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Author Topic: Recording quiet shows - Settings?  (Read 3330 times)

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Offline TheMetalist

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Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« on: June 18, 2017, 05:22:14 PM »
I usually tape loud rock and metal shows but lately I have been to some shows with acoustic guitar and vocals (through a PA system). As these are more quiet I get a lot of hiss. I have tried taping with regular input level (3-4) and adding gain in post. Also tried a higher input level but with the same results. I really hate noise reduction so I would prefer not to use it.

Is it possible to use the mic input or will the recording get overloaded? I have an "important" show to tape on Wednesday. With other words, I don't have time to try this myself before then and I really don't want to fail.

The equipment I use:
Sony PCM-M10
Nbob actives
Nbox Platinum
AKG CK61/63

Any advice is welcome. Thanks in advance.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 05:24:52 PM by TheMetalist lml - The bloke once known as Olsson »
It's not about fancy equipment. It's about the thrill, passion and hard work. Liberate the music!

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Offline daspyknows

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2017, 05:58:48 PM »
Ask Dr. Nick.  Never have had the problem with the Schoeps MK4/41

Offline Scooter123

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2017, 06:32:22 PM »
I increase the M-10 so the VU settings are -12.  If that means an M-10 setting of 8 or 9 then so be it.  But if it is too quiet, boosting in post introduces some hiss.
Regards,

Scooter123

mk41 > N Box  > Sony M-10
mk4 > N Box > Sony M-10

Offline perks

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2017, 06:42:54 PM »
^ all good advice.

Are you certain that this is isn't ambient noise in the room like an HVAC system. While it may get buried into the noise floor at a louder show you will definitely hear it at a quiet show. As you increase the gain you will increase that noise as well.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 07:38:00 PM by perks »
Mics: Schoeps MK5, Schoeps MK41, AT853u (C,SC,H)
Preamps/converters: Schoeps VMS52UB (x2), Nbox (x2), E.A.A. PSP-2 (x2) Grace Lunatec V2 (for sale), Sound Devices MP-2 (for sale), DPA MMA6000, Naiant Tinybox v1.5, Apogee Mini-Me, Benchmark AD2k+
Recorders: Tascam DR-680, Korg MR-1, Edirol R-05, Sony PCM-M10 (x2), Tascam DR-07

Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2017, 09:58:49 PM »
The M-10 works fine going mic in with a lower signal. Whether the signal with your particular equipment will be low enough I couldn't say, but if cranking the gain on line in to 10 doesn't do the trick, I'd expect mic in on, say, 3 should be okay.

Offline TheMetalist

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2017, 02:30:44 AM »
I increase the M-10 so the VU settings are -12.  If that means an M-10 setting of 8 or 9 then so be it.  But if it is too quiet, boosting in post introduces some hiss.
I'll try that again but I think the M10 too much selfnoise over 5.
It's not about fancy equipment. It's about the thrill, passion and hard work. Liberate the music!

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Offline TheMetalist

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2017, 02:58:21 AM »
^ all good advice.

Are you certain that this is isn't ambient noise in the room like an HVAC system. While it may get buried into the noise floor at a louder show you will definitely hear it at a quiet show. As you increase the gain you will increase that noise as well.
This is M10 selfnoise. I'm pretty sure. It's there before and after the shows as well.
It's not about fancy equipment. It's about the thrill, passion and hard work. Liberate the music!

"The music is your passport - Your magic key - To all the madness that awaits you." B.L. '86

Offline TheMetalist

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2017, 03:38:52 AM »
Ask Dr. Nick.  Never have had the problem with the Schoeps MK4/41
Which settings do you use on the M10 when recording quiet shows?
It's not about fancy equipment. It's about the thrill, passion and hard work. Liberate the music!

"The music is your passport - Your magic key - To all the madness that awaits you." B.L. '86

Online bombdiggity

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2017, 01:02:29 PM »
I'm more inclined to think it's mic self noise.  I think the M-10 line in has a lower noise floor than the mics, which are usually lower noise floor than ambient features like a/c or noise in the PA itself. 

I record very quiet stuff on my M-10 and on my R-44 and self-noise is never the factor for deciding which of them I would choose for a gig.  The difference for me is between the SP mics and the Schoeps.  The SP's will show their higher self noise level on quiet shows.  The Schoeps don't.  I get noise from footsteps and random audience emissions but not hiss with the Schoeps into either recorder.  The deciding factor for choice of recorder for me is the footprint and profile. 

If I know it's going to be really quiet I try to figure out how I can run the Schoeps even if it may be a bigger challenge.

Here's a very quiet song MK4V > Tinybox > M10 line-in :  https://we.tl/WJ3pni4u0M

I don't hear any self noise to speak of and it was only atmospheric guitar with unamplified sax at low levels, no PA.  Even during the talking (no mic) it's quiet.  So the M-10 should not be an issue.  When using the Tinybox the levels line-in may usually be at number 4 on the dial (even on something pretty quiet).  I may have had it up to 5 or 6 for this song only since it was quieter than the rest of the show. 
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 01:15:07 PM by bombdiggity »
Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline TheMetalist

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2017, 04:03:32 PM »
Never have had the problem with the Schoeps MK4/41
I'm more inclined to think it's mic self noise.
[...]
I get noise from footsteps and random audience emissions but not hiss with the Schoeps into either recorder.

