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Everything posted by ozpeter

  1. http://taperssection.com/index.php/topic,92069.150.html has user pics and initial comments on the Sony PCM-D50 flash recorder, which might appeal to certain RH-1 users looking for an upgrade path within the Sony family. (Don't read any particular comment from me into the phrase "upgrade path" - I realise that for many of us, nothing will represent "up" from Hi-MD!). The user seems gobsmacked with the mic input quality, so perhaps Sony have put some of their Hi-MD-learned-lessons into that.
  2. They must be using low capacity batteries. I can record for about 10 hours in wave format with mine, line in.
  3. Wavosaur is getting popular. It's a tiny download. "Wavosaur is a free sound editor, audio editor, wav editor software for editing, processing and recording sounds, wav and mp3 files. Wavosaur has all the features to edit audio (cut, copy, paste, etc.) produce music loops, analyze, record, batch convert. Wavosaur supports VST plugins, ASIO driver, multichannel wav files, real time effect processing. The program has no installer and doesn't write in the registry. Use it as a free mp3 editor, for mastering, sound design. The Wavosaur freeware audio editor works on Windows 98, Windows XP and Windows Vista." www.wavosaur.com Personally I use Reaper for most things - www.reaper.fm There are various freeware utilities for joining wave files for editing as one, but if you simply open them in Reaper all on one track, and use "ripple editing" it treats them as a single file anyway.
  4. On the Naiant site at http://www.naiant.com/studiostore/adaptorcables.html there's some adapter cables listed, but not quite what you want - however, if you email Naiant they may perhaps be able to provide exactly what you need if you explain the requirement clearly.
  5. The forum search throws up these previous threads amongst others... http://forums.minidisc.org/index.php?showt...976&hl=zoom http://forums.minidisc.org/index.php?showt...765&hl=zoom http://forums.minidisc.org/index.php?showt...760&hl=zoom http://forums.minidisc.org/index.php?showt...959&hl=zoom
  6. A sample from the H2 studio recording is included in a post at http://www.2090.org/zoom/bbs/viewtopic.php?p=96859#96859
  7. See http://www.studiotrax.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=160 if you haven't already! Most of my thoughts have already been expressed there, I think. Much debate there over the mic preamps - the trim control has most of the gain in the very last part of the scale, but in practice with real music, the "3 o'clock" position or thereabouts is actually fine, at least with my mics. The Orchestral sample on the Naiant mics site was recorded with a D888 through its own preamps.
  8. I tested mine in a recording studio last night (while doing the proper recording on very fancy gear!) - just stuck it on a mic stand between three singers and a piano, set it recording on M100 without checking the levels, 4 channel mode with the rear pair facing the piano and the front pair facing the singers, and got a result which with a bit of postproduction in the way of compression, eq, reverb, and balancing and image-manipulating the two stereo files, would be perfectly acceptable as a demo or even for radio broadcast. Up to a point, the original quality is not that important so long as it's within range of being post-produced into shape. If I'd used my RH-1 I don't think I could have got the result with a single stereo mic, so I'd have had to use a couple plus mixer and cables and so forth - way more fuss. Meanwhile, testing battery life, I started it recording line-in with a freshly charged pair of 2600 rechargeables last night - and it's still going now, ten hours later, 44.1/16bit onto a single 8Gb card. I suspect my RH-1 would have given out by now, and to get that amount of time onto one disc I'd have to use a quite low bit rate. However, the H2 leaves gaps of 20 seconds every three hours or so when it closes on file at the 2Gb mark and starts another - though being able to write 2Gb continuously is better than the RH-1's 1Gb restriction imposed by the disk capacity. Like I've said before, it's a tool that's good for some purposes compared to the RH-1 and not so good for others (eg using it with an external mic). It's nice to have both!
  9. I've got a Yamaha MD-8 in the cupboard which is now of no practical use (I have a Korg D888) but can't quite bring myself to throw it out (or sell it). Why one gets that kind of sentimental attachment to gear I don't know. Maybe the memory of what it cost and how little it actually got used.... I did record a big band CD on it though. Not a bad piece of gear but hopelessly outdated now (18 mins running time per disk!!)
