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-   -   The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/537509-fader-my-field-recorder-does-not-have-numbers-does-anyone-know.html)

Ryan Elder July 20th, 2020 06:53 PM

The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
The Zoom F8, which I am using for a project does list the numbers on the volume fader. I usually like to start out with the fader at zero, and then turn up the gain accordingly. However, it doesn't say where zero is on the fader.

The instructions manual, does not say where zero is either, so do I assume it's in the middle then, or is that incorrect?

Brian Drysdale July 21st, 2020 10:06 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Why do you want to start with the fader at zero? The important part is the level on your audio meter. the position of the fader will vary depending on the sensitivity of the microphone and how loud the source is. The way level control are marked varies, sometimes it just numbers, with zero being the fader closed, others have a different arrangement with dB markings.

My Nagra 4.2 1/4" tape recorder had dB markings on the level knobs, but you didn't really pay too much attention to these, the level was usually 2/3 to 3/4 open.

Usually you just close a fader down if you're not using it, that's easy to work out because you can hear which way to go when you've got a microphone plugged in.

Why has this come up? I assume you've had the recorder for some time?

Paul R Johnson July 21st, 2020 10:11 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
You mean zero as in nothing, or 0dB as in a lot? Other zooms just have 0-10 on the gain knob. The F8 just has indicators that change colour, so you wind it up till it goes red, and then back it off - like we've done for years on practically every recorder. The point of distortion then down a bit - the amount depends on your knowledge of what is happening next!

Ryan Elder July 21st, 2020 11:06 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Oh okay, yes I know not to go over red, it's just I was always taught to start with the fader at 0 db, and then turn up the gain as needed until you have hit the levels are good. Unless this is wrong way of doing it?

Yes I have the F8 for sometime because I am renting it for a project.

Brian Drysdale July 21st, 2020 11:33 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
That sounds like you're starting with the fader closed and then opening it up.

Ryan Elder July 21st, 2020 11:42 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Oh okay, well I was always taught to start with it at zero, and then turn up the gain first, but is this incorrect?

Paul R Johnson July 21st, 2020 11:57 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Some people do it. Not me. I power up without thought. What reason did they give for this rather quaint process. It's like the power amp power up. Here, I can see a point, but again, I don't bother. It's also pointless from the labelling point. fully anticlockwise is off. Working level is usually around half to three quarters on my zooms.

Ryan - when people tell you these 'rules', query them, ask why, and if you find the answer sensible, do it. I happen to reject it as rather pointless.

Rick Reineke July 21st, 2020 12:32 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
On the F8n's 'Home' peak meter 'normal' view, the 'fader' has a infinity to 0db scale With the fader knob @12 O'clock it is -6.0dB. In the same meter view. the 'Trim' (preamp gain) goes from +10 to +75 in 'mic' level

Ryan Elder July 21st, 2020 12:57 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Oh okay. Well the reason is, if that if the gain is turned up really high, but the fader is turned down low, then the gain will sound too heavy, if that makes sense. Not sure what other word to describe it but it sounds heavy, like there is too much background noise being picked up if the gain is raised too high, compared to the fader.

But if turning up the fader to 0 db first, is not correct, which should be turned up first, the gain or the fader?

Brian Drysdale July 21st, 2020 01:19 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
This sounds like nonsense. You're going to use the level control to set the correct level using the meter. You set the the gain as appropriate for the microphone being used, it's not something you change all the time. Especially since you seem to only have one mic.

As mentioned by Paul, as long as the fader/control knob is open half way to 3/4 everything will be fine for normal levels.

If you start applying excess gain you will get noise.

Josh Bass July 21st, 2020 01:54 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Yes, usually (I'm no expert) gain/trim -- the setting for the signal coming INTO the mixer/recorder from the mic, is used to set a level based on each individual mic's sensitivity...you basically set it and forget it unless changing to a different mic in the same input. The fader -- the setting for the level going OUT OF the mixer into the recorder (if they're the same piece of gear) or camera, is the one you'll be tweaking regularly.

So with fader at unity (neither subtracting or adding volume), you set the gain first, based on your particular mic's sensitivity.

