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Re: Where did I go wrong?

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  • Rich Peet <richpeet@attbi.com>
    Oh my God, there is more then one of them? What now? ... group
    Message 1 of 27 , Feb 3, 2003
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      Oh my God, there is more then one of them?
      What now?

      > Thanks and apologies for introducing another John Moore to the
      group
      > (and for the length of this message)
      >
      > John Moore
    • jdmooreth <jdmoore@loxinfo.co.th>
      Many thanks for all the help. Some answers: 1. Verify the Sony mic battery is good. The mic works OK with the camcorder so I guess the battery has enough
      Message 2 of 27 , Feb 5, 2003
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        Many thanks for all the help. Some answers:
        1. "Verify the Sony mic battery is good." The mic works OK with the
        camcorder so I guess the battery has enough power.
        2. "Is it possible that you are using the line input instead of the
        mike input?" I did try the line input but only with the Sound
        Professionals mic plus preamp, with both preamp and MD gain on
        maximum. I still didn't seem to be getting enough gain, though.
        3. "Is it possible you have attenuation set on the mike input? " My
        model doesn't have a mike attenuation switch
        4. "Could it be that you have the headphone gain set very high so
        that you are setting the input gain very low? " I hardly ever use
        headphones as I had the MD on automatic record and my position was
        more or less limited by the geography.
        5. "Do you use the same adaptor cable to mini-stereo with the
        camcorder? ". I tried but it gives too much gain and pretty poor
        sound quality. I got the Shure cable after seeing several
        recommendations in the group but it doesn't seem to solve the
        problem with my MD. It does give me a lot more gain but it also
        magnifies the hiss and produces a sound that is not as crisp as
        that of the mic alone.
        6. "You don't want to use the auto mode .. for nature recording.." I
        guess I ought to experiment more with this. As I said, the times I
        used manual I put the gain about 75% up: the calls were louder than
        on automatic record but so was the hiss. There were also a number of
        louder calls which were totally distorted. How does a manual setting
        cope with this difference in the volume of calls? This must be a
        particular problem when you after soundscapes rather than recording
        a particular call. There would rarely be enough time to alter the
        setting during a recording and in any case I normally leave the mic
        unattended on my tripod while I take the dog for a walk. (The trick
        Walt describes doesn't seem to work on my recorder.)
        7. I will try taking the MD back to the dealers but am not too
        optimistic as notions of consumer rights are not too well developed
        over here.

        I would really like to do better than the results I am getting with
        my camcorder and suspect that I should really have looked at a more
        expensive MD, like the HHB Portadisc or the Marantz PMD650. I notice
        that the UK price of the Portadisc is around 995 pounds whereas the
        Marantz can be had for 550 pounds. Does anyone know if they are in
        the same league ?

        John (not V.) Moore
      • miguel
        a very important feature that has not been mentioned about MD recorders is that they are comb filters, in other words they selectively record some
        Message 3 of 27 , Feb 5, 2003
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          a very important feature that has not been mentioned about MD recorders is
          that they are comb filters, in other words they selectively record some
          frequencies/frequency groups, never giving you the complete frequency
          spectrum. This is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you
          are recording. Also like most consumer products, they operate at a
          -10 db input level not +4 . That alone will give you considerable amounts of
          noise that no Mic will be able to compensate for. If you are recording
          ambient sounds, it will definitely affect the quality of your recordings

          Miguel Rivera


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Walter Knapp
          ... You have to hold both the pause and record, but it s possible they dropped that. It was given in the user manual, so if it s not there, it s probably not
          Message 4 of 27 , Feb 5, 2003
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            jdmooreth wrote:
            > Many thanks for all the help. Some answers:
            > 1. "Verify the Sony mic battery is good." The mic works OK with the
            > camcorder so I guess the battery has enough power.
            > 2. "Is it possible that you are using the line input instead of the
            > mike input?" I did try the line input but only with the Sound
            > Professionals mic plus preamp, with both preamp and MD gain on
            > maximum. I still didn't seem to be getting enough gain, though.
            > 3. "Is it possible you have attenuation set on the mike input? " My
            > model doesn't have a mike attenuation switch
            > 4. "Could it be that you have the headphone gain set very high so
            > that you are setting the input gain very low? " I hardly ever use
            > headphones as I had the MD on automatic record and my position was
            > more or less limited by the geography.
            > 5. "Do you use the same adaptor cable to mini-stereo with the
            > camcorder? ". I tried but it gives too much gain and pretty poor
            > sound quality. I got the Shure cable after seeing several
            > recommendations in the group but it doesn't seem to solve the
            > problem with my MD. It does give me a lot more gain but it also
            > magnifies the hiss and produces a sound that is not as crisp as
            > that of the mic alone.
            > 6. "You don't want to use the auto mode .. for nature recording.." I
            > guess I ought to experiment more with this. As I said, the times I
            > used manual I put the gain about 75% up: the calls were louder than
            > on automatic record but so was the hiss. There were also a number of
            > louder calls which were totally distorted. How does a manual setting
            > cope with this difference in the volume of calls? This must be a
            > particular problem when you after soundscapes rather than recording
            > a particular call. There would rarely be enough time to alter the
            > setting during a recording and in any case I normally leave the mic
            > unattended on my tripod while I take the dog for a walk. (The trick
            > Walt describes doesn't seem to work on my recorder.)

