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Author Topic: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording  (Read 2896 times)

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Offline cmstewart

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Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« on: July 18, 2018, 03:56:18 PM »
I'm new here! And I'm also a first-timer with recording concerts (so bear with me if you can). I have a Zoom H5 with the SSH-6 mid-side pattern stereo shotgun mic capsule. I also have a Beyerdynamic MCE72 Stereo shotgun mic (crossed pair pattern mic). Both mics in the zoom will be recorded on separate stereo tracks, so I will essentially be making 2 recordings. I have a compact handheld mount (with shockmounts for each mic) to carry it all, and may use a tripod if i can get one before Sunday. These are all recent additions, so I'm still figuring out what else would be necessary (preamps? attenuators? etc.) to make a great recording.

It's a Counting Crows show at the Woodlands Pavilion. My seat is about 13 degrees off-center toward the back of the front/middle section. Pretty nice distance in my (inexperienced) opinion. Does anyone have any advice on Zoom's settings at a live show (limiter/compressors for instance) that have helped you? The great news is that CC allows pretty much anything at their shows. So i don't have to be sneaky. Given that I have that freedom, I feel I need to ask experts in order to make the most of it.  8) I'll also be mounting my V20 phone to video the concert, but my priority is the audio. And I'd love to have it turn out great. I'm willing to learn as much as I can.

Offline cmstewart

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2018, 07:55:34 PM »
Well.... I tried!!!!!!

Offline seethreepo

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2018, 08:00:59 PM »
While I don't have first hand experience with your exact equipment , I highly recommend practicing on a local bar band (to estimate levels) get used to starting and stopping the deck etc.
Bring Extra batteries
 you might want to read this thread since it covers "shotgun" mics  which in many opinions are not idea for what we do but YMMV.   http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=186891.0

If your gear has a "line in" it might be advisable to use that  to avoid brickwalling or "distortion. 
lastly you might inquire with the venue before hand to see if they will allow a mic stand  (tripod, lighting stand)  , print a copy of the CC' taping policy if there is one otherwise you might get denied at the door. 

having taped a ton of bands (some which allow it some who dont) , Its best to clear things ahead of time  rather than assume. People sometimes have isses taping the Grateful dead and they invented audience taping !   also show up early to have a buffer to overcome any hassles at the door.  Tapers to venues are not normal customers.  (we are a nuisance to some and Verboten to others.)   

I'm sure others will chime in  as we are mostly a helpful bunch  :)

best of luck
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Offline Fatah Ruark (aka MIKE B)

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2018, 10:07:56 PM »
For levels I'll start with the pre-show music at about -30 db. Likely this will be a little low when the band comes on, but it's better to have your levels a little low, than a little high.

I'm usually happy with peaks somewhere between -12 and -6.

CC don't have a huge taper following so it's likely that you will get denied at the door. Be polite and ask if they can double check with the bands MGT. Also get there early so you have plenty of time to have them check. I was at a shot last week (open taping band). Took about 30 minutes of waiting to get let in.
-24      -12              -6             0       OVER
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Offline cmstewart

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2018, 08:16:24 PM »
As for the taping policy/venue issue -- I already emailed Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Thursday and got written approval of the use of recorders, mic, tripods, and video cameras. I'll be carrying that email with me when I go. So, being denied is still possible but I will remain confident. Thanks for the heads up though, hopefully I won't have too many troubles. I'm more worried about where/how I'll set up, where I don't feel like I'm in other people's way!

As for the use of shotguns, I don't really have a choice as it's all I have, and I'm just doing this for the fun and enjoyment of the music, not to be a professional. At the same time, I'm willing to learn and do it the best I can with what I have. I just got the H5 so I'm a novice, but I've run a lot of tests to get a feel for it in the last 3 or 4 days. It's hard for me to simulate the volume of a live show though in my apartment (without getting the cops called at least).

After reading the first page of that thread you linked.... it seems my gear may not be a terrible idea? (perhaps not ideal still). One suggestion seemed to be a M/S pattern shotgun mic configuration in the center, with 2 spaced out omnis on the L and R. Now, I did make one small mistake - the Beyerdynamic MCE72 is actually (although shaped like a shotgun) simply a stereo condenser mic set in a crossed pair pattern at a 120 degree angle. My mistake. But my other shotgun is a stereo M/S pattern shotgun. So I'm hoping those with the right spacing can get a nice L/C/R type of recording?

