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Author Topic: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording  (Read 1971 times)

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Offline cmstewart

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2018, 10:18:29 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.

Okay cool. I just see a lot of people exporting from wavelab (or other programs) as WAV then using CD Wave to convert. I guess maybe Wavelab can't export FLAC, or it can't divide up the tracks? I don't have it so I'm clueless as to why. Thank you!

Offline jefflester

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2018, 10:59:43 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.

Okay cool. I just see a lot of people exporting from wavelab (or other programs) as WAV then using CD Wave to convert. I guess maybe Wavelab can't export FLAC, or it can't divide up the tracks? I don't have it so I'm clueless as to why. Thank you!
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Offline cmstewart

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2018, 11:44:51 PM »

Now you get to learn about SBEs. :-)



Hmmmmmm......... you stumped me.   :facepalm:

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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2018, 09:39:28 AM »
This is advanced stuff, but your ear for it is already there as is your predilections, so I'll jump right into it-

Perhaps the biggest realization I've had which affects how I think about live music recording, how I go about doing it these days, and which has dramatically improved the listening experience of the recordings more than anything else is the use of separate microphones, microphone pairs, or different portions of a single multichannel array to record different aspects of the sound, and then combining those things afterwards to form a well balanced recording where each aspect is well optimized.   This approach eliminates a number of compromises always inherent in using a single stereo pair, while introducing a loads of control over getting each aspect of the recording balanced and sounding its best.

Your current setup using two stereo microphones is essentially providing you the ability to split the job into two separate but overlapping parts- Gathering clear, direct, detailed sound from the rather distant stage and PA via the M/S shotgun, and gathering ambient, immersive, reverberant sound arriving from all directions around you via the Beyerdynamic 120 degree X/Y microphone.  I like spaced omnis for that second role because they are optimally suited for recording and conveying a diffuse, reverberant, immersive sound, and also because they are sort of the polar-opposite of a coincident stereo setup such as your M/S Shotgun, which helps with the "focused on different aspects without too much conflicting overlap" thing.  In addition, the spacing used between the omnis places them far enough away from your center shotgun that mixing problems are further minimized.

But you don't have to use spaced omnis.  I love them but they are not always practical to run, mostly due to the spacing required.  I'll follow this post with a couple suggestions you might try with your current setup if you'd like to do some experimentation, and the first you can try with your existing Counting Crows recording.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2018, 10:42:01 AM »
Okay, here's a couple suggestions you might try with your current setup-

1) You can use a pair of Mid/Side encode/decoders to change the effective stereo width of the 120 degree X/Y Beyer microphone, essentially making the inclusive angle narrower or wider than 120 degrees.  To do so with two Mid/Side instances, you'd first convert the Left/Right stereo signal back to Mid/Side, make the adjustment to the M/S ratio, then convert back to L/R again.  Or you can use a stereo-width adjustment tool which is basically doing the same in a single step.

My suggestion is to play with making the Beyer mic contribution wider than 120 degrees.  On its own that will probably sound less focused and more reverberant (not what you'd want if making the recording using that microphone alone), but in combination with the center shotgun that will give you greater differentiation between front focus and immersive width.  You'll probably want to readjust the M/S ratio of the stereo shotgun, likely making it a tad wider, to get the best blend and to get a bit more of the sharp coincident imaging across the front.

If you want to play around with taking the mixing to the next level using EQ, you already have lots of additional options available to you with this arrangement.  Besides general EQ of the resulting stereo mixdown, you can EQ each pair separately, making each sound its best for the sonic attributes it is contributing.  You can EQ the center shotgun for clarity and the X/Y ambient pair for smooth naturalness, or whatever works best.  You can even push that a bit, trying different curves which compensate one pair against the other such that the overall EQ remains the same, but the emphasis within the overall sonic scene is altered one way or another.  Each pair listened to in isolation may sound less than optimal that way, but it balances out when combined.  Best to start with simply making each pair sound best on its own in isolation prior to combining them, before going to far with those kinds of compensating EQs.

You can go deeper than that, and play with EQing the Mid and Side signals of each pair differently.  This provides control over the stereo width of each pair by frequency range.  Say you boost the low frequencies of the Side signal while reducing the same frequencies in the Mid signal by the same amount.  The L/R stereo output will have the same overall EQ balance as before, but the stereo width at low frequencies will be widened while the stereo width at mid and high frequencies remains unchanged.  This technique is powerful and can be applied to to any stereo recording by converting it to Mid/Side and back as described above.