            You have to hold both the pause and record, but it's possible they
            dropped that. It was given in the user manual, so if it's not there,
            it's probably not in yours.

            The way you cope is set the recorder to the loudest calls in manual. or
            if you don't know the loudest calls, you estimate how much extra
            headroom those calls will need. This often will mean the level indicator
            is running way down near the bottom most of the time. Do not worry about
            not getting the quiet stuff, the MD has about twice the dynamic range of
            most environments you will record in, so it will get it even if the
            level indicator does not look promising. That is if the mic gets it.

            You really need to monitor with headphones, at least while setting
            levels. And particularly while learning what the equipment does.

            The AGC on it reacts slowly too, but is not setting as much gain as you
            are. Both it and you seem to be setting the gain too high. When I used a
            walkman MD I used to set the level at more like 25% for the highly
            variable frogcall environment. And I'd still get clipping at times.
            That's the ugly sound you refer to on the loud calls.

            > 7. I will try taking the MD back to the dealers but am not too
            > optimistic as notions of consumer rights are not too well developed
            > over here.
            >
            > I would really like to do better than the results I am getting with
            > my camcorder and suspect that I should really have looked at a more
            > expensive MD, like the HHB Portadisc or the Marantz PMD650. I notice
            > that the UK price of the Portadisc is around 995 pounds whereas the
            > Marantz can be had for 550 pounds. Does anyone know if they are in
            > the same league ?

            I use a Portadisc, and am definitely biased toward it. Have not used the
            Marantz.

            The Portadisc is a newer design, has a number of features not found on
            the Marantz. And uses a newer ATRAC version.

            It's easier on batteries, uses AA NIMH batteries. Can use alkalines with
            shorter record times. Comes with a set of NIMH, but these are lower
            capacity than the latest versions, which will give you more running
            time. With the newest version NIMH you can get close to 4 hours
            recording on a charge.

            The Portadisc has a record ahead buffer of 6 seconds. When you release
            pause to start record, it will record from 6 seconds before that. This
            is a settable function. It is wonderful for getting the beginning of calls.

            The Portadisc has a lot of connectivity. In addition to analog input
            (XLR) with four different settable levels that range from mic to line
            levels, it has analog line out, optical digital in & out, coax digital
            in & out, and USB in & out (for realtime audio, not file transfer)

            It supplies clean phantom power, I did a fair amount of checking of this
            after getting mine, it appears to be better than at least some battery
            operated recorders in this regard. Has powered every phantom power mic
            I've tried just fine. Though I expect some power hungry studio mics
            might not do well.

            There is a limiter, and two frequency levels of high pass filtering for
            minimizing low frequencies.

            It has a optionally illuminated display, very useful in my night
            recording of frogs.

            The gain control is clutched, so each channel can be set independently
            if necessary. This also has a lock you can set to prevent accidental
            changes.

            There are a number of other settings which allow you to customize it's
            recording behavior. It can even be set to monitor the sound levels and
            record only when above the set threshold. They did leave out timed
            recording, though it will time and date stamp the tracks.

            It does have a set of editing functions and titling. However, it's
            playback functions are fairly simple. It's highly biased toward
            recording features rather than playback. Does play fine, has a built in
            speaker, though not a high quality one.

            It is very robustly built for field recording. The controls are human sized.

            Has a pretty good sized level display, with optional peak hold.

            I consider it to be the best minidisc field recorder. Go to HHb's
            website and download the manual and so on to read all about it.
            http://www.hhb.co.uk/

            Walt
            wwknapp@...
          • Walter Knapp
            ... Where did you get such a idea? They record all, I repeat all frequencies. Or have the sonograms I ve done for many years on hundreds of MD recording
            Message 5 of 27 , Feb 5, 2003
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              miguel wrote:
              > a very important feature that has not been mentioned about MD recorders is
              > that they are comb filters, in other words they selectively record some
              > frequencies/frequency groups, never giving you the complete frequency
              > spectrum. This is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you
              > are recording.

              Where did you get such a idea? They record all, I repeat all
              frequencies. Or have the sonograms I've done for many years on hundreds
              of MD recording telling lies? They are not comb filters.

              Also like most consumer products, they operate at a
              > -10 db input level not +4 . That alone will give you considerable amounts of
              > noise that no Mic will be able to compensate for. If you are recording
              > ambient sounds, it will definitely affect the quality of your recordings

              While we are talking about a consumer walkman MD, you should realize
              there are Pro MD's too.

              The consumer MD's are capable of recording all that the mics in question
              can put out.

              Walt
              wwknapp@...
            • Doug Von Gausig
              ... A higher-priced MiniDisc is not the answer to your problems, unless the unit you are using now is defective. Might you post a recording that demonstrates
              Message 6 of 27 , Feb 5, 2003
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                At 03:26 PM 2/5/2003, you wrote:

                >I would really like to do better than the results I am getting with
                >my camcorder and suspect that I should really have looked at a more
                >expensive MD, like the HHB Portadisc or the Marantz PMD650. I notice
                >that the UK price of the Portadisc is around 995 pounds whereas the
                >Marantz can be had for 550 pounds. Does anyone know if they are in
                >the same league ?