At least this is how it is with the desktop mixers I've used and my old SD 302 mixer.

All this should be in the manual (probably in PDF form online if no paper one came with your rental) or numerous youtube videos.

Ryan Elder July 21st, 2020 02:48 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Oh okay, when you say 'unity', what does that mean exactly? I've read this term before, but couldn't find what they meant by unity in this context. Does that mean the fader is halfway turned?

Pete Cofrancesco July 21st, 2020 03:02 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Ryan's specialty is audio :-)

While Zoom mixers are feature rich, I find their interface tricky to use. Of course if Ryan took the time to actually read the manual carefully or watch setup videos he should understand how to use it.

Why are there no numbers on the dial? Two reasons, first anyone who knows what they're doing understands faders and gain start in the 12 o'clock position and adjusted based on what the meters are reading. The second reason, on the zoom the fader and gain are set in the menu, meaning the physical gain dial doesn't denote a fixed level like a volume knob on your stereo. To complicate things further the zoom uses the same physical dial to adjust the gain and fader, depending on what mode you are in. I'm sure everything I said will fly right over Ryan's head.

Curtis Judd has a very detailed series of videos.This one touches on working with fader and gain.

Ryan Elder July 21st, 2020 03:06 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Oh yes I understand that you choose the fader or gain in the menu yes. And I assumed it was the 12 o'clock position but just wanted to make absolutely sure.

But then manual did not say where the zero position was on the fader. The youtube video posted there explains some things for sure, but it also does not say where on the fader that zero is at, unless the middle is zero, when he talks about starting out in the middle.

Ryan Elder July 21st, 2020 03:12 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale (Post 1960219)
This sounds like nonsense. You're going to use the level control to set the correct level using the meter. You set the the gain as appropriate for the microphone being used, it's not something you change all the time. Especially since you seem to only have one mic.

As mentioned by Paul, as long as the fader/control knob is open half way to 3/4 everything will be fine for normal levels.

If you start applying excess gain you will get noise.

I don't understand this part, because I thought that the fader was suppose to be open half way, but half is 1/2, so why do you say 3/4? Isn't that 3 quarters of the way and not half therefore?

Pete Cofrancesco July 21st, 2020 03:23 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryan Elder (Post 1960224)
Oh yes I understand that you choose the fader or gain in the menu yes. And I assumed it was the 12 o'clock position but just wanted to make absolutely sure.

But then manual did not say where the zero position was on the fader.

Since this isn't a consumer grade piece of equipment the manual assumes you understand how to mix. All professional mixers 12 o'clock is 0. Watch the video instead of telling us what you thought the manual meant. Curtis will explain how to use it, just follow what he says, end of story.

Ryan Elder July 21st, 2020 03:40 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Oh okay, I watched the video but there are some things he left out. I already know the things he was talking about in the video, but it was said before on here, that perhaps I shouldn't start out with the fader at zero everytime when I gain stage.

If this is true, then he did not cover why not though.

Pete Cofrancesco July 21st, 2020 03:53 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryan Elder (Post 1960224)
Oh yes I understand that you choose the fader or gain in the menu yes. And I assumed it was the 12 o'clock position but just wanted to make absolutely sure.

But then manual did not say where the zero position was on the fader. The youtube video posted there explains some things for sure, but it also does not say where on the fader that zero is at, unless the middle is zero, when he talks about starting out in the middle.

I only know the fundamentals that are used for all mixers. You set the gain prior to recording then use your faders fine tune during the recording. 12 o'clock means 0, ie whatever the gain level that was set is unaltered and sent to the mix. 12 o'clock position allows you room to either increase or decrease during recording. Setting the fader either extreme the 6 o'clock position would only allow you to increase or decrease depending on what extreme you put it at.

Paul R Johnson July 21st, 2020 03:57 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
I thought you understood mixers?

Everyone is a little different, but requirement of a fader, rotary or linear, is to be able to operate at a comfy position where if you need to turn it down, you have enough travel, but also have enough to squeeze a little extra. Some people adjust the gain so they can have all the faders in roughly the same position when the balance is right, while others seem happy to operate with some right at the bottom and others much higher. You use the gains and the faders in a mode that works for you - which is usually the most advantageous for minimum noise and maximum tweakability.

