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Offline (Evan)

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2009, 03:21:10 PM »
Now are you guys talking about the MT II or the original MT? Because I've been told that the MT II's 1/8" input is far superior to the original MT.

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2009, 03:35:44 PM »

Offline fmaderjr

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2009, 03:53:46 PM »
I kind of switched the discussion to the MT 24/96 because that's what Dallman has. You are correct that the MT II has a far better mic input, but the MZ-RH1's preamp is so good I suspect it will still give better performance.

The MT II still really needs a preamp to take advantage of its 24 bit capabilities, but if you ever get a preamp you will need to be aware of the much discussed sprinkler noise problem when going line in with unbalanced sources and take steps to avoid it. This entails either
1) Turning the MT II's gain to the minimum and getting all gain from the preamp or
2) Ordering the following cable from Sound Pros to connect your preamp (and be sure to specify you want the one for the MT II). http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/item/SP-MICROTRACK-MINI-TRS-1

That said, if you feel more comfortable going mic in with your MT II, you will probably get an excellent recording as well. But you won't really be benefiting from 24 bit, and the MZ-RH1 is far easier to operate inconspicuously if needed. I just think using the MZ-RH1 will be safer, easier to do, and will produce a recording that is at least as good (if not better) than you get from the MT II. Just my option, but many who have contributed to this thread (Dallman excepted) seem to agree with me.
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Offline boojum

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2009, 04:10:56 PM »
Other than a greater dynamic range, what is the advantage of 24 bit over 16 bit?  I cannot think of any.  The bits just describe the length of the word used in recording.  16 bits = ~ 96dB and 24 bits = ~144dB.  The 24 bit dB I think is more a possibility than a reality.  What am I missing?
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Offline fmaderjr

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2009, 04:48:59 PM »
Maybe DSatz can chime in and help us out here.

I pretty much agree with you and I don't care about the greater dynamic range. I actually compress many of my live recordings to I don't need to keep adjusting the volume when I play them back (but that's just a personal preference).

All  I really care about with 24 bit is that it allows you so set your record levels a lot lower so that you have no danger of clipping and not add audible noise when you boost the levels. I love not worrying about clipping!

However, and I know nobody here will agree with me, I have recorded many things with 16 bit equipment that peaked as low as -25 dB or so, and after converting the files to 32 bit in Adobe Audition to raise the levels, I could hear no added noise when I reconverted to 16 bit. So even here, I'm not really sure I'm benefiting much from having 24 bit recording equipment.
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Offline dallman

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2009, 05:30:54 PM »
I kind of switched the discussion to the MT 24/96 because that's what Dallman has. You are correct that the MT II has a far better mic input, but the MZ-RH1's preamp is so good I suspect it will still give better performance.

The MT II still really needs a preamp to take advantage of its 24 bit capabilities, but if you ever get a preamp you will need to be aware of the much discussed sprinkler noise problem when going line in with unbalanced sources and take steps to avoid it. This entails either
1) Turning the MT II's gain to the minimum and getting all gain from the preamp or
2) Ordering the following cable from Sound Pros to connect your preamp (and be sure to specify you want the one for the MT II). http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/item/SP-MICROTRACK-MINI-TRS-1

That said, if you feel more comfortable going mic in with your MT II, you will probably get an excellent recording as well. But you won't really be benefiting from 24 bit, and the MZ-RH1 is far easier to operate inconspicuously if needed. I just think using the MZ-RH1 will be safer, easier to do, and will produce a recording that is at least as good (if not better) than you get from the MT II. Just my option, but many who have contributed to this thread (Dallman excepted) seem to agree with me.

