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Thread: Live Event Shoot - Shoot Advice

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    Yes, that's the stock X-Y mic. I generally have to do some eq tweaking to get it right, but it captures enough for me to work with. Oh, and I neglected to mention that I added a bit of camera audio on the Urban Earth video. The guitar was a bit weak in the room mic but that stage-right camera was getting it okay. If you listen closely you can hear things shift as the camera's AGC clamps down.
    Cool, how do you know how high to set the recording level? That's another thing where I sometimes go wrong I think.
    The cats are watching us...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapes View Post
    Cool, how do you know how high to set the recording level? That's another thing where I sometimes go wrong I think.
    First of all, don't try to achieve the end result at this stage. Leave lots of headroom. I try to be there for sound check so I can get the level sorted, or at least close, before the show starts. With 24 bit recording your noise floor is so low that you really don't have to worry much about being too low. The usual target is to make the average signal level about -18dBFS. It should cross that mark fairly often, spending about half the time above and half the time below. If you want to leave an extra 3-6dB of headroom it should be okay.

    One caveat, the original H4n is known to be a bit noisy. I think the Pro version solved that, so it should be safe to be conservative with levels.

    In post you can do whatever processing is needed (eq etc.) without clipping, then you can deal with bringing the level up to the loudness you want. A proper mastering limiter is generally the best tool for that last step.

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    For spoken word it's more about peak levels. If your peaks are anywhere near 0dBFS the level is too high. Keep peaks below -6dBFS.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by bouldersoundguy View Post
    First of all, don't try to achieve the end result at this stage. Leave lots of headroom. I try to be there for sound check so I can get the level sorted, or at least close, before the show starts. With 24 bit recording your noise floor is so low that you really don't have to worry much about being too low. The usual target is to make the average signal level about -18dBFS. It should cross that mark fairly often, spending about half the time above and half the time below. If you want to leave an extra 3-6dB of headroom it should be okay.

    One caveat, the original H4n is known to be a bit noisy. I think the Pro version solved that, so it should be safe to be conservative with levels.

    In post you can do whatever processing is needed (eq etc.) without clipping, then you can deal with bringing the level up to the loudness you want. A proper mastering limiter is generally the best tool for that last step.
    Ah I think basically where I go wrong is putting it too loud. I do have the pro version but I don't think it matters too much.
    The cats are watching us...

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    I'm late to this party but following along.

    Quick note on DBFS - I learnt this the hard way:

    DBFS is a digital measurement and it is different from your analog stuff. In DBFS 0 is a HARD limit, meaning that if your audio touches that it goes into a hard clip. You don't want to be anywhere near 0 DBFS in your live recording settings.

    The math I've read puts 0 DB (analog VU) at -18 DBFS (digital domain). So if you are used to using analog gear, keep that number in mind: -18 DBFS on your digital equipment would be 0 DB on analog. This means you typically want to be near/below that -18 zone. As said already, at 24 bits your noise floor is far lower than it used to be on analog, so don't think of it as losing room, think of it as having a much taller ladder of audio space for digital, and with so much room available you don't want to be anywhere near the 0 DBFS hard clip zone.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by jochicago View Post
    I'm late to this party but following along.

    Quick note on DBFS - I learnt this the hard way:

    DBFS is a digital measurement and it is different from your analog stuff. In DBFS 0 is a HARD limit, meaning that if your audio touches that it goes into a hard clip. You don't want to be anywhere near 0 DBFS in your live recording settings.

    The math I've read puts 0 DB (analog VU) at -18 DBFS (digital domain). So if you are used to using analog gear, keep that number in mind: -18 DBFS on your digital equipment would be 0 DB on analog. This means you typically want to be near/below that -18 zone. As said already, at 24 bits your noise floor is far lower than it used to be on analog, so don't think of it as losing room, think of it as having a much taller ladder of audio space for digital, and with so much room available you don't want to be anywhere near the 0 DBFS hard clip zone.
    Ah that's a very clear explanation. Still I get the feeling that if I go to low and then amplify it in Audacity the result sounds worse than when I record at a volume where the meter almost touches the end. I guess I also simply need much more practice...
    The cats are watching us...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapes View Post
    Ah that's a very clear explanation. Still I get the feeling that if I go to low and then amplify it in Audacity the result sounds worse than when I record at a volume where the meter almost touches the end. I guess I also simply need much more practice...
    If that's the case then it's either a deficiency in the way Audacity works or in the analog input circuit or converter of the recorder. That was apparently the case with the original H4n, which got noisy on low input signals that needed more gain somewhere along the chain.

    What jochicago says is right, 0dBFS is the absolute top number that can be represented in digital. Any information above that is simply gone. Below that you've got over 140dB of space to fit your analog signal, which is limited by physics to a bit over a 100dB of dynamic range. If the analog input circuit is up to it, you could have the absolute highest peaks at -40dBFS and not lose anything.

    The norm is to convert 0dBVU to -18dBFS. Some converters will use -20dBFS or -16dBFS, but it's not that big a deal. In the days of 16 bit audio it was fairly common to use -12dBFS. But then 16 bit has "only" about 96dB of range. Lot's of people still push levels based on obsolete ideas about noise floor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapes View Post
    Still I get the feeling that if I go to low and then amplify it in Audacity the result sounds worse than when I record at a volume where the meter almost touches the end. I guess I also simply need much more practice...
    For everyone using Audacity, which I like plenty, do yourself a favor and make sure to also download the free Tracktion 6 DAW:
    https://www.tracktion.com/products/t6-daw

    My eyes have been opened wide by features in a music DAW that simply work very differently than Audacity that is more of a wave editor. For instance, pushing gain in DAW is very transparent. You can also apply an expander to drop some of the noise deeper to the floor. The point is that treating your audio files using a music-oriented approach opens up a world of tools that are designed to beautify sound and make mixing fast and easy. Many are the same tools, just done in a different way with care to keep things sounding nice (where Audacity lets you hammer at things in a mathematical way, the DAW is trying to help you keep things elegant).

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