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Old September 25th, 2009, 04:20 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Nicholas de Kock View Post
Evan that is very annoying, for the price though I guess it's not a deal breaker. I want to put a mixer between my inputs and the H4n, I want to move away from fixing audio in post as it's extremely time consuming, hopefully a good portable mixer & signal processor will do the job.
Be very, VERY reluctant about applying processing as you shoot. Limiting yes, maybe a low pass filter or a touch of equalization or de-ess, but save the rest for post. If you later decide to try something else or if the processed audio doesn't really 'work' with the picture or the rest of the audio like you thought it would, there's no way you can unprocess it. Far better to record as clean and pristine as possible while you're shooting and make the majority of your processing decisions in post where a: you can consider them at your leisure; b: you can experiment with different approaches; and c: you can undo and start over if you end up with something sounding like a dog's breakfast. As for being time consuming, you can have it fast or you can have it good .... but it's almost never that you can have it both ways at once.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 05:17 AM   #17
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Can try a Sound Devices MixPre and some small 2 track digital recorder like a MicroTrack or H4N. Should run you around 950.00...... MixPre might be small, but it's nice sounding 2 track mixer with some great functionality built in.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 06:51 PM   #18
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Agree to an extent although ..

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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Be very, VERY reluctant about applying processing as you shoot. Limiting yes, maybe a low pass filter or a touch of equalization or de-ess, but save the rest for post.



As for being time consuming, you can have it fast or you can have it good .... but it's almost never that you can have it both ways at once.
Eh what rest? That's about all there is aint it?

I find in order to stand out one does need to be both at once and more sometimes.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 08:14 PM   #19
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...As for being time consuming, you can have it fast or you can have it good .... but it's almost never that you can have it both ways at once.
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Originally Posted by Jimmy Tuffrey View Post
...I find in order to stand out one does need to be both at once and more sometimes.
A client usually wants you to be fast, good, and inexpensive. In the days that I was not so much of a one-man-band, when working with a larger team, we used to talk about giving the client two of these - which usually provoked an interesting discussion within the team: Which two were valued highest by this client or that client?

That team / large media production company was relatively expensive in our market. So, we frequently were called to be fast and good. But we typically had good budgets to make that happen, and the resources of a larger organization sure help.
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Old September 29th, 2009, 04:59 PM   #20
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An important issue that hasn't been mentioned yet is portability. The Zoom H4n wins here because you can put it right on the camera. Unless you do a wireless setup. Then I guess any recorder can be used.
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Old October 5th, 2009, 02:53 PM   #21
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Courier dropped off my H4n over the weekend...

It's a awesome tool for musicians with built in tools like a tuner and metronome however one thing it's not is a great 4CH audio recorder. Overall I'm very impressed with the H4n it's everything I needed the audio quality is brilliant and the pre-amps are super quiet. The built in compressor/limiter does a wonderful job at cutting down clipping.

The Bad: The built in stereo mics are completely rubbish! The noise levels on those mics are unacceptable with constant hissing audible throughout recordings. As a 4CH recorder the H4n is useless but as a 2CH recorder coupled with proper condenser microphones that cost roughly as much as the unit the H4n is brilliant. When I ordered the H4n I was hoping for 4 channel recorder, what I got is a great 2 channel recorder. I can't see myself ever using the build in microphones for any given event they are that bad.

I don't feel that the R44 & H4n should be classified is the same class. The R44 is a proper 4CH recorder the H4n is not. I am very happy with my purchase though, the H4n is exactly what I "needed".
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Old October 7th, 2009, 01:52 AM   #22
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Nic, what's your assessment of the auto leveling?
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Old October 7th, 2009, 06:45 AM   #23
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Brian the auto leveling is no good, the unit will set levels at the beginning of a recording session and won't change them again. Does anyone know if the Edirol R44 offers constant auto leveling?
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Old October 7th, 2009, 09:24 AM   #24
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Brian the auto leveling is no good, the unit will set levels at the beginning of a recording session and won't change them again. Does anyone know if the Edirol R44 offers constant auto leveling?
Auto leveling is almost always an invitation to disaster. Dynamic range is part of the performance, be it speech or music. Some things should be soft, some thing loud. A recorder that constantly adjusts to keep everything at the same level destroys that distinction. In addition, auto gain control is almost always subject to "pumping" where it boosts the gain looking for faint sounds and then gets hit with a blast when normal sound resumes.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 10:12 AM   #25
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Steve I am well aware of this but the bottom line is that when you don't have someone to monitor audio all you have is auto leveling, manual leveling without a operator is even worse. I work in a constantly changing environment when filming I don't have time to adjust audio levels and when I try in most cases I get clipped audio because I couldn't respond fast enough, clipped audio is useless. When I'm in a controlled environment I go manual, auto has it's place in the field.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 10:47 AM   #26
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Auto leveling is almost always an invitation to disaster. Dynamic range is part of the performance, be it speech or music. Some things should be soft, some thing loud. A recorder that constantly adjusts to keep everything at the same level destroys that distinction. In addition, auto gain control is almost always subject to "pumping" where it boosts the gain looking for faint sounds and then gets hit with a blast when normal sound resumes.
Is there a metric that measures dynamic range in an audio device? For example, do some recorders give more headroom than others? I've had clipping issues at concerts -- music goes soft then a crescendo. I'm hoping a dedicated recorder like Zoom will provide that extra cushion without having to use auto leveling.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 11:00 AM   #27
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I'm shooting a concert next week (14th) will let you know how the limiter performed.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 11:45 AM   #28
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...For example, do some recorders give more headroom than others? I've had clipping issues at concerts -- music goes soft then a crescendo...
Assuming good enough mic preamps, 24-bit recording really helps with this. In practice, you can set your recorder to manual, adjust recording gain for crescendo levels, and find that you have much more latitude for the soft passages - they haven't dissappeared into the digital muck as much as with 16-bit.

Of course when you pull up those soft passages in post you may find some other stuff you don't like about mic self-noise, cable noise, preamp hiss, whatever. Regardless, 24-bit really does help with this issue!
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Old October 7th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #29
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Assuming good enough mic preamps,
Thanks Seth, okay, 24 bit and you're also inferring that better preamps increase headroom? Didn't know that, thought they eliminated hiss and gave more sensitivity.
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Old October 7th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #30
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Thanks Seth, okay, 24 bit and you're also inferring that better preamps increase headroom? Didn't know that, thought they eliminated hiss and gave more sensitivity.
24-bit - yes. Although, more accurately, 24-bit means that you're increasing the usability of the material recorded down below -30db or so. Effectively, this is increasing the usable dynamic range - not exactly increasing headroom, but very useful when you're concerned with limited headroom.

You're reducing gain instead of increasing headroom, but 24-bit gives more usable resolution for those quiet passages.

Better preamps - what we're looking for here is reduced hiss. Hiss tends to be masked by program where you have good recording levels. Now that we're looking for good audio below -30db, since we're recording in 24-bit and reducing recording gain, we'll quickly find out if our preamps are up to the task!

As was mentioned earlier in the thread, limiting can be used to good effect as well. Not that you want all the peaks limited (better to use a good compressor for this task, reducing the dynamic range of the source), but, that if an unexpected high peak comes along it won't be clipped.

With all of the above technique, adding limiting means that you can be more aggressive in the gain setting, knowing that unexpected peaks won't clip.

All this stuff is a matter of degree, and practice makes perfect!
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