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ReverbReverse
2007-07-03, 07:37 AM
Hi, i've been asking a few questions here while i started recording a few shows in february and march. I've been trying ever since to work on the files i got, but there' s a problem i don't seem to solve.

I'm using a sony mz-rh 1 recorder, with a core sound binaural microphone and a bass roll-off; the recorder is set as follows : PCM, low sensitivity (for the mic), manual, and i set the volume on whatever the sound setup of the venue allows to record at -12db or slightly above.. so in theory i guess i'm doing things by the book ?

The sound i get is pretty clear, and when i listen to it on the mcd player it's great, provided i push the playing volume up to the max.. but as soon as i have the files transferred to the computer and converted to .wav (i do that, unfortunately, through SonicStage) it becomes obvious the sound is ridiculously, as i have to push everything to the max, and even that way it's not as loud as i would want it to be. Then if i start trying to amplify it (i've been doing that with audacity, and windows movie maker, but as soon as i do that it goes straight into saturation, wayyyy before reaching a sound volume that would be satisfactory.

Is there anything i can do, either while recording, or now to recover these ? I'd be willing to buy some software too, provided it's affordable..

Thank you in advance for any help or advice :)

AAR.oner
2007-07-03, 10:07 PM
i would start by setting yer recording levels so that the peaks hit around -2dB [-12dB is too low]...that should help give you a much more "up front" sounding recording

as for progs, unless you get into multi-tracking and/or pro-level recording & processing, Audacity is really all ya need...fwiw, i use(d) a number of higher-end audio progs, but for live recordings, all i usually ever need is Audacity [normalize/DC offset correction & track splitting]

Five
2007-07-04, 05:06 PM
^what he said

SonicStage is not causing the problem... the alternative "wav conversion tool" adds crackles (at least it does on my comp) so stick with Sonic.

Audacity can be used to boost the volume as well as the programs that cost... I think you must be overboosting it. It is better to get the levels right at the show, of course.

ReverbReverse
2007-07-06, 08:43 AM
AAR.oner and Five :

Thanks guys, i guess i'll stick to sonic stage and Audacity then.

As to getting the recording levels right while recording, i have absolutely no clue how i could manage that.. i didn't make myself clear earlier : i tried recording pretty much everywhere between -12 db and almost saturated, and it's always way low, at least in comparison to the other recordings i've been downloading so far. Obviously -2 or -4 is a bit louder than -12 or -10, but not to the point the volume of it would be normal.

Someone at a media shop suggested me to actually play the file and have it recorded through the line-in in audacity, and it *does* make it all significantly louder though.. what do you guys think of that ?

Five
2007-07-06, 12:43 PM
Someone at a media shop suggested me to actually play the file and have it recorded through the line-in in audacity, and it *does* make it all significantly louder though.. what do you guys think of that ?
you will lose too much sound quality that way. you can turn it up better using audacity and it will be cleaner transferring using sonicstage.

can you post a rapidshare link to a minute-or-two FLAC sample of your "too quiet" audio? if I can hear it and look at it in audacity myself I can help better.

ReverbReverse
2007-07-07, 10:28 AM
can you post a rapidshare link to a minute-or-two FLAC sample of your "too quiet" audio? if I can hear it and look at it in audacity myself I can help better.

Thank you so much for this offer.. i do that later in the day and i get back at you then :)

ReverbReverse
2007-07-10, 02:46 PM
I just did it. It's there. (http://rapidshare.com/files/42162247/too_quiet.wav.html) The vocals are pretty low, but that (at least) has nothing to do with the recording - what can i say ? it was recorded at - 4db, transferred with sonicstage, and i cropped the file down to two minutes through audacity and that's it.

..and thank you in advance, again :)

stantheman1976
2007-07-10, 05:37 PM
You've got the levels right. Have you tried running the mics with high sensitivity? Try it out at home and see how it works. It might be that on low sensitivity your mics are getting powered fine, but need a boost still.

