Opinion, please?

Here are a short recording from my H2 and my desktop C-1U, of the same 2 sentences.

A new complication is that it’s a hot afternoon and the attic fan is going, right above my office. I left a little room-noise and the beginning and end of each recording in hopes it could be discounted; if not, I can record again tonight once it cools off.

Koz, when I get rid of all the cables, etc, attached to the H2, how should I record the clip? Just record it to the SD card, and upload it to you from there?

I never could get Audacity to recognize the H2 when using the mini plug-to-pc USB connection.

I suppose the first step is getting the operating manual if you don’t already have it. Unless somebody stops me, I’m going to reference pages in that thing.

Operating Data Management is a big deal always but it’s especially critical in older equipment. There is an internal system that remembers Date, Time, and other settings for a short time even if the batteries are taken out and with no other connection. Hopefully, it’s long enough for you to change the batteries with no disruption, and it is in a new recorder.

It would be good to know if yours is OK. If it’s not, where you set the recorder and where it is may be very different.

I had a system that deteriorated to the point that changing batteries was no longer possible. I rejoiced in the opportunity get out my tools and rip it apart under strong light and fix it. Normal people throw it out and get something else.

The manual claims two AA batteries. Can you get two new ones? Any 7-Eleven or Tesco should do it.

Koz

Dueling Posts (that’s actually more normal). I need to go back over that and see where you dropped back in again.

There’s another item in the arsenal. If you have enough problems recording on the computer, stop recording on the computer. You have a (potentially) delightful stand-alone recorder and you can create terrific voice recordings all day long with the computer turned off. Then connect the computer and shuffle the sound files over for editing.

Koz

Ohhhhh…that’s a really good idea. I never thought of that.
I was thinking “But I have to edit it in Audacity!” – right, after I upload it from the SD card.

But it would be just that one little step faster if I could be using Audacity while I record.

Those recordings I sent earlier today, one from the H2 and one from the C-1U–do they sound fairly normal? You said it sounded like there was something seriously wrong with my voice, after hearing the earlier recording.

I love the idea of ripping it open under strong light and doing surgery. I never learned how to do that (never was any good with my hands) but I admire it.

They both sound perfectly normal now. I like the quality of the C-1U. Further, I was able to apply our Audiobook Mastering tools and it passes ACX technical quality control right out of the gate.

Screen Shot 2021-06-14 at 3.12.53 PM.png
I applied very gentle “Noise Reduction of the Beast” (6, 6, 6) and it’s good to go for submission almost anywhere, not just Audible.

Screen Shot 2021-06-14 at 3.12.33 PM.png

I would have no trouble listening to a story in that voice.

One note. You should not be saying the “MP3 Word” anywhere in your production pathway. Export a WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit sound file of raw readings, and then again for your own personal Edit Master before shipping it off to a client. Then you make the MP3 if the client demands it (Audible/ACX) or to listen to the work on your personal music player while running on the beach.


Being professionally obsessive. I also applied “DeEsser” correction in the forum of Trebor’s DeSibilator.

This gets rid of the slightly harsh SS sounds in your reading. It returns them back to normal speech. Compare.

“To compile groupSS that were exSStremely resiSStent…”

I applied the tool at the default settings after mastering. I don’t think it makes any difference before or after Noise Reduction.

https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/updated-de-clicker-and-new-de-esser-for-speech/34283/199

It’s much more smooth and pleasant In My Opinion.

Koz

I love the idea of ripping it open under strong light and doing surgery.

You wouldn’t like the collection of stuff I have waiting for ripping. That’s the down side.

“I really need to fix that shaver power switch…”

Koz

Whew. It’s amazing it passed the ACX test, right off; when I was working on a book a year ago, I had a heck of a time trying to get voice volume and noise floor to meet in the right place simultaneously.

And I used the de-esser and de-clicker for that book. I’m so grateful for them and all the other magical tools here.

Y’know why I exported as mp3–when I sent the first clip (a few days ago) I exported it as a wav, but when I tried to submit it, the system rejected it as being too large. So I thought I needed to submit mp3s. But that clip I sent the first day was also a good bit longer than the ones I sent yesterday (I didn’t know how much / how little to send).

So do you think it’s better to use the C-1U? What did you think of the H2, actually?

I’ve recorded all my books on the C-1U till now. But the problem with using it for an interview is that I make a lot of hand gestures while i’m talking, and I’ll bump into it. (With an audiobook, my hands are attached to the sides of a book.)

