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Old February 17th, 2011, 06:56 AM   #1
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Zoom H1 levels: useless over 50?

Ok so I was hoping to answer this question for myself so I ran a few tests using the on board mic and recording a sine wave file amplified over speakers at a constant volume. I jumped through the levels settings on the H1 from 50 to 90 in increments of 10. I then took those five files into an audio app and normalised them all to -12db.

The theory was that if the H1 is actually boosting the signal in the 50-100 levels range (rather than simply boosting both signal and noise) then the file recorded at 50 should have more noise (when normalized) than the files recorded at 60 or up. Unfortunately there was no real difference in the noise across any of the normalized files, which suggests to me that once you get over 50 your not getting any extra signal out of the H1 preamps. My conclusion from all this is that you might as well leave it at that setting, take the extra headroom, and boost the levels in post if required.

Of course I was using the inbuilt mics on the H1 so settings may vary with plugin mics.

My question now is; have I made any errors in my experimentation and reasoning here or does all this sound fairly reasonable?
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Old February 17th, 2011, 08:17 AM   #2
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If you hadn't normalized the recorded segments to -12db, what levels would they have been at as originally recorded and placed in the audio editing app? Also which audio editing app did you use?
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Old February 19th, 2011, 01:52 AM   #3
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The levels of the orginal files range from around -40db up to about -25db (the idea was to keep the sine wave sound source a constant volume and vary the levels on the H1). I used wavlab to normalize the files.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 03:23 PM   #4
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i tried the H1 in a corridor with somebody speaking at about 45 feet.
the internal mic is pretty impressive, a lot more sensitive and powerful than a Que Audio mic (an hyper cardio type supposed to pick sound in only one direction).
The noise you get is ok until 50-60 with both mics, but if you have a weak mic and need to push the volume,it becomes very tricky above 60.
But i think most of the recorders or preamp (even the ones on my alesis mixing table) have the same behavior. The less you need to boost the signal the better, and pushing a preamp over 75 often seems problematic, because it is a clue that your input level is too low, either because the mic is too weak or to far from the source.
The internal mics of the H1 seems very well matched with the electronic, but the downsid of that is the mics are ultra sensitive to wind. even moving slowly the recorder cause noise.
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Old February 20th, 2011, 07:47 PM   #5
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Giroud, what you say is all very consistant with my experience. Thanks.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 01:07 PM   #6
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Re: Zoom H1 levels: useless over 50?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Giroud Francois View Post
The internal mics of the H1 seems very well matched with the electronic, but the downside of that is the mics are ultra sensitive to wind. even moving slowly the recorder cause noise.
Here is the best wind solution I've found. I tested their prototypes with my H1 (for no compensation, I do a lot of outdoor stuff and helping them come up with something that worked well was to my benefit. I've even paid for mine) and this is what they are going to market with:

TheWindCutter.com, Professional Microphone Windscreens

The prototype tested in my video lacks the "window" for seeing the LCD and the interior strap for securing the H1, but works in West Texas 30MPH winds. I had the input level set 70% because I was trying to maintain about 4 feet distance from the H1 on the stand.

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Old February 22nd, 2011, 02:31 PM   #7
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Re: Zoom H1 levels: useless over 50?

yes, but my requirement is jsut to have no wind noise when moving the camera (with H1 mounted on), so a full coverage of the recorder is a bit too much.
I purchased a "cheap" redhead and it is enough inside and outside.
If i need to stand in windy place , i will build a zeppelin box, seems the most efficient.
I am thinking to build a "skin" (neopren, silicon ?) so the vibration will not transfer to the body or mics and let full access to the display and buttons.
I think also to dismantle the body and make all the joints with silicons to avoid cracks when you manipulate the recorder.
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