                A higher-priced MiniDisc is not the answer to your problems, unless the
                unit you are using now is defective. Might you post a recording that
                demonstrates the problem?

                Doug

                Doug Von Gausig
                Clarkdale, Arizona, USA
                Moderator
                Nature Recordists e-mail group
                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/naturerecordists



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Chris Owens
                I paid £650 (pounds) for my Portadisc in the UK from TS Pro Audio, try sales@tsproaudio.co.uk. Chris.
                Message 7 of 27 , Feb 6, 2003
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                  I paid £650 (pounds) for my Portadisc in the UK from TS Pro Audio, try
                  sales@....

                  Chris.

                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: Doug Von Gausig [mailto:doug@...]
                  > Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 12:23 AM
                  > To: naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com
                  > Subject: Re: [Nature Recordists] Re:Where did I go wrong?
                  >
                  >
                  > At 03:26 PM 2/5/2003, you wrote:
                  >
                  > >I would really like to do better than the results I am
                  > getting with my
                  > >camcorder and suspect that I should really have looked at a more
                  > >expensive MD, like the HHB Portadisc or the Marantz PMD650. I notice
                  > >that the UK price of the Portadisc is around 995 pounds whereas the
                  > >Marantz can be had for 550 pounds. Does anyone know if they
                  > are in the
                  > >same league ?
                  >
                  > A higher-priced MiniDisc is not the answer to your problems,
                  > unless the
                  > unit you are using now is defective. Might you post a recording that
                  > demonstrates the problem?
                  >
                  > Doug
                  >
                  > Doug Von Gausig
                  > Clarkdale, Arizona, USA
                  > Moderator
                  > Nature Recordists e-mail group
                  > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/naturerecordi> sts
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text
                  > portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  > naturerecordists-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                  > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  >
                  >
                • miguel
                  on 2/5/03 3:38 PM, Walter Knapp at wwknapp@mindspring.com wrote: ... Where did you get such a idea? They record all, I repeat all frequencies. Or have the
                  Message 8 of 27 , Feb 6, 2003
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                    on 2/5/03 3:38 PM, Walter Knapp at wwknapp@... wrote:

                    miguel wrote:
                    > a very important feature that has not been mentioned about MD recorders is
                    > that they are comb filters, in other words they selectively record some
                    > frequencies/frequency groups, never giving you the complete frequency
                    > spectrum. This is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you
                    > are recording.

                    Where did you get such a idea? They record all, I repeat all
                    frequencies. Or have the sonograms I've done for many years on hundreds
                    of MD recording telling lies? They are not comb filters.

                    Also like most consumer products, they operate at a
                    > -10 db input level not +4 . That alone will give you considerable amounts of
                    > noise that no Mic will be able to compensate for. If you are recording
                    > ambient sounds, it will definitely affect the quality of your recordings

                    While we are talking about a consumer walkman MD, you should realize
                    there are Pro MD's too.

                    The consumer MD's are capable of recording all that the mics in question
                    can put out.

                    Walt
                    wwknapp@...


                    To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                    naturerecordists-unsubscribe@egroups.com

                    My apologies, I have been actively recording for the last four years using
                    multiple recorders in a variety of settings. The recordings were made of
                    trains, race cars, trucks and automobiles and various sound effects we
                    lovingly refer as "ronks" involving the use of dry ice rubbed on metal or
                    thrown into water. Any way, a variety of recordings emerged over a period
                    of time allowing us to compare the exact same sound with different recorders
                    and or microphones. In many the occasions where the MD was used, there was a
                    DAT recorder set up with the same microphone. After listening to many
                    recordings of trains, trucks, ronks, even ambiences, it was clearly obvious
                    that there were frequencies missing from the MD recordings when compared to
                    he DAT recordings. In talking to some of my fellow sound hounds, some
                    composers, the idea/concept was passed on to me. Not following it up with
                    more technical accuracy is indeed a major "faux pas" In a lot of instances,
                    we want specific frequencies missing in order to get a particular
                    articulation.

                    Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service
                    <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .




                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Rich Peet <richpeet@attbi.com>
                    Welcome and the ronks sound like great fun. I have played with dry ice but never did any sound files with it. I will next time some comes in with shiped
                    Message 9 of 27 , Feb 6, 2003
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                      Welcome and the "ronks" sound like great fun. I have played with dry
                      ice but never did any sound files with it. I will next time some
                      comes in with shiped food.

                      Many of us have looked high and low for "bad" MD recordings. "Bad"
                      being defined as something that can be heard by a person. Basically
                      it is a wide spred myth and so far nothing more.

                      We are more than open to receiving examples with descriptions but in
                      the last few years none have been forthcomming. We are a group that
                      is open to investigation of such things and record in an environment
                      that is very challenging and diverse.