The H5 does have a line in, but using it cancels out the M/S mic capsule. And I'd need to get the correct cable for the other mic (with a 3.5mm plug) to plug that into it. So I'll have to use the XLR inputs tomorrow. I definitely don't want any brickwalling. I'll start with the levels low and work up to what sounds best to my ears. What height range on a tripod (for a large outdoor pavilion) would you guys think is ideal? I may not have the room for the "ideal", but I'm just looking for general ideas/standards to work from. :)

Thank you guys for all the input.

Offline jefflester

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2018, 11:02:54 PM »
What height range on a tripod (for a large outdoor pavilion) would you guys think is ideal? I may not have the room for the "ideal", but I'm just looking for general ideas/standards to work from. :)
You pretty much want to get the tripod as high as you can, but people behind might complain and you might get forced to bring it down to head height.
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Offline restevezes

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2018, 06:48:45 AM »
+1 to the practising tip. It is by far the best source for learning. reading forums is necessary but without practising you will not make any progress. (would you read about how to have sex???  ;D)


Go and tape couple of random bands in a loud environment.
Experiment with different settings, configurations, and write them down somewhere.
Listen at home and try to figure out differences when you changed things and learn why this happened
Then come here asking for any potential questions you might have, and start again. After few rounds of practising you should be ready to go
never go to your wanted show without trying first!

Offline cmstewart

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2018, 03:28:17 PM »
+1 to the practising tip. It is by far the best source for learning. reading forums is necessary but without practising you will not make any progress. (would you read about how to have sex???  ;D)


Go and tape couple of random bands in a loud environment.
Experiment with different settings, configurations, and write them down somewhere.
Listen at home and try to figure out differences when you changed things and learn why this happened
Then come here asking for any potential questions you might have, and start again. After few rounds of practising you should be ready to go
never go to your wanted show without trying first!

Haha well that's obvious. I'm not asking to make me an expert, unfortunately CC plays tonight and I just got the idea a couple weeks ago. So I don't care if I suck, I just like having tips to build on. it's better than walking into something blind right? I really don't care, it's fun. I want to enjoy it. I thought that was the purpose. Since Live plays first I'll get about an hour to test things with them before CC goes on stage. Next year they come around I'll have more experience. Thanks.

Offline cmstewart

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2018, 09:11:46 PM »
Well - to my ears this recording came out really great, especially for a first attempt. As I mentioned before, I used 2 stereo mics so I have two separate stereo recordings. When I played it back to listen thru, I was listening to both simultaneously. Now I need to blend the two into a single recording... and "master" it? This is an area I'm less experienced with. Would anyone be willing to help guide me through what's necessary (or link me to something with advice)? I'll be searching around the site for advice already here.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2018, 11:26:04 PM by cmstewart »

Offline goodcooker

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2018, 09:55:25 AM »
Well - to my ears this recording came out really great, especially for a first attempt. As I mentioned before, I used 2 stereo mics so I have two separate stereo recordings. When I played it back to listen thru, I was listening to both simultaneously. Now I need to blend the two into a single recording... and "master" it? This is an area I'm less experienced with. Would anyone be willing to help guide me through what's necessary (or link me to something with advice)? I'll be searching around the site for advice already here.

I would seriously consider choosing one stereo recording or the other. Two stereo shotgun recordings are not likely to benefit from being mixed together. It might - and I haven't heard them - but for your first go at it I would just pick one and work on it.

My workflow for "mastering" a stereo recording is -

1. Import file into audio editor (I use Wavelab6) - reduce any unwanted peaks using gain adjustment tool, increase overall gain of file to -.1dB, make any EQ adjustments (I often will remove some lowest bass frequencies) and add any dynamics processing. Add fades if you want them. Export as a .wav file.

2. Use CD Wave Editor to cut the .wav file into individual tracks. I remove long periods of non musical between song bits at this point. I create my info text file at this time with source info, notes and setlist and save it in a folder where I place the FLACS for uploading.