2) Try pointing your Beyer X/Y microphone backwards instead of forwards.  This sounds crazy but its really a further extension of making the ambient collection portion more differentiated from the front focused part.  It is also likely to make the ambient portion sound wider and more immersive and will provide additional control over the direct/reverberant balance of the recording by adjusting the relative levels of the two.  As above you may want to use a bit more stereo width from the M/S stereo shotgun in combination with doing this, but perhaps not.  Best to decide that kind of thing by listening as those choices will vary given the recording situation.  Note that you'll want to route the Left channel to Right and Right channel to Left if pointing your Beyer stereo microphone backwards, or probably easier to simply rotate the microphone so that it is upside down when pointing backwards so that the Left capsule side is still pointing Left, and vice-versa.


Other things to try with all this in mind-
If you have a pair of cardioids and want to try using them instead of the Beyer X/Y mic for the ambient portion of the recording, try using those near-spaced (easier to setup than wider spaced omnis) but pointed 180 degrees away from each other to each side instead of forward.  Again, probably not what you'd want if using that pair alone, but more optimal for combination with the forward facing stereo shotgun.  Push them apart as wide as is practical for a single stand and whatever mic bar you are using.  A good target would be twice the width of a standard near-spaced arrangement if you can manage that.  With regards to the microphones forming a single multichannel stereo array, think of the of the center shotgun and each cardioid as forming adjacent near-spaced pairs with a 90 degrees inclusive angle, which is why twice the spacing of a standard near-spaced cardioid pair is probably a good starting point if you can manage that.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2018, 10:51:56 AM »
As I mentioned in my earlier post, your current setup using two stereo microphones is essentially providing you the ability to split the job into two separate but overlapping parts.  That in turn provides more degrees of freedom in manipulating the resulting recording which you can choose to take advantage of or not.  I run an array of 6 microphones which essentially splits the job into four separate but overlapping parts and I generally balance level and EQ between those parts to build the resulting recording.  I'm still at the mercy of the venue acoustics, audience, sound guy, and band, but I maximize my options this way given the hand I'm dealt.  It's a lot of fun to play around with afterwards, and I have very much enjoyed the learning and experimentation process in getting to this point.

I hope all this is all more helpful than overwhelming.  You certainly don't need to do any of this stuff and I mostly wanted to outline possibilities which are open to you.  Even though my way is not the way most folks approach recording, it's rewarding for me to share these insights and discuss them at TS, in the hope that it may help others along their own path.  Welcome aboard!
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Offline cmstewart

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2018, 03:49:02 PM »
I hope all this is all more helpful than overwhelming.  You certainly don't need to do any of this stuff and I mostly wanted to outline possibilities which are open to you.  Even though my way is not the way most folks approach recording, it's rewarding for me to share these insights and discuss them at TS, in the hope that it may help others along their own path.  Welcome aboard!

I would say about 80% of that I have a good grip on. I'm relatively new to taping, but from what you said it sounds like this sort of setup isn't common or conventional, which I kinda like. It's part of the fun of doing something to find what "you" like, and as long as it works for what you want there's no reason not to build on it. The Zoom H5 can record the M/S shotgun in "raw", which means it's just placing both mics on different L/R channels so you can adjust them separately after recording, and then matrix them with another program. I didn't do that this time because A) I've never used a program that does that and B) I wanted to monitor the M/S already mixed into one stereo track while it was recording, so I could get a feel for how the actual recording sounded. But if I did have them in raw, I can see a lot of benefits of being able to manipulate both tracks independently to compliment the other.

It's interesting you mentioned turning the Beyerdynamic backwards, because the first time i heard that mic someone used it for voiceover, with a mono mic pointed at them and the Beyer turned around to pick up ambiance of their voice. It sounded really good, just gave a slight stereo-feel to it. I'm sure doing that would allow me to (as you said) increase the side mic on the shotgun since they would overlap less.

When I listened to the whole show through, I was blown away cause I didn't expect it to sound as great as it did. Since it already sounded great, I'm hesitant to manipulate it much with EQ unless something specifically sticks out, which in a few instances has happened. I just don't have a great grip on how to analyze a track to see what's out of balance, and how specifically to correct that problem once you do pinpoint it. So I tend to just want to leave it uncolored as much as I can. Maybe over time I'll begin to understand all that better and can utilize it. I mainly just like using my ears, but that means when I tweak the EQ I'm just taking shots in the dark, then listening to see if it helped or not. Maybe that's how most do it? But I'm sure there's more of a science to it than that.

I've never used an Omni for anything I don't think. So I'm curious how different that would sound. I think the part that's kind stumped me is the encoder/decoder you mentioned to make the Beyerdynamic wider or narrower than 120 degrees. I didn't know I could do that! I also find it interesting that you use 6 mics in your setup. I'd have to upgrade to a recorder with more inputs to be that ambitious, the H5 only has 2 in addition to the built-in capsule. I may see if I can get my hands on a couple omnis and run some experiments to hear the difference they make. Thanks so much for the welcome! And I really appreciate all the input!