ReverbReverse
2007-07-10, 07:03 PM
stantheman1976 : Yes, i tried that alright - but then there's no way (even by reducing the sound volume to the lowest level) that the recorder doesn't get into distortion :/

Whaddya mean "i've got the levels right" ?

diggrd
2007-07-11, 03:27 AM
Which input are you using, this MD has mic in and line in correct? I would be using the line in as long as the bass roll off you mention is also a battery box like this.

http://www.core-sound.com/mics/CSB5A.GIF

If you are going line in and are sure you are setting a recording volume manually and not using AGC then by the sound of the sample I think you need to get much closer to the source when you record, and try not moving around too much. If you want to increase this volume try hard limiting to -1 or so and boosting by about 18dB

http://diggrdslandofthefree.com/too_quietsample.wav

http://diggrdslandofthefree.com/too_quiet.mp3

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v286/diggrd/stg/tooquiet.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v286/diggrd/stg/tooquiet_2sec.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v286/diggrd/stg/tooquiet_sa.jpg

Here's a sample of a friends band, Cobalt Blue. I recorded it Friday in a little dive bar using SP-CMC-4U mics into battery box w/ bass rolloff into the MR1

http://diggrdslandofthefree.com/cobaltblue.wav

http://diggrdslandofthefree.com/DFF_0006_001.mp3

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v286/diggrd/stg/cobaltblue_2sec.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v286/diggrd/stg/cobaltblue.jpg

ReverbReverse
2007-07-11, 02:26 PM
Which input are you using, this MD has mic in and line in correct? I would be using the line in as long as the bass roll off you mention is also a battery box like this.

Yeah, by the looks and the url of the pic, that's pretty much mine. I use the mic in jack, and not the line in, since the recorder won't let me control the volume level, and even with the mic on low sensitivity, it would go on instant distortion.. i really can't get any closer to the source (save for starting to do security for the show, which would really be novel :-s) and i really don't move.

What's strange is that while the recording happens, the levels look fine on the index screen, just beneath distortion or hitting distortion only for brief instants, but then when i'm back home, i get that real low volume. I can edit it through audacity or other (in the meantime i got hooked with magix music studio..), normalize, equalize, amplify etc. but still it's fairly low, in comparison, say, with a "regular" cd..

Where would i find hard limiting or its equivalent in audacity ? If i don't allow clipping, it won't let me amplify it by more than 7 or 8 db.

Thank you for your time and the tips, anyway :)

Five
2007-07-11, 05:15 PM
the recorder won't let me control the volume level
okay now it is all coming clear!

you can control the volume level on the deck. you can only do it when a disc is inserted and you are in rec-pause mode. if you insert a new disc you have to do it again... which is the biggest single drawback of hi-md :( you should have seen me doing the disc change at the pearl jam show trying to see my non-light-up display on my MZ-NH1 :disbelief this is something that is good to practice many times at home because time is of the essence.

the other problem is that the manual levels have a value of between 0-30, and it will remember any setting except if it is below 13 it will stay at 13. 8-11 is usually best for recording live shows, so this is another thing that has to be tinkered with everytime you put in a disc. low sensitivity is necessary as well (at least it can remember that).

also, looking at your frequency response it looks like you're still in default hi-sp recording mode. it cuts off abruptly at 19.5kHz (see 2nd-last pic in this thread (http://www.thetradersden.org/forums/showthread.php?t=8003)), which is not something you should see with 44.1/16bit LPCM WAV + CSBs. Be sure to check that setting, change it to LPCM WAV.

you should find all the info you need here:
http://forums.minidisc.org/index.php?showtopic=9045

with this information your next live recording will sound much much better!

as for fixing up the old one I would just boost it 8db or so such that the peaks don't clip. somewhere you can find a freeware vst plugin that can do hard limiting if you want to try boosting it beyond that without introducing clipping. you will need the vst enabler from the audacity homepage. I can't remember where to find a good free limiter right now (not much luck with google at the moment) but will check my bookmarks at home when I get the chance. Some of them are God-awful, some are quite good (ymmv).

ReverbReverse
2007-07-11, 05:57 PM
okay now it is all coming clear!

you can control the volume level on the deck. you can only do it when a disc is inserted and you are in rec-pause mode....the other problem is that the manual levels have a value of between 0-30, and it will remember any setting except if it is below 13 it will stay at 13. 8-11 is usually best for recording live shows, so this is another thing that has to be tinkered with everytime you put in a disc.

