Hello: I am Bill Clarida using Audacity 2.0.3 on Windows Vista laptop to load,digital recordings of a saxophone quartet recorded on Zoom H2 digital recorder. After importing from the Zoom, I use Audacity to edit and prepare the files to convert then transfer to CD recordings.
Musically, the recordings are quite good, accurate, balanced, in tune and with good technique. However, since they are recorded in a small room and with inexpensive equipment, the overall sound leaves much to be desired. I definitely need help from experienced users of Audacity to apply effects, and mix the recordings to produce a better sound.
Some of my problems include the following: The recording on the Zoom H2 is at a relatively low volume. Since the mics on Zoom H2 are about 1 inch apart, there is little stereo effect. The overall sound seems dull and very little dynamic difference. I would like to improve EQ but don’t know how to go about it. I need to separate individual compositions from each other so when burned to CD, they are on separate tracks.
I am sure there are other issues that I am unaware so I am looking for any and all help my fellow Audacity users can provide.
Prior to using Zoom and Audacity, I used a Korg D1200 mk II and produced excellent results when recording live performances in larger venues. After recording and editing, the Korg would burn the resulting files directly on CD. I also had good results using a minidisc recorder, downloading to the Korg for editing and burning the CD. Unfortunately, I no longer have such equipment.
Thanks for your help.
You can’t remove the any “small room sound” (small room reverb) but you can add some bigger-room reverb. Reverb is a bit of an art, so you’ll just have to experiment. And, there many different reverb plug-ins with many different settings. A longer reverb time will generally sound like a bigger room, but don’t over-do it or it will sound unnatural, especially when played back in a small room.
The Zoom recorder isn’t terrible (from what I’ve read) so you shouldn’t need too much EQ. Again, just experiment. IMO, it’s easier to experiment with Audacity’s equalizer in the Graphic EQ mode than in the Draw Curves mode. A common technique is to find a reference recording in the same genre to “calibrate your ears”.
After all processing, it’s a good idea to normalize the track. Run Amplify and it will default to whatever gain/volume change is needed for normalized/maximized peaks. You can either do that on a track-by-track basis, or on the album as a whole to preserve any desired volume differences between tracks.
You should be able to get reasonable stereo from the Zoom with good mic positioning (they are directional mics). You’re not going to get perfect left-right separation but you generally don’t want that with an acoustic recording anyway.
I suspect that with careful mic positioning in a good room, it’s possible to get very good results with the Zoom. Typically you want to be closer than the normal listening position. The perfect amount of room sound when listening live is usually too much in a recording. About where the conductor would be is a good starting point.
I need to separate individual compositions from each other so when burned to CD, they are on separate tracks.
[u]Here is some information on splitting tracks[/u].
It’s also possible to use a single WAV file and a [u]Cue Sheet[/u] to add track markers to a CD. When I’m making a “live” CD with applause/crowd noise between tracks, I use a cue sheet and ImgBurn for CD burning
You left out the words “clean up.”
I no longer have such equipment.
Or the room. You can make good recordings with low-end equipment in a large, quiet, room; a “studio.”
However, since they are recorded in a small room and with inexpensive equipment, the overall sound leaves much to be desired. I definitely need help from experienced users of Audacity to apply effects, and mix the recordings to produce a better sound.
The room is what kills you. We can’t take out echo and reverb. So if the show sounds like a kitchen or bathroom, it will probably continue to sound like that.
live performances in larger venues.
Any chance of recording in a larger venue after hours or at odd times? We have people who do that to get away from their small room echoes.
You can do very well with an H2.
H2 or H2n?
If you have an actual H2, hold onto it with both hands. Original H2s are going for new equipment prices on eBay. Promotion and Publicity is running Zoom now instead of the engineers and product developers and they’re producing the H2n.
The H2n has Five Microphones!!!
Do they sound any good?
Who cares? The recorder has Five Microphones!!!
They make a multi-channel recorder which is an embarrassment.
So. Any thoughts on getting rid of your room? One of these fine days I’m going to make a test recording in my garage. Any room with a peaked roof and shelves of boxes and garbage should record just fine.
“calibrate your ears”.
…To your good quality speakers or headphones. Lots of people trying to mix down a musical performance on cheap speakers.
“Hey. Nice CD. Shame about that rumble in the background.”
“What rumble? I didn’t hear any rumble [on my cheap speakers].”
One poster is reading audiobooks in her open-plan office after hours. At night, the air conditioning shuts down and all the hummy overhead lights go off. A very large room with furniture is right up there in desirability as a recording room.
I worked in a building whose stairwell acoustics was a dead ringer for a modest cathedral. I so wanted to get someone to sing latin in there.
“Per omnea sacula saculorum”
“Et cum spirit tu tuo.”
Echo slowly dying out from the choir loft (ground floor).