Offline cmstewart

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2018, 03:54:25 PM »
It's a CD burning thing:

http://www.audiofile-engineering.com/support/helpdesk/index.php?pg=forums.posts&id=7984

That is a really interesting article. Since I recorded in 24-bit, I'm curious.... is there a preferred way to convert it to 16-bit for burning?

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2018, 06:49:49 PM »
..it sounds like this sort of setup isn't common or conventional, which I kinda like. It's part of the fun of doing something to find what "you" like, and as long as it works for what you want there's no reason not to build on it.

Contrary to the way most tapers are doing it.  Most are pointing a near-spaced stereo pair of microphones at the stage/PA, making relatively basic variations on that, using mics with different polar patterns and making minor (though important) setup variations of microphone angle and spacing.  If running multiple microphones and mixing them, it's usually two or more of those near-spaced stereo pairs pointing at the PA, maybe a pair of somewhat wider-spaced omnis.  Or one near-spaced stereo pair mixed with a soundboard recording. Some run an X/Y or Mid/Side pair, but few seem to be mixing those with other mics (other than a soundboard feed if available).   I understand why folks do that, they like the sound of near-spaced stereo configs (as do I).  The problem is that a near-spaced config represents an optimized 2-microphone setup.  Mixing in more microphones or other pairs does not tend to make that more optimal, and frequently makes it less so. There are ways of making optimized multimicrophone stereo recordings which are designed so as to mix correclty, but that generally requires abandoning the optimized near-spaced stereo configurations that are most popular, and most tapers don't wish to take that leap.

Quote
The Zoom H5 can record the M/S shotgun in "raw", which means it's just placing both mics on different L/R channels so you can adjust them separately after recording, and then matrix them with another program. I didn't do that this time because A) I've never used a program that does that and B) I wanted to monitor the M/S already mixed into one stereo track while it was recording, so I could get a feel for how the actual recording sounded. But if I did have them in raw, I can see a lot of benefits of being able to manipulate both tracks independently to compliment the other.

Not sure of the H5, but many/most? recorders which feature a M/S function allow you to switch on the M/S>L/R function for monitoring (and playback) while recording the Mid and Side channel signals in their non-encoded state.  That's intended for doing exactly what you want- monitoring L/R while recording M/S.

Quote
When I listened to the whole show through, I was blown away cause I didn't expect it to sound as great as it did. Since it already sounded great, I'm hesitant to manipulate it much with EQ unless something specifically sticks out, which in a few instances has happened. I just don't have a great grip on how to analyze a track to see what's out of balance, and how specifically to correct that problem once you do pinpoint it. So I tend to just want to leave it uncolored as much as I can. Maybe over time I'll begin to understand all that better and can utilize it. I mainly just like using my ears, but that means when I tweak the EQ I'm just taking shots in the dark, then listening to see if it helped or not. Maybe that's how most do it? But I'm sure there's more of a science to it than that.

If it sounds good it is good.  No need to mess with it, except if you want to play around with things in order to learn what's going on and further hone your ear and audio manipulation skills and get a better handle on what's going on such that you can use that to inform further variations on your recording technique.  And that's a good reason for me.

Quote
I think the part that's kind stumped me is the encoder/decoder you mentioned to make the Beyerdynamic wider or narrower than 120 degrees. I didn't know I could do that!

You can do this with any stereo recording!  It's a powerful mastering technique to convert L/R to M/S, then adjust the stereo width or do other things to the Center versus the Sides, and then convert back to L/R again.  It's least problematic to do so with a coincident stereo recording where there are no phase differences between channels, but it can still be done with near-spaced directional mic and wide-spaced omni recordings, if with a somewhat more narrow range of useful readjustment.

Quote
I've never used an Omni for anything I don't think. So I'm curious how different that would sound. I also find it interesting that you use 6 mics in your setup. I'd have to upgrade to a recorder with more inputs to be that ambitious, the H5 only has 2 in addition to the built-in capsule. I may see if I can get my hands on a couple omnis and run some experiments to hear the difference they make. Thanks so much for the welcome! And I really appreciate all the input!

I love omnis, they are the most-basic pattern, the least wind and handling noise sensitive, usually more natural sounding, and relatively less complicated to manufacture - so in general less costly omnis tend to sound better than similarly less costly directional microphones.  But they'll pretty much pickup everything around them in that natural way, which can be both good and bad, depending.  They can make for a more natural "you are there" sounding recording, and perhaps not surprisingly that can sound less detailed, close and intimate given a distant recording position.  For me they are the basis upon which I build the recording I want to hear via a mindful addition of other directional microphones.  Below is a link to a long-running thread which more-or-less blogs my path over the past 12 years from a single pair of spaced omnis to the multichannel arrays I'm currently using.  It's called the Oddball Microphone Techniques Thread for good reason, and suspect that may connect with your inherent preference for non-convention. https://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=96009.0
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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2018, 06:54:03 PM »
It's a CD burning thing:

http://www.audiofile-engineering.com/support/helpdesk/index.php?pg=forums.posts&id=7984

That is a really interesting article. Since I recorded in 24-bit, I'm curious.... is there a preferred way to convert it to 16-bit for burning?