0-30 is the range i have for the *playing* volume on mine - is that what you're talking about ?
What i usually set on the recorder is the *recording* level - depending on the band, venue, etc. i usually land between 11 and 13, and that brings me just before distortion.

low sensitivity is necessary as well (at least it can remember that).

and at least i've got one thing right :-s

also, looking at your frequency response it looks like you're still in default hi-sp recording mode. it cuts off abruptly at 19.5kHz (see 2nd-last pic in this thread (http://www.thetradersden.org/forums/showthread.php?t=8003)), which is not something you should see with 44.1/16bit LPCM WAV + CSBs. Be sure to check that setting, change it to LPCM WAV.

You're right - all the other recordings i did were PCM, on the contrary to this one. I was trying to see whether by going in hi-sp it would maybe solve some of my problems. And i knew the set would be longer than 1hr34, and that i wouldn't have any time to change the mcd either.

Thank you so much for all the tips and links and all :) - i'll go looking for these, then..

Five
2007-07-11, 08:25 PM
0-30 is the range i have for the *playing* volume on mine - is that what you're talking about ?
What i usually set on the recorder is the *recording* level - depending on the band, venue, etc. i usually land between 11 and 13, and that brings me just before distortion.
yes to *recording* level. when you've got a disc inserted and you're in pause-record mode a new option becomes available to adjust the levels manually by going menu>rec settings>rec volume>manual

the sample you gave is peaking at -7.36 dB on the left and -7.84 dB on the right, so you have headroom to turn it up a little more while you're recording the show. otherwise, you can boost it a little after the fact. if you've been using manual recording levels at 11-13 you could try it maybe at something like 14-16? what you've got now is too quiet, not close to distortion yet, so a higher recording level will help with that.

you were saying earlier that you couldn't set the levels, I thought I figured it out... now you're saying you've been setting it to 11-13 :hmm: not meant to be insulting in any way, I just want to understand what you mean by this! :wave:

ReverbReverse
2007-07-11, 11:25 PM
five : It's all cool :) :cool:

What i said was "I use the mic in jack, and not the line in, since the recorder won't let me control the volume level," ..i should have been clearer, sorry. What i was meaning was that i don't plug the mic into the line-in, because if i do so (= use the line in socket and not the microphone one) then i can't set the levels - and everything gets instantly overdriven and distorted like there's no tomorrow. When i plug into the microphone socket on the contrary, i can set the levels.

..i don't know if i'm clear that way ?

I was a bit too much on the safe side with that one (was expecting the drums to be louder) but even if i get the highest level possible, it's only fractionally louder..

I was browsing these tutorials on the mcd site you were linking to.. and there's that guy who wrote one of them and makes the point that one should record at -20db in order to have more headroom to tweak with the sound afterwards. I get it in theory, but it left me perplexed since that's nothing i ever read anywhere else :-s ?

diggrd
2007-07-12, 02:48 AM
I still think you would be better off going line in and picking up an inline volume control like this

http://www.minidiscaccess.com/Images/Cables-TandyInlineVolumeControl.jpg

http://www.minidiscaccess.com/item.html?PRID=1436353

Five
2007-07-12, 01:36 PM
five : It's all cool :) :cool:

What i said was "I use the mic in jack, and not the line in, since the recorder won't let me control the volume level," ..i should have been clearer, sorry. What i was meaning was that i don't plug the mic into the line-in, because if i do so (= use the line in socket and not the microphone one) then i can't set the levels - and everything gets instantly overdriven and distorted like there's no tomorrow. When i plug into the microphone socket on the contrary, i can set the levels.

..i don't know if i'm clear that way ?

I was a bit too much on the safe side with that one (was expecting the drums to be louder) but even if i get the highest level possible, it's only fractionally louder..