You make a good point!! I have not played with Hi MD, so I cannot say with any authority that it may or may not be better. I think you are right though, so much is personal choice and getting comfortable with the rig(s) we use. I would not switch my setup, because I am so comfortable and at ease with it. And of course the recordings are really very good. This is not to say that, I'll never upgrade, but that comfort and ease of use really helps for consistently good recordings.
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Offline dallman

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2009, 05:34:29 PM »
Other than a greater dynamic range, what is the advantage of 24 bit over 16 bit?  I cannot think of any.  The bits just describe the length of the word used in recording.  16 bits = ~ 96dB and 24 bits = ~144dB.  The 24 bit dB I think is more a possibility than a reality.  What am I missing?
Sonic quality. 24 bit has much greater sonic quality. The difference is startling to me. I wish it were not, because when I used to record 16 bit I had that many less steps. But once I tried 24 bit, there was no way I could go back. This is not to say I cannot get a great 16 bit recording, but all things being equal, the 24 bit recording his more color and tone. It sounds better.
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Offline illconditioned

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2009, 07:21:18 PM »
I can hear a huge difference. I only use my MT for low pro situations, and the 24 bit is noticably superior to the 16 bit. Personal choice I guess, but I could never go back to an MD.

Sure it's a matter of personal choice and I admit the MT is capable of making excellent recordings, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. You are comparing the MT to Hi-MD aren't you? If you hear a huge difference and are not using a preamp with your MT recordings, it would appear that there may be something going wrong with your MD recordings. IMO, at best, the 24 bit MT recordings (made without an external preamp) should sound about the same as the Hi-MD recordings and no way should they sound way better.

Plus as an added bonus the MZ-RH1 is way easier to use inconspicuously. You can put it in your shirt pocket and just look down into your pocket to check levels.
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Offline fmaderjr

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2009, 07:37:31 PM »
Dallman: I guess we have a truce!

I'm not saying 24 bit isn't better than 16 bit. I'm not that knowledgeable technically, but from reading some studies made by others (especially on guysonic's Sonic Studios website) I understand that many of the small 24 bit recorders are not getting much benefit from their 24 bit mode when using their own internal preamps. He feels that most of their internal  preamps are of good enough quality to make excellent 16 bit recordings, but not good enough to get much or any added benefit from 24 bit.

I've made a few excellent recordings with a ST-9100 preamp into a MT 24/96 in 24 bit mode, which should be taking advantage of 24 bit and even then I'm not sure I could detect an audible difference between recordings made with the same preamp into my MZ-RH1. The MZ-RH1 truly is capable of making excellent recordings and is much easier to use inconspicuously than either of the MT's. Even its HI SP mode (about 8 hours on a 1 gig disc) sounds pretty much indistinguishable from its PCM (wave) mode and can come in handy if its going to be hard to change discs.
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Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2009, 11:55:42 PM »
Quote
Sonic quality. 24 bit has much greater sonic quality. The difference is startling to me. I wish it were not, because when I used to record 16 bit I had that many less steps. But once I tried 24 bit, there was no way I could go back. This is not to say I cannot get a great 16 bit recording, but all things being equal, the 24 bit recording his more color and tone. It sounds better.
I'm afraid you can't put that (more colour and tone) down to the number of bits used.  There must be some other factor involved in the comparison.

A 16 bit recording and a 24 bit recording are the same until you start dealing with levels of less than -96dB (off the top of my head).  Then the 16 bit recording runs out of bits but the 24 bit recording carries on down to -144dB (again, off the top of my head).  Don't make the mistake of thinking that 24 bits gives you more measurement of the audio across the same extent as 16 bits and it's therefore 'more accurate because the intervals are smaller'.  Imagine you have a 16 bit ruler and a 24 bit ruler - the 24 bit ruler is longer, with the notional graduations the same space apart as the 16 bit ruler (though the graduations have a log base just to make things more complicated).

In practice this means that if your preamp has a range between noise and overload greater than 96dB, then you will need 24 bits fully to capture that range.  However, bear in mind that at the bottom of that range, you'd better be listening in a very quiet environment to hear it - even with most headphones.  More usefully, you can record in 24 bits so that the highest peaks going into the A to D converter never go over about (say) -12dB (or much less in fact), and you'll still be able to convert it back to analog without losing the low level information which will be stored in the part of the bit range than 16 bits doesn't have.  That still doesn't absolve you from considering the signal to noise ration of the analog stages of the system - if, in order to record at those lower levels, you are under-running your preamp and its design is such that it's not working at its optimum signal to noise level, you could end up with a worse result.

