Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mailbag: Settings for the H4n, Audacity "Multi-Tracking", & is My New Shure Any Good?

Got a bunch of questions to chew through for this mailbag. Let's get to work!
You had a posting about the zoom h4n and setting it to "75" for voiceover. can you tell me where that setting is. I just recorded some and it sounded a bit - just a bit - tinny - and not as rich as I would like. (using the two onboard mics). Thanks much.
Ted Faye
gold creek films
Hey Ted, So the "75" I had set was just the recording gain. No fancy buried setting. Just that little rocker switch on the side. The dual stereo mics on the h4n aren't going to give you a lot of "warmth". I was surprised to find that they're a bit more accurate than the entry level mics we tend to throw into the "vocals" category. Now that means they might not sound quite as "pleasant" as those mics were used to. To help with the sound of your recordings, play around with proximity, location in your booth, height, and angle of attack. Often, slight EQ issues can be worked out with a couple simple tweaks.
Hi there, I just downloaded Audacity and was watching some of your videos to get a start. However, I don't see how to continue recording on the same track without creating a new one. So I record a little blurb, I stop it and later want to add to the same track - how do I do that? Thanks, Rich
Sorry Rich.
There isn't a way. It's actually a "safety" feature so you don't overwrite previous recordings. I know. I think it's obnoxious too.
Hi SAGuy! I really like you channel and your site. I'm writing because I'd like to know if you would review my Shure Super 55. I have the black and red version. I purchased it for the obvious reasons: 1) It's a Shure and 2) the classic look. The "internals" are supposed to have been updated. I've seen it on TV a few times: Mariah Carey used it in a commercial, it was on American Idol recently and the announcer on the "Price is Right" has one in front of his podium. I read a comment somewhere that if it is on stage its probably not plugged in, just being used as a prop. Wow. I'd like your take on it. I have not recorded with it yet, plugged it in a couple of times. Is it rubbish, or does it have a legit place in a studio? Please let me know if you would do the review. I'll provide insured postage both ways.
LOL No need to send it to me. It's a fine mic. Same capsule as the Beta 58, and should perform similarly. Whether you like it or not will be a personal preference. Most mics on-camera are props. They have to be, as the hosts tend to move around a lot. Usually audio is grabbed from a wireless lav.
Is it ok to stand far away from the mic to get the right sound when yelling? My director in ADR won't listen to me.
Technically anything is "OK" so long as you get the sound you want. If you're producing, you're free to do whatever your heart pleases.

However when in a pro studio, with a really good engineer, most I know will prefer to keep a consistent proximity to the mic and make adjustments via preamp, mixer, compressor, or use a pad on the mic. The only time I will prefer an actor move farther away while recording is when they're playing with making a shocking change in volume which we haven't rehearsed. Those occasions are very rare.

I can completely understand why an ADR director might shoot down volume adjustments via movement. I know I wouldn't want an actor to be in the habit of moving all over the place. It would make mixing and matching audio pieces more difficult.

As always, if any of my advice has helped, or if you've enjoyed any of my posts, consider supporting my site with the donation or Amazon affiliate links to the left.

Keep sending me those questions!

1 comment:

  1. Actually, as of Audacity 1.3.5 (released in 2008) you can continue recording to a track by shift-clicking the record button. If you're using that version or newer, it shouldn't be a problem.