I was browsing these tutorials on the mcd site you were linking to.. and there's that guy who wrote one of them and makes the point that one should record at -20db in order to have more headroom to tweak with the sound afterwards. I get it in theory, but it left me perplexed since that's nothing i ever read anywhere else :-s ?
okay now I understand. :redface:

I think maybe its the CSBs you don't like... they're muddy and non-directional. maybe try some CSCs or other directional mics, that's about all I can think to suggest at this point.

you can try the line in with a preamp but I don't think that will help much. If you just use a cable with a volume pot as above the impedence will be mismatched (but who knows? might sound okay).

diggrd
2007-07-12, 06:10 PM
okay now I understand. :redface:

I think maybe its the CSBs you don't like... they're muddy and non-directional. maybe try some CSCs or other directional mics, that's about all I can think to suggest at this point.

you can try the line in with a preamp but I don't think that will help much. If you just use a cable with a volume pot as above the impedence will be mismatched (but who knows? might sound okay).
See I think the impedance is mismatched going mic in, at least that was my experience with small condenser mics using a battery box on my MD recorder. I got a much cleaner sound line in but I don't know enough about CSB's and Hi-MD to be sure.

Five
2007-07-13, 02:05 PM
using the mic input for mics and the line input for line-level signals is more theoretically sound as that's how the circuit was designed. Of course it is also possible to use an external preamp that is of higher quality than the internal circuitry to convert mic-level audio to line-level to give excellent results using the line in. I haven't had good results plugging a mic into the line in personally and have only seen it recommended as a desperate hack method of avoiding distortion (from high spls) at the mic input when all else fails. A battery box or some form of external phantom power is necessary to even get signal at the line input, of course.

But nobody's going to argue with results... everyone should try it both ways and see for themself which is better, sometimes the "wrong way" is the right way.

ReverbReverse
2007-07-15, 11:25 PM
I'll be trying the line in thing then.. does that mean i need a preamp on top of the battery/roll-off box then ? Or would anything with a sound volume control do ? I must say that, impedence questions aside, i don't feel too good about adding more into the signal chain..

I've been having a look at the minidisc site and their recording guide there.. the guy who compiled it has the idea that the lower the recording (he's suggesting to aim for -20db) the more headroom one has for reediting and reequalizing it afterwards. I was wondering how you guys would feel about that matter ?

Also, i've started buggering the CS people about the cardioid matter, although they had been advising me for the binaural when i was undecided between both.. one of their argument being that if i was "close" to the soundsource, i should go for the omnidirectional.. but o f course "close to" can be defined in many ways :/

diggrd
2007-07-16, 03:21 PM
I always went mic > batterybox w/rolloff > line-in on my MD. I started this after my first mic-in attempt was a disaster of clipped and distorted noise.

From what I'm reading the CSB's may have low sensitivity and need loud source to really sound loud. The line-in may not be the solution in your case.

What I'm confused about is the fact that you are getting a low recording volume so the thing distorting may be whatever playback amplifier you are cranking up to compensate.

I would try recording something at a much higher level and see how it sounds. I don't think the -20 is going to do it I would try getting as close to 0 as possible and compare the results if it's better even if clipped here and there then just work down a little at a time till you have the highest level without clipping.

ReverbReverse
2007-07-16, 05:17 PM
diggrd > I only get the distortion while trying to amplify the thing - never in the recording proper. I think the problem might be that the bass roll-off doesn't remove enough of the bass, so in the meantime i've been trying to tweak with it in such ways that i reduce the bass and boost the mid and trebble , and only then amplify - sound gets much clearer that way.But not and from far as crystal clear as the recording you were posting a sample of earlier in the thread though (one of the reasons i'd buy the argument about directional vs. omni-directional mics too.)

Limulus
2007-07-16, 05:21 PM
......If you want to increase this volume try hard limiting to -1 or so and boosting by about 18dB

http://diggrdslandofthefree.com/too_quietsample.wav

http://diggrdslandofthefree.com/too_quiet.mp3

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v286/diggrd/stg/tooquiet.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v286/diggrd/stg/tooquiet_2sec.jpg


doing that boosting/limiting you are cutting some or even a lot of frequencies from the original source, please check this cool info about editing in this case:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ

diggrd
2007-07-17, 12:39 AM
That is good info and worth noting, but it is not really frequencyFrequency range: The minimum to maximum frequencies present that is diminished as much as dynamic range Dynamic range: The ratio, in dB, between the largest and smallest signals simultaneously presentI would only use hard limiting with amplification on a recording that was difficult to listen to otherwise and most often I use just hard limiting without amplification to flatten out a crowd applause or other non music portion of a recording