3. Convert files to FLAC - CD Wave Editor does this along with other program like Trader's Little Helper.

4 Upload to LMA and add FLAC files to my tablet so I can jam out in the car - all done! :guitarist:
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Offline cmstewart

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2018, 04:31:57 PM »
Thanks Goodcooker. Just to clarify... it's not 2 shotgun mics. There's only one. The other is a stereo condenser. I'll let you hear it when I'm through, but there does seem to be a benefit as it's made a L/C/R recording. I lowered the figure 8 (the side mic on the M/S shotgun) down a bit to keep relatively center. The stereo condenser is more wide sounding... much more distant and more crowd noise. The shotgun is far more focused on the band, more mono-sounding, and less crowd noise. Matrixed it has the detail of the shotgun and the openness of the condensers and keeps the band cutting through in the middle. Just my opinion but I like it.

*The thing I personally love about it is it sounds SO MUCH like it really did at the Pavilion. I really love the venue, and when I listen to it the ambience around the band, when I hear it play, I can visually see what I really saw being there. Real clean, the band sounds crisp, and it brings me back to that night when I listen. So maybe I'm selfish mixing this how I like it?  :shrug: but it is what it is!

Neither really clipped at all but I know if mixed down to one they will at points, so I'll just decrease the level of each and experiment with how much to keep it below 0, adjusting  peaks like you said.

Is Wavelab free? I thought it was only for purchase. I have used audacity, but I have a question about that (if you are familiar). I recorded at 24-bit 48khz. When exporting as WAV, it wants to export as 16-bit. But I can export as 24-bit FLAC. What's the benefit of exporting in WAV then using another program to convert to FLAC. Is CD Wave Editor better at doing it? Cause I can also add fades and track it with Audacity. But maybe there's a quality improvement by using Wavelab or some other programs? I don't really plan on using any EQ, no frequencies stick out and I'd like to keep it pure if I can.

What is LMA? Just FYI - I'm a devoted member at Crows-Town and will also be sharing a download link there as well. I'm a brand new taper, but have collected boots for years. We have a database of hundreds of CC boots if you ever want more. Hope you got a great sound system in your car  ;D
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 05:21:32 PM by cmstewart »

Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2018, 05:21:57 PM »
I have used audacity, but I have a question about that (if you are familiar). I recorded at 24-bit 48khz. When exporting as WAV, it wants to export as 16-bit.


You can export from Audacity in 24-bit WAV. You have to select "Custom format" or something like that, then it gives you the option.

Mixing the two sources in Audacity is dirt easy, so if you're familiar with that, I highly recommend it.

And LMA = Live Music Archive = archive.org's music site. It doesn't look like CC is authorized for upload there, though.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2018, 07:25:35 PM »
From your description of your mixing it sounds like you have a handle on things and will move more quickly toward advanced multichannel techniques than most novice tapers do.  Follow your ears.

As goodcooker suggests, its often simplest and least problematic to choose the better of two stereo recordings rather than mixing them together.  Yet if it works and sounds good to you to mix them then there is no reason not to go for it!

The "problematic or not" issue basically boils down to mixing two recordings which weren't made in such a way that they were designed to combine well without problems.  In that case it's pretty much a crap-shoot as to whether mixing them will make things better or worse.  Unfortunately with tapers that's pretty much the general rule rather than the exception - making two stereo recordings each of which makes sense on its own in isolation, yet are sort of haphazardly setup with respect to each other, both attached to the same stand without much thought given to the spacing, angle, directional pattern and other relationships between the two setups other than having both of them point toward the stage.

There are things one can do with regards to microphones and their setup to help make mixing two sources made in close proximity work more successfully more often, if that's what you like doing.  It helps to consider of all the mics you are going to mix together as essentially a single multichannel stereo array, which may or may not consist of two separate stereo recordings which will be combined.

Your description of how you ran the two stereo microphones in one hand-held mount sounds like you are using a mount which essentially places the two stereo mics in close coincidence with each other, and that's one way of avoiding weird mixing problems.  Another is spacing the pairs or some of the microphones far enough apart from each other.  Unfortunately, the more common and oftimes problematic combination is two seperate near-spaced stereo pairs, placed on a stand so as to be near-spaced to each other.  Too many microphones that are neither coincident nor far enough apart from each other, all pointing in about the same direction and picking up the same content = a recipe for conflicts.