  10. Kind of depends what tool you want for the job at hand. I've got a Zoom H2 now but no way will I be disposing of any of my three Hi-MD recorders. For instance, sometime digital in is important to me, and quite often being able to put the original media (Hi MD) aside as a temporary backup archive for some months is important - which is where little expensive (still, compared to Hi-MD even now) memory cards are not so good. On the other hand I'm recording a two-hour programme off the radio at the moment for my wife onto the H2 as I can then take the card out and pop it straight into her PC for her instantly to play it with WMP with no messing around. Horses for courses.
  11. Well, at last I've been able to do a bit of hands-on comparison between the Zoom H2 and the Sony RH-1 myself. The basic conclusion (and some here will say "I told you so") is that they are very different tools best suited for different things. In carry-around mode the RH-1 needs a mic connected to it. The quality of the end result depends on the mic, largely. You can only connect a single stereo mic direct to it. A good stereo mic tends not to be cheap. But you can choose from a range of those available. However, the usefulness of the mic input is compromised because it's unbalanced so the recorder cannot be more than about 20 feet from the mic. The H2 in carry-around mode has two stereo mics built in, so you don't need to connect an external mic to it to get a result, and you can combine the output from the two mics while recording or later to achieve results not possible with one. The quality of the built in mics and the preamp to which they are connected is surprisingly good for the overall price. But you cannot (in effect) connect your own choice of mic to it as there is too much noise on the external mic input socket for it to be realistically usable. Why this noise affects that socket but not the built in mics (which are commendably quiet) puzzles me. Both the H2 and the RH-1 can be used with line-level inputs eg from a mixer or mic preamp, enabling balanced mics to be used hundreds of feet from the recorder. In my initial tests similar results are obtained from the two recorders in terms of frequency response and noise levels. The H2 is perhaps over-sensitive but this should not normally be a problem if the output level from the external preamp or mixer is controllable. The H2 offers up to 24/96 which should give theoretically improved sound compared with the RH-1. The RH-1 has a digital input but it is resampled and level controllable - it doesn't provide bit-accurate results so the usefulness of it as a "bit bucket" is perhaps slightly compromised. The H2 has no digital connections. The RH-1 battery life is better than the H2 but the H2 uses standard AA batteries, which can be an advantage in some circumstances. The H2 has the advantage of the SDHC storage medium for drag and drop transfers to PC, and it can have eight times the onboard storage of the RH-1, with twice the maximum file size. How its mp3 quality fares against the RH-1 Atrac I have not yet tested. The H2 is bulkier than the RH-1 but with a stereo mic connected to the RH-1, the difference would become less significant. In summary, the RH-1 outshines the H2 for stealth-type recording, or where you want to choose the type of mic to be used. The H2 is best if you want a one-piece recording device (consider what you'd have to take with you to replicate it with individual components). The RH-1 is perhaps more a specialist device and the H2 will have more appeal to a wider group of users. If the H2's external mic preamp had been as good as its internal mic preamp, then the RH-1 would then have only continued to appeal to users needing its compactness. The H2 is significantly cheaper than the RH-1 especially if you add the cost of a decent stereo mic to the RH-1. Or you could consider the H2 as a unique low-cost surround mic with a free recorder attached to it. I'm glad to have both in the toolkit - they will both get regular use.
  12. http://bssc.sel.sony.com/BroadcastandBusin...83&id=90227 is the link. This does now seem to be the new Sony trend. Maybe the RH-2 will be one of these without the built-in mics.
  13. Latest contender for the MD successor crown is the Marantz PMD620 - see announcement at http://podcastacademy.com/2007/09/27/maran...cast-academy-6/ - with an OLED display even.
  14. I don't recall ever getting an MD recorder to actually expire - and I have the first model onwards! So perhaps by the time yours totally dies we'll have implanted recorders feeding right into the brain and today's flash recorders will seem a bit primitive.
  15. Yeah, I recorded "TaikOz" (I think that's the name of the Australian Taiko group) some years back - and indeed they were loud in parts and close to inaudible in others. Probably the biggest dynamic range one will ever encounter. I entirely agree with you about the need for limiting and /or compression in that context in the analogue side of the system before the audio is fed to the AD converters. Trouble is with the H2 that the limiter is after the AD converter, too late in the audio chain to operate the way you describe. Do I have one? Heh, I wish! I ordered one from a supplier across the country about 6 weeks ago or more at a good price, and apparently they arrived in the distributor's warehouse in the last few days. Meanwhile a company about five minutes from here are offering them for almost the same price and I could've popped down and picked one up, once they get out of that warehouse and into the hands of the retailers. Once I get one I'll report on my experiences based on hands-on, rather than on reading the manual and reviews on the net! Cheers!