                      Rich Peet

                      > My apologies, I have been actively recording for the last four
                      years using
                      > multiple recorders in a variety of settings. The recordings were
                      made of
                      > trains, race cars, trucks and automobiles and various sound effects
                      we
                      > lovingly refer as "ronks" involving the use of dry ice rubbed on
                      metal or
                      > thrown into water. Any way, a variety of recordings emerged over a
                      period
                      > of time allowing us to compare the exact same sound with different
                      recorders
                      > and or microphones. In many the occasions where the MD was used,
                      there was a
                      > DAT recorder set up with the same microphone. After listening to
                      many
                      > recordings of trains, trucks, ronks, even ambiences, it was clearly
                      obvious
                      > that there were frequencies missing from the MD recordings when
                      compared to
                      > he DAT recordings. In talking to some of my fellow sound hounds,
                      some
                      > composers, the idea/concept was passed on to me. Not following it
                      up with
                      > more technical accuracy is indeed a major "faux pas" In a lot of
                      instances,
                      > we want specific frequencies missing in order to get a particular
                      > articulation.
                      >
                      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service
                      > <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Stuart Fairbairn
                      John you may have done this already but turn your Sony MD upside down and you will see a very small sliding switch move it to high. Stuart.
                      Message 10 of 27 , Feb 6, 2003
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                        John you may have done this already but turn your Sony MD upside down and
                        you will see a very small sliding switch move it to high.

                        Stuart.

                        fbairn@...
                      • jdmooreth <jdmoore@loxinfo.co.th>
                        Many thanks again for all the advice. I ll definitely take a look at TS Pro Audio. Stuart- I turned the MD every which way I could but I can t find any
                        Message 11 of 27 , Feb 6, 2003
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                          Many thanks again for all the advice. I'll definitely take a look at
                          TS Pro Audio. Stuart- I turned the MD every which way I could but I
                          can't find any sliding switch (can't see anything in the manual
                          about it either).
                          Following Doug's suggestion, I've put four test clips I made this
                          morning on my website (http://thaibugs.com). They were all converted
                          to mp3 from wav file at 96kbps. I didn't do any editing. If anyone
                          has the patience to listen to them, I'd really appreciate comments.
                          The clips, which can be accessed from
                          http://thaibugs.com/sounds/test.htm, are:

                          1. owlcam Asian barred owlet recorded with camcorder and
                          Sound Professionals mic
                          2. owlmd Same bird, same time,same place, recorded on MD
                          with Sony ECM 957 mic with Shure matching transformer, volume set to
                          manual, about 50% gain.
                          3. drongocam Black drongo recorded with camcorder as above
                          4. drongomd Same bird etc on MD with Sony ECM 957 mic, plugged
                          into mic input, no transformer, gain set to about 50%.

                          When I got home and listened to no.4 I checked the Sony mic on the
                          camcorder and it gave about the same level of gain as the Sound
                          Professionals, so there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the
                          battery.
                          Basically, I'm not happy with any of the recordings, so Walt's
                          comments on the HHB vs Marantz were very helpful.

                          Regards
                          John Moore
                        • Walter Knapp
                          ... I don t think it s on your model. Your s has only the high sensitivity setting. Some models had a switch where you could attenuate the mic input to handle
                          Message 12 of 27 , Feb 6, 2003
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                            jdmooreth wrote:
                            > Many thanks again for all the advice. I'll definitely take a look at
                            > TS Pro Audio. Stuart- I turned the MD every which way I could but I
                            > can't find any sliding switch (can't see anything in the manual
                            > about it either).

                            I don't think it's on your model. Your's has only the high sensitivity
                            setting. Some models had a switch where you could attenuate the mic
                            input to handle higher sound levels.

                            > Following Doug's suggestion, I've put four test clips I made this
                            > morning on my website (http://thaibugs.com). They were all converted
                            > to mp3 from wav file at 96kbps. I didn't do any editing. If anyone
                            > has the patience to listen to them, I'd really appreciate comments.
                            > The clips, which can be accessed from
                            > http://thaibugs.com/sounds/test.htm, are:
                            >
                            > 1. owlcam Asian barred owlet recorded with camcorder and
                            > Sound Professionals mic
                            > 2. owlmd Same bird, same time,same place, recorded on MD
                            > with Sony ECM 957 mic with Shure matching transformer, volume set to
                            > manual, about 50% gain.
                            > 3. drongocam Black drongo recorded with camcorder as above
                            > 4. drongomd Same bird etc on MD with Sony ECM 957 mic, plugged
                            > into mic input, no transformer, gain set to about 50%.
                            >
                            > When I got home and listened to no.4 I checked the Sony mic on the
                            > camcorder and it gave about the same level of gain as the Sound
                            > Professionals, so there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the
                            > battery.
                            > Basically, I'm not happy with any of the recordings, so Walt's
                            > comments on the HHB vs Marantz were very helpful.

                            The puttering sound in #4 should not be there at all. Does the Sony give
                            that sound when plugged directly into the camcorder? If so, the mic may
                            have some problems. If not, it's the MD. The mic's self noise is fairly
                            quiet compared to whatever that is. I know it's not normal for the mic
                            or a MD, as I have that mic and have used it a fair amount with a Sony
                            MZ-R30.

                            It would be a better test to use the same mic on both recorders.