WHY do you start with your faders down? I keep mine around unity, and then gain can be set, giving me optimum fader travel. I see no point in starting with the faders down.

Ryan Elder July 21st, 2020 03:57 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Oh okay thanks, that helps.

But the one thing I don't understand is, if I am to set the gain first, the fader has to be in an original position first. That original position should be 12 o'clock, every time, is that right?

Ryan Elder July 21st, 2020 04:00 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson (Post 1960229)
I thought you understood mixers?

Everyone is a little different, but requirement of a fader, rotary or linear, is to be able to operate at a comfy position where if you need to turn it down, you have enough travel, but also have enough to squeeze a little extra. Some people adjust the gain so they can have all the faders in roughly the same position when the balance is right, while others seem happy to operate with some right at the bottom and others much higher. You use the gains and the faders in a mode that works for you - which is usually the most advantageous for minimum noise and maximum tweakability.

WHY do you start with your faders down? I keep mine around unity, and then gain can be set, giving me optimum fader travel. I see no point in starting with the faders down.

Oh okay, well I have been doing it in a way that has worked for me this whole time, but recently another audio specialist says I have been doing it wrong. Usually I will turn the gain up to about 75% or until I felt the mic was fully powered with gain, and then I would bring the fader down to the right level.

He said this was wrong and that I should be starting out with the fader at zero, or at unity if that means the same thing, and that I should then bring the gain up to the correct level then. So I started doing it his way for a while now. But have I been doing it wrong before, and he is right?

Josh Bass July 21st, 2020 04:01 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
His way sounds right to me. However make sure you understand "0" does not mean all the way down, it means right in the middle of its range, neither adding or subtractingj, i.e. unity.

Ryan Elder July 21st, 2020 04:08 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson (Post 1960229)
I thought you understood mixers?

Everyone is a little different, but requirement of a fader, rotary or linear, is to be able to operate at a comfy position where if you need to turn it down, you have enough travel, but also have enough to squeeze a little extra. Some people adjust the gain so they can have all the faders in roughly the same position when the balance is right, while others seem happy to operate with some right at the bottom and others much higher. You use the gains and the faders in a mode that works for you - which is usually the most advantageous for minimum noise and maximum tweakability.

WHY do you start with your faders down? I keep mine around unity, and then gain can be set, giving me optimum fader travel. I see no point in starting with the faders down.

Oh okay thanks, that makes sense. I thought that's what it meant, but just making sure, especially since they are not labeled. However, there is a concern I have with is way though. So I am going to record some gunshots from real guns. However, if I record them the his way, such as starting out with the fader at unity, I know I am only have to turn the gain up just a little bit since shots, since the gun shots are so loud.

However, if the gain is turned up just a little bit, I feel I will be too close to the noise floor cause the gain is hardly turned up at all. Therefore, should I go the opposite route and turn the gain up quite high, and keep the fader turned down therefore, since that will keep me further away from the noise floor?

Pete Cofrancesco July 21st, 2020 04:09 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Quote:

Usually I will turn the gain up to about 75% or until I felt the mic was fully powered with gain...
If I read too many of his post in a day I begin pulling my hair out.

Josh Bass July 21st, 2020 04:55 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Careful. From your DVX pic you don't have much to spare. I say this as a fellow baldy.

Pete Cofrancesco July 21st, 2020 04:57 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Josh Bass (Post 1960237)
Careful. From your DVX pic you don't have much to spare. I say this as a fellow baldy.

Lol that’s why it’s so painful I have limited supply.

I got pulled into another one of his threads that repeats the same pattern.
1. I have a problem
2. What’s the problem
3. In articulate explanation
4. Solutions and advice given
5. There is no problem Someone told me something just making sure there wasn’t a problem
Uggggghhhh!