  16. I'm afraid no amount of art will overcome the science here! Noise doesn't come into it, as by the time the H2 limiter gets to operate on the signal, the analog noise is already there from the preamp, and there's the noise from the AD conversion process. The lmiter cannot somehow "raise those levels before they are attached to a specific noise level" - they are already attached. In fact it's effectively worsening the noise level because you'd normally use a limiter to raise the level of the quiet bits and turn down the level of the loud bits. It can only reduce noise in those parts of the signal chain following the limiter, not those before it, by optimising the level being fed to the next part of the audio chain. In this case the next part is the recording medium which in itself cannot add noise. (An expander, or a noise gate, can give the effect of reducing noise as an expander lowers levels when little signal is present, and a noise gate cuts off the signal altogether when only noise is present. But they are conceptually opposite to a compressor or limiter). Here's the signal flow involved in the case of the H2 - Recording: Analog signal > AD converter > Limiter > Recording media Playback : Recording media > DA converter > Analog signal Because the recording media is completely transparent to the process - after error correction, what goes in is precisely what comes out, with no added noise - then the above signal path is precisely the same as.... Recording: Analog signal > AD converter > Recording media Playback : Recording media > Limiter > DA converter > Analog signal The H2 can't apply the limiter on playback in that way, only in recording, but if it could, there would be absolutely no difference in the outcome. What you can do, though, is this - Recording: Analog signal > AD converter > Recording media Playback : Recording media > PC DAW > DAW's Limiter > DA converter > Analog signal which again would be exactly the same, except that the DAW limiter will be different in operation from the H2 limiter - it'll be either built into the DAW or it will be one of the dozens of VST limiter effects available. Now if you feel that the limiter on the H2 is better than the limiter in your DAW software (unlikely), or you don't want to use the DAW for postproduction but you're simply interested in playing it back straight from the H2, then the H2 limiter has a purpose. Otherwise, it's unnecessarily messing destructively with your audio, because you can't change your mind about what you've done afterwards. And my original point was, the same can be said of the digital level controls on the RH-1 - as far as I can see they do nothing that you can't do in postproduction with less chance of getting it wrong.
  17. That's true of analog gain control and analog limiting indeed - but once the signal has been converted from analog to digital, it should normally be left unprocessed ready for non-destructive post-processing in a audio editing program. Limiting on the H2 is almost certainly in the digital domain, and is therefore destructive of the original data. It's amplification positive or negative) not gain control. Let's look at it this way (and this applies to Hi-MD as well) - If you set the variable level control, (1-127 or 1-30, whatever), which operates in the digital domain after conversion from analog data, to the point at which it neither increases nor decreases the level after A to D conversion, and the meter shows that the level is too high, you should reduce the analog input gain switch or control from high to low (Hi-MD) or from high to medium or medium to low (H2). Now you've done that and the audio is no longer metering too high. In the case of the H2 (I'm not sure what the figures are for Hi-MD hardware) the input level sensitivity switch operates in 10dB steps. So say the incoming audio was originally going 1dB over the top. You've reduced the input sensitivity by 10dB so it's now going to be peaking at -9dB. If you want it to peak at say -3dB, your only option (with H2 or Hi-MD) is to increase the gain digitally - in this case, if my maths is correct, you'll be multiplying the sample value of each sample by 2 to get that 6dB gain. Or, you could leave it as it is, record the data stream to the disc or card unprocessed, and in your PC later on, perform that multiplication (digital amplification), and you'll achieve exactly the same result, bit for bit. That original recording at -9dB might look a bit undercooked but with input gain control only switchable in two steps (Hi-MD) or three steps (H2), there's nothing you can actually do about it that will make any difference. (If you are using something like a hard disc recorder with built in mic preamps, you'll have proper rotary input trims so you can set a more exact level of the audio going into the AD converter. And you won't find any control for gain changing in the digital domain when recording, because it's simply not required. You might well find it available on playback but that's another whole issue). Now consider limiting in the digital domain. Taking that same example, where your signal is currently peaking at -9dB with no digital amplification being used. Using the 1-30 or 1-127 control, you could digitally amplify the signal by 10dB so that it was peaking at +1 - which is in the case of the Hi-MD machine would give you digital distortion. In the case of the H2, you could turn on the limiter, so that at the points where +1 would have been hit, it will instantly turn down the amplification so that it doesn't go over. Trouble is, that's messed with the original dynamics of the signal, and it's therefore destructive. And again, if you put the unprocessed file into your PC instead, you could use your DAW software to do precisely the same thing non-destructively, saving to a copy. But - you wouldn't need to, would you? Once in the DAW, the program can examine the level of the whole file (with the benefit of hindsight, as it were), find the highest peak (in this example, still back at -9dB) and normalise it by 9dB to exactly 0dB peak with no limiting being necessary, and the full dynamic range of the digital data is preserved. Or, if you want to compress it for effect, you can do that in the DAW, save the result under a different filename, and change your mind after. But if you limit in the recorder, you can't unlimit it afterwards. You are stuck with what you've done. About the ONLY time you should amplify a recording digitally in the Hi-MD recorder, or amplify and/or limit it in the H2, is if you want to do something like posting the file on the net right out of the machine and you can't post-process it in a PC first. It's exactly the same as with digital camera - you'd never use digital zoom unless you wanted to sent the photo straight from the camera ready-cropped, rather than photoshopping it later. Sorry for length but these are matters where a lot of confusion seems to arise.