                            Note if you listen carefully to 1,2,&3 that the noise you are getting is
                            near identical. I'm expecting a lot of that may very well be
                            environmental. If it was mics, then the sony one should sound different.
                            Was there a breeze? Or nearby or distant traffic? Or machinery running?
                            Try finding a very quiet room and recording a bit with both mics. The
                            self noise of the mics and recorders won't differ there from what you
                            get outside. Any difference is almost certainly environmental. And even
                            some of what you get from the room could be environmental.

                            Environmental noise won't go away no matter which recorder you use. It's
                            the bane of the nature recordist's existence. Working out how to get
                            around it occupies a good part of our time. Some can be cut out by using
                            directional mics, either shotgun mics or the even more directional
                            parabolic mics. But only some can be cut out that way even with very
                            careful choice of recording location relative to the subject.

                            I checked all 4 by sonogram. The puttering in #4 is in frequency bands,
                            most intense at the low end but tails all the way up to at least 8khz.

                            The background noise in the others looks similar by sonogram too. The SP
                            mic is producing a little more noise than the sony, but the difference
                            is minor. And is probably a result of using different recorders with the
                            two mics. Applying a cutfilter to the noise below the frequencies of the
                            calls has the same effect on all three.

                            There is some minor evidence of clipping in the camcorder recordings,
                            though it's hard to be sure due to the mp3 encoding.

                            I'd say try and verify if it's environmental noise. And figure out what
                            happened in #4. For a start.

                            Walt
                            wwknapp@...
                          • evertveldhuis <jeb_music@hotmail.com>
                            ... wrote: ... Hi John, I took a listen to your MP3s and can imagina you re not satisfied. The signal is drowning in noise :( I
                            Message 13 of 27 , Feb 7, 2003
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                              --- In naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com, "jdmooreth <jdmoore@l...>"
                              <jdmoore@l...> wrote:
                              <CUT by Evert>
                              > 1. owlcam Asian barred owlet recorded with camcorder and
                              > Sound Professionals mic
                              > 2. owlmd Same bird, same time,same place, recorded on MD
                              > with Sony ECM 957 mic with Shure matching transformer, volume set
                              > to manual, about 50% gain.
                              > 3. drongocam Black drongo recorded with camcorder as above
                              > 4. drongomd Same bird etc on MD with Sony ECM 957 mic,
                              > plugged into mic input, no transformer, gain set to about 50%.
                              >
                              > When I got home and listened to no.4 I checked the Sony mic on the
                              > camcorder and it gave about the same level of gain as the Sound
                              > Professionals, so there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the
                              > battery.
                              > Basically, I'm not happy with any of the recordings, so Walt's
                              > comments on the HHB vs Marantz were very helpful.
                              >
                              > Regards
                              > John Moore

                              Hi John,

                              I took a listen to your MP3s and can imagina you're not satisfied.
                              The signal is drowning in noise :(

                              I do not think buying an far expensive recorder will solve this
                              problem the best way. Sure it will, but your problem is easy; I saw
                              in the MD recordings a DC offset of 25 to 30 dB
                              and in the CAMcorder it was -73 to -90 which are better values; the
                              higher this (negative) number the better.

                              I think your MD is faulty. Besides that, for nature recording you
                              *should* not use a MD model that has no mic-preamp-switch that can be
                              used for high and low levels. Since your model has not got this
                              switch, I suggest you return your model and get a recorder that
                              *does* have this switch. I think most people would have this setting
                              to 'low' so that selfnoise of the micpreamp is much less then on the
                              high setting. And I was told that MD recorders wihtout the switch are
                              comparable with the switch set to 'high'.

                              Regards, Evert
                            • Dannie Carsen <dcarsen@shaw.ca>
                              Evert, you say I think most people would have this setting to low so that selfnoise of the micpreamp is much less then on the high setting. And I was told
                              Message 14 of 27 , Feb 7, 2003
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                                Evert, you say "I think most people would have this setting
                                to 'low' so that selfnoise of the micpreamp is much less then on the
                                high setting. And I was told that MD recorders wihtout the switch are
                                comparable with the switch set to 'high'."

                                In my minidisc manual under mic sens Sony says "Usually, set it to
                                HIGH. When recording loud sounds such as a live concert, st it to
                                LOW."

                                Now I'm curious, and since I'm getting a fair bit of self noise from
                                the recorder too, and I'm going to try both settings. Anyone else
                                have experience with the "LOW" setting?
                              • Walter Knapp
                                ... Only if using a mic with a hot output in pretty loud situations would you set it on low. The Telinga parabolic can benefit from this occasionally, but not
                                Message 15 of 27 , Feb 7, 2003
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                                  Dannie Carsen wrote:
                                  > Evert, you say "I think most people would have this setting
                                  > to 'low' so that selfnoise of the micpreamp is much less then on the
                                  > high setting. And I was told that MD recorders wihtout the switch are
                                  > comparable with the switch set to 'high'."
                                  >
                                  > In my minidisc manual under mic sens Sony says "Usually, set it to
                                  > HIGH. When recording loud sounds such as a live concert, st it to
                                  > LOW."
                                  >
                                  > Now I'm curious, and since I'm getting a fair bit of self noise from
                                  > the recorder too, and I'm going to try both settings. Anyone else
                                  > have experience with the "LOW" setting?

