Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
442 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I conduct focus groups, interviews, and group facilition sessions for a living. Sometimes these discussions are in noisy places, but I need my recorder to pick up everything everyone says because I have to write a report about it. For example, I have an upcoming meeting at a restaurant, and we'll actually be holding the discussion DURING dinner, so it's going to be noisy, but my report needs to contain lists, details, and quotes said by the people in the group, some of whom may be sitting several feet away from the recorder.

Those of you with Zoom H2 recorders...do you think a Zoom H2 will do a good job of picking up voices around a large dinner table with the built-in microphone(s)? Or do you have a better suggestion?

Thanks!
Kermit
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
Joined
·
11,501 Posts
An H2 will faithfully reproduce everything including ambient noise. Speakers seated farther from the recorder may be masked by the noise. A zoom H4 can be configured with two corded microphones if you need to record speakers separated at a long table. Too many people will be problematic and could require a much more complex set up.

Since you're just looking to produce a written report and audio fidelity is not a priority, I would think an H2 would be fine around a round dinner table up to about 10 feet.

If the layout is more like a banquet table seating say, 24 I'd use my H4 and two mikes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,256 Posts
i get confused which model is which but i think its the h4 that has built in surround...simply put it in the middle of the table and both sides of the machine record 4 channel...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
442 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, jr. There will be 12-14 people around the table. A Zoom H2 has been on my Amazon wish list for two years, but your description of the H4 with attached mikes might make more sense in this instance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,675 Posts
Thanks, jr. There will be 12-14 people around the table. A Zoom H2 has been on my Amazon wish list for two years, but your description of the H4 with attached mikes might make more sense in this instance.
I have the H2. You can record four channels. Put it in the center of the table and it will record from the front and back. I've recorded a band rehearsal this way. It will record in stereo from the front or four channel, front and back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
472 Posts
i get confused which model is which but i think its the h4 that has built in surround...simply put it in the middle of the table and both sides of the machine record 4 channel...
Actually it is the H2 that can do that. The unit allows you to record in any of three mic configurations: front mics only (stereo - narrower sound field), rear mics only (stereo - wider sound field), or front and rear mics together (4 channel "surround"). You have three gain settings and for recording my horn I always use the lowest setting. In this situation you'll probably need to bump the gain to the mid or high gain setting which means you'll pick up more of the ambient noise as well. It should work though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
442 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies. I think I'm going to go ahead and order the H2, based on the advice/experiences you've shared. I was originally thinking I'd get the H4n, but for this purpose, I think the H2 is going to do the trick.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
436 Posts
A technical heads-up may be in order. In 4 channel mode, the H2 creates 2 wav files which would require some extra processing goodness to get a single stereo wav/mp3 for general consumption. There's some s/w call Vortex Zoom Encoder for that, I believe. Google, as always, is your friend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
579 Posts
I would like to tag another question for Zoom H2 owners into this thread

(By the way, in reference to the above post, the Zoom H2 has an internal setting that will convert the 4 channel to a single stereo mp3 file - and you can 3D pan it to favour F/B/L/R)

But my question is probably fairly basic to those who know.

I can record as MP3 and manual says 256kbps is CD quality and good enough, with less compression not discernible from it
I can record as WAV and manual recommends 44.1kHz/16bit, then using the Zoom can convert to 256 mp3
I can record as WAV and compress on the computer to mp3
I can record as WAV and burn to audio CD on computer

Which of the above gives best results, or to the average human ear, will they all give the same result in terms of quality of sound?

The only analogy I have is shooting digital pictures in RAW and then compressing them to jpg on a computer is hugely better than allowing the camera to compress to jpg. Is this the same with audio files?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
6,086 Posts
Always record at the highest possible quality. (.wav). You can always reduce the quality from the original but you can't make it better...
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,991 Posts
Get the H4n - it has a few more features as mentioned, and if you need an audio interface to your PC, it can accommodate, and the H2 cannot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
579 Posts
Well I have the H2 already! And I am not sure what you mean by an audio interface - I can happily record from it directly to my computer via USB

What I am interested in, I suppose, is why there is an in built conversion from WAV to MP3

Will recording in WAV then converting to 256 MP3 using the H2 give me the same quality as recording a 256 MP3 in the first place?