When comparing the specs, AKG actually has slightly less self noise (higher signal to noise ratio) than Schoeps.

Schoeps MK 4: 79 dB-A
Schoeps MK 41: 79 dB-A
AKG CK61: 81 dB-A
AKG CK63: 83 dB-A

Here's a very quiet song MK4V > Tinybox > M10 line-in :  https://we.tl/WJ3pni4u0M

Thank you for the sample. Nice recording!  :cheers:

I did as I usually do with my own recordings, amplified it to peak at 0. With your sample I had to add 7,4 dB to reach 0 and then the hiss was a bit more present.

When using the Tinybox the levels line-in may usually be at number 4 on the dial (even on something pretty quiet).  I may have had it up to 5 or 6 for this song only since it was quieter than the rest of the show.

It's the same for me. I usually have the M10 at 3 or 4 at rock shows (there's a 100 dB limit at concerts in Sweden so they are really not THAT loud). It's after 5-6 and up the hiss starts to annoy me.

After reading your responses I'm actually starting to believe it's just me over reacting. I mostly use headphones and then I hear it clearly. It's no way near the music level of course but I still dislike it. Reminds me too much of cassette tapes back in the days. Perhaps I should just try to ignore it and accept it for what it is?  :-X

Thank you for your advices!  8)
It's not about fancy equipment. It's about the thrill, passion and hard work. Liberate the music!

"The music is your passport - Your magic key - To all the madness that awaits you." B.L. '86

Online bombdiggity

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2017, 05:03:37 PM »
Never have had the problem with the Schoeps MK4/41
I'm more inclined to think it's mic self noise.
[...]
I get noise from footsteps and random audience emissions but not hiss with the Schoeps into either recorder.

When comparing the specs, AKG actually has slightly less self noise (higher signal to noise ratio) than Schoeps.

Schoeps MK 4: 79 dB-A
Schoeps MK 41: 79 dB-A
AKG CK61: 81 dB-A
AKG CK63: 83 dB-A

Well I'm slightly skeptical there's a real difference...  I think there are different ways of conducting the tests that might be employed, but AKG's are fine mics and should be as quiet as anything comparable.  Omnis will be a little quieter than cards though come with different considerations for what we do, especially in a 007 setting. 

The SP's say 70 dB and there's clearly a difference compared to the Schoeps, though the SP's are "micro" sized and the diameter of the element is directly related to what is possible to obtain with the noise floor.  The Schoeps are certainly of another level of quality but also larger (though still small, not LD's). 

I think 80-ish is sort of the best it will get with small condensers.  I'm not sure I've seen any of what we use claim to be better than that. 

The pre may also have some impact.  I've never had an nbox though gather it is designed for louder applications.  There may be a slight difference between my tinybox and the modded R-44.  The R-44 mod claims to make it quieter than the stock preamp in it. 

It is hard to isolate pieces of the chain without having (or borrowing) lots of gear!  And then there's still the issue of duplicating conditions and the material to be recorded... 

Here's a very quiet song MK4V > Tinybox > M10 line-in :  https://we.tl/WJ3pni4u0M

Thank you for the sample. Nice recording!  :cheers:

I did as I usually do with my own recordings, amplified it to peak at 0. With your sample I had to add 7,4 dB to reach 0 and then the hiss was a bit more present.

Since this was in the context of a show that got louder I amplified that song more than the rest but not all the way to 0 since it would have been out of context with the rest of the material.  There may seem to be a little more relative noise at a higher amplification level but I don't think it would be dramatic or overpowering.  I'm not sure how much is in the signal chain vs. white noise in the environment that becomes evident in a relative sense.  It may be some of both. 

The noise is always there in the same proportion to signal but amplifying it a lot can seem to make it more prominent. 

I also usually use headphones.  It is indeed more prominent in headphones. 

When using the Tinybox the levels line-in may usually be at number 4 on the dial (even on something pretty quiet).  I may have had it up to 5 or 6 for this song only since it was quieter than the rest of the show.

It's the same for me. I usually have the M10 at 3 or 4 at rock shows (there's a 100 dB limit at concerts in Sweden so they are really not THAT loud). It's after 5-6 and up the hiss starts to annoy me.

I like that 100 dB limit idea (and had been told about that before), though it might not work as well with the level of rudeness/yapping a non-musical/non-listening crowd is capable of. 

After reading your responses I'm actually starting to believe it's just me over reacting. I mostly use headphones and then I hear it clearly. It's no way near the music level of course but I still dislike it. Reminds me too much of cassette tapes back in the days. Perhaps I should just try to ignore it and accept it for what it is?  :-X

Thank you for your advices!  8)
Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline ilduclo

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2017, 05:25:53 PM »
are you recording at 24 bit? That's ESSENTIAL if you record stuff that will need much amplification in post. I have seldom had any hiss problems with 24 bit, even when I record below the "green light" status on my Sony d50.