                                  Only if using a mic with a hot output in pretty loud situations would
                                  you set it on low. The Telinga parabolic can benefit from this
                                  occasionally, but not near as often for the mics under discussion.

                                  Setting it to low decreases the mic noise, but has little effect on the
                                  preamp noise. It also decreases the sound you want by the same amount.
                                  So, now you crank the gain up to higher levels to get the sound you
                                  want, which increases the preamp noise over what it would have been on
                                  the high setting. Using the low setting will result in increasing the
                                  noise levels relative to the the sound you want.

                                  Only if you find that the gain setting you are having to use to prevent
                                  clipping is down in the bottom third or so would you have need of the
                                  low setting. You need to look into it there because you may be
                                  overloading the preamp causing distortion. In several years using a
                                  MZ-R30 which had the dual level switch, I used the low setting less than
                                  5% of the time. Even with the Telinga it was not needed all that much.
                                  When it was accidentally turned to low when not needed, it made the
                                  recordings worse.

                                  Sony is right, it's for recording loud sounds, like rock concerts. And
                                  some internet groups are populated with mostly stealth concert
                                  recordists. In those groups a big deal is made of the low gain setting
                                  for good reason. For the same reasons, the most important mic
                                  specification for them is the max SPL. Most nature recording is of
                                  sounds that are much quieter. Though I have recorded frog chorus where
                                  it was painfully loud to be out there.

                                  As I noted from listening to the mp3's, I believe that a lot of what's
                                  being blamed on the self noise may be environmental. Do the experiment
                                  in a small quiet room, preferably with the mic muffled with a pillow or
                                  such like. That will tell you the real self noise. The rest is
                                  environmental. Which is a different problem.

                                  Walt
                                  wwknapp@...
                                • Rich Peet <richpeet@attbi.com>
                                  I use the MZ-R90 without a preamp switch as well as a MZ-R55 with one. I find the MZ-R90 to be a compromise between the low and high settings of the MZ-R55.
                                  Message 16 of 27 , Feb 7, 2003
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                                    I use the MZ-R90 without a preamp switch as well as a MZ-R55 with one.
                                    I find the MZ-R90 to be a compromise between the low and high
                                    settings of the MZ-R55. When I record with the MZ-R55 I set it at
                                    high and if a very loud call comes in I can just flip the switch to
                                    low. That said I still prefer the MZ-R90 and use it much more but
                                    that is personal taste.

                                    I believe I have some recordings made with the 90 and 957 combo and
                                    will look but without a doubt I have many very low noise recordings
                                    using consumer md. I recall having traded my large dish for the 957
                                    for an hour of experimentation in the field. I will try and post an
                                    example of what I have on this combo when I return to my computer
                                    with sound later today.

                                    Rich Peet

                                    --- In naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com, "Dannie Carsen
                                    <dcarsen@s...>" <dcarsen@s...> wrote:
                                    > Evert, you say "I think most people would have this setting
                                    > to 'low' so that selfnoise of the micpreamp is much less then on
                                    the
                                    > high setting. And I was told that MD recorders wihtout the switch
                                    are
                                    > comparable with the switch set to 'high'."
                                    >
                                    > In my minidisc manual under mic sens Sony says "Usually, set it to
                                    > HIGH. When recording loud sounds such as a live concert, st it to
                                    > LOW."
                                    >
                                    > Now I'm curious, and since I'm getting a fair bit of self noise
                                    from
                                    > the recorder too, and I'm going to try both settings. Anyone else
                                    > have experience with the "LOW" setting?
                                  • Doug Von Gausig
                                    Well, I think the MD recording of the Owl sounds much better than the camera recording. The MD has better low-freq. and a fuller ambient sound. I do not see
                                    Message 17 of 27 , Feb 7, 2003
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                                      Well, I think the MD recording of the Owl sounds much better than the
                                      camera recording. The MD has better low-freq. and a "fuller" ambient sound.
                                      I do not see excessive noise in either, though, and I think you are hoping
                                      for sound that is cleaner than you can reasonably expect from
                                      consumer-grade equipment and spontaneous field recordings. The gain of the
                                      MiniDisc is far below that of the camera, but it's still getting a good
                                      recording. I had to boost the MD signal by 18 dB or so to get them equal,
                                      and still didn't create any excess noise in the MD recording.

                                      On the Drongo, the recordings are just too different to compare. The MD
                                      seems to be set way too low, or the mic is malfunctioning or the MD is
                                      malfunctioning. I do see some 60-cycle hum in the Drongo MD recording. Is
                                      that from an external source, or an indication of a bad connection in the
                                      MD/Mic connector? Others' opinions?