I’d like to use the H2 for interviews, because it is smaller and less likely to get bumped by flying hands. But what do you think of the quality?

BTW wish I had your ripping skills. I actually like doing home repairs, but I’m clumsy. At present I need to find a Maker who can repair the collection of midcentury tin toys that I got when we sold my grandparents’ house.

Wanted to send yall a donation, but I see the link is temporarily down; I’ll be back with more problems in the future, no doubt, and donate then.

Let me know what you think of the H2, for interviews–

Both of those sound like processing has been applied, (rather than being raw recordings).

C-1U has louder noise-floor at the start than at the end, as if a compressor (or AGC) is in operation.
H2 has a tremulous quality, e.g. particularly noticeable when you inhale at 2.0-2.5 sec, like a noise-gate kicking-in.

If the Windows audio enhancements in the recording* tab of windows sound have been disabled,
then there is another layer of audio enhancements in effect which needs to be disabled,
( I had this problem myself with a new Dell-Windows computer ).

[ * as opposed to the playback Tab, where enhancements should also be disabled ].

Oh, I hadn’t checked the Recordings Tab. I only unchecked Playback.
For both mics, under Mic Properties > Advanced, it did have Audio Enhancements checked, so I unchecked it.
There are two other things checked under “Exclusive Mode” --should I uncheck them?

I will make recordings again and send them over for comparison.

Below, a recording I made for grandkids a few years ago, the Hans Christian Andersen story, “The Snow Queen.” A somewhat strange story.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/42x56wizl42yan4/Snow%20Queen%20mp3.mp3?dl=0

Y’know why I exported as mp3

Twenty seconds of perfect quality Mono WAV (one blue wave) should fit. Ten seconds of perfect quality Stereo WAV (two blue waves) should work. You can submit any lesser quality MP3 smaller than 2MB.

We’re not crazy about MP3 for troubleshooting and analysis because it has built-in distortion, it’s gets worse through production, and you can’t stop it.

I picked ten seconds for the forum voice test because then I didn’t have to explain about the stereo/mono thing. They both fit.

As we go.

Koz

H2.

Ummmmm.

What would I do if someone said I had to conduct an interview with an H2?

With reference to the postings way up this forum message, you should be able to set the date and time before you trusted it with anything valuable. We know from the manual and my own H1n that the date and time correction cycles through all the values, year included. It’s massively important you get that to work because nobody gets shot slates to work right reliably (“It’s Tuesday the fifteenth and we’re in Sacramento about to interview the governor.”)

Failing that, you look at your plane ticket to get the date and keep digging through the H2 files until you find one with matching date.

Also, as I said up there somewhere, an inability to correctly set Date and Time could indicate a failing recorder.

And should it fail, your emergency backup is the voice recorder on your phone. Make sure you know how to use that and how to transfer files between that and Audacity.

Watch any newscast and there will be a phalanx of news reporters trying to get a quote on their phone. That does work.

Meanwhile, back at the H2. I need to beat up the manual for a while. This is not an easy call.

Koz

There are a couple of “becoming familiar with your recorder” exercises. I assume you have the instruction manual.

– Know what it looks like when the batteries are going flat. If you have an interview with the governor, put fresh ones in. I have a trick with that. When you take the old batteries out, throw them on the floor. You can pick them up later. There’s just nothing quite like having your recorder go flat during an important recording because you got the batteries mixed up.

– For a field recording, activate the Low Cut Filter (pp38). No, you won’t be able to record the low tones on a pipe organ, but you won’t be getting as much wind noise, blast, pops, or rumble, either.

– Zoom does not recommend hand-holding the H2 because of handling and scratching noises. If you have to, use the special mount and a glove (pp19).

– Also on page 19 is the microphone setup for solo vocals. I’m not completely sure what the diagram is trying to get across there, but that’s what they say. Try it once on your mum and see how it comes out. Do Not make the governor interview be the first time you try any of this.

Desperation Method is record on your phone. Know where the microphones are. My iPhone SE has two, one on the back for video shoots and one on the bottom for telephone voice and memos. Do not, for example, aim the top of the phone at the guest for a straight voice shoot. That points the microphone to you.

Consult your instructions.

Being professionally obsessive, I would figure out a way to record the governor on both the H2 and my phone.

Koz

Actually these are interviews people are doing with me, as an author/speaker. Usually they’re done over Zoom, and I’m sitting at my desk. Most recently:

https://thesymbolicworld.com/videos/how-we-exist-together-re-enchantment-and-orthodoxy-with-frederica-mathewes-green/

I can see my interviewer is using a desk mic and an earphone. I wasn’t doing either, just using the Logi 920 webcam and the Dell sound bar! and I sound awful! I gotta get with the program!