As always therefore you have to have a broad grasp of the theory - then throw away the rule book and listen with your ears.  (Heh, but don't let your ears tell you something that the rule book says is impossible!)
« Last Edit: January 18, 2009, 11:58:29 PM by Ozpeter »

Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2009, 12:08:57 AM »
Anyone wanting to delve deeper into a discussion about bit depth and sample rate which explores and explodes several digital audio myths might wish to download a couple of handy pdfs I made from Harmony Central discussions some time ago - see http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/22/1451533/Bits%20and%20samples%201.pdf and http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/9/22/1451533/Bits%20and%20samples%202.pdf

It's worth churning through that stuff before repeating the discussions here!  :)

Offline fmaderjr

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2009, 06:19:19 AM »
In practice this means that if your preamp has a range between noise and overload greater than 96dB, then you will need 24 bits fully to capture that range.  However, bear in mind that at the bottom of that range, you'd better be listening in a very quiet environment to hear it - even with most headphones.  More usefully, you can record in 24 bits so that the highest peaks going into the A to D converter never go over about (say) -12dB (or much less in fact), and you'll still be able to convert it back to analog without losing the low level information which will be stored in the part of the bit range than 16 bits doesn't have. 

Ozpeter-Does this mean that even if your preamp doesn't have the 96 dB range you mention, you still benefit from recording in 24 bit because of the benefits of being able to record at a lower level and being able to convert back to analog without losing some of the low level information it was able to capture? This would be great to know. I always assumed that if the preamp wasn't up to the 96 dB range it was just a waste of space to record in 24 bit.
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Offline Ozpeter

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2009, 06:37:12 AM »
Well, in theory yes, recording in 24 bit at a lowish level (aiming say for -12 max) does always have the advantage of avoiding digital overloads regardless of the source.  Again, I'm wary of generalising as to the overall benefit - think through the gain staging of your particular setup and see if you can do some tests to show what benefit there might be.  Remember you are looking for overall noise performance, not some kind of magical improvement in the sound itself.  But the tradeoff is file size being that much larger.  That may or may not be significant for you.

Personally I use 16 bits and come away with a deep sense of satisfaction if the recording peaked to around -0.5dB overall - living dangerously keeps me awake in tedious concerts!

Offline fmaderjr

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2009, 08:10:33 AM »
Personally I use 16 bits and come away with a deep sense of satisfaction if the recording peaked to around -0.5dB overall - living dangerously keeps me awake in tedious concerts!

Sounds like you're a bit of a gambler. Any success in the casinos as well as the concert halls?

But seriously, many thanks for the input, ozpeter! I didn't realize there was a benefit of recording in 24 bit even if using the internal preamp of a handheld digital recorder that does not have the 96 dB range.

I like the sound of 16 bit as well (many of my best recordings were made with my MZ-RH1) but I alway use a preamp & 24 bit anyway when it is possible to do so. I don't like to gamble (love poker but stopped playing on line when I stopped winning and started to give back my winnings) so I guess from now on I'll set my R-09 Micsketeer to 24 bit.
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Offline dallman

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Re: Microtrack II 1/8 mic in VS Sony RH1 line in
« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2009, 11:40:26 AM »
I don't have a lot of science on hand to back me up or not, but I do know that in 2007 when I was at 10klf, a friend (who shall be nameless) switched my settings on my MT, which I was using for alternate sets. I recorded Little Feat, and was astounded at how much better my recording sounded than anything I had previously recorded with the setup. I had no idea why at the time. I later found out that my settings had been switched to 24 bit while I was away at another stage. It was still on 44.1, but sounded fantastic. To me the recording had much more depth. That started me experimenting and now I record on both my Tascam and MT at 24/48. I don't hear any difference at 96 over 48, and 96 does take up alot of space. (I'm not saying there is no difference, I just don't hear it)

I cannot tell you who makes good recordings or how to do that. It is something you learn. I also cannot tell you what makes one recording better than another when they are both excellent to begin with. I can tell you that when I record at 24 bit, I get a better recording. It is not a clipping issue with me, I rarely have a problem with clipping. Maybe I am not able to correctly quantify what the difference is, but there is a noticable difference to my aged ears.

The really cool thing though is that it does not take much to make a good recording. We've come a mighty long way since I made my first aud. recording... ;D 8) ;D
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