                                      Doug

                                      At 10:02 PM 2/6/2003, John Moore wrote:
                                      >Many thanks again for all the advice. I'll definitely take a look at
                                      >TS Pro Audio. Stuart- I turned the MD every which way I could but I
                                      >can't find any sliding switch (can't see anything in the manual
                                      >about it either).
                                      >Following Doug's suggestion, I've put four test clips I made this
                                      >morning on my website (<http://thaibugs.com).>http://thaibugs.com). They
                                      >were all converted
                                      >to mp3 from wav file at 96kbps. I didn't do any editing. If anyone
                                      >has the patience to listen to them, I'd really appreciate comments.
                                      >The clips, which can be accessed from
                                      ><http://thaibugs.com/sounds/test.htm,>http://thaibugs.com/sounds/test.htm,
                                      >are:
                                      >
                                      >1. owlcam Asian barred owlet recorded with camcorder and
                                      >Sound Professionals mic
                                      >2. owlmd Same bird, same time,same place, recorded on MD
                                      >with Sony ECM 957 mic with Shure matching transformer, volume set to
                                      >manual, about 50% gain.
                                      >3. drongocam Black drongo recorded with camcorder as above
                                      >4. drongomd Same bird etc on MD with Sony ECM 957 mic, plugged
                                      >into mic input, no transformer, gain set to about 50%.
                                      >
                                      >When I got home and listened to no.4 I checked the Sony mic on the
                                      >camcorder and it gave about the same level of gain as the Sound
                                      >Professionals, so there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the
                                      >battery.
                                      >Basically, I'm not happy with any of the recordings, so Walt's
                                      >comments on the HHB vs Marantz were very helpful.
                                      >
                                      >Regards
                                      >John Moore
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                                      >naturerecordists-unsubscribe@egroups.com
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the
                                      ><http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/>Yahoo! Terms of Service.

                                      Doug Von Gausig
                                      Clarkdale, Arizona, USA
                                      Moderator
                                      Nature Recordists e-mail group
                                      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/naturerecordists



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                                    • Walter Knapp
                                      ... It does not appear to be specifically 60-cycle hum. By sonogram it s a whole series of frequency bands, highest level right down at 20hz, but it continues
                                      Message 18 of 27 , Feb 7, 2003
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                                        Doug Von Gausig wrote:

                                        > On the Drongo, the recordings are just too different to compare. The MD
                                        > seems to be set way too low, or the mic is malfunctioning or the MD is
                                        > malfunctioning. I do see some 60-cycle hum in the Drongo MD recording. Is
                                        > that from an external source, or an indication of a bad connection in the
                                        > MD/Mic connector? Others' opinions?

                                        It does not appear to be specifically 60-cycle hum. By sonogram it's a
                                        whole series of frequency bands, highest level right down at 20hz, but
                                        it continues up to at least 8khz at decreasing intensity levels. Running
                                        a cutfilter can remove most of it while leaving the call, if set about
                                        1.2khz, but not all. A notch filter on 60 cycle did not remove much.

                                        Since the mic ran fine through the shure transformer, it's probably not
                                        anything fundamental wrong with the mic. I'm guessing, and it's just a
                                        guess, that the plug in power or the power supply of the MD is the
                                        source. It seems to be too regular to be a bad connection.

                                        Walt
                                        wwknapp@...
                                      • Rich Peet <richpeet@attbi.com>
                                        As promised linked is a sample of the Sony ECM957 / MZ-R90 Combo. This was a quiet site. The sapsucker was about 10 yards away drumming on a metal
                                        Message 19 of 27 , Feb 7, 2003
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                                          As promised linked is a sample of the "Sony ECM957 / MZ-R90" Combo.
                                          This was a quiet site. The sapsucker was about 10 yards away
                                          drumming on a metal roadmarker attached to a tree and the song bird
                                          was much more distant. You can decide for yourself if this
                                          microphone is quiet enough for you. The consumer md is capable of
                                          more than this microphone. If there is doubt of that I can supply
                                          other samples to establish it. No alteration made from original
                                          recording other than to convert to mp3@96

                                          512kb download at
                                          http://home.attbi.com/~richpeet/sapsucker.mp3


                                          Rich Peet

                                          --- In naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com, "Rich Peet <richpeet@a...>"
                                          <richpeet@a...> wrote:
                                          > I use the MZ-R90 without a preamp switch as well as a MZ-R55 with
                                          one.
                                          > I find the MZ-R90 to be a compromise between the low and high
                                          > settings of the MZ-R55. When I record with the MZ-R55 I set it at
                                          > high and if a very loud call comes in I can just flip the switch to
                                          > low. That said I still prefer the MZ-R90 and use it much more but
                                          > that is personal taste.
                                          >
                                          > I believe I have some recordings made with the 90 and 957 combo and
                                          > will look but without a doubt I have many very low noise recordings
                                          > using consumer md. I recall having traded my large dish for the 957
                                          > for an hour of experimentation in the field. I will try and post an
                                          > example of what I have on this combo when I return to my computer
                                          > with sound later today.
                                          >
                                          > Rich Peet
                                        • jdmooreth <jdmoore@loxinfo.co.th>
                                          ... Many thanks once again to everyone for all the ideas. Rich s file is pretty convincing. I m inclined towards Doug s guess that the plug in power or the
                                          Message 20 of 27 , Feb 8, 2003
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                                            --- In naturerecordists@yahoogroups.com, "Rich Peet <richpeet@a...>"
                                            <richpeet@a...> wrote:
                                            > As promised linked is a sample of the "Sony ECM957 / MZ-R90" Combo.