Apply dither when reducing bit-depth.  Doesn't need to be fancy noise-shaped dither, basic "triangular dither" works fine and is what I use.  Most modern editing programs will automatically dither when outputting to a lower bit-depth file, just check setup.  This should be your last processing step, other than maybe tracking (and tagging).
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Offline cmstewart

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2018, 06:47:41 PM »
Hey guys, I've edited the tracks in Audacity and am pleased with where it's at (I have both recordings in Audacity in full right now). So, I'm wondering the most efficient/effective way to track it (split the songs up). I've seen some people use Audacity for tracking. Some CD Wave. And others of course. In addition, I'm wondering why most people track it first, then convert to flac later. You can export from Audacity in Flac so I'm wondering if there's a reason to export in Wav then convert later? I haven't used CD Wave or any other program besides audacity, so if you have a suggestion for me with one of the others I may need a little help figuring it out. I appreciate all of yall's help so far.

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2018, 07:29:44 PM »
Hey guys, I've edited the tracks in Audacity and am pleased with where it's at (I have both recordings in Audacity in full right now). So, I'm wondering the most efficient/effective way to track it (split the songs up). I've seen some people use Audacity for tracking. Some CD Wave. And others of course. In addition, I'm wondering why most people track it first, then convert to flac later. You can export from Audacity in Flac so I'm wondering if there's a reason to export in Wav then convert later? I haven't used CD Wave or any other program besides audacity, so if you have a suggestion for me with one of the others I may need a little help figuring it out. I appreciate all of yall's help so far.


I used to actually "split" tracks in Audacity but then I found out about using Ctrl-B (Command-B on mac) to add "Break" points, so you can Export Multiple with those.


If you want to be CD compatible to the max, Audacity will let you snap to Hours/Minutes/Seconds + CDDA Frames (75 fps.) You can change the time units on the bottom of the window to that. There are meters for Selection Start, End/Length, and Audio Position. Each of those has a little downward-pointing triangle which will let you pick what time units to Snap To when you turn that on. Be sure to do this BEFORE you add track points with Ctrl-B or if you split the tracks.


I tried to get Audacity to export FLAC files, but it made a mess of the tags, so I had to use my favorite utility (xACT for mac) to fix stuff anyhow. Be sure to set Audacity's parameters when you export so you get the word length and file type you intend.
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Offline cmstewart

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2018, 10:25:46 PM »

I used to actually "split" tracks in Audacity but then I found out about using Ctrl-B (Command-B on mac) to add "Break" points, so you can Export Multiple with those.


If you want to be CD compatible to the max, Audacity will let you snap to Hours/Minutes/Seconds + CDDA Frames (75 fps.) You can change the time units on the bottom of the window to that. There are meters for Selection Start, End/Length, and Audio Position. Each of those has a little downward-pointing triangle which will let you pick what time units to Snap To when you turn that on. Be sure to do this BEFORE you add track points with Ctrl-B or if you split the tracks.


I tried to get Audacity to export FLAC files, but it made a mess of the tags, so I had to use my favorite utility (xACT for mac) to fix stuff anyhow. Be sure to set Audacity's parameters when you export so you get the word length and file type you intend.

Huh... I never knew about the Ctrl-B command either. I just worked around with it and I see what you're talking about. So I'll just position the labels for each track, then export multiple. It seems there may be a way to make a cue sheet (I googled it a bit - Audacity lets you "export labels" in a text file, and then you can convert the txt file to a cue sheet if you want to track the source file again later on).

I haven't had many issues with the tags/metadata getting screwed up. I also use Mp3tag with most of my stuff anyway, so I can use that if need be to add/edit the tags afterward. Just have to try it and see what happens.

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Re: Advice on Using a Zoom H5 for AUD recording
« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2018, 11:40:12 PM »
I haven't had many issues with the tags/metadata getting screwed up.


I think it does things "right," but I don't work with the same work flow it expects. I often keep the audio from before and after the part I want to share, but I don't want it numbered in the scheme of the tracks I'll share.


Letting audacity number tracks before I have had a chance to cull the intros and set break gaps doesn't help me. I have to rename tracks later anyhow...


Yeah the EXPORT LABELS feature is handy. I save it as info.txt and then search and replace the digits and tabs (with nothing) so I generate my track list, without having to ever type titles twice.
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