That’s when I set up the two mics, looking for yall’s opinion so I can make it as good as it can be.

I do have the problem that the heat-air is the blowing air kind (I miss my radiators). Additionally, in this house, the attic fan right overhead. I haven’t been able to find a thermostat setting that will turn the system off, just like that; as best I can tell, I would have to temporarily set a temp range above or below what would trigger it. Kinda dumb. There should be an Off switch.

Now that I’ve unchecked Audio Enhancements in Recording, I’ll make two more short recordings tonight when things cool off (wav not mp3).

Boy, I only had to have the H2 batteries fail once when I was interviewing someone. It’s a hard lesson.
I also found that the batteries ran down very fast if I left them in the H2. So I kept it empty, and carried 4 batteries, with two marked as “in use” and two brand new.

Here are a couple more 11 second recordings, wav. Let me know what you think of them, please, and how I can improve 'em.

I was hoping to use the H2 for desk interviews because it sits so low, and I’m not likely to hit it with hand gestures. I would be knocking over the C-1U, I think.

But I had trouble with the H2 picking up enough volume, even with the mic set to High gain.
So I went into Manage Audio Devices and set mic gain to 100% for both mics. But then, recording in Audacity with the program’s gain set to 0, it didn’t pick up my voice at all.

When I raised the Audacity program gain to 60%, that seemed to be the best volume, and that is what I’m attaching here.

But that will be no help to me during a desk interview; I won’t be using Audacity then. All I have is the gain on the H2 itself, and the Audio Device gain in Control Panel–but my voice is inaudible.

Ideas?

Also, any idea why Audacity won’t recognize the H2 when i connect to the PC tower with a USB cable? It works for electricity/power (the H2 stays on, without batteries or electric cord). But it doesn’t show up as an option in Audacity. That’s why I’ve got this Plextone in the middle (using an Aux cable).

Piece o’ cake. You should be listening to the host on headphones/earphones/earbuds. Most of that hollow distortion is Zoom et al trying to keep the host’s voice our of your replies. Did you notice once there at the beginning, the host interrupted you briefly and your voice dipped in volume? If the host’s voice is in your ear and not the room, that processing isn’t needed.

It doesn’t have to be big recording studio headphones, either (although that would work). See lower left.

Apple may no longer make those, but the idea. If you want to theater it up, snake the cable up your back and hide them in your hair.

I’m not fond of hands-free wireless earbuds for critical work. Too many things to go wrong.

It looks like you have a crowded enough studio not to worry about echos and “bathroom” sound. Books deaden echoes well. The worst possible room is polished wood floor and bare white walls. The stupid joke is clap once loudly and when you get back from lunch, the clap is still bouncing between the walls. I had an office like that.

From there, it’s down to getting a nice microphone. I think either of yours should work.

I think we crossed messages. I think I’m answering the wrong one…

Koz

But it doesn’t show up as an option in Audacity.

These units have two “modes.” In one mode, the USB cable lets your computer access the memory card. In the other, the recorder turns into a microphone. I have no idea how the H2 does it, but that’s very common and it sounds like you have the wrong mode.

As we go.

Koz

Of those two sound samples, I think the H2 would have come off well in that interview.

Zoom sets its own volumes for transmission, so all you have to worry about is keeping a quiet, echo-free studio and wear headphones.

Let me know if you can’t find that USB management thing. I’m almost 100% sure it’s in there somewhere.

There was something in the archives about that battery life business. Looking.

Koz

One common error. Plug the H2 in and let it settle. Only then start Audacity.

If you still have trouble, make sure Windows Sound Control Panel can see the H2 and the little Windows volume icon can bounce when you speak.

The H2 can throw serious mud in the game if it tries to be a “Surround” microphone instead of plain stereo or mono. Neither Windows nor Audacity may not know what to do with that.

As we go.

Koz

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I think that’s all it says.

I know you can get stuck if the recorder is in Stereo and Audacity is in Mono, or vice-versa. Another place to look.

Koz

but my voice is inaudible.

You may have chosen the wrong microphone(s). This is where the instruction book goes for pages and it’s not always that clear.

I think you want stereo from the front.

That’s what this is.

That’s the H2 sitting on its back in stereo. She’s on my right and he’s on my left. Perfect for an interview.

Koz