Offline nak700s

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2017, 05:27:24 PM »
You shouldn't be getting hiss (obviously), so you need to isolate the problem.  Check everything individually: cables, connections, deck, mics and pre to find out where it's coming from.  Do this at home with headphones on at a high input.  You won't need to record a source, since you are trying to find out what is wrong with your equipment.  I use an M10 and have never experienced a hiss at any input volume, so you shouldn't either.  As for recording quiet shows, I would suggest setting your levels to the crowd.  Since the crowd generally sucks, you don't want them to be the reason you peak out.  Peak your high at around -6 and set the limiter to on to be safe.
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Offline TheMetalist

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2017, 05:34:39 PM »
The pre may also have some impact.  I've never had an nbox though gather it is designed for louder applications.  There may be a slight difference between my tinybox and the modded R-44.  The R-44 mod claims to make it quieter than the stock preamp in it.
I have a taper friend which use AKG CK61/63 with Tinybox and M10. I find the hiss noise equal in his and mine recordings. I also find the all around sound very similar. I find both of them great.

I like that 100 dB limit idea (and had been told about that before), though it might not work as well with the level of rudeness/yapping a non-musical/non-listening crowd is capable of.

I find this crowd more disturbing than the hiss. I taped Kris Kristofferson some nights ago. A really cool and respectful audience except for an old woman speaking loudly about K's alcohol habits and monotone songs. And the the dude, most likely high on drugs, clapping loud (not in sync), screaming, whistling and laughing (at everything Kris said) half of the show. So rude against Kris and the otherwise dedicated audience. Both of them close to me. Unreal. I've got some of it on documented of course. Luckily I had my hypers and taped PAS so only the whisteling and clappings can be heard. But that is more than enough annoying.
It's not about fancy equipment. It's about the thrill, passion and hard work. Liberate the music!

"The music is your passport - Your magic key - To all the madness that awaits you." B.L. '86

Offline TheMetalist

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2017, 05:38:08 PM »
are you recording at 24 bit? That's ESSENTIAL if you record stuff that will need much amplification in post. I have seldom had any hiss problems with 24 bit, even when I record below the "green light" status on my Sony d50.
Yes. 24 bit / 48 kHz.  8)
It's not about fancy equipment. It's about the thrill, passion and hard work. Liberate the music!

"The music is your passport - Your magic key - To all the madness that awaits you." B.L. '86

Offline TheMetalist

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2017, 05:46:40 PM »
You shouldn't be getting hiss (obviously), so you need to isolate the problem.  Check everything individually: cables, connections, deck, mics and pre to find out where it's coming from.  Do this at home with headphones on at a high input.  You won't need to record a source, since you are trying to find out what is wrong with your equipment.  I use an M10 and have never experienced a hiss at any input volume, so you shouldn't either.  As for recording quiet shows, I would suggest setting your levels to the crowd.  Since the crowd generally sucks, you don't want them to be the reason you peak out.  Peak your high at around -6 and set the limiter to on to be safe.

I don't think there is any problems with my gear. The hiss is not overwhelming. It's just that it is present in the background and I don't like it. It's not impossible that I'm just too sensitive.

I actually tried the gear again today and I can't hear any hiss except from the line-out (headphones) on M10. I'm starting to think that most of the hiss I hear is white noise from adding gain/EQ in post.

I will tape a (most likely) quiet show on Wednesday. I'll turn the dial on M10 to 5 or maybe even 6 instead of 4 as I usually do. Hopefully this will bring less hiss in post.
It's not about fancy equipment. It's about the thrill, passion and hard work. Liberate the music!

"The music is your passport - Your magic key - To all the madness that awaits you." B.L. '86

Offline ilduclo

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2017, 06:24:25 PM »

Yes. 24 bit / 48 kHz.  8)

well, consider it could also be your sound system.  I just can't see getting hiss from the m10 with any reasonable levels at 24 bit ???

Offline voltronic

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Re: Recording quiet shows - Settings?
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2017, 11:26:40 AM »
^ all good advice.

Are you certain that this is isn't ambient noise in the room like an HVAC system. While it may get buried into the noise floor at a louder show you will definitely hear it at a quiet show. As you increase the gain you will increase that noise as well.
This is M10 selfnoise. I'm pretty sure. It's there before and after the shows as well.

When you say the noise is the "before and after the shows", are you saying before and after the set while still at the venue, or did you try everything with the same settings at home, in a very quiet room, mics under pillows / blankets / etc?  My first thought was PA or other environmental noise as well.  The mic self-noise as well as the M10 self-noise shouldn't be an issue in my experience, unless you're cranking the M10 really high or something is set wrong.

Yes the MIC in is more than safe to use on the M10 with quieter material.  Just make sure your MIC SENS switch on the bottom is set to LOW.

Why not post a sample file here for some of us to listen to / look at?  That might help narrow down the source of your noise.

You might also want to post your question in the main M10 discussion thread:
http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=170179.240
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