Greg Miller July 21st, 2020 11:38 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Faders tend to be numbered in one of three ways:

1.) "Zero" is full counter-clockwise, with zero percent of the signal getting through. The bigger the number, the louder the signal (typical on home stereos, Bogen PA amps, etc. Maximum is typically 10, except for Spinal Tap. ... or
2.) "Zero" is full clockwise where the numbers represent decibels, actually of attenuation, so they are really negative numbers. i.e. "zero" = 0dB = 100% (of some reference amount of gain), -6dB is close to 50%, -12dB is close to 25%, -20dB is exactly 10%, etc. ... or
3.) A variant of (2.) above, where "zero" is placed mid-rotation. Numbers clockwise from zero are positive, i.e. more gain than "zero," and numbers counter-clockwise from zero are negative, i.e. less gain than "zero" as in variant (2.).

dB numbers originally meant actual electrical gain as pertained to an analog amplifier, or electrical loss as pertained to an attenuator. Unity gain, 0dB, meant the signal coming out of a device was exactly the same level as the signal going in. A wire has unity gain (well, actually a very tiny bit of attenuation, and a very tiny bit of noise, but we can safely disregard those).

dB numbers now are meaningful only with some additional reference. For example the specs might say "0dB gain produces a file at 0dBFS with an input level of -60dBV."

The point is that the numbers don't matter most of the time. They're there for convenience, so once you find a good level, you can approximately repeat it the next time you're in the same situation. We're just using numbers to talk about rotational position. "5" on a Bogen PA amp is the same as "0dB" on some recorders is the same as "twelve o'clock" ... they all refer to 50% rotation.

So you set the fader at a *convenient* position ... maybe 50% rotation, maybe 66% rotation, maybe 75% rotation ... IMHO that's pretty arbitrary and anywhere within that range is fairly reasonable. Just pick a position convenient for you. Then do a test, make sure your preamp gain trim is appropriate for that mic and that situation, or correct it if necessary. Then if the talent starts yelling, you have room to turn down the level; if the talent starts mumbling you have room to turn it up. If you want to mess up the front panel by using a grease pencil, you wouldn't be the first person to do so.

I could label my fader "apples, bananas, hamburgers, blondes, yo-yos, petunias, aspirin" and it wouldn't matter for day-to-day use. If blondes is the middle of the scale, I would always start with blondes. If you prefer yo-yos, Ryan (somehow I suspect you do), then start with yo-yos every time.

No need to waste any more time with this non-issue.

Greg Miller July 21st, 2020 11:55 PM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryan Elder (Post 1960225)
I don't understand this part, because I thought that the fader was suppose to be open half way, but half is 1/2, so why do you say 3/4? Isn't that 3 quarters of the way and not half therefore?

Ryan, read it again. He said "half way to 3/4." In other words, somewhere between 50% rotation and 75% rotation.

Ryan Elder July 22nd, 2020 01:05 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Oh okay thank you very much for the information. I really appreciate it.

So since I will be recording gunshots, I can just start with the fader raised halfway up, and then turn the gain just a little bit, since the gunshot will be really loud, if that's best?

My only concern is, is that since the gain is only going to be turned up a little, I will be really close to the noise floor. I can hear the noise floor, if the gain is only raised a little when I try to boost it up.

So for recording loud gun shots, will this be a problem therefore?

Brian Drysdale July 22nd, 2020 01:36 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
With gunshots the problem won't be the noise it's going to over modulating. Analogue can sound great when you do that, but digital sounds awful.

BTW there are lots of sound library gun shots. In movies they often combine the sounds from various guns to create the sound effect. A pistol doesn't sound that impressive when you record it..

I made a film that had a fair amount of gunfire and I don't think we used any of the gun shots from the shoot, they were all replaced in post and various guns mixed together to create the gunshot sound.

Ryan Elder July 22nd, 2020 02:12 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Oh okay, yes, I am not going to record any gunshots that are captured doing the shooting of the movie. These are going to be sounds captured before shooting, which I will then use later, once the footage is shot. As for mixing different shots, I am going to be recording different types of guns at a firing range, so I should have quite a few options.

However, I've tried a some gunshots online for free, but didn't really like the sounds, so I thought I would just try recording my own. Plus they just sounded too different, because they were recorded with different equipment than mine. They sound like obvious stock sounds, and not organic with what the rest of the movie will sound like. Also, most of the gun shot sounds I could find, sound like they are recorded from too far away, perspective wise. Where as I plan on having shots in close quarters scenes, that need to sound much more close up, perspective wise.