  18. Reaper. Get it now before the price goes up very shortly. It has a "ripple edit" mode whereby if you have audio from a dozen files on the track, and you move or delete part of the second one (or whatever) everything to the right moves appropriately. So it works like a stereo editor but you can change your mind about the edit later (in other words, it's non-destructive). www.reaper.fm
  19. It's very hard to be sure, but it seems generally believed that the Zoom H2 limiter, like the 0 - 127 level control, is also in the digital domain. What's your feeling? So if you use it in the H2, that's handy for giving an immediate punch to the sound when replaying it in the H2 right away, but if downloading to a PC, you could just as well limit it in your DAW software afterwards - and maybe fiddle with the settings without having to commit to something that later on you might wish you'd done otherwise. Again, I'd go back to the camera analogy - most digital cameras can do stuff like sepia effect in the camera, but if you use it that way, later on you might think "damn, that shot would have been better in normal colour and now I don't have the choice" - as compared with taking the photo in full colour and deciding later to use Photoshop to add the sepia effect. I think that's the thing that I'm getting at - should all processing with digital recorders of this type (RH-1 and H2 and anything with little control over analog input) be done only in postproduction, even levels, where possible? Given the dynamic range available, is getting the level up the last few dB in the recorder (by internal digital amplification) really necessary?
  20. First up - this is not a RH-1 vs Zoom H2 thread! It's intended to get a better understanding (by me, maybe by you) of how to get the best from the RH-1 using lessons learned from the Zoom H2. I shall make some statements as if they are facts, but I stand open to correction on facts, or others may want to express dissenting opinions without being able to offer proof! The Zoom H2 has a three position mic input sensitivity switch (physical, but possibly controlling software) - High, Medium, Low. The RH-1 has a two-position mic sensitivity switch, via a menu (in other words, clearly software controlled). In both devices it would appear that this is the only control of the actual mic preamplification. After the signal leaves the mic preamp, for both devices one can assume that it is passed to an analogue to digital converter, and either in that chip or in a DSP chip later in the the signal chain, there is provision for the digitized audio to be increased or decreased in level before it is passed to the storage media. In the case of the Zoom H2, this processing is determined by a control having a range of 0 - 127. In the case of the RH-1, the control has a range of 0 - 30. It seems logical that there is no particular point in amplifying the signal within either device by means of the DSP chip if you are going to load the resulting file into a PC, where you could simply normalise it if too low, thus avoiding distortion in the digital domain with the benefit of hindsight. You could think of this in the same terms as with digital zoom in a camera - you might as well do the same zooming thing by cropping in Photoshop (etc), as the result will be the same, and you can change your mind about the crop. It seems widely accepted that in the case of the Zoom H2, the level at which the signal is, in essence, passed straight through, is 100. If you need to reduce the level below this figure, then you're getting distortion within the mic preamp before the AD conversion, and lowering the level below 100 will simply give you a quieter distorted file. You should instead reduce the mic sensitivity from high to medium or from medium to low. There seems to be a bit of disquiet in the Zoom fraternity about this, as it seems to imply that recording level control is too crude, but I'm not so sure that it's actually any different, in principle, from the way the RH-1 (and other Hi-MD recorders) works. In the case of the RH-1, I'm not so sure that the "magic figure" - from 1 to 30 - is so clear. In the case of using the digital input (which the H2 does not have), it's known that the default value of 23 results in a pass-through (though still subject to resampling). In the case of the analog input, some say that 13 is the figure you should not go below, to avoid distortion at the mic preamp - personally I'd go for 15 or even 16 (the latter figure seems to be correct for standard line-in level too). So internally, does the RH-1 have two different levels at which the digitized signal is not subject to gain increase or