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Old March 17th, 2014, 04:48 AM   #1
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H6 and the MS mike question

I just did a test recording of a symphony orchestra using the H6 together with the XY and MS mikes, the results were pretty good, no complaints. However, I notice that when using the MS mike the orchestra is inverted, i.e. trumpets are now on the left , violins on the right etc. The MS mike has markings L & R, my question is, should I use the setup with the H6 controls facing me, or should I turn the unit around so the L and R corresponds to the orchestra? Maybe I am not using the unit correctly, any advice please. Thank you
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Old March 17th, 2014, 06:19 AM   #2
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

What MS setting did you use? If you were to record in 'raw' setting that would occur.
Page 33 of the Zoom H6 manual.
If it was the raw setting the signal MUST be matrixed in post production to get the correct sound.... At the moment you would just be listening to the components of a MS stereo track..... And NOT to be used directly in this form.

There are several YouTube clips on the Zoom H6 and the MS mic, for some reason that mic has a poor noise floor.

If I was a betting man this is going to be the next 'common' problem on forums.
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Old March 17th, 2014, 09:02 AM   #3
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

Thank you Brian, I am aware that the RAW file has to go through rhe Zoom H6 decoder, must admit that I wasn't listening to the result after the decoder stage. I still haven't found the answer as to which way to point the H6 unit with MS mike, would it be vertical with the L & R facing you, or horizontal? Instinct tells me the unit should be vertical, although looking at a couple of YouTube videos they seem to have their unit in the horizontal position. I guess I need to do some more experimentation.
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Old March 17th, 2014, 09:13 AM   #4
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Oliver View Post
I just did a test recording of a symphony orchestra using the H6 together with the XY and MS mikes, the results were pretty good, no complaints. However, I notice that when using the MS mike the orchestra is inverted, i.e. trumpets are now on the left , violins on the right etc. The MS mike has markings L & R, my question is, should I use the setup with the H6 controls facing me, or should I turn the unit around so the L and R corresponds to the orchestra? Maybe I am not using the unit correctly, any advice please. Thank you
AFAIK, the recorder should be positioned horizontally as if laying on a table, with an imaginary centerline drawn through the recorder and mic pointing to the stage centre, the conductor. The 'L' mark would be on your left, pointing stage right, and the 'R' mark would be on your right, pointing stage left. Remember stage left is the audience's right and vice versa.
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Old March 17th, 2014, 09:51 AM   #5
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

Thank you Steve, will do another session with a different orchestra on Tuesday evening. I was looking at some other Pro mikes which seem to have a round bubble on top (see pic) and they are used in the upright position, hence my original question.
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Old March 17th, 2014, 10:16 AM   #6
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

Just did a couple of experiments, Steve your advice is spot on, I am getting a much better signal with the MS mike placed in the horizontal position. Now the fathom out the MS RAW or Stereo options. I am getting a lot of hiss noise when recording in RAW, although I like the ability to widen the stereo angle, but not at the expense of extra noise.
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Old March 17th, 2014, 10:25 AM   #7
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

Mic's come in two 'flavours', side-address and end-address. The mic you linked to is indeed a side-address mono cardioid. The Zoom's MS capsule in actually two mic capsules in one housing (one cardioid, the other figure 8) and the manual illustrations suggest it is end-address along the body of the recorder. Would be nice if they said for sure. The manual does suggest that you can use the mid capsule only as a cardioid mono mic for interviews, etc, so one way to maybe find out is to listen to the mid mic's signal signal only while pointing the mic at a sound coming from a single point source, as you point the mic at the source the sound should be loudest while pointed away it will be softest. See if the sound is loudest when the axis of the recorder is pointed at it or when the axis is 90 degrees away from it.
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Old March 17th, 2014, 10:54 AM   #8
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

Thanks once again Steve, I just tried pointing the mike at various angles and have found the best position for both mono and stereo recording. I am not over impressed with this mike as a stereo unit, but as a mono mike it works well, as you suggest, it will be good for interviews. On my first test I did use the MS mike in the vertical position and did wonder why the string section was being lost. I guess we all learn the hard way at one time or another. Fortunately it was only a rehearsal and I did go along just to test out this recorder .
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Old March 17th, 2014, 05:49 PM   #9
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

Some concerts I've played in, the strings would have sounded better your way. :-)

Apart from the noise issue, I have no reason to believe that the M/S module does a particularly bad job. In saying that, I haven't used mine in anger, preferring to use the H6 with external mics in A/B, X/Y or ORTF as the situation dictates, for the main stereo feed.

Maybe some day (when I've upped my insurance) I might try out a Decca tree. (At least the wind and brass will have nothing to fear.).
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Old March 17th, 2014, 08:23 PM   #10
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

After a few hours of thinking time since my last post, in RAW mode the MID mic is recorded on the L channel and the fig8 SIDE mic is recorded on the R channel. So anything that has a strong side component will be on the R (recorded) channel, which gets sorted out in the matrix decoding.

I have used MS for broadcasting for 20+years and never loved the technique, mainly because the problems outweigh the advantages.

If you are going get into MS useage check your final product in MONO...... ALWAYS as MS in wide mode will lower its level in Mono, Yes it's mono compatible.... but by pushing the width you are in fact lowering the mid mic and raising the side mic level (but be aware in the matrix the side mic L & R are infact the same signal just 180deg phase reversed and this cancels out in mono)

Just remember check in MONO...... ALWAYS
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Old March 18th, 2014, 11:07 PM   #11
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

In my experiments with the H6 I found the MS module to have more self-noise than I wanted to deal with, specifically generated by the S mics. Zoom H6 MS Noise Issue | Homebrewed Music

Since it's quite simple to convert XY to mid side for width adjustment in post if your DAW supports VST plugins I stick with the XY mic module. (And it's not really too hard to do XY->MS and back again without the plugin).

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Old March 19th, 2014, 02:07 AM   #12
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

Thanks Fran, after a whole day experimentation I agree that the MS has far too much noise to be of use. I also couldn't get the MS Decoder to work in Audition CS6, (win 8.1) although it does work under CS5.5 (win 7). I may use it for speech recording under MP3 (press launches etc.)
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Old March 19th, 2014, 08:35 PM   #13
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

I can't comment specifically related to the H6, but I use MS for a lot of orchestral recordings and have had excellent results.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 03:12 AM   #14
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

In principal the MS mike does promise to be an ideal solution, and I am sure that more expensive mikes will deliver the promised result. However, the H6 MS mike falls well short of my expectations, but it will be OK as a mono mike. I will probaly just use the XY mikes and others via the XLR ports.

Don't misread my post's, I am really pleased with the Zoom H6, it is excellent value for money and it will be used alongside my Sony PCM D50 unit (the Sony doesn't have XLR contacts hence the purchase of the Zoom).
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Old March 20th, 2014, 06:46 AM   #15
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Re: H6 and the MS mike question

" Maybe some day (when I've upped my insurance) I might try out a Decca tree. (At least the wind and brass will have nothing to fear.).[/QUOTE] " - ( How do you highlight a quote ?)

To Colin, - and slightly off topic, but being a fan of the Decca tree, and based on what I have read, there was a lot of experimentation with the width, distance & angle of the side mics.

I have many Decca recordings going back to the fifties, some even in mono, and while I admit some are better than others, I have never had a "bad" Decca recording, - they always seemed to have very good tonal & orchestral balance, unlike most other brands over the years. In fact I have some of a particular German brand that almost make your ears cringe with the harshness !

So I am interested in what your version of the Decca tree is and the mics you would use today.

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