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Old March 12th, 2014, 08:08 PM   #31
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

I hate to say this, but in my opinion you have bought a huge amount of unnecessary equipment. Given that you are entirely new to recording, and are going to want help at every single step of the process, I think you have caused youself a huge amount of needless pain.

I would have suggested that you start with one good microphone, one good recorder, one good set of headphones, and make your recordings. (And remember, even your existing recorder was too complex for you... you asked numerous questions without really understanding its operation.) Those would have been more than adequate for home-quality or hobby-quality audiobooks. And you could have easily performed any needed editing or "sweetening" on a PC.

Now you have numerous pieces of rather complex gear, which are not necessary for entry-level recording, and which will require skilled adjustment to get good results... therefore a great deal of dialog on this forum in hopes of keeping you on the right path.

If I had more money than I could reasonably use in my lifetime, and wanted to impress the neighbors, I might be tempted to buy a Boeing 747. But since I only need to go to the corner grocery to buy some milk, my Pontiac is more than adequate, and has a significantly faster learning curve. I will be done with the trip, and drinking the milk, long before I'd be finished with the first chapter in the 747 owner's manual.

I wish you luck, but personally wish you had asked for input before making all those excessive purchases. I think you could have found a much simpler and more reliable way to achieve your goal.

Last edited by Greg Miller; March 13th, 2014 at 12:18 AM.
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Old March 12th, 2014, 08:33 PM   #32
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

By "TRS" I mean a 1/4 inch balanced (Tip-Ring-Sleeve) plug. See the photo below....

As Mr. Miller said. You have enormously complicated your situation with all that gear. Even with decades of experience, I would NOT start by using all that gear. I would plug the microphone directly into the mixer and get that part working before adding ANY other processing or outboard gadgets.

It may make some slight difference whether you use the SX3040 processor before or after the MDX4600 Exp/Lim. But you will have try it for yourself to make the final decision.You may find that you don't need either of them. (or the MIC2200 either).
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Old March 13th, 2014, 12:40 AM   #33
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

I hate to say it, but I would have bought none of the items on that list. I would have bought one good mic (for example an RE-20 if you want to use a dynamic, or else a good condenser announce mic). I would have plugged it into the Zoom H4 (which the original poster already owns). I would have bought and used a set of Sennheiser HD-280 Pro headphones to monitor the recording process. I would have recorded the track, cleaned and sweetened as necessary using Audacity (free software), and that would have been the end of the job.

If you chose a dynamic mic (RE-20 preferably) then a good preamp might be helpful. That's because dynamic mics have lower output than condenser mics, and if you turn up the gain on the H4, in order to get good levels with a dynamic mic, you might start to hear noise from the H4's internal preamps. But if you use a good condenser mic, you probably would not even need an external preamp... just plug the mic directly into the H4.

Admittedly, the above is a minimalistic approach. I believe in "K.I.S.S." ("Keep It Simple, Sir.") But since the recording will be done in a bedroom (not a real studio with ideal acoustics), and the material is amateur solo voice reading audiobooks (not a symphony orchestra or a $1,000.00/hour professional voice artist), I think this is a much more reasonable starting point. If, and only if, the results are not up to expectations, then you can determine what is needed to obtain the specific improvement desired.

A little extra money could also be invested in a small amplified monitor speaker, to evaluate the sound upon playback. That, and the headphones, would have been much more useful than all the needless gadgets on the above list.

But hey, that's just me...
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Old September 17th, 2014, 08:40 PM   #34
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Hi,
It has been a long while since last time I was here.
I've stopped my voice over work for a while due to emergency injured operations that stayed for several months.
1st of all I've to say that you were right regarding what I've bought and only a one good dynamic microphone with zoom h4n is more then enough for voice over.
1) Now I've got 3 microphones to test to choose one of them:-
EV RE-20
Heil PR-40
Shure SM7b
So please recommend the best one to go for it.
2) Please what is the right settings I should use with zoom h4n for voice over as I am not able to determine the right suitable settings and keep doing a lot of trials and errors.
Thanks for your valuable time.
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Old September 17th, 2014, 11:03 PM   #35
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Those are probably three of the top 5 mics for announce/narration work for most people.
If you actually HAVE all three of those mics, then nobody in the universe is in a better position than YOU are to try all three of them and pick the one you like best.

What "settings" are you asking about? The only "setting" I know of is the recording level control. When recording audio, we avoid peak sounds ever reaching full-scale at the top because in digital recording, that will cause clipping. And conversely, we keep the audio recording level high enough so that it doesn't drift down so low that it is obscured by the noise floor.

If you have no experience with this, run your own experiment to demonstrate how this works. Pick a paragraph or a couple of sentences to read several times. Record the same paragraph at different levels on the H4n and then import the recording into your computer and view the results. You will see that when you are recording too low, the signal is "down in the mud" of the noise floor. And conversely, when you are recording at a level too high, you will see that the audio peaks "clip" at the top where they are limited by the maximum recording level of the digital process.

You want to pick a recording level that allows your audio to peak at somewhere between -15dBFS and -10dB. Depending on your voice and how you are reading the text, and even the nature of the text. If you have a very even voice and ordinary material, you may be able to record at higher peaks (like -10dbFS). But if you have an uneven voice and/or very dramatic text, you may need to set the average peaks down closer to -15dBFS or even lower if you are shouting, etc. Again, you must keep the maximum peaks from hitting full-scale 0dBFS where they will clip and produce bad distortion.

