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Old November 2nd, 2009, 12:01 PM   #1
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Need help on sound recorders

Hi there

I have been using the Samson H4 for a while now and although I love the fact it has XLR & 1/4 inch outputs, I do not like the fact it doesnt adjust the gain in the middle of a recording. My Digital Camera does this however. I have a V1U, and when I'm recording audio, it will adjust the gain accordingly, and I always get fantastic audio.

I know for the H4, I can adjust the gain BEFORE the actual recording, however I plan to record at my temple where the music level jumps high and low all the time so I need the device to adjust this accordingly.

Could anyone point me to any sound recorder that does this, along with having XLR and 1/4 inch inputs?

Thanks in advance..
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 12:34 PM   #2
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Point of clarification, please. Are you looking for a recorder that has automatic level control where it adjusts the gain for you or are you looking for one that allows you to ride gain manually during recording?

FYI, remember that the contrast between soft and loud is part of the emotion of a musical performance so you really don't want to flatten it out completely.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 02:19 PM   #3
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I want it to do it Automatically. I understand the part your saying about the emotion, however The performances I plan on recording, the chanting can get REALLY loud at times, and die down the next second, and I want something to adjust the gain accordingly. Like I said, my V1U does a fantastic job in adjusting it and I was wondering if there was a Sound recorder that did the same.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 02:58 PM   #4
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Use a compressor.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 03:12 PM   #5
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You might want to check out the newer H4n, its automatic level setting is enhanced compared to that of the H4. A number of recorders have limiters that will reduce the gain when the sound gets close to clipping but there really aren't too many high quality recorders that have fully automatic gain control. With a limiter, you set your recording gain to that proper for the average sound level and if the loudness goes over that and approaches the level that would produce distortion the limiter turns it down temporarily, then releases after the loud sound passes. But full AGC is actually fairly rare in a dedicated audio recorder. Indeed, when their camcorders have them, like yours does, most operators turn them off and if they can't be disabled it's considered a major flaw of the camera.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 01:32 PM   #6
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I'm going to assume you can & will want to use a DAW, aka a computer based editor. My advice is set the level for the loudest sound, do some tests 1st and note the likely setting. A bit (but not much) limiting is ok if available, record in 24 bit.

Really don't worry if a lot of the recording is at very low level, 20-30dB below max level say, you can increase the level later if you find the dynamic range of the original event is way too great for your needs.
With even cheap equipment, in 24bit you can get away with dragging stuff up in level by 40dB's. The noise will be the same as if you had recorded the quiet bits at higher level, the noise is mostly down to the mic amps [& the more you turn them up, the more noise] & this is true for acoustic noise in the room.
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Old November 9th, 2009, 07:51 AM   #7
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Check out the Zoom H4. Does a real good job.


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Old November 9th, 2009, 02:19 PM   #8
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Also, the Sony PCM-D50

The Sony PCM-D50, is the best under $1K recorder I have ever used. Interfaces perfectly with the Sound Devices 302 using their cables, writes to internal Flash or a Memory Stick (the latest models will accept up to a 16MB stick), and has excellent battery life as well.

I have never encountered any frame drift, even on long interviews, and since I use it as a back-up device, the card goes with the footage.
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