The main reason for asking is that I am not confident my computer is going to handle the huge files that WAV produce without grinding to a holt, or statrting the smoke at the back...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
6,086 Posts
Well I have the H2 already! And I am not sure what you mean by an audio interface - I can happily record from it directly to my computer via USB

What I am interested in, I suppose, is why there is an in built conversion from WAV to MP3

Will recording in WAV then converting to 256 MP3 using the H2 give me the same quality as recording a 256 MP3 in the first place?

The main reason for asking is that I am not confident my computer is going to handle the huge files that WAV produce without grinding to a holt, or statrting the smoke at the back...
The answer to your question is yes. However, you won't have access to the higher quality .wav experience if you record something you are super proud of. A 256 MP3 is not the same as a .wav at 44.1 or higher - There are many programs that convert .wavs to MP3 and are not real time conversions, so I wouldn't worry about your computer bogging down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
579 Posts
The answer to your question is yes. However, you won't have access to the higher quality .wav experience if you record something you are super proud of. A 256 MP3 is not the same as a .wav at 44.1 or higher - There are many programs that convert .wavs to MP3 and are not real time conversions, so I wouldn't worry about your computer bogging down.
Thank you
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician &
Joined
·
4,983 Posts
To the first post, you can use the front and back and convert as Chris suggested with the H2. No one can say how much noise will get into it because it depends on the level of the noise, the level of the talking and the distance from each. With the H4 you do get more features but it's significantly more expensive and if you don't need those features you just paid more for nothing. That's why I got the H2, for anything more than simply putting it there I'll (someone else will usually) use a recording setup anyway (laptop, audio card, microphones). I don't know if the H4 can do the "surround" thing. Also keep in mind if you are using seperate microphones that probably means running cables on the table... maybe a bit annoying.

Chris, there might be a difference but you might not hear it anyway. It depends what is the purpose. I listen to almost everything I record on good monitors and headphones and prefer wav even if I'll convert to mp3 for whatever reason later. The RAW vs. JPG is in a way a good comparison but also not. If you compare the result of the RAW after editing and then to the JPG, the RAW is likely to look better. But one of the main reasons to shoot RAW is to allow more and better editing ability to make the photo look better. In contrast, you won't record in wav just to edit for the mp3.

Maybe it's more like recording through several channels (even with leaks...) and then editing is like mixing. Then the mp3 might be better than straight to stereo, but it might not be. I've heard great recordings from just one stereo mic and awful recordings with the most advanced equipment (and lots of it). It's possible that different mp3 converters will do it differently... I think. They essentially remove stuff, I don't think they add anything. So different ones can do it slightly differently and you might notice, or not.

BTW my music computer (with audio card, mixer, monitors, editing and recording programs, etc.) is pretty old and although not as fast as it used to be, has no problems reading and editing huge wav files (though I built it especially with music in mind).
 

·
Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
Joined
·
8,588 Posts
I conduct focus groups, interviews, and group facilition sessions for a living. Sometimes these discussions are in noisy places, but I need my recorder to pick up everything everyone says because I have to write a report about it. For example, I have an upcoming meeting at a restaurant, and we'll actually be holding the discussion DURING dinner, so it's going to be noisy, but my report needs to contain lists, details, and quotes said by the people in the group, some of whom may be sitting several feet away from the recorder.

Those of you with Zoom H2 recorders...do you think a Zoom H2 will do a good job of picking up voices around a large dinner table with the built-in microphone(s)? Or do you have a better suggestion?

Thanks!
Kermit
I'm really happy with the Zoom H4N. Wonderful piece of gear. Picks up everything with very good clarity, and doubles as a cheap and very effective recording studio for the band.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,991 Posts
I'm really happy with the Zoom H4N. Wonderful piece of gear. Picks up everything with very good clarity, and doubles as a cheap and very effective recording studio for the band.
Exactly. And it's quite a bit more feature packed than the H2 - which is also good, but having only popped an extra hundred for the H4n, I'm glad I did.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,877 Posts
The H2 id able to do audio interface. Just connect to the computer and it will give you either a storage option or an option to audio interface.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top