..it's made a L/C/R recording. I lowered the figure 8 (the side mic on the M/S shotgun) down a bit to keep relatively center. The stereo condenser is more wide sounding... much more distant and more crowd noise. The shotgun is far more focused on the band, more mono-sounding, and less crowd noise. Matrixed it has the detail of the shotgun and the openness of the condensers and keeps the band cutting through in the middle. Just my opinion but I like it.

*The thing I personally love about it is it sounds SO MUCH like it really did at the Pavilion. I really love the venue, and when I listen to it the ambience around the band, when I hear it play, I can visually see what I really saw being there. Real clean, the band sounds crisp, and it brings me back to that night when I listen. So maybe I'm selfish mixing this how I like it?  :shrug: but it is what it is!

You are already doing things which work in a way similar to what I describe with regards to microphone setup and mixing choices for a multichannel array.  My suggestion in the other thread to use a shotgun in the center between a pair of spaced omnis is a real-world adaptation to the oddity of audience perspective recording. It produces a type of L/C/R type of stereo I think you would really like.  The omnis provide the wide openness, you-are-there-ness, the ambience, while the shotgun provides the direct clarity, detail and focus.  The two parts work together to help each other rather than fight with each other trying to provide the same thing.

Using a Mid/Side shotgun in the center makes this better by allowing adjustment of the Side channel level when mixing.  That essentially does two things- blend the shotgun center more more seamlessly into the open ambient "bed" provided by the spaced omnis; and provide some tight Left/Right coincident imaging across the center of the stereo image.  Typically, just as you describe, you'll use much less Side channel than you would if you were using that Mid/Side shotgun alone.  That's because the omnis are providing most of the width and diffuse stereo interest.  The Mid/Side shotgun then can focus on providing a touch of stereo-ization to the direct sound.   Each pair providing something different enough that they aren't competing but rather help each other.

If you have a pair of cheap miniature omnis give it a try, spacing the omnis as far apart as you are able to.  Shoot for 3-6 feet apart but that's not always doable so just do what you can.

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Offline cmstewart

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2018, 08:13:54 PM »
Thank you Gutbucket for expanding on the L/C/R idea. It was your post that led me to try it, though I feel I was just lucky that that was the equipment I had. I figured, well this seems like the only way to make a shotgun useful, so why not! The big concern I had was that the "side" mic would overlap too much with the L/R condensers and create some phase issues, so I lowered it a few decibels. As far as I can tell though, there's no issues I can hear. What you described about the concept of the whole setup is exactly like I was envisioning. I didn't realize it, but you're right about the side mic helping the shotgun blend in with two condensers. It's really makes it seamless, and the different frequency patterns of each I think help bring out different details that one mic may not have been able to catch. I'm sure I could improve my gear some more though to make it even better.

I love experimenting so if I can get a couple omni's it'd be fun to try. The only issue I see with it is how to get all the mics high enough if they're that spaced out, without picking up too much annoying chatter. When all the mics are nearby, you can just find a nice spot and raise them up to a good level. I only have one tripod for it so I'd need to figure that out. Of course, this also depends on the venue and stuff as well.


You can export from Audacity in 24-bit WAV. You have to select "Custom format" or something like that, then it gives you the option.


You're right, it's called "Other Uncompressed Formats". I've been wondering, what's the benefit of exporting a WAV file and then using another program to convert to FLAC? Is exporting in FLAC doing too much at once? Or are other programs better than Audacity at doing it? Or is it just the "right way" to do it so you have a clear lineage from one step to the next? It's things like this that really expose my inexperience in taping!

Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2018, 09:12:59 PM »

You're right, it's called "Other Uncompressed Formats". I've been wondering, what's the benefit of exporting a WAV file and then using another program to convert to FLAC? Is exporting in FLAC doing too much at once? Or are other programs better than Audacity at doing it? Or is it just the "right way" to do it so you have a clear lineage from one step to the next? It's things like this that really expose my inexperience in taping!

FLAC is lossless, so there's zero reason to save first as WAV and then convert later to FLAC that I can think of.

 

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