setup #1: The recorder was lower than the bottom of my music stand desk and about two feet past it. I recorded a lot of key clicks.

Setup #2: The recorder was about the height of my music stand and about 6-8 feet past it. Like you, I felt my sound was very hollow on the recording.

Setup #3: About 1-2 feet above the top of my music stand. This one worked the best for me. I had to put the recorder on a camera tripod (maybe you can borrow one from a photographer or videographer friend). My Zoom allows me to use external mics. If I use external mics, I put the mic on a boom mic stand.

Good luck!

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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Musikat 
Date:   2019-01-24 06:01

Thanks for all the suggestions! I tried a few things today and it definitely improved. I have two tall bookshelves in the room, plus a plush wingback chair, so I think the best results were playing in the chair facing the bookshelves about 6-8 feet away with the recorder on the shelf and the mic gain about mid way (5-6). I tried it up higher on the shelf but hadn't seen this most recent advice. Tomorrow I will try sitting closer to the shelves but with the recorder higher up and see how that does.

If am still getting key clicking, would it be worth getting it checked out to see if the keys need any adjusting, or is that normal to hear on a more sensitive mic? it is really only on one fast passage around the break, but it is very noticeable. I have never oiled my own keys, but if that would help, I do have some key oil I was given in a kit. Where would I put it if I were to try that?

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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-24 06:37

Better mics pick up more stuff. And you hear things differently from a perspective away from you. If you haven't recorded yourself talking yet, try that. You'll be surprised just how high your voice is.


Oiling can damp the clicking some, but I would say there are more issues with corks and greater play in key tolerance (can be aided with swedging, basically pulling the key tube a bit longer like taffy; definitely save that for a pro).


When oiling you should unscrew and remove the key axle, or pivot completely so that you can wipe the grime and add new oil (I recommend Hetman's Heavy Key Oil).




..............Paul Aviles



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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2019-01-24 19:09

Quote:

Just make sure you point it at yourself (you're looking at the short end with the black mic capsules crossed in front of you).


That's the H4N. The H2N does not have the cylindrical mic capsules that the H4N has.

As you switch mic modes on the H2N, it's important to follow the arrow on the button that rotates to select the mic mode. That arrow is telling you what direction to orientate the H2N in relation to the source you're recording.

For XY mode, that means the screen will be facing the source.
If you chose MS mode, the screen would be facing AWAY from the source.
The led light associated with each mode will blink if you are "clipping" = playing louder than the mic can accept for the gain level you've chosen. It's important not to clip on the recording as this can't be removed. If you record with a lower level gain than optimal, you CAN "normalize" the recording with most programs. "Normalizing" takes the loudest moment of your recording (and the rest of it) up to the max the output can handle.

Quote:

If am still getting key clicking, would it be worth getting it checked out to see if the keys need any adjusting, or is that normal to hear on a more sensitive mic?


I think it's possible to agonize over this too much. Most people will listen past the key-clicking. It's also possible to hearing up close recordings of many pros on YouTube and hear key-clicking.

If you horn has never had a really nice artist overhaul, however, you almost certainly have more "slop" in the keys than you could have. Is it worth it to drop $400-750 on an artist overhaul to eliminate clicking? I don't think so.

But artist overhauls are definitely worth the money for all the other advantages they provide.

James

Gnothi Seauton

Post Edited (2019-01-24 19:10)

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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-24 21:17

Tobin,


Thanks for the clarification.



And there is a handy LED volume indicator. You want your peaks (the highest volume being created in the room) to be between -6dB and 0. That way you're guarantied not to "clip" (distorted sound on the loudest notes produced).




.............Paul Aviles



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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2019-01-24 23:04

All good Paul — and your description of what, exactly, you’re looking for to prevent clipping is far better than mine!

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Musikat 
Date:   2019-01-25 05:06

Thank you for the advice, Tobin, and the reassurance about the clicking sounds. I did have an artist overhaul from Wesley Rice a year ago, so while it is possible that something has loosened, it all seems good otherwise.

It sounds like you are very familiar with this model. For recording in a living room or other room of my home, just me, for an audition, I want XY, not one of the other modes, correct?

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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Tobin 
Date:   2019-01-25 07:06

Hi Musikat,

Yes -- I would use the XY mic function in the arrangement you describe. I use the MS when I have the H2N further away, recording from the seats in an auditorium, for example.

I know Wes Rice's work and he's very consistent. I would suggest that the amount of key-clicking that you're hearing on the recording is normal, and would not negatively influence someone who is to critically listen to your performance. I would also guess that you don't normally "hear" this clicking as you play because you're, yaknow, busy playing.

However, I just opened a recording of a student of mine in a masterclass. The Zoom H2N was set up roughly 16-20' away, on a music stand. The room is a large rehearsal space for the local municipal band, and my student's horn was done by Wes (and he's playing a Rice barrel). There's no key click at all. I listened to another student and they didn't click either.

It's possible that you have it in exactly the wrong spot in the room.

Any chance you want to put up a recording? Or swap recordings off of the BBoard?

James

Gnothi Seauton

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 Re: Question for Zoom recorder users
Author: Musikat 
Date:   2019-01-25 07:22

Hi James,

I will see if I can post a sample, or possibly email it. I am still perfecting the excerpt. I have until March so I am mostly trying to figure out the new recorder so I know the best setup. It might be good to see if you think the clicking is something I should get checked out. I don't hear it on the whole thing, just a particular passage of fast 32nd notes across the break.

Also the students' recordings you mention are much farther away than I have been recording for this purpose (I'm at most 6 feet away). I'm not sure at that distance you would hear it on my recording either.

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