I tried to find a decent straightfoward video on YouTube about setting recording levels, but YouTube is a horrible mess of terrible videos and I couldn't find anything I could recommend. Set aside a few hours to experiment with your microphones and listen critically to them to see which one works best with your voice. And also experiment with recording at various levels to see for yourself how to select the "sweet spot" between the "mud" of noise at the bottom and clipping and distortion at the top.
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Old September 18th, 2014, 04:15 AM   #36
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

ok.
Is it acceptable to use 2 different microphones to record voice over?
I mean zoom h4n has 2 inputs for XLR.
So is it acceptable or it is not professional?
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Old September 18th, 2014, 08:01 AM   #37
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Why would you want to do that? It will be difficult enough to get ONE microphone set up properly. Nobody runs TWO microphones. It is just much more complicated and without ANY benefit. Try not to become obsessive over gear. Start actually recording and solve problems as they are identified
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Old September 18th, 2014, 09:52 AM   #38
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Two microphones would 'create' problems.. especially in this VO scenario.
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Old September 18th, 2014, 10:00 AM   #39
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Are you pulling our legs?

There is no need to use two mics, and if you did, then as you turn your head, the sound will change.

Pick the one you like the best, record it, and tweak the eq a little - when it sounds good, it is good.

You are making a very simple job into something far too complicated, and I don't know of any audio professional who would attempt to use two mics, and two channels.

I'd probably pick the Shure, but using the the other two wouldn't cause me any worries. One mic, hit record, edit and away you go.

If you want to sound like real audio books - then you need a producer. Somebody who has the script, and listens very hard, marking up the script where you made small errors, or accidentally made a noise. They will then stop you, you go back a paragraph and do it again, and again, and again.

This is where audio books spend the time. It is almost impossible to concentrate on performing AND listening.
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Old September 20th, 2014, 04:34 AM   #40
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

All very good mics for your purpose. To me, the weak link in your chain is the Zoom. It is almost famous for having noisy preamps. If you actually own all three mics, I would sell two of them and the Zoom, and get a decent quality USB audio interface with preamps, and record straight to your computer.

I have always had good results from Focusrite interfaces (the Scarlett 2i2 would suit your needs fine - the Forte may sound slightly better), but there are many others. Definitely keep it simple.

Editing and a little post-processing (compression, eq if you want it) can be done for free in Audacity (open source, free audio editing software).

I would start with that.
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Old September 20th, 2014, 10:20 AM   #41
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

I concur with Christian , the H4n (and most other budget recorders) are notorious for sub-grade noisy preamps/converters ect.. While all those mics can sound very good, (w/ VO talent), dynamic mics inherently have low output, so high quantity pre-amplification and A/D converters would be wanted.... along with a quiet, acoustically dead recording environment.
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Old February 25th, 2015, 12:32 AM   #42
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Hi,
Please I would like to ask for something to make it a little bit clear for me.
What are the differences between the AUX and the INSERT in the mixer?
For example, the mixer I've now is the Behringer QX1204USB 12-Channel Mixer, which does not includes any INSERT wholes.
The next Behringer model that has INSERT is the BEHRINGER XENYX X1222USB.
So please may someone tell me the main differences?
Also do I need to upgrade the mixer to this XENYX X1222USB because of this INSERT whole or not needed or there is any work around?
I am only on podcasting and audio book.
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Old February 25th, 2015, 06:38 AM   #43
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

The "AUX" connectors on the QX1204 are separate INPUTs (RETURNs) and OUPUTs. (SENDs)
Note that the INSERT connectors on the XENYX X1222USB is also labeled "I/O" because it is BOTH an INPUT, AND an OUTPUT.

An AUX input is used where you need to send some LINE-LEVEL signal (from some other piece of gear) into the mixer.
An AUX output is used where you need to send a LINE-LEVEL signal from the mixer to some other piece of gear.

An INSERT is used where you need to INTERRUPT or DIVERT the signal OUT of the mixer, through some external piece of gear (perhaps a limiter or compressor, etc.) and then RETURN the signal back IN to the mixer.

You can also do that with the AUX SEND and RETURN connectors but it is somewhat more complex.

If you anticipate needing some external processing gear, then an INSERT connector is more useful than an AUX connector. But if you are doing simple audio production, then it doesn't really make any difference.
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Old February 26th, 2015, 10:19 AM   #44
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

As our friend Richard stated, for instance:
You have individual microphones on a drum set; Kick, snare, three tom-toms, two overheads and a hi-hat... and you wish to equalize (EQ) only the kick drum. In that case, an external graphic equalizer could be inserted on the kick drum channel's insert. In the same scenario, you wish to add reverb to just the snare drum, whilst leaving the other drums 'dry'.. the (Alt.) alternate send would be brought up on just that channel.
Typically the Alt send would be patched to the reverb's input, the reverb's output(s) would be connected to the mixer's return.. (or... an unused channel's line input could be used as a return if so desired). Alternately, another Alt. send could be used the feed the drummer's headphone amp (monitor) with just the drums or other instruments he/she wants to hear. For instance the drummer says: "I want to hear just myself, the guitar and vocals, with no bass and keys"
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Old June 19th, 2015, 10:25 AM   #45
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Hi,
Please I would like to know your feedback for which sound quality you are recommending.
These samples are recorded directly from microphone to zoom H4N (default settings).
Please tell everything in order to make it better as possible.
What are your recommendations for which microphone that fits my sound more?
EV-RE20_000
Shure-SM7B_001
Heil-PR-40_002
Shure-SM57_003
AT-ATR2100_004
Sennhieser-E835s_005
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