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Experiences with other recorders beside Edirol?

Discussion in 'General' started by MindenBlues, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    A collegue of mine just bought an ZOOM H4. This is a new recorder similar to the Edirol, same price range (sligthly cheaper), but seems to have some advantages over the Edirol:
    - has phantom power to connect external condenser mics directly
    - records also with 24bit/96kHz
    - able to record 4 tracks simultaneously

    The position of the internal mics (crosswise) is also interesting.

    Here is a link:

    http://www.samsontech.com/products/prod ... rodID=1901

    Any experiences here with that part or with another stand alone recording tool beside the Edirol?
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wow, it looks neat. I will also be interested in hearing if anyone else uses this.
    I couldn't find the price on the site.
     
  3. schmonz

    schmonz Amitai Schlair Piano Society Artist

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    The first review here compares the two and explains why he kept the Edirol.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Just type "zoom H4 Handy Digital Recorder" in Google and you will see some prices right away.
    One ugly little thing this, but the specs are promising. Especially that phantom power could be just the thing.

    Biggest problem I have with the old Edirol R1 is that there is no digital input volume setting, just one of these silly wheels on the side so I always have to guess the correct level (the wheel is easily turned by mistake, and I always need to change it between organ and piano recordings). Bit of a PITA but I guess the R9 has a digital volume control ?
     
  5. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    What review?

    Yes, Chris - the 09 has a digital volume control.
     
  6. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Monica, click on the link "here" inside the statement from schmonz, and there is a detailed review. Thank you Schmonz, for that!

    A sentence in the review I found very interesting, it is for sure something for Chris:
    One other Zoom plus: The Zoom has a true automatic gain control, where the Edirol's is a compressor circuit. The Zoom prevents clipping at high volume where the Edirol boosts low volumes without guarding against clipping.

    The Edirol boosts low volumes indeed? :shock: That would really mean dynamic compression (what means dynamic reduction), what I would not have believed but what Chris already assumed!!!

    Can this compression disabled in the Edirol? If not it would be a K.O. criteria against the Edirol for me! I don't like to have a recorder what eats dynamic! The level should be set to a fixed level without additional automatic level adaptions of the device. That is poison for piano recordings!
    Still I doubt that this is true, and I hope there are some clarifications in the Edirol's user manual on that?
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Not assumed, heard ! Unless my ears play cruel tricks with me, which I'm sure they don't, there is much more contrast when I am playing (I really try to bring dynamics out nuch more than I used to, though playing pianissimo is really hard on the Gaveau) and only a small portion of that seems to show up in the recording.

    I must really dig into the manual to sort this out. Thanks a lot for pointing out this 'feature' !
    Could well be I'll need to invest in that Handy thingy then. No point spending bucks on the grand if it can't even be captured faithfully.
     
  8. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    However, the term "automatic gain control" for the Zoom H4 is problematic too. What I have read so far, one needs to preselect the main volume for 3 different recording sources, and can use automatic gain control, but can also use manual gain control instead (what we need, I think). But not sure here either.
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Most of what you guys are talking about is over my head. I briefly read those reviews and think I'll stick with my Edirol. It's easy to use.
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Rest assured, it's over mine too. I mainly rely on what Olaf says, as he knows what he's talking about.
     
  11. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I have downloaded the user manual for Edirol-R1 and have not found any hint that the recording level will be automatically adjusted. The only thing is, one can activate a limiter additional to the manual adjustment so that high signal peaks will be automatically reduced, so that no digital clipping occurs. That is another thing, and maybe useful too, but has nothing to do with the dynamic compression question we discuss.

    That means, no hint that the Edirol indeed raises low level of input signal also in manual recording level mode. If they do here something, it must be written somewhere. Chris, Robert, did you found a hint in the user manual or during operation on the recorder? So is there a dynamic compression or not in this mystery Edirol? :roll:

    If there is no hint, one could try it out. Feeding the Edirol with a test signal created by CoolEdit and burnt on cd e.g. and check the recording (wavfile) for signs of dynamic compression. The testsignal could be a simple sinus signal with steps of -10 dB all 10 seconds or so, so that with 10 steps we are at -100dB and then back to 0dB. If the recorded signal starts to get amplified the lower the signal gets, there is a compression. Otherwise not, and the Edirol itself does not do something from the software side. Next thing would be to check the internal mics, not easy, one needs to compare with external mics.
    I could create and upload a testsignal wavfile, so if anyone who has an Edirol, could burn the testsignal on cd and record. Interests in that?
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    The manual does not give many hints whatsoever, it rather sucks at least for someone not audio-savvy as me. Indeed there doesn't seem to be anything about compressing. But thanks for checking it out.

    I am totally confused about the array of 'effects'. Whether or not you can apply multiple effects or not, whether they work at recording or playback time, and what all the individual options mean. Zero explanation anywhere. For instance where ia s noise filter with a cut level of 20 so that sounds below that level will be cut. I wonder if that explains why my very soft notes can often not be heard (still trying to blame the equipment, hahah, hard to break the habit :lol: ).
    But I am not sure whether any effect is on by default. When I change any setting in any of the effects it does not seem to remember it as soon as I switch to another effect. Pretty damn unworkable so I just don't touch any of it.

    Would it be an idea to use a plug-in-power stereo mic, as suggested in the manual ? If I have a good one and clip it on my chest would that not give a better definition and be more sensitive to dynamic changes ?
     
  13. MindenBlues

    MindenBlues New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Clip it on your chest? :roll:

    Since the Edirol itself seems not to do an automatic dynamic adjusting (at least it is not written in the manual), there is nothing much left beside the mics itself as reason for the trouble.
    I believe that condenser mics have advantages over dynamic mics, because there is less mass what must be moved for the acoustic signal conversion. That's why condenser mics are generally better regarding capturing fast changing signals, what often is described as beeing more "crisp" instead dull. Some even think that the smaller the diaphragma of a condenser mic is the less mass also a condenser mic sensor has and that these minor difference is audible. That's why those mics will be used in first rank for percussion instruments. However the signal is small what comes out. For piano purposes, I believe, large diagphragma condenser mics are the best choice. Whether there are much differences between cheap and expensive models, I dunno. I only have a cheap model (a pair Thomann SC450), but I am not satisfied with what comes out either (it sounds not crisp enough, as if high frequencies are swallowed).
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I have a question sort of related to this. I have noticed that on some of my recordings, I hear a sound like the piano is jiggling - the sound is sometimes shaky. I'm wondering if this happens when I send the file from the Edirol to the computer and from there I send it to the editing program I'm using called Wavepad. This is where I cut out parts and add reverb. Do think this program is altering the recording in a negative way, or is it my poor old computer that is doing something, or am I imaging the whole thing? Do any of your recordings change when you add reverb, besides the reverb?(hope that makes sense)
     
  15. joeisapiano

    joeisapiano New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I use the SeaSound Solo 24/96 system with Ntrak Studio 9 and one or two AKG 3000 mics. Seems to work very nicely, although the SeaSound is discontinued....
     

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