decrease - say 23 for digital or 15 for mic input? Or perhaps 23 is the magic figure, but the A to D converter is set up in such a way that the digital recording of a mic input (at a "flat" level of 23) would clip well before the analog input would? Why does this matter? Well, perhaps it doesn't, so long as we know that going below (say) 15 for a mic input means the mic input is already distorted - so long as the extra processing, digitally, of the audio to reduce the level to 15 compared with the (possibly) unprocessed level of 23 doesn't degrade the signal (compared to processing later in a PC). Perhaps if you need to lower the level of your mic recording below 23, you should be using a less sensitive mic or otherwise reduce the input level to the recorder (advice which normally would apply is you'd gone all the way down to 15 or even 13). Lastly I can't help noticing that mathematically, 23/30 is much the same as 100/127. So if the RH-1's "23" is the same as the Zoom H2's "100", but the latter has three choices of input sensitivity rather than the RH-1's two, it's we Hi-MD users who are not being given much control over recording level, really, compared to Zoom users. Discuss! Disagree! Yawn! In a couple of weeks I should be able to come back with a careful and hopefully impartial comparison of the H2's actual performance vs the RH-1 - the H2 is rumoured to have finally got here to Australia a couple of days ago.
  21. Thanks, I'll give those suggestions a try in due course!
  22. Hmm, the batttery pack is rated at 600mA at 5V, but of course may not actually deliver that.
  23. I purchased a "Tevion Portable Battery Pack" a couple of days ago - Lithium Polymer, 8800mAh capacity, switchable to 3.3, 5, 6, 7.5, 9,12 or 16 volts - supplied adapters power the MZ-NH1 in cradle, the NH900 loose or in cradle, and the NW-HD1 in cradle. The supplied USB tip didn't work with the RH-1 due to the need for special pinout as mentioned in earlier posts, but a very cheap pack of e2GO Emergency Mobile Phone Battery Adaptors from Tandy provided a tip the same size as the Tevion output cable, and that does the trick with the RH-1. The battery pack is something like twice the size of the RH-1 but I suspect it would power it for days! (Actually 9 days if my calculations are correct...). Oddly though the RH-1 shuts down after a minute or two running off the Tevion with the RH-1 battery removed.
  24. No problem - we all have our ups and downs and good and bad days. You have a reputation as a valued contributor here and that's intact. Here in Australia we're looking at late Sept before the H2 arrives. When mine gets here I'll post a careful and objective comparison with the RH-1 with a variety of compatible mics and hopefully that will be useful info for those looking, reluctantly, towards moving to non-Hi-MD hardware down the track.
  25. At about 15'30" of the podcast he starts using external mics - first with a $20 Radio Shack headset one - and for the life of me, I can't hear any gross problem at all. Whether better or worse than the RH-1 it's impossible to tell, but for me what I hear seems to contrast with some of the reports above. He then plugs in AT942's and perhaps there's a trace more noise, but if you listen carefully you can hear a distant bird in the background, above the noise level. (But I'm 58 so maybe I just don't hear hiss any more - but I could hear the bird). Put it this way - when recording classical music with an appropriate distance between the mic and the performer, I don't think there would be a practical problem. The built in mics sound very quiet to me, and with a respectable frequency response. He even tests 90 degree and 120 degree imaging using background sounds at night - and there's a clear difference. "This is not a professional piece of equipment but it comes very close to being in a lot of areas" he concludes. Early on he switches from the H4 to the H2, and if you boost the high frequencies you hear a noticable jump in background hiss at the point that the H2 is used. But if you normalise the audio either side of the transition from one to the other (I mean, in the talking either side, so that the reproduced level of the voice will be the same from the H4 and the H2), the noise floor actually drops noticably as you get to the H2. You have to be so careful to compare like with like. I'm not going to get involved in the "MD killer" stuff - I've already commented that it very much depends on the features you want - but this device, on the basis of this podcast, does seem to merit very serious consideration by anyone to whom the feature set appeals.
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