As for digital sounding aweful, are you saying that no gunshot is going to sound good, unless it's recorded analog? When you say over modulating, how will it over modulate as long as I set the gain and fader correctly?

Brian Drysdale July 22nd, 2020 02:50 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Sound library effects always sound dry and clean. It's intended that you mandibulate them in post. It's pretty common, as I mentioned before, to combine effects.

There's a wide range of libraries out there, you can check them out. Why do you think that you can do a better job than professional recordists offering a range weapon sounds? You could just come up with the pretty same thing because straight recordings all sound the same.

If the audience can tell that a sound effect is recorded on different audio equipment, you've got a problem with your movie because they're not interested in the story.

Lets say analogue and digital are different in how they handle over modulation when you record. It's something that recording studios made use of and why some held onto their analogue tape machines for a number of tears because of the saturated sound.

Is this whole thread just preparation for your movie? You're supposed to be rewriting your script.

Ryan Elder July 22nd, 2020 02:57 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Oh okay thanks. Yes I am rewriting the script, but the gun range opportunity is coming up, and it's free for me, so I thought I would get on it.

Well what are some good sound libraries online, if I am looking in the right places? I can keep looking.

As for the sounds, not sounding like they are the same movie, isn't this normal when trying to use different sounds recorded from very different sources? I can tell this when it comes to trying to mix footage from different cameras, as it often looks different, even if you try to make it look the same.

So wouldn't it be noticeable in audio as well, or is audio much easier to match, making it sound like the same movie, compared to video? As digital not handling over-modulation well, what if I just don't over-modulate?

Brian Drysdale July 22nd, 2020 03:01 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Cameras and audio recordings are apples and oranges. Recording studios use different mics for instruments and singers on the same recording, it's the same when recording sound for a film soundtrack,

You shouldn't over modulate digital,

Ryan Elder July 22nd, 2020 03:09 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Oh okay, but it's just I often cannot get stock sound to match, or at least I can tell it's stock sound, but maybe I'm being too picky.

As for over-modulating, am I doing anything to over-modulate though?

Brian Drysdale July 22nd, 2020 03:16 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
How can a stock sound effect match a film that doesn't yet exist?

All the gun sounds you hear in films are not real.

If you've got a peak meter you should be OK.

Ryan Elder July 22nd, 2020 03:38 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Oh I'm just going by past experience, cause I tried using gunshots before for a past project from online, and I really didn't like the results, and felt it sounded too much like a different movie with the gunshots.

What's a peak meter have to do with over modulating, since I thought the peak meter was about peaking, or does it have to do with modulating as well?

Brian Drysdale July 22nd, 2020 03:56 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
How will you know if you're over modulating if you don't know where you're peaking?

You have to select the right gun shots, then use the right reverb and other audio elements during the mix in order for any gun shots to work in a film. This applies just as much when you've recorded them yourself because the basic sound from the gun will be pretty much the same, unless it has a particular characteristic. Make sure that you're downloading a high quality WAV file from the library and not a highly compressed file.

A good library will have a range of guns in their catalogue. Sound editors can have a large collection of their own gun effects

Paul R Johnson July 22nd, 2020 05:00 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
Peaking is where the modulation of the signal exceeds a pre-determined maximum. In video, we often accept too much light as just a white maximum, that if it's on certain areas can't really be noticed - but is clearly bad, while in audio, over level results in very unpleasant result.

Modulation is not a common term for sound folk to use relating to audio. It is in RF circles, where we modulate carrier waves with either amplitude or frequency signals. I don't think I've ever considered microphones or other capture devices to modulate. It normally signifies the interaction of two or more frequencies. Interesting point, but can you modulate silence with audio? That's a multi-page discussion. You can modulate audio with hum. Over modulating is not the same as having too potent a signal. Is there a term for the AM version of FM overdeviating - not sure I've heard one.

Have I drifted too far ............. ?

Brian Drysdale July 22nd, 2020 06:00 AM

Re: The fader on my field recorder does not have numbers, does anyone know?
 
LOL I suspect over modulation has slipped into also meaning off the scale, rather than the technically correct meaning.


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