                                            Many thanks once again to everyone for all the ideas. Rich's file is
                                            pretty convincing. I'm inclined towards Doug's guess that the plug
                                            in power or the power supply of the MD is the problem. I guess I'll
                                            have to get it back to Sony. I don't think it's environment noise-
                                            that's a familiar problem around here (mainly low frequency distant
                                            traffic noise) but the spot in the woods I chose is quiet at 6 am.
                                            Coincidentally I was listening yesterday to some recordings I made
                                            in 1968 in the Sahara desert on my Uher and I couldn't find any hiss
                                            problems on them.....
                                            John Moore
                                          • Doug Von Gausig
                                            ... Ambient noise is often nearly impossible to perceive - it s there, but we tune it out - our brains toss it out as insignificant. The mic and medium,
                                            Message 21 of 27 , Feb 9, 2003
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                                              At 12:02 AM 2/9/2003, John Moore wrote:
                                              >Coincidentally I was listening yesterday to some recordings I made
                                              >in 1968 in the Sahara desert on my Uher and I couldn't find any hiss
                                              >problems on them.....

                                              "Ambient noise" is often nearly impossible to perceive - it's there, but we
                                              "tune it out" - our brains toss it out as insignificant. The mic and
                                              medium, though, pick it up faithfully, and play it back to us in a
                                              completely new setting - one in which our brains allow us to hear the
                                              "truth". This is very often perceived as a noisy recording system, when it
                                              is actually a noisy venue. There are two ways to test this. One is to
                                              record the sound of a very, very quiet room (as Walter suggested) - and
                                              those are really hard to find! The other is to make simultaneous recordings
                                              with the quietest mic around - (like a MKH-20) and the mic you are testing
                                              on the same recorder, then transfer the recording digitally, "equalize" the
                                              two recordings, so you aren't just hearing a difference in gain, and compare.

                                              This "noise" problem is very common when you first start recording, and it
                                              gets better with experience. You can and should train yourself to listen
                                              for the true sound of an area. I like to monitor the mic with one earphone,
                                              then vary the recording level until the sound level is the same from the
                                              earphone as it is in your bare ear. This will give you a setting that is
                                              usually far quieter than where you would normally set the level using just
                                              earphones, but will be a more accurate representation of the actual sound
                                              level in the environment. You may learn that you are setting the level for
                                              your recordings unnaturally high, thereby getting abnormally high ambient
                                              noise. Try it.

                                              Doug
                                              Doug Von Gausig
                                              Clarkdale, Arizona, USA
                                              Moderator
                                              Nature Recordists e-mail group
                                              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/naturerecordists



                                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                            • Syd Curtis
                                              ... Doug, one small point please. Where do you set your volume control for the one earphone? At the mid-point of the range? Or maximum? Syd
                                              Message 22 of 27 , Feb 9, 2003
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                                                Doug Von Gausig <doug@...> wrote, Sun, 09 Feb 2003:

                                                >
                                                > You can and should train yourself to listen
                                                > for the true sound of an area. I like to monitor the mic with one earphone,
                                                > then vary the recording level until the sound level is the same from the
                                                > earphone as it is in your bare ear. This will give you a setting that is
                                                > usually far quieter than where you would normally set the level using just
                                                > earphones, but will be a more accurate representation of the actual sound
                                                > level in the environment. You may learn that you are setting the level for
                                                > your recordings unnaturally high, thereby getting abnormally high ambient
                                                > noise. Try it.

                                                Doug, one small point please. Where do you set your volume control for the
                                                one earphone? At the mid-point of the range? Or maximum?

                                                Syd
                                              • Doug Von Gausig
                                                ... I set my headphones on the MZ-R50 as high as they ll go, usually. Doug Doug Von Gausig Clarkdale, Arizona, USA Moderator Nature Recordists e-mail group
                                                Message 23 of 27 , Feb 10, 2003
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                                                  >Doug Von Gausig <doug@...> wrote, Sun, 09 Feb 2003:
                                                  > >
                                                  > > You can and should train yourself to listen
                                                  > > for the true sound of an area. I like to monitor the mic with one earphone,
                                                  > > then vary the recording level until the sound level is the same from the
                                                  > > earphone as it is in your bare ear. This will give you a setting that is
                                                  > > usually far quieter than where you would normally set the level using just
                                                  > > earphones, but will be a more accurate representation of the actual sound
                                                  > > level in the environment. You may learn that you are setting the level for
                                                  > > your recordings unnaturally high, thereby getting abnormally high ambient
                                                  > > noise. Try it.

                                                  Syd Curtis wrote:

                                                  >Doug, one small point please. Where do you set your volume control for the
                                                  >one earphone? At the mid-point of the range? Or maximum?
                                                  >
                                                  >Syd

                                                  I set my headphones on the MZ-R50 as high as they'll go, usually.

                                                  Doug

                                                  Doug Von Gausig
                                                  Clarkdale, Arizona, USA
                                                  Moderator
                                                  Nature Recordists e-mail group